Thursday, November 02, 2006

I am of Christ

Mike Cope's post Monday resonated with me. I share it with you...

“I am of Christ.”

That sounds like such a nice descriptor. Others may claim to be of Paul, and others of Apollos (two influential teachers in Corinth) — but I am of Christ.

So why does one have the feeling that Paul didn’t have warm feelings about those who made that claim (1 Cor. 1:12)? Because there were schisms in the church in Corinth: maybe within the house churches, maybe between the house churches, perhaps when they all came together. And behind the schisms, there was a lot of pride at work and a dearth of love.

There were fracture lines appearing, partly because they were attached to their teachers in unhealthy ways (but ways that would have been familiar in Corinth).

But others, dripping in pride and exclusivism, were only “of Christ.”

That resonates with me. Because for part of my life I took pride in not being of Wesley or Calvin, of Luther, and certainly not of the Pope. Just a Christian.

The desire to be “just a Christ-follower” can be very healthy. But it must not become a source of separation from others whom we don’t deem to be just as pure; and it should not ignore the fact that we’ve been influenced by many men and women and of faith. None of us is completely objective. None of us is reading scripture without bias. None of us finds our place in the family of God by being perfect–either in living or in biblical interpretation.

As I lived in those words of Paul last week, it reminded me of how subtle and dangerous spiritual pride is. It is so well disguised, masquerading in costumes of restoration and humility.

Beware anytime there is a church or a group that thinks it has cornered the market on spirituality, interpretation, or missionality. Let us follow the leading of God’s Spirit as he helps us live for the sake of the world; but let us recognize that there are many, many other followers of Jesus who may worship differently, talk differently and think differently.

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