One of the finest bulletins I receive in my mailbox is the one from the fine church at Southaven, MS. Wade Webster is the talented preacher for this great church. I just posted an article from his August 24th bulletin, but I feel like I need to post the latest article I received as well.
Leaving Denominationalism Behind
by Wade Webster
Today, the world is filled with denominations, sects, and other unauthorized religious bodies. it is sad that these man-made institutions are confusing and condemning those that believe their damnable doctrines. Occasionally, an honest soul entrapped in denominationalism will see the truth, obey it, and be added by the Lord to the one church which is found in the New Testament (Ephesians 4:4; Acts 2:47). Certainly, it requires a sincere person to walk away from a man-made institution and turn to the only church which was built by the Lord and purchased with His blood (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28). Let’s notice some of the things required of those leaving denominations.
First, a person must be willing to SEE the truth.
Unless a person is willing to see the things that God has said in His word, he will never leave a denomination. The Jews are a good example of those who were not willing to see the truth. Even though they had the Old Testament prophesies of Christ, had seen the miracles that He worked, and had heard the authority with which He spoke, they rejected Him as the Son of God. They were not willing to see the truth. Jesus said of them, “…this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Matthew 13:15; Acts 28:27). Many today, like the Jews, are unwilling to see the truth of God’s word. The devil has blinded “the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:4). May all men be as willing to see the truth as those 3,000 precious souls who responded in humble obedience on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36-41).
Second, a person must be willing to SUBMIT to the truth.
It is of no benefit for a person to see the truth, if he is not willing to act on the truth. Sadly, the Bible is filled with examples of those who clearly saw the truth but were unwilling to submit to it. For example, the rich young ruler that asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life was unwilling to submit to what Jesus told him to do. We read, “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:21-22). King Agrippa is another classic example of a person who saw the truth, but was unwilling to submit to it. Luke records, “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:27-28). Paul was certain that King Agrippa could see the truth. The problem was not that Agrippa didn’t see the truth, but rather that he was not willing to submit to it. The account of Felix is another good example of a man who saw the truth but was unwilling to submit to it. Luke records that as Paul “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 26:28). The trembling of Felix clearly reveals that Felix could see the truth. Likewise, many people within denominational bodies can see the truth but because of pride, pressure, or popularity are unwilling to submit to it.
Third, a person must be willing to SUFFER for truth.
Those leaving denominations must be willing to suffer the ridicule and persecution of those still entrapped in error (Galatians 4:16). Sadly, many people who know the truth are not willing to suffer for it. The Bible records many examples of those unwilling to suffer for the truth. For example, John records that the parents of a young man healed by Jesus refused to admit to the miracle for fear of the Jews. We read, “His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These [words] spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue” (John 9:20-22). Later, John recorded that “among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess [him], lest they should be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42). These chief rulers knew that Christ was the Son of God, but were unwilling to confess it and follow Him. No doubt, many today clearly see the truth but are unwilling to suffer the persecution of friends and family members who have not yet submitted to the truth.
We must always strive to teach the truth to those enslaved in religious error. While many will not believe the word of God, a few who are willing to see the truth, submit themselves to the truth, and suffer for the truth will leave man-made institutions and seek refuge in the kingdom of the Lord.