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Theology Thursday: Promoting acceptance and unity

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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