The Duty of Like-mindedness

Cultures and subcultures both can be tight or loose. At the extreme end of the tight scale we have small communities in lockstep, agreeing on virtually everything. At the extreme end of loose, we have cosmopolitan cultures with the only thing in common being the fact that everyone is in the same place at the same time, having very little in common. Tight cultures are not interested in proselytizing really, because converts just track things in. Loose cultures develop a radical live-and-let-live mentality, which devolves into an individualist autonomy.

When a Christian church is functioning as it ought to function—declaring the whole counsel of God, worshiping together, sharing community, and so on—the end result is going to look a lot like a tight community. The trick is to develop the bonds of koinonia community, such that it rivals the Amish or Hasidic Jews, but while at the same time maintaining a radical openness to newcomers.

The temptation, once you have the good thing going, is to become ingrown. You don’t want to welcome newcomers, because they don’t know all the unspoken expectations, and they track things in. When your house is clean and tidy, and people come in from the rainy and muddy outdoors, it messes things up.

Many modern churches, reacting away from this, have wanted to celebrate diversity for its own sake. But the Bible requires us, in multiple places, to cultivate like-mindedness. “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Phil. 2:2).

If we may use the illustration of a college dedicated to a biblical worldview, we shouldn’t mind that the freshmen come in thinking all sorts of things. But if the graduates are going out the same way, there is a problem. But many colleges flip this around. Because of their history or denominational affiliation, the freshmen are relatively homogenous, but the alums are not. This is our actual problem. The Bible tells us to strive for like-mindedness, and we strive for the opposite.

And so with a church community, because of evangelism and because of refugees from the wider Christian world, we should be constantly welcoming a very diverse “freshman class.” But we do so because we are engaged in culture-building, which is not an smorgasbord affair. No, we sit down together, family style.

9
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
6 Comment threads
3 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
Grant KrugerRob SteeleTravis M. ChildersValerie (Kyriosity)bethyada Recent comment authors

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Allison
Guest
Allison

Mr. Wilson, How diverse should this freshman class be? If the Church is call to equip the saints completely and to full maturity (Eph. 4:12-13), why equip unbelievers instead? Wisdom asks, “What good is tuition in the hand of a fool has no heart for wisdom?” (Proverbs 17:16). It seems to me she teaches her first lesson for free and doesn’t take their money until they want what He offers. How are we loving God, the saved, and the lost as He intends by doing otherwise? I understand the variety that comes within the context of believers…but your point seems… Read more »

valerieab
Member

Freshman have matriculated. I think the analogy is that people who actually join the community will be believers. Unbelievers aren’t the freshmen, they aren’t the family, but they’re neighbors whom we’re called to love and who we hope will join us, so we’re happy for them to have variety, too.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Amen. koinonia, “cultural capital”, or whatever phrase you want to use — it’s a valuable resource. Some people treat it like it’s worthless. Some people hoard it. Mature Christians should seek to calculate how they can share it without weakening it. It’s like the soil of a garden; too much water erodes it, but too little prevents growth. We should make realistic assessments of what the carrying capacity of our societies/communities are.

bethyada
Member

The secret is to love like Christ loved. I give you a new commandment, to love each other as I have loved you. Of course this is an expansive love, one that reaches out. Others will know we are his disciples for our love for one another. They will want what we have and so we encourage them to give themselves to him and join us.

valerieab
Member

If we’re growing up into Christ, then the more mature we are, then the more of His mind we’ll have. It’s not a man-made likemindedness, but a conformity to Christmindedness. Any other sort of conformity will ultimately fail.

Travis M. Childers
Guest
Travis M. Childers

Beautiful post.

Thank you.

Grant Kruger
Guest
Grant Kruger

“Many modern churches, reacting away from this, have wanted to celebrate diversity for its own sake. But the Bible requires us, in multiple places, to cultivate like-mindedness.” The diverse being united by faith in the Gospel is to the Glory of Jesus Christ: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create… Read more »