DENOMINATIONAL WARS

DENOMINATIONAL WARS

It is always a pleasure to answer the question “where do you worship?” or ” which church do you attend?” With this question, I can give my naughty answer. “I do not do denominations; I am in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” I was baptized an Anglican, confirmed a Methodist, went to a Catholic school and married a Pentecostal. Come to think of it, my answer may be annoying but borne out of my experience with different denominations verses the condition of the heart. When I married my husband who is Pentecostal, well-meaning friends were more interested in the scarf that would cover my hair than my spiritual growth. They would tease me by saying “so you are now going to wear “duku” which refers to an unfashionable scarf.” Fortunately, I have been one to feel comfortable wherever Christians gather so far as Jesus is at the center of the service.

Did I choose to be baptized a Methodist? No! I was still a baby, but I have been to the Methodist church several times and love their style of worship. Did I choose to be confirmed an Anglican? Yes! But I was too young to understand what I was doing. However, I absolutely love the Anglican Church and the opportunity to serve as a Sunday school teacher for close to a decade. Did I love going to a Catholic school? Certainly! But I hated waking up so early to go for mass! But boy did I love the hymns. And yes, I love the Pentecost church with all the loud clapping and wild dancing. Am I afraid to speak against any of these churches? No! I just love the diversity in worshiping the same God. In both denominations, I have witnessed sinful behavior in full glare. And the reason is simple; both denominations are filled with human beings; all of whom have sinned and fallen short of the glory as written in Romans 3:23.

“It is very interesting to witness Christians engaging in Orthodox and Charismatic wars when the real target should be winning of souls. Last Christmas, I had the privilege of visiting both an Orthodox and a Charismatic priest. During the conversation with the Orthodox priest, he felt strongly that Orthodox was the way to go since in his opinion Charismatics are too noisy and mystical. The Charismatic priest on the other hand was of the view that Orthodox Christians were too ritualistic and lacked the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. And the list of the differences goes on and on; but are we not missing the point as Christians? These self-righteous legalities are not important in these last days when souls are perishing.

Who cares about being a Catholic, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Methodist or Anglican? Who cares about whether our worship services are filled with hymns or modern day worship? Who cares about the jumping, clapping, humming or shouting in the church auditorium when souls thirst for the living water ? As for me, I can enjoy a good old hymn as well as a Pentecostal dance with loud musical instrument so far as it is all meant to praise the Lord. After all, our God is a God of diversity who can enjoy serenity as well as earth shacking music. If one pastor prefers to shout whilst the other prefers to deliver his sermon methodically, who cares? The most important thing is that there is an audience for the one who shouts as well as the one who calmly delivers his sermon. Even more important is the fact that it is the same word of God that is being preached. At the end of the day, our personal relationship with Jesus Christ supersedes whatever denomination we are affiliated to.

In Matthew 9: 37 and 38 Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Suffice it to say, God in his own wisdom has created diversity in the workers just as much as there are considerable differences in the harvest. You sometimes hear Christians firmly defending their stance whilst belittling other believers. These personal convictions are very dangerous and can lead others astray as elaborated in Romans Chapter 18. When we read the bible for ourselves, we begin to realize that it is not about the Orthodox or the Charismatic Church. It is all about receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Saviour. It is about serving him in our unique ways with our diverse gifts which draws others to him.

Isn’t it interesting that receiving Jesus Christ into our hearts can take place in the Orthodox Church as much as it can take place in the Charismatic church? Even more interesting is the fact that it can take place in the Brothel, the drinking bar, the office of the tax collector and other unusual places. Did Jesus not say in Matthew Chapter 2: 17 that “he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance?” So why do we continue to place so much emphasis on church diversity and divisions while neglecting our core mandate as Christians? In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus saidgo and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  This is our core mandate as Christians!

The first day I witnessed a tremendous miracle of healing, it was not in the Orthodox or Charismatic Church. It was not even in the church auditorium; it was in the family living room! There were no hymns or recitation of psalms, there were no harps or tambourines. But present was the word of God that came to pass as found in the following verses. Matthew 18: 20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Romans 10: 13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved and Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.”

God is not a respecter of persons; after all he created every person from the greatest to the lowest. He is not interested in religious idiosyncrasies or personal convictions that people seek to impose on others with no biblical basis. He makes it clear in Galatians 3: 28 that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. Every time we engage in these denominational wars, we make it impossible for others to freely come to Christ just as they are. Let us remove our personal convictions from the way so they do not become stumbling blocks to people’s salvation. Let us rather speak the unadulterated word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work.

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24 thoughts on “DENOMINATIONAL WARS

  1. It is very important to have the right relationship with Christ Jesus, but we must be very careful not to make him in our god. Jesus, the Nazarene Jew was a man of flesh and blood who worshipped the Only One True God of Abraham. This God, Who does not tell lies is an eternal Spirit Who can not be seen by man, and declared the man standing in the river Jordan at his baptism by his cousin to be His only begotten beloved son. We should recognise this son-ship and be grateful for what that man did for us.

    We always should keep to the Word of God, which says everything and is infallible. therefore we should not keep to those denominations which have their own doctrine, but in case we want to choose a church should go for a group of people who keep to the Word of God. As you say “Let us rather speak the unadulterated word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work.”

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    1. God is a respecter of persons. He allows them to have their own opinion and to make their own choices. But they have to be aware that they are themselves responsible for their own choice.

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  2. If believers are the body of Christ, churches are the limbs and each one plays different roles, appeals to different personalities. Some churches are more evangelical, some more mission oriented, we all have a part to play in winning souls and raising disciples. There are non-negotiables we have to agree on, but there are non-essentials we can select our preferences. I love LOUD rock worship so no one can hear my singing, but my sister likes quiet vocal only hymns. We don’t have to argue, this is where we can celebrate the many types of believers God has called and accept our gifts are part of His divine plan!

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  3. I’m with you. I have an eclectic background when it comes to denominations, and I can see the good and bad in all of them. But mostly, I just see more of God’s people, who simply want to know Him more.

    Marissa

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    1. Dear Caroline, God does love His creatures. Every being (soul) is part of His creation. Though only the man from Nazareth managed to do the Will of his heavenly Father, all others are also counted for by God. He respects them all, even when they do not want to know about him or worship other gods.

      It is not because god has given the authority only to His only begotten beloved son Jeshua (Jesus Christ) that He would not have respect for other human beings. they are all created in the image of God and have all elements from that God in them. As such all should be capable to find God. Also God provided a Messiah, a Christos, to show the Way to God. With Christ been given to mankind all humans have the opportunity to get to know the heavenly Father, the Only One true God. God leaves them free to choose whatever they want and respects their choice. But those who are given the right to choose have to bear the consequences of their choice themselves.

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      1. Fashionable Librarian I am afraid not all people serve the same god. There are many gods in this world and we can find many people who do not serve one god at all, except if you would call money and material also a god.

        Even in Christendom we do find the worshippers of God in christianity, but we also find lots of people who worship a tri-une god of a holy Trinity.

        Christians should follow the teachings of rabbi Jeshua and worship the same God as this Jesus Christ and his disciples. Shamefully we see that the majority in Christendom prefers to keep to human doctrines instead of the Biblical teachings. This is part the reason why there are so many denominations.

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  4. Good post! I think that Satan loves these denominational wars because it takes our eyes off following Jesus – as we throw stones at each other. It reminds me of the words Jesus spoke in a prayer: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. ” John 17:22-23 We are all different people – who worship differently but who worship the same God.

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