1 Corinthians 1:10-16
This passage raises an issue that most Christians have to grapple with at some point in our lives: conflict in the church. Has there ever been a church that didn’t have conflict? Evidently, the church at Corinth has more than its share of contention, as Paul addresses two letters to them. Here at the beginning of his first letter, he confronts their internal fracturing directly.
The church in Corinth is divided into factions. Some of the believers there like Paul’s perspective and theology. Some prefer the way Apollos does things. Some think Peter’s approach is best. And some believe Jesus was on the right track.
So, on any given Sunday, the Paul group huddles in one corner of the church, the Apollos group huddles in another, the Peter group circles up across the room, and the Jesus people do their thing in the fourth corner. Each group, no doubt, think they are right and the others are wrong.
Paul says that he’s glad he only baptized three of the Corinthian church members, so that, in effect, the Paul group can disband. As we’ll discover tomorrow, Paul believes that only one group, the Jesus one, needs to keep meeting. Jesus is the reason the church at Corinth even exists. The power and wisdom embodied in Jesus’ cross are the only tools that can rescue their contentious church.
As we read today’s passage, we affirm that two things are certain. At some point, our church will have to deal with conflict. And the only remedy for that conflict will be found in the wisdom and power of the cross.
How can I be a peacemaker when my church faces conflict?
God, when our church passes through a contentious time, show me how to be an agent of reconciliation and harmony. Amen.