Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf. (1 Cor. 10:17)
In our lifetime, we’ve seen many issues threaten to divide the church. These issues include differences of opinion about worship music, the rise of megachurches, the ordination of women, the existence of systemic racism, and the church’s historic attitude toward LGBTQ individuals. Some issues that divide are mundane, while others strike at the heart of the gospel.
The issue of whether Christians should eat meat sacrificed to idols was a highly divisive one, but for Paul, it was the more mundane variety. Paul showed that he could see both sides of the issue, and he seemed most concerned that this mundane issue not destroy the unity of the church. After all, all Christians gather together around one table, one cup, one loaf, one body, and one Lord.
In general, Paul didn’t try to silence anyone or expect all Christians to agree on everything at all times. Nor did he suggest Christians “agree to disagree,” which often amounts to “You go your way, and I’ll go my way, and may we never see each other again.” Instead, Paul accepted differences of opinion on any number of non-gospel issues, and insisted that such disagreements not destroy the unity of the church.
It would be good for us Christians to meditate on what Paul’s approach to unity might mean for our attitudes about the issues that divide us today!
Seek unity, while allowing for differences of opinion.
Kevin R. Scott is a pastor, author of ReCreatable: How God Heals the Brokenness of Life, and editor for Wesleyan Publishing House. He lives with his family in middle Tennessee.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.