Theology Thursday: Promoting acceptance and unity

August 16, 2018 / by / 12 Comments

Corporate Chaplain Jim Miller

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.'” (1 Corinthians 1:10-12)

By Pastor Jim Miller
GCU Corporate Chaplain

Either/or.  Both/and.  I got to thinking about those distinctions over vacation. (Yes, this is what I do on my vacations!)

In John 17, Jesus prays that his followers would be one, that they would experience the same oneness that Jesus and the Father experienced, and if they did then the whole world would know that they had been transformed by Jesus. Now that’s a pretty profound prayer! Paul has to have that in mind when he encounters this early church and, well, its dysfunction. Can’t you just hear him?

“What are you thinking? You’re supposed to be one, to be unified, to be both/and kinds of people. This is how people will be attracted to Jesus.  Instead you’re characterized by division. Everything you do is leading to brokenness, not unity.  You are either/or kinds of people, instead of both/and.”

Are there things that are essential for us to believe in as Christians? Of course. But there are so many things that really aren’t that critical that we allow to divide us.  We have got to find the grace to promote acceptance and unity — to love each other and seek fellowship, even if we disagree about things. We cannot afford to be either/or. We have got to find the way to be both/and.

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12 Responses
  1. utika malone

    Unity is something that we need in this world today. With all of the political issues unity is something that our higher ups should work on. If our country worked together with other countries maybe our world would be a better place for us all. Quarreling, is exactly what has been going on back and forth in our country. I feel it is petty and needs to stop. Our higher ups need to focus on natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. These are things that we should all be able to work together to help build communities back up, no matter what part of the world we come from. Stop trying to separate families and lets work together.

    Aug.16.2018 at 7:03 pm
  2. Trevor Crump

    Hi All,

    This week’s Theology Thursday was really insightful. As Pastor Jim Miller boils down the separation of both/and and either/or, it gave me some food for thought. My initial question is how I classify myself? I think that I personally, try my hardest to be very open minded and inclusive of everyone’s opinion, lifestyle, gender, orientation, etc. I really do believe that I am very accepting of everyone, their strengths and their flaws. That being said, this week’s Theology Thursday made me consider this to a deeper level. Often times there are things that we disagree about that we allow to create tension, animosity, and worse, hate. We, as God’s people, are just that, God’s people. We all fall under the same umbrella and because of that alone, we should appreciate the creation of one another as we are. Yes, as you pull back the layers, there are many sub-divisions, but if unity is the prayer and the expectation, then I know that I am all in. I am willing to put aside my differences, thoughts, and opinions for the betterment of us all!

    Thank you,

    Trevor Cump

    Aug.16.2018 at 9:32 pm
  3. Shana

    This is why our foundation of our beliefs is important. If we have a firm foundation and have common ground we can have unity. While we can still have our own understanding or interpretations of the word. If God wanted us to all be the same we would be, but he made us all unique. We all have our own diverse perspective and it is important to be open to others’ opinions and understanding. It is a beautiful thing when we see everyone loving one another and treating one another like brothers and sisters. We are all family and we come from the same Heavenly Father.

    Aug.21.2018 at 6:49 pm
  4. Mandy Zetah

    This is a great reminder of the many opportunities that we have daily, to be kind and open and honest while also supporting others and their beliefs. We may have our own beliefs and opinions on things, but this does not mean that we need to degrade the thoughts and opinions others may have on the same subject. Such a great short read, Pastor Miller.

    Aug.24.2018 at 8:32 pm
  5. Tawny Thomson

    This post on the blog has reminded me of something that is vital in a community, unity, however little is see in todays society. It makes me sad that individuals have become so close minded and self absorbed in their own thoughts and opinions to even give others a chance. This is not what God would have wanted for his people. Makes me wonder if we as a society over time will find our way back to unity, or if it will continuously get worse? Fortunately, this can serve as a reminder to everyone to be a better person and be more accepting of others. There is always room for improvement :)

    Aug.25.2018 at 12:10 pm
  6. Scout Smith

    I really enjoyed reading this week’s theology Thursday, and I can relate to it because of the how I require and use unity in my daily life. As Christians, we stick together and be “one” as John 17 says. Without with unity, we will have a much more difficult trying to follow God without our brothers and sisters in Christ to keep us accountable, we might turn to sin or lead a sinful life and not a Godly one.

    Sep.04.2018 at 11:08 am
  7. Glenda Pugh

    Christians should come together under God. We should not let little differences separate us. When others see this they will be attracted and drawn to Christians. Satan wants God’s people to be divided and not come together. Because together we are stronger.

    Sep.11.2018 at 10:25 am
  8. Amber Falls

    I think the reason that it is so important for Christians to be united is because it is people who are broken that look to the church for help. If what the world sees when stepping into a church building is nothing but division and quarreling, they won’t see the miracle of what God can do. They won’t see Jesus. People need to see Jesus working in the lives of others so that they can believe the same can be done for them. Jesus is the hope the world needs.

    Sep.12.2018 at 6:42 pm
  9. Grant Kline

    God’s plan is that all mankind should live as brother and sister caring and loving each other as their own this is told to us in Matthew 22:39 “’You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”. In the current world situation, you don’t see enough of God’s plan. What you see is a world full of hate and distrust and this path is the one that Satan wants us to follow and this path can only end in misery.

    Sep.13.2018 at 3:59 am
  10. Elly Lenton

    I think that unity is a very appropriate message, especially the challenges that many people are currently facing in society. To me, it seems that our society has become very divided and I do not think that anything good can be accomplished if people focus on all of the things that divide them, rather than the things that unite them. Also, with the hurricane currently hitting the east coast, I think unity is an important message to keep in mind.

    Sep.16.2018 at 8:22 pm
  11. Justin Rosko

    I believe we as christians need to be accepting, During these current times in our nation we need to treat everyone as they are our brothers and sisters and take care of one another. To me this is a very big test by Satan and we as a nation are falling for it, there is so much hate going around. We need to take a step back and begin treating people as people and the way the bible says we should.

    Sep.23.2018 at 10:34 am
  12. Jennifer Gregg

    “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (KJV, Matthew 22:37-39). How it must break God’s heart that, as a whole, His children do not follow these two commandments, as you cannot follow one without the other.
    Just because we do not agree with something someone is doing does not mean we are not to love them and show them the love of Christ. We should be flocking to them, showing them how much Jesus loves them rather than bickering and arguing all the time. Jesus did not agree with or approve of the actions of the woman caught in adultery, but He did not shun her, call her names or make her feel like less than a person, in fact, He fussed at the ones who were making her feel bad and who was about to kill her by stoning her. Those men were so quick to judge and full of hate, and the law that they could not see that they themselves were sinners too until Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7).
    When pride begins to slip into our lives and we find ourselves bickering with fellow Christians over petty stuff, or arguing with people whose lifestyle does not ‘measure up’ to our ideas, it would do us good to remember the words of Christ and tailor them for our situation, “he that is without sin, let him be the first to judge, be the first to argue, be the first to get mad….”

    Apr.16.2019 at 6:16 am
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