Creating Their Own Christianity, Part 3
All over the world
There are people claiming to be Christians. They create their unique versions of the faith and say that they are following God. They may even do a lot of good works to help prove that they are serious about their faith.
Yet, not all of these alternative versions of Christianity are completely wrong. A lot of the leaders of these new alternatives are misinformed, misguided and have not learned the truth about God and his word.
Apollos was one such person
We read the following about Apollos in Acts Chapter 18:
24 Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; 26 and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
As you can see by that passage, Apollos was not totally accurate in his preaching or his Christian faith. It took other, stronger members of Christ to take him aside and fill him in on the correct details.
The result of this teaching made Apollos a better Christian and a better preacher. He also got support from those who knew him. Sometimes all it takes are mature believers helping the immature believers, guiding them to usee4 their knowledge and talents to their fullest and God’s glory.
The trick to this is
That those older mature believers cannot jump to condemnation and exclusion right away. They need to learn how t be discerning and separate the misinformed, the misguided from those who truly are creating their own Christianity, and help them get on the right path for God.
It is not hatred or sin to identify between a true believer and a false one. In fact, it is commanded throughout the Bible to be on the watch fro false teachers and preachers. The church cannot blindly accept people into their midst or in the pulpit based solely on a simple declaration.
The Bible says that we shall know them by their fruits but those fruits are not limited to just one aspect. Both good and bad believers do produce similar fruits which means we must do as Paul said, define them by the gospel message they bring.
If they are not bringing the same gospel as Jesus and the apostles then those messengers are not part of the Christian faith and should be treated accordingly. Also, two other passages need to be used here to help guide believers to the true Christian.
First, they must be sure that the person is not a demon disguised as an angel of light. Second, they must be aware that evil can copy good. As the example of Moses and Aaron before the Pharaoh of Egypt showed us, evil can do miracles that act the same way and in the same manner as God’s miracles.
Christ is not divided
This is an important aspect of the Christian faith as it took place in the ancient world as it does today. Here us what Paul said on the issue in 1 Cor. 1:
12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 [h]Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized [i]in the name of Paul?
We have this problem today as so many believers follow different men of God. Lutherans supposedly follow Luther, Methodists, the Wesley brothers and still some go with Billy Graham and Ravi Zacharias and on it goes.
Each man raised by God throughout history had their specific mission but those missions were not to replace Christ. The Christian faith was not meant to be divided as Paul continues in that chapter:
10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
All Christians should be united under Christ. The Christian faith and the Christian church should be one. Just as it was in the days of the Apostles. We do not lead the unsaved to human men but to God through his son Jesus Christ.
Jesus was a friend to all
You have heard that Jesus was a friend to sinners. The key word there is the little preposition ‘to’. He was not a friend of sinners and allowed all people no matter their sins enter his church.
He called all sinners to repentance and his first recorded message was for all sinners to repent for the kingdom of God is at hand (Mat. 4:7). Being a friend to sinners does not mean encouraging sinners to remain in their sins.
A real friend helps those lost and blind find their way to their homes. A true Christian friend helps the unsaved find their way to their true home- Jesus. This is not a hate crime nor is it hatred.
It is the greatest act of love because the believing friend is making themselves vulnerable to harm by trying to rescue those both they and God love from the bondage of sin.
Some final words
Jesus did not make any exceptions to the rules of his or his father instituted nor should the true believer. There is only one faith, one truth and one set of rules when it comes to Christianity.
Those who seek to change those rules are either misinformed and misguided, in need of proper instruction. Or they are those trying to create their own Christianity to fit their preferences, morality, and thinking.
Christians need to be more discerning today to tell the difference and act according;y to each group without sinning.
© 2019 David Thiessen