Why Denominations may not be Such a Bad Thing

I don’t really have anything negative to say about denominations. If you look at most, regardless of what they evolved into over time, they were born from a lack of proper attention given to a biblical subject. In other words, they’re here because prior to their existence, we, as the Church, had neglected certain truths and swept them under the rug.

If you think about it, the Bible is a big book. It’s the living Word of God. We have studied it for thousands of years yet continue to mine gold from it’s depths. Like the turning of a diamond before a brilliant light, this Book shines forth seemingly never ending truths as we gaze into it . . .

Dang . . .

Imagine  if I talked like that all the time?

Anyways . . . So it makes sense that we would need various members of the Body to magnify the multiple facets of God’s Word.

In science, you have different studies. Some deal in Chemistry. Others in Biology. Others Meteorology, Anthropology etc. None of these are separate from one another. They do, however all have a different focus. And yet they’re all  working to achieve the same, ultimate, purpose of bringing about good to mankind. The biologist does not get mad or upset when the botanist doesn’t want to focus on  . . .  Eh, whatever it is biologists are into. No, instead he has the bigger picture in mind and knows that even though they are going about it in different ways, they are on the same team, headed toward the same goal.

Maybe we’re Supposed to be Lopsided on our own

The Bible says to no longer know men after the flesh but as New Creations in Christ. We are all members of the same Body and same Family. What happens all too often, however, is instead of seeing ourselves as One, we think that every ministry should be a self sustaining organism. Then we get upset because we don’t feel they emphasize what ought to be how-many-human-body-parts-remain-undiscovered-131111-670x440emphasized. “I don’t like such and such a minister because he doesn’t talk enough about xyz.” “So and so focuses too much on this— not enough on that” etc.  In other words, we’re saying that they’re lopsided and incomplete. And they are.

But if you take that same ministry/minister and place them back in the Body where they should be, viewing them not as a whole but as they actually are—only a part, then a new perspective emerges.

Our Failure to see the Big Picture

The problem is us. It’s our unwillingness to recognize that other believers possess portions of the same truths we do. We want to be the lone ranger standing atop Mount Sinai, with a long flowing beard, dictating everything the Almighty wants to say to His people.

. . . That was a really mangled euphemism— not sure where I was going with it, but you get the idea.

We have this same attitude when we leave a church. We point out all the bad saying, “they don’t do this they don’t teach that. They emphasize this too much they don’t emphasize that enough.” Well, you didn’t feel that way three years prior when you started going, did you? So what happened? You probably grew. You got what you needed. Then the Holy Spirit started taking you in a different direction and you moved on. You should look back in hindsight and thank God for that church instead of criticizing it. I talk to people all the time who say, “I used to like that minister. I’d listen to him all the time. But I can’t anymore. He’s unbalanced.” Well, if God was able to use him to teach and grow you for a season, maybe He’s still using him to teach and grow others who are just entering, or still in that season.

I don’t think we give the Holy Spirit enough credit in these things either. He knows where you need to be and what truths you are ready to accept and so He maneuvers you to that end.

“Well, if its in the Bible, then we should be ready to receive it regardless! If you truly loved God you’d be willing to accept whatever He says.”

Oh brother.

Christians refuse to accept what God says all the time. And i mean . . . All . . . The . . . Time.

If you want to believe you’re an exception to that, I’m not going to wake you up.

Of course, as with anything, what I’ve said on this subject is not all that can or should be said. But my hope is to create a new perspective and maybe rebuild some burned bridges. To remind us we are a family. We should be able to look at all of these ministries and denominations as a gift from God to help us see things that we may have missed otherwise.

And who knows . . . Maybe ignite in us the realization that unity is closer than we thought.

One Underlying Cause of Christian Hypocrisy That You’ve Probably Never Considered

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Have you ever noticed that after coming off a really great church service or Bible study, you feel like you can take on the world? You’re inspired.  Uplifted. Ministry ideas start coming to you. You get a bigger vision for what God has for your life. You find yourself making resolutions to stop watching so much tv, pray more, read your Bible etc. Then, about a day or two out, the darkness of the secular world descends once again and very quickly begins to suck all the life out of you. Before you know it, you’re back in line with every other lemming.

This experience of a conflict of behavior is what is often referred to as hypocrisy.

So what causes it?

Well, it seems to be the change in environment. Our natural tendency is to adapt to what’s around us. It’s an evolutionary thing (Discovery Channel said so). Some of us fight it better than others, but I don’t know anyone who would deny the basic attraction to conformity.

Who and what we’re exposed to has an impact on how we act.

Even the apostle Peter had a weakness in this area. Paul had to call him out for his conflicting behavior while among the Jews and Gentiles (Gal 2). The man walked on water and healed people with his friggin’ shadow! Yet he succumbed to what we might call today, “peer pressure.”

If that was an issue for The Rock, isn’t it possible that some less, “spiritual” Christians may fall prey to it?

The Rabbit Hole Goes Deeper

Naturally then, the cure for hypocrisy  would be genuine fellowship, more often, with more believers.

So . . .

Why is that not happening? Why can’t we get together more often?  Is there a shortage of Christians?

I can’t speak for other parts of the world, but I know this is not the case here in America. There are churches everywhere. In addition, you’ll notice the Sunday morning bulletins always list a handful of home fellowship groups that meet throfaceughout the week. But what you have probably NEVER seen in those bulletins are the places and times of groups from OTHER churches that are meeting.

If you did, I could almost guarantee you that there would be multiple groups down your own street and in your own neighborhood that meet all the time. I mean, literally every day.

Think about how awesome it would be to tell the wife, “hey, let’s take the kids down the street tonight. So and so is having a family Bible study.”  You wouldn’t have to mess with traffic or driving all the way across town. You wouldn’t have to worry about arriving late because of your work schedule or feeding the kids.

There’d be so many home groups to choose from, they could  accommodate anyone’s life. You could fellowship during the day if you were a stay at home mom or even odd hours of the night for those who work the late shift.

It’d be like a real family—all the time.

So . . . Why isn’t this happening?

The Root Cause

In a nutshell—Division.

Our leaders are afraid you might hear something you shouldn’t. Even though most Christians don’t even know (or care about) the details of the denomination their church subscribes to, and would really rather just fellowship with anyone who loves Jesus, those in power feel it necessary to shield you from other believers.

So we stay divided. Weak. Susceptible to the strong pull of the world’s current.

Our disjointedness has led to our hypocrisy.

The result?

Christians everywhere, hiding not from the world, but from one another. Christians who have fallen for the lie that it’s taboo to have real, serious engagements with one another outside their cliques on Sundays. Christians who would rather live, talk and act like the world, than risk hearing something they disagree with. Or worse—face the possibility that they might actually be able to learn something from (GASP!) people from another church!

Christians who have unwittingly chosen hypocrisy over unity.