finally, some clarity on the origin of denominations

About three weeks ago, I began leading a six-week discussion at our church on how to study the Bible (theologically). During the most recent session, someone asked about the origins (or cause) of denominations within Christianity.

Because of time constraints, I opted for the simple (and somewhat over-generalised) response: denominations tend to emerge as a result of differing interpretations over certain important passages or specific beliefs.  Connected with this, denominations often form due to the practical outcome of these differences–i.e. people have different views over how the church should operate and/or conduct itself.

My response was either satisfactory (in spite of its brevity) or less than helpful (because of its brevity); it’s hard to know because no follow-up question was asked. However, it appears that I was completely mistaken in my understanding and I now need to go before the dear friends in this study and beg for mercy. How do I know I was wrong? Because Jack Kinsella has shown me why, in his wonderfully insightful ‘Omega Letter.’* About half way through his ‘article,’ Kinsella offers this bit of theological clarity:**

There are Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Anglican, Lutherans, Reformed, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Anabaptists, Brethren, Methodist, Apostolic, Pentecostal, Charismatic, African, United, Quakers, Mennonites, Unitarian, Messianic Judaism, and dozens more Christian-themed cults, like British Israelism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and so on.

In Genesis we read of the Tower of Babel, an effort by Nimrod to unite the world under his authority, and how God dealt with it.

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. (Genesis 11:6-7)

According to the Bible, when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, Nimrod’s effort will be duplicated by the antichrist who sets up a universal government under his authority and unites it via a single religion under his control.

During the Church Age, God divided the Church into denominations to prevent that from happening prematurely.

Human beings are not all born the same type of people.  We are split in profound and fundamental ways and then set radically free to find our own way.   We are born with a sense of God-consciousness, but we are free to seek His face or reject Him altogether.

The Bible is deliberately obscure enough to empower all the various denominations without any one of them growing too powerful – God demands faith in His Son, not faith in a church.

Who knew?! God is the cause for denominations.

(For those taking part in our study [who happen to read this]: this is a decent example of eisegesis).

* Said with tongue nearly burst through my cheek.
** I’m ignoring the multitude of problems with Kinsella’s argument.

more processed digital meat

I typically just delete the spam comments when they appear in the spam folder.  On one other occasion, I lifted the comment straight from the spam folder and gave it to you for your enjoyment.  This morning, I found two new comments and I simply could not pass up the opportunity to share.  I share them for two reasons: 1) they’re just plain funny, and 2) they show just how far spammers are trying to go in order to sound legitimate.

The first one comes from a chap called, ‘can’t get over my ex’, who comments on this post:

This is one of the most authoritative post I ever encountered today, I’m speaking about this section of your post “… yielded this result:I almost didn&#8217t want to admit this one, but results are results. �I guess the only …” it makes me to feel more knowledgable after understanding it.

Okay, first of all, Mr Can’t: when you rip something out of its original context in order to make a point; you wind up sounding pretty lame (which is really a nice way of saying ‘you sound like an idiot’).  More to the point, there is nothing ‘authoritative’ about the section of the post you quoted, and I certainly don’t see how you can feel ‘more knowledgeable after understanding it.’  It was a passing shot at Dan Brown and by extension Jack Kinsella; there was nothing didactic about anything I said in that comment.  While I appreciate the attempted encouragement, it’s just lacking in real substance–you know, just like spam.

The second comes from a chap called, ‘help me get over my ex’, who comments on this post:

Some readers just don’t get it, like my neighbor who couldn’t figure the objective substance of this line on your article “… one too is a bit long:This revelation of the mystery is the real content of Paul&#8217s gospel (Rom 16.26),…” this is it, you just crushed it down pal.

(I think this dude and the first one ought to form a support group so that they can deal with their ‘ex’ problems in a helpful way).  Mr Help, I couldn’t agree with you more: some readers just don’t get it.  However, and I hate to be this rude, you’re included in your own criticism when it comes to your feedback about my post.  I would love to claim that the line you (started to) quote is my own making, but alas I dare not insult Ridderbos by suggesting that my intelligence is comparable to his.  So while I agree that the ‘objective substance’ of what Ridderbos says is somewhat complex, I cannot agree with the conclusion that it was mine or that I crushed anything.  More to the point: what the crap are you talking about?