450 Grandview Drive
Cookeville, TN 38506
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
"Come, let us reason together" (2)
Church of Christ
In I Corinthians 1:10 Paul, by inspiration, says that we are to “speak the SAME thing, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the SAME mind and in the SAME judgment” (emphasis mine, PMW).
Let’s be honest. Does what Paul tells us to do in this passage of scripture describe the religious world in which we live today? “Religion in the United States is characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices,” (http://www.wikipedia.org). A “diversity of religious beliefs and practices” is by no means speaking “the same thing.” Instead of having “no divisions among you,” this “diversity” promotes division. Amos of old asked the rhetorical question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
When you travel only a few miles, you will usually see a variety of church buildings with a variety of different names. Is that following Paul’s instruction? If you were to go inside and listen to what is being taught, you would find a variety of ways given with claims of bringing salvation. Is that all speaking “the same thing”?
Is it even important for us to speak the “same thing”? If it were not important, if it were not required, the Holy Spirit would never have guided Paul’s hand to write those words. Read and study carefully II Timothy 3:16-17. Not only are these words written to the Lord’s church at Corinth applicable to the local congregation, they are applicable to all who claim to be Christians. Jesus Himself prayed, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21). When men today teach, “Join the church of your choice,” and teach conflicting requirements for salvation and worship in ways not authorized in scripture, they are denying our Lord this dying request He made shortly before going to the cross in our place. According to Jesus’ prayer, not being “one” causes the world not to believe in Jesus. Could the religious division that exists among those who claim to be Christians be the reason that large numbers of people today claim that they do not believe in God?
As Isaiah said, “Come now...and let us reason together, saith the Lord” (Isa. 1:18a). Is it even possible for us to “speak the same thing,” and have “no divisions among us,” and be of “the same mind and same judgment”? To deny that this is a reachable goal is to deny inspired scripture, and to accuse God’s inspired apostle of teaching and promoting an impossible thing. It is to accuse God of not being truthful and fair. Go back and read the first article in this series a couple of weeks back. God has never taught us to do anything that is not possible to accomplish, and when He instructs through His inspired writers, what is taught is required for us to do. I Corinthians 1:10 is not an inspired suggestion; it is an inspired requirement. Scriptures like Matthew 7:21-23 describe the consequences of religious people not being religiously correct. Just being religious and just believing that you are right is certainly not sufficient. The wise man Solomon warns in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Then who is to blame? Whose fault is it that the religious world, contrary to Paul’s instruction, is so extremely divided? The answer is simple; those who are not guided by, and ONLY by, the AUTHORITY of God’s Word. Study carefully and thoroughly Colossians 3:17. Once you have done this, examine everything you practice, and everything you believe. Is the practice or the doctrine authorized by a correct interpretation of God’s word? If so, by all means, obey it. But if it is not authorized, then be honest enough to give it up. YOUR salvation depends on it!
Paul M. Wilmoth