Daily Readings: Numbers 17-18, Psalm 41, 1 Corinthians 1
My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?
1 Corinthians 1:10-13
I love this passage in 1 Corinthians because it is always a constant reminder to us to not get caught up in hero worship when it comes to our faith in Christ.
Throughout all of Christian history this has been happening. In today’s age with so many options for content consumption, we all end up gravitating towards books, blogs, podcasts or sermons from individuals that we really enjoy listening to or reading. There is nothing wrong with this on the surface of it, but Paul would warn us that this becomes dangerous when you start hearing more of, “Another thing Andy Stanley says is…” or “Rick Warren teaches that…” or “Joel Osteen believes that…” instead of, “Another thing Jesus taught was…” or “The Bible consistently shows us that…”
The Bible is the ultimate authority, not individual teachers of the Bible. Sometimes we need help interpreting God’s word, but ultimately we should always seek to keep God’s own word as the primary source!
Having authors, pastors, and speakers that you really connect with is not a bad thing and God has the ability to use these people to help draw you closer to him. That is the role of people called to ministry in different forms! However, when we start to trust any one given voice above the words of the Bible, it becomes a very dangerous proposition indeed.
This doesn’t simply go for issues within Christianity. If you listen to people today the vast majority of people turn to only a couple of sources when shaping their opinions on different topics. Once we find someone we connect with, we are all in!
Financial gurus, self help personalities, pundits on the right or the left, health and nutrition experts, etc.
None of these things are bad on the surface. In a lot of cases these folks can hold a great deal of value in helping us navigate complicated topics where they have a great deal more knowledge than we do if it is not our area of expertise. However, none of them are infallible. They are all human. It is always ok to seek out multiple sources of opinion so that you have a well-rounded view of any topic. Your ultimate understanding on that issue will be that much more thoroughly developed as a result of you not simply going with what one person has to say.
That brings us back to Christianity.
I love Paul. It would be incredibly natural for Paul to enjoy the fact that there are people in his corner proclaiming, “I follow Paul!” His response is perfect.
Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Ultimately, it is all about Jesus.
When it comes to reading articles or blogs, listening to sermons or podcasts, make sure that you come away focused on what the Bible has to say on the topic. When in a discussion with other Christian friends or folks you are trying to share the gospel with, keep it focused on Jesus.
It never hurts to have outside commentators you want to draw from in these discussions, but it is important to be careful that you use these outside sources to supplement the word of God and not fall into the trap of doing the opposite.
Remember, it is all about Jesus.
Thought to ponder
Whether in Christianity, finances, psychology, politics, or anywhere else, are there any people I look to a little too much? Are there any people that I find myself constantly agreeing with and not seeking outside knowledge on the topic to see things through another lens and have a more complete perspective on the topic? Do I unintentionally engage in hero worship?