Sunday, December 10, 2006

Lord, thank you for Your Word. May you speak to our hearts always, bringing about repentance and lives surrendered to you.

Our sermon this morning included references to 1 Corinthians 2, and as we pondered those words I noticed these in the next chapter, and I couldn't help but think they are so applicable to the Church today.

1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

What do you think? Are the divisions and the strife in the SBC and between denominations simply evidences of our carnality? Why do we have denominations anyway? Are they helpful to the Body of Christ? To the gospel of Jesus Christ?


Alycelee said...

Bryan, I have been to your blog before and read. I don't know if you remember but I once commented somewhere about how very beautiful your children are :)

I read your first post and I love to pray for people who are on mission for God, so yes I will pray for you, in fact I will put your name on our prayer list at church and continue to pray for you. You might also go to and post a comment under the post about Lottie Moon. Guy Muse did and gave us a link to his site. It's the women's ministry of our church where we pray for missionaries.

About this post. I think the scripture here speaks more clearly than we can. There is certainly carnality in the body, those who have stayed immature and not discipled propered for a number of reasons and the consequence is a lack of unity.
You ask another reason about denominations. I know in the blogs we travel people seem to have an undying loyalty to Baptist distinctives. I just don't think God does. I believe it is just where we happen to be right now, perhaps where God might have us place now, and in some cases where God has been working. But we are a PART of the body, not the whole and we must remember that. I often feel sad when I sense pride about being "baptist".
But these are the ramblings of an older women who has been a part of the body for 35 years and is looking for the kingdom of God :)
Blessings and agape

frickfricker said...

Bryan! I have a different outlook on denominations (go figure).
I like the fact that we can split from erroneous teachers, dead orthodoxy, sinful leadership and general apathetic fellowships. I like the fact that Luther left the Catholic corporation after they refused his reforming efforts from within. I actually celebrate when a vibrant Christian with a heart to serve leaves a cruddy old wet blanket church with any of the above problems.

Consider: Mark 9:38 John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us." 39 But Jesus said, "Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. 40 "For he who is not against us is for us.

Jesus establishes a level of ecumenical unity here that does not require "following," or if we could put it in today’s vernacular, joining our denomination. I will gladly pray for the safety of Christian missionaries from a faith I consider to be in error while I feel no need to do so for Mormons, who teach a completely different Jesus.
I hope to one day explore more deeply and perhaps define the various levels of division versus fellowship among the many types of folks, their many types of beliefs and their many types of lifestyles (then, using calculus and an ancient form of ecological numerology mixed with nyquil) add in their current growth level in relation to the Lord.

It seems funny to me that we carefully judge and separate all sorts of folks out of our close fellowship circle when it comes to dating and business, but we throw all those important barriers out for the cause of universal ecumEUNICHal so-called fellowship (sorry, couldn't resist the two sarcasmals, they were just tooooooo good). We need to have separation from some people (that is too obvious from so many verses in the New Testament). But is it ONLY for men who sleep with their fathers wives like in Corinthians? Or is there an important principle that applies universally and to what does it apply?
Anyway, the good goals of the Emerging/ant/ent church movement s is to help unite where there are
“unitables,” and peace where there is non-essentials. I differ, however, in their propensity to surrender or yield to error in the name of unity. Scripture demands we stand against error, and Pauls example displays tremendous animosity towards those who damage the fundamental gospel.
So, denominations aren’t that bad IMHO, for the above reasons. I believe that adding government, funding and structure to the any church eventually damages and diminishes said work. So do curtains and carpets of course (evil folks is evil folks, after all). I love denominations, its members, laity and leadership I can’t stand!
Love in Christ, Mike.

Bryan Riley said...


Going to the bible first... there are no denominations there. The first churches we see are in homes and Paul and others write to entire cities of believers.

Second, we are called to a ministry of reconciliation. All of us. We are one Body. We are one family. We are called to unity and Jesus prayed for unity.

Do I believe God can redeem all our dividing? Yes. He does it. But does that mean it is His design? No. and there is absolutely nothing biblical that I know of about denominations.

When you say you disagree with agreeing to error for unity I would challenge you to examine whether you are 100% certain of some of the truths you maintain. I'm not talking about Christ being God's Son, being God the Son, being crucified, being resurrected, etc. I'm talking about what some would call secondary or tertiary doctrines. I'm talking about things where we apply a pick and choose hermeneutic.

Thanks for the comment - keep seeking more of Him!