Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-12
10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. 12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.” (NLT)
Sadly, we have come to expect factions and frictions in the political and commercial sphere. Strong characters, or perhaps those who imagine they are strong, form groupings around themselves. There is little or no sense of belonging to a wider cause: my faction, my ‘strong leader’ is the object of my commitment.
We can sadly shake our heads at those who are supposed to lead us as a state or nation, but the church can succumb to factionalism too. Paul tells us the Corinthian church resembled an association of conflicting tribes, professing loyalty to individuals. Paul and Apollos and Peter were worthy individuals, but were not factional bosses.
And there seems to be another group who disdained all such personality plays but apparently took pride in announcing they were part of the ‘Christ’ tribe. We may sense some smug condescension here. Rather typical of doctrinal purists who scorn the shortcomings of others while huddling in their own tribe cloaked with an air of superiority.
Of course we may admire and respect individuals in the church. We have our favourite speakers or authors or singers. But if we let such attachment get in the way of our ultimate devotion to Jesus, we are in big trouble. If disunity is death in politics, disunity is dangerous in the church. We devote ourselves to a divine faith not a human faction.