Monday, June 26, 2017

Why Is There so Much Difference Between Churches?

People trying to find a church are often amazed at the amount of difference between different churches.   Some insist that if the church is not named “The Church of God,” or The Church of Christ,” the church could not be a valid church and should be avoided.  Others insist that only members of their group can go to heaven while others do not believe God would allow anyone to go to hell.   Some enforce strict moral codes while others believe God will forgive all sin.  Some reject any Bible version except the King James as Satanic while others consider the Bible irrelevant to today’s church.   One can find a “church” which believes almost anything he might choose to believe. 

The diversity of beliefs causes a great deal of confusion, and as I Corinthians 14:33 tells us, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”    Ephesians 4:4-6 tells us, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”  Clearly, the conflicts, and much of what is passed off as Christian today is no from God.  Where has it all come from?

I Timothy 4:1-3 warns, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”  Literally, most of the different doctrines are the result of people who have turned away from God’s truth, following false spirits and Satanic doctrines.  Many of them knowingly lie about what their teachings, pretending to be proclaiming the truth. They establish their own moral and ethical codes, and doctrinal beliefs.    

In Matthew 15:7-9, Jesus accused the Jewish leaders of fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy by doing the same thing.  “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  Like many churches today. They made a big show of their love for God while substituting their own human teachings for what God commanded.   In reality they were wasting their efforts because they had replaced God’s commands with their own.   As John 14:23-24 tells us, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”

The problem is very widespread, affecting every group.  II Peter 2:1-3 warns, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”  Every group has teachers and leaders who try to use their religion for their own benefit, leading people away from God.   Even the early church at Jerusalem had false teachers who tried to change their beliefs, according to Galatians 2:4.  “And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:.”  The best way to avoid being caught up in these false teachers is to find a church with a pastor who teaches the Word of God just as it was given.

 Titus 1:7-11 describes the importance of the pastor’s moral and doctrinal position.  “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.  For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.” 

If the pastor does not have the necessary moral and doctrinal standards, he will be unable to stand against the false teachings or sinful practices that false teachers bring into the church, and especially those traditional beliefs that have been widely accepted.  

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