We live in a complicated world where criticism seems to be a norm. Among the religious world this also seems to be the case. In Romans 8:1 passing judgment upon others is quite clear. When does criticism become judgmental?
Which denomination is right and which is wrong? Is it possible all are just as right as the others? Each denomination has some minor issues of debate and most use the same passages of scripture to prove their point. I have served in a few of the different denominations and have found peace in each. Yes, there has been controversy but usually not of a major consequence.
A good example of what kinds of controversies we seem to fall into is the first and second coming of Christ. Mainly the difficulty comes when speaking of the second coming. Is there rapture or not? Will Jesus come before or after the tribulation? Or maybe He will come again at mid-rapture? The passages of scripture used are generally found in 1&2 Corinthians, 1&2 Thessalonians and in each Gospel when Jesus was asked the question of when. I have a particular belief about this but my opinion is that most miss the main point of what Jesus was saying.
Context is always important when determining the meaning of a passage of scripture. Words make a big difference also. The Olivet Discourse is found in each Gospel and the passage of the end times can be found within this discourse. Note here, whatever your belief system is there is something profound found immediately after the words of the end times. Jesus tells a parable that deal directly with the end time passage. In Matthew 28 it is the Parable of the Ten Virgins. The main point is readiness. We should be looking for His coming in readiness. Think about something for a moment. There has been talk of His imminent coming for a long time yet He hasn’t arrived. If you died today and you were a believer in Jesus Christ, you would meet Him face to face and to you this would be His coming. Your belief system about the matter would be moot. Do you see where I am going?
There are many differences to deal with such as salvation, baptism and communion. Some believe in saved forever; some can loose their salvation. Some believe in speaking in tongues and others not a present gift. There are a few others but the point I am attempting to make is; how much does it really matter within the whole scope?
Each denomination has a base reason for their belief system. Each feels they are correct. My belief system falls within the facts of scripture proven by a logical assessment of each principle. I may be wrong but it is what I believe firmly. So, the real question is how does it affect your life in regards to readiness?
The early church of “the way” had its differences also yet they remained one church with one major goal and that was to spread the Good News. Jesus gave notice to these differences in the Book of Revelation when speaking to the seven churches. He commended each and then gave warning but to each the message of salvation.
I am reminded of the main purpose of our Bible. The Bible speaks of ONE triune God in the person of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each is individual and they are one God. Each is sovereign and has all authority. Then throughout the Old and New Testaments is the story of redemption. Sin is the basis of the fall of Adam and his curse of sin and death was placed upon mankind (Romans 5:12ff). Jesus became man for our reconciliation with God. He is our atonement as the sacrificial lamb. Belief in Jesus Christ as the forgiver of our sins and the giver of life is the most important principle in scripture. Faith and belief brings each one to Christ. Read: Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8 and 10:9,10.
This one practice united us with Christ and brought us into His church Ephesians 2-4. The church was founded on this one belief and it was and is the foundation of the church.
Then the principle of spreading the Good News is of prime importance. Acts 1:8 is a command to go and tell the story of Christ. Jesus told His disciples He would make them “fishers of men.” He commanded baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the ordinances of the church.
No matter your denomination these three items are the foundation. We all believe God inspired the Bible as the authors wrote. We all have much in common and these should be what joins us together as one church, believing in one God who loved us (John 3:16) and gave His only Son for our salvation.
I am not convinced that a denomination should separate us. I am convinced that if we joined forces in thought we could go into our world and convince others of the truth of Jesus. This is the only way we can defeat Satan and his manipulation and separation of Christianity.