To fellowship with Saints above, Oh, that will be Glory!
To fellowship with Saints below, Well, that’s another story…
The truth is, the Bible is pretty much self-explanatory. If you are saved and the Holy Spirit lives in you, the basic truths are hard to miss. Much confusion comes about when men do not want to believe the Bible and come up with complicated theological systems that attempt to explain away the obvious message and negate its requirements.
Most church splits occur, not over major, central Christian Doctrine but over the peripherals. If you erase the churches and denominations that have been lead into heresy by evil men, those that are left, agree on the basics…
Denominations do not split over questions like:
- “Is Jesus the Christ?”
- “Are men in need of a Savior?”
They split over questions like:
- “Is Baptism by sprinkling valid?”,
- “Are Tongues and prophecy for today?”
More often, splits occur over important questions like:
- “Should we install blue carpet or green?”
- “Should the Board members pay for their own coffee at Board Meetings?”
In any group, charismatic, unsaved leaders will arise and attempt to lead the church into heresy. If they lose, they leave with a percentage of the congregation and start their own cult. If they win, God fearing members must leave and continue the true Church in other places. The Devil is real and these things happen.
It is, however, much more common for churches to split over issues that have little or nothing to do with the Gospel. These issues are what we call “Denominational Distinctives”. Growing up Baptist, we were known by what we did not do. If you told your friend that you were not allowed to go to the school dance or the Saturday Matinee at the theater, they would often come back, “Oh, you must be a Baptist!” There was a short list of things that Baptists believed that gave the Preacher bragging rights and allowed him to frighten you out of visiting the Presbyterian Church with your friend from school. (The Presbyterians have two pulpits… one on each side and none in the Middle. Baptists heard from God that one pulpit, in the middle was much more Christian!)
If you believe the basic Christian Gospel, have repented of your sin, asked Jesus to save you… If you are born again, you are family. I feel strongly about some side issues but you are free to disagree. If you got sprinkled and I got dunked… who cares. If I believe in tongues and you don’t, so what? If you like blue carpet and I like green, we will pray on green carpet one week and on blue the next… It is your house. If you give me coffee when we meet at your house and I ask you to bring your own, can’t we still be brothers?
I argue strongly for what I believe on this blog. If you disagree, I will push you to define your reasons. Your answers will push me to refine my own. That is good stuff. We do not always have to agree on everything. If you believe that you should support a political candidate and that voting matters… we disagree. You are still family. Jesus loves you and so do I. That doesn’t mean I am not going to argue you into the ground.