The Unholy Trinity of Christianity - Form, Self & Dogma.
A Born-again Believer is a Triune Creation in the Image of God.
Jesus Said: Where Two or More Are Gathered.
The Body – Form vs Substance.
Whether it is the expected conformity to a specific denomination, which include those gatherings who fly under the banner of non-denominational which are actually a denomination unto themselves, usually require that all members of said association meet specific qualifications. Whether these requirements are purely biblical is questionable but mandatory to achieve the order and discipline intended. To be a member of said organization one must fill out the paperwork properly, testify orally to be a Christian and having been baptized in the desired manner. New member classes, usually of the kindergarten level spiritually speaking, may also be required. When all the basics are complete, often there is a vote taken by the assembly to accept or reject the applicant. I have never seen a rejection in over 50 years as a believer. With the “honeymoon” over, the game is now afoot.
With the resident priest class of professional holy men well ensconced, one will quickly learn there is a legitimate pecking order within the system and the who’s who of the congregation will become evident. Unless one has a lot to offer, as in being a big tither or a subservient worker bee, it will be safest to live on the fringe but attempting to make as many friends as possible. Outside church activities will always be closely monitored, bible studies, if any, will be segregated by age with the main emphasis on the youth. Sermons will usually be palatable, worship teams will keep the service moving right along, schedules will be adhered to and following the morning’s activity, all will feel they have done their duty to God and country.
You may think I am being tongue in cheek, but the bulk of Christianity operates under the above premises. Are there true believers within these congregations? Most likely; it is up to God to help them find the door.
The substance of being a Christian is Christ alone. It is a permanent personal relationship to the Creator and to the family of Christians He is preparing for heaven. All Christians are welcome without qualification. Those who seek to assemble with us, who are not Christians, will soon be evident to the assembly and to themselves. We will not cast them aside, but we will never water down the Word, for we know not how God may be working in their lives. Remember the Word is a two-edged sword; He could be drawing them, or they will leave on their own, being they were never of us. We do not invite the world in, but we will never turn away the opportunity to testify to the glory of God. In the future, we may need to be a great deal more careful with whom we choose to fellowship.
False Humility, the Epitome of Self.
You Will Serve Christ or You Will Serve the Devil.
The Soul - Selfism vs Serving.
Tragically, the local assembly, called a church in name only, has become an end unto itself. Instead of being a gathering of servants, the gifts of the individuals have been usurped by the leadership; then redistributed as they see fit to maintain their desired goals. Buildings, salaries, youth activities, a small missions fund and the mostly non-existent deacon’s fund to meet the needs of individual members; all of which is governed by a predetermined budget. Strange, when a member comes with a need, they are commonly directed to seek the Lord in this matter; yet when the church sees a need, they come to the individuals seeking above and beyond giving.
The outcome of the church centering on selfism has been the sheeple are now being served, they have relinquished their gifts in large part except for tithing and attendance and leave the mission of the church to the professionals. The church will carry on with or without their participation, for as a business adjusts to changing markets, the church will adjust to meet their goals. Adding more programs to attract more youth and unbelievers, become worldlier and more inclusive in their message and most important, work overtime to keep the attendee’s fat, dumb and happy in the pews. Stay tuned for Dogma vs Doctrine.
We are to emulate our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who came, NOT to be served but to serve. The Holy Spirit has endowed all believers with gifts as He sees fit; they are not to be set on a shelf but are to be employed in our daily walk for the glory of God. Pastor teachers are there to serve and equip the believer for the sole purpose of the Gospel message being lived out in our personal lives to a world in desperate need of the Savior. We are to demonstrate our Lord’s love by our love for other believers and yet we are known for shooting our wounded. Those who do not see to the needs of their family are worse than an infidel and as Christians, we are the largest commonly knit family in all of creation. Many try to copy the idea of a family relationship, but all eventually fail because they are self-serving. When true born-again believers live a life of service to their Christian family, a life changing power is released that the gates of hell cannot stand against.
Dogma and Doctrine Can Be Absolute Opposites.
The Spirit – Dogma vs Doctrine.
Currently I have over 1,500 social media contacts from nearly every country under the sun. I look for only those who initially espouse a Christian theme of which I would hazard to guess a large percentage of that number have no relationship to Jesus but believe they belong to the religion of Christianity. One thing the religionists appear to have in common is that they are extremely dogmatic in their views, most of which are loosely based on scripture at most. I have learned that what we see in the West coming from the well-known heretics, is a common theme all over the world. They love to put on a show: they love their wealth, claim power over Satan and disease, and with some financial help they can do even greater things for God. But it is their dogma that separates them from the Truth. They make outrageous claims as to the person of Christ, the Holy Spirit and what they expect from their adherents. God wants you to be rich, free of disease and successful. Does this sound familiar? It is their way to heaven, or the pearly gates are closed for you. God has spoken new revelations through His super ministers; they may hold a bible in their hands, but their words are now God’s new words to the world. There is nothing new under the sun.
I can be very dogmatic when it comes to doctrine, such as the deity of Christ, salvation in Him alone, His soon return, etc., all based upon diligent study of the Word that I may not be ashamed of my doctrine. As a child of the King, I have grown, sometimes painfully, more and more in love with the Word. I have taken James 3:1 to heart and my personal desire is to always be teachable. No one knows it all this side of heaven and Lord, I have made many mistakes over this 50-year journey, but You have remained faithful to this saved sinner. Sadly, most churches refuse to directly address many doctrines for fear of offending too many people who are very dogmatic with their understanding being opposed to sound doctrine. Interestingly, Paul when writing to Timothy, encouraged him to teach sound doctrine. The teaching of doctrine can divide, but can also weed out both bad doctrine and those who espouse doctrine contrary to the Word. As for me, doctrine is a never ending study, for the depth of the Word is beyond comprehension.
Example of dogma vs sound doctrine, re: Baptism.
Dogma: to paraphrase quotes from two self-important social media preachers who differ from one another, but what they have in common is bad doctrine.
- A person needs to be baptized with water prior to salvation to remove the filth of the world before they can come to Jesus.
- A man's salvation is not fixed in heaven until one gets baptized by water.
Jesus must have lied to the thief on the cross and oh, poor Abel must still be rotting in the grave.
Doctrine: I cannot say it better than Charles Spurgeon. A quote from Spurgeon's Sermons, volume 4, sermon XXIII, page 380 - The Condescension of Christ.
"Believe thou, trust thyself in the Savior, make a profession of thy faith in baptism and then thou mayest rejoice in Jesus, that He hath saved thee. But remember not to make a profession till thou hast believed: remember, baptism is nothing, until thou hast faith. Remember, it is a farce and a falsehood, until thou hast first believed; and afterwards, it is nothing but the profession of thy faith. Oh, believe that: cast thyself upon Christ and thou art saved for ever."
Remember, dogma without sound doctrine will kill you. May the reader be blessed.