In my last letter I asked you the question: do you think that the Gospel or something else is the foundation and characteristic of Christian truth? You answered that from this you see how far we still stand apart from one another, and say that I am lacking much before we come to general agreement concerning divine things. I asked you that question particularly because I know that I lack much and wanted to bring into clarity that interesting subject. But as you explain that it is better to leave it and find a different subject for discussion I searched and, it seems to me, found such a subject about which I would like to know your opinion, particularly:
The apostle says, One Lord, one faith. Endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in a bond of peace (Eph. 4:5, 3). And in another place, you are of one spirit, have the same love, be of one accord, of one mind (Phil. 2:2), that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God (Rom. 15:6), and so forth. How then now, besides the Eastern Church, there is the Roman Church and, yet more, Protestant, which in England has split into more than seventy sects, and in Germany are so many theological parties? And among all those societies there is not a bond of peace, nor unity of spirit, and they are not of one spirit and not of one thought. How can that be conformed to the above-mentioned words of the New Testament? And the Apostle Jude says that people, having separated themselves from the unity of faith [Jude 1:19] (Luther translates it: who spread sects; the Slavonic translation is more understandable and closer to the original), and so people, which have separated themselves from the unity of faith, do not have the Spirit. I very much would like to know your opinion about that.
December 24, 1863