No Divisions Among You – Part 1
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. (1 Cor.1.10 – NKJV)
Discipleship in many ways is a fiercely individual undertaking. It demands some degree of independence to stand up and stand out in a selfish and sinful world. But that same determination to serve the Lord also brings us into a relationship with others who want to serve the Lord. And we come to find that this bunch of disciples can include very different people – as Paul notes in Gal.3.28, “Jew, Greek, slave, free, male, female”. Moreover, those distinctions can include a host of moral backgrounds, as noted in 1 Cor.6.9f – “fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners…and such were some of you.” Fellowship in Christ can be uncomfortable, and unity in a local church can be a demanding and difficult enterprise. A local congregation brings together so many personalities, backgrounds, mindsets, tendencies, weaknesses, perspectives, etc. that forging “oneness” is truly remarkable. Such seems to be Paul’s point in Eph.3.10 when he notes that “the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church…”. It is a mark of God’s divine power and sapience that men are not only changed by the gospel, but unified in such.
1 Cor.1:10 is often used in a very broad sense to argue against everything from denominationalism to institutionalism to dozens of other “isms” that have divided believers in Christ through the ages. I am not denying that the principles of this passage apply to such matters. But, contextually, this passage seems to me to be a bit more limited in scope than we might appreciate. Please consider some specific observations and applications.
The letter in general is addressed to “the church of God which is at Corinth” thus Paul is appealing to folks who are already united in their common faith and objective and who are to be working together as a “local church.”
–Russ Bowman, of Beaumont, TX, in Focus Online, a free email blog