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Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Pentacostal….
What’s all The Fuss About?
by Robert Gamble
May 5, 2010



Having grown up in a conservative reformed Baptist home we would often have discussions around the dinner table about doctrine, baptisms and communion.  Those were good discussions, but often they were left hanging with a seemingly non-answer, or no real conclusions.  Almost to the point of “that is just what we believe.”

Lets be real here.  “That is just what we believe…” is nothing more than a doctrine of man; and being just a doctrine of man remains as pure opinion.  I am not a man of opinion, but a man of “thus says the Lord.”

So that answer does not sit real well with me, and should not with any Christian.  As Peter says “be prepared to give the answer for the hope that lieth within you.”  And that doesn’t mean “Well I just believe it.” 

This milieu of “opinion” is precisely why we have the problems we have in America.  As Pilot said to Christ “What is Truth?!”  The ungodly world is not kidding.  To have truth you must manipulate and payoff.  Truth is relative, there are no objective truths.  This is the sea we swim in, and being a Christian we must have the rock solid truths of Christ to walk on the water and get above the “truthless chaos” of the wicked.

The title of this article is called “Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Pentacostal…What’s all the Fuss About?” is for cause.  What is all the fuss about?  Why are we divided?  Why do we believe different things?  Why is there a Lutheran vs a Baptist?

The answer lies in the first commandment:  I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, out of the House of Bondage; Thou shalt not have any other gods before me.

The first commandment lays the ground work for all of thought; all of life.  The starting point is God for all of life whether it be personal conduct, familial life, business ethic, governmental ethic…etc..

That statement is big mouthful and packs a big punch.  Most of us would agree that we believe in God, but the depth of our belief dictates how we are going to implement God’s will in our lives.  The depth of our belief also dictates the faithfulness and the impact value of our stewardship on this earth.

The first commandment is our starting point, and put quite simply means we are looking at our faith as a system of operations, or a modus operand for life.  Every system has ground rules, or an operating system; the rules are used to direct how we work in this system.

The basic reason why there are different religions is because there is a major difference in how they approach the first commandment.  The basic premise of the word of God as truth is the founding issue, all other rivers flow from there.  If God’s word is not truth, then you have a departure, and separated system from that of scripture, or of God.  We call that idolatry.  Idolatry is any system of thought which you defer to, that is outside the system of God.  Another way to say it is: idolatry is your starting point, which is definitely not God.  In layman speak it is “I prefer, therefore I believe.”

The problem with idolatry, is it garbs or clothes itself in religion, ceremony, and supposed “holiness.”  Cutting through that deception is the purpose of this article.

 We have often heard that “My God would not do that…”  Be careful when saying what “your” God has done or hasn’t done, especially when the scriptures definitely say “he has done it.”  Idolatry prefers a god of their own imagination and forms a religion to cater to that imagination. 

The best way to see where the different sects sit is to dissect their belief systems and show the fundamental differences as follows:

Baptist: 

Theological Base: Bible Based Primarily New Testament: Personal Salvation
Church Government: Pastor, Elders, Deacons.  Pastor is the chief operations officer in the congregation

Lutheran:
Theological Base: Bible Based Primarily New Testament: Personal Salvation
Church Government: Pastor, Elders, Deacons: Pastor is the chief operations officer in the congregation

Charismatic: 

Theological Base: Bible Based Primarily New Testament: Personal Salvation
Church Government: Pastor, Elders, Deacons.  Pastor is the chief operations officer in the congregation


Catholic:

Theological Base: Church Tradition and Papal Decrees mixed with “Catholic Authorized Bible.”
Church Government: Pope, Cardinal, and Priest: Pope decrees order in the Church.  Cardinals and priests administer papal decree and doctrine at a Church level. 

Historic Presbyterian:

Theological Base: Bible is Inerrant Word of God; All Scripture has authority
Church Government: Elders, Minister of the Word, Deaconate: Elders rule the Church, pastor is but one elder and has no greater authority than the elders around him.

There are numerous other sects in the “Christian Religion” and I named but a prominent few.  The plethora of denominations, or so-called “Christian sects” stems from a fundamental issue that Amos points out “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?”  The real issue is, that none agree, and therefore deem it necessary to separate.

Trouble is that that separation is vital to understand.  Why do they not agree?  Again the fundamental starting point for the argument starts in the 1st commandment.  I know you may be saying to yourself: “I am not seeing your point…please be more clear.”

To make things easier to see at first, I have put together in the list above symptoms; a list of characteristics, though not exhaustive by any means, but at least surface symptoms.  The water is bubbling, and we can see what’s on the surface.  So let’s examine these surface symptoms…

The Surface Symptoms…

First from a surface observation most of the above religions named have the common thread of One man on top, namely the pastor, accept for one. 

Secondly, the theological base ranges from Bible, part of the Bible to no Bible.

The main differences account for the wide variance in theology, because of the starting points.

Let’s examine the two main differences:

- Theological Base
- Church Government


To understand what we are looking at we need to understand the impact value of the two systems.  The Theological base is the theoretical or the ground work for what to do next.  The Churches defer to this Theological base for any decision, any sermon, any church discipline action, any world view for its congregation.

Out of the Theological base
is how the Church acts and instructs in the world around.  This action flows into the symptom, which is the Church Government.  How the Church is ordered, who orders, where the orders taken to, and what impact do these orders have on the congregation, and again, the world at large. 

For example, is promiscuity handled lightly in the Church?  Is it frowned upon, or encouraged?  This attitude about the marriage bed, has everything to do with how the family survives or fails.

As we know there are a host of sins in the Bible
…oh I did it again, in the Bible.  That’s right if you only use part of the Bible then sin becomes a matter of debate, or center of confusion.  How sin is defined is major, especially when it comes to constructing a family, a business, or even a government: i.e. read Civilization.

In order to be consistent Christians we must stare our Christianity in the face and ask some tough questions:

  • What is Sin?  (How do you define sin?  I am not going to answer it here...)
  • What is the purpose of the Family?
  • What is the purpose of the Church?
  • What is Church Government?
  • What is the purpose of the Constitution in my Church? 
  • Is a Constitution really necessary, or is it an “invention of man?”
  • Who should be the head of my Church, besides Christ?
  • Why should I study the New Testament more than the Old Testament?
  • Should I believe that Jesus is coming soon and not worry about these questions?  Or should I believe that there is a huge job to do, and Christ has no intention of manhandling it for me?

These are just some ground breaking questions, and they really are relevant to Christian living.  In fact I would posit: If you regard any of these questions as frivolous then there is something seriously wrong with your Christianity, for in these questions lies the reality, high impact value for a Christian.

If you are puzzled why I would say such a thing, you should visit http://solomonstoolbox.com for more answers.  We are here to help you in your Christian walk, in the blizzard and sea of confusion.  There are answers that Christians need to give them drive, effectiveness and most of all Glory to Christ and Christ’s Kingdom on the Earth.  Visit Solomon’s Tool Box, ask questions, get your answers.