Division In The Church - God
Division In The Church
All of Christendom continues to adhere to the foundation of their faith, that being the gospel of Jesus Christ. As can be seen in the following statements all churches believe in the triune God-head as maker of heaven and earth.
Baptist: "We believe there is one and only one living and true God, an infinite Spirit, the Maker and supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (Exod. 20:2-3; I Cor.8:6; Rev.4:11)."
Mennonite: "We believe in one God eternally existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that in the beginning God created all things by His Son. He made man in His image, with free will, moral character and a spiritual nature."
Christian - Missionary Church: "There is one God, who is infinitely perfect, existing eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
Southern Baptist: "There is only one living and true God... The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but with out division of nature, essence, or being. God the Father: "God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace.... "."
Evangelical Friends: "We believe in one (Duet.6:4; Mark 12:29) eternal (Psalms 90:1,2; Rom. 1:20), omnipresent (Psalms 139:7-12; Jer.23:2-4), unchanging (James 1:17, Mal.3:6), personal (Gen.1:26, John 14:9) God; perfect in holiness (Isaiah 6:3; I Pet.1:15 - 16), wisdom (Psa. 139:2,3; Heb.4:13), love (Rom.8:31-39; I John 4:8), power (Isa. 40:12- 26), and justice (Psa. 89:14, Rom.3:26); without preceding cause or beginning (Psa.93:2), creator (Gen.1:1; Rom.11:|36) and preserver (Psa. 104:27-30; Col.1:16 - 17) of all things visible and invisible. He exists as one divine being and yet as trinity of three distinct persons, identical, inseparable, and equal in divinity, power and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matt.28:19; John 14:16,18,23; II Cor.13:14)."
Evangelical Lutheran: "The churches, with common consent among us, do teach that the decree of the Nicene Synod concerning the unity of the divine essence and of the three persons is true, and without doubt to be believed: to wit, that there is one divine essence which is called and is God, eternal, without body, indivisible (without part), of infinite power, wisdom, goodness, the Creator and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and that yet there are three persons of the same essence and power, who are co- eternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
Presbyterian (taken from the Westminster Confession of Faith, 1647): "There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the council of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal most just and terrible in His judgements; hating all sin, and will by no means clear the guilty. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto himself all- sufficient, not standing in need of any creature which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory i n, by, unto, and upon them: He is the alone foundation of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing to him is contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all of his works, all of his councils, and all of his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service or obedience, he is pleased to require of them. In the unity of the God-head there be three persons, of one substance, power and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit eternally preceding from the Father and the Son."
Independent Gospel: "We believe in One God, who is infinitely perfect, existing in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory and having the same attributes and perfections."
Again, as seen from every statement received, there is complete unity in belief concerning the God-head in the aspect of trinity. There also seems to be complete unity in the aspect of His sovereign order of the creation and sustaining of the universe, from a physical standpoint. However a rift begins to develop as the student enters the realm of salvation, which will be covered in a later chapter. It is this student's observation that if the church based its unity solely on these two aspects of doctrine (that of the gospel, and the triune God-head as supreme creator and sustainer of the universe) there would be no division in her ranks.
Are not these two doctrines the most important in the life of the believer and the church? I John 1:20-25 seems to base our existence as God's children solely on these truths. "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life."
All denominations of the Christian church are unified in their belief in the foundational truths of the scripture. We are all a part of Christ's body. As we look at the fall of man, however, we see a rift beginning in our ranks.