Divided We StandBy Michael F. Coles, 1/22/2019
One of the biggest reasons I disliked Christianity when I was young and a non-believer, were all of the manmade conflicts all of these different religious denominations that followed Christ had among one another. I was raised Catholic and experienced that and the Pentecostal religion the most due to my upbringing and these were the two denominations both sides of my families chose to worship Christ in. When a nonbeliever sees all the conflicts among us Christ followers due to religious differences, can we blame them for not wanting to hear our testimony and love for Christ regardless of denomination? I doubt it.
Although one would think from past articles that I dislike these two religions the most (Pentecostalism and Catholicism), the truth is, I am not a fan of any Christian religious denomination that A) - Puts their religion first before LOVE, biblical TRUTH, or its people and B) - Claims they are the only Christian denomination going to Heaven due to (fill in blank) reasons, especially when they both worship the same Christ. Unfortunately most of the elders I have met over time since my youth from these two religions in my area claim this man made doctrine and lie. If Christ would have been concerned with what religious denomination one was in in order for one to go to Heaven, I do not think he would have reacted the way he reacted with the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and all of the other religious groups in that time period that he and the disciples made clear they would not become allied with. On top of that, I am sure if we were supposed to be in one denomination from another He would have mentioned it in scripture somewhere along the way, right? Christ called these religious groups out time and time and again due to their heartless ways of thinking. They were more concerned about their image and their religion than what mattered to Christ the most which were the matters of the heart.
As I have always preached in my articles, Christ is freedom from religion. He is the church and He is the only denomination that matters if you claim to be a Christ follower, nothing else. Who crucified Christ? Once again, the religious and the politicians did. And what still causes problems in this world? Yes, you guessed correctly, religion and politics. But I feel politics more so than religion due to most religious based atrocities in the history of our world were politically driven. Look it up if you do not believe me.
Ever since I started questioning some of these Christian religions and studying what some of them taught as biblical truth when I became a believer, and I speak this from personal experience being raised in both churches and studying religion in general, I came up with two conclusions and conflicts on what they preach and teach. The first one is that they include man made doctrines that are not biblical truth. The Catholic Church has many unfortunately. Some examples are the infant baptisms, purgatory, different prayers made up by the church to Mary and the Saints, and a few other things. All of these things that this church practices are not in the Bible, meaning they are not Biblical truth. These are things this religion, this church, made up on their own.
Christian religions were born through one mans interpretation of scripture and a group of likeminded individuals choosing to join and follow that persons views and religious teachings.
Although the Pentecostal religion definitely follow the Bible and the word of God closer than the Catholic religion does through my personal experiences with each religion, unfortunately they have accepted speaking in tongues as the only truth and evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit and being saved, which is false. Seeing others in my youth being told they were not saved when I went to different Pentecostal churches due to them not speaking in tongues (this included me as well) still leaves a bitter resentment in my soul towards this religion. Not only because of the religious ego in claiming they were the only Christian denomination going to heaven, but more importantly, I feel and I know it pushed so many people away from ever really getting to grow with or know Christ due to this false teaching. I felt at that time, and still do for that matter, that it ended up filling strong and faithful people with false hope of not being saved due to not having this gift from the spirit that not everyone will have or receive (1 Corinthians 12-14).
This evidence was first brought up by Charles Parham in 1901 when he heard Agnes Ozman, a student at his Bible school in Kansas, speak in tongues. This tongue was Chinese and she did not speak English again for several days according to what I studied. The Pentecost religion as you may have guessed if one is familiar with scripture focuses on Acts 2:2, leaving out so many details that are also in scripture regarding speaking in tongues. What about 1 Corinthians 14:28?
Not one time in my experiences at a Pentecostal church have I heard anyone interpret anything that was being said in a different tongue, if indeed anyone was even actually speaking in a different tongue. According to scripture in the aforementioned verse, one should be silent and keep to oneself and to God if there are no interpreters.
Going back again to 1 Corinthians 12 that I mentioned up above, it clearly states not everyone will have the same gifts of the spirit, which includes speaking in tongues. So how can this be this religions evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit? How can speaking in tongues also be the evidence of ones salvation when in Romans 10:9-10 and 13, Ephesians 2:8-10, Acts 16:30-31, and then of course the most famous of these verses, John 3:16, all clearly state what one must do in order for one to be saved; which is FAITH (keyword) in Christ alone, the giver of the gifts, not in that one specific gift in itself or any other gift of the Spirit for that matter. These verses of course cancel out this false and manmade doctrine. Not in any of these verses does it ever say that we are not saved unless one speaks in tongues. Or that this one specific gift is the evidence to ones salvation or evidence of the Spirit, which is not even the most important gift of the spirit according to 1 Corinthians 5. If this were the case, wouldnâ€™t this religions teachings be in the Bible? Just because Charles Parham claimed and interpreted scripture in his own way in 1901 and a religion was formed out of it doesnâ€™t make it correct. Again, if this were true, pretty much the whole book of Corinthians wouldnâ€™t exist and everyone would have the same and only gift of the spirit and no other gifts of the spirit would probably have been mentioned (Refer back to 1 Corinthians 12).
In regards to and going back to salvation once again, in Acts 2:38 Peter tells the crowd that felt convicted after Christâ€™s crucifixion what one must do to be saved. Notice that the verse starts with Repentance and then Baptism. But what came even before that? What must one do first?
Even before these two other things even crosses a persons mind what must one do first? Give up? We must put our FAITH in Christ and Christ alone. Not in this religion, or that religion, but in Christ alone! And what happens when one puts faith in Christ and accepts Him? The first thing I did was have a complete change of heart and mind (repentance), a renewal of the self if you will, which is the TRUE evidence of the Spirit. How so? Because I tell you the truth, the renewal of my mind and heart would not have happened if it was not for His Spirit coming into my life when I finally let go and accepted His invitation of love, not force. I could have rejected everything that had happened to me when He reached out to me as I mentioned in â€śFinding Mikeyâ€ť with that hitchhiker, but I CHOSE not to and soon after became a believer and follower of Christ, not religion.
I was not in any church and I did not belong to any denomination when God reached out to me. I was in my car driving when God hit me, if you will, with His Spirit. I know it is hard for one to understand this fact, or even grasp it if not a believer, but I would not keep writing about this in The Outcast and all of my other pages if something so big and life changing did not happen to me.
In closing, Spirituality is from the inside out, while religion is from the outside in. The relationship you have with God is between you and Him. SALVATION is between YOU and HE, not you and your religion, you or your priest, your or your preacher, or anything or anyone else. Do not let any religious person tell you that you are not saved just because you have not spoken in tongues. Do not let any religious person tell you that you are not saved for not going to their church. We are the Church!! If you know where your heart is in Christ, that is all that matters, because in the end, it will be you standing before God, not standing in front of your preacher or your friends. God blessâ€¦â€¦. His, yours, Peace, Love and Respect - Mike