1 Cor 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? …
This is the dividing line of whether we are ready for the spiritual lessons. Which are the meat of the word, afforded those who are spiritual in nature or if we are to only ready to be fed milk or the basic lessons of the word.
To best understand our differences as Christians; I guess we have to look at the one conversation Jesus was having with the Apostles where he announced he would build his church upon this rock. He was talking to all of them when he asked who they thought he was… Peter answered… but when Jesus replied, was he talking directly to Peter or was he making general statements to all of the Apostles.
He had told them they would sit as judges with him over the twelve tribes of Israel.
So if he was speaking to them all when he made the statement ‘what you make law on earth will be made law in heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’… then we have a better picture of the different Churches and how Apostles who bring new lessons to the Church help create the test for people who follow them, and therefore this is why they would be the best Judges for these certain people who follow them.
This would show us how the many paths we see being promoted in different Churches are actually one path which we are seeing through the eyes of each of our church founders or Apostles.
This would teach us the true meaning behind the lesson Paul gives us in Romans Chapter 14… where we are taught not to judge other Christians we believe to be weak in their faith for one reason or another.
And, this is the best part I think… it would mean that all Christian Churches which are still leading people to the Lord and following the commandments as taught by Jesus are all actually one body of Christ which are only being held apart by what we perceive to be differences when in reality we have no real or tangible differences which the Lord would take exception to. I believe this last part is because all of us are blind to what we are doing. And the Lord is most forgiving in matters where we are blind and do not understand we are wrong.
But having learned this and brought it to the foremost of my personal beliefs I must be guided by these principles and try to teach them to whoever may listen. For being no longer blind to this, I have learned the truth and I must apply this to my life and how I live it for my Lord.
It does not change our responsibilities as Christians walking the path of righteousness as each of us believe we should. But it does call for Christians to accept and respect all Christians who are members of legitimate Christian Churches, movements or disciplines.
I try my best to be open and accept anyone who says they are a Christian… should they go to my Church or not. I understand what is meant by the remnant and only coming to the understanding I am writing about here in the past few weeks I must admit am still learning.
I understand the lessons that we should only judge those within our congregation according to the Law and the doctrine within our Church, and I can see how this ties into the fact that the Lord may set different rules for different Churches, through different sets of doctrine, and therefore this is why we should not judge those in other Churches but allow those Churches to handle the judgment of their congregation themselves should it be appropriate.
I understand the warning that we should not idly associate with people whose sin is ‘outward’ or obvious… and how this may help us to discern which Churches are holy in the eyes of our Lord.
I also believe that while someone may have broke away from the Church for bad reasons and created a new Church with new doctrine, the ones who are aware that they have done this for bad reasons will be judged accordingly… but later the ones who are brought up in the Church or brought to the Church, they are blind to the faults of the Church and therefore are innocent as long as they teach and follow the basic commandments as afforded by the Lord. – And this may have happened within all of the Churches which grew from each of the Apostle’s missions so the body of Christ may indeed be much larger than any of us would first imagine.
Of course some of these Churches broke away when certain people of good conscious, and in good faith, felt that they needed to break away from the doctrine of their original Churches. In this case the original Churches may have had problems but only those who are not blind to the faults of the Church and did not do anything to repair these faults can be held to blame.
I am not advocating the creation of a new Church. Rather I believe I am saying true Christian Churches should recognize that other Christian Churches of other faiths and denominations may indeed be just in the eyes of our Lord too, and that no one of us should easily refrain from offering blessings to those outside our Churches or accepting that people can receive blessings, gifts or baptisms outside of their Church.
As far as my use of the term veil. I am speaking about the fact that we can not know everything from this side of the veil or while we are living this life. This is what stops us from seeing the complete truth about our self, our spirituality, and the Lord’s master plan which is being referred to when the Bible says that we see through a glass darkly or through a mirror dimly.
We can not know all the truth or this test does not work… for this life is a test of faith. And I know that we are taught, ask and you shall receive… but there are still some aspects about our lives here which can not be known or proven absolutely… thus I believe we should also remember the lesson that we shall receive each according to our needs.
Again, I can see the wisdom of the Lord allowing the Apostles who he has chosen to be judge over certain peoples, the ability to set law for them… again each according to their needs. I don’t see where the original Apostles strayed too far from each other in their missions… even Peter deferred to James about matters concerning the administration of the Church while he also referred to Jesus’ teaching us that we would baptize by the Spirit, when we all agree that he was told that whatever was made law in heaven would be made law on earth… the only difference in understanding I am suggesting we learn is that he was also saying this to all of the Apostles concerning each of their missions.
These individual Churches created through the missions of our Apostles were then ran by Bishops and other Church leaders who may have changed the doctrine of their Church as the individual needs of these Churches changed.
Like the veil which people understand means that we do not understand some things which remain hidden from us… the lessons we learn within our individual Churches that the path of righteousness is indeed narrow remains true, but we can now see why you must have a heart wide and great to pass through the narrow gate.
I feel the reasons for all of this, is…
One, it is the only way we can experience this test without dropping the veil and letting us know the absolute truths about everything – for this can not be done because this life is a test of our faith and love for the Lord.
Two, it creates another test of our faith in that it tests whether we can come to love all people who profess to be Christian and not hold them to doubtful disputations… Or treat people with the same respect and love we would like them to offer us concerning our beliefs and relationship with the Lord.
Three, it made sure that Christianity would make it through the ages. God worked with the chosen people for five thousand years so that people would know that Jesus was indeed Lord when he came. A few of the Apostles hardly made it outside of the city, let alone the holy land, before they were murdered, but the Lord knew that each of the Apostles forming many Churches would make sure that Christianity would remain with us to the end times… even unto today.
I do not say these things to create a stumbling block for any one’s faith, but rather to edify all of us as Christians and to provide hope that indeed our family… the body of Christ, is indeed much larger than we ever imagined and affords us much reason for rejoicing while creating many opportunities for understanding how we can all share in fellowship to lift up, pray for, bless, and empower one another.