What is Jesus actually praying in this verse and in the prayer as a whole?
The argument offered here is that this passage has nothing to do with the unity of denominations in our day. It is not a text from which one might argue for staying in denominations that have rejected the truth on which they were originally founded and that is, more importantly, found in Scripture. If anything, as we shall see, Jesus’ prayer supports those calling for separation. The argument for denominational unity based on John 17 runs into at least seven, serious problems. It is:
Third, John says,
7. Ironic: If Jesus was calling in John 17 for people to remain united with those who hold to erroneous theology and ethics, this would be rather ironic, given the rest of the Gospel. In fact, Jesus would be hypocritical. Reading the Gospel of John, Jesus’ revelation brings a major rift between his disciples and ‘the Jews’—those Jews who do not come to believe in him. In fact, in John 9, a disciple of Jesus is thrown out of the synagogue for his belief in Jesus (vv. 22, 34-35). This separation between disbelief and belief is expected, not problematic.