For years I have heard the talk of a consumer driven society and church.
- I suggest that it is not usually the whimsy of the individual to change or start groups, but the need to participate fully in a group.
- I suggest that it is not the individual shopping around for a church, but the church’s disapproval cutting off other members of the household of God from some portion of fellowship.
This can be as simple as someone who wears the wrong clothes making a division, to the church banishing or exiling a person or hundreds of churches.
In the first generation of the church, the church esteemed the teaching of Jesus directly with the OT added. Would it be better to say we have the Old Testament, Tanakh, with the teaching of Jesus as the Rosetta Stone? In the second generation of the church there were already divisions, “I follow Paul,” sad one, and another said, “I follow Apollos.”
By the end of the forth century AD, the church was essentially one body. The body held to and agreed with the Apostles Creed and the 2 Nicean Creeds. There were smaller factions that split off from time to time, but the church was basically whole. In 1054 Rome declared the patriarch of Constantinople anathema Maranatha. The Papal Bull was placed on the high altar of the Cathedral of Hagia
Creeds give us a touch point, a distillation of what it means to believe as a Christian. I keep the three volume Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical notes by PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D in my library. Of the more than 2500 pages, the time of universal, whole church (relatively speaking), takes up less than 70 pages. People have been disenfranchised from each other more than they have been in unity. It does not matter what perspective you want to consider.
When a new creed is set down, there is a reason. Most, if not all creeds, mark a clear point when a group, large or small, separated into its on group/division. I consider myself a Christian and these creeds give me a genetic framework. This means that in comparing one creed to the creed before it, on the same branch, we can see what the points of contention were between different believing groups.
Most churches I have been involved with have been denominations or movements started in the last couple centuries, at most one tenth of the duration of the church. But I have a keen desire to see those who are brothers and sister in κοινωνία, ας, ἡ, communion,/fellowship. Can’t you see this is against God’s will? I can feel the weight of it. Do you see? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Do you repent?
What sparked this line of thought was a post on social media by a friend of mine.
A “friend” told me that unless I publicly confess that I’m NOT gifted in the prophetic (because there are no more prophets) he will not add me back as a friend on Facebook. Hmmm. Ephesians 4:13 Maybe?
I have no doubt that my friend is a Christian. You can minister with another without sensing the work of the Spirit. I make no judgments. Sometimes it is I who is not in tune, as it were. Sometimes it is them. But when the Spirit breathes life into clay, those in the conduit will know, by sight, others through whom God is pouring. I would not be surprised if the person, who in effect is putting a scarlet “P” out there is not a Christian. This is like a piece of bread in the mouth turning rancid. The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox were visible church for centuries. At the time of the Great Schism between the East and West there was just that debate. Should the bread in my mouth at communion be leavened or unleavened? This is the communion of the body and blood of Christ, and we think it is one reason for dissociation. What does it mean not to eat or drink in an unworthy fashion? We take the bread while we limit our fellowship.
Which is meat?
- That we know, think or express the right things at the right time.
- Or that there is a unity between you and your spiritual family.
Apostles Creed was agreed to by the universal church. If a person falls within the bounds of the creed they are most assuredly your family.