After 'looking up' to God, Paul now comes down to earth by wading straight into the main problem of the Corinthian fellowship - division. Elswhere he calls this 'party spirit' Division is an embarassing reality in today's church. In the first century church at Corinth the divisions seemed to centre on loyalties to different personalities, Paul, Apollos, Peter.
DOES THIS HAPPEN IN YOUR CHURCH?
DO PEOPLE RECOGNISE IT WHEN IT DOES, OR DO THEY MAINTAIN THEY ARE SIMPLY STANDING ON LOFTY POINTS OF PRINCIPLE?
Within older denominations we have 'High' and 'Low', Liberal, Radical and Evangelical. In the newer churches there can sometimes be schism, and a failure to acknowledge and support work already being done by long established churches in an area.
'We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope, in doctrine, one in charity'.
Sabine Baring-Gould 'Onward Christian soldiers'
Before we scoff too much at those lines we might ask 'If we are united in hope and charity, how far do we need to share a unanimous understanding of Christian doctrine?'
AND/OR How charitable are we in our different understandings of the faith?
WHAT are the limits of allowable differences in beliefs within the Christian community?
WHAT is the real agenda behind apparent differences on points of principle in the church?
Paul's answer is to look beyond these egotistical differences and to Christ, into whom all true Christians have been baptised, and to whom all are answerable, and who is Lord of us all.
In our differences and disagreements, whose honour are we really seeking to defend, Christ's or our own?