And this carnal manifestation is not limited to first century Christians. Denominationalism is also a kind of factionalism: the Presbyterians claim allegiance to John Calvin; the Methodists claim allegiance to John Wesley; the Lutherans claim allegiance to Martin Luther; the Catholics claim allegiance to the Popes; while Anglicans claim allegiance to the Thomas Cranmer, author of the Book of Common Prayer. While there is nothing wrong with denominations as historical institutions, denominationalism is quite different, for it prides itself as the only Church faction that has got its doctrines and practices completely right.
This carnal attitude is not limited to traditional churches. Even contemporary and charismatic churches show this tendency towards factionalism. We either claim allegiance to certain brand of doctrine and practice or we claim allegiance to a particular pastor's teaching as the complete "revelation" of God so we don't even need to check out the Scripture any more. Factionalism is motivated by spiritual pride whereas the spirit of Christ is humility and teachability. Humility recognises that we all know in part and no one has got our theology and practice perfectly right. We have to remain humble and teachable to learn from one another. Every denomination or church has something to contribute to the larger Body of Christ, but it is not self-sufficient.
Factionalism--whether as denominationalism or as pastor-worship--is a manifestation of the flesh (sinful nature), not the Spirit: "Now the works of the flesh are obvious:... strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions..." (Gal. 5:19, 20, NET).
Father, deliver us from factionalism so that we may remain teachable and open to reason. Amen.