- In Acts Chapter 1 & 2, it describes the birth of the Christian Church. At that point there was not any Denomination. There was only the Church of Jesus Christ.
- It was 300 years later when Emperor Constantine, ruler over Rome, became a Christian, and established Christianity as the state Religion. That was the birth of the Roman Catholic Church. (Note that Catholic means “Universal”). The Catholic Church presided over the dark ages. The Catholic Bible was written in Latin (The Roman Language), and all peoples of every nation that was Catholic had to rely on the Priests to tell them what the Word of God said.
- It wasn’t until 1517 when a German Priest and Professor, Martin Luther, nailed the 95 Theses (Statements of Faith) on the Doors of the All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany, claiming that Salvation came by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ alone, and not by works or money paid to the Church.
- Luther was excommunicated by the Catholic Church because he would not renounce his writings. And so began the Protestant movement, and he founded the Lutheran Church.
- While in prison, he translated the New Testament from Latin into the German language, so people could read the Bible for themselves; this had a huge impact on society;
- This lead to many other “break away” movements:
- in 1534 King Henry the VIII became head of the Church of England (Anglican Church in Canada, the Episcopalian Church in the U.S) which broke away from the Catholic Church
- In the 1600’s, the Baptist Church broke away from the Church of England,
- In the 1700’s the Methodist Church broke away from the Church of England;
- and more as time went on.
- Each Denomination had basic common foundations, but also some unique emphasis that gave it a flavour of its own.
- Other Denominations were begun as new movements, and were not involved in any break away.
- My personal opinion, as much as there were many abuses by the Catholic Church through the ages, we do owe them thanks for being the guardians of the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, for over 1200 years.
Why is there so many Christian Denominations?
Why are there so many versions (translations) of the Bible?
- Obviously the Bible has been printed in the many languages of the Nations, but this questions is not about national languages, so we will look only at the English Language;
- The first English Language Bible was the Wycliffe Bible, then the Tyndale Bible, then the Geneva Bible, and the Great Bible, and then there was the King James Version, commissioned by King James of England, written in the English language of the day… it was completed in the year 1611; each version was an improved translation from the original languages;
- Since then, over the years there have been countless other translations to help modern man understand the Word of God;
- Today, as much as there are those who have grown up on King James and are committed to it, many other people want a Bible that they can understand (not with “thee’s and thou’s);
- Here is an example of Luke 11:37:
- Original Greek: “Now in the to speak asks him a Pharisee that he would dine with him; and entering he reclined.”
- King James Version (KJV): “And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him, and he went in, and sat down to meat.”
- New International Version (NIV): “When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table.”
- New Living Translation (TLV): “As Jesus was speaking, one of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table.” * Footnote says “OR and reclined.”
- There are other translations that are simplified to meet the needs of those who are not as articulate;
- Each Translation has a targeted audience.
Why would God pick one country (Israel) to be His chosen people over all the peoples of the earth?
- This seems like favouritism, and totally unfair, but the fact is God did not choose a Nation… he chose a man… Abram.
- In the Book of Genesis it describes how God called Abram out from among his people in the land of Ur, along with his wife Sarai, his servants and his livestock;
- Abram could hear the voice of God, and he obeyed the Voice of God;
- He believed God, and it was counted unto him as righteousness;
- God entered into a covenant (binding agreement) with Abram, promising to Bless him, and his descendants, and to give him certain lands, which would become Israel, which was in the land of Canaan;
- God changed his name to Abraham, which means “Father of many”, and He changed Sarai’s name to Sarah, which means “Princess” to reflect the dialect of Canaan;
- Israel is the direct descendants of Abraham, and they are the beneficiaries of the binding agreements;
- Note that the “Blessing” is extended to all who have Faith in God, and who Blesses Israel;
- Abraham is the Father of Faith, and has become the father of the faithful; all those who have Faith in God’s son Jesus is a beneficiary of the Blessings of Abraham, and the Promises of God.
Why is there so many different Religions in the World?
- The Bible says there is a God; it also says there is a Devil;
- In John 10:10 it says the Thief’s (Devil’s) purpose is to steal, kill and destroy;
- In John 8:44 the Devil is called the Father of lies;
- In 2 Corinthians 11:14 it says even Satan disguises himself as an Angel of Light;
- The Devil hates mankind, because they are God’s precious creation; he is committed to man’s destruction;
- I believe there is so many religions because Satan has inspired men to create counterfeit religions to distract many from discovering the one True Religion;
- Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is he Way, the Truth, and the Life. Nobody comes to the (Heavenly) Father except through Him;
- If you cannot come to Heaven to be with the Father God who is in Heaven, without going through Jesus… then He is the only authentic way to get there;
- Some people believe Jesus was a good man, but not the Son of God;
- But there are only 2 choices… either Jesus was who He said He was… or he was the biggest liar and fraud in mankind’s history, in which case he would not be a good man.
- Most of the free world has their calendar set using Jesus life as a benchmark;
- Most of the world “prospers” (is Blessed) when living in the Freedom that is based on Judeo-Christian principles.
What is the difference between the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT) in the Bible?
- In the Biblical History of mankind there are 7 “dispensations” (ages) identified; these are from the Old Testament (Before Jesus):
- Time of Innocence: in the Garden of Eden;
- Time of Conscience: Cain killed his brother Abel;
- Time of Human Government: the story about the Tower of Babel;
- Time of Promises: to Abraham (Genesis 12 to Exodus);
- Time of the Law: Moses and the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20 to Book of Malachi – the end of Old Testament)
- In the New Testament:
- Time of Grace: Jesus came to Save Mankind; all who put their trust in Him will be Saved;
- Time of the Millennial Kingdom: a Thousand years of Peace after the War of Armageddon.
- Only with the shedding of Blood is there forgiveness for sins (Hebrews 9:22);
- In the Old Testament, there was the principle of “Substitution”, whereby an animal was sacrificed to atone for an individual’s Sins; his sins then would not be held to his account;
- In the New Testament, Jesus was born in a stable, is called the Lamb of God, and became God’s perfect provision for the Final sacrifice to atone for mankind’s Sins;
- In the OT the Holy Spirit came upon men to empower them for service to God;
- In the NT the Holy Spirit filled men to empower them for service to God.
Why did the Jews sacrifice animals?
- In the Old Testament, was the principle of “Substitution”, whereby an animal was sacrificed to atone for an individual’s Sins; his sins then would not be held to his account;
Why did the Jews stop sacrificing animals?
- For Christians, Jesus is the Messiah (God’s promised Servant and Messenger) and was the Final Sacrifice, and He paid the price for mankind’s sin so they could be forgiven if they reach out to receive it;
- The Jews did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and therefore are still waiting for his arrival; therefore they did not recognize Jesus as the final sacrifice;
- IN the year 70 AD, the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, and the Jews were dispersed;
- The Law stated Sacrifices could only be done at the Temple in Jerusalem;
- After the dispersion of the Jews, Israel did not exist again for almost 1900 years;
- After the Germans tried to wipe out the Jews in the Holocaust, the League of Nations (the forerunner of the United Nations) re-created Israel in 1948 so the Jews could return and have a country of their own again, in fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy;
- To this day, the Jewish Temple has not been rebuilt because a Muslim Mosque now stands about where the Temple would be;
- If the Temple were to be rebuilt, one would expect that animal sacrifice would resume.
Why does it seem the Church always wants money?
- Everything costs money;
- Every Church may have a mortgage to pay, will definitely have to pay Hydro, Gas, and Phone Bills, as well as Salaries and maintenance on Assets, etc;
- The Bible says that God loves a Cheerful Giver (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- Giving to God (the Church) is a form of Worship for the Believer, returning a portion to God of what He has given us;
- The Bible says that everything in the earth belongs to God, including the cattle on a thousand hills… all that we have belongs to him… we honour Him with a portion;
- It is my observation that Churches that Preach the Word of God boldly and in Faith actually prosper, and are not in need, but the individual still needs to honour God with his possessions;
- It is also my observation that Churches that do NOT believe the whole Word of God, and therefore do not preach it boldly and with gladness, are not prospering, but they are shrinking, and in danger of closing;
- If you honour God His way, you will be Blessed.
Can you be a Christian and not go to Church?
- The Bible gives believers a number of directions, which would be impossible to fulfill without attending Church, such as:
- Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24,25) NLT
- 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. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
- Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
- All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
- Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
- God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)
- Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11)
- The following was written by John, the Disciple, the Apostle, and the Revelator, to the whole church:
- If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers. (1 John 4:20, 21)
- 5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. (2 John:5,6)
- This was written by Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, to the church at large:
- But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith (Jude 1:20)
- This was written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus:
- You are members of God’s family. (Ephesians 2:19)
- Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. (Ephesians 4:2,3)
God wants us to love one another. He wants to give us Spiritual Gifts, so we can help each other, so that together, we would be strong and in unity.
Only together can we fulfill our destiny in Christ. Only together will we grow in Christ, and encourage one another along the way.
- And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) NIV