Summary: Truth separates so we need a scorecard and denominations until we are Raptured.
We sing the songs of Zion saying that we are one in the Spirit and one in the Lord and while we are marching we are not divided all one body we, but in practice we are not. We sing the ideals and walk in the stark reality. Paul emphasizes in Ephesians 4:4-6 the unity and oneness of the Church because it is to reflect the oneness of God.
Even when I was very young in the Methodist Church, I questioned the Apostle’s Creed when it said I believe in the holy catholic church. I wondered why I was in the Methodist Church when my buddy was down the street in the Catholic Church. What was I doing in the Methodist Church affirming the one down the street? I didn’t know who to ask and no one bothered to explain that the catholic I was reciting meant the “universal” church not the Roman Catholic Institution.
When I was older and conversation would turn to religion one of the topics most used to dismiss the whole thing was that there were so many churches how do you know which one is right? They all use the Bible and quote Jesus but have very little else in common and they accuse each other of being wrong. We would conclude that it was all too confusing and maybe offer up a bit of our own personal theology and then have another beer and go on to easier subjects like sports, politics and women, which were less mysterious and less apt to cause arguments. Yes, I jest.
I have friend from Virginia that chastises me saying that I shouldn’t use the name Baptist as I just promote sectarianism and that should not be done. While I believe that I understand his heart and in I am in agreement ideologically I also see that we started not being “one” from the time of the apostles and see the need for a scorecard that the “approved” may stand out or at least make it easier to pick out the unapproved.
Let’s face it, Christian was the name given to us by our enemies and it has been so watered down by the many different sects and cults from far Left to far Right that the term means nothing today. If someone says that he/she is a Christian they get offended if you ask them if they are cultural, ritual or true biblical Christians. Every group thinks that they are THE group. Some are gracious enough to allow others to get in the gates, while others cast out everyone but them. One Baptist group lets other folks in as the friends of the Bridegroom, but they are the only true Bride. Odd concept, but at least not everyone but them goes to hell.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (KJV)
I believe this passage speaks to the main issue. Along the way, we have had folks that quit listening to the Holy Spirit. God does not contradict Himself so if a person is a Christian he should be hearing the same message any other Christian is hearing. Black should be black and white should be white. Green is not green to one Christian and blue to another one. Philippians 2:2 affirms this when it says we should of one accord and one mind. Hard to do that if everyone is can have his own way like being at Burger KingÒ
1 Cor 11:18-19
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. (KJV)
Even in the church Paul founded we have craziness going on. They misused the gifts, questioned Paul’s apostleship, sued each other, condoned the worst sin and just generally messed up everything they touched. Where was the love? Where was the oneness?
Heresies are usually false doctrines and that is what we normally think of when we think of a heretic. However, a person that seeks to divide the congregation for his own gain or downright wickedness is also a heretic, which why we are instructed to point out or mark them that cause divisions.