Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. Welcome back to Words of Life.
I'm Bernie Dake. And I'm Cheryl Gillum. Cheryl, it's nice to have you back. Thank you. It's good to be back. With our listeners. Yes, absolutely.
And you know what? We hope you've been enjoying this series. Skeptics welcome. I've enjoyed hearing Captain Ken's heart through this series. And again, as a reminder, this series is based on questions that were sent in by you, our listeners.
So thank you so much for these. Right. This week, Ken discusses the question, which denomination is right? Very early in the church, we already saw believers forming denominations, right? In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, Paul says, one of you says, I follow Paul. Another, I follow Apollos.
Another, I follow Cephas. Still another, I follow Christ. I think, particularly in the United States, where we are recording this, we have a number of denominations in the Christian church family. Salvation Army was born out of the Methodist Church. Scholars and theologians say that we are Wesleyan-Arminian. I went to a Wesleyan college. That was my first exposure to a different denomination than what I grew up with.
You have a perspective of kind of where you came from. Yeah. I mean, I grew up as a salvationist, but my mother actually was Catholic. So I was introduced to mass and things like that growing up.
And then also, I've had a lot of association with non-denominational churches and just come to realize it really is about kingdom. Yeah. Right.
Absolutely. In the Christian family, we all have different things. You mentioned earlier when we were talking about this that it's kind of your choice. And some people like to go to a high church, sort of very liturgical service.
Some people like a contemporary service and just different denominations offer different things. Whatever it is, we hope that you enjoy this episode with Ken. And you know what I'm really excited about, Cheryl? There's some new music being played in this part of our series by Transmission who have a new CD out. It's hitting all of the social media places or all of the streaming outlets like iTunes and Spotify, or wherever you catch your music on demand. There's some new stuff from Chris Hoffer, the drummer with his first arrangement. Rachel Wiley is on this one with her first arrangement and the first female vocalist that they've had full time with the group.
And Josh has done a great job with it. So we hope that you enjoy what you hear. Nothing else matters. Nothing can make us complete. Just you, only you. There's a rushing wind of peace.
When your name is lifted high. Nothing else matters. Nothing can make us complete.
Just you, only you. Nothing can make us complete. We lift our song and our hands to the heavens. Spirit come, fall on us. We'll stay and rest at your feet in your presence. Spirit come, fall on us. We lift our song and our hands to the heavens. Spirit come, fall on us. We'll stay and rest at your feet in your presence. Spirit come, fall on us.
Good morning and welcome again to Skeptics Welcome. Last week we asked the question, can I disagree with the Bible and still be a Christian? And one of the questions that we often get asked in that is, well, whose Bible and whose interpretation are we even talking about?
Is it the King James Version or the New International Version or the Living Bible? Do I believe the interpretation of the Roman Catholic Church? Or if I'm Protestant, am I a Methodist and believe in free will or Calvinist and believe in God's sovereignty? Why are there so many interpretations of the Bible? Can't we just agree on one thing? It seems almost whenever someone disagrees, they just start a new church. You see, there were days when church splits were based on theological disputes. But nowadays, we have contemporary churches over here and traditional churches over there, churches who welcome everyone as members, and those churches have strict codes for membership.
Why are we, what are we to do with so many voices that all say different things in the body of Christ? Well, let's start with the question of translations. There was a day when I remember all I had was the King James Version. Well, there was a Living Bible, but that's a paraphrase, meaning it's not a word for word translation.
But I don't know about you, but I don't speak I don't speak the King's English of the 17th century. So I was glad to get a copy of the New International Version, whatever that was. But then in college, they told me to get a New American Standard Bible because that was more word for word. And then in seminary, they asked me to get a New Revised Standard Version because that had more up-to-date language. And now there's a New King James Version. Really, what it comes down to is, do you do you like the readability of the scriptures, or do you like more word for word syntax? And then there was the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1968 that were discovered, which the King James Version didn't have when the Bible was translated. So what do we do with that new evidence? What do we do with the two endings of the Gospel of Mark or John chapter 8?
Well, here's where I'm at. I believe that God has not only inspired the scriptures through the writing of those authors, but I believe that God has inspired the process as it has worked through history. And he has worked through men and women who were inspired to interpret and to bring the Gospel to us.
And I also believe this. I believe that God is bigger than our preferences and doctrines. In Acts chapter 15, what we call the Council of Jerusalem, the church was faced with a major decision. Should Gentiles have to become Jews? That is, should they be circumcised to follow Jesus?
And this is a big deal. But through the Holy Spirit and through those men and women who met and decided, they said no, they didn't need to be circumcised. Only two criteria were necessary. Do not eat sacrifices with blood in them and abstain from sexual immorality. Then in the first three centuries, many books are being written. Besides the letters of Paul and Peter, there was the Gospel of Thomas and Judas. Some of these were declared heretical, appealing to what we call Gnosticism, while others were simply dubbed apocryphal. Interesting, but not really necessary.
This isn't new. The Old Testament had a group of Jewish writings, the Book of Enoch, the Book of Baruch and Tobit. There are actually some that are included in the Ethiopian Orthodox Bibles of the Christian Church, but not ours. At the end of the day, the Holy Spirit not only inspires the writing, but inspires the reader. And they continue, through their reason and experience and conversations in the body of Christ, to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Martin Luther wanted the book of James thrown out because it focused too much on works.
Now we understand the need for that balance in the approved works that have become our scriptures. You see, we will never agree on everything. I don't know that we can deny the concept of human free will, but nor can we deny God's omniscient, predestined authority. Protestants don't believe in purgatory. Is a belief in purgatory going to send someone straight to hell instead of purgatory heaven?
I don't know how that works. Does God care if I am a pre or post-millennialist, worship the hymns or like to sing a bunch of choruses? Does he care if I wear blue jeans to church or if I believe in transubstantiation? I say all this to say, I believe there is room in the body of believers for diverse beliefs save one.
You must believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. You see, we're more alike than different, yet we allow our differences to define us, Methodist, Baptist, male, female, Jew, Greek. And yet Paul reminds us we are all baptized into one spirit, one church, one body with different members. And we need each other. Our diversity allows us to focus on certain gifts or people, groups, personalities, and beliefs. I become all things to all people.
Paul will even say that I might win some, actually anyone. And yet it feels as if we as a church sometimes dig our heels into our parochial doctrines that only some can get in if they believe all of what we believe. I think one of the best ways we could re-engage our culture is to invite people into a relationship, into community where all of us seek the Holy Spirit wisdom and guidance as we wrestle with the scriptures together. In a, maybe a more non-combative way, rather than being dogmatic, let's practice what Jesus did when he met the woman at the well. He didn't condemn her for being a Samaritan or believing what she believed. He didn't say, no, no, no, you must worship in Jerusalem or you're really not following God.
But he said, no, there will come a day when we all worship in a way that you haven't even seen yet. Let's meet people where they are and share the good news through the Holy Spirit that he is still working and ever-present with us even when we don't have all the answers. May God bless you, my friends, and we'll see you next week. If you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake, inviting you to join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
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