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Unity vs. Agreement

Recently I preached a message on Philippians 1:27-2:11, essentially the central passage in Philippians arguing that we are to be “together for the gospel.” Christian unity is from God through his Spirit and is centered on the gospel. As such, it is infused with grace and always gives the benefit of the doubt to others. Because it is “gospel-centered” it isn’t based on personal preferences or opinions so there is room for diversity. As Christians brothers and sisters we can be united in purpose (i.e., the gospel) while being very different in many areas. If we flatten our churches to external uniformity rather than Spirit-filled unity we rob the gospel of its power.

After I preached the message I ran across this article that had one really interesting quote in response to the complaint some might have that they “don’t agree with everything that is being preached”:

You know what? Neither do I and I’m the pastor. As such I fully reserve the right to disagree with myself. And every now and then I do exactly that. Why? Because I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m asking questions. And my hope is that those I pastor are doing likewise. If you insist that your pastor agree with you on every little thing under the sun, you are going to either hop from church to church for the rest of your life in perpetual disappointment or you will eventually give up and drop out altogether. Chances are you are not going to agree with everything that is preached anywhere. As long as your pastor isn’t preaching… heresy, you can afford to disagree on secondary issues. The truth is when you choose to stay despite disagreeing on some things, you, your pastor and your church are better for it.

If you want to hear my plea for “unity for gospel” you can watch the message below:

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  1. Jim Cartwright
    January 31, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I am listening to your message. My experience has been that most Church members will give the Pastor some room to disagree on secondary issues. Some Pastors due to leadership issues, styles, or perceived threats to pastoral authority are not willing to give Church members the same courtesy. I need to throw a few more likes and comments on your blog/Facebook pages to make sure you pop up more often! Great message Mark! Humility is often the missing trait in poor leaders. Then they try to bully folks by over stressing unity on all matters. Keep up the good work! I also like the use of the movie clips. Chow for now! Jim

    • Mark Turner
      January 31, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      You’re probably right. It’s a good reminder for me to extend the same grace that I want extended to me!

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