It was in 1517 that Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest, began the reformation of the Church. The revelation that he had was; “Justification (righteousness) by faith”. This revelation was the beginning of the true Church’s deliverance from the bondage of religion. An important point to remember is that for 1200 years “Christian” religion had ruled mankind with an iron fist. It was not for nothing that those 12 centuries were known as the Dark Ages.
In spite of the good work that they did, the fathers of the Reformation were ordinary people full of faults and wrong tendencies, as we all are. They were also influenced by their religious upbringing, and like all of us were inclined to be prejudiced. They did not have the full truth except what the Spirit had revealed to them. And although they were forced to break away from the Roman Church, they took with them a whole lot of religious baggage – amongst other things, a hatred for anything Jewish.
It was this hatred of the Jews that was the cause of our Saviour’s Jewish Name – Yahshua, being changed to the Greek name Iesous, that later became the Roman name Iesus. Then in the 16th century it became Jesus when the letter ‘J’ was added to the English alphabet.
As time passed the Spirit of YaHWeH restored other important Biblical truths to the Church. He introduced these doctrines by means of revelations to different men of Elohim. Some of these revelations were Baptism (Immersion in water) of believers, Holiness or Sanctification, Breaking of Bread (Communion), the Gifts of the Spirit, the Faith message etc.
But part and parcel of the fallen nature of man is pride and unteachableness. So every revelation was accompanied by the persecution of the person or persons receiving it, because it went against the doctrine the Church taught. When a believer “saw” a Scriptural truth and began walking in that truth, persecution began. The sad thing is that persecution was always instigated by leaders who did not “see” the truth, or who had a different interpretation of it. The result was that there was a breakaway situation – a split in the Church. This is the reason why there are literally thousands of different Church groups within Protestant Christendom.
It is also true to say that there are some movements that have completely lost the way. This happens when a certain doctrine is exalted way out of Scriptural context. In these cases it is clear that the doctrine is worshiped instead of YaHWeH, the subject of the doctrine. This is obviously the enemy’s work, because when a doctrine is so exalted, then the Church usually rejects it. That is precisely the devil’s purpose – that the Church rejects every God-given revelation. The English proverb says it most succinctly; “Throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”
All of Scripture is important. We cannot afford to reject any of it. Rejection of certain doctrines, is exactly what is happening throughout Christendom. Obviously the people who reject a certain doctrine do not recognize that this is what they are actually doing. Interpretation usually gets the blame. Many doctrines are discarded because; “That’s your interpretation, we don’t see it that way.” Every Church – be it Reformed (mainline traditional), Pentecostal or Charismatic is in the habit of picking and choosing from the doctrines of the Word to fit in with the traditional teachings of their particular denomination.
“All of Scripture is given by inspiration of Elohim, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of Elohim may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim.3:16 -17)
Acts 17 records a very interesting piece of Church history in respect of the two new local churches; Thessalonica and Berea. Paul taught the same gospel message to both these congregations. But there was a big difference in the way they reacted to the message. Both congregations believed in the Son of YaHWeH who died in order to reconcile man to Him. But look how differently they responded to this gospel.
“These (the Berean believers) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” (Acts.17:11)
The conclusion here is very clear. The congregation of Thessalonica was lukewarm. They “believed” the Word, but that is all. In contrast, the believers of Berea lived out their faith. What they believed became their whole life. Their lifestyle changed to conform to what the Word taught. They did not dissect the Scriptures to fit into what they believed. Their faith did not become a once a week religious act. Daily they searched the Scriptures, and in so doing their relationship with the Father deepened.
I believe that every Church leader is accountable to Elohim, to honestly examine and evaluate each revelation in the light of Scripture. In many cases the problem is that church tradition carries more authority than Scripture itself. Sometimes, to make matters worse, translations are deliberately changed in order to accommodate unscriptural, but traditional church teachings.