(Friday, June 6, 2014)
Many would argue that certain scriptures and interpretation is the proof that what they are doing in their own church and beliefs is the true and right way. In Acts 15:3-5 it says,
So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”What was happening is that although they were all believers in Christ, from all over, some Greeks, some Jews that converted, some Pharisees, there was still a group that stood and accused others that they must be circumcised and keep with the law of Moses, that they were saying they could not truly be involved unless they were circumcised. That they must also follow the old laws.
What the Bible teaches us about being circumcised in the New Testament is that through Christ, we are circumcised. That our sin has been removed and we are all one in our belief in Christ.
It does not teach us that we must partake in one thing while avoiding others to be true believers.
What I have witnessed throughout my life concerning other denominations/non-denominations is that there are some groups (also could be compared to the Pharisees in Acts) that believe only their views are the correct views. If we were not meant to interpret the Bible in a various of ways, why would we need the Holy Spirit in us? Why didn’t Christ come and say, “Hey, guys, this is how God’s church needs to be. Not this way, not that way. Here are the instructions on how I want them to look, what I want you all to say, and how you are to go about your fellowship.” No, He came to teach us many things, most of which is love and compassion for others. Are we, therefore, practicing love while we condemn one church over another because of it’s slight variations of interpretation? Can you tell me that you personally know every person in that one church is not equipped with the same Holy Spirit and Scripture that God has given to all of us? That He must not be speaking to that church or He isn’t really in that church, while other people are lead to Christ through the ministry of that church? What is more important, believing in one variation or another, or bringing others to know the Lord?
Christ discussed how even those who are lost are more important than those who are standing around in their beliefs. That God would rather see one person saved than a hundred just standing around in fellowship.
He spoke of such parables when the Pharisees and scribes were complaining that he was sitting and eating with tax collectors. Christ has tried to point out many times through his parables that it is not about what one person does, but it is about their faith in the Lord and what we, as Christians, do with it.
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”
Simply ask yourself, “Do they believe in God and the importance of your personal life through Christ? Do they believe in the importance of the Scriptures? Do they believe that Christ died on the cross for their sins and that in accepting Him, their sins are washed away so they may have an intimate relationship with God?”
If you can truly say that overall these are the things they are trying to teach others, then who are we to have such prejudices about the way they teach, preach, pray, sing, worship, fellowship, study, park their car, or part their hair?
Churches that are denominational or non-denominational are not to be viewed as being “correct” or “incorrect.” That is to say, that if you have a group of Christians that happens to believe one thing while another group believes another, who is to say they are not still following the same God? Who is to say they have not accepted Christ into their lives? I’m not talking about the lukewarm Christians that only go to church on Sundays or holidays, whose Bibles sit on a shelf collecting dust. I’m talking about the ones who are seeking God, are working on their relationship with Him, and are regularly seeking to grow in the Lord.
We are meant to work together as one body with different functions (different ministries, out reach, whatever) in one body, the body that is composed of believers in Christ.
To say one denomination is incorrect over another, while it is their fundamental right to have opinions and views brought by the Holy Spirit, while they are still believers in Christ and seeking Him on a personal level, is to say they don’t truly have Christ. Is condemning the work God is putting forth for them, their church, their ministries, to bear fruit. How then do we different from the Pharisees?
To say you welcome them as a brother or sister in Christ, yet do not accept their organization and must keep yourself separated, is in a way, not accepting their belief in Christ. It’s a contradiction. If they have a full understanding of what God wants them to work towards, yet have different traditions or ways they go about spreading the Love of Christ, who are we to say who is correct and who isn’t? Who are we to question the path God has put them on? Wouldn’t we then be accusing them of not being real Christians? Who are we to judge if God is working in their lives differently than He might be working in our lives? The point is to spread the Word of God, not to sit and bicker about who’s right and who’s wrong by the way they practice their faith.”Taking our place in the common fellowship of Christ’s Body considerably simplifies and enriches church life. However, it comes at the price of shedding religious egos. That means banishing the habit of vilifying everyone else (or even nicely demoting them). If we are special, or in some positive sense “unique,” then let others tell us. Just as Paul said, they will report that God is truly among you (1 Cor 14:25). If we spend most of our time trying to convince ourselves and our visitors how special we are, how unique, pure, and God-blessed, then there’s something wrong. Together with all true believers, we have been equally elevated to the greatest place in the universe–to be Christ’s own body. Our mission is not to occupy some fictitious higher peak. Being at rest with this humble reality, we can then turn our attention to the more pressing concerns of living out what we are.”