There are stories by the hundreds and thousands of families being torn apart – by addictions, drug, and alcohol abuse, affairs, gambling, work, politics, you name it. So faith and religion do not have a corner on this topic. Like politics – the system that touts unity and campaign promises are filled with “Let’s come together!” can be one of the most divisive systems on earth. Always has been.

The problem, however, and what raises my ire with every story I hear or experience in my work, is how well-meaning people may attempt to defend it saying things like, “Jesus said he wasn’t come to bring peace but to set father against child and child against father…” No – Jesus did not come to make a parent disown their child for their denominations sake, or for a child to reject his parents for what church they attend. I believe making that argument is incredibly dishonoring to the message and example of Christ and frankly – not true.

Denominations are Divisive

And unbiblical – this alone should make one shake themselves and ask, why are we breaking up marriages, parent-child relationships and even friendships over which denomination or church one chooses to attend? I can recall when I left a particular church I attended for 15 years, of my own accord and free will, a very close friend told me, ‘Don’t do it Brickley – I don’t want to lose another friend.’

My response, of course, was, “Why do you have to lose a friend?” I didn’t stop believing in Jesus. I didn’t magically wash off my baptism or undo my experiences. I simply stopped attending that building.

The reality is the Christian faith was supposed to be one of unity. Christ taught that we weren’t to distinguish ourselves with titles and hierarchies (Matthew 23) and Paul taught often that we shouldn’t follow personalities (1 Corinthians 1:13) or that there was no distinction of the brethren based on gender, race, status, etc. (Galatians 3:28)

There is [now no distinction in regard to salvation] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus [no one can claim a spiritual superiority]. ~ Galatians 3:28 AMP

This battle began as soon as the Church was born. We can see this played out in the Epistles of Paul where he had to combat issues such as which Gift of the Spirit was the best, and what Apostle the new believers called themselves by. (I was baptized unto Paul…) To the degree that Paul finally said, “I’m glad I didn’t baptize you guys!” {Paraphrased of course…}

And we see this (human nature) distinction play out every day in the Church. You ask someone, ‘Are you a Christian?’ they won’t answer (usually), “Why yes, I am!” Rather, the answer is usually, “Yes, I’m a Baptist.” or, “Yes, I’m Presbyterian.” We have this seemingly innate need to identify with a group rather than the God of the group. Just like politics – we don’t generally identify as Americans (if you are from America), we have to put an R – Republican or D – Democrat in front of our names, or I – Independent or G – Green Party.

Other countries have their own parties but the point is clear – we can’t simply be the same, we have this strange need to identify with a party and this nature has plagued the church since the Book of Acts chapter 1.

Didn’t Jesus say he would cause Division?

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. ~ Matthew 10:34-36, ESV

Without context, with blind cherry-picking of Scripture, without study, prayer, and inspiration, one could take a three-verse passage of Scripture and defend a dogma of hate, if they really wanted to. But the reality is, Jesus did not come to say, he was going to split families and make enemies of family units for what denomination they chose or what Church they attended.

The preceding verses, #32-33 outlines, as Scripture always does, (context) the circumstances and situations surrounding the statement being made;

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

And, the following verses further expound upon exactly what Christ is speaking of;

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

You see, Christ didn’t say I’ve come to set Denomination against Denomination! He did not come to make enemies of your Christian parent because they are Baptist and you are Lutheran. He did not come to place enmity in the home – think about it. One of the TEN COMMANDMENTS of God was to HONOR your Father and your Mother. Would that same God come to say, forget all about that, but be enemies with your parents and abandon the commandment to honor them?

That would make God very contradictory and, as Christians, we do not believe He contradicts himself. So – we realize our understanding must be wrong. So what did Jesus really mean? It may honestly require another study to fully dissect this passage completely, but the very basic sense, knowing Jesus was a Jew and the entirety of His audience were Jews, was that Jews who converted to Christianity would be hated by those who rejected Christ.

The sword Christ spoke of in Matthew 10 was the slash in the arteries of Judaism, primarily upon the Pharisees of Judaism that rejected Christ as Messiah, and that rent the veil of the temple in twain.  (Matthew 27:51) Paul, the most prolific writer of our New Testament was THE greatest fulfillment of this, in that he persecuted, imprisoned, and indeed KILLED his fellow Jews for their conversion to Christianity.

This disunity Christ spoke of, was NOT Christian to Christian, what we now know as Denomination to Denomination. It was Jew to Gentile, and Jew to Christian. Never one time did Christ promise eternal peace, happiness, and life upon this earth. Rather, His promise was that you will suffer in this life, and upon this earth, for His name’s sake, but in doing so – you would reap peace, happiness, and eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven,

An Example of This Behavior

Via this blog, and my YouTube channel I have been contacted by dozens of people suffering from the abuse of dogmatic and fundamental religious groups, otherwise known as Cults. The #UPCI (United Pentecostal Church International) being the primary focus of my blog means the majority of stories I receive are from that organization and churches, but not all of them. This one, however, is and mirrors experiences from this organization I have seen in person.

And to make sure there is no question of me doctoring or modifying the texts, I’ve taken a screenshot of a post made to a private recovery group I belong to and help administer on Facebook, which is a place for people to share their experiences and seek support after leaving the organization (UPCI).  So heart-broken was I, that I started this article only one hour after the post was created.

Capture

A heartbroken mother. A deceived son. An organization, known as a denomination. What stands between these two, who are supposed to be founded in the love of Christ? Is it an Atheist vs. a Christian? Is it a Jew vs. a Christian?

No – it is always a Christian vs. a Christian based on what label and liturgy and dogma one Christian Organization claim as the Absolute and Only Truth. (For the record, I will not agree nor commit that the United Pentecostal Church, International is a Christian organization. They do, however, claim to be Christian while some adherents may say, ‘No, I’m not Christian, I’m Apostolic.’)

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The truth is not a liturgical tradition, a dress standard, a dogma, or doctrine. Jesus alone is the Truth. Living in Him is living in Truth. In fact, He said,

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,

He did NOT say, So everyone who practices the Oneness Pentecostal standard, or the JW Religion, or This Denomination will I acknowledge before my Father in Heaven. 

We must pray, not just for this mother, and son, but for all who are abused, misdirected and shut out from the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 23:13) based on legalistic systems that brainwash people into believing they are honoring God by turning on their families, friends, and neighbors based on non-Biblical ideas and practices.

Conclusion

Look – if you are that 1/100 UPC Pentecostal that stumbles upon this blog, I’m not attacking you, I’m exposing the hate that the system you belong to creates by virtue of its dogmas. And, I know, many other organizations do this and defend it. I’ve literally had Oneness Pentecostals say in comments on this blog, “Hey why are you picking on us, other groups do this too!” … as if that validated and made it ok?

Jehovah’s Witnesses (www.jw.org) is the only Religious organization/cult that has public-facing web pages directly teaching when and how to cut people off who leave the JW organization. It doesn’t say how to and when to cut people off who deny God and leave Christianity. No, it’s how to cut people off who stop being Jehovah’s Witness but continue on believing in Christ.

Mormonism is no different and every other organization you can find in the foundational book Kingdom of the Cult all exhibit this same heart-breaking divisive behavior. Split people based upon their behavior and adherence to these particular groups set of beliefs and absolutely reject and separate from outsides who are of a different particular denomination.

The very definition (word origins) of the word denomination is to ‘divide’. In currency (In America), we have 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar bills, which are called denominations of currency. In math, during division equations, we are seeking the ‘common denominator’ to solve the questions. The numerator (top number) and denominator (bottom number) are split by the dividing symbol – the – or /. A fraction may be represented by 1/4 (one fourth).

In essence, a denomination is that dividing line between people of God, and people of God and is the reason they often fight and hate each other. We MUST remove the division lines! the 1/4th should become the Four Followers of Christ instead of the 1 Pentecostal and 3 Lutherans.

And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct],[and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity]. So that we are no longer children [spiritually immature], tossed back and forth [like ships on a stormy sea] and carried about by every wind of [shifting] doctrine, by the cunning and trickery of [unscrupulous] men, by the deceitful scheming of people ready to do anything [for personal profit]. But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ. ~ Ephesians 4:11-15, AMP

 

 

Posted by dividinghisword

I am the father of two, husband of one, and lover of Christ! I simply seek to spread the Word of God unadulterated, not filtered by denominational interpretation. I have a degree in Theology from Texas Bible College but more so I have His Word!

2 Comments

  1. […] via Should your Denomination Tear Apart Your Family? — DivideTheWord.blog […]

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  2. God Bless You All my brothers and sisters,

    Certainly it is not a coincidence that the Lord imposed upon your heart to speak on the divisiveness based on the misinterpretation of God’s truth through His word, and how the enemy perverts His word to make it mean something else to too many in this world that are misguided and confused.

    But, thank God for His Holy Spirit, that can bare witness to us all of what’s true and pure, and that through a body of believer’s that Love and serve Him like Bro. Ralph Brickley are called to a high calling, which is in Christ Jesus. To build each other up as iron sharpening iron. As well as bearing ye one another’s burden in the many ways described in scripture. Bearing the burden and bringing to the Lord through prayer and supplication to break every stronghold of divisiveness in our homes in our communities and in our nation, Most importantly in the body of Christ. That He bring the hearts of the brethren into His truth drawing all unto Him, uniting us all in harmony and through the bond of peace and love in Jesus name.

    Thank you for sharing such an important and crucial truth of His word for all generations.

    May Lord continue to bless you and your family,

    By His Grace,
    Blanca

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