the peril of like-minded fellowship

When Paul urged the saints in Philippi to be “of the same mind”, was he saying the same thing I hear from so many Christians today who speak of having fellowship with other “like-minded” believers? I can’t help but feel that he wasn’t. In fact, I think we’ve got too much “like-minded” fellowship going on as it is. God’s people are divided into countless sects, denominations, and “churches” (so called) simply because they have sought out “like-minded” fellowship only with those Christians who share their opinions on certain doctrines, practices, or theories to the exclusion of everyone else. And I know this is not what Paul was referring to in his letter.

When Paul admonishes us to “be of the same mind” he is talking about having a humble spirit which forbears with one another in our weaknesses, and of a mind that is given to one passion and one passion only, the pursuit of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The kind of “like-minded” fellowship I hear people talk so much about today has more to do with finding others who think just like they do on every jot and tittle of the scriptures than it does with finding Christ together. This is why the call for like-mindedness is a barrier rather than an aid to fullness, and it is most prevalent among those Christians who embrace the idea that only the select few who hold to their own particular beliefs, convictions, and standards are God’s “remnant” in the earth. While it may be true that God “has a remnant”, even among the masses of those who truly do belong to Him-a people through whom He is being given liberty to do a complete work-this still doesn’t mean that the exclusive territory of God’s remnant, or His “recovery”, is confined solely to the particular group of folks you (or I) run with. Such an attitude is sectarianism, plain and simple.

To sum up, then, I would say that what we need is not more like-minded fellowship, not in the modern conception at least. Truly we are plagued by enough of this thinking already. The great need of our day is for more open-hearted fellowship between believers whose common bond is only Christ-a people of the Spirit, not of certain pet doctrines or party standards-who will gather simply as the church in the town in which they live, unfettered by the chains of denominationalism, sectarianism, or any other kind of movement mentality. This can only happen as we learn to see Jesus in one another and stop being tossed about by the winds of man’s teaching. Christ and Christ alone must be our vision, our passion, our goal, our purpose, and our reality. He alone must be our all.

Advertisements

About Joshua

Writer, husband, father, friend. View all posts by Joshua

10 responses to “the peril of like-minded fellowship

  • andrew wehrheim

    You didn’t disappoint. A very practical challenge for me this week. To see Christ in my brothers and sisters regardless of our differences of opinion. May we know Jesus Christ and embody the loving Spirit of the Lamb.

  • zacharymarko

    (I know this was for Andrew…but I hope it’s OK to speak too 🙂 ).

    This post I like. I agree with the heart of this although we may differ in other respects and my personal inclusiveness goes beyond Christians.

    You are a kind person in general, and patient with me concerning my comments as well. I didn’t know you very well at MZ so it’s nice to hear things like this from you.

    If all Christians could see “Christ” in their neighbors, how could they not love them? How could they not respect and do good to them? How could they not be in obedience to their Lord? And yes, how could they not love their enemies if they could see Christ all and in all?

    OK, I’ll stop there. I keep deleting things because I can go on and on and on…

    🙂

    Good thoughts.

    Peace

    • lawdawg23

      Your comments are always welcome Zach. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better as well.

      You are correct in saying that we do differ in certain respects, and that your personal inclusiveness goes beyond my own. Even still, though, I’m not sure you understand entirely my view in that regard. Either way your comment has got me thinking. Perhaps another blog will soon be in the works…

      🙂

  • Phil Vazquez

    I love this. Often I go to back to the day in your room when andy started making up different accents for all the apostles and hyperbolically voiced what seemed to be their leanings (i.e. paul saying “brother’s it’s all about faith”… James is like “faith without works is dead”… and john is like “love”

    personally it takes the pressure off for me to have to “be right.” maybe i’m not. but Christ is. also it gives me the freedom to voice where i may be seeing something differently and also the grace to listen. in ways recently i’ve been very challenged on some points…

    that’s one thing i appreciate about you brothers… i always felt the freedom to ask and question and doubt. even at times when i may have felt like we were on different pages i was never discouraged from being part of the conversation and always knew that no matter what i said you guys loved me all the same and never doubted that same response from me.”

    that freedom is not there when like minded is taken as “our minded”. if one disagrees he must keep quiet and slowly die on the inside and become increasingly fake… life with one another can’t be genuine to the fullest extent.

  • Shane

    This is yet another post that I feel very drawn to.
    While you and I think differently on the Divine I do not think your inclusiveness is any less than mine or anyone’s for that matter. You seek to understand my way of thinking and even then accept me as I am with no judgment. This takes true love in faith, Christ or how ever you see it. We are all gifted with a spark from the divine and as such we are all brothers.
    I look forward to a day when this mode of thinking takes hold and I no longer have to feel anxiety when I enter a church or discuss my faith with another; when we truly begin to see.

  • patrick

    amen… unity not uniformaty. a life liberating truth. bapticastalutherinterians i dont have to confrom to you just love you. your born again…. me tooo…. we have the same father….. hey perhaps we dont need to hear our 11 points lets pray together, lets eat together, lets lets lets lets

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: