I wrote another post applying 1 Corinthians to the divisions and differences among Christian groups. I recognize my thesis could be a little controversial, so I wanted to show my work with this survey of the letter to show Paul’s thought on these issues.
The letter is to a church divided, so it’s interesting the Paul begins by grounding them in what unifies them. They are sanctified, exist “in Christ”, are called to be saints, and call on the name of Christ as Lord. (1:1-9). But he pretty quickly gets into the divisions themselves (1:10-17).
He’ll eventually tell us what this gospel is, but first he teaches us how to think about it. Repeatedly, Paul hits hard one main idea: you can’t think about the gospel or Christianity in the same way that you think about other sets of ideas or beliefs. When you do that, Christianity is just going to look like foolishness (1:18-2:16).
But still, Paul never challenges the divisions themselves. He does not seem to think that differing views on even important issues is a challenge to Christianity or “the gospel”, which he puts in a different category than other parts of life and faith. (Ch. 3).
The problem is not what these Christians are believing, but how they are believing it and how that gets translated in their actions and worship.Continue reading