Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The End of Denominational Loyalty

I was recently involved with a group of pastors talking about the lack of denominational faithfulness. It was noted that congregants move from church to church (not surprising within denominational churches), but disturbingly they move between denominations. These individuals really don't know why it matters, and don't really care about the differences other than the worship style.  It didn't used to be that way. So why is it that way now?

Denominations exist primarily because of theology and methodology. We didn't talk much about the latter, but the former is a major issue (much methodology is determined by theology). We have generations of people who do not know doctrine. They are ignorant of the things that distinguish them from other denominations, some of which are very significant. The church's failure coupled with the societal ecumenical mindset leads to little doctrinal commitment, therefore believers that are carried about with every wind of doctrine.

We discussed some groups that are doing a good job with doctrine. On our very short list were two cults. Of course, cursing the darkness only has limited value. So in the interest of fixing the problem, I asked them if they had ever taught a series of just doctrine. Other than in seminary, had they ever taught or had taught to them the doctrine of God and all its intricacies, or the doctrine of salvation and the various progression of it, or the doctrine of the church, which is probably the most important as it relates to denominational faithfulness? These long time pastors said "no." I know that we all touch on doctrine and preach doctrine in our sermons and teachings, but snippets don't cover all the bases. Snippets don't give depth, or breadth, or the glorious nature of excellencies of our God, nor our faith.

I challenged them and you to teach, preach, study doctrine systematically. Go deeper, take others deeper. Make them firmer. "But they will be bored," is a common objection. It is a sin in my humble, but accurate opinion, to make glorious things boring things. So find a way to do it without bordem! Its your job to make disciples, to communicate truth, to keep their attention. If you are baptist, teach them why they are baptist, and why that is important. If you of another denomination, become baptist, and teach them the right way, just kidding. Know the history of your denomination, know the distinctives. Teach them, so that Christ will be glorified in the knowledge of Himself in His children; and so that the fullness of Christ through the church would be spread and known.

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