I have been a Christian for more than 35 years. I have been part of a few congregations, representing at least 4 denominations. Over the years, I have made many friends, each of whom have represented several more denominations. There are so many denominations, streams of doctrine, ideologies, dogmas, streams of thought, “experiences” and teachings. Hence the title of this first of a small series of blogs to follow, “Will the Real…Please Stand Up”. I guess this would be a prologue, of sorts.
I am not just looking for the real Christian, the real church, the real experience, the real teaching or the real ideology. I am not looking for the real denomination. I am looking for what is real. I hear what people say, I have heard many teachings, read many books, been to a number of churches and heard and been part of a few debates. Some people think they have an exclusive inside track on what scripture has to say about certain things, others believe their experience(s) are what count them as more godly and just about every denomination has at least a handful of people who think that their denomination really has it all together in terms of doctrine, dogma and ideology.
Please note, I do understand that we often describe things in words we will not see in scripture and we celebrate holidays and rites not mandated in Biblical doctrine. I am not going after the minutia of idioms, traditions and those things which generally tend not to affect us positively or negatively (yes, it can go either way if made extreme). I just want to get to the nuts and bolts of what is real in the Kingdom.
What I am going to do is examine dogmas and doctrines, dissect a few definitions and examine what scripture has to say. I am not going to claim superior knowledge, nor am I going to claim that my thinking or teaching is the only right way – that is the kind of foolishness which brings me to this writing. During my examinations, I will pray for God’s Spirit to reveal His truth, to shut out all the noise of tradition, teachings, dogmas, doctrines and such. I ask any who read this to pray, as well. Pray not only for what I will be writing, but for yourself, that no amount of external voices or inner emotions would distract you from what God has to say. There are too many voices, each vying not only for attention, but for supremacy. When we left our last church, we could not talk to anyone about it – we did not want other voices attempting to overpower the one Voice we wanted to hear (There was another reason or two, but mainly we did not want someone’s opinion or convincing words to cloud our judgment, appeal to our emotions and overall interrupt what we wanted to know from the Lord).
This may take a while. I want to be sure to communicate what I see, clearly. I want to be sure that what is defined is true to definition, context and just plain reality. Yes, God transcends what we consider as reality…but I want to make sure whether what some teach or experience is transcending God’s reality, or not. This is why He had men write things down. While His Spirit does what we might consider unconventional, He does not contradict or violate the Scriptures.