The Corinthians did not unfortunately slip into factions. When two ancient men competed for power, Dio Chrysostom says, “of necessity they court the favor of everyone, even those who are ever so far beneath them.” Creating factions was the main strategy of political action, the tactic of leadership. Cultivating factions was the key to first-century leadership (Peterman, Paul’s Gift from Philippi: Conventions of Gift Exchange and Christian Giving (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series), 113).
“It shall not be so with you,” Jesus would say.
Only it is: Christian leadership is today so thoroughly infused with a Corinthian ethos that we can hardly imagine an alternative.
Yet the alternative is right there on the page, in the second chapter of Philippians, where Paul, after warning against political ambition, tells the Philippians to take on the self-humbling mindset of Christ.