Causes of Division
1 Corinthians 1:20
“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
Division in the church is going to happen, but it could be avoided if we avoided the things that cause division. The unity that God is talking about in this book is not about churches getting along, but rather that the local church is not divided. However, the things that divide a local church are the same things that divide fellow believers in different churches.
One of the saddest things about divisions is that the world sees it, especially when we bring our divisions to public forums that everyone uses. Of course, I am not at all saying that we should not stand for truth, but I am saying that it is foolish to bring pettiness to public forums and try to settle them in front of a world that only gives them a reason not to want what we have. In the verse above, three things are defined that bring division, and these three things can be avoided.
First, intellectualism causes division. Paul asked, “Where is the wise?” Sadly, there are those who are trying to act smarter than others, and for what cause? Even if you are smarter than another person, does it really matter? It’s not the wisdom of man that really matters. The reason God gives you His wisdom is so that you can stay close to Him and also to help you to better reach the lost for Christ. Intellectualism only breeds pride, and pride is an abomination to Christ. Let me remind you that it is not about who is smarter that really matters, but it is about fulfilling the Great Commission. Be careful that you don’t allow whatever wisdom you have to become a source of division among believers. Instead, use it as a tool to reach the lost and build fellow believers.
Second, positions and titles cause division. Paul continues by asking, “…where is the scribe?” The scribes were the ones who wrote the laws for the kings or one who recorded the transactions of an ecclesiastical body. Personalities, positions and titles are nothing to divide over. There is nothing wrong with any of these, but when they are the source on which we focus, they become the source of contention and division.
Third, controversialist cause division. Paul also asked, “…where is the disputer of this world?” A “disputer” is one given to disputes or controversies. In other words, they are one who loves to start a controversy for the sake of pleasure or to show their own superiority in knowledge. If you know something is going to start a controversy, what is the purpose? Being controversial for the sake of being controversial is wrong.
My friend, division hurts the church and the cause of Christ. Let me warn you to stay focused on Christ and His commission to reach the lost and train them to go out themselves to reach others. If you stayed focused on what you are supposed to be doing, you would find that you wouldn’t have time to find out what everyone else is doing.
However, this devotional is not saying never to stand for truth. If truth is attacked, you must not cower from the battle for the sake of unity. Unity is not the destination, but it is the discovery after two people find themselves serving the LORD in the same yoke. If you make serving the LORD, spreading the Gospel, and training those you win to do the same, you will find the causes of division will never become your focus; thus, you will avoid being the cause of division.