Some people’s so called “Christian ministry” is made up almost entirely of quarrelling with others and trying to build a following for themselves. These people try to build up their own “brand” of Christianity, and tear down others brands in order to elevate their own group. But if they are truly “ministering” under the guidance of the Holy Spirit they will not be constantly at war with other Christians. Quarrelling and petty jealousy are not the hallmarks of a mature Christian:
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? (I Corinthians 3:3-4 NIV).
We see from the passage above that mature Christians do not get obsessed with following a specific human teacher; they are obsessed with following Christ. We should never idolize any preacher: but we should honor all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Idolizing a preacher will lead to jealousy and quarreling with other groups that don’t put your preacher/theologian up on the same pedestal that you do. Therefore, we must be careful not to elevate any preacher or theologian too highly in our minds, lest we by our actions cause divisions in the church.
These immature actions: the quarreling and jealousy are the acts of normal human beings. But true Christians are not mere humans. Yes, we are still sinners struggling with our old nature, but we also have the new nature inside us too. We have the Spirit of the God who created the universe inside us. Therefore, we do not have to behave like mere humans, we are capable, by God’s grace, to behave like children of God, since that is what we are. Any so-called Christian whose life is characterized by petty quarreling is either lying (about being a Christian), or is resisting the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Such a Christian is like a malnourished or handicapped child whose body is not properly growing towards adulthood. These Christians will be greatly embarrassed when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ some day and God asks them why they did not grow in the Spirit. It will not work for them to point a finger at God: God has given them everything they need to mature. The fault is all their own.