Consider Christianity as an Ongoing Cause. The fractured body of Christ following the Reformation, and the fracture in the Restoration Movement, left a plethora of denominations representing Christ to the world. They replaced the monopolistic authority of the Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic and Russian Orthodox Catholic churches. (Which allowed various movements within their churches so long as their leaders subscribed to the “Mother Church’s” doctrine.)
America, the land of free and individual thought, has particularly spread denominationalism to new dimensions. The church growth movement added a new wrinkle of confusion by hiding theology behind the vanilla name Community. In the old days (of this writer’s youth), you knew the doctrine of a church by the name: Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc. Today, where Community churches proliferate, you don’t know what the doctrine is. This writer had seen for years the name Wesleyan on a church building. Then, suddenly, the same church had Christian on the sign. He stopped in and asked if it was now a Christian Church? In name only, he was told. The doctrine was still Wesleyan.
Then why not call it what it IS? Give the public the right to know what you ARE religiously. The Christian Church, of which this writer is a member of some 67 years, has never had to explain that we were Christian only by name, not doctrine. No, for we still preach baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sin—with solid scriptural reasons that he will discuss with anyone. And we still observe the Lord’s Supper each Sunday. And we still preach Biblically based and inspired messages each Sunday.
However, all that aside, the very existence of numerous church associations today help keep God’s people honest. In Europe, England and Scandinavia—and in Roman Catholic countries as well—the organized state church has the buildings—mostly empty on Sunday, while independent congregations flourish in store fronts and schools with crowded services.
Praise God that he made the church dependent on the lives of his people, not on government support. Thomas Jefferson at least had that right when he urged the state of Virginia to stop paying ministers from state coffers!
Therefore, for all the criticism of fracturing the body of Christ into permanent fragments, God’s people are not silent, not intimidated, not politicized, not fearful, not despairing, not negotiating and not compromising the Gospel.
End Part IX