There is no doctrine more plainly taught in scripture, than the unity of the Church of Christ. Separate communions in the church, or separate churches of Christ, holding different creeds, necessarily infers something wrong. It certainly was not so by Christ’s institution when he organized his church. The pattern he has given is for one church. All that differ, however little, from that pattern, are so far departing from the law of the house laid down by its glorious Head. But it is quite common with the advocates of what is called catholic communion, to recommend a kind of confederation among these different denominations, while yet they may remain distinct sects, with their respective different creeds.
It is indeed granted by them, that an agreement in all the articles of faith, would be very desirable, “but the churches are not ripe for it.” But what shall be done in the mean time? Why, let them compliment one another with church hospitality—let them exercise the most ungrudging fellowship in holy ordinances, as opportunity serves—let the one say of the other, they have invited us to eat of their bread, let us do so, and welcome them, in turn, to eat of ours. Is this, or is it not a confederation of churches? Where is the warrant in divine revelation for such a system? Do they not hereby recognise one another’s creeds and modes of worship? Most assuredly. For they join in eating the sacrifice?—Are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? Few, it is presumed, would venture to answer, no. Whatever, therefore, belongs to the altar—the principles, doctrine and worship of any church, is recognised by eating the sacrifice—partaking of the Lord’s supper in that church. If you differ with that church in any thing, it is because you think that thing wrong—How then can you eat of the sacrifice, thereby recognizing what you think wrong?