Over the next few months we hope to have an ongoing series of articles looking at the book of 1st Corinthians in a bit of detail, and as something slightly different to the norm these articles will have reflection questions at the end of them for you to think about. [NB – we will also be doing articles on other themes too, it’s not going to be just 1st Corinthians]. So if you have any feedback on this first article in the series, please post it as a comment.
1st Corinthians 1:10
“Let there be real harmony so there won’t be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”
Today we have many branches of the church – Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Pentecostal, Elim, Brethren… the list goes on and on. I don’t imagine Paul would be too impressed with the amount of division within the “body” of Christ. When was the last time your denomination “united in purpose” and worked with a different denomination to run an event/outreach?
In Northern Ireland we know only too well what can happen when there isn’t real harmony between different branches of the church. Now obviously we shouldn’t do away do away with separate denominations and styles of worship – God made us all different, so our churches should reflect that diversity. But also He calls us to be His Body (singular!), so we need to make more of an effort to work with other churches for the common purpose of advancing the kingdom. And we need to get past this mentality that our denomination is the best, or the most true to Biblical principles. Arguments about whether baptism should be given to infants or only to adults aren’t going to save lost souls. Debates about taking a literal or metaphorical interpretation of Revelation are just going to alienate the very people we should be trying to reach out too.
So let’s put aside the minor details that we disagree on, and focus on the things that actually matter, the things we all as Christians should all hold in common – love for God and love for His creation. Because, at the end of the day, when we get that right, our theological viewpoint on the smaller issues don’t matter. We are saved purely by having faith that Jesus died for our sins. If someone believes that let’s strive to accept them as brothers and sisters in Christ and look to work with them in harmony, rather than excluding them because their church uses a different Bible translation to yours.
. Within your church is there division? If so, what could you do to bridge it?
. Within your city/town/village do churches work together, are they ‘of one mind’?
. If not, is there something you can do about it?