Updated: Mar 22
This is a pressing topic in our society today, especially with our polarized political, social, and religious landscape. It can be said, that there is more division and divisiveness with the Christian church today then any "togetherness." Often, when such a statement is made, it's from a Catholic priest attempting at to swallow other denominations under it's umbrella. From my experiences, nearly every denomination within Christianity/Messianic Judaism all have their creeds and non-biblical stances. The Catholic church is the front-runner with the most issues, such as rampant idolatry. However, how much idolatry is enough in a denomination to become "idolatrous?" One single image, statue, or portrait of a false Messiah, a cross, a fish, may easily be enough. I have covered this in other blog posts, so we will move on.
My point is that I have not located a "perfect" church for a believer in our society. They all have issues. And while many will use that as a reason to choose a church, this can also be to their detriment and spiritual growth. Such denominations have set creeds that you "must" believe in to become (and remain) a member.
Think back about 5 or even 10 years ago and identify any beliefs you had or didn't have then, that have changed by studying scripture.
Those who actually "study themselves approved" will often be faced with questions about verses, challenge their preachers/teachers on views, and have a divine desire for truth. When our preachers and teachers cannot answer our questions, sometimes they are mocked and simply told something akin to "God is a mystery." Stories abound of senior church clergy, who once they challenged the path of the organization, they were asked to leave the congregation. This often happens with the Seeker-Sensitive and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movements, which are both unbiblical in which everyone is accepted rather then judging those within the church (ekklesia).
Let's review 2 Cor. 10 which is often used falsely as many churches use it for mysticism and misconceptions about so-called spiritual warfare (read "Truth or Territory" by Jim Osman).
2 Corinthians 10
"For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through Elohim (God) for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of Elohim (God), and we take every thought captive to obey Messiah." - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Obviously, this scripture is regarding "strongholds" of arguments and our beliefs. Overcoming traditions of men by God's Word which is all that stands as truth in this corrupt world. We are to "take every thought captive." The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth for those who remain in the faith and study themselves approved.
We should avoid labels, titles, or denominations because humanity uses those to box people in on beliefs and often to segment, divide and even ridicule people. We should study the Scriptures freely without labels, so that we can be led by the Spirit of Elohim (like the wind) and not the Traditions of Men.
Believers should be constantly growing in the faith, not content with their current knowledge, church affiliation (with set creeds), or beliefs they were raised in as children. Too often believers get stuck into the doctrines of their parents with little testing. We get comfortable sitting in a familiar church pew and listening to the same preacher for years. The subjects that such a persons preacher is deceived, so will be the congregations errors in theology. A major one today is the topic of the rapture (see separate post on this). For many church-goes it's akin to a sin to even question this doctrine. Even the word, "rapture" has a context and when someone claims not to believe in such a thing as being biblical, they are often shunned and ridiculed. Instead, let us challenge every stronghold as scripture has instructed. It's not a matter of "I believe in the rapture" but rather "what does Scripture say about end times?" that should be our starting point.
Be Blessed in Messiah,