Just Wondering…

Just Wondering
By Pastor Lee Hemen
May 7, 2014

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:1-5 NIV)

I was just wondering what it means to adhere to denominational authority and doctrinal integrity. In our day many believers have fallen for the theological heretical fad of non-denominationalism whereby their creed screams, “We don’t believe in anything except Jesus!” However, there is an inherent doctrinal disease that infects this kind of personal theology. I was recently reminded of C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity.” Some incorrectly think Lewis was an advocate of non-denominationalism, but nothing is further from the truth. He was a devout born again Episcopalian. Notice what he wrote, “I hope no reader will suppose that ‘mere’ Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of existing communities – as if man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open to several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I have attempted. But it is in the rooms, not the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in.” The hall for Lewis was non-denominationalism and the doors were the denominations. The hall was no place to live. He, like Paul, was reminding his readers that there is a huge danger in thinking that one does not need foundation for their faith. The fires of the truth, the chairs of orthodox theology, and the fellowship of like-minded meals are found in the foundational truths of denominations, not in the hallways of non-denominationalism. Just as Paul wanted to remind his readers of the foundation of their faith, this is why denominations are so important. We may have been sold a bill of goods that denominations snuff the Spirit, which never has been true. We then open ourselves to willingly swallow the tacit twittering that non-denominations are mere Christianity unencumbered by the stodginess of corporate denominations. The danger is in the future generations that the heretical germ of non-denominationalism infects. It is slow cultural Christian cancer. The biblical truth that one reaps what one sows comes to fruition in generations brought up without the foundational truths prayerfully hammered out over centuries and common fellowship that denominations and their foundational doctrines bring. Jude, Jesus brother, wrote about how Godless men had crept into the church to infect it with their own theology, claiming they knew the truth. He passionately wrote, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 1:3 NIV) Non-denominationalism focuses on the self, it has to in order to justify itself and its willingness to leave behind orthodoxy. It whispers, like the snake in the Garden did to Eve, to the basest theological sins of the human heart; namely, we know what is best for ourselves. In our rush to make Jesus about ourselves and our worship as an emotional response for the moment, perhaps we have not held firmly, contended for the faith of Jude and the truth Paul preached and denominations have kept. Makes one wonder…

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