1st Corinthians 10- 13
Sectarianism Is Sin
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
We speak of ‘schools of thought,’ with foundations in schools of philosophy, where skilled master teachers of vast intelligence pushed their students to think in new ways and to question established ideas using reason and logic, and getting to the ‘true’ definition of a word and the ideas behind the meaning.
Perhaps the most common and well known of these is what we refer to now as the Socratic method:
*As a tactic and approach, Socratic questioning is a highly disciplined process. The Socratic questioner acts as the logical equivalent of the inner critical voice which the mind develops when it develops critical thinking abilities. The contributions from the members of the class are like so many thoughts in the mind. All of the thoughts must be dealt with and they must be dealt with carefully and fairly. By following up all answers with further questions, and by selecting questions which advance the discussion, the Socratic questioner forces the class to think in a disciplined, intellectually responsible manner, while yet continually aiding the students by posing facilitating questions.
A Socratic questioner should:
a) keep the discussion focused
b) keep the discussion intellectually responsible
c) stimulate the discussion with probing questions
d) periodically summarize what has and what has not been dealt with and/or resolved
e) draw as many students as possible into the discussion.
*Paul, R. and Elder, L. (April 1997). Foundation For Critical Thinking,
Online at website: www.criticalthinking.org
Paul encountered this in the roiling metropolis of Corinth, where ‘schools of thought’ were, possibly inadvertently, invented by the followers of Christ, but separated by those who listened to the preaching of Peter, Apollos, and Paul himself, respectively.
The apostle Paul quickly lets them know, with one pointed question, that such division as it concerns the finished work of Calvary does not apply to Jesus, and therefore should not apply to the faithful:
“Is Christ divided?”
Jesus didn’t die and rise that men may argue over who preaches His gospel the best.
The Corinthians were victims of their times in this, and Paul sets them straight (for the moment) in that even though they are three preachers, they are all preaching the same thing: the finished work of Jesus Christ, who died, as it says several times in the book of Hebrews, ‘once for all.’
Yet, some groups today accuse others of ‘false worship.’
And Jesus said the Gospel was to be preached to ALL the nations:
Matthew 28:19 – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
and the only division there will be is between the faithless and unrepentant, and the faithful: (Matthew 25: 31-33)
The Son of Man Will Judge The Nations
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy[a] angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Yet we get into heated discussions over his skin color, his childhood, his marital status…
As believers, though we are admonished by Christ not to do it (Mark 9:38-39), and Paul reinforces it here, we do the things we are forbidden to do; we’ve created sects of worship: different styles, different songs, different churches, and different preaching.
Any church worthy of the name, and any pastor worthy of their calling should all be emphasizing the same thing: (1st Corinthians 1:21-23)
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[b]foolishness…
The rest is chaff in the wind. I didn’t come to the Lord’s house to hear musical skill or listen to clever oratory; I came to hear the Word of The Lord. We need to repent, burn off the dross, and return to the Gospel.
Therefore I pray:
Lord, forgive my words and thoughts of prejudice, of hating my brother, of branding his outward shows of love towards You as phony or insincere, because their displays don’t look like mine.
Keep me from judgment of the hearts of Your servants.
Forgive me for the times I went down the paths that had nothing to do with anything You said, simply because it seemed a popular way to go.
Keep me from ‘schools of thought’ that seek to limit my understanding of You, and bind me with chains of duty and fear instead of your light and easy yoke.
Forgive my worldly compromise, for daily, I fail You in this.
Lift me, O Lord, back into Your heavenly presence, and let Your light be as the noonday sun, to burn and purge my sin from me, as far as the east is from the west, or the left nail-scarred hand from the right, where they stretched out Your loving arms, and You embraced this unclean thing, and called me to Your pierced side.
Thank You, Lord, that I might know the promise of eternal life is mine to inherit through faith in You, in that You rose on the third day, and will raise me up to be with You on the last.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.