On my way to worship I listened to a preacher on the radio from a neighboring county talk about the damage denominationalism has done to the church. He was very emphatic with his words and I am convinced he truly believed what he was saying…especially because he was preaching in a very plain way to/at his own denomination (his own words). And because of the things he was saying about fellowship, I am also convinced he understood the damage denominationalism has done to the church when it comes to the unity that God desires (John 17:20-21).
But despite the fact I believe he understands the damage of denominationalism, I don’t believe he understands the cause.
Why is that? Because of one thing he said. Now I wasn’t able to write it down when he said it, but what I am about to give him credit for is close enough that I know I am not doing any damage to the point he was making; nor am I worried about twisting it in any way to make my point seem valid.
The preacher on the radio said, Continue reading
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12 – NKJV)
You can almost hear the bewilderment in Paul’s question. There were some at Corinth who had previously obeyed the gospel of a resurrected Jesus Christ (15:1-8, 13-19) but yet they were now stumbling over the idea of the dead being resurrected in the future…or even at all! Unfortunately, the bewilderment of people stumbling over basic gospel principles continues to this day. For example:
- One may accept a resurrected Jesus, but stumble at the virgin-birth?
- One may believe that Jesus will return to judge the world, but stumble at the world-wide flood?
- One may teach that a literal man named Jesus was the second Adam of redemption, but stumble at the teaching of a literal first Adam bringing sin into the world?
- One may hold to the Bible’s teaching about Jesus walking out of the tomb after three days, but stumble at the world being created in six days?
- One may be convinced that Jesus died for the sins of the world, but stumble at the existence of a place called Hell?
- One may place his or her faith in the idea of Jesus living a sinless life, but stumble at the idea of God being able to leave an infallible book that teaches us about it?
It’s wild! It’s head-scratching! It’s sad! But such examples display only a few of the biblical ideas that “believers” stumble over today. And such examples should serve as a warning-sign to any individual being taught that the former can be trusted while the latter stands in doubt…that’s even if they teach the former can be trusted to begin with.
“When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:54-58 – NKJV)
Earlier today, I documented one case, among many I’ve seen over the years, of using denominational data applied directly, without discrimination, to the Lord’s church.
This use fails to think through the implications, the first of which is that the creeds, hierarchies, authoritarianism, and falsehoods in the denominations do not affect results of research data, which are applied without criteria to the church of God.
If as we say, and as Sesame Street teaches, that one thing (the church) is not like the others (denominations), then we should refrain from using their data indiscriminately for application to the church.
For by such use, especially in the case of negative results, we are implying that the church is also guilty of their errors.
My latest example can be found here.
WHY DO PEOPLE LEAVE A DENOMINATION FOR THE CHURCH?
Last week we wrote about why people leave the church for a denomination. This week we write about why people leave a denomination for the church.
Down through the ages of apostasy as reflected in Catholicism and Protestant denominationalism, many honest souls caught up in sectarian error have been taught and/or have read and studied their way out of denominationalism.
Why does one leave a denomination founded by man to be a member of the church established by Christ? Continue reading
WHY DO PEOPLE LEAVE THE CHURCH FOR A DENOMINATION?
Prior to the mid-20th century seldom did one hear of a member of the church of Christ leaving the church to join a denomination. There were, of course, exceptions because throughout the history of the church there have been defections from the one faith (Ephesians 4:5). Still, it was a rare thing for one to leave the church for a denomination. Continue reading
CAN WE CATCH A FALLING STARR?
(Note: The title of this week’s edition of “Hugh’s News & Views” is taken from an article by the same name that appeared in the June 2016 issue of The Gospel Gleaner. The article was written by John T. (Johnny) Polk II whom I have known since he was in his mid-teens at the Allen and Edgewood Church of Christ in Jackson, TN where I served as minister in the early 1960s. With permission from Andy Erwin, editor of The Gospel Gleaner, I am using the title of the article and some information from it for my article that follows. Read it and weep, but also read it and be informed.)
Recent weeks have witnessed a political correctness brouhaha over transgenderism involving the use of either male or female restrooms. But, another problem we are increasingly facing in our pluralistic society is what I call transreligionism, the practice of leaving the Lord’s church for a denomination, then often hopping from one denomination to another, depending on where one lives at the time, by whom one may be employed, or how well one’s (or one’s family’s) “felt needs” may be met. Continue reading
Here’s a great illustration from House to House, Heart to Heart on religious unity and authority by Eddy Gilpin. The article makes a spiritual point and plea by using a historic game of baseball that was played in Cuba in 1999 as an example of two very different teams being able to see things alike because they played by the rules.
For you Twitter users, the story even ends with a chance to tweet this short but poignant question:
#baseball, #denominationalism, #house-to-house, #spiritual-illustrations, #spiritual-unity