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.” Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!1 Corinthians 1:12-13 (NLT)
Perhaps you were like me growing up and heard countless arguments between kids that included the statements “Well, my dad said,” or, “My mom said…” In the middle of a disagreement, the child would appeal to an authority figure to settle the debate. By claiming that their dad or mom had told them something, then it was absolutely true for everyone else. Whether it was whose fault it was for the fort falling apart, or because one child wanted to do something and the other didn’t, it seems it was only a matter of time before quotes from someone’s parent were called upon as the authority on the matter.
The sad reality is that as adults, Christian adults none-the-less, we tend to default to our childhood in many ways. When there are disagreements in churches across the land, people start name-dropping pastors they think have weighed in on the topic. The people may be older, but the sentiment is the same as childhood, “Well, Mark Finley says…”, or “Levi Lusko said this…” Perhaps it is “Doug Bachelor said this…” or “Louie Giglio said that.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I respect each of these men as coworkers in the ministry. But, when we appeal to what they’ve said to settle arguments, we elevate them to a status that is not theirs.
This is the situation Paul was facing in the Corinthian church. People were fighting about one thing or another in the congregation, and they were name-dropping, “Paul said this,” or “Apollos said that,” to settle the argument. They were proclaiming they were followers of a human, a man, who spoke absolute authority on matters of Christianity. Here’s the issue, as Paul points out, these men were just preachers. They were sent to proclaim the Word of God. They are not the authority. Jesus is. The Bible is. The Holy Spirit is.
As Christians, we must appeal to the Scriptures for wisdom. We must pray for the Holy Spirit’s direction. We must be followers of Jesus. We must stop the name-dropping and submit to the power of God. Follow His direction.