Must Christians agree on everything? (Romans 15:5–7)

E.g. Romans 15:5

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants.
And may God, the source of patient endurance and encouragement, grant that you agree with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus,

Romans 15:5 - 7

NKJV - 5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus. 6 That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Clarify Share Report Asked October 18 2020 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
From the various renderings of this verse (including the exposition of the original Greek wording) contained on the website http://www.biblehub.com, it appears to me that the majority of translations (in contrast to the wordings of the specific versions cited in the question) interpret it as calling on readers of the epistle to live in harmony with one another.

To me, that would be different from a call for the readers to be in complete, lock-step agreement on every issue (either theological or non-theological). The verse recognizes the possibility of the existence of differing perspectives, and does not necessarily condemn them -- aside from views that would be completely heretical (such as denying the divinity of Christ, for example) -- but is asking the readers to be tolerant of those differences; to "work through" them, and not to let them become a cause of active or lasting division among them (as happened, for example, with the disputes in the church at Corinth spoken of by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17).

October 18 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
I think what both Paul and Jesus are talking about by "agreement" is this:

1) Unity in our faith
2) Harmony in our religious practices
3) Peace in our fellowship

Jesus prayed that his followers would be united in their faith.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." (John 17:20-23)

These are the essential beliefs (doctrines) that make us Christians. The creeds of the early Christian church are good examples of doctrinal statements that affirm the essentials of the Christian faith.

Harmony in our religious practices is our acceptance of diversity in the body of Christ. We are all different parts of the body but we all need to work together as one. We come from different backgrounds with different cultural and religious traditions. Freedom to express these differences is what builds harmony. The church in Rome had two large, distinct groups: Jewish people who had converted to the Christian faith and pagan gentiles who had also converted to the Christian faith. Both groups brought their religious and cultural traditions into the church. Paul is saying to both groups, '"Respect your differences and get along". Problems arise in the local church when one group tries to force the other group to adopt their cultural or religious practices. Paul gave several examples of these different practices. Some Christians don't eat meat, others do and that's OK. Some Christians set aside certain days throughout the year as special celebrations to the Lord, others do not and that's OK.

Peace in the fellowship happens when we are united in our doctrinal beliefs about the essential elements of our Christian faith, and we are accepting of others in our local church who express their faith through different religious and cultural practices. Love binds these things all together in perfect peace.

October 18 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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