Which one is the one upon which one should believe?

Posted: 12/17/2014 in Life lessons
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Courtesy of Google Images

Since the life changing day of my salvation back in 1981, I have been to Bible College earning a Bachelor’s degree in theology, held ministerial credentials with two different church organizations and was in full time ministry for twenty years from 1987 – 2007.  The point of this introduction is really not about trumpet blowing.  I’m not much into tooting my own horn…anymore.  The fact is, though, all those things once mattered a great deal to me.  The truth is, I was pretty darn prideful about it all.  Things have changed, though.  Now, outside of living my everyday life to witness of my relationship with Jesus and the experience and life lessons I have gained over the years, few things with regards to my former church life matter much.  Not that I have regrets.  These days, I have come to realize that everything I have ever been is contributing to everything I will ever become.  And, believe it or not, even at my age, I am still becoming something.

Another realization I have come to at this stage of the game is this; Churchianity has made following Jesus so much harder than it needs to be.  That’s right, I said, “Churchianity.” I realize that this may not be a popular statement to make and that’s okay.  My purpose here is not to debate…only to offer food for thought.  If you agree, great!  If not, we can still be friends.

That being said, I do thank God for sending His Son, Jesus, to pay my debt for sin.  I’m thankful that my relationship with God through Christ has afforded me the privilege of experiencing the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit which is the kingdom of God (Romans 14:17) and that by His grace, I have been planted into that kingdom.  I am thankful for His mercy and I am thankful for His grace.

I am equally thankful that I don’t have to rest my salvation on all those doctrines they teach in Christian Colleges and churches.  Yes, yes, I know, doctrine is important and I’m almost positive that the doctrines taught in your particular denominational or non-denominational or independent church are the correct ones.  Right?  I mean, once saved always saved…you can lose your salvation… tongues…no tongues…man’s free will…God’s election…blab-it-and-grab-it…confess-it-and-possess-it…word of faith…works of faith…gifts of the Spirit are for now…gifts of the Spirit were for back then…pre-trib/mid-trib/pos-trib rapture…Jesus is coming…Jesus has already come…antichrist is a man…antichrist is a government…antichrist is computer…jewelry…no jewelry…holidays…no holidays…God is my Father…God is my Daddy…you can be forgiven…you are already forgiven…live how you want because grace covers your sins…be careful how you live because grace isn’t enough…baptism by full immersion…baptism by sprinkling…infant baptism is okay…infant baptism is not okay… inhale … and heavy sigh.

You get the point?

Every one of the doctrinal positions on the short list above is correct because they are all Bible based, right?  Even the one’s that contradict some of the others.  That’s exactly what the adherents to varying doctrines and every combination thereof are going to say, anyway.  Believe me, though, I’m not pointing fingers at anybody here.  I have been just as guilty and dogmatic about propagating my particular brand of indoctrination as the next guy.  For twenty years I did it professionally!  Considering this, is it really a mystery that many people outside of church circles view Christians as confused and Christianity unappealing?  And, aren’t those same people the one’s we’re supposed to be reaching with the TRUTH?  But, which one is the one upon which one should believe?  I can’t give you an accurate number of how many times people have asked me which church is right.  Or, why I think mine is.  Have you ever fielded these questions?  Have you ever asked them?

Think about it, denomination, by definition, is a division.  That includes church denominations/divisions….and, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  Each Christian denomination begins at the same place…Jesus Christ…that’s what makes them Christian.  They all preach there is only one Way, one Truth, one Life, and one Name given under heaven by which man is saved. This is all good. Then, however, different denominations  proceed to offer options on everything else after that (refer to the short list, above)… and that’s where much of the confusion begins.  The sad reality is that church denominations exist because, although they may begin at the same place, their focus becomes the differing opinions and sundry doctrines beyond that Sacred starting point.  These differing views frequently create division, separation, and even elitism within the Body of Christ.  Churchianity all too often focuses on the sometimes petty differences of doctrinal opinion that keep us divided rather than on the significant doctrine about Jesus that should effectively unite all believers.  The ensuing confusion, in my opinion, creates a poor witness to the very world we are tasked with reaching.

Maybe I have become too lazy to work so hard at defending my pet doctrines…we all have them.  Being dogmatic and right all the time can be emotionally draining and tiring work, right?.  Or, maybe, I’m just allowing wisdom to lead me to accept and appreciate the simplicity and power of the Gospel message.  It is Good News, after all, and good news should not be confusing or convoluted.  In Matthew chapter 23, Jesus publicly addressed the religious leaders of His day.  He referred to them as hypocrites and blind leaders of the blind.  Jesus told them that they were straining out gnats but swallowing camels with regards to religious practices.  Simple interpretation:  You are majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors.  You are focusing on the wrong things and, in the process, leading the people to do the same.  He told them that they should be focusing on the “weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”  Weightier matters doesn’t necessarily mean they are more difficult to understand.  It means that they are more important and, therefore, require priority attention.

I spent the first twenty years of my walk of faith largely “straining out gnats and swallowing camels.  The last few years I have spent detoxing from Churchianity and realigning and streamlining some of my former pet doctrines.  I would now like to focus my attention on the “weightier matters” of faith, namely, Christ and Him crucified and the work of redemption and reconciliation He desires to accomplish on earth.  To that end, I have simplified my personal doctrinal code.  My prime directives, if you will.  I will list them today and spend a little time fleshing them out in future posts.  You may agree or disagree with me and that’s okay.  You may think I’m crazy.  That’s okay, too!  Either way, if you have called upon the name of Jesus for salvation and are doing your best by His Spirit to develop and walk out your life on earth in His character, we are family … and you have a crazy brother.

 …Regardless of what formula you were baptized with.  (c:]


Courtesy of Google Images

Here’s my list.  Admittedly, it is still a work in progress.                  As are we all.

  1. Love God – Love others.
  2. Treat others the way I want to be treated.
  3. Let my light shine before men thereby bringing glory to the Father in heaven.
  4. Continue daily to work out my own salvation with proper fear and reverence for God.
  5. Fellowship with believers of like faith.
  6. Everything else will work out according to the will of God so focus on 1 – 5.

…Peace and Blessings…

~ joe


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