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Why I Mock Bad Denominational Theology


bad_theology

I will now reveal why I openly mock bad denominational theology.

I. Why a Baptist Pastor Challenges Bad Theology?

II. Bad Theology Should Be Challenged

III. The Thin Line Between Denomination & Cult

IV. Misleading Doctrine Misses the Other Jesus

V. Aggregate Theology Presents Sounder Doctrine

VI. Certain Denominations Attract Certain Demographics

VII. Why Did Paul & Silas Not Demand Works?

VIII. Conclusion

Why a Baptist Pastor Challenges Bad Theology

It has been an honor that the Lord Jesus sent me into the harvest as a church leader.

I am far from one of those vicious careerists, in the church, you have come across.


There are things in life “we choose” and things which “choose us.” There is no more accurate description of the ONLY two kinds of church leaders in existence.


Those of us who God truly sent are the latter and battle against the former. I challenge bad doctrine, wherever it is found and have been challenged with things I formerly believed as well!


This who “judge” can hardly escape such judgment according to Jesus (Matthew 7:1-2):

bad_theology

To begin, there is doctrine which says that water baptism is required for salvation. Baptist do not make this as big a deal as, for instance, Pentecostals. Let me be clear – neither water baptism, nor any other “work” can save you according to scripture!


The Bible says: “we are saved by grace through faith, and not of any works so that we can brag” (Ephesians 2:8-9).


As my old Pastor used to say: “people go down in the water as dry devils and come up as wet devils.” Such wisdom has been largely lost. This man was from the “old school” and his sermons used to bless my soul!


Another said: “either salvation is a gift, or it is not. Either salvation comes by simple belief or comes by works, but it’s not going to come by both.”


This “gift” wisdom profoundly affected me. It shifted my paradigm towards a more investigative approach prior to staking out theological positions. The man who said this was concerned about my legalistic approach to salvation.


However, and as that scripture teaches, any work, even when listed in the Bible, is never going to be enough.


This sound doctrine is best described as: “we do not work to be saved. One does so because THEY ARE saved.”


To begin with, let’s state the obvious: denominational focused worship has done more damage to the church than can be calculated. Having been a Pastor of a Baptist congregation for many years now, I may seem a bit hypocritical saying so.


However, and as Paul said (1st Corinthians 9:20-22):

baptist_theology

If I may be even more plain: I would serve at a Methodist, Pentecostal, First Baptist, Missionary Baptist, Presbyterian, non-Denominational, or any church where Christ is known!


However, false faiths such as Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, etc.? No way! I would preach there, but not serve as leader. To do so, one must agree to follow “doctrine.” Since these are false doctrine focused, doing so is impossible.


Bad Theology Should Be Challenged

Nevertheless, the purpose in my current pastorate is manyfold, most of which is only known to Jesus Christ. One reason I am sure of, however. There are things I needed to personally witness, from the inside of leadership, to fulfill God’s call.


I told our congregation that being a Believer in Jesus Christ comes before any “denomination.” If the Baptist, Pentecostal, or other label is our main source of identity, then we are not followers of Jesus.


If we say one (1) thing, and Jesus says another, someone isn’t telling the truth and my bet is on US (Romans 3:4):

bad_theology_bible

Further, I do not accept certain Baptist doctrines as biblical and refuse nor preach them. I focus on biblical doctrine first, and when it disagrees with Baptist doctrine, the Bible will be preached anyway.


For instance, the doctrine of ‘eternal security’ could not be true.


This doctrine is a ‘holy grail’ of Baptist beliefs and states: “once you receive Jesus as Savior, nothing you do will ever cost you eternal life with Him.” Even the great Dr. Charles Stanley, arguably the most well-known Baptist Pastor, wrote a book affirming the same.


Without presenting an extensive case why this couldn’t be true, just two examples accomplish the goal.


First, Jesus indicated that “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit would neither be forgiven in this life nor the next.”


Those He was speaking to said Jesus “had a devil in Him.” Blasphemy, essentially, is “calling Holy things evil and evil things Holy.” Our Savior gave no quarter to those who were “saved” in this statement either.


Also, the writer of Hebrews indicated that a return to the law, and leaving grace, could not be forgiven in Hebrews 6.


Put more simply, if the hearers of this sermon rejected grace to return to the Law of Moses, they would be lost.


When confronted with this evidence, Baptist preachers usually provide the most idiotic excuse imaginable: “well, they must not have been saved to begin with.” Again, I encourage them to read Hebrews 6!


Bad Theology Comes from Lack of Critical Thought

When teachers spout off such non-sensical positions, I stare at them with pity. Not because I believe I am somehow more intelligent. God forbid!


My pity comes from knowing they are not intellectually curious because their followers don’t demand they be!


When I became a Baptist Pastor, I must admit to being curious about this mythical Baptist Theology. My curiosity led to the heart of national Baptist Christian education and subject specific courses.


My search led to a surprising conclusion. There are three (3) unbiblical positions held by our denomination.


First, and as was mentioned, is the non-sensical eternal security argument. Next, comes the demonic disregard for church governance as outlined in Ephesians 4:

bible_theology

Just quickly: in this demonic disregard for the Word of God, no other of these offices exist except “Pastor & Teacher.”


I guess it doesn’t matter that the only way the church can be edified is with all governance/giftings.


Third is our total ineptness at explaining the “manifestations” of the Lord God. Baptists use the word “Trinity” and fail to explain how this is possible when scripture says: “I am God, and God alone, and besides me there is no other.”


Pentecostals rightly MOCK this terrible theology and as a Baptist Pastor, I join them in this MOCKERY of lack of critical thought.


With respect to Ephesians 4 doctrine - how many 'new age' churches have a biblical governance structure? Sure, they are long on Pastors, but Deacons are non-existent having been replaced by 'care ministries.'


The Thin Line Between Denomination & Cult

A ‘cult is defined as a group who claims special revelation, at the exclusion of other views within the same subject matter. The most effective cults use what is written in sacred texts to strengthen their often-contrary positions.


This is nothing more than pride and arrogance.


My faith journey has shown that those who are most sure of what they believe, are humble about it. I must admit that humility is a department I struggle in.


Nevertheless, there is a doctrinal position requiring closer examination by Pentecostals as well. It is the belief in the 100% necessity of water baptism for salvation. Let’s be clear: scripture indicates this reality.


If scripture indicates it, why does it need to be re-examined?


It is clear while scripture says this, Jesus Christ bypassed it on certain occasions. For instance, the thief on the Cross received eternal life, while dying next to Jesus. There is no record of the thief being let down, off the cross, and baptized.


The list goes on of the non-baptized extend further: woman at the well, woman with the Alabaster box, even Jesus' mother. My Pentecostal brethren point out these exceptions were “another dispensation."


This means that although the baptism rule applies to post resurrection Saints, it is not important to pre-resurrection salvation.


At the same time, Pentecostals offer that “Christ was baptized, so we must be as well.” While this is true, it still does not explain why Christ was baptized, yet provided pre-resurrection confessors a ‘free pass.'


Another problem with this position, is it does not explain the addition of a third dispensation of God’s Word. Having attended religious graduate school, I have never heard of any dispensations except the “law and grace.”


The Pentecostal position says there was something ‘in the middle.’ To be a bit plainer: they say there is the law (Old Testament) pre-grace (Pre-Resurrection), and grace (Post-Resurrection).


This position is challenging to say the least. It would be more believable to say God breaks the rules for His own glory.


Although we have no evidence for the Pentecostal's newly added 'dispensation', there is for God super-ceding His own rules. You know these exceptions as 'miracles.'


A more sustainable theological position would be those who believed in Jesus, before He was resurrected, received a ‘miracle’, rather than ‘another dispensation.’ This avoids their mandatory baptism narrative and satisfies doctrinal imperatives.


Misleading Doctrine Misses the Other Jesus

A large part of the call God sent me with is introducing blind leaders of the blind to the “other Jesus” in scripture.


This view teaches there is ‘more’ to Jesus than just the one-sided view we’ve been taught.


For instance, the same Jesus who taught us to turn the other cheek, is the very same who COMMANDED His disciples to “buy weapons” (Luke 22:36-38):

sound_theology

Jesus Christ telling His followers to buy weapons of war that could kill someone? Oh boy! Bet you hadn’t heard of that Jesus, right?


The third dispensation argument is adding to scripture instead of providing a wider view of the same. This must be addressed by denominations. All of which believe their way is the “more pleasing to God” than every other.


With respect to water baptism, the text indicates it necessary for salvation. However, what if there were situations where an earnest person was born of the spirit, yet could make it to the water?


Again, and having MOCKED the third dispensation nonsense. Like the thief on The Cross?


An example is someone dying in a medical facility. My birth mother was more of a hard-core Pentecostal than any person I have met since. She speaks in tongues (I think), preaches holiness, and I’ve never seen her wear a pair of pants.


Mother shared she had led her mother to salvation on her deathbed. After having received salvation through simple faith, my grandmother’s face shown with the glow of Jesus.


My grandmother didn’t make it to a baptismal pool, however. If I view her situation, with what the latest version of Pentecostalism says, she’s burning in hell as a write this.


My mother was a strict legalist and rarely believed anyone was saved except her. It is important to point this out because now, we have two (2) versions of Pentecostalism.


Each, through their personal doctrine, believe the other to be in error.


This is not specific to Pentecostals either because variation on Baptist types is nauseating!


Baptist, First Baptists, Southern Baptists, Missionary Baptists, American Baptist, and the list goes on. It is any wonder Believers can't figure out what is true and not?


With so many “ways to Jesus” or, at minimum, differing views on Holiness, how are all of us not involved in cults of sorts? I mean, each believes they have some “secret knowledge” or are standing more firmly on the Word than others.


Aggregate Theology Presents Sounder Doctrine

Here is something I want us all to consider. Jesus taught, in John 3, that we must be born of spirit, and water.


The same Jesus, in the same chapter, said all we must do is believe. This is the most famous verse in preached in Christian churches (John 3:16).


Which is correct?


Surely I mock because there could not be two versions of Jesus. That entire portion of text aggregates to present a larger truth of course. Another portion of text indicates: “whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”


That text has no further qualifiers to include baptism, church attendance, prayer, etc.

Other texts teach (Romans 10:9-10):

scripture

Again, it did not add any other requirement(s).


How can Jesus say one thing in John chapter 3, and His followers indicate something so seemingly different later?


It is no more difficult than this: while water baptism may not always be optional, it is not always possible. This is the gap in the Pentecostal view.


This explains the earlier ‘pre-resurrection dispensational’ view. It further explains the difference between what my mother testified of, and what her fellow Pentecostals believe.


Certain Denominations Attract Certain Demographics

Pentecostalism is attractive to young adults because it demands they do ‘something’ physical, tangible, and measurable.


For instance, being physically baptized, speaking in tongues, and confronting others outside the faith with their views. If there was a ‘militant’ wing of the faith, Pentecostals fit the bill.


Someone put it best: “there is a reason why old men plan wars, and young men fight them.”


Older Pentecostals lay down their dogmatic views, preach against other denominations, and young people go out to do the confronting of us “non-Believers.”


When I was a young Marine, we pulled into a harbor called Fremantle, Western Australia. Our ship was met by canoes, drum banging, and signs calling for the end of war. The organization confronting this U.S Warship was ‘Green Peace'.


As I looked out over the canoes, everyone I saw was around my age.


There were late teens/early twenties people on our ship, and like young adults in canoes. Some young adults stood on the warship, while others rowed in canoes.


However, I saw no older adults in these canoes. This is the same with Pentecostals.

I would love to see age based demographic statistics with respect to the Pentecostal movement.


With false religions, such as Mormonism, how many times have you seen older men or women knocking on your door?


It is also young men on the front lines of these movements as well. Their youthful and ignorant zeal is exploited by older leaders.


Why Did Paul & Silas Not Demand Works?

Let’s take another, more well-known example from Paul’s life. In the Book of Acts, Paul and Silas were in jail, and the doors miraculously sprung open. This offered a great opportunity to escape, yet Paul Silas didn’t.


The man charged with securing them, the jailer, marveled at this (Acts 16:27-31):

paul_silas

What is evident however, is that they didn’t tell him to do any work except believe. Yes, he was baptized, but my question, as with my grandmother: what if he died and couldn’t make it to the water?


Let’s fold in the Book of James to understand what my Pentecostal brethren should consider.


The Book of James is a staple within the Pentecostal belief system. It is a book that seemingly teaches you need to work to maintain salvation. In one portion of this text, it teaches: “faith is shown through works.”


Yet we must remember that works, themselves, doesn’t necessarily indicate faith.

This is another area we, regardless of denomination, have utterly failed to explain properly.


There is a works-based portion to our 'sanctification' process, if not salvation. Jesus asked: “why you call me lord and don’t do the things that I say.”


Apparently, to call Jesus Lord, there are things you must do. Didn’t his brother James write the same thing?


Conclusion

Whether Baptist, Pentecostal, or others, we must consider is that none of us have it 100% correct. The good news is none of us, so-called Protestants, have 100% wrong either.


Therefore, Jesus Christ came to Earth on His eternity securing mission. We could not, of ourselves, be righteous enough to get to Him. The claim that one brand of Christianity is more right than the other is absurd on its face.


As with all of these “styles”, certain men believed themselves more enlightened than those they were with and left.


What really occurred is arrogance and pride! Again, I am not speaking of false religions which sprang from the faith such as Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Catholics, etc.


We further understand that while seemingly necessary, no amount of work can save us.

Let us hear the over-arching question: can simple faith save, or do our efforts (work) play a role in salvation, which is totally contrary to "grace through faith?"


Is salvation a result of “Faith” or “Faith + 1”? The answer will determine your eternal destiny.


Header Image Courtesy Alexa @Pixabay

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