11 My dear brothers and sisters, I have a serious concern I need to bring up with you, for I have been informed by those of Chloe’s house church that you have been destructively arguing among yourselves. 12 And I need to bring this up because each of you is claiming loyalty to different preachers. Some are saying, “I am a disciple of Paul,” or, “I follow Apollos,” or, “I am a disciple of Peter the Rock,” and some, “I belong only to Christ.” 13 But let me ask you, is Christ divided up into groups? Did I die on the cross for you? At your baptism did you pledge yourselves to follow Paul?
1 Corinthians 1:11-13, The Passion Translation
The Apostle Paul was concerned for believers who were chasing after preachers and places of worship where they assume to have a greater anointing above others. He warns us this unhealthy habit actually divides the Church Christ had founded.
Pastors are not celebrities nor are churches performing art centres.
It is good and wise to follow godly leaders and to belong to a christian community with sound theological conviction. But we need to be cautious that we won’t end up elevating one preacher over another or one church above another. When we are tempted to compare them to each other; they are tempted to compete with one another. Paul calls this behaviour carnal.
4 For when you divide yourselves up in groups—a “Paul group” and an “Apollos group”—you’re acting like people without the Spirit’s influence.1 Corinthians 3:4, The Passion Translation
Paul was rather circumspect in how he sees himself and other preachers.
5 Who is Apollos, really? Or who is Paul? Aren’t we both just servants through whom you believed our message? Aren’t each of us doing the ministry the Lord has assigned to us?
1 Corinthians 3:5, The Passion Translation
God has equipped his faithful ministers of the word with the necessary abilities to accomplish the work of His ministry. If ministers of God’s word waiver and yield to public praise and acceptance rather than heeding the message of the gospel, pride will fill our hearts and this will cause us to reject others who hold to different theological insights.
21 So don’t be proud of your allegiance to any human leader. Actually, you already have everything! It has all been given for your benefit, 22 whether it is Paul or Apollos or Peter the Rock.
1 Corinthians 3:21, The Passion Translation
Paul tells us that God gives sound preachers to grow and mature in our faith. They are for our benefit so that we can live fully in the gospel truth.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.