Have you ever wondered or thought about what the fundamental teachings of your church are? Or even closer to home, do you have a clear understanding of your fundamental ideas? Where do you stand concerning the fallibility of the Holy Scripture? Do you believe the Holy Scriptures to be divinely inspired? Do you believe that those who wrote down the words, including the translators, were divinely inspired? Where do you stand concerning salvation? What is your responsibility? How do you feel about baptism? Do you believe in total submersion or do you believe in the sprinkling of the water, or do you believe in water baptism at all? What does baptism symbolize in your walk toward the promises of the Father? Who is the Father? What roll does He play? What is His connection to Christ? What is our responsibility concerning all these issues?
The word Christian has become a huge blanket that covers a vast world of opinions that are controversial. “Christian” includes the Supreme Being; though some people are not clear of the character of the object of their worship. They never question their church dogma or theology. Under this huge blanket are many opinions of who or what the Supreme Being is.
According to the Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps & Reconstruction, the Baptist teach that there is one and only one living and true God who reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
The Catholic believes that the one God is three by reason of three inner personal principles, Father, Son (Word), and Holy Spirit. One God beyond time and space is perfect and changeless. God created freely from love.
The Church of Christ believes in speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where the Bible is silent. They prefer not to use the word “Trinity.” While believing in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, their stress is on the Son, Jesus Christ.
The Episcopal teach that “In unity of the Godhead there are three persons of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
The Lutheran teach that there is one Divine Essence, God; and yet there are three Persons of the same essence and power, co-eternal Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
The Methodist believes that the three persons of the Godhead are “one in substance, power and eternity. God is infinite in power, wisdom, and goodness.” He is spirit and personal, creator and sustainer, and has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
To the Pentecostal God is ultimate authority. The one true God has revealed Himself in three personalities: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All three are essential in revealing the one inseparable God.
The Presbyterians teach God made Himself known to us in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three Persons are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory, though distinguished by personal properties. There are many more as the list is endless.
There are variations of Pentecost, Baptist and other doctrines. There are the oneness and the trinity and even variations of these. The teachings and opinions are endless and fill volumes of books in libraries and homes all around the world.
People who felt inspired and led by the Supreme Being founded all these denominations mentioned above. Each obviously came up with a different idea and claimed inspiration from the Father. One would have to agree that each of these denominations have a successful following. In all these examples, those who founded the organizations were very devout and extremely dedicated to their calling. I believe if it were not for these devout individuals, even with the varying of ideas, Christianity would not be where it is today. These brave and devout people gave us an idea to ponder on, to study on, and even to search the Scriptures on. These people gave us what they had and held nothing back. A lot even died for it. Whether they were inspired by the Father or not I believe we the church, even with the lack of knowledge on their part, gained tremendously from their endeavors and I am thankful for them. It took dedication and stamina far beyond what most can imagine. We need these people as long as there are those who choose to be bench-warmers.
Paul says, in Ephesians 4:11-16, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
How can we keep from getting tossed to and fro? Paul speaks again to us in 2 Tim. 2:15, saying, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Also, in Heb. 5:12-14, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”