Paul’s reveals how the church is to function. The local church should be agreed, united, and without division in mind and judgment. Although, the church should be united reports had come to Paul from Chloe’s people indicating division among believers in Corinth. The subject of quarreling, leader following, must have left Paul slightly infuriated. Why? Mark Dever suggests “Paul recognized the importance of dealing with the issues at stake–blasphemy, heresy, pride, folly, immaturity, rebellion, self-deception, and judgment.”
Come on Corinth Apollos, Cephas, nor myself are capable of being compared with Christ. Were any of us crucified for you? Did any of us baptize in our own name? Can Christ be divided?
It is quite natural for people to latch on to different leaders in their church. Some want to follow the senior pastor, while others want to follow the student ministries pastor, while even others want to follow the college pastor, and others may want to follow the missional living pastor. Perhaps one is more educated then the other or one is well spoken from the podium. Another may have exceptional social abilities and does well interacting with every member of the body. Perhaps the other makes wise executive decisions. Each of these leaders may stand out more than the other and little groups in the church easily succumb to gathering support for the personality they like the most. Yes it is despicable and the opposite of God’s designed unity for the local church. We can take this to another level with the extensive reach of TV, radio, and the internet. It is easy for a local church to be divided by prominent preachers they may listen to be it David Jeremiah, John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, James MacDonald, Erwin Lutzer, Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, Mark Driscoll, or DA Carson. For the record Paul states, none of these leaders were crucified for you nor can they baptize in their own name. This isn’t about the leaders this is about a failure to properly display the unity of Christ to a world in desperate need of Him.
Paul’s mission is discerned in verse seventeen where he argues this is not about me; I came to preach about the good news of Jesus Christ. The passion and cry of Paul’s heart is a local body of believers united around the power of the cross of Christ. Paul suggests that the power of preaching is not in my eloquent words of wisdom, but in the crucified Christ.
God may I understand the dangers of causing division in my local church. May I avoid injuring others by magnifying Christ and not people. Your Son CHRIST is the ultimate unifier.