Christianity is essentially a proselyting religion, so to speak. The world is the field of harvest. The basis of its message or draw is the gospel – that Jesus Christ died for man’s sins, was buried, and was resurrected. Thus Paul could say, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”(1 Corinthians 2:2). Further he said, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”(1Cor. 3:11). Then in his second letter to the Corinthians he told them, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”(2 Cor. 4:5).
How different the emphasis of our modern proselyting! Our emphasis is not the world, and the basis of our message or center of our message is not “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”, but which Church of Christ is right as to its opinions relative to the unwritten creeds which identify each of the two dozen sectarian parties that comprise this denomination. We preach another gospel. We have laid other foundations. We preach ourselves.
This sectarianism we manifest in our proselyting is the very thing the apostle was addressing in the context of the above scriptures. One says, “I am of Paul”. Another says “I am of Apollos”. Still another says, “I am of Cephas”, and one factionist even had the gall to say, “I am of Christ”. We say, “I am one cup, no Sunday school”, or “I am no-exception”, or “I am anti-unity of diversity”, or “I am anti- broad fellowship”, etc. , etc. We glory in our interpretations or opinions and build parties around them.
Such is carnal said the apostle. “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”(1Cor. 3:3). Does that not depict our situation? We have gone beyond the divinely ordained scheme of proselyting, catering to the flesh rather than being motivated by the Spirit of God. We have become puffed up with our alleged knowledge and judgmental of those who cannot conscientiously agree with our reasoning. Oh how many hearts have been severely hurt and families divided by this maddening rivalry of “Which Church of Christ is right”!
James J. Albert