The Rise and Fall of the Man-Made Church

3

November 10, 2014 by James Lindquist

Part Two: Defining the term “Man-Made”

The negative effects of the man-made church have been so gradual that it is not even perceptible. In fact, today, it seems like the norm as it masquerades as the prevailing theology. There is a saying, “If you tell a lie long enough, it will be thought of as the truth [1] and it appears to be apropos.” However, the Bible tells us that. . .strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it [2].

The grammatical object of our title is “man-made church.” Last week we defined the word “church” as meaning the “body of Christ, an assembly, a congregation, or the called out ones of Christ.” This week we’ll look at the phrase, “man-made.” Many will be perplexed at the title and might say, “A fallen church? C’mon. God is in control. We’re the head and not the tail [3]. God wants us to prosper and be in good health even as our soul prospers [4].

There were many paths that I could have followed and still have been in context, but after much prayer, this is what the Holy Spirit shared with me, “If the body knows why they are falling, all the other information will be added unto them.” Matthew 6:33 immediately came to mind. It challenged me to dig deeper.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you [Matthew 6:33 KJV].

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me [John 14:6 KJV].

Many in the body have not sought the ‘whole truth’ concerning the church, but I am equally sure that most believers are seeking God for His approval and with good intentions [5]. However, having said that, it is my opinion that the reason for the falling church is due to “denominationalism.”

Doctrinal conflict is behind the splitting of the church. Some do not like the churches doctrine or how they preach the Bible and so they leave and start their own church, and on and on ad infinitum. Satan has worked diligently to cause conflict among the brethren leading to many schisms (divisions). However, there is basically only one doctrine and that is Jesus Christ crucified. All the rest is up for study, discussion, and is man-made. There are just five tenets to true Christian doctrine, but we’ll look at that next week when we define the “Rise and Fall.”

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary claims that there are approximately 43,000 Christian denominations worldwide in 2012 [6]. They further claim that a new denomination forms about every 10.5 hours. You can do the math, because it boggles my mind too much to think that there is that much division in the body.

Let’s read that again. There are approximately 43,000 Christian denominations worldwide in 2012. That is 43,000 plus opinions, conflicts, and differences to Scripture. Wow! Why do we need 43K denominations when we have the Bible? There is only one undenominational guide and that is God’s Word. Christ makes things pretty clear what is acceptable to Him, very clear indeed.

No wonder the world looks and points at us and says, “Look how divided they are.” Worse yet, it is definitely NOT a good witness to those seeking salvation especially when there are many mainline churches who profess to be the first and one true church [7]. We learned last week that that assumption is false. There is only one true church, and that is the church (body) of Jesus Christ [8].

There are two basic problems with denominationalism. Problem number one and most important, they’re unscriptural. Check it out for yourself. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God wants to build man’s church. In fact, Christ himself says in Matthew 16:18, “. . .upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The rock that Jesus talks about is what Peter just said in verse 16 of Matthew 16, when he said, “. . .Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Many claim that (Peter) is the rock of which Christ speaks. Although both scenarios are grammatically correct and could be true, we read in Ephesians 2:20 on whom the church is built.

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. . .[Ephesians 2:20 KJV]

Problem number two, denominations only serve to create schisms in the body. They separate us from one another and more importantly, separate us from Christ. Read how Paul was disgusted with the denominations in 1 Corinthians 1:12, 13, and yet again while he was in Ephesus, he told the leaders that not only would false teachers come among them but they would come FROM them [9]. In verse 32 of Acts 20, Paul tells the leaders that they shouldn’t so much as follow the first church but the Word of God that he and the Apostles preached and to the Word of His grace.

God has never accepted Human authority (denominationalism) [10]. Christ loved His church (body) enough to pray for their (our) unity in John 17:11, 20, 21.

So, what to do? How do we know if a church is teaching correct doctrine or not? The only infallible standard is the Bible [11]. Doctrinal teaching is a part of every church and we must compare that teaching to God’s Word, lest it go against what is true [12].

There you have it, at least my opinion on what caused the man-made church to fall. Next week, we’ll define the term “rise and fall.” We’ll also look at the five tenets of the Christian doctrine and some man-made doctrines as well that have split the church. God bless you all and I hope that this series is blessing you so far.

__________________________
[1] Adolf Hitler
[2] Matthew 7:14
[3] Deuteronomy 28:13
[4] 3 John 1:2
[5] However, all roads are paved with good intentions
[6] http://churchrelevance.com/qa-list-of-all-christian-denominations-and-their-beliefs/
[7] Through Apostolic Succession
[8] Ephesians 1:22, 23; Colossians 1:18
[9] Acts 20:29, 30
[10] Isaiah 55:8, 9; Jeremiah 10:23; Matthew 15:9, 13, 14; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13
[11] Isaiah 8:20; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; 1 Peter 2:25; Galatians 1:6-9
[12] Mark 7:1-13

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3 thoughts on “The Rise and Fall of the Man-Made Church

  1. Ev says:

    Great job, Jim
    I truly believe , as you said, ‘The Church is The Body” and the Church are the ‘people’ I once learned a song many years ago….regarding this very question re: what the church is,,and this little song said it perfectly …..
    “I am the Church, You are the Church , We are the Church together…
    All who follow Jesus, All around the Church,,,Yes we’re the Church ‘together~~!'”
    “The Church is not the people, The Church is not the steeple, The Church is not a resting place, The
    “Church” are the People~~~~’
    This chorus has stuck with me for over 30yrs and I do believe and know this to be true~~!! as you have mentioned in all the scriptures and have found this in the two churches I have attended in both provinces. When you find a ‘Church Family’ that believe and teach Jesus Christ…you have a family that sticketh with you , and for you, because you as a ‘family’ (The people) have one common denominator in which you all believe in ‘The Bible Teachings’
    I do like the statement in this blog regarding ‘how do you know whether the church you attend is truly ‘The Church’ of God??
    “””Doctrinal teaching is a part of every church and we must compare that teaching to God’s Word, lest it go against what is true “” ” You said it very well in this last statement. We don’t go to man, or a building to find out whether or not is preached it true…..You go to The Bible, and see what is preached by your pastor is true…Study God’s word…and see what God Himself reveals to you, because ‘His Word” is the ONLY Truth~~!! This is my opinion too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ev. So many people look for the man of God for guidance instead of the God of man. Although the Bible says that through many counselors is wisdom, so we should first seek the kingdom and all else will be given us. The Lord is my first quest.

      I like what you said at the end, “There is only one truth.” That’s a big amen Ev. Everybody has “facts” but there is only “one truth,” like you so aptly put.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. GBY real good.

      Like

  2. wordykaren says:

    Thanks, Jim. I appreciate the fact that you always write the truth. I am standing on the Word as my husband and I go through our current trial. Jesus is Lord.

    Like

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