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.