When you listen to and read one thinker, you become a clone… two thinkers, you become confused… ten thinkers, you’ll begin developing your own voice… two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise…
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
~1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NASB)
One of the gifts God gave to us is teachers (Ephesians 4:11). And He gave teachers to equip the saints for the work of service and to build up the body of Christ. The bible tells us to appreciate and highly esteem these teachers in love. This, of course, applies to the living breathing teachers in our lives now, but also to our teachers long since passed.
In 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 Paul is rebuking four kinds of pinheads…
Pinhead #1: “I am of Paul!”
Paul: “That’s very flattering, but you’re being an idiot.”
Pinhead #2: “I am of Apollos!”
Paul: “I like Apollos, but you’re being an idiot too.”
Pinhead #3: “I am of Peter!”
Paul: “Peter is a good man, but knock it off!”
Jimmy: “I like turtles.”
Paul: “Thanks for your input Jimmy.”
Pinhead #4: “I am of Christ!”
Paul: “Well, you might think you’re the right one here, but perhaps you’re the biggest idiot of them all.”
Pinheads 1 to 3 were elevating human teachers to too high a level. Pinhead #4 was doing away with human teachers all together.
The bible teaches us we need teachers, because we’re not going to get it right, off on our own, with just our bibles. We need guidance. The problem isn’t simply “I am of Paul”, because we’re all “of Paul”, he wrote most of the new testament. The problem is elevating Paul to a position that he is unworthy of and then vicariously claiming that unworthy status for ourselves.
We do need to be only “of Christ”, of course, but under Christ we can safely also be of Paul, Peter, James, Wesley, Calvin, Piper, Keller, and Pastor __________(fill in the blank), and we can be safely not guilty of what Paul was rebuking the Corinthian church for.