INDOCTRINATED BY AFFILIATION
by paul hoffmaster
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When a person has entered into the realm of the “churched,” he is immediately indoctrinated into the beliefs and teachings of the fellowship he has chosen to join. As these doctrines become embedded into his mind, his openness to teachings outside his guarded denominational or church borders becomes severely limited. I have never been so cognizant of the lack of tolerance between Christians of different persuasions. A few weeks ago I wrote an article entitled “CONDEMN OR ENCOURAGE.” Even though my blog is simply reasoning to myself, I found a large number of readers were upset by what they thought was my lack of doctrinal beliefs. Their reasoning behind hitting the delete button of my blog was that I had conflicted their understanding of what they thought was Christian truths. A few days ago I had an exchange with a Pastor who was very verbal with what he believed. As the verbal stream continued to flow, I realized he was interpreting Scripture through his denominational eyes. He was expressing what his Bible School and Seminary had taught him. The Protestants who oppose Catholicism believe that there should be no human being who stands between God and His people, yet is this not what is being done in schools of “higher learning?” Instructors are there to guide the Believers into Truth, not to dictate what they feel is worthy to be called doctrine. Instead of God’s children searching out the Word of God themselves, they are taught what Scriptures are relevant or dispensational. Are Believers so insecure that they dare not read the Word outside of denominational guidelines?
Salvation is for the “whosoever” and is not contingent on “whensoever.” (See Matt. 20:1-16) If a person lying on his death bed calls out to God, whom he has shunned throughout his life, will not God hear his plea? Will God reject him because it would not be fair for those who labored for the Kingdom all their life to have one at the last minute “sneak” into the Kingdom? What about baptizing him? As the Pastor rushes to the death bed with a bowl of water to clean him up for his trip to the Kingdom of Heaven, he dies. Since he was not baptized, will there be a sign on Heaven’s door saying “no vacancy?” There is too much human doctrine in Christian circles today! The more the Church soils its garments with non-Biblical teachings, the less attractive it becomes to the non-believers. More and more churches are becoming organizations of opinion. The more we promote human doctrine, the more we grieve the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 4:30)
When is the Church going to stop making it so hard for the seeking to be saved? When is the Church going to let the Holy Spirit guide all Believers into the Truth? When is the Church going to stop piecemealing Scripture so as to create doctrines that will exhibit the reincarnation of the Law? When is the Church going to seek unity instead of diversity? When is the Church going to understand Jesus’ words when He said, “I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly?” (John 10:10) The Christian movement is to be an outward expression of the inward Grace of God.
As the New Year begins, let Christians stand down from behaving like the Pharisees, and join hands with one another, and press on with the high calling God has for us. Let us move from reestablishing Law to experiencing Grace!
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