Okay, we’ve talked about Salvation and withdrawing from the world, as well as Revival, and wordliness.
Let’s talk about the next thing that’s sabotaging Christianity.
How many of you believe this, or agree with this statement?
“We should cooperate with all denominations of Christianity! There shouldn’t be any division in the body!” “We have to accept our doctrinal differences, as they are what makes the Church so great!”
I had a comment on my blog a month and a half ago on my series on Calvinism, where a well meaning Christian advocated exactly that – “we shouldn’t be dividing the Church.”
I know I’ve written on this before, but until Christians begin to understand this, I’m going to keep on writing on it!
My oft-repeated question is… “What does the word of God say about this? Did you look it up before you advocated this doctrine?”
The answer to that has got to be no. Why do I say it’s got to be no? Because it violates so many Scriptures, that you’d see it immediately if you:
- searched the Scriptures like a Berean or…
- actually read your Bible from time to time.
I’ve come to the conclusion that most people do not read their Bibles. I know when I’ve had the blessing to preach to a congregation, it’s one of the things I advocate the most. It seems like every Christian owns several, but reads none of them!
Let me deal briefly with three often quoted sayings over the next few days, and I’m going to explode some common myths about them.
“The early church had a saying, “In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity”. That was from a writing by Calvinist Mark Deever, who also writes information on how to subvert the Southern Baptist Convention to Calvinism. Don’t worry, after a Southern Baptist Pastor blew the whistle on him, Deever took that information down… for now.
Did the early church really say this? Nope. That’s a saying that comes from Rupertus Meldenius. I’ll give you a hint, he’s got both a first and last name, so that tells you it’s not all that ancient! And he was a Lutheran, so that narrows it down even more… the 17th century.
Either Deever was misrepresenting this, or didn’t research it to find out how old this statement really is.
So, it’s not a statement by the Early Christians. And let’s not forget, it’s a misleading argument in many ways. The churches in the 3rd century had ascribed to salvation by baptism, infant baptism, division between clergy and laity, interpreting Scripture by analogy, and many other errors. should we appeal to them for support of our doctrines? That’s the way back to Rome, my friends, and the one world religion of the Anti-Christ. Hold that thought, because the one world religion of the Antichrist is going to be very important in a few minutes.
Ffirends, the facts are, the churches fell into apostasy very quickly. Error had started creeping in even in the days of the apostles, hence the writings of Colossians and Galatians. Most of those so-called Christians were the Gnostics and Coptic “Christians”, who originated from Alexandria in Egypt. Hint: beware of anything from Alexandria when it comes to the Bible or Christianity.
I also haven’t dealt with another issue, that probably snuck by you without noticing. Deever had said “the early church”. Which one? Oh, I see, you mean churchES. Because you’ve got a singular word “church” when I know for a fact that by AD 40 or so, there were several churches. By the way, I’m not a Baptist Brider – don’t stop reading because you assume I am one. I’ll explain shortly what I believe, and why – and why belief in a universal church under the name “Church” is a dangerous thing.
Deever is also advocating the universal church. What’s the latin for universal? “catholic.” Whether he means it or not, he’s advocating a return to Rome. Not too surprising, because Calvinism is Roman Catholic doctrine, just slightly watered and separated from the idolatry of Rome. In other words, John Calvin set himself up as a Scandinavian Pope, of a new kind of Catholic. See my writings on Calvinism for a full length treatment of that.
An essential understanding of Ekklesiology has to come when one studies all uses of the words “Kingdom of God”, “Body of Christ”, “The body” and every incidence of “church”.
Why is this important? Because one realizes very quickly that at no time does the Scripture speak of The Church, but rather, the churches. It’s very interesting to me that one of the essential rules of doctrine is that we NEVER base a doctrine upon a single verse, but rather, the rules of doctrine say that we take ALL of the verses on a subject, and examine them carefully. If one verse seems to say one thing, and all the other verses say something different, we then understand our view of that one verse must then be flawed, and we re-read it in context.
Now, there IS verses that speak of the Body of Christ… which mostly seem to point to a local body of believers. The phrases “body” tend to mean both a local body and a term for all the saved. I’m not very firm on an interpretation of it at this time.
Lastly, the Kingdom of God is… all the saved. That’s what apparently most people mean when they say “The Church”. But I have a strong belief that if the Bible is careful to speak of a church as a local thing, and the Kingdom of God as a universal thing… then we should do the same.
It’s a small difference, but with huge implications. A church has an overshephard, a Pastor. If the church is a universal thing, then we must have a universal Pastor over the whole body.
Yeah, that’s an uncomfortable conclusion – especially since we see no reference ANYWHERE in Scripture advocating this.
But who is over the Kingdom of God? Why, the King of course! The Lord Jesus Christ.
“Oh. That IS a big difference.”
now before someone asks the question, “Who then is the bride of Christ?”, I’m going to answer this – “All the saved.” I do not accept church successionism, so I’m not a Baptist Brider. If anything, I’m a doctrinal successionist. That means any church holding to correct doctrine is a true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I believe that a church can get so far from true doctrine that the Lord can remove their position as a church. Why do I believe such a thing? Because the Bible says it at least three times in the Book of Revelation that the Lord can cause a church to not be a church any more. Hint – look for the words “Candlestick”, and any reference to anything being expelled from the body.
Finally, where did Deever get such a philosophy? Herold Ockinga, an influential man who came up with the phrase “Neo-Evangelical” or “New Evangelical.” When I first got saved a few years ago, I thought of myself as an Evangelical Christian, because I believed in Evangelizing and passing out tracts. It took only a little education to stop calling myself an Evangelical, as I realized very quickly that a Fundamentalist was someone who took the attitude of “The Bible is the inerrant word of God and we need to conform to it”, and an Evangelical was the opposite of it.
My belief is that the Southern Baptist Convention can be jump started into revival, and into returning to what it was, with only a LITTLE education. And that requires educating (just like I’m doing right now…). If we reject Ockinga’s Evangelicalism and instead return to Fundamentalism… we’ll return the SBC to what it was prior to World War 2.
Now that that is dealt with, let’s look at the other tomorrow. And we’ll be looking the day after that on what the Bible teaches.