Tuesday, 18 June 2013

"Adding to the Gospel" Heresy: Pt 2.

My second example of "adding to the Gospel heresy" is usually phrased something like this:. 

"You believe in Jesus, excellent start! Now you need the join the One True Church."          ...   Wrong!

By the “true church” they mean of course their own denomination or church party.

This catch-cry has been taught by the Roman Catholic church. It was taught by the denomination I grew up in (they may have become more broad minded since then). It is said (possibly watered down a teensy bit) by some Pentecostal churches. It is also, I have noticed, implied by some Anglican “flagship” parishes about their own congregation.

It is not true! You are saved by Christ. He saves all those who come to him – not necessarily those who come to any earthly church! If you belong to Christ, then you are a member of his Church – a body of believers stretching through all time and covering all places. The Bible uses very extravagant language for this Church.

In 1 Corinthians it is referred to as the “body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12.27 “27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Peter 2.9 says this about us believers in Jesus: “ 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Colossians 1.17 says Jesus is the head of the Church: 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the first-born from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” 
Ephesians 5.25 says: “ 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, people have never hated their own bodies, but they feed and care for them, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”

Seriously, do you think any religious institution on earth can fit this description? Rather should we not take Jesus words (John 18.36) “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” As the true description: his glorious church is not of this world.

Some of his people are still in this world, some are not.

The religious institutions, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Uniting, Greek Orthodox, Assemblies of God, and any other Christian denominations, may under God, be of vital assistance to God’s people and the spreading of the Gospel and many other worthwhile functions BUT not one of them and not even all of them together constitute the “one holy catholic and apostolic Church” of the creed. They are all institutions of this world only and sadly all too often they run by the power and ideals of our fallen human nature rather than God’s Holy Spirit.

So while it is almost certainly God’s purpose for you to belong to a congregation of believers and be part of a denomination, remember: you were made a member of God’s Church as soon as you came to believe in his son Jesus. Belonging to a particular earthly congregation and denomination is as nothing compared to that.

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