This is part of our youth group Lent and Easter series “Roadblocks and Reasons”, where we discussed Christian belief, the things that make it more difficult, and reasons that can sustain us.
How do we process the diversity of views within Christianity? How can something that claims to be “the” universal truth have so many divisions? What even is Christianity if it changes so frequently?
I think 1 Corinthians has the answer, and here it is:
Different “versions” of Christianity can exist, even with profound disagreements, because there is a “core” to Christianity that is consistent across groups, cultures, language, time, and space. What matters is that we cling to the Resurrection and love each other in spite of those differences.
Let’s see how Paul argues this. (Here’s a deeper dive on the book to show my work.)
1 Corinthians in a nutshell
The letter is written by Paul to a church in chaos, full of deep, substantive divisions around religious teachers, styles, and even different beliefs and practices. (1:10-13).
When Paul lists these group identities, I think we can mentally substitute different Christian denominations, like Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, or Progressive Christians. It’s not an exact comparison, but it can help us get in the right mindset.
If you were Paul, how would you go about addressing such division? For me, I’d probably tell them which faction is more right or which beliefs are most correct. I may tell them disagreement on these things denies our unity in Christ and embarrasses the faith. Others may even be tempted to propose a more watered-down faith that may be more agreeable, but gives little reason to actually believe it.
But Paul does none of that.Continue reading