The Rise and Fall of the Man-Made Church

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November 17, 2014 by James Lindquist

So God created man in his own image. . .and behold, it was very good. This was the height of the rise of man, for God made him perfect in every way [1]. He had the power, presence, and glory of God and was close enough to Him to even recognize His voice and talk with Him [2]. Man was sinless and perfect.

Then. . .Hath God said? [3] and the rest is history. Throughout the Bible, with every act of grace in the rise of man, man has rejected God through a fall (disobedience). Let me illustrate.

• Creation of perfect man in Eden / The apple
• Noah’s Ark / Fallen man in the flood
• Abraham saves Lot / Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
• The exodus from Egypt / The wilderness
• The 10 Commandments / The golden calf
• The Gospel of Jesus Christ / They crucify Jesus
• Salvation through the Cross / Denominationalism
• The rapture / The Antichrist, tribulation, and the Mark of the Beast

With every blessing, warning, and act of grace, man has rejected and rebelled against God, and fallen. Now, obviously there are many more stories, but you get the idea. All stories have the same beginning and outcome: grace, blessing, and warning / rebellion and rejection, which results in judgment—but. . .more grace.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man [Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV].

Part Three: Defining the term “Rise and Fall

In part one; we learned that the word “church” in the Bible basically meant a body of believers and the “called out ones” of Christ. In part two; we learned that the words “man-made” were the different denominations created because of the conflicts concerning doctrinal issues, stemming from different interpretations of God’s Word. God is fairly explicit in telling us what He means. That by itself gave us a hint as to the reason for the fall.

This week; we’ll discuss the subject of our title statement “Rise and Fall.” For the purpose of this article, the word “Rise” will be in regards to the original, and one true church, the grace, blessing, and warnings of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a group of regenerate people. The word “Fall” means man’s disobedience and rejection of God’s one true church and doctrine by perpetuating their own creeds and doctrines.

Churches have split over many differences like baptism, whether sprinkled or dunked; eternal security or not; Salvation by faith alone, or by works, and tongues as well, and etc. As we have also learned, denominations are un-biblical and divisive. Paul says:

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them [Romans 16:17 ESV].

Many believers vigorously protect the theology and doctrines and some without regards as to what the Bible actually says. The body argues the truth amongst themselves because of the many different creeds and doctrines [4]. The Bible tells us to give the truth [5], not to argue the truth [6]. With that said, there are only five essential tenets/doctrines to which there are no compromises:

• The deity of Christ (John 1:1; John 8:58; 1 John 4:2, 3)
• Salvation by grace (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Galatians 5:4)
• Resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17 )
• Gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
• Monotheism (1 Timothy 2:5)

Everything else is up for discussion and is not a deal breaker in terms of schism and/or splits, the Kingdom, or in the scheme of things. Everything else is denominational and non-essential doctrine, and yet there are 43,000 plus different Christian denominations and non-essential divisions. Are we baptized in the name of Paul, Apollos, or Cephus (Peter) [7]. Is Christ divided?

The one true church is the church of the called out ones, and our doctrine? Jesus Christ and Him crucified [8]. Period.

From the Garden of Eden, to Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross, to the prophesied revelation of man and the one true church, the Bible tells us of the rise and fall of not only man, but of the man-made church. However, before we start beating up on all the saints of yester-year, man STILL rejects God. Man-made non-essential doctrine and Denominations still divides us.

Today is the day for the body of Christ to rise up and begin to pray:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land [2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV].

Next week, we’ll wrap this up with what to do, some encouragement, and some odds and ends.
_______________________________________

[1] Genesis 1:26, 27, 31
[2] Genesis 3:8
[3] Genesis 3:1 KJV
[4] 43,000 of them, but only since 2012
[5] 2 Corinthians 6:7 and many others too numerous to list.
[6] I could not find a Scripture that told us to argue the truth. And therein lies my point. However, the Scriptures are quite clear that we are to defend the faith, as in 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Corinthians 10-5; Philippians 1:7; Titus 1:9
[7] 1 Corinthians 1:12, 13
[8] 1 Corinthians 2:2

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