Of Doctrine and Landing Places

A Christian invited his neighbor to visit the congregation where he and his family worship. The man explained that his wife was raised in a particular denomination, but he said, “I’m ‘non-denom.’ I believe in God, but beyond that I don’t want to get involved in all those rules and details. I believe in God, and we’ll just leave it at that. We’re going to visit several churches, and wherever we like it, we’re going to land.”

Suppose this fellow accepts the invitation. He and his family visit and are impressed with the warm welcome, the children’s classes, and the preacher’s message. Let’s say that after a few more visits he and his wife decide this is where they will “land.” What then?

What they would learn

Someone will likely sit down with them, with an open Bible. If what follows is really a Bible study, it shouldn’t be long until it gets into some “details”—such as:

>The Bible is our only authority in religion.

>Jesus is the Son of God and our only way to God.

>Repentance is a requirement for salvation.

>Baptism is the moment at which we are forgiven.

>The church must conform to the New Testament pattern.The church Jesus purchased with His blood was established long before denominations.

How they would respond

If the teacher of this study is really “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), and if this couple are convicted by the Scriptures, they would then be willing to become true disciples of Jesus Christ─Christians only.

On the other hand, they may quickly decide this is not the place for them—too many “details”—and then resume their search for a landing place.

Do they genuinely want the truth (Acts 17:10-12)? Or are they simply religious consumers in search of what they want (2 Timothy 4:1-4)?

How this scenario turned out, I don’t know, but we can be sure of this: Regarding the doctrine we are to believe and practice, as revealed in Scripture, “God is in the details” and therefore discounting these details as dispensable or optional is not an option.

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Anachronism

Out of order

As a boy, I asked my dad if he wore blue or gray in the Army.

That was long before I ever heard of anachronism: “the representation of someone as existing or something as happening in other than chronological, proper, or historical order” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com).

Asking, “What was the denominational affiliation of the apostle Peter?” is like wondering what kind of car he drove.

Jesus prayed that His disciples “may all be one . . . . perfected in unity” (John 17:21-23).

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Also out of order

Religious division runs counter to His prayer and to His plan (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

If we would follow the same teaching as the first-century church, we would be what they were:

Simply Christians, nothing more, nothing less (Acts 2:42; 11:26).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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How many is one?

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More than one way

In computers there may be several ways to accomplish a task. Often in travel, we may take the quickest route, the shortest route, or the scenic route.

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” they say. (Why would one want to skin a cat?)

Since we are so conditioned to multiple alternatives, how do we feel when faced with no other option but one?

Only one way

The Bible says there is only one God (Deuteronomy 4:39), only one church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4), and only one road to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14), and it is narrow!

Jesus said, “I am the way . . . no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

Politically incorrect? Definitely. Refreshingly so!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Church of Your Choice?

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Choosing what we want

Shopping options continue to increase exponentially—whether groceries, automobiles, appliances, clothing—so many brands, styles, models, colors, flavors, sizes, etc. to choose from.

Should we approach faith with the same consumer mindset we use when walking down the aisles of our favorite department store?

No.

Choosing what He wants

Regarding the multiplicity of options available on the religious landscape, is this what Christ had in mind when He said, “. . . I will build My church . . .” (Matthew 16:18)?

He has told us what He expects of His church—its purpose and unity, its beliefs and teaching, its work and worship.

Given the tremendous price He paid for His church—His own blood—shouldn’t we yield all our preferences to His?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“So Many Churches”

The Christian faith

“There are so many churches,” the 7th-grade boy observed after reading through a list of religious bodies affiliated with the Christian faith. “What do you think about that?” his dad asked.

“People just all believe some of the same things, but all the different churches believe something different. If they would just go by what the Bible says, then there’d just be one church.”

“How did you come to that conclusion?” Dad wanted to know.

“There was one church when Jesus started it.”

The Bible supports

Smart kid!  And the Bible supports it (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Philippians 1:27; 2:2; etc.).

Back to the Blueprint!

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