Do You Know Your History?

Jason Taylor

During my commute to work, I pass numerous roadside markers that have been erected to share a brief history of that particular area as it relates to the Civil War. My mind then wanders to the people living in those areas and whether they know the true history of where they live. Maybe they have just taken for granted what they have been told all their lives and accepted it as fact. 

Then I wonder how many other teachings or ideas are accepted and why. One particular idea that occurs to me is the number of denominations in our world. How many members of those denominations actually know the history behind their churches and believe it to be pleasing to God? On the other hand, how many people are members of a denomination for reasons besides doctrine? Is it because their parents were members? Perhaps they went to private schools operated by particular denominations. Maybe some have no specific reasons for attending particular denominations.

I decided to conduct a brief search on the history of four popular denominations. My first stop was the Bible, and it was a short read. Despite my searching, I was unable to locate anything in the Bible on the Episcopals, Lutherans, Baptists, or Methodists. I then turned to the dubiously trustworthy World Wide Web, which yielded the websites for these four denominations. Each website had a link providing the history of, and individual(s) responsible for, the establishment of that particular denomination. 

The Episcopal Church acknowledged St. Augustine of Canterbury. The Baptist Church listed John Smyth as founder and credited Roger Williams and John Clarke for establishment in North America. When I pulled up the Methodist denomination, I found brothers John and Charles Wesley as founders with R.H. Mueller and L.C. Wicke accredited with forming the United Methodist Church as it is known today. The Lutherans obviously recognized Martin Luther. The problem herein is that none of the four denominations mentioned can be found in the Bible. If none are mentioned in the Bible, they cannot be from Christ and, by elimination, must be from man, just as each claimed on its website. 

Conversely, the church that Christ established can be found in the Bible and is known today as it was then, the church of Christ. 

In spite of the numerous denominations in today’s world, Christ established only one church (Matt. 16:18, Eph 4:4, Col. 1:18) and warned against false teachers (Matt 7:15-16, 2 Peter 2:1-3). Paul also tells us in Galatians 1:6-9 that there is only one gospel and anyone who preaches any other gospel should be eternally damned. Despite what might be sincere effort by denominational groups, they are not expressly mentioned or alluded to in the Bible and, therefore, are not wanted or approved by Christ. 

When someone has been taught one thing all his life, he would, understandably, be skeptical when presented with something that opposes what he considers truth. However, if I were that someone and my soul were at stake, I hope someone would care enough to tell me, despite the risk of upsetting me. After all, he would be doing it out of love and concern. I encourage each person to be concerned enough about his soul to research his beliefs, humble enough to accept what he finds in the Bible, and bold enough to act upon it. After all, we are talking about eternity. -54 Hansberry CT, Inwood, WV 25428.

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