Friday, June 25, 2010

My Theory on Why We Have Denominations

On one of the Christian blogs that I link to over on Observer there was a post noting that one's denomination does not save, that it is the faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross that saves. The comment section...ah, the comment section had devolved into Catholic/evangelical bashing. Oh, this just hurts my heart and it must just break God's. When we run around, voting people out of the Kingdom like we're god and we know shit from shinola about who's saved and who isn't, well, it almost makes me want to pull that blog off the roll. I commented, staying just long enough to note God's broken heart, and quote John 17. I could quote the whole chapter, but I settled for quoting this part.

20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." (NIV)

Now, why in tarnation do we have all the denominations? Here's my own personal theory. I don't have Bible verses to back this up or impeccable logic or any of that. This is simple observation: we are finite in our understandings, and we are sinful in our actions and our spiritual life in a group (like an organized church) seems to decay as sure as material objects following the laws of thermodynamics.

New organizations of Christians seem to pop up when the old organizations of Christians begin to neglect some important aspect of the Gospel. Two examples--the Reformation in the 1500s and the Wesleyan Revival of the 1700s. The first reminded the Church of salvation by grace and the second reminded the Church of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Those are the low hanging fruit examples, there are probably others.

I can't stand it when people start ruling each other out of the Kingdom. It's not conflict avoidance. Can't we actually discuss theological issues without judging each other's level of salvation? Is that too hard for so-called Spirit filled Christians?

You will know them by their fruit. That is nasty and bitter fruit there.

Here's the blog post that got this started, with its 30+comments. It's not the post itself that got me revved up; it was the comment section.

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