Friday, 13 February 2009
I have recently come to the conclusion that God’s two least favourite words are Denomination and Pharisee. I must be careful though when I pigeon-hole people as I belong to a denomination [even if it has no specific organization behind it] and I can sometimes display the tendencies of a Pharisee [a person who says one thing and does another]. As Saint Paul so eloquently expressed my feelings, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:24-25.
I am in the middle of reading a great book by Darrell W. Johnson, Discipleship on the Edge – An Expository Journey Through the Book of Revelation [a heavy title but a truly exciting read]. As I read through the chapters concerning Jesus’ messages to the Seven Churches, I was struck by the fact of how much we need each other.
The problem we face is two-fold. First all denominations are based upon specific doctrines which must mean that everyone but the Brethren Church has it all wrong ;>) and second, when it comes to church, ‘like seems to attract like’. Joking aside, I feel one of the key benefits of attending a Brethren church is the focus on the study of the Bible – everyone is encouraged to participate in a home-study group. You can’t effectively live and preach the Word if you haven’t studied it. I attend Bendale Bible Chapel .
The Apostle Paul clearly teaches that all parts of the body are essential for the proper functioning of the whole, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body”. And “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don't need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don't need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour.” It is unfortunate that all our Pentecostal friends, with their charismatic gifts, meet together and we, at the Brethren church tend to be deprived of the spiritual gifts they tend to focus on. I’m sure they in turn would benefit from some of our expository teaching. I could go on and list the key benefits of each denomination but that would require its own website.
The point I wish to make is that we need each other and THE WORLD NEEDS TO SEE THAT WE NEED AND LOVE EACH OTHER. Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35.
I think we need to leave our Pharisee cloaks in the closet and love each other a lot more; otherwise the world is not going to get a very good impression of us.