Good Morning, today’s Bible Journal post is by my friend and brother in Christ Jeremey Helmer. Praise! 1 Corinthians 3
As I read through the first few chapters of 1 Corinthians, especially Chapter 3, I can’t help but be reminded of the spiritual journey my wife and I have been on to find a church home since we wed ten years ago. I grew up Catholic while she spent her childhood in Baptist and evangelical churches, so we began our journey miles apart from a theological and liturgical perspective. I think we’ve regularly attended somewhere around ten churches in the ten years we’ve been married. Now, some of the changes were due to relocating from city to city. However, others were admittedly due to the fact that we just couldn’t find a pastor or church that (insert subtle sarcasm) represented a perfect blend of our Catholic/Baptist backgrounds.
Or, to put it another way, since we were both walking away from the faith traditions of our childhoods, we wanted to be sure we found a pastor that was undeniably “right” in both our minds.
Fortunately, through the frustrations of this journey, I’m thankful we’ve returned to Christ as the foundation of our walk together. And now, hopefully we’ve come to a minimal level of spiritual maturity to see the how what we’ve been searching for has been here all along. So with this context in mind, Paul’s opening of Corinthians speaks volumes about spiritual maturity and the roles of the church and its leaders.
The chapter begins with Paul essentially saying, “Look, the fact that there’s division among you regarding which pastor you choose to follow is demonstration that you’re still spiritual infants.” Basically, Paul pointed out that the envy and strife among them should have been evidence that they were completely missing the point. Neither camp was going anywhere fast because they had taken their eye of Jesus as the foundation of their faith. So for Andrea and I, the more we clung to our theological background and held on to our own right-ness, the more prone we were to take our focus off the person of Jesus Christ.
Paul then goes on to explain “Apollos and I are just servants. Don’t boast or brag that you follow either of us. And, even worse, if you can put together a 43-point narrative about why I’m right and Apollos is wrong, you’re even further from the truth.” Several times this past week, I saw a post pop up from a pastor at a small church calling out and refuting some remarks made by Franklin Graham. I won’t go into details on the post, but I was struck by some of the conversations and remarks between sympathizers of the small-town church pastor and fans of Franklin Graham. Each side was firmly entrenched, supporting the leader of their cause to the detriment of their brotherhood and sisterhood. At one point, I too, caught myself thinking “yeah, this guy is completely right, and anyone that supports the other guy just doesn’t have a clue.” It’s so easy to fall into that trap. But then I wondered, “where and how does the reconciliation begin? How could these two sides ever come together to form a body of Christ that would be a beacon of light to the world?”
I could be wrong, but I have to think the communal reconciliation begins the same way that Andrea and I have reconciled our differences through the years – returning to Christ as the foundation, and laying down our entrenched “wisdom.”
Christ Alone ~ Hillsong