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gerald grable
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Wednesday October 10

Schism in Corinth

 

Unfortunately, the issue of disunity among God’s people didn’t end even in New Testament times.

 

For example, the first four chapters of Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians are an appeal for unity. While in Ephesus Paul heard that various divisions had erupted in the church at Corinth. Thus, he begins his letter with a lengthy address on church unity and the need to avoid schism. Paul is concerned about this development, and he seeks to provide inspired counsel to remedy this unfortunate situation.

 

According to 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, what seems to have been the cause of disunity, of their divisions and quarrels?

 

Paul became concerned for his brothers and sisters in Corinth when someone from Chloe’s people told him about the divisions and quarrels among them. His opening words show the depth of his concern: “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.” His solution was to remind them that, as Christians, they were to be joined together “in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10, NKJV). Whatever exactly was causing this contention and division, Paul wanted it stopped.

 

Paul reminds the Corinthians that Christians are called to follow Christ, not a human being-however talented or gifted or called that person may be. While they seemed to have divided themselves along “party” lines, the apostle stated unequivocally that such divisiveness was not according to Christ’s will. He asserted that Christian unity is centered on Christ and His sacrifice on the cross (1 Cor. 1:13).

 

Christian unity finds its source in the truth as it is found in Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and in no one else, no matter how “worthy” a mentor or preacher or leader that person might be. At the foot of the cross we are all on the same level ground. Our baptism is into Jesus, who alone can cleanse us from sin. However, we must work toward this unity in Christ in practical ways.

 

What this should say to us is that as Seventh-day Adventists, we cannot take for granted our unity of faith and mission. Divisions and quarrels can undermine the unity of our church today unless the love and lordship of Christ unites us to Him.

 

How can we learn to avoid the kind of dangers that Paul was dealing with here? Why must we always be careful about how much loyalty we give to any person other than Christ?

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