There seems to be a lie that has gained popularity and acceptance in modern Christianity. And that lie is this: that any believer, group or denomination can exist on its own, being totally isolated from other believers, groups or denominations. I cannot trace the origin of this lie. But I know that it’s a lie.
Over the years, many churches, groups and denominations have broken off from their “mother churches”. It seems really plausible to many ministers to form denominations or churches after seemingly getting “fresh light” over some non-biblical practice or unscriptural doctrine present in their churches. What amazes me is how some of these new ministries openly criticize the churches that they once belonged to.
For the body does not consist of one limb or organ but of many.
If the foot should say, Because I am not the hand, I do not belong to the body, would it be therefore not [a part] of the body?
If the ear should say, Because I am not the eye, I do not belong to the body, would it be therefore not [a part] of the body?
If the whole body were an eye, where [would be the sense of] hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where [would be the sense of] smell?
But as it is, God has placed and arranged the limbs and organs in the body, each [particular one] of them, just as He wished and saw fit and with the best adaptation.
But if [the whole] were all a single organ, where would the body be?
And the eye is not able to say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
But instead, there is [absolute] necessity for the parts of the body that are considered the more weak.
And if one member suffers, all the parts [share] the suffering; if one member is honored, all the members [share in] the enjoyment of it.
Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function].
1 Cor. 12:14-19, 21, 22, 26-27 [AMP]
I remember studying the life of Martin Luther, the Reformed Theologian of the 15th Century, sometime last year. After nailing his famous 95-point thesis on the door of the church at Wittenburg, he didn’t leave the Roman Catholic Church. Now, some have criticized him to be weak. Others have said that he couldn’t bear to lose the privileges that he had been enjoying by virtue of his position in the church. But what if he really didn’t want to leave or break off from the Roman Catholic Church? What if he really wanted to change what he had considered to be unscriptural in the church without necessarily breaking off? Does that make a man weak?
Truth be told, we might never be able to overcome certain differences. I can’t imagine any Pentecostal church dropping their 5-fold ministry structure to adopt a more orthodox structure. I also cannot see many ministries forsaking their style of worship. Some won’t ever believe in tongues. Some will never believe in baptism by sprinkling. Many will never believe that God always prospers his people and never inflicts suffering (yes, some believers believe that). To some, every televangelist is a fraud.
So the devil lies to us. He makes us believe that anyone who doesn’t support our view of scripture is in error and needs help. The truth, however, remains that we’re all still parts of the body. If I say my hands are not part if my body, does that make it so? Remember what happened when the disciples saw others who weren’t following them using the name of Jesus?
And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
Luke 9:49-50 [KJV]
Jesus gives us only one way to know if we’re to associate with any person or not: if they’re against us or not. The question isn’t whether they preach the same thing that we preach or not. It isn’t a question of how correct they are theologically. No! It’s about whether they believe in Jesus Christ as the only begotten of the Father who came to the earth and sacrificed Himself so that man might be restored unto God or not. Does he genuinely believe in Jesus? Does he believe that He is God and dwelt with the Father before the creation of the world (Jn. 17:15)? Does He believe in the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Godhead sent to be our Comforter and our seal until the day of redemption? Then he is my brother! Then he isn’t against us!
Oh, how we’ve used our hands to divide what the Father never divided. Now, I don’t believe all that is taught in my church. I don’t find some practices to be totally scriptural. Yes, they may be founded upon scriptures, but also upon man’s philosophy. I’m yet to see a church with the perfect set of doctrines. But that’s not my cue to stand up and say, “You’re all a bunch of devils! Can’t you see what is clearly before you in scriptures?”
Yes, I am Pentecostal. But that’s not what God sees me as. He sees me as a son. Regardless of what we call ourselves, Pentecostal or Evangelical or Roman Catholic, He sees us all as sons. Your denomination is what you will only use on earth. Trust me, you won’t carry it to Heaven. I can live without my hands, but I choose not to! I can survive without my eyes, but I choose not to! My hand might he diseased. But I will continue to love and pray for that hand. I won’t let it go. No, I love it too much to let it go.
I share a link to a video below. Francis Chan (a non-charismatic minister) spoke at Mike Bickle’s Onething Conference in 2015 and truly gives us an accurate picture of what brotherhood should really be like in the Church today. I pray you’ll be blessed after seeing this.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
© Eleazar Maduka, 2017