Like most scripture, 1 Corinthians is full of phenomenal passages. This section has wonderful teachings on topics like marriage, love, spiritual gifts and the body of Christ. However, Paul begins his letter on the topic of church division. The church was new at that time, yet people were already beginning to splinter. Paul says, “some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:11-13)
These quarrels sound familiar. My own denomination is guilty of division, power grabbing, and just plain stupidity. We often find ourselves caught up doing church that we forget to be the church – the beautiful bride of Christ – for which he died. Just as Paul helped set straight the people of Corinth – may we all be reminded who this world is all about. As Rick Warren says in the first sentence of The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you.” It truly is about Christ.
In the midst of today’s church politics, mega church senior pastor idolization, and church conflict, Paul’s words at the end of chapter 1 are refreshing. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord’.”
In the end, I’m thankful that God still uses us in spite of ourselves. May we remember that we are nothing without Christ – it’s not our church, our brand of politics, or even our leaders who we should boast about – it’s Christ.