Monday, May 11, 2009

Colossians 2:16-23 "The Heart of the Matter"

Read Colossians 2:16-23.

"Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility, and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining the sensual indulgence." NIV
Again, I know that Paul is addressing the heresy that was permeating the church at Colosse, but I have a really hard time not equating this passage to the division of denominations today. Don't misunderstand me -- I am a member of a denomination and support it as best as I can. But I can't ignore the fact that denominations are man made and can be a hiding place for personal agendas. Against drinking? Be a Wesleyan. For drinking? Be a Presbyterian. Against women in ministry? Baptist. For speaking in tongues? Assembly of God. For ritual? Episcopalian. And those are all Christian denominations. But my question is are denominations and their distinctive doctrines biblical?

Denominations were beginning to informally form in Paul's day. But the dramatic branching probably occurred at the time of Martin Luther's 95 Theses and the Protestant Reformation. I think Paul, if he could, would apply this passage to the denominations today. So many do's and don'ts apply that are not from the Bible or loosely based on interpretations from the Bible and from personal biases.

I could ramble on about this all day, but I don't intend this post to be a denomination bashing. Here's the bottom line. Paul points out in verse 23 the problems that arise with man made rules -- even those that are based on Scripture. But the answer is not what we are doing or not doing. The answer lies in where is our heart and to whom is it devoted? I'm so thankful that I will be judged not by church leadership and how well I followed the rules, but by the Father who knows my heart. True change can only occur there.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Keeping in mind that there are no perfect denominations, are you following "rules" or the Word of God? Take some time to really think this through. It's easy to admire a group of people and want to be like them. Then just accept everything they say at face value. Think it through for yourself.
  2. Is your heart totally surrendered to Christ and His ways? Do you base everything you do on loving and serving Him? That's the heart.

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