Do not be conformed to this world—this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. But be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind—by its new ideals and its new attitude—so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (Romans 12:2 Amplified)
So what causes this division in the Church?
One cause is the perceptions that we bring into the Church with us based on our individual perspectives. Our own unique socioeconomic, cultural, spiritual and familial backgrounds create our own personal image of the god we want. The problem is that not everybody wants the same god. The BIGGER problem is that the god we want is not the God who is.
This leads me once again to the universal problem of pride, the mother of all sin. Pride manifests itself in many ways, none of them healthy.
Pride makes us cling tightly to our concept of personal freedom, which keeps us from fully surrendering to God, his Truth and His authority. Pride is what makes many people want Jesus to be their savior, but not their Lord. The Christian life is great until it costs you something. This is where many part company with the Truth to worship the god they want instead.
Unfortunately, many churches, and indeed entire denominations, have gone this route. By engaging culture rather than engaging Christ, they have CONformed to the pattern of this world rather than allow themselves to be TRANSformed by the Word of God.
There are always going to be discussions and disagreements within the Church. Because no one can truly know the mind of God, it stands to reason that no church or individual Christian is going to “get it right” all the time.
However, I feel quite confident in boldly stating that if it becomes necessary to alter the Word of God, ignore parts of it, write some new parts of your own or intentionally take some of it out of context to push your own personal or social agenda, then you’re not getting it right.
To claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ without adhering completely to the Bible is a spiritual impossibility. If the Word of God does not have the final say in your life, you are essentially putting your will and wisdom above that of God. Whenever the creation tries to put itself above the Creator, the only thing that gets created is another pointless religion.
This isn’t being judgmental; it’s just common sense.
(To be concluded in Part 5–The Surrender Solution)