Reflections: Going Beyond What Is Written

A recent reading made a particular verse jump out at me.  In the letter of 1 Corinthians, Paul expresses his frustration that the congregation is divided.  One follows Paul, another Apollos, etc.  This passage is often used to express that there should be unity in the Church.

Ironically, how is it normally applied?  It is usually used to justify a particular COG leader’s position that everyone should follow him.  IOW, it is often used to try to prove the exact opposite of what Paul said!

Afterwards, Paul goes on to speak about the world’s wisdom vs the wisdom of the Spirit.  He talks about the “mature” Christian (NIV) in chapter 2.  Then, in chapter 3, he chastises them for being immature Christians who cannot take solid spiritual food yet.  He points to their divisions as evidence of this.  Finally, in chapter 3, he tells them to no longer brag about men.  He compares it to carnal wisdom.

Compare that to what the COG organizations do today?  Do you see the parallel?

When some talk of “church government” or “church governance”, I often find they are talking through their hat.  In particular, they like to extol the “one man government” as the ideal, yet that “doctrine” does not stand on solid spiritual ground.

So, in the midst of divisions and following men rather than Christ, what does Paul say to today’s Christian?

 6Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. 7For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

~ 1Co 4:6-7 (NIV)


  1. If it were written in scripture that "thou shalt only have one man to lead My people while I am away", there wouldn't be too much controversy about governance.

    I believe it's a fascinating and thought provoking subject to study. And I am lead to believe that I can NOT speak evil of either, only one man in authority throughout his life nor the form which the UCG practices. (Mr 9:37-42)

    I ask myself a question, if a person believes in having one man in continual control, does that necessarily mean what the UCG is practicing now is sinful?