Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevails against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Eccl 4:9-12, KJ2000)
All through the scriptures we see God joining people together for His purposes. It started with Adam and Eve when God said of Adam, “It is not good that man should be alone.” God also blessed many other couples and used them in their fruitfulness to bring forth the linage of Christ all through the Old Testament record. Outside of marriage we see Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, Judah and Simeon, Deborah and Barak and many more who He paired up in leadership. Only when we see Israel totally backslidden against God do we see a prophet standing alone as His representative. These were desperate men appointed by God for desperate times and not the norm.
In the New Testament Jesus always sent the disciples out in pairs and later we see many of them together in each locale like the group in Jerusalem with Peter, John and James as well as Paul and Barnabas and other “prophets and teachers” in Antioch and later Paul and Silas were together.
Too many people today in the churches think about leadership and ministry after the tradition of the Catholic Church, a singular pope over all, a singular bishop over the dioceses and a singular priest over the local church. Protestantism does not like to use these Catholic titles so they call these men denominational heads, district superintendents and pastors. Each man stands alone over those under him and is rarely held accountable for his actions. Being alone, they get into all manner of trouble and eventually fall. True New Testament eldership with multiple elders in each area it is a rare thing today. There is no such thing as “head pastor” over any of the New Testament churches, yet these extra-biblical titles are all through Christendom and accepted as “scriptural.” We as Christians in the West still think of church leadership in terms of a singular leader complete in himself with all the Bible knowledge and gifts needed to rule over all that goes on in the local church. It was not this way in the early church, but Christ was the Head and the Spirit taught them.
The New Testament is rife with examples of multiple leadership and multiple anointings working together under the leadership of Christ and this is still God’s way. We need to get beyond this Catholic hangover of the “one man band” in the body of Christ. God says clearly that He commands a blessing when brethren dwell together in unity. One person that has all power is not an example of dwelling together in unity. Spiritual unity is not unanimity or forced unity of doctrinal beliefs. It occurs when two or more hearts become one and are in one accord in the Spirit of Christ with His love for one another.
A classic case of true godly unity was the relationship that Jonathan and David had with each other. The kingdom was divided under King Saul’s heavy hand and Saul tried to pit his son Jonathan against David whom Saul saw as an enemy, but we read. “…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” (1Sam 18:1, KJ2000). And when Jonathan was killed in battle David cried, “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women.” (2Sam 1:26, NASB).
Of this relationship in “The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge” by R.A. Torrey and John Canne we read,
The modesty, piety, and courage of David were so congenial to the character of the amiable Jonathan, that they attracted his most cordial esteem and affection; so that the most intimate friendship subsisted between them from that time, and they loved each other with pure hearts fervently. Their friendship could not be affected by the common vicissitudes of life; and it exemplifies by fact what the ancients have written on the subject; [Ten philian isoteta einai, kai mian psychen ton philon heteron auton.] “Friendship is an entire sameness, and one soul: a friend is another self.”
How many of us who call ourselves Christian and have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us have ever had a friend like this among our fellow believers? Very few, I would dare say, because Sunday Christianity by its nature tends to divide instead of unifying. Only as we abide in Christ and His love for one another that goes way beyond religious commonality is this possible. If you are missing this kind of depth in the body of Christ, pray for God to do what is needed to make it happen in your life, but stand by… He might have to work some deep changes in your heart as well. I know that He had to in mine.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers [brethren] live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. (Ps 133:1-3, NIV – emphasis added)