Two theologians were debating a passage of Scripture when the first one quoted a famous scholar supporting his position. “I don’t care about what he believes,” the other replied. “I care about what I believe!”
You have your beliefs. So do I. We all do. Millions. About all manner of subjects. That is perfectly normal.
However, I, for one, can easily get trapped in my own thoughts and beliefs without ever bothering to know or to understand what other people in the church think. “I only care about what I believe!” But that is not how God designed the Body of Christ to function. God designed us to be a thick community that lives the Christian life together. The many “one another” commands of the NT give you a picture of what that common life is meant to look like. And it includes a common life of the mind:
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 15:5-6).
We are to be “like-minded toward one another.” About what?
Surprisingly, Paul had just discussed the disagreements in Rome about eating clean and unclean foods (Rom 14:14-23). Although all foods were, in fact, clean, not every believer had reached the point of eating with a clear conscience. The “weak” still struggled with self-imposed dietary rules, and Paul urged the “strong” to bear with them. (This was a very important topic because, unlike today, the first Christians met en ekklēsia to eat a full supper, so eating together was central to normal church life.) So, despite those disagreements, they needed to work towards like-mindedness.
First, Paul called for like-mindedness in conformity to (“according to”) Jesus. Some say this might mean according to Jesus’ example, or perhaps His will, but either way, Jesus is the foundation of our unity. You want to agree with Him. Any agreement on the human level will not amount to much if it means disagreeing with Jesus. You have to seek to have His mind, not just on your own, but with one another, that is, with the whole church.
Second, the purpose of having the same mind is for the church body to glorify God with “one mouth.” Of course, that worship presupposes “a unity about what we believe about the one whom we worship” (Cottrell, Romans, p. 518). The Romans may disagree (for the time being) over what foods we can eat—but they can agree to glorify God together.
Is your church seeking the mind of Christ together?