Pastor’s Corner: “Isotope Christians”

Matthew 12:25 (NLT) – 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.

A family of people often consists of related but not identical individuals. Elements on the periodic table have families as well, known as isotopes. Isotopes are members of a family of an element that all have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons. In an Isotope, the addition of even one neutron can dramatically change an isotope’s properties, changing it from stable to unstable which produces radioactive decay. We know that the process of radioactive decay release energy called radiation that results in the destruction and death of biological life. Sometimes the destruction and death happens quickly and sometimes slowly depending on the element.

This reminds me of denominations in the Christian Church (Family of God). We are all related but not identical. Like a family, the beauty of the church is that we are not identical but varied in physical looks, personalities and characteristics, but we are all related….. “we are all created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). The enemy uses what is beautiful about the church to bring division and destruction to the church. Just like the adding of one neutron to an Isotope can bring instability, the addition of “Men’s Doctrines,” can produce instability and “Spiritual Decay” in the church that generates division and spiritual death. GOD HATES THIS!

Have you ever wondered why there are so many churches on every street corner and denominations within Christianity? If there’s one Bible, shouldn’t there be one Church? What does the word “denomination” really mean anyway? Merriam-Webster’s definition: a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices.

Technically speaking the word “denomination” is nowhere to be found in the Bible. However, in Jesus’ day we know there were multiple religious organizations. The Sadducees and the Pharisees were two different religious groups in the nation of Israel at the time. Each group had a set of beliefs and practices, which made them distinct from the other. In reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John its evident Jesus regularly opposed these groups. Jesus would regularly expose the false religious structures and ideologies of man.
At different times Jesus communicates that in Him, there’s to be no division. Jesus came to gather the children of God into one and that there’s one baptism into Christ – no Jew or Gentile, but one branch in Him. Matthew 12:25 – Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. John 11:52 – And not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

Apostle Paul followed and expounded upon Jesus’ teaching example: 1 Corinthians 1:10, 12-13 & 17-18 (NLT) – Divisions in the Church – 10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! 17 For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. The Wisdom of God 18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

The word denomination does not exist in the Bible and for good reason. Scripture clearly communicates that those who are in fact a part of the Body of Christ are to dwell together in unity. There may be difference in function or personality, but for those who are truly born again and saved according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are instructed to function as one in unity with their brothers and sisters in Christ. While we can and should appreciate the varied “Church personalities,” we must never allow these differences and the enemy to divide and cause spiritual decay in the family of God. Anything that is an obstacle to unity (man-made doctrines) needs to be removed. We must keep the family together! Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) – 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

In His Grace,
Pastor Hamilton