Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-31
I have observed it often. Perhaps you have too.
Tensions between so-called Christ followers can be as thick and ugly as those between people who claim no relationship to Jesus.
Those tensions sure were thick in Corinth. It seems that believers there had rallied around specific spiritual leaders. There were the “Paul-ites,” the “Apollos-ites,” the “Peter-ites,” and then the “Christ-ites.” To be sure, each of those leaders had his gifting, his strengths, and his emphasis. Perhaps it was Paul’s evangelistic fervor that some appreciated. For others, it may have been the apologetic gifting with which Apollos taught (Acts 18:24-28). Peter had been commissioned by Jesus Himself with a shepherding responsibility (John 21) that resonated with others. As a result, people with similar appreciation apparently gravitated towards one another…and away from the rest.
Each of those camps had become like moons circling different planets. Somehow, they had lost sight of the fact that they were all in the same solar system, orbiting the same sun…or, better said, “Son.” They had forgotten that their ultimate allegiance was to Jesus, and, in so doing, had splintered the body of Christ.
That was the backdrop for Paul’s admonition to “agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” (v. 10). The thick and ugly tension that was causing a prideful choosing of sides had no place among believers.
The encouragement for us today is no different. This instruction was not localized in geography or limited in time. In fact, the very address of the book makes clear that this teaching is not only for “the church of God in Corinth” but also for “all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 2). This is teaching for genuine believers. While there may be nuances that separate us, we must also remember Who it is that unites us. While there may be things over which we may disagree, we must remember that we do agree on the person and work of Christ.
Is that easy? No! Can I tell you exactly how to make it happen? No! Welcome to the holy tension of remembering what you agree on while knowing that there may be significant areas that you see differently.