Wednesday, February 04, 2009

From Where Do Church Groups Come?

Well, somebody starts them. Often not intentionally. They may begin because of doctrinal differences with a person’s current church. John Winebrenner was a Dutch Reformed minister who began having evangelistic revivals to get people saved. When he wouldn’t stop, he was removed from the Dutch Reformed Church and started the Churches of God of North America. About a hundred years later, Daniel Warner, one of their ministers, began to preach about sanctification and the work of the Holy Spirit and he was removed from that church and thus began our group who call themselves the Church of God, or the Church of God Reformation Movement. Also know as the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) to differentiate us from dozens of other groups who also use this biblical name.

Or they may be cultural in nature. A particular church group may have doctrines that are very similar to other groups, but the people don’t fit in with those other groups because their culture is so different they just can’t connect.

And there is the possibility that God starts them because he wants to reveal himself through them in a particular way. Sometimes the doctrinal differences aren’t great enough to justify two different groups being separate, but their emphasis in ministry is very different. Could it be that God wants both so he can express himself fully in both those ways? Could it be different church groups are gifted by God in different ways—anointed by God to lead the whole body of Christ in particular ministries? Let me give some examples.

The Mennonite, Amish and Brethren Churches tend to be greatly gifted at “helps” and “service” ministries. They’re good at a lot of things. Strong Bible teachers, great worshippers, etc., but they are known for their ability to help people when they are in need. They have also taught other church groups how to do those things better. Maybe they have the gift of helps.

The Pentecostal movement has not taken hold in all of our churches because many of us just do not accept the concept of a “heavenly language” or “unknown tongue”, but the charismatic worship of the Pentecostals has blessed almost all of Christianity because they have taught us how to worship God more fervently and passionately. Perhaps they are particularly anointed for worship and for teaching us all how to worship God with all our hearts.

The Baptists, such as Rick Warren and many others in many different Baptist groups are greatly gifted at evangelism and have taught the entire body of Christ how to be more effective evangelists. Perhaps they have the gift of evangelism.

There are many more examples, but the point is, just because church groups differ in some ways, doesn’t mean they aren’t our brothers and sisters in the Lord. There is really only one Christian Church and whether we call it the Church of God, Christian Church, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, etc., etc., etc., doesn’t matter. What matters is our relationship with Christ and our correct teaching on those basic Christian doctrines on which we all agree.

I’m Rick Blumenberg,
And that’s My View from Tanner Creek.

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