December 31, 2015


It’s bittersweet that I’ve just finished visiting 62 churches in the area and publishing articles about my worship experience. While my visits only lasted an hour or two, I have a better understanding of Paul’s strong desire to return to the churches he’d visited. “Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing” (Acts 15:36 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----The churches Paul desired to return to for another visit were in other towns, not up or down the street. Sixty two different churches in this small valley is not what I consider admirable. Group think has destroyed the Lord’s body everywhere. “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one…so that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” (John 17:20-21) Noting the denominational disarray the church became early, noting the disunity and multiplicity it increased ever after, there’s no wondering why today’s world seeks to vanquish Christianity. Yes, the Lord said the world would hate us because it hates Him. But in asking from His Father unity amongst us so the world would believe, He offered an opportunity to effect the world’s belief in Him.
-----On the other hand, there are the dogs. Well, that’s what Paul calls the Judaizers at Phil 3:2. John tells us not to greet anyone who does not bring the doctrine of Christ (II John 9-10.) There are those who say they worship the Lord, but obfuscate even simple and scriptures on their way to distinguishing themselves. So, not all of denominationalism is a breach of Jesus’ prayer, “…for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” (I Cor 11:19)
-----But then, it also might pay to note Paul twice placed these factions “among you”. These were within the Corinthian community of believers, “…when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you.” (I Cor 11:18a) I often feel remiss towards the Word in my desire and ambition to think the better of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both of these deny the divine nature of Christ. John very straightforwardly wrote, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father.” (I John 2:22-23) But neither denies Jesus was the Christ or that He was the Son of God. Egregious as denying Christ’s divinity is, the Bible is no more straightforward about condemning that error than it is at defining the illusive “doctrine of Christ” (II John 8-10) or the “doctrine which you have been taught” (Rom 16:17,) “sound doctrine” (I Tim 1:3,10,) “the good doctrine which you have followed” (I Tim 4:6,) “doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10) We would think the simple rationale of “our Savior” standing in the appositive with “God” would suffice to distinguish the acceptable doctrine as being that Christ is God. But that ignores many biblical references to God as the one who saves. The mental error of denying Christ’s divinity would be entirely inexcusable if there were not a few minuscule technicalities like that one.
-----Trying to know what is the doctrine of Christ so that we can hang with those who hold to it and distance ourselves from those who don’t is the problem. But rather than cutting each other slack and openly, meaningfully, and regularly fellowshipping with each other, we cinch up everything tighter than what the Word itself binds it. This keeps Baptists hanging with Baptists, Lutherans with Lutherans, Episcopals with Episcopals, etc., etc., etc. Maybe we should long ago have noted such scriptural tidbits as not going beyond what is written (I Cor 4:6,) each being fully convinced in his own mind (Rom 14:5,) bearing with the failings of the weak to edify one another through pleasing one another (Rom 15:1-3.) “’Knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If any one imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by Him.” (I Cor 8:1b-3)

Love you all,
Steve Corey