Catherine's Curiosity Corner

Buy the truth and sell it not. Prov. 23:23
 
Denominationalism and
Ecumenism

Jesus promised to build His church. Church - singular.  Matthew 16:18  "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." He purchased it:  Acts 20:28  "... he hath purchased with his own blood." He is it's only head, and He will save those in it:  Ephesians 5:23  "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."

So why is it that we have so many churches, all named something different, all teaching different doctrine?  The ecumenical movement encourages many bodies (churches) to come together as accepting of one another, under the umbrella of unity.  It emphasizes the points they agree upon and allows at least for a compromise of acceptance on the points of disagreement.  But this attitude is not the unity Jesus spoke of (Jn. 17:20-23).  Regardless of man's attempts to multiply and confuse matters of faith, there is still but one true faith, and that is pure New Testament Christianity.  In the first century, disciples were called Christians.  You will not find in God's word any who are called Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics.  They did not come along till centuries later.  And since the "faith" was "once" delivered (Jude 1:3) to the saints (by the apostles in the first century), then anything that came along later is not the true church. 

Furthermore, none of the denominations in the world today worship as the Christians of the first century did, neither do they worship the same as one another.  How can we have all this diversity going on, all this confusion, and believe that the simple basic understanding held among all these different churches that Christ is the Savior is enough to ensure salvation of all.  1 Corinthians 14:33  "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."  These churches came about not by God, but by man. 

The truth of the matter is that ecumenism is not the answer.  The answer lies in foregoing the commandments of men, the false teachings of men, and recognizing Jesus as the one and only head of His church.  It is doing a thorough cleaning and following Jesus by following the examples in the Bible set by His apostles when they established the church in Jerusalem on Pentecost Day more than 2,000 years ago.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb 13:8).  The apostles were inspired of God, and Jesus made sure that His church would be established in the way that He wanted.  Man had no right to come along and change anything He had set up.

Roman Catholic
 
Russian Orthodox
 

Lutheran

Anglican

Jerry Falwell -
Southern Baptist
 
Benny Hinn -
Pentecostal
 
Phipps -
United Church
 
 

Mary Baker Eddy -
Christian Science

 
John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
Jesus prayed to His Father that His beloved apostles would have unity in spirit, just as Jesus and the Father have unity in spirit. He is praying for the protection from their enemies, since He Himself will not longer be with them in person.

 
John 17:20-21 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Now Jesus is praying also for all those who would believe on Him through the word of the apostles (the Christians). It was the desire of Jesus that all of His followers be united, just as He and the Father are also united.  

 
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Paul, after hearing that the Corinthians were troubled by division among themselves, expresses to the church at Corinth that they put an end to this division and strife and that they should all speak the same thing and be perfefctly joined together in the same mind and judgement.

 
Acts 20:29-31 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Paul, knowing that his time is come to leave this world once again tries to express his deep concern (he was to the point of tears even) for those who would be left behind.  He knew that they would face great harm from false teachers who would seek to destroy the church.  He warns them that even from out of their own assembly shall men arise to try to draw them away from Christ.  Therefore he exhorts them to be ever watchful, lest they be deceived.

 
2 Timothy 4:3-4  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Here again, Paul is warning the Christians that there WILL come a time when people will not want to hear the truth.  They will desire to have their ears tickled by false teachers who will tell them the things they want to hear. 

And has this not happened?  Is the world now not filled with "every wind of doctrine."  When the truth is preached, it condemns men of their sin, so rather than listen to that which makes them uncomfortable, they will seek out churches that will have them leaving the assembly with a "good feeling" in their hearts.  They desire to be uplifted and not to hear the truth that they may not be living their lives according to God's will.  They want to hear all about how "God is love," but they want to ignore the fact that God is also a consuming fire, taking vengeance of those who do not know or obey Him (2Thess 1:8).

 
1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is adamant in calling attention to the fact that there will be a departing from the faith.  People will allow themselves to be deceived by those who would pervert the truth.

The easiest way to allow the devil to deceive you is to not read your Bible.  It was given to us to show us the truth.  For if we know the truth we shall not be deceived.  Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.  No one will get there by accident.  I shudder when I hear people say things like, "if I make it to heaven..."  A Christian who is prepared and who studies the Word does not ever have to wonder - they know.

 
Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
This verse very plainly shows that there are people who worship God but their worship is in vain.  They're not worshipping Baal or Dagon or any other God.  It is the true God, but it is the manner in which they worship which makes it vain worship.  If we do not worship according to His Will it amounts to nothing but a hill of beans.  It is empty worship.  We must go to His Word to learn how He wants us to worship Him.  God has never, in the Old Testament nor the New, not told His people how to worship Him.  If you belong to a church that does not have the same belief, worship and practice as that set out by the apostles in the first century, then your worship is in vain.  If you have not obeyed the gospel as taught in the Word, then Jesus has not added you to His church, and if you are not part of His church you cannot worship Him in spirit and in truth.

 
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

If this verse does not cry out for unity, then I don't know what does.  The body is the church (col 1:18).  This verse says there is ONE.  How many churches (denominations) are there in the world today?  Over 33,000!  That is a lot more than ONE. 


There is also only ONE faith.  If all these denominations are teaching different things, then that is a lot more than ONE.  Ro 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  If it isn't in God's Holy Book, it isn't of faith.  Every denomination out there teaches something that is not in the Bible.  Therefore, it is not the faith spoken of in this verse.


How many baptisms does this verse say there is?  ONE.  It is the baptism spoken of in the Bible.  A baptism for penetant believers (excludes children and babies), who have heard the Word, confess their belief (also excludes children and babies), and are immersed in water (excludes sinner's prayer and faith only) for the forgiveness of sins (excludes being baptized to make you a member of a denomination and the belief that baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace.)

 Romans 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Paul tells us that we must watch for these signs of apostasy and avoid them at all costs.  We must have nothing to do with the works of the devil.  We must stand firm in our knowledge of the truth.  We must always be diligent to see that we are in that faith (2 cor 13:5).

A few months before His death, Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). He spoke of some future occasion ("I will build), but, after the first feast of the Jewish Pentecost following His resurrection, the church was always spoken of as being in existence. Thus, the church had its beginning between the time that Jesus promised to build it and the close of that next Pentecost day.  Jesus told his apostles Luke 24:49  "... but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." Also, in Acts 1:8  "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." The Kingdom is His church, and Jesus said to His apostles:  Mark 9:1  "Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power."  That power came on Pentecost Day.  If it did not, then we have some very very old apostles still alive today! The church began when Jesus said it would, how Jesus said it would, and where Jesus said it would.

Peter spoke of this particular day as being "the beginning" (Acts 11:15). We do not, therefore, search back to, or before the death of Christ on the cross to learn the terms of entrance into His Church, or kingdom. Neither do we search back to the law of Moses or forward to Christ's return for the establishment of His reign upon the earth. He is our king now. All are subject to all of His laws now. When He comes again, it will not be to set up a kingdom, but to raise those that are in their graves, either to "the resurrection of life" or to "the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:29).

Any church not started in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost day following Christ's resurrection is not His.

 

Romans 16:16  ...The churches of Christ greet you.
 

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

 

 

Greek Orthodox
 
 
Romanian Orthodox
 
Methodist
 
 
Oral Roberts -
Pentecostal
 
 
Ellen G. White -
Seventh Day Adventist
 
 
Billy Graham -
Southern Baptist
Presbyterian
 
Jim Baker
 
 

Pat Robertson -
Southern Baptist

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