Having visited a number of different churches in the past, nothing freaked me out quite as much as the oppressive sense of conformity I often experienced shortly after walking through the front door. For I remember, on more than one occasion, wishing I was somewhere other than in a room filled with religious clones and wannabes. I could pretend, but I really do know why I didn’t immediately turn and run. I was afraid. For one, I didn’t want to be thought rude or—gasp!—unspiritual. The truth is that having committed my life to serve the Lord, I figured I had to get used to feeling uncomfortable. After all, I was so painfully aware that my temporary misery was totally insignificant compared to what Jesus had suffered for me that I was ashamed to let it be known by not sticking it out. That is, at least until I could determine if their beliefs were Biblically correct.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10 KJV
I mean, if there was any chance whatsoever of being “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment,” we would all have to “speak the same thing” regarding the truth of salvation, wouldn’t we? And for me at that time, everything hung upon what was taught regarding God’s free gift of salvation by grace through faith. If the pastor insisted on preaching what appeared to be works for salvation, especially after being confronted, I was out of there. What I could not account for, however, were the staggering number of divisions produced by believers all through Christian history who, like me, were trying to follow Paul’s instructions as stated in the Bible.
Perhaps it’s easier to attribute this kind of weird behavior only to the religious people of the world, but I think we’ve got it all backward. If we were honest, I think we’d all have to agree that we experienced this same behavior all throughout our lives in this world. After all, when were we not trying to conform to whatever environment we were placed in? Yeah, even the non-conformists of the world conform in a reactionary sort of way, which means that they have to keep up with the changing rules of conformity or end up being just like the next wave of conformists. What I’m saying is that we the people brought our former perceptions of what it means to speak the same thing, and what it means to have the same mind and the same judgment into a box we call the church. And that’s why we’ve continued to agree or not agree, join or divide over every little thing just as we learned to do in the world.
So, what does the Bible mean by speaking the same thing and being perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment? Be prepared to be confused by the simplicity of the answer, for it is Christ!
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2 NASB
But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 NASB
To be continued ….
ps. You may want to check out the latest Shovelaudio Adam and I recorded together while in Colorado, as it deals with this very thing! :)