Human Creeds and Denominationalism – The Fruits of Apostasy – No 2
The last issue closed with the thought that human creeds not only contribute to division among professed believers in Christianity, but also provide unbelievers (agnostics and atheists) one of their strongest arguments, not only against the existence of God and the Bible, but also against Jesus Christ, the founder of true Christianity.
Unbelievers argue that common sense tells them that their skepticism and/or unbelief is much more rational than to believe that so many different churches with different faiths, doctrines and practices, can all justify their conflicting teachings from the same book called the Bible. The fact that so many diverse religions, churches and creeds exist, show at best, that human beings have a weakness for irrational beliefs.
One reason that atheists can argue their case so strongly, is that human creeds are not scripturally defensible. The very book they claim to believe, the Bible, condemns human creeds and the division they produce. Unbelievers may disagree with this conclusion, but their common-sense argument against creeds actually agrees with the prayer of Jesus about all believers being unified in faith and practice. He prayed for the unity of His believers. “I do not pray for those alone (His chosen apostles – t.t.), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” Jn.17:20-21. Years later, the apostle Paul wrote, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all may speak the same thing, and there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment”1.Cor.1:10. Note also Rom.15:5-6. Unity is stressed and religious division is condemned in veryexplicit language, not only in the prayer of Jesus, but in the teaching of one of His apostles.
Many atheists, who at one time were believers, admit they became unbelievers because
they could not accept the divisive creeds they read, and at one time believed. History records that such renown atheists as Voltaire, David Hume, Robert Owen, Charles Darwin, Robert Ingersoll, Charles Smith were at one time believers. All of these men became unbelievers and skeptics, not because of the Bible and the teachings of Christ, but because of their inability to accept the many conflicting creeds and doctrines they had been exposed to. It is no wonder that Jesus said on one occasion, where men had replaced the word of God with their own ideas, “…Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me,’ And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandments of God, you hold the traditions of men…All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition”Mk.7:6-9. The traditions of men include the human creeds men write to replace God’s word.
If you read my previous series on the apostasy of the church of Christ, you probably noticed that church leaders reliance on man-made creeds replacing the word of God, in determining matters of faith, doctrine and practice. was one of the contributing factors that ultimately produced the apostate Roman Catholic Church. The RCC denomination was just the first of a great multitude of denominations that have since developed.
Today, in addition to the RCC, we know that 1000s of denominations exist, all claiming allegiance to Christ, yet, teaching many different things, contradictory to one another. They all claim to get their doctrines from the Bible, even when their creeds plainly contradict their teachings. Even though it would make a profitable and interesting study, I am not, at this time, going into a study of how many of these denominations came into existence after the advent of the RCC. I just recognize the fact that a myriad of denominations exist today, contrary to the Bible. They have no scriptural right to exist.
People either fail to understand, or will not accept the fact, that Jesus built only one church. He promised to build only one Matt.16:18. He is head of the church, which is His body, and He only has one body Col.1:18;Eph.1:22-23; 4:5. But, since people do not understand the oneness of the church Jesus built, many look at the church He built as denominational.
The denominational concept of the church is that the church of Christ is composed of all the various denominations that exist, a collectivity of many churches, all claiming to belong to Christ. But such a concept is contrary to scripture. Denominationalism is not pleasing to the Lord. It is an invention of the devil, devised to deceive and delude people into accepting his counterfeit churches as being just as good as the true church found in the word of God. How often have you heard people say, “Choose the church of your choice”? Where do you find this idea in the Bible?
The concept of denominational churches is far different than what we read about the church in the NT. Many people who accept denominationalism have little understanding of what a denomination is. This failure to understand the Biblical concept of the church is why denominationalism is promoted and defended vigorously by the religious world. I plan to define denominationalism in the next issue. (This lesson is to be continued).
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