What binds us together as saints? What should comprise the glue of spiritual community and fellowship? (Ep 4:3)
Bonding through doctrine may seem reasonable, but this hinders honest questioning for fear we’ll be shunned or disciplined. Believers afraid to disagree can’t challenge each other or encourage critical thinking and intellectual integrity, core virtues in any godly walk. But having no common beliefs at all makes fellowship impractical. Where’s the balance?
Identifying the core doctrines enabling healthy fellowship, while acknowledging that we’re all at different places in our journey, seems like quite a challenge; yet the biblical criteria are quite simply stated: basic agreement on the nature and work of Christ (2Jn 1:9-10), and a general willingness to follow and obey Him. (1Jn 3:10) Fleshing this out in our complicated world is non-trivial, but at least the guidelines are clear.
Let’s not fear walking alone, yet also seek out godly community and humbly leverage honest differences to edify one another. Let’s pursue thoughtful like-mindedness (1Co 1:10), not cobbling together a superficial shallowness out of coerced doctrinal agreement, but bonding in our common passion to pursue the living God, and helping each other do the same, “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph 4:13)