Jesus asked the question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” This may have sounded strange the day it was asked; however, today it sounds like a reasonable and logical question. Consider what has happened to the church through the years: For a long time the Catholics sold what amounted to atonement for souls they swore were stuck in purgatory. Breaking from this terrible wrong, the Protestant Reformation was born. From there came denomination after denomination, each with different beliefs and different interpretations of the Bible.
In the 1880’s D. S. Warner and others misinterpreted Isaiah 52:11 and, believing it to be speaking of the many denominations, they tried to remedy the diversity by preaching, “Come out from among them and be ye separate”, saying the church was comprised of all true believers, and free of creeds, believing only the Bible. From this the Church of God, Andersen, IN came into being, with only one requirement to be a member, that of being born again. They claimed to believe and adhere to the entire Bible, however, I know of at least one Church of God minister that was defrocked because he spoke in tongues. There are most likely many others. So, the Church of God also ultimately became just another denomination. And now, here we are, with people still breaking out claiming to be non-denominational, only to be found as nothing more than another denomination. Merriam-Webster says a denomination is ‘a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices’.
But, are different denominations really so bad for those who truly follow Jesus? One who walks by the Spirit walks by the Spirit everywhere he goes, whether it’s to a grocery store, or to a church. To walk by the Spirit is to walk by the Spirit, period. I believe Christians are Christians regardless of which church they attend. I go to a Methodist church and I disagree with some of their beliefs and practices, but that doesn’t prevent me from worshipping God there. I am a Christian wherever I go and in whatever church I attend. I am not a Methodist; I am a Christian who attends a Methodist church.
There are many who are Methodist first, and secondly Christians, or Baptist first, and secondly Christians, etc. etc. etc. In other words, they are united in their adherence to their church’s beliefs and practices. But all who find their life-blood in the Vine of God are always Christians first. It matters not where they go to church, or whether they are members, or not; nor does it matter what others believe; they are simply followers of Jesus, — nothing more, nothing less. They cannot be coerced into believing something the Lord hasn’t revealed to them, nor can they be hindered by someone who believes something they know to be untrue.
Jeremiah 29:7 says, ‘…seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare,’.
Finding a church whose beliefs we can completely agree with is most likely impossible. It is most likely impossible because so few have been yielded to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to lead them into all truth. There has always been an abundance of scholars, and those who consider themselves to be scholars, who interpret Scriptures with their own understanding; thus all the different doctrines and denominations. But, in spite of all this, whichever church we choose, we should seek the welfare of that church, regardless of whether or not we believe everything its organization believes.
Seeking a church’s welfare does not mean we promote its doctrines; it simply means we do our best to make it a better place. We do this by loving all people with the unconditional love of God that flows in, and through, our hearts. We make it a better place by our actions and reactions that stem from our obedience to the Holy Spirit. In short, we make our church a better place by sharing the fragrant aroma of the Son of God with all whom we come in contact. And, in so doing, its welfare becomes our welfare.
So, will there be faith on the earth when Jesus returns? I believe so. God has always kept for Himself a remnant who have stayed the course. I believe He will also have a remnant when the end comes. And each person in that remnant will, without exception, be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, — nothing more, nothing less, — regardless of where they went to church.
(At the end of the age angels will separate the tares from the wheat. We are to allow them to grow together until then.)
Rev. Jon Banks
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