Sunday, October 7, 2012
Foundation of Faith
By Dustin Dyer
According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell
Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and
organizations in the world. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions of
denominations in different countries, so there is overlapping of many denominations.
For example their are approximately 138 different types of Baptists world wide.
For the first 1000 years after Jesus there was only 1 Church.
The foundation of an individual's faith should never be based on a label. The denominations we
see around us today like Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, ect. are labels. There are many
more of them and I could list dozens. What we must realize is that all the denominations you see
today were created by MEN, not God. The first organized Church that man established was
the Catholic and Orthodox churches. All the others that are known has "Protestants" came about
in what is called "The Reformation." In the 16th century men started to disagree with the Catholic
Church because some of the Church's teachings and doctrines. They did not line up with the
Bible. A man named Martin Luther was the first to separate from the Roman Catholic Church.
He is the founder of the Lutheran Church and often called the "Father of the Reformation" Other
men did the same through the years, this is why we have so many different types of Christian
churches within our one religion of Christianity. We also must realize that it is not the church
that makes us right with God. It is not the church that gets us to heaven. It is not a preacher or
a Pastor that can get us into heaven. It doesn't matter what denomination or label we have or
which one a Pastor has. The Christian faith IS NOT a religion, IT IS a personal relationship with
our God and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament the Jews needed a High Priest to mediate
between them and God. But we no longer need a Priest or Pastor or Leader to mediate to God for
us. God sent Christ to the world to die for us, that made it possible for us to directly have a
personal relationship with God. Jesus is now our High Priest and HE is the ONLY mediator
between God and us. Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me."
(John 14:6) The bible says, now that Christ has come, we are all Priests,
(Revelation 5:10 states, "Through your blood you have made us into priests and kings."
(1 Peter 2:9) "But you are A CHOSEN RACE, a royal PRIESTHOOD, A
HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may
proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous."
(Exodus 19:5-6) "Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then
you shall be My own possession (peculiar treasure among all the peoples, for all the earth is
Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the
words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel."
So as believers we are all considered Priests and are sent out to spread the Gospel to the lost.
God does call believers to special leadership roles like Pastors. A Pastor's job is to be a fully
dedicated teacher of God's word so that we as believers can be spiritually equipped to go out
into the world. Does it hurt to have a Pastor or Church leader pray with us or over us?
Absolutely NOT, it is GREAT to have them pray with us or over us, but it is also great to have
any true believer to do the same. I am not taking anything away from Pastors, these men have
been called by God to do a great work. I will be the first to tell you, God uses my Pastor to
open my eyes to things every time I step foot into the Church, so YES, WE DO NEED and
MUST HAVE PASTORS. God will sometimes lead us to a Pastor for council or help.
What we should be concerned about is the following:
Does the belief system we choose to get involved with take all their teachings from the Bible?
Do they change basic biblical teachings or add things to God's word that are not suppose to be
there? Do they practice things that contradict what the Bible teaches?
As far as the labels and different denominational names, those were created by man. The bad
thing about this is that they have caused a lot of division and separation with Christian believers as
a whole. Sometimes they compete instead of unite. I am not bashing denominational Churches.
Most Protestant Churches agree on biblical teachings and lead people in the right direction. The
area they compete in are small man-made doctrinal differences that really don't matter anyway.
There are a few exceptions in Biblical interpretations on issues like, predestination, the Trinity,
and differences about the after life, along with more. The Bible is clear about these things but
man in all his imperfections have misinterpreted and changed things to at times to fit his needs.
But the Bible is clear, "Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with
all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27) This is the greatest commandment.
Jesus said you will know them by their fruits. As long as we receive Christ into our hearts, seek
forgiveness, and make the choice to turn away from our sins. God will guide us in the right
direction no matter what man and the world are doing around us. When we give it all to Him and
be patient enough to believe God will be faithful, the answers will be laid out before us.
But if you can gain anything from this, I hope its not confusion. Because God did not set out to
bring confusion to his creation. God preserved and protected his Word all through the centuries so
that we can have the wisdom to come closer to him. It really isn't as hard as people think, man
has a history of making things difficult.
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous
wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from
thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree
cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit
is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matt 7:15-20)