Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Will We Ever Be “Of One Mind”?

About a year and a half ago, I read a comment by a blogger named Todd. It really stuck in my mind – I thought it was very powerful. Funny, as I was just looking at it, I see that no one ever responded to him. Perhaps we were all left speechless at his wisdom. Or maybe not. It was over at the Head of the Moor on this post. I think if you click here you can see the exact comment in its entirety. Here is just part of it that I actually think of often to this day:

That there are no theological systems today that have been constructed nearly sufficiently to meet the standard of Christ that will present His children on earth to the world as being of one mind in Him. There's no system that's been made that does not divide Christians. (–Todd)

Will we ever be “of one mind”?

I have been thinking about that question for a while now. KC has some thoughts related to this as well. Does anyone else ever feel grieved over how at odds we in the church seem to be with one another at times? I don’t always feel so at odds with other Christians, but with a few people at my church lately … and definitely on the blogosphere, it is really evident that we are not of one mind – not at all.

Some might say that the problem is that there are those in the church who really aren’t of the church – they are tares, they are not true believers, and that is why we are not of the same mind. I am sure this is true about there being people in the church who aren’t truly converts, but I don’t believe that is the cause of the trouble that I am looking at. I think these fights go on between real live true believers, born-again. The New Testament has a lot to say about being of one mind. I know we are to earnestly contend for the faith, but somehow we are supposed to be of one mind.


1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2)
8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3)
5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15)
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13)
You know, if we did like Peter said and had compassion for one another … loved one another … were tenderhearted … or at least courteous, maybe we could work on that “one mind” thing. (One finger pointing out, four pointing back at myself).

This happened once in recent history on a blog, on a post over at the Unashamed of Grace blog, actually. I read a comment from Tim and thought he meant something that I found foreign or "hard to digest". I posted about the idea and commented back and forth with him about it. As we talked, I figured out that our understanding wasn't really all that different after all. It was really a great moment for me. I like to come to an understanding with other Christians. Toward the end of the comment thread, he said something so beautiful, I felt like I wanted to frame it and hang it on the wall. (You could go and look and be blessed by it as well) Then, he ended the discussion this way:

Too often people think they disagree, when in reality they are simply failing to communicate properly because of prejudice or differing semantics.
"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?"
Thank God, who has given us the Spirit, which "searcheth all things" so that we can truly be of one mind with Him. (- Tim)

31 Comments:

  • I know there really are real disagreements that can't be passed over, unfortunately. What a pity that we aren't all of one mind. Someday.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/07/2007 12:48 PM  

  • Excellent Rose. You know I fight the battle of trying to know when to hold my tongue (or finger relative to the keyboard!) and when to speak up. Sometimes I have responded to something I thought was needing a response and then immediately felt a tinge of conscience, & posted again trying to cool it a little, then felt wishy-washy! I think my problem is I think too much of myself & my opinions. I focus too little on Christ & too much on how I appear. That was a great quote & this is another great post by you, Rose. Praise the Lord we will one Day in perfect harmony with Him and one another! (1 Jn.3:2)

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 8/07/2007 3:45 PM  

  • David,
    I totally get you!
    Thanks for that very honest comment. God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/07/2007 4:36 PM  

  • This has bothered me for quite some time...thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 8/07/2007 10:17 PM  

  • Thanks Rose. Good to see you bro. Jon Lee. No, you're definitely NOT alone.
    Rose, I think of the original 12, or I supose I should say 11 that were saved. Some of them actually under any otehr circumstances than believers in & followers of Jesus Christ could have even been at one another's throats. If I am not mistaken, one was a Zealot, or at lwast from that background, & Matthew was Jewish but collecting taxes for Rome! Yet we have no record that they ever had any quarrels. My point is that their common bond was Christ, & though they were very different, Christ used them as the foundation for the church (Ep.2:20). The more we look to Him, the more we can accept one another as who we are IN CHRIST. At least, this is the ideal, I believe. We have, positionally speaking, the mind of Christ (1 Co.2:16). God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 8/07/2007 10:29 PM  

  • Rose,

    What a great article by Kc.

    There is so much apathy concerning these issues.

    Denial has worked well for nearly 2000 years and will continue to outlast most of us. Oh...how we can conjure up excuses to justify the continuance of the no-longer-justifiable disunity which has persevered through the years.

    There's no doubt that "One-mindedness" will understandably be impossible for us to perfect here on earth but the question that is hard for each of us individually to avoid is, "Did I personally acknowledge and strive toward that expectation which Christ made clear to us when He said that God made for us to be...perfected in unity, so that the world may know that God sent Him"?. Almost any believer will admit division and disagreement gets in the way of the gospel mission, fragmenting the Spirit of Truth, but then most quickly duck out of their own accountability as members of the Body.

    To the degree believers respond to man-made and disunifying doctrines with scriptural and spiritual (and personal) maturity I think they will be a sweet aroma to God. (Ruling out any of the modern artificial ecumenical movements.)

    Scripture agrees with that does it not?

    Lord with ya,
    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 8/08/2007 1:34 AM  

  • I dont know what to say about this.. I know I am right anyway.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/08/2007 3:30 AM  

  • Jon,
    It should bother us. I am very cynical (or is it realistic?) in knowing that there is not a lot that can be done about this on a large scale. It should, at the very least, bother us. I think if we are reveling in the "at odds" state we find oursleves in, we need to adjust our attitudes.
    I appreciate your stopping by.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/08/2007 8:13 AM  

  • Let's all hold hands and sing kum ba ya together.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/08/2007 8:14 AM  

  • David,
    Focus on Christ - always a good route. Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/08/2007 8:19 AM  

  • If I had a hammer...

    Id hammer out the love between my brothers and my sisters..

    If I had a bell..

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/08/2007 8:20 AM  

  • Todd,
    Thanks! Thanks for your thoughts. I bet you didn't think anyone thought that much about your comment made so long ago?
    You are right. We should all ask ourselves "Am I personally acknowledging and striving toward that expectation which Christ made clear to us when He said that God made for us to be... perfected in unity, so that the world may know that God sent Him"?.

    We can't just ignore this.

    I also do so appreciate this: Ruling out any of the modern artificial ecumenical movements

    I am certainly not promoting that!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/08/2007 8:37 AM  

  • Matthew,
    Of course you are right. You are English.
    I would love to hear you sing that.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/08/2007 8:38 AM  

  • Rose, this is a good article. I think the reason we are not of one mind is because the focal point of unity is our perception of Christ. Perhaps this is what Paul meant in Phil. 2 when he encouraged believers to be of one mind and then to have the mind of Christ.

    We have such a tendency to try to intepret the words of Christ within the limits of our ideas of who Christ is or what He is like. I am afraid that this often distorts the real meaning of what He said. The further removed we are from the time of His ascension, the worse this problem gets as our understanding of Christ becomes based upon the misperceptions of others.

    I do not mean to imply, of course, that it is impossible for us to know the truth. Indeed, through the Holy Spirit it is very possible for us to know the truth. The problem that I find is that I often fail to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance in my interpretation of Scripture.

    Thankfully, even though we may not be of one mind, we are still of one body. One day Jesus will come back and put us all in our right mind.

    By Anonymous Gordon Cloud, at 8/08/2007 12:04 PM  

  • Thank you Rose for a very pointed post. yes, I do grieve. My soul cries and my eyes tear, but I truly believe the oneness of mind is of Christ's making--not man's. He does it.
    Do you think each of His original twelve did not disagree at times? Yet their minds were all one in Christ. It saddens me that others may feel hurt because I do not embrace their thinking or doctrine, but in my heart I know I embrace their hearts and spirits in Christ. I think the lost world at large views Christians squabbling as siblings in a family. It's we in the family who recognize our differences and are therefore more grieved because the Spirit lives within us.

    As God works out His purpose for each of our lives, I think we come to understand each other better. Oh that we could learn to accept one another as unique and on the journey of faith in our particular moment as God has it planned. We'd have less to nit-pick about if we'd do as Jesus says and attend to ourselves. I am at peace, and I dare say from all I read of you, Rose, you are at peace, too. selahV

    By Anonymous selahV, at 8/08/2007 10:02 PM  

  • Rose, very good post and very timely, since I had a heated debate on my hands over at my blog today...I really didn't like! YUCKY! I can't wait to get to heaven where we can all finally see things clearly and see the LORD and then it will all make sense and we all have the answers...ahhh! I feel like singing "it only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around...blah, blah, blah!

    Seriously, thanks for this thought provoking post!

    In Christ,

    Angela

    ps I think I'll link this at my blog since it soooooo timely!

    By Anonymous Angela, at 8/09/2007 12:48 AM  

  • Thanks Rose,

    This is a good and gentle rebuke for me.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 8/09/2007 6:24 AM  

  • Hello Gordon,
    Ya know, I am really glad I posted this. There are so many different thoughts people have to share about it and I must say - yours is a very interesting thought. I had never thought it before!

    The further removed we are from the time of His ascension, the worse this problem gets as our understanding of Christ becomes based upon the misperceptions of others.

    However, it seems to me that since the HS is real and we are all receiving light from Him, then we should be more on one page. That is a thought I had when reading your comment. On the other hand, I think you must be right, especially the part about misperceptions of others. I guess the love of following men too closely is quenching the Spirit. That makes me think of 1 Corinthians:

    11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (Chapter 1)

    for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? (Chapter 3)

    Ummmm, I guess there are really is such a thing as a carnal Christian. *We* need to grow up!


    Thanks for stopping by. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/09/2007 7:08 AM  

  • Selah,
    You're right - we cannot manufacture this unity - that is how you come up with the Jesus Seminar and the terrrible modern ecumenical movements. I wonder why the Lord would say He wants this unity and then not make it so? We must have some kind of a free will or something that goes against His will.

    It saddens me that others may feel hurt because I do not embrace their thinking or doctrine, but in my heart I know I embrace their hearts and spirits in Christ.

    Amen, me too.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/09/2007 7:11 AM  

  • Angela,
    I read that. Yes, YUCKY is a good word. Hey, I actually like these debates sometimes, but other times I feel just like you do - YUCKY. I wonder if it has to do with how we perceive the spirit of the different ones we debate with? I think that could be it for me. If things are somewhat light-hearted and not getting all nasty and snotty, then I don't mind learning from challenge, but I shut up when I sense an attitude that seems arrogant and sharp. Then again, this is all in the senses ... that may be very limited by the internet. We aren't even seeing these people or hearing their voices.

    Oh I just went on and rambled.

    I can't wait to get to heaven where we can all finally see things clearly and see the LORD and then it will all make sense and we all have the answers

    Amen sister! Good word.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/09/2007 7:19 AM  

  • J. Wendell,
    I like your new post and I am glad that the LORD is working in your life.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/09/2007 7:22 AM  

  • Amos 3:3

    3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
    NKJV

    1 Cor 11:19
    For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.
    NKJV

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/09/2007 2:54 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I did think David had great thoughts as well. The disciples did argue though and became indignant against one another about who would be the greatest of them and Jesus had to encourage them to seek the least place and even argued with Jesus about a woman pouring expensive ointment on Him. Diotrophes loved the supreme places and would not alow John to testify to the word. So many things but often ego will sleep at the heart of it and I think that is why Jesus reminded them of this subtle temptation when telling them that Satan fell from heaven in a flash.

    So its often an esteeming problem. We often are willing to admit fault but I am discovering esteeming others above ourselves is harder to do and that is what he wants us to do as it is the mark of true humility and the road toward obediance. Im not talking about flattery that gains more leverage toward esteeming oneselve but rather beholding others as being Sons and daughters of God in whom we are to cherish above ourselves and take time to listen being swift to hear instead of speaking and jumping to those conclusions that are often tempting especially in this one dimensional world of blogging.

    But in the end I think the best course of action in coming into one mind is to consider what David said in sometimes holding our tongues and not feeling like we need to say anything I guess, even if it sometimes seems good, we must ask ourselves if it is spirit led or it may do damage instead of encourage one anther in truth.

    I'm no scientist...but whats that thing about the plutonium rod? Is it the plutonium rod? When you place it into nueclear energy then it nuetralizes it and renders it powerless, but when you take it out of the way the power begins to flow again? Something like that is something for us often to consider. I think another thing that is helpful is to remember that we are not Jesus as only Jesus was Jesus and sometimes we can seem to gain an esteem that puts us back on that expert platform when in fact we are all here to learn. I remember Todds post and I have often thought about it. It was a good post and it probably did render many of us speachless. Perhaps it would be good to read it often and meditate on what he says. It has been helpful to me at least. We are all sheep in need of shepherding.

    By Anonymous Brian, at 8/09/2007 6:16 PM  

  • Rose,

    I think it's worth noting that Eph 4 is all about the necessary goal, and the mechanics of how to achieve the goal, of preserving the unity of the Spirit and attaining to the unity of the faith.

    ...until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

    It seems to me that a lot of people are going to have to humble themselves before scripture as well as their brethren to correct this obvious and grievous error.

    But it's true, it's this deficiency in the human free-will that Jesus was asked to die for, and while likely displeased with our selfishness and reckless imaginations, God graciously offers us to choose to abide in the Spirit of His making and not ours.

    Hey, I hope there is some cooler working weather on the way.

    The Lord's with us!

    Todd

    Can hardly wait to read John's post.

    By Blogger Todd, at 8/09/2007 6:46 PM  

  • hello Rose;
    You write, "I wonder why the Lord would say He wants this unity and then not make it so?"
    Maybe for the same reason He says it is not His desire that any man should perish, yet inevitably many will perish. He must have some idea of us surrendering to Him and abandoning ourselves to Him in order to bring about His divine purpose.

    At any rate, some day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I am just grateful for the likeminded brothers and sisters I have now. I let the Lord take care of the other details. selahV

    By Anonymous selahV, at 8/09/2007 7:16 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Todds scripture quote is great. What I always appreciate about Todd is that he is honest about graduating in his learning with the goal being the truth and authoritative word of God. As I read over Ephesians 4 just now this verse also caught my eye:

    "Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another." Ephesians 4:25

    I once heard a life insurance salesman tell me of a tactic they use in houses and that is to prompt the client with as many lies as possible to get them to accept what is good for them and purchase life their insurance. They feel that they are doing what is good for them and the ends justify the means. We really need to be cautious not to use lies and hyperbole that many later will observe to be untruthful.

    There are many ways in which we can become dishonest with one another feeling that the ends justify the means and this will also cause further alienation. It is also helpful to admit that we have learned or have been in need of correction as well rather than to feel threatened that we may lose the debate and then begin to pull strings in order not to lose our position. But Ephesians 4:23 says that we all are being renewed in the Spirit of our minds and also since we have put on the new man we do not need to lie in order to get the truth out.

    I have always appreciated Todd honesty and admittance to our proclivity here. The Lord needs to be found true in our life. We are all children being renewed in Him. Some have differant gifts and we all need to be happy for them if they do have a certain gift and not be envious if we do not have that same gift or are blessed with the same blessing we do not have or if they have a certain insight that we do not that we may end up learning from.

    By Blogger Only Look, at 8/10/2007 1:52 PM  

  • Brian,
    Thanks so much for your thoughts. Yes, we need to admit when we are wrong or have learned another side of something. Winning debates should never be our goal! Also - I think it is great for us to be able to say that we don't know. "I don't know."
    We don't know everything.
    Thanks for reading. I am not sure what you are getting at about the lying. I should hope none of us lie around here. God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/10/2007 3:05 PM  

  • Antonio,
    Right! Two can't walk together so well unless they are agreed. That is why I think the LORD wants us to be "of one mind" so we can walk together. I don't know how this can happen, though. It seems almost impossible.

    BTW, in the King James that says:

    19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

    In the NIV, the word for 'heresies' (KJV) and 'factions' (NKJV) is 'differences' (NIV). Very strange.

    God bless you brother.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/10/2007 3:11 PM  

  • Tod,
    Thanks again for your thoughts. I am going to sit down and read Ephesians 4 today. Yes, it is way too hot!

    Selah,
    I am looking forward to that day!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/10/2007 3:12 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Only Look, at 8/11/2007 12:58 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I guess what I am getting at about the lying is that sometimes we may get so impassioned about the truth that we have a tendancy to cover our tracts if we err. Take for instance a learning institution once had some segragation rules in it and they often made a great deal on the matter and it was one of the major rules that they enforced and talked about a lot. When the president of the United States attended the place and the president of the institution was later put on Television on the Larry King interview he stated that it was a minor rule that they werent all that worried over and so they decided to go ahead and drop the rule as it was only put in place because a possible lawsuit from the past. Well a lot of people saw right through that and the president may have felt like he was telling a small fib or covering up for the sake of the gospel or the political campaign of the candidate for president or simply to preserve the institution and its Alumni since it is a good learning institution, but the end result only further elavated and discredited the matter as well as the institution. It is often a good idea to come clean on these issues and then God is better able to bless. We all have this tendancy I think and I fear that I must admit to having been a liar in the past in this sense and ask the Lord to help cleanse my lips and my heart and better fit me to represent him, as he really doesnt need me to begin with but he wishes to use me and Remember Abraham lied to Abimilech about Sarah to cover up and it only made matters worse and left a scar. It is the same way when we debate over the truth out here. It is best to settle up and it increases trust with one another in all matters and perhaps that is why we must all measure our words.

    ....and with that thought in mind, perhaps I have said enough for now:-)

    By Blogger Only Look, at 8/11/2007 1:03 AM  

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