The following excerpts are taken from the booklet entitled Unity in Australia and are found in a letter sent to the 1956 Adelaide Ecclesial Conference by Brethren John Carter and Cyril Cooper. Fellowship and unity are precious and should be preserved and striven for. It can only exist where there is unity of belief. The wise counsel in the following paragraphs is timeless and needs to be borne in mind at all times.

“We are in a highly privileged position by our knowledge of God’s revealed purpose. Many earnest religious people are in darkness concerning God’s truth. We owe our present position to the fact that, under God, Dr. Thomas was instrumental in reviving the gospel from the traditions in Christendom. Those traditions had held sway over the minds of men as the result of the corrupting influences of teachers who had overlaid the truth of God with human theories. Dr. Thomas went back to the Word of God and as the result of much study and discussion he found the Truth.

When we reflect on the fact that the Truth had been lost and darkness had overcome the light, we see the need for heeding the apostle’s counsel to hold fast that which has been wrought. We cannot read the epistles without feeling the sense of foreboding that pervades them and the history of the early centuries only too sadly shows how truly the Spirit had guided the apostle’s utterances. In our turn we have the responsibility of ‘guarding the deposit’, as Paul describes the Truth in his letter to Timothy, seeing that, like a deposit in a banker’s hands, it must be preserved without loss.

What are the essentials of saving truth? We have generally recognised that these essentials are formulated in the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith. Not that other Statements may not also give a true outline but the Birmingham Statement is the one most widely known. It is recognised by all in what we call the Central Fellowship and in the recent discussions in Great Britain … as the one to which all could subscribe as setting out the First Principles of the One Faith. A Statement of Faith is essential for any community of believers to define their beliefs to ensure harmonious working together and consistent testimony to those without. To decry a Statement as man-made and to speak of the Bible as alone sufficient reveals a marked failure to perceive the problems of ecclesial life and its duties. All the sects of Christendom claim to base their beliefs on the Bible, a fact which in itself demonstrates the need for a Statement of what we understand to be the teaching of the Word of God. …

There are ecclesial duties and responsibilities in regard to the Revealed Purpose, duties which turn inwards and outwards. Inwards – in that we have a duty to nourish the Gospel in the minds of our members, to build them up in the Faith, to promote mutual love and obedience to the commandments of the Lord. But we also have a duty to protest against error. What a number of the epistles in the New Testament were written in discharge of this duty by the apostle! How Paul yearned over his converts, that they should be steadfast to the things he had preached! If he thought of the believers as sheep, he also regarded the false teachers as wolves that devoured the flock. If he thought with gratitude of the faithful men who toiled in the work with him, he also spoke with apprehension of those he called false apostles. We make these references not to apply this language to anyone but to point the lesson of our duty and responsibility within the fold. …

It is the duty of all to seek to promote unity. We must avoid the things that make for disunity, contentions and strifes of words. Unity is a unity of faith, however, and that involves agreement on essentials.”