Let no man glory in men

“For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? …

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. …

Therefore, let no man glory in men.  For all things are yours;” (1 Cor. 1:11-13; 3:3-7, 21)

We see here that Paul is addressing an issue that has plagued the body of Christ for centuries–the carnality of believers as reflected in their placing religious leaders on pedestals.  The mentality behind believers bragging about their spiritual leader is basically ungodly pride in the back of our minds which says “I’m more spiritual than that person or group because I follow this or that preacher who is superior to their favorite preacher.”

Since this is happening in just about every church, it reflects how spiritually immature modern churches really are.  It does nothing but promote envy, strife, divisions, and contentions as stated by Paul.  Although we should give honor to those who rule well in ministry, they are not be worshipped as we so often do.  Church leaders are merely examples to the flock, not lords over it (1 Pet. 5:2-3).

There is only one head of the church–Jesus Christ.  He is the only one who bought and paid for it with his redeeming blood as a sinless sacrifice.  If someone else is the head of your church, your church is not Christ’s church.  All true believers have a direct line to God through our only mediator, Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5).  As Paul states, ministry leaders are nothing; it’s God that is our everything since he supplies the increase in genuine ministries.

An associate of mine once asked one of his “Christian” classmates what his beliefs were.  The classmate responded, “I don’t know.  I’ll have to ask my pastor.”  This is the spiritual state of many church folks today.  Instead of reading the Bible for ourselves to find out what God has said, we’d rather let our leaders tell us what we should think.  So we check our brains at the door as we enter the sanctuary.

As a result, we create leaders who resist the ideas of people who genuinely want to share their spiritual gifts with the body of Christ.  Unfortunately, those leaders like Diotrephes in 3 John want the preeminence since so many praises have been heaped on them.  They feel threatened (like the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day) because someone else’s ministry in their congregation may overshadow their own ministry.  “[T]he eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee.” (1 Cor. 12:21)

In essence, this doctrine became known as Nicolaitanism–a doctrine that Christ hates.  See my post Revelations on the Book of Revelation for more about this hurtful doctrine.

Every true believer is royalty and part of the priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9).  This is why Paul told the Corinthian church in 1 Cor. 6:4 that even the least esteemed in the church should judge disputes between brothers instead of going to secular courts.

The Lord does not want us to glory in men, but to glory in the fact we know and understand him (Jer. 9:24).  Jesus commanded us in Matthew 23:8-9 not to assign lofty titles to our peers in the church.  Even Elihu, the only one to speak wisely to Job and his three friends, knew the importance of this principle when he stated:

Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person [by showing favoritism based on status], neither let me give flattering titles unto man.  For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.  Job 32:21-22

–Harry A. Gaylord–

2 thoughts on “Let no man glory in men

Add yours

  1. It’s always interesting to see how messed up the churches in Corinth, Ephesus and Galatia were. Even with those great leaders helping them, they struggled.

    I suspect that the basic model of the 21st century church is flawed. It’s no wonder that pastors burn out and quit. Not too many have figured out that the work of the church is to be shared by all. Some pastors jealously guard their position while others cry out to the congregation for help and get little effort in return.

    Men worship church leaders because:

    a} they haven’t been taught to do otherwise
    b} because worshipping man is easier than serving God


  2. The first is last and the last first. This, just one of many paradoxes of the Church victorious, founded on the Rock.


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