United in Christ: Avoiding Division by Respecting Diversity

January 23, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

Today we will be reading from Paul’s first letter to Corinthians.  Those testy Corinthians were in a ruckus over who they followed and what they believed.  Paul tells to be in “united in mind and purpose.”  

Have you ever had your faith called into question? Many Christians have a litmus test for deciding who's in and who's out. It is as if they have to double check to make sure we believe the exact same things.

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior? Do you believe that Jesus is God who took human form in order to die for our sins so that we can go to heaven after we die? Do you believe that anyone who doesn't believe these things will go to hell?

These are actually just the first questions people are asked. Throughout our lives we are told what it means to be a Christian, but many people disagree on the details. So we split up into different demoninations.

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there as as many as 33,000 different demonations around the world. While this number may be exagerated, there are at least thousands of different Christian denominations many saying that only they are saved. This type of division lead the Apostle Paul to ask: "Has Christ been divided?"

Today we will discuss Paul's instruction that we be in agreement with no divisions. Given the diversity of early Christianity, what could Paul have meant, and what should it mean for our modern pluralistic world today where we value and respect people of other cultures and religions? Is it something more than just agreeing to disagree?

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