True Christians must be obedient to God, not arrogant leaders who seek to advance our own name brand through our ministry. One mark of a false teacher is their tendency to consider themselves to be the only one who has discovered truth who shower other Christians with wrong-spirited, belittling criticism. The First century church in Corinth had this problem. They made up new rules for church worship that contradicted what all the other churches were doing. Specifically, they were abusing the use of tongues in the church and allowing women to conduct the public preaching of doctrine (I Corinthians 14:28, 34). Paul warns them that this great “progress” they are making is not really progress, they are straying from the commandments of God. He warns them to show more humility and unity with the rest of the church. He warns their great leaders to be less arrogant when they preach:
If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. 38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. (I Corinthians 14:37-36).
Paul says here that those who consider themselves to be a prophet or spiritual to acknowledge the things that Paul has written as the commandments of the Lord. These leaders had been far to quick to contradict the teachings of Paul and the other Apostles without evidence from the word of God. Paul says that if these teachers are truly eager to preach the truth, that they will show unity with the rest of the church who are following God’s revealed commandments. But if they insist on inventing new doctrine, they are stubbornly ignorant, and as such they will never be able to grow spiritually, but will instead remain ignorant.