Philemon 2:2 – Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose
I remember a day in 2005 when I was watching the news and heard a story about Pope Benedict XVI calling for “unification of Christians.” Now what caught my eye was a quote that he said about collaborating with other religions. “With this full knowledge, I would like to greet all those, including those who follow other religions … to reassure them that the church wants to continue with its open … sincere dialogue looking for the true good of man and of society.”
There are many signs that show to apostasy in the church, and one of them is lack of unity in the body of Christ. Christians are to show love. Jesus says that the world will know His disciples by the love we show one another (John 13:35). The New Testament , in Ephesians 4:5, calls for us to be unified in Christ.
Paul cautions Christians to not follow anyone but Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:12-13). Following man, not Jesus, leads to divisions in the church. Now Paul does say that division is going to happen, and, when done in the proper manner, can be healthy.
1 Corinthians 11:19 – For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
It is not a secret that the Apostle Paul wanted unity in the church. Paul’s books in the Bible were used to unify the Christians in the individual churches to which he communicated.
But we are human.
We are all different.
Our opinions are different.
Romans 14:1-12 – Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
It is alright to have differences in opinion on non-essential things. Style of worship, day of the week to worship, pre-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture, Armenianism, Calvinism, etc…. When it comes to those issues, they do not affect our salvation. But I have seen Christians use non-essential opinions for causing unnecessary division in the church. Clearly in those situations, pride overtakes the person and the love of Christ is sacrificed for our own opinions.
Have you ever heard someone come to you and say, “I am right, you are wrong.”
There are clearly things in the Bible that are black and white, right and wrong.
But we should not sacrifice our humility to make our point.
So here is what I am going to do over the next few posts. I’d like to go into detail about some of the main denominations in the world today (including some we consider pseudo-Christian, or cultic) and shine a light on their views. This is not going to be a series that states only the evangelical church is right in its views, even though I am clearly evangelical in my views. But this is going to be broken up into a few sections for each denomination.
First, I will give a little bit of the history of the denomination. Next, I will show its views, past and present. It is true that the church is made of the people. People learn and grow as we disciple under Christ, if we choose too. Finally, I will give you my views.
I know what you are thinking. “Fred, you are going to cause more divisions in the church if you so this series.”
1 Corinthians 1:9 – God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
But remember what Paul said, those who are approved will come to the front when the heresies are shown.
So I am sure that I will lose a few readers over the next few weeks. I am sure I will offend people over the next few weeks.
But I know this needs to be said.
Here is the schedule:
Part 2 – Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox. Roman Catholic versus Protestant views.
Part 3 – Mormom, Jehovah’s Witness, 7th Day Adventist, Christian Science, Unitarian
Part 4 – Anglican/Episcopalian, Pentecostal/Charismatic, Holiness/Holy
Part 5 – Assemblies of God, Disciples of Christ, Quaker
Part 6 – Foursquare Gospel, Salvation Army, Christian Reform, Full Gospel
Part 7 – Apostolic, Reformed, Mennonite, Brethren
Part 8 – Nazarene, Church of God, United Church of Christ, Church of Christ
Part 9 – Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist
Part 10 – Baptist, Evangelical
Part 11 – Comparison chart of beliefs for each denomination
So if you are interested in being uncomfortable, read for the next 10 weeks. If not, I pray you come back at the end of the series.
Psalm 133:1 – How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!