Christ's Glory, Not Mine

by science fiction author Andrea J. Graham

Does the Bible Advocate Mind Control/Group Think?

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)

Paul writes these words from prison, where he is facing the possibility of being executed for treason due to his preaching that Jesus Christ is Lord, not Caesar, who claims deity and demands to be worshiped. Paul first seeks to reassure the Philippians that God is using his imprisonment to advance the gospel, and that he rejoices at this even if others are preaching it out of rivalry with him. He also reassures them of his own predicament, saying he is prepared to die and gain Heaven, but is expecting deliverance to continue his ministry on Earth.

Now he turns to how they can encourage and comfort him (likely answering a question), and says they can do so by “completing his joy” and being of the same mind. This references back to what he rejoiced at in the prior chapter: Christ being proclaimed. He doesn’t want them to all be clones of each other. He wants to see their whole church grow to full maturity in Christ, and as an outgrowth of this for them to all be at peace with each other and obtain doctrinal harmony. From the perspective of the Jewish rabbinical tradition that Paul comes out of, he wants to see his own disciples mature to be like the rabbi Jesus that he has himself learned to be like and walk in the footsteps of.

Again, this is a mutual one another condition: both the teacher and the student are called to love one another as Christ loved us and be humble, not acting from conceit or rivalry. The overseer (be it pastor, employer, parent, or spouse) is to be looking out for the flock’s interests, not telling the flock not to look out for their own interests while the overseer looks out for their own interest, acts like they think you were put on this earth to worship/serve them, and conceitedly equates all of their beliefs with the mind of Christ everyone should have. These abusive overseers will point out Paul told his flock to imitate him, but Paul was imitating Jesus and they clearly are not.

Likewise, the spiritually abusive will tell you to count others more significant than yourself, while positioning themselves as being the most significant person in the church. Doing that evidences that they hypocritically count themselves as the most significant person in the church.

Keep watch and do not be deceived if you encounter these lies from the wolves in sheep’s clothing  who steal God’s sheep for themselves and devour their flock. If our churches, families, and para-church organizations are going to seek to obtain the goal of being one mind, we must all be seeking God’s mind. Those who would have you submit to them must prove they truly have the mind of Christ and indeed humbly count themselves least by being the servant of all rather than the controller of all. They must in their actions intimate Christ, who washed his disciples’ feet and gave even his literal life for those he would rule.