1 Cor 3:3 & 4
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying and strife and factions are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For where one sayeth, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Appolos; are ye not carnal?
Many Christians refer to the Corinthians as the ‘carnal Corinthians’ and oft speculate that their carnality was rooted in their fixation on the gift of tongues. Contextually, however, what was it that Paul declared the Corinthians carnal over? Faction.
May I put it bluntly into contemporary terms? Paul called the Corinthians carnal on the basis of their denominational affiliations. Some of the Corinthian church affiliated themselves mkre closely with the tteachings of Paul than of Appolos, and vice-versa. One of the main issues that Paul addresses frankly in his letters to the Corinthians is expressly denominationalism.
Do you affiliate more closely with the Baptists, or the Nazarenes? The Pentecostals, or the Presbyterians? The followers of Wesley, or of Luther?
‘For whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men?’
Are we walking as mere men? Have we receeded to factiknalized Christianity? If so, there will be every spiritual erreor concieveable in the church because we are carnal.
Shortly before Jesus died, He prayed expressly for the Apostles He was sending into the world. He was about to release them into world changing ministry. Do you know what He prayed in that critical hour? Did He pray that God would empower them with giftings and enable them to do miracles in that momment? Did He pray that they wojld conquer and overcome everything that stood in their way? Did He pray that they’d always be happy, and blessed?
Just before Jesus died, His most crucial prayer for the servants He was sending to carry out His work in the world, and build the very church of God on the earth can be summed up in one word: UNITY.
The prayer I am referring to is found in John 17. The central focus of Jesus prayer as He was moving on from His own earthly ministry was that His disciples would be one just as He was one with the Father (v 11).
And we, how shall we expect to make an impact in this world if we are not one body?
‘Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Appolos, or Peter [talking to you, too, Catholics!], or the world, or life, or death or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and you are Christs and Christ is God’s.’ – 1 Cor 3:21-23