Monday, June 1, 2009


There was a time when I loved the debate over denominational differences. I zealously followed the beliefs and doctrines of my particular denomination, dotting each "i" and crossing every "t". I held firm to my beliefs as absolute truth, and assumed without doubt that other denominations were completely wrong; and in many instances, not biblical. As I made my way through seminary, I began to have less interest in arguments. AT this point in my life, I find these arguments boring. In fact, I avoid them at all cost.

Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. There is a significance of seeking truth within our faith system. Each of us should seek truth and wisdom with all of our heart. The book of Proverbs constantly speaks of the importance of seeking wisdom and holding firm to it as a precious jewel. It's vital to our spiritual development to hold firm to what we believe and not waver on basic doctrinal truths. And let's face it; there are some bizarre interpretations of the Bible that we must be aware of with a wise and discerning spirit. But let's be honest, most of the issues that we argue over within denominations, do not fall in the category of bad theology or even heresy. Most of the issues are not worth the effort of a good debate, let alone divisions in Christianity.

But it makes me think: Is our faith a personal experience, a group relationship or elements of both? Is it mandatory that we buy into the "corporate philosophy" 100%, or face being ostracized? Are we merely following a set of rules and regulations mandated by the denomination, pastor, council, etc.? Or are we following the teachings of Christ and seeking what He taught and implementing it into our lives? Do we belong to a corporation, or the Body of Christ?

Hey, we all believe different things, right? We all carry a personal bias of interpreting scripture, and most people are well intentioned in their quest for truth. Most folks don't run out and try to develop heresy, for the sake of causing division. Most Christians are on the same journey, trying to make sense of all this. And yes, we make a mess from time to time! James Garlow, in his book, "God and His People", says that it is nothing short of a miracle of God that the Church has not only survived, but thrived for over 2000 years, despite the failures of man. I can't agree more.

Sometimes I imagine when we come face to face with our Creator, and He explains what HE intended, we are ALL going to realize that we had it dead wrong in many areas! Oh sure, we've done some great things. One denomination does "this" really well. These guys do "that" very well. And another church has their game down pretty well also. Looking at the various mosaic of denominations, each one has nailed one aspect of Christianity very well.

But what if we stopped criticizing each other on the areas of disagreement, and attempt to come together on what we all hold as truth? Those certain essentials of our faith?

Paul sums this up pretty well in 1 Corinthians 15. "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to Scriptures," That just about sums it up, doesn't it?

What would happen if we just allowed God to sort out the other stuff? When you think about it, most of it is not detrimental to our salvation or relationship with Christ. The "denomination" is not who is going to be held accountable in the end. We join together in unity, but in the end, it comes down to our relationship with a living God. We seek. He speaks. We listen. We do our best to understand. We receive.


MS Quixote said...

In essentials, unity,
in non-essentials, liberty,
in all things, charity.

Anonymous said...

I like that. May I quote you?

MS Quixote said...

If you're referring to me, use it all you want...but don't quote me because I did not invent the phrase. Now that I think of it, I'm not certain who did.

Jake Kampe said...

Yeah, I've heard it before myself. Not sure where? I hate when that happens. WAIT! It ijust hit me! Augustine! Should have known that!