Philippians 2:1-2 (ESV) So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
What does it mean: BEING IN FULL ACCORD AND OF ONE MIND?
- Many of us have been told it means that the senior pastor or executive leaders are the source of truth. Unity means you must never question any detail of the preachers’ messages or the leaders’ policies or doctrines.
- Unity is supposed to require of you, that you completely submit your thinking and conversation to the leadership of your church.
Some people might find it difficult to see a difference between some Pentecostal leaders’ apparent claim of infallible authority and the similar claim of the Roman Catholics for their traditional leadership.
This begs the question, what does it mean to be “of one mind?”
- The context of this passage seems to indicate a unity of attitude, an attitude of mutual respect and concern for one another.
The emphasis is not on the infallibly superior wisdom of the leaders but on active participation of all believers in spiritual connection with the Holy Spirit and with one another.
In every part of the New Testament, so called ordinary believers are called to scrutinise leaders and doctrines for themselves.
Matthew 7:15-17 (NKJV) "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Many of us have been taught to rely on the judgement of the pastor to warn us of unsound leaders and preachers.
The sad thing is that it is often the senior pastor or the prominent leader himself who can be the source of the problem.
So many trusting Christians are torn apart when their leaders fail. Congregations are taken by surprise when their church, splits, collapses or is taken over by leaders who behave like dictatorial cult leaders.
I thank God for the great many pastors and leaders who do not fail.
Christians are also often at fault when they fail to realise how much leaders need prayer support to stay on track.
If we consider that some Pentecostal leaders wrongly claim to sit on the seat of Moses or behave like popes, we must not go to the other extreme.
There are many who don’t want to respect any spiritual leadership. They will not recognise the amazing gifting that God has clearly given some people.
God does not give people powerful gifts by accident or for no reason.
Philippians 2:3 (NKJV) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
I am thankful that I am in a congregation with a very gifted but also very humble and kind leader.
He has wonderful spiritual gifts of leadership, healing, word of knowledge and wisdom but he also has great respect for others with gifts which he does not have.
This is so important, to honour people who are in some way better or more gifted than ourselves. This should teach us to honour genuine leaders and many of us fail in this.
However, it should also teach leaders to respect fellow believers amongst those they lead. In a healthy church, there will always be members who have some spiritual gift which the pastor does not have in the same measure.
We hear much teaching about honouring leaders and there is much truth in this.
However, there are churches in which the duty to honour leaders is so unreasonably emphasised, that the honour due to every believer is not given. Jesus saw this danger clearly.
Matthew 23:8-10 (NIV) "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.
And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.