THEM: What is a denomination?
ME: A group of Christians who agree on what passages of Scripture to ignore.
The Bible is a large book. It’s hard to develop a comprehensive understanding of any biblical subject because there’s so much information. I’m not saying it’s impossible; I’m saying that it’s hard.
The Bible is also loaded with contradictions.
I know that’s a terrible thing to say. Many people have maintained there are no contradictions in the Bible. I sincerely wonder if these people have ever read the book.
One classic example is Proverbs 26:4-5, where we are told not to answer a fool according to his folly, followed by saying to answer a fool according to his folly.
So, which is it? It’s both. To everything there is a season and an appointed time.
Kind of sounds like situational ethics, no?
Situational ethics are a biblical idea. Each person and each situation is different. We like cookie cutter responses, that way we don’t have to think. We like to pretend 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 and Romans 14 don’t exist.
But faith is a thinking person’s fight. In many situations you wonder, “OK, is this a time for peace or a time for war? A time to scatter or a time to gather together?” You can find verses on both sides. Faith and prayer will lead you ahead.
For whatever stand you take on an issue, I’m pretty sure I can find a verse to contradict it!
–Ministry success depends on your heart yielding to God and being obedient.
One word: Jonah.
–Suffering is not evidence of sin.
Not always, ask Job, but also know that you reap what you sow.
–We’re justified by faith alone.
Yup, and James says we are not justified by faith only.
Perhaps you see why 75% of my church has left over the years!
The bottom line is this: any doctrine you are dogmatic over probably requires you to ignore some verses.
There are some exceptions: Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He bore your sins in His body on the cross, and He rose again. Those types of things have the Bible’s rock solid consistency.
But there are many other things that are a little more floaty. And yet the dogmatism of Christianity on most issues is unreal.
Ignoring Scripture is the only way Christians can maintain unity. I mean, unless each of us actually believed the Bible was our sole source of authority! Which, you know, sounds real nice but have you read the Book? Do you really uphold everything it says? Do you incorporate the verses that disagree with your theology, or do you just trump your favorite verses over the ones you don’t like?
The only way Christians can join together is if they agree beforehand what Scriptures they will ignore. Paul over James. John over Peter. Jesus over the rest. The Old Testament might as well be cut out. I’ve heard many theories about what parts aren’t for us and why.
What I’ve seen much less is people trying to make sense out of the whole counsel of God, leaving their guys’ theories when necessary and holding fast to the words of life. Denomination adherence is not the same as being biblical. I know, your domination happens to be the one that got it all right, but still.
People want consistency. Paul told Timothy to let the church see his progress. But people don’t like to see their pastor change doctrines and grow. We want our guys to be confident, assured, and never wavering! Anything short of that and you’re dealing with an incompetent fool.
If you stick with the Bible and deal with all the verses, people will get mad at you and leave. It’s hard to form a denomination if you can’t even get people to come to your church. Denominations are nothing more than groups of people who agree on what Scriptures they ignore. Act accordingly.
And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God,
that ye may keep your own tradition.