How can we "Agree to Disagree" When the Bible says to be of "One Mind"

This has been milling about in the back of my head lately and I decided to toss it out for comment among my friends here at CAF. I am not trying to start an argument here, nor am I putting anyone down by this, I hope it does not come off that way. It just troubles me sometimes when it comes up in discussion.

When a Bible believing Christian (catholics included), says that we will have to, “agree to disagree”. There needs to be a big red flag go up for they are, in effect, saying that we should simply disregard Jesus call for unity.

Jesus Prayer for Unity:

John 17:20-23
20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (NKJV)

Jesus prays here that they “be one “ as the Father and Jesus are one. How can we just “agree to disagree”? Can there be disagreement between the Father and the Son who are One? So when someone wishes to end a discussion with “agree to disagree” they are asking that we agree to disobey Jesus plea for complete unity.

St Paul Echo’s this sentiment of unity so close as to be “One Mind”

Romans 15:5-6
5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2Co 13:11
Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Php 1:27
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

Php 2:2
fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

And Dear St Peter Too:
1Pe 3:8
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;

So, dear brothers and sisters, what are we to make of all of this except that, when Jesus and the Apostles spoke of being of one mind, they spoke of complete unity. Not just an agreement on the most basic of principles, but of complete agreement as being of one mind. Complete agreement as in being completely immersed, one within the other. (You, Father, are in Me, and I in You)

I guess I am asking the good people here at CAF to ponder this a bit and tell me if - -

  1. Jesus would/could approve of the divisions in His Church
  2. If anyone can offer biblical passages that would allow for such differences within the Body of Christ.

Thank you

Peace
James

Try not to think of such disagreements among persons in an overtly religious context. Of course, as followers of Christ, we all try to follow the precepts He set forth. This is what is meant by “one mind”.

On the secular side, it is like the old advice that one should never talk about politics or religion in any unfamiliar mixed company. I is a great mark of a prudent and wise individual to remain absolutely silent in social situations where the subjects of religion come up. Speak only when asked, and be short and precise with your answers. Never compromise your beliefs by agreeing on points you know are errors. This happens to much today, and personally, I would not want to render an account of such an act to God.

Defend your belief through gentle words. It is better to persuade than to attempt to convince, therefore always give the other person ample (and Church approved) references to seek out and read themselves. Imitate Christ in your delivery, and practice humility even in the most verbally heated (or abusive) discussions. Never allow discussion to turn into arguments. It ends up being fruitless as to which end of the egg to break, and this type of human pride has possibly caused more wars and heresies than any other human fault in history.

Check out 1 Corinthians 11:19.

“For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.”

Even though it might be the desire of Christ and Paul for all Christians to be in Unity, Paul writes that division must (absolute) exist.

The same thing we find with salvation. In 1 Timothy 2:3-5 Paul writes

“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”

God desires that all men to be saved, but even though that is what He desires, it is not what He has made possible. The Bible is very clear that not all men will be saved.

According to scripture divisions in the church have always existed. Even Peter had to be corrected by Paul through a disagreement they had on circumcision. This is was God has allowed and like everything else, what God has ordained or allowed is for His glory.

Peace to you, James.
Anytime we say “let’s agree to disagree”, it should always be followed with “for now”, either written or implied. Dialogue requires honest, open discussion that often starts out from (seemingly) opposing positions. During dialogue, as it goes along, we pray the Holy Spirit helps us to find ways of expressing truth in a way we can come to like mind on. So, we agree to disagree while we search for His truth in a common expression.

Jon

That’s precisely the difference between dialogue and argument. :smiley:

It depends on what you mean by “agree to disagree.” If you mean “go our separate ways,” then I totally agree with you. But if you are suggesting that any theological disagreement within the Church is incompatible with being of “one mind,” then this is clearly an untenable position. Catholicism has always contained within itself an abundance of theological perspectives (the obvious example is Thomism vs. Molinism, because in that case you actually have a papal degree *ordering *both sides to “agree to disagree”).

Clearly the “one mind” in question is the “mind of Christ,” not total theological agreement, which is impossible. We are to be united in Christ and hold one another accountable in love as we all grow together toward the full stature of Christ. That doesn’t mean that we have all the same opinions. Nor does it give us a clear guideline as to how much theological disagreement is legitimate. But it does mean that we can never be happy to just go our separate ways and develop our separate versions of Christianity in competition with each other.

In Christ,

Edwin

I’m not as sure as you are that some people will be damned. However, granting this for the sake of argument, you certainly don’t think that we should refrain from working toward the goal of bringing all human beings to a living knowledge of God in Christ, right? So would you agree that the same is true for unity? It’s part of our calling as Christians (indeed, I’d say that unity in Christ and evangelizing the world are not two distinct things), even if it won’t happen short of Christ’s return.

Edwin

No all of Israel is Israel says the Lord. Unity in John 17 is the spiritual unity; not the physical.

I have said “we agree to disagree”; it is a mere signal that we cannot reconcile our differences and all that can be said is said on a topic. All believers will be truly united in the presence of the Lord in eternal life. The physical unity is the local church.

You must understand that most people that profess Christ are not His; the “few” and “many” scenario is throughout Scripture. I would not be surprised to see more infant and toddler souls in heaven than adult because of abortion and famine.

That is my 2 cents on the topic.

Are you on the West side of Cincy; a large Catholic population over there.

But we aren’t purely spiritual beings. If our unity is purely spiritual, why should anything else be physical? Why did Jesus physically die on a Cross? Why is the bodily resurrection important? Why is what we do with our bodies important at all?

This approach makes a mockery of the basic truths of the Christian Faith. Nothing–absolutely nothing–about us as humans or about our participation in Christ is purely spiritual in the sense of being non-material.

I have said “we agree to disagree”; it is a mere signal that we cannot reconcile our differences and all that can be said is said on a topic.

I would see no reason to remain a Christian if I were convinced of this. What you are saying is directly contrary to historic Christianity.

All believers will be truly united in the presence of the Lord in eternal life. The physical unity is the local church.

I disagree that there is no universal visible Church (in other words, I don’t agree that the “Church” as described in Ephesians and Colossians is “purely spiritual”). But we can put this to one side. The local church is certainly the place to start (and is where Paul starts in letters such as 1 Corinthians). Are believers united in one local church in your community/neighborhood? Do you pass other places of Christian worship on your way to church? If so, do you agree that this is a horrific situation and that one of your first priorities as a Christian should be to redress this tearing apart of Christ’s body, the local Church?

You must understand that most people that profess Christ are not His

But you don’t know who these people are. So your responsibility is to be united with all who are baptized and profess Christ’s name (whether as infants or adults, since as you note we can reasonably hope that there are large numbers of infants among the elect). For you to say "that particular community of Christians doesn’t fit all my ideas about what Christians should be, so I can ignore them even though I know that there are probably a couple of real Christians among them) is hideous presumption and monstrous lack of charity.

In Christ,

Edwin

No I’m on the east side, (Anderson area) and was raised on the north side (Sharonville)
The Cincinnati Area has a good sized Catholic community all round.

Peace
James

Jon,
As always you find the best angle.
I agree that there are times when we need to stop and allow things to “percolate” a bit in our minds and hearts as well as in the hearts and minds of those we are speaking with.
In fact I notice many times I am better off waiting several hours before responding to some question or other here on the board. The time allows The Holy spirit to give me greater insight.
Thanks as Always.

Peace
James

Interesting quote, but perhaps it would be even more intereting to note the context in which it is said. Paul is reading these people the riot act for coming to The Lord’s Supper and basically “partying” instead of partaking of the Mass in a reverent and Christian manner. Please go back and read the entire passage and then tell me if you think Paul is supporting factions as a healthy thing in th eBody of Christ.

I do thank you though for demonstrating that a verse can be pulled completely out of context and clearly misunderstood.

The same thing we find with salvation. In 1 Timothy 2:3-5 Paul writes

“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”

God desires that all men to be saved, but even though that is what He desires, it is not what He has made possible. The Bible is very clear that not all men will be saved.

And yet those who are to be saved whould be of One mind - The Bible is very clear about this too is it not?

According to scripture divisions in the church have always existed. Even Peter had to be corrected by Paul through a disagreement they had on circumcision. This is was God has allowed and like everything else, what God has ordained or allowed is for His glory.

Yes, but what you speak of here is a correction that occurred within the church and when the Church had made a determination on the matter, those who disagreed submitted their will to the Will of Christ in His One Holy and United Church.
Do you see the various Non-Catholic Christian denominations submitting themselves to the Authority in this way? Seeking to become “Of One Mind” on abortion, homosexuality, Faith vs works, and a host of other issues? Do they discuss and make policy that everyone submits to, Or do they wind up splintering with one going one way and one going the other way.

This is the crux of my frustration I think. NCC’s will point to the Bible as demonstrating division, but they cannot demonstrate from Fracture from the Bible.

Peace
James

**The physical church is the local body of believers; all the church building that people go into; the ones with the cross on them in many instances. Look how many times in Scripture the local churches are referred to by name: the church at Jerusalem, landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, of the church which is at Cenchrea, the church of the Laodiceans, the church of the Thessalonians, the church in Ephesus write, the church in Smyrna write, the church in Pergamum write, the church in Thyatira write, the church in Sardis write, the church in Philadelphia write etc etc

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

“For many are called, but few {are} chosen” The “called” is the general hearing of the gospel; not the “elect” in this passage.

"And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there {just} a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

“At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.”

"Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.

"Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ "**

Note: Jesus is speaking to very religious people; not non-religious people in all of these passages-something to ponder.

I’m not sure what you mean. The Greek “ekklesia” does not refer to a building.

** Look how many times in Scripture the local churches are referred to by name:**

We don’t disagree about that. So what are you trying to prove? How to references to local churches prove that there is no universal Church?

And you haven’t answered my question about the local church in your community. Does it embrace all the Christians in your neighborhood? If not, what are you doing about this? (If you ask me, I’d have to say, “very little.” So I’m not asking this to condemn you.)


Note: Jesus is speaking to very religious people; not non-religious people in all of these passages-something to ponder.

Indeed. Something always to ponder in our *own *case, not as an excuse for condemning our brothers and sisters and fragmenting the Body of Christ in a certain place into a “gathered” community of people who think like us.

Edwin

My take: “… all may be one…” and “… of one mind…”.

IF you guys believe that ALL means or includes all people of the world THEN count me out. I disagree.
IF you guys believe that ALL means or includes only validly baptised Christians STILL count me out. I disagree.
IF you guys agree that ALL means or includes only a certain group (His visible Church as a family) THEN count me in. We are one.

IF you guys believe that being ‘of one mind’ only means ‘everybody accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour’ count me out- I disagree.
IF you guys believe that being of ‘one mind’ means ‘having Jesus ONLY as center of our lives without regards to His Church’ still count me out- I disagree.
IF you guys believe that Jesus speaks of one faith, of order IN His Church, of not drifting away from His teachings THEN count me in. We can be of one mind.
And then we as one family being obedient to whom he has sent will be able to proclaim His glory as the One sent by the Father…

Peace.:juggle:

On what basis? You don’t think that Christ calls all baptized Christians to be one?

For that matter, aren’t we called to invite all human beings into the Church?

Edwin

Do you think this prayer is the same as the command to baptise ALL nations? I think not.

No, I don’t. But the two point in the same direction though neither will be entirely fulfilled short of the Eschaton)–the restoration of all things in Christ.

Edwin

If you think everyone MUST be called then we agree. But not everyone will answer the call and not everyone who answers the call has the same answer. I’m talking about the end-result. ALL people including the validly baptised CANNOT be one. Unless of course you can see very far in the future.

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