Followers of Jesus in Corinth, the people to whom Paul is writing, were divided among themselves, and we know that this was the case with other congregations too, both within congregations and between congregations, from earliest times. Sometimes, people seem to have a picture of Christian history, in which the first period was more like paradise than anything else, with unity and lack of discord. Then, later, things got complicated and conflicts arose. Partly, I suppose, Luke’s description of the Jerusalem congregation in Acts 2:41-47 is responsible for that image; he describes unity and concord, and its positive effects on people outside the congregation. From other texts, however, including Paul’s letters, we get a very different picture.
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Dr. Anders Runesson is an Associate Professor at McMaster University in Canada. Please visit his website www.andersrunesson.com