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Baptized into One Body

February 7, 2006

1 Cor 12:12-13 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

The Corinthian church was plagued with an assortment of spiritual problems. Several of the problems Paul addressed in 1 Corinthans revolved around a lack of unity in the congregation. They were divided over preachers (1 Cor 1:10-12), opinions about freedom in Christ (chapters 8-10), and also over spiritual gifts (chapters 11-14). In Chapter 12, Paul addresses the underlying problem. They did not understand that, despite all their differences, they were all one in Christ. They needed one another. None of them was dispensable.

The church today would do well to learn the same lesson.

At this moment, a committee from the former ICOC congregations is considering what Paul’s instructions mean for the future relationships among these churches. A recent paper from this group (“Hyper-Autonomy: Abandoning Independence for Interdependence”) points to 1 Cor 12:13 and asks, “How strongly do we truly believe ‘we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body.’ ” The article appeals to these churches to be interdependent upon each other, rather than existing in isolation. Quoting from the article:

Decisions we make about the relationships among churches actually indicate our convictions about the church being the family of God and the body of Christ.

That is a strong statement indicating a deep conviction on the part of the writers. We must have relationships between congregations that demonstrate we are one Body and one family.

However the paper stops short of satisfying that conviction. The scope of interdependence advocated in the article extends only to the former ICOC congregations. Are there not many other churches in which people are being baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ? Of course there are. I am persuaded that these former ICOC congregations, and the members of this committee, realize that the Body of Christ extends to many more people than just the former ICOC congregations. But the parochial thinking among these churches still persists. We need to broaden our view. We must reach out to our brothers and sisters whom we have ignored in the past 25 or so years. Our heritage in Christ goes back much farther than 25 years. And our Christian family extends far beyond the borders of the former ICOC churches.

We were all baptized by one Spirit into one Body. We are one family. Let’s demonstrate our conviction in these things by building relationships with all our brothers and sisters.


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4 comments

  1. Alan:Its always interesting to me to read about what is going on in the ICOC since its not my fellowship… anyway that you could have influence on this body to broaden its view?-Clarke


  2. Hey Clarke,I’ve communicated with them the ideas in this post. I’m one voice among many, but I do believe they are also hearing this from others. We’ll have to wait to see what they propose. Alan


  3. Alan, I am an advocate for our ICOC churches expanding their fellowship to other congregations with like theology and salvation doctrine. It seems a waste for us (the ICOC) not to tap the incredible resources of maturity and experience that the church of Christ has. The proposal I submitted reflects my philosophy on this matter. Sincerely, Phil SpadaroRestorationUnity.com”


  4. Hey Phil,Thanks for pointing that article out to me. We are very much on the same page about this. I’m especially glad to learn of the ElderLink program that you mentioned. As it turns out, there will be an ElderLink forum in Atlanta around the end of March. I hope to be there. Your comment has been very very helpful.Alan



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