Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lost In Denominations

Catholicism.  Baptist. Methodist. Lutheran.  All of these are different "branches" of Christianity and all of them have their own set of governing rules which make them who they claim to be. According to Wikipedia's List of Christian denominations, "there are reported to be approximately 38,000 Christian denominations".  I mean, WOW!  Really, WOW!   I bring this up because I saw a bill board this morning for a Methodist church that advertised coming to experience Methodism in a different way.  

Methodism?  I understand that Methodism is the practice of being a Methodist, however, what happened to being just a Christian?  At the heart of the matter, Jesus should be brightly shining but sometimes that may not be the case.  We can get lost in ourselves and get caught up in positions and titles.  We can become frustrated with other people in the church because we think they are not "doing church" the right way. The problem with this is that we start to cut each other off from other denominations and then we justify it by saying this is the why we do what we do and believe what we believe.  The more you start to believe and focus on what you do rather than Jesus, you add further division into the umbrella of Christianity (Actually, we should say that we follow Jesus, because not all those who call themselves Christians follow the tenants of Jesus.  I got that from my wife.  Thanks hun!)   

In Matthew 12:22-26;30, it says:

(22) Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. (23) All the people were astonished and said, Could this be the Son of David? (24) But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons. (25) Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. (26) If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? (30) Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

In these verses, we see that Jesus has healed a man who was possessed, but the Pharisees simply say this can only be the results of Beelzebul.  Jesus then explains that if this was the case, then Satan would be going against himself and his mission to steal, kill, and destroy (see John 10:10).  In order for a team to accomplish its goal, all its members have to be on the same page, regardless of its purpose.  When a team's goal is to head North and different members of the team decide they wish to go in all other directions but North, it is impossible for that team to reach its goal.  It just cannot happen.

Simply, we cannot become lost in all the denominations out there.  We have to keep Jesus our focus and stop worrying about the intricacies of how you do church.  Believe and keep your eyes "[t]o him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy" and all the other distractions will fall by the wasteside (see Jude 1:24).

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