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Denominationalism And False Teaching

God tells us He "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth."

God wants us to know the truth and "God is not the author of confusion"...

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Confusion comes from man, not God.

Because of long time traditions of men, old habits, false teachings, and pride, men have wrestled with the Scriptures to satisfy themselves and their congregations instead of God. Many are sincere but cannot let go of the false traditions and their pride... many stand to lose too much and fear persecution. What they do not understand is they are going to lose a lot more than they think if they do not acknowledge the truth.

Many preachers have preached their false doctrines for so many years that they have actually come to believe in it.

Think about it... a preacher that has preached to a congregation for several years is going to have to stand up before his congregation and tell them that he has misled them for all these years, that what he has been preaching is not the whole truth, and even some of it is absolutely false. It would be overwhelming for that preacher to do such a thing... although it would certainly be the right thing to do.

There are those who just cannot admit that they are wrong and face the truth.

Yes, it is very sad and to some it is hard to accept, but it is true. Many people will say that they cannot accept this truth because their parents, grandparents, or close relatives believed the way their preacher teaches today. They believe it would be admitting that quite possibly some of their family members who have passed away might not have been saved. Consider though... who are we to judge those who are gone away from us... only God knows their heart, so we must leave that up to our righteous and merciful God.

Now consider for a moment the story of the rich man and Lazarus... here is the Scripture on this story...

Luke 16:19-28 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom (heaven) and the rich man was sent to hell. The rich man lifted up his eyes and looked up and saw Abraham and Lazarus. He cried for Abraham to have mercy on him and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue because he was tormented in flame.

We can see from this passage just how terrible hell will be... that those in hell would beg for only one drop of water on the tip of their tongue. Of course Abraham refused him this request.

Then notice what the rich man asked of Abraham... "that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment."

Now let's look at that same passage in the NASB translation... "And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house for I have five brothers; in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'"

The rich man wanted Abraham to go to his father's house and warn his five brothers so that they might be persuaded to hear the truth and repent.

Now... if it were possible, do you not believe that if you had a relative that has passed away and is with the rich man, that they would not also be trying to warn you of the same, that is if you would not listen to the truth and repent.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to hear those that are gone from us, wherever they may be. However, we do have God's Word to know the truth and His Word is our evidence of the truth. We must listen to the evidence, it is warning us right now today. Our loved ones, regardless of where they are at, would want us to listen to the truth, and obey God's Word, not man's doctrine.

Jesus and the apostles warned us many times of false teachers, old habits, and traditions of men would come upon us.

Jesus warned us that the path to destruction is the broad and easy way and "many" will enter this destructive way, but His way is the narrow way "and few there be that find it."

If God only found eight people to save during the days of Noah, it would not be hard for Him to only save a "few" when Jesus returns the second time...

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

It's pretty clear what Jesus says... "few" will "find" His way.

This means the majority will not be saved... it means that less than half will be saved... it means exactly what Jesus said because He said it.

"FEW" is "FEW" and is the opposite of "MANY", which Jesus says will follow the broad path to destruction.

We may wonder why that is... consider what Jesus says in the very next verse...

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

They will come to us in "sheep's clothing"... they will appear to be like those speaking the truth, they will appear to be Christians, but really they will be false prophets, false teachers, preaching and teaching us what is NOT the truth.

There will be many who will deceive us and teach false doctrines and traditions of men instead of what Jesus and the apostles taught.

Consider the many passages that warn us of these false teachings and false doctrines...

2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them, the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

Acts 20:29-30 "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

Romans 16:17-18 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit says clearly that in the last times some people will abandon the faith by following deceitful spirits, the teachings of demons, and the hypocrisy of liars, whose consciences have been burned by a hot iron.

Jude 1:3-4 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Think about how many different doctrines (teachings) there are in this world today. Where did all these doctrines come from? They came from men!

Consider how many different denominations there are today. It is no surprise that we have so many different doctrines that are taught.

What did the apostle Paul write about these doctrines?

Let's read exactly what he wrote...

1 Timothy 6:3-6 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

With all these different teachings, are all the different denominations teaching the same thing? No... they are all different, thus they cannot be adhering to the Scriptures because Paul plainly calls for us to all "speak the same thing" and there should be "no divisions" among us. They each have different belief's and doctrines so it is impossible for them to be teaching the same things. There are no doubt "divisions" because that is what "denominations" are.

In the same way Paul called on the Corinthians to not divide Christ by saying that they were "of Paul" or "of Apollos" or "of Cephas"... we too can not say that we are Baptist, we are Methodist, or we are Presbyterian. We can only be "of Christ" and be a Christian because we are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Ephesians 4:11-15 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

Clearly our goal should be "building up the body of Christ" which we have learned is "the church" and we should do this "until we all attain to the unity of the faith". We should not be "tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine".

If you have a chance to study the history of denominations, you will learn that the Catholic Church was formed in the early 600's. The first Protestant denominations began in the early 1500's. All during the 1500's and early 1600's is when most of the major denominations got their start. Of course, in the last 50 years we have had numerous other denominations creep into our society. Nearly every one of these denominations has different beliefs, different doctrines, and different ways of worship, along with different handbooks and rule books to support their man-made doctrines.

Think about how many denominational handbooks and rule books there are for all the different denominations that have surfaced since the Manuscripts were first written. I will not get into all the different names of those books but you may know a few of them, especially if you happen to be a member of one of these denominations. If you are not a member of a denomination, and have not read any of these handbooks, I would encourage you not to read them... instead, read and study the Bible and only the Bible for now. You may wish to get an Interlinear Bible so you can read the actual Manuscripts, and you may also want to have a Thayer's and Strong's dictionary on hand to look up a few words so you can understand their meaning from the days the Manuscripts were written. I just cannot imagine why we would need all those denominational handbooks and rule books. We have the Bible and it is fully sufficient, it is all we need for everything.

The Scriptures teach us that they are all we need for complete instructions in everything we do, and to be acceptable to God. These denominational books are not inspired by God... they are written by men that were not inspired of God, as the original men who wrote the Manuscripts were.

Paul tells us to hold fast to their teachings, not the teachings of men today. He tells us to hold firmly to the traditions that Jesus and the apostles taught...

Titus 1:7-9 For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

1 Corinthians 11:1-2 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

And remember what Paul wrote in Romans...

Romans 6:16-17 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Those Christians "obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered" to them.

What "form of doctrine" was delivered to them? It can not be the same doctrine that we have with all these different denominations today because they are different than what was delivered by Jesus and the apostles.

We may ask the question, "How can so many people be so wrong?" I certainly did, several times.

Jesus answered the question for us when He said "MANY" will follow the broad and wide path to destruction, and only a "FEW" will "FIND" the narrow, strait, and small path to eternal life. The "majority" is not always right.

We may believe that a particular man is a really good man and we may believe he is truly sincere, but we must ask ourselves, is he preaching and teaching the truth?

Consider what Paul wrote to Timothy...

1 Timothy 1:3 When I was on my way to Macedonia, I urged you to stay in Ephesus so that you could instruct certain people to stop teaching false doctrine and occupying themselves with myths and endless genealogies. These things promote controversies rather than God's ongoing purpose, which involves faith. The goal of this instruction is love that flows from a pure heart, from a clear conscience, and from a sincere faith. Some people have left these qualities behind and have turned to fruitless discussion. They want to be teachers of the law, yet they do not understand either what they are talking about or the things about which they speak so confidently.

Paul wrote to Timothy and urged him to stay in Ephesus to "instruct certain people to stop teaching false doctrine". Paul wrote that "Some people have left these qualities behind and have turned to fruitless discussion." He wrote that "they do not understand either what they are talking about or the things about which they speak so confidently."

Have we even bothered to verify the truth... or are we simply agreeing because so "many" seem to be so confident about what they preach and teach... and because it is the same thing that the "majority" of others are preaching and teaching?

Do not forget, the "majority" in the days of Noah were not right.

Do not forget that Jesus said "broad" is the path that leads to destruction and that "many" will follow that easy path... yet "few" will "find" the narrow path to eternal life.

I have heard some people comment that all these warnings about false teachers are warning us against people like the Mormon's, Jehovah Witness, Scientology, etc... but I do not see them dressed in sheep's clothing... they do not appear to be Christians to most people. It is very evident they are not preaching and teaching the truth. No... the one's we should be worried about are those that appear to be real Christian's, but sway from preaching "ALL" of the Word of God. They may teach some truth as to appear to be real, but they fail to teach "every word that comes from the mouth of God." Their false teachings may be hard to recognize because we fail to study and prove the truth.

Denominationalism has caused divisions which cause its' followers to cling only to that portion of the Scriptures that appear to support their own human doctrines or practices, and not the entire Bible. They divide the church, they teach doctrines of men, they believe more in their own rule books and handbooks, they only teach portions of the Bible and ignore other passages, they use trickery, craftiness, and deceive the simple and common man. The only way we can know for sure is to study the Word of God and know the truth for ourselves.

The only handbook, rule book, or doctrine that we need today is the BIBLE! The infallible, inspired, imperishable, incorruptible, Word of God!

2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

For God's sake and your own soul... study the Scriptures and "FIND" the "TRUTH" and make absolutely sure you have "ETERNAL LIFE".

It is what the Holy Scriptures prove... please read the evidence for yourself.

God bless you!

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