Over the last 15 years as a preacher I have had many conversations with those that don’t see religion the same why that I do. I get that we are all different people with different opinions and there are going to be times when we cone to different conclusions. However, there are some things in scriptures that don’t need to be or shouldn’t be haggled over.
I am certain that we have all heard the common phrase, “what difference does it make, we are all going to the same place.” People say this when they feel in their heart that they love God, serve God and that God is completely happy with the way that they are doing things. Typically, this is followed by a chastisement of what is usually called Pharisaical thinking in trying to bind people to a law of some sort. Legalism has became a dirty word in certain religious circles and many Christians, preachers included, will say or do just about anything to avoid being labeled as such.
Usually to try to dissuade a person from believing that it doesn’t matter what we believe so long as we are going to the same place we have our “tried and true” arguments. We talk about the fact that it we want to get to California, we cannot go east. If a person says it can be done, its just the long way, we usually reply with some set directions that still need to be followed and that you cannot just randomly choose one direction over an another and magically end up there. We even go to passages like Rev. 22:18-19. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” But, how many times have you mentioned these argument and found the person you were discussing the scriptures with have the light bulb go and were ready to accept the truth right then and there? For me, never. I have never had a person say, “now I get it.”
So, what are we doing wrong? We could make the argument that fields aren’t white for harvest. We could make the argument that they don’t have a love for the truth. And that truth loving person is out there, somewhere. What if how we are trying to show that the truth matters is flawed?
Denominationalism is Bad. In John 17:20-22 Jesus prayed that we all would be one. It is the only time in Jesus life that he specifically mentioned you and I. He prayed for all that believed the teaching of His apostles. He prayed that we would be one as He and His Father are one. Denominations, by definition, cannot support the idea of oneness. They collectively are said to make up the one (universal) church. But, God doesn’t want to see his church divided up. Jesus didn’t want to see the church divided up. He wanted to see it unified. When we divide up the church because we don’t agree on the use of musical instruments and we don’t agree on the frequency in which the Lord’s Supper should be taken and we don’t agree on at what point salvation is granted to believers, there is something wrong. We cannot divide up the church because we don’t get along! The truth matter because the truth keeps us together.
In I Cor. 1:10, Paul stated that the key to oneness was to believe the same thing. “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” We certainly undertsand the importance of this when it comes to the local church. Most of us have at least seen what happens when a person rejects the teaching commonly supported. Divisions in the body occur. People’s feelings get hurt and oneness is lost. Believe me, Paul did not write this just to refer to the dynamic of the local church. He knew until we believed the same thing we cannot be united.
False Truths are Explicitly Condemned. In Gal. 1:6-10 Paul explicitly condemns the idea that it doesn’t matter what you believe. He condemns the practice of tampering with God’s word. The truth does indeed matter. Just because it appears to be the gospel, that doesn’t make it so. The gospel can only lead to life eternal if it is not tampered with and left in its original form.
The truth matters because it matters to God.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Why the Truth Matters
Volume 8 Issue 16