1st Corinthians 1:11-15
For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name.
1st Corinthians 3:3-5
For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
Ever since the inception of the Church, “Christians” have been trying to one-up other Christians, whether for the sake of pride, or for the sake of control. Even the apostle Paul’s comments reflect that he was sick of it, when he confronted those who claimed spiritual high-ground, by stating that they followed one teacher over another. So, too, in that day, the Gnostics claimed high-ground, by insisting that they had a special gnosis (experiential enlightenment) of their doctrines. Today, Calvinists are part of the same problem. They are “enlightened” and theologically “mature,” and distinguish themselves as Reformed. Missing out on such gnosis, Calvinists frequently accuse their detractors of failing to understand their theology. But the ones who truly have a right-theology are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that He died and rose again on the third day, and that by believing, there is life in His name. Even the apostle Paul said, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1st Corinthians 2:2) That demonstrates the simplicity and centrality of the Gospel. Furthermore, the apostle Paul stated: “When I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom.” Yet, “superiority” is precisely what “enlightened,” gnosis-filled Calvinists claim for themselves, as they proudly call themselves “Reformed.”
It seems like so many Christians of this era have a special catch-phrase to one-up other Christians:
The Calvinist (Tommy Nelson), Charismatic (Benny Hinn) and Jehovah’s Witness (Joseph Rutherford) each have their own special designation in order to trump everyone else and claim spiritual high-ground. Yet, I like the answer that Billy Graham gave:
One day, Johnny Carson invited Billy Graham on
his program and asked:
Johnny Carson: “So who do you think you are?”
Billy Graham: “I’m just a beggar for Christ.”
I think that’s the kind of answer that the apostle Paul
would have given.