One verse answer (One Church)

Settling every Bible based question or studying every Bible based topic can hardly be resolved with a single verse every time, but there are times when a single verse is so clear and concise in what is being said, the point cannot be missed by any honest Bible student.

For example, take the question and topic of the church’s nature when it comes to its numeric state. It is quite controversial in many circles to insist that the existence of any more than one church is wrong. Controversy on Earth aside, the issue is settled in the eyes of Heaven! All one has to do is read Ephesians 4:4 where the Bible says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

The fact that there is one body, which is the church (Ephesians 5:23, 30; Colossians 1:18), is no more open for debate than the one Spirit, the one hope, the one Lord, the one faith, the one baptism or the one God and Father (Ephesians 4:5-6). People may not like the way it makes us feel in light of the numerous bodies in the religious world around us, but feelings and facts aren’t always agreeable. And when it comes to being in agreement with the scriptures and the numeric value (whether literal or relational) of the church, there is only one option.

#one-church, #one-verse-answer, #religious-division

True Christians are not more of this or less of that

A headline to a religious website boasted that a person had become less evangelical and more progressive in his faith. People speak in such terms with not the least bit of awareness of Scripture, all the while pretending to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The name of Christian does not tolerate degrees of this or that, or divisions into this or that group. A Christian is who he is by the grace of God and the truth of the gospel.

A Christian is not of the world. He belongs to Christ. As such, he wears no name but the Lord’s and seeks no truth but the Good News. The Lord refuses to share his glory with the honors of men.

The history of religion is a history of division. This is why we seek to return to the New Testament, where the original plan of faith is set forth.

It is not an act of hubris to jump all those centuries of “church” history, but an act of humility, because it sets aside the theologies and departures of man in order to embrace the simple model of Christ.

Scripture is sufficient. We seek to live in a manner worthy of the name of Christ. Our gospel is the simple plan of salvation. Men many call themselves after their denominations, theologies, or leaders. Following Christ means rejecting all these to become nothing more or less than the children of God.

#christian, #religious-division

A Wild Proposal

hugh’s news & Views — For over fifty years I have been a preacher of the gospel. During all these years I have believed in, preached, and urged the unity of all believers in Christ upon the basis of the Bible alone. I read in my New Testament where Jesus prayed for His followers “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (John 17:21).

I further read where the inspired apostle Paul said to the divided church in Corinth: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10).

I also read where the apostle said: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Three chapters earlier I had read that the one body is the church (1:22-23).

Down through the centuries, as Christianity ebbed and waned, it became divided into many factions. Today, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 denominations in the world. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions of denominations in different countries, so there is overlapping of many denominations. How can all of these different denominations be restored to the unity for which Christ prayed? How can there again be just one body/one church as there was in the New Testament era of Christianity? Following is my wild proposal for such.

Let all denominational hierarchies—Catholic and Protestant—be dismantled and every local church/congregation of any kind be returned to the control of the members who comprise it. Let the Pope be permanently retired. Let the old gentleman be treated with respect and dignity, and let him be given the best of care throughout the remaining days of his earthly life, but let the papacy be dissolved. Let the College of the Cardinals be disbanded. Let the Archbishops and Bishops go home and find membership in a local congregation. Let the Vatican return its vast wealth to the local churches for the relief of the poor and the preaching of the pure gospel of Christ. Let the Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian, the Baptist, the Methodist, the Pentecostal, the Disciples of Christ, the Mormon and every other church of every stripe and kind also dismantle its denominational machinery, dispose of its creed, catechism, or church manual, and do away with its distinctive, identifying name. Let each local church resolve to be just that—the church! Continue reading

#christian-unity, #denominationalism, #hughfulford, #religious-division

End your divisions

Today’s Bible reading schedule starts 1 Corinthians 1. If you don’t have a habit of reading the Bible every day, why not start this one with us, since we’re starting a new book today.

The Portuguese devotional used 1 Cor. 1:10 for the text today. I like the NET Bible on this verse: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose.”

“End your divisions.” Doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it? Yet how many in the religious world cling to the traditions and doctrines of men and perpetuate disunity?

#christian-unity, #disunity, #religious-division