UNITY vs. UNIFORMITY
A quick word here. I believe that some of the fear that I have witnessed among fellow followers of Jesus with regard to the concept of Unity has to do with a tendency on our part to interpret Unity as synonymous with Uniformity.
Believe it or not, one of the cornerstones of Mikhail Gorbachev's Perestroika was the truth that unity does not necessitate uniformity. While there may be uniformity within some segments of a society, unity itself does not require all of society to conform to a particular standard of sociocultural behavior and interaction.
Likewise, within the Church, UNITY does not require us to be UNIFORM in all points of doctrine and belief.
I think many of us fear that we WILL have to conform to someone else's interpretations of scripture if we want to be serious about unity.
But unity simply requires us to join our hearts and hands in celebration of the common gift of salvation through the blood of Jesus. Beyond that it is a matter of submission to the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.
If I think someone else is wrong about how they are interpreting scripture, it is not really my job to criticize, correct, shun, slander or otherwise think of myself as better than them. It could be that I need to study and pray about the matter at hand.
Sinful behavior is another matter of course. And unfortunately some of us consider non-conforming interpretations of scripture to be sinful. In some cases, we may be right about that. But we better be sure as sure as sure can be that we have heard from the Lord about such things before we label our brethren heretics.
Unity is about loving one another; not about cloning one another.