Researching Church Age denominations has led me to believe one thing’s for sure: what a quagmire we’ve created!
(The video is at the end of this article.)
So many denominations with so many doctrinal differences. How can we even begin to look at some of those differences to see why we have them?
Well, it might be easier than you think.
First, when a particular doctrine comes up, let’s say baptism for example, we need to know if the passage you’re reading from is talking to us, the Church. Baptism is found from Matthew to 1 Peter. Are all those ours? Same thing with all the other topics you’ll find listed below. Every time the doctrinal word or phrase appears should we apply it to us?
There is a reason why there’s so many denominational downfalls – we’re not dividing the Bible properly!
This site will help you understand this very important subject of rightly dividing. For now, I’ll just give you a short and sweet summary:
We, the sealed and secure Church, are the only entity that God has given His Spirit to INTERNALLY. His indwelling guarantees our salvation without the need to demonstrate or prove our faith. No one outside the Body of Christ (us, Church Age believers) has this sealing. That’s why the gospel of salvation through faith alone, given directly to Paul by revelation, is found only in his epistles of Romans through Philemon and should be applied only to us. The rest of the Bible is for our learning, not our doctrine.
Once this is understood, you can address denominational issues and quickly put them to rest IF YOU’RE WILLING TO DO SO!
So let’s begin with baptism. I’ll be using the NASB. Since we’re concerned about what our Church Age doctrine should be, we’re going to look in our books. Makes sense, eh?
Two things with baptism. One, upon faith in Christ, we, the Church, are baptized into Jesus or into the Body and sealed by the Spirit. And two, water baptism is merely symbolic of that union, and NOT a requirement for salvation.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Galatians 3:1-5 The Spirit was received by even the foolish Galatians!
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Colossians 3:1-3 If raised, act like it!
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Even Paul, THE apostle to the Body of Christ, didn’t consider water baptism his job or priority. See 1 Corinthians 1:13-17.
Are you placing more significance on water baptism than Paul did? If so, your denomination is probably getting their doctrine from the Gospels or Acts, right? Not our books.
Are you being taught a second Spirit baptism? Really?? Come on, Church. Let’s read only what’s there.
Crazy, crazy things I find online on this one, yet neither ‘anoint’ nor ‘anointing’ are found in Romans to Philemon. Just one reference in Paul’s books for anointed:
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
So beautiful and yet so simple! Exactly what I’m trying to say. Read it again. ALL Church Age believers are anointed, baptized, whatever name you like, upon faith in Jesus. Notice the sealing as well.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us.
In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.
In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
All CA believers have the Holy Spirit upon belief.
Philippians 2:1-4 Live like it!
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8
7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.
How do we get the Spirit? Through faith.
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
What about “filled with” the Spirit? He already indwells you, folks. Walk the walk.
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
This is huge: Where’s your denomination getting their “Spirit” doctrine from? Acts is not our book.
1 Corinthians 10:16, 21 and 11:17-34 are the two passages I found on this subject. Take your time and read them in context. In my opinion, both of them speak more to how you eat the Lord’s Supper and why you do it versus the need to do it. It’s just like water baptism in that Paul’s not against it; he’s just not overemphasizing it. It’s okay to do them both to symbolize our real baptism and the Lord’s sacrifice and offering of the New Covenant, but don’t take any more than that out of it.
(More on the JEWISH New Covenant in The New Covenant article on churchageisdifferent.com.)
Where’s your denomination getting their communion doctrine from? Matthew? Hebrews? Not ours.
Before we go any further, let’s stop and ask ourselves: What have we seen so far?
We’ve only touched on a couple doctrines, but are you getting this? I don’t know all the finer details of each denomination. My goal isn’t to show you them. You probably know yours. I just want you to be willing to first of all divide the Bible secure, sealed Church with our ‘faith alone’ Pauline books being on one side of the line and all other people groups and all other books being on the other side of the line where there’s no indwelling Spirit sealing a believer and securing them, where they must demonstrate their faith.
Once you see that, you can then research within our books of Romans thru Philemon to see if your denomination’s stated beliefs EVEN apply to you!
So what have you seen so far?
How about how little there is directed TO US on these ‘doctrines’ in OUR books?!?!
Tongues and Spiritual Gifts
These two can be very touchy subjects, but if we stick to just our books, they, too, will become clear.
Please note, there is really no way to fit all pertinent passages for this section into this article. If this is important to you, you’ll take the time to read 1 Corinthians 12 to 14. A couple times even. I’ll list out a few, but you really need the whole picture.
1 Corinthians 12:4, 7-11, 28-31
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
And I show you a still more excellent way.
And what’s the more excellent way? Chapter 13, the great LOVE chapter.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 8-10
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
See how we’re focusing on the wrong things, Church. Where’s your LOVE doctrine?
1 Corinthians 14:1-5
Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. 4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.
Again, please read this whole chapter! Lots on tongues vs. prophesying, but I believe the key is found in:
1 Corinthians 14:12, 26
12 So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.
26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
Do you see the purpose of spiritual gifts now??
Why does your denomination say you must speak in tongues? For salvation? I guarantee you they’re not getting that doctrine from Paul.
More in Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; 7:7
Got a problem with observing days?
Romans 14:5-6; Galatians 4:9-10; Colossians 2:16-23
What about tithing?
Neither ‘tithe’ nor ‘tithing’ nor ‘tenth’ are found in Paul’s epistles.
But this is: 2 Corinthians 9:5-14
5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.
6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written,
“He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.
13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
Tithing’s not our doctrine, Church. I’ll go with give bountifully and cheerfully out of love.
What’s your denomination say about these other topics? You might want to check where they’re pulling their verses from. Again, Church, read Romans to Philemon and see if the passages your denomination clings to are found in there. If not, give ‘em up. They’re not yours.
I know there will always be confusing passages/topics that make us question where we stand. Rightly divide first, then deal with these smaller issues as you go.
For example, laying on of hands to confer the gift of the Spirit found only in 1 and 2 Timothy: 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22 and 2 Timothy 1:6. I think this scenario was unique to Timothy because of his relationship and closeness to Paul, his “father” in the faith. Paul, being an Apostle, was given the ability to perform signs and wonders like the OT prophets and the other Apostles. Romans 1:11-12; 15:18-19; 2 Corinthians 12:12
Another example is sometimes it seems like Paul’s saying that our security is conditional like in 1 Corinthians 15:2 “if you hold fast” or Colossians 1:23 “if you continue.” Hold fast can mean possess or take. 2 Corinthians 13:5 helps clear up Colossians 1:23 and the few others that you might be unsure of. 5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? If you didn’t possess it in the first place, you never had it! Make sure you’re really a believer. Know what you believe. Learn. Study. Grow. Walk it!
Repentance is another one. Interesting how ‘repent’ is found 14 times in Matthew through Acts and yet zero times in Paul’s books. Zero. ‘Repentance’ is found in our books here: Romans 2:4, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, 2 Timothy 2:24-26. Read these in context and you’ll see they’re not giving you the Gospel of Repentance — “Repent and believe the Gospel” — found in Matthew through Acts.
And one I still don’t get – Paul’s comments on women being silent in church in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. If there’s no distinction in the Body, why would he say that?
I hope this article has inspired you to really think about what you believe and why. Stop following the crowd and assuming they know everything. Start looking into the Bible for yourself instead of trusting your denomination to do your job for you.
Rightly dividing fixes a whole bunch of denominational downfalls, doesn’t it?
Without all these topics to argue about maybe we can focus more on our walk, which I believe is our No. 1 goal according to Paul. (Ephesians 4!!)
Rightly dividing is not enough if you think Acts is transitional. I would highly recommend reading Church Chart and The Eleven and Paul for a better understanding of when the Church Age began and who it includes!