This week I am studying one of the harder texts I have had the opportunity to exposit in my brief pastoral life. 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Most often we have seen the text used to prove a point about authority in the church (and all of life, which is missing the point I think) and we are prone to bringing our preferences to the text and forcing it to say what we want to believe.
There is still something great here though and it is about being Jesus-centered. But to hear that bit you have to come to church on Sunday!
At the end of the text though is an important thought for the church, not only in Corinth but wherever we are today.
1 Corinthians 11:16 “If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.” (ESV)
In the context of what is going on, there is some individualize expression happening in Corinth that is not happening in other churches and Paul calls them to conformity to Christ, which looks like what other churches are doing.
While studying this it strikes me as so countercultural that it must be good – to be associated with other churches for our health and unity. In an environment where we all want to do our own thing and cast off interference from afar, there is real value and importance in being tied to other churches in fellowship and leadership.
The big way it is a help in this Scripture is that is keeps us centered on what matters and ends our contention over self-driven expression of faith. It brings us in line with orthodox church existence.
There are many other ways as well; protection from false teaching, humbling of leaders, wisdom of experienced saints, shared resources and mission, training expertise. The list could go on.
Let us not be so enamored with ourselves that we reject being tied to other churches for our local church’s health.