This past Thanksgiving Day, I had an unexpected visit from my nephew who I had not seen for some time. Greg is a twenty-two year old soldier currently on medical leave from the United States military and also a new father.
As we caught up and shared small talk, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to inquire as to the state of his soul. After all I don’t think that Greg would have recognized his uncle if I hadn’t. When he and his brother lived with me many years ago, they likened it to religious camp, what a wonderful compliment.
When I asked the question, “how are things in your spiritual life?” he looked me square in the eyes as only a soldier would and answered, not to well. When I asked what seemed to be the trouble he explained that he was having a difficult time understanding what to believe. Having introduced him to the Lord many years ago when he was a young teen, I was stunted by his response.
Probing for understanding I began to ask the usual qualifying questions to determine whether or not I had fully understood what he meant. It would have been very easy to go into a theological discourse explaining the relevance of Jesus’ lordship as referenced in scripture or even better, make him reminisce on the religious camp days when he himself confessed Christ as Lord. Avoiding the temptation to use religious jargon I simply asked him to explain in his own words exactly what he did believe. I have to say that I was quite pleased to hear him describe his belief that his salvation is achieved by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus on his behalf. It is more honest to say, I was ecstatic!
I sensed a relief in myself as I exclaimed that he was in fact a born again believer. He then explained that it is not his salvation that he questions as much as the conflicting doctrines of the different denominations that he has encountered over the past several years. These are valid concerns that seem to be expressed more and more by believers and seekers alike. Who has the truth, who will lead me and help me to know and understand the God of my salvation?
As more and more converts to Christianity seem to stray further away from the church, those of us who are supposed to lead the way, watch helplessly. It would seem that our spiritual hands are tied and we allow precious children of God to slip through the cracks and fall back into worldly living.
Do we have the answers that these who are loved by the Lord seek and are not able to find in our churches? It would almost seem that the answer is no! Fortunately, there is an answer, but not a simple solution. We are learning if we haven’t already learned that every denominational brick causes Christianity to appear all the more confusing.
Have we allowed our denominational dogma to become more precious to us than the souls for which Christ died? The falling away from the church that is relative to confusion makes the answer to this question obvious, don’t you think?
The Corinthian church had a similar problem, resulting from placing relevance on the teacher, assuming that he was as important as Christ himself. (see 1 Corinthians 1:10-17)
To give acclamation to denominationalism is to buy into the same practice strongly discouraged by the Apostles in scripture thus building walls of confusion.