Wait a minute . . . I thought I was right and everyone else was wrong. Jesus doesn’t like my doctrine?
No, He doesn’t or, at least He doesn’t like the way it matters to you.
That’s an amazingly bold statement and it’s deeply offensive. I’m the pastor of a major American Church in a leading denomination. How do you know he doesn’t like my doctrine?
Simple. He told me. He told you, too, but you won’t listen.
Let me explain before you burn me at the stake.
Since the Day of Pentecost, when the crowd, convicted of their sins cried out, “What must we do to be saved?” the Church has split more doctrine into more nuanced differences than two lawyers debating the color of an orange.
In the Christian religion, hair-splitting is soon followed by head-splitting – and we’re still at it today.
Oh, maybe we’re a little more sophisticated than burning someone at the stake, but publically crushing and destroying doctrinal opponents is rampant in the Church and completely contrary to the express teachings and heart’s desire of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The following are quotes from nationally known, mainstream protestant pastors & leaders of large denominations/organizations, publically commenting on . . . nationally known, mainstream protestant pastors & leaders of large denominations/organizations:
“revisionist historian with the intent to mislead” (ie. He’s a liar)
“ignorant and prejudiced”
This is why Jesus doesn’t like our doctrine – because it has become so important to us that we are willing to slander others who see things differently.
It’s as if Christianity has become some range war in an epic Western movie set where everyone picks their side and rides hard for their brand. As things get out of hand, the instructions of the Director get lost in all the shooting. It’s loyalty to the brand, above all else.
In our fervor for our brand of doctrine, we’ve forgotten about The Brand.
We’re just like the early Church – picking loyalties and identifying with something in addition to King Jesus.
Back then people rode for the brand of their choice, too. Since the Church was still young, there were only a few but, you have to admit, the quality of the brands was pretty good. There was brand ‘Paul’, brand ‘Apollos’, brand ‘Peter’ oh, and brand Christ, too – not bad, eh?
But the Holy Spirit said, “No!” In the Church of Jesus Christ, there is to be no brand loyalty other than to King Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:9 – 13
9 God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you says, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
There’s nothing ambiguous here, nothing subtle, nothing hard to understand, only a clear teaching and rebuke.
Do you want to align your perspective and, yes, your doctrine with the Bible?
There is only One Brand.
Only, ever identify yourself as a follower of Jesus Christ. Never attach a man’s name to who you are, to whom you follow, or to what you believe. Those who do, violate the Scriptures. Don’t follow their example.
Those who do (according to the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul, v.11) are a force for dividing the Church. God doesn’t want us to have an argument. He wants us to have a relationship.
God’s priority for anyone claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ is clear and the subject of Part II. Stay Tuned!
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).