+27 (11) 867 3505 church@bbcmail.co.za

Doug Van Meter - 22 January 2023

Schism: Its Source and Its Solution (1 Corinthians 1:4–17)

Symptoms are indications that something is wrong but are not themselves the cause. Discerning and diagnosing the cause of a symptom is the (very necessary) challenge because treating a wrongly diagnosed illness can do more harm than good. This is true medically; it is also true as we study 1 Corinthians. Only as we understand the source of the problem will we appreciate the treatment Paul prescribes. In this study, we consider 1:4–17 with a view to diagnosing the root problem of the various conflicts experienced by the Corinthian church, which will point to the solution. We will conduct our diagnosis, and discover and prescribe the remedy, under two major headings. I. A Church Graced by God (vv. 4–9) II. A Church Grieving God (vv. 10–17)

Scripture References: 1 Corinthians 1:4-17

From Series: "1 Corinthians Exposition"

An exposition of 1 Corinthians by Doug Van Meter.

Download Homework     Download Audio     Read Online

Powered by Series Engine

Symptoms are indications that something is wrong; they are not the cause of the problem. Something causes the rash, and though the rash is uncomfortable, it is not the ultimate problem. Therefore, discerning and diagnosing the cause is a very necessary challenge. After all, treating the wrongly diagnosed illness can do more harm than good. Not only does the real underlying problem remain unresolved, but a wrong diagnosis can result in a wrong treatment, thereby extending and even complicating the real problem. For instance, if you have severe backpain, treating gallstones may prove more helpful than doing Pilates.

Distinguishing symptom from cause is also important as we study 1 Corinthians. We must be careful not to confuse the symptoms with the main issue. We must drill below the surface to the root cause. Only then will we appreciate the treatment Paul prescribed. As I trust we will increasingly see, whatever the particular conflicts and compromises (in the Corinthian church and in ours), the underlying problem is theological.

When our behaviour veers from the sainthood (holy living) to which we have been called, we must confront the particular sinful symptoms. Yet it is much more deeply important to discern and remove the disease underlying the sinful indications. Though in this epistle Paul addresses the symptoms of sexual immorality, senseless idolatry, and self-interested indulgence, he aims primarily to deal with the sinful causes. We see this in the passage before us (1:4–17).

Paul begins with words of confidence (vv. 4–9) and then writes words of concern (vv. 10–17). He identifies the problem of schisms in the congregation, pointing to specific symptoms while also revealing the root cause and hence the solution. I have therefore titled this study, Schism: Its Source and Its Solution.

As a preview, the solution to schism in a congregation is a proper understanding of the gospel—or, to use Paul’s more theologically packed phrase, “the message of the cross.” The message of the cross is the cure for what ails the Christian. It is the cure for what ails the local church, for a congregation united in its gaze will be united in its growth.

We will conduct our diagnosis and discern the remedy under two major headings. May the Lord equip us and heal us as we study the cause and the cure for conflicts.

They Were Graced by God

Verses 4–9 reveal that the Corinthians were graced by God.

I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in him in every way, in all speech and all knowledge. In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

(1 Corinthians 1:4–9)

When we think of the church at Corinth, we generally think of an unhealthy situation. It might startle us, therefore, as we read the opening nine verses, which are packed with commendation. Paul refers to the church as those set apart in Christ Jesus, as those who are “called to be saints.” He does not hesitate to refer to them by their God-given identity: holy ones.

Paul does not play psychological games, buttering his readers up before letting them have it. He knew the power of the gospel of the grace of God and therefore assumed the best. He was well aware that not every member of the church was truly a member of Christ. He was well aware that there were some false professors, and yet his judgement of charity was that the majority of the members were truly those whom God, in his grace, had set apart in Christ Jesus to himself. This grace of God permeates the content of vv. 4–9. They seem to have forgotten that they were a church planted by the grace of God. We dare not forget this ourselves.

Keeping this truth front and centre humbles us, equipping us to live more harmoniously. Remembering who and what we are by the grace of God will powerfully impact every area of our lives: home, work, school, and community.

The church of God in Corinth was graced by God in several ways.

Graced by God with the Gospel

Paul begins with thanksgiving: “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus” (v. 4). He was grateful for the enormity of God’s saving grace given to them. Their lives had been radically transformed (6:11). As Thiselton comments, “the welfare of others, rather than simply his personal well-being, is [Paul’s] major cause for ‘giving thanks.’”

Acts 18:9–10 informs us that Paul had some fear as he ministered in Corinth. No doubt this fear arose from violent threats from some in the synagogue, and perhaps some of his fears were because of a culture that was hostile to his scandalous and simple message of the cross. Materialism, recreationalism, paganism, and immorality—perhaps Paul feared his ministry would fail. Yet, with the Lord’s gracious encouragement, he persevered for eighteen months and, by the grace of God, a local church was planted. And he could not stop thanking God for this! He was “always” giving thanks for them. As he continued to reflect on the power of the gospel during those eighteen months, how could he not give thanks?

We should likewise reflect on what God has done in our churches. Such reflection is often a wonderful antidote to defection. Perhaps that was Demas’s problem (2 Timothy 4:10). Is it yours?

Graced by God with the Gifts

Paul was thankful that this was a church that displayed evidence of spiritual giftedness. He was thankful “that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift” (vv. 5–7).

Paul was neither ambiguous nor ambivalent about God’s gracious gifts, which he abundantly endowed this congregation. He specifically mentions “speech and all knowledge,” offering thanks that this church had remarkable ability to grasp and communicate biblical truth. The Corinthian culture, and church, valued such ability. The church was gifted for where the Lord had placed it. But sadly, as with the culture, these abilities led to pride, a critical spirit, and schismatic factions. As a study note in the ESV Study Bible observes, “Because they had used these gifts in wrong and improper ways, the exercise of the gifts led to disunity (8:1–3; 12:29–30; 14:4).” (We will touch on this again in 1:10ff.)

Paul indicates that these grace gifts were confirmation of their profession of faith (v. 6). That is, on their spiritual birthday, they received gifts. Most importantly, like the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2:13), they received the word of God, not merely as the word of men but rather as it is in truth, the word of God. And that was because of God’s grace.

Paul drives home their spiritual wealth when he writes that they “are not lacking in any gift” (v. 7a). In other words, God greatly endowed this church with every gift it would need for spiritual maturity. These saints were birthed for growth. The church was richly gifted to be a magnificent temple of God amid a pagan and corrupt culture.

What a shame that the church’s strength became its weakness. As we will see in later chapters, rather than humbly exercising these gifts of grace, the Corinthian believers arrogantly disregarded others as they self-interestedly and self-indulgently served themselves (chapters 11–14). Hubris replaced humility with horrific consequences.

When a congregation forgets that whatever it has comes from God (4:7)—that is, when we lose sight of the grace of God—it is headed for trouble, even perhaps schism. My own church has been richly blessed by God. We have an abundance of musicians, while many churches around us are forced to utilise backing tracks for Lord’s Day worship. We have a deep bench of those who can teach God’s word. God has gifted our church with a plethora of mature Christians who counsel, disciple, and serve others. Our church is financially and ministerially strong, and God has given us a building that perfectly suits our needs.

When we consider all of this, we should have a disposition of thankfulness that humbly boasts in the Lord. And when we boast in him, we will gladly lay aside our favouritisms and our suspicions that ultimately lead to schisms.

We should learn from this that our gifts will only do us good if we keep them connected to grace. Once we become graceless in our use of them, once we become greedy with them. Once we glory in them, these blessings become a curse and we will become grumpy with them!. As Warren Wiersbe notes, the Corinthians had the gifts of the Spirit without maintaining the graces of the Spirit.

Graced by God with the Goal

Having given thanks for the church’s conversion through the gospel and their confirmation through the gifts, Paul includes thankfulness that they were “wait[ing] for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (vv. 7–8). In the immediate context, he was indicating that the gifts were not ultimate but rather served to get us to the ultimate.

Paul wrote to them what he wrote to the Philippians: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Remarkable, I know, but also encouraging.

Paul indicates that they were eagerly waiting (Romans 8:19–25) for the Lord’s return (whether in judgement upon Jerusalem or his final coming). They had a right goal. They had, as it were, a right eschatology.

Now, don’t get uncomfortable. The eschatology here (the “last things”) is the last thing of Christ’s return and the final judgement. We may not all agree on the timing of this, but true Christians agree on the truth of it. Paul encourages them that they will stand before God blameless in Christ on that day, just as they in Christ were blameless and guiltless before God in their day.

It is interesting that the grace of God, including justification by faith alone, undergirds Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians no less than the epistle to the Romans. Since Paul wrote Romans while in Corinth, this might have had something to do with it. If it is true that the believing sinner stands blameless before God in Christ on his best day as well as on his worst day, then the church in Corinth was Exhibit A!

Paul indicates that the Corinthians were, in some sense, future oriented towards the goal of the glory of God before them. They were not totally enmeshed in the here and now but rather, by God’s grace, they eagerly anticipated a better day.

It seems to me that, when we live in the light of eternity, that conflict will starve to death. Knowing that, by God’s grace, we are accepted by God, winning certain arguments is not all that important. Having my way in the marriage is not the be all and end of all. Knowing that we will stand before the Lord in his spotless robes equips us to let go of our insistence that the church do what we want it to do. Having the goal of standing complete in Christ and hearing his commendation motivates us to graciously put up with that pesky fellow student or fellow worker.

Graced by God with the Gathered

The final thing for which Paul was thankful was that, by God’s grace, the gospel had gathered these gifted sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, “into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” He was not merely Paul’s Lord but rather “our” Lord.

The word “fellowship” means “partnership” (10:16), “a sharing together,” or “communion.” Paul expressed thanks that, when he preached the gospel to them, the Lord irresistibly, effectually, unquestionably, called them into union with the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Through the simple and scandalous proclamation of the gospel of a crucified but risen Messiah, Almighty God gathered them into this communion called “the church of God in Corinth.” They belonged to a radically distinct group of people—those sharing in the life of God. In light of this, what follows in the epistle is rather shocking. Hence Paul’s important reminder of their gracious privilege(s).

When we remember that God has gathered us by his grace, we will have a greater appreciation for the church. We will be eager to gather, eager to serve, eager to forgive, eager to reconcile, eager to order our homes so as to strengthen the church. Knowing we have been called out by God to share in communion with the triune God, we will be empowered to let our light shine in the workplace, at school, and in every other place.

It is when we lose sight of God’s grace in gathering us that we begin to treat one another as “take it or leave it,” much like a consumer. A friend told me of a couple in the church who told him that they were leaving because they had been there for four years and it was time for a change. Evidently, they had lost sight of the grace of God, for the grace of God active in our lives empowers us to persevere and to serve.

In summary, this church had been greatly graced by God. They had started well. Unfortunately, things were not going well.

They Were Grieving God

Though these believers were profoundly gifted by God, they were also grieving God.

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarrelling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptised none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptise also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptised anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptise but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

(1 Corinthians 1:10–17)

After expressing his confidence that the church in Corinth was indeed, by God’s grace, a genuine church of God, Paul now expresses a great concern he has for them. But now, the novocaine having been applied, it is time to drill down into the problem. If vv. 4–9 shine like a diamond, vv. 10–17 are as attractive as a lump of coal, for Paul identifies a major fault in the church: schism. It is not a church split in the familiar sense of people leaving the church (in fact, some who should have left wouldn’t! [chapter 5]). Rather, the church was experiencing numerous splits in the form of what we might call “gospel groupies,” with more emphasis upon “groupie” than “gospel.” This was a serious problem. To cite the ESV Study Bible again, “The Corinthian’s pride has led them to value outward appearance and eloquence over the [gracious] work of the Spirit.” The church was exalting God’s gifts over the God who gave them. And so, though the church still gathered, it was far from a unified gathering. As we will see, the fundamental problem was their seeking their identity in the wrong places—in the wrong persons.

Arrogant, critical, perhaps even suspicious attitudes, divided the congregation as members formed cliques with their favourite Study Bible, YouTube preacher, or podcast pastor. (Observe that none of these men named were permanently in Corinth. They were probably despising the gifted leaders God had given to them.) Though they boasted in their spirituality, in fact they were merely mimicking the world. It was ugly, and it grieved their Lord. Therefore, Paul addressed the source of the schism and introduced its solution. We need to understand this, for the threat persists in our day. We will address this under three major headings.

Obstructing Schism

Paul begins his exhortational section urging the church of God in Corinth to think like a church of God. They were to be of one mind: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement” (v. 10).

Contextually, Paul is appealing for each church member to be united in their mindset concerning the cross of Christ (v. 17). That is, each member, and hence the church corporately, should be united in unswerving conviction that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can save sinners, and therefore worldly assessments of either the gospel message or of gospel messengers should be rejected. Paul was calling them to a cruciform life—a life shaped by the crucified Saviour and conformed to a countercultural worldview where humility trumps hubris, truth trumps popularity, and boasting in the Lord trumps boasting in man.

Paul exhorts them to live “joined together in unity.” He uses a word that, in the ancient world, referred setting a broken bone. In the New Testament, it refers to mending nets (Matthew 4:21), equipping saints (Ephesians 4:11), and restoring the fallen (Galatians 6:1; see 2 Corinthians 13:9). Paul is suggesting that their nets had been torn and hence they were hindered as fishers of men. Their construction in Christ had been detoured, and they have fallen from the way they were to live because they were not of one mind concerning Jesus Christ and him crucified. He called on them to be mended, to be restored, to be equipped for maturity by the united front of a cruciform mind and life. As they did so, schism would not have a chance. The fortress of a cruciform church is unassailable.

What did he want them to “agree” on? What was the “same thing” he desired them to share? Simply, the priority and power and preaching of the message of the cross—regardless of which faithful servant proclaimed it.

Schism in a local church is a persistent threat, sometimes more intense than at other times. The threat of divisions was clearly front and centre during COVID-19. Some churches were deeply divided over such things as gathering restrictions and vaccinations. Most of these schisms were overseas, particularly in America, but unfortunately when America sneezes the world eventually catches a cold, and therefore schismatic issues in the States were imported by some into South Africa.

Verse 10 is a perfectly shaped verse that addresses this issue. The verse does not demand, for example, that each church member agree with the science or the non-science of masks or vaccinations, and neither does it demand that each church member agree with the nuances of passages such as Romans 13:1–7. What the verse, and its larger context, does demand is that each member be united with one another in a devoted focus on Jesus Christ and him crucified, who humbly laid aside his rights and preferences to save sinners like you and me.

When the local church applies its corporate mind to a Christ-centred and hence cruciform life, schism does not stand a chance. After all, when we are united in gazing at Christ crucified, there remains no grounds for human pride. The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is the great leveller.

Obvious Schism

Having pointed out the prescription for schism, Paul here identifies the very obvious problem of schisms: “For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarrelling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ’” (vv. 11–12).

Whoever Chloe was, her concerns did not remain anonymous. Good for her. She saw schisms and went to someone who could effectively address it.

Paul pastorally addresses his audience as “brothers” (vv. 10–11; see 26), affectionately and authoritatively (“in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”) informing them he knows about their contentions. He identifies the specifics as different members claiming to be followers of different preachers. “Plainly, the different things the Corinthians are ‘saying’ concern their inappropriate allegiances to human leaders. Paul wants them to stop saying these different things and instead to ‘say the same thing’” (Ciampa/Rosner).

The problem was a kind of personality cult, driven by how church members favoured rhetorical style, and perhaps even physical demeanour and appearance. In other words, though each group professed love for God and his gospel (and we should not question this), they were judging their leaders by worldly standards. Related to this, rather than focusing on the message—a message on which each of these leaders were in complete agreement—they focused on the messenger. Schreiner observes, “What Paul criticizes here is a focus on style instead of substance such that hearers are swayed by the artistry of the speaker rather than by the message of the cross.” In other words, they were thinking and behaving like the world. The church of God in Corinth was, in this sense, no different than Corinthians who were outside the church. Their church life was as harmonious as most political parties and their infighting. Shameful.

When we either exalt, or dismissively reject, God’s messengers, we are being worldly and schismatic. The way to overcome is by focusing on Jesus Christ our Lord.

In New Testament Greek, there was normally no punctuation. It is therefore quite possible that, when Paul writes, “I follow Christ,” he was countering the sectarian claims just stated. In other words, “Though you claim your factions, as for me, I follow Christ,” implying they should as well (4:16–17; 11:1). Regardless, he intended to drive this point home. If there were those who claimed an absolute individualism who only needed Christ and no human teacher, then such a schism was equally destructive. If they truly were following Christ, they would submit to others as well.

God gathers his people together in Christ Jesus (v. 9). We are gathered to glory in him, which means we will resist the mindset of the world which glories in human achievement and skills, including gifted teachers of the Bible and leaders in God’s church. This is a perennial problem. If we lose sight of the glory of Christ and fail to align our values with the message of the cross, thereby rejecting a cruciform worldview, even if we gather weekly, schisms and divisions and power plays will crop up among us.

Rather than demanding uniformity of giftedness and abilities, and rather than rejecting those who are not our favourite, by looking to Jesus Christ crucified, and by embracing a mindset and life-set that is cruciform, we will be united in our devotion and in our privileged duty to make disciples, not of Paul, Apollos, or ‘Cephas’, but of Christ Jesus our Lord.

We need to guard against celebrity Christianity and the personality cults that arise. As David Jackman points out, those who fall into this temptation “become Christian ‘groupies,’ following the gifted person around, directing their loyalty toward him rather than to Christ … grow into splinter groups that divide local congregations and wider church connections.” May God help us!

We should note that not all schisms are created equal (though all are created in the same way). What I mean is that some schisms are more obvious than others. Sometimes, a church lamentably faces open and even malicious schism resulting in a church split. More frequently, they experience small fractures that, though not requiring a cast, can be painful and destructive. Small fractures can develop into significant fractures requiring painful surgery.

For example, when church members refuse to avail themselves of the means of grace simply because they can’t be bothered or are unwilling to make the time for them, then a not so visible and yet significant schism is taking place.

When you refuse to gather for Sunday evening prayer because you don’t like the format, you are not being humbled by the cross and you are causing a fracture. When you pick and choose when you will gather based on who is preaching, or the subject matter, you are being schismatic. When you do gather but fold your arms over your heart refusing to listen and to perhaps even learn because you follow your favourite pastor from another church, you are being schismatic. When you refuse to exercise your congregational responsibility to use the keys of the kingdom with reference to church membership matters, you are being schismatic.

When enough members continue to cause small fractures, eventually a larger fracture can result. Therefore, look to Jesus Christ crucified, follow his example, humble yourself, take up your cross, and join in the corporate mind of Christ.

Here are some helpful diagnostic questions to help us resist schism in this regard. Is the preacher preaching the gospel? Does he hold to the word of God as it is, in truth, the word of God? Does he do so in humility? Does he declare and demonstrate the cruciform life of the Saviour?

If you can answer yes to the diagnostic questions, then stop withdrawing from the gathering. Stop with your man-motivated and potential own agenda. Rather, thank God you have been gathered by God into his church and show your gratitude by graciously and constructively gathering for the edification of the saints. That is what Christians do. That is what characterises a Christian church.

Overcoming Schism

How would these believers overcome the schism evident in their churchs? Paul writes,

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptised none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptised in my name. (I did baptise also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptised anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptise but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

(1 Corinthians 1:13–17)

Fundamentally, the way to overcome schism is by clear thinking. Sometimes, we need to see the senselessness, if not the silliness, behind schismatic attitudes and behaviour. This is what Paul does here.

First, he makes a rhetorical statement, which in fact may be either a question or a statement. Combining both options, John Lightfoot translates, “Has Christ been divided? This is only too true.” What a travesty. What a grief to the triune God that the body of Christ was being torn apart. We should think carefully before sowing division in the church. Be careful how the treat the apple of God’s eye (3:16; Zechariah 2:8).

Next, Paul is purposefully facetious, asking, “Did I redeem you? And along that line, were you baptised in my name? That is, do you belong to me or to Jesus Christ?” It is a question of allegiance.

Paul saw that schisms were occurring by the exaltation of the messenger over message. He would remind them that the servant is not greater than his Lord.

How silly to exalt sinful man over the sinless God-Man! How senseless to pledge our allegiance to one who has merely pointed us towards allegiance to another. And how potentially divisive. When the messenger is exalted over the message, the hearer has completely missed the point.

Paul was grateful to be a means of grace to them (vv. 4–9). Yet he expresses thanks for not administering a means of grace to them! “I thank God that I baptised none of you except Crispus and Gaius” (v. 14). Though grateful they were baptised into the name of Christ, he was grateful his actions, though legitimate, did not add excuses to their schism. Like John the Baptist, Paul was declaring that Christ must increase and hence Paul must decrease (John 3:28–31).

After making this statement, Paul seems to have recalled (perhaps after a senior moment earlier) and says, “I did baptise also the household of Stephanos. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptised anyone else” (v. 16). Thiselton helpfully summarises, “Paul is so deeply distressed by misplaced statements of allegiance to human leaders, rather than to Christ, that he expresses relief that he did not risk more ‘Pauline allegiances’ by conducting numerous baptisms.”

In my observation, gifted and beloved leaders are horrified when Christians follow them idolatrously. They are embarrassed by their shameful, immature, even ungodly allegiance. Paul was Exhibit A.

Informed by this passage and others, our elders recently took the principled position of not entertaining requests, generally speaking, to be baptised by a particular elder. Rather, we have a baptismal roster that determines the baptiser. Rather than being pedantic, we are seeking to be pastoral. We want to guard against communicating an unhelpful message overemphasising the one administering the ordinance while diminishing the object of the ordinance. In other words, we want to do all we practically can to keep Jesus Christ at the centre and hence the focus of the gospel and his church.

Paul concludes by emphasising what he did do among them. He did what Christ sent him to do: “to preach the gospel.” He adds an essential disclaimer that Christ sent him to preach the gospel “not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ [the gospel] be emptied of its power.” He makes clear that he avoided confusing the messenger with the message. He knew that, if he sought to exalt himself, his message would be null and void. As James Denny put it, “No man can give at once the impression that he himself is clever and that Jesus Christ is mighty to save.” The Corinthians needed to know this and align their attitudes and behaviour with it.

Here is the sum: Christians, and therefore Christian churches, determined to be Christlike, must emphasise the humiliation of the cross. We must glory in the Saviour who was treated shamefully, who was despised and rejected by men. It was by the weakness displayed in the cross that believing sinners are transformed “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Only by God’s countercultural means of salvation can we be made right with God. Therefore, what folly to try and popularise this power. Once we do, the cross loses its power.

So, let us focus on Jesus Christ crucified. That is the solution to schism. As David Prior writes, “there is no more eloquent wisdom [and, I might add, winsomeness], than the Body of Christ united in allegiance to him.”

AMEN