Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

A second foundation?

Why are there so many churches? One part of the explanation can be found in what has been described as “the unpaid bills of the church.” One church may have had a rigid hierarchical structure, allowing little liberty for the free working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the members. A portion of the membership withdraws and decides to organize on a congregational basis. Perhaps the ordained ministry is still too authoritarian, and another group organizes on the basis of church government by elders from the laity. The work of the Holy Spirit is still not evident, thus another, more charismatic, group emerges.

Some churches were formed by immigrants of a particular ethnic origin and some of the traditions of that ethnic group are still regarded as an essential part of Christian life. There are yet other churches that seem to be mostly united by what they see as wrong in other churches.

All of this is an unfortunate part of church history and the present church scene. We all say we are founded solely on the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet somehow it seems that in may cases a second foundation has developed which is hidden from the view of those who take their stand upon it.

What is the answer? First of all, only “lively stones” (1 Peter 2:5) can be part of a living church. That is, those who are truly born again, led by the Holy Spirit and submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. These are the material that Jesus can use to build His church.  He is both the foundation and the head of this church. As such people are placed together in the walls of God’s spiritual house, they will bond together on the basis of their common relationship with Jesus.

In the church that Jesus is building, fellowship between the members must be solely based on this one foundation. Some of the members may have a common ethnic heritage and relate with each other from time to time on this basis. There is nothing wrong with this, but it should not be mistaken for Christian fellowship. It is merely a social fellowship. Other points of contact may exist on the basis of trade, education, historical relationships, etc. This goes with being part of the human family, the spiritual relationship between believers of like precious faith should outrank all other relationships.

May God open our eyes to see whether we are in some ways basing our Christian lives on another foundation, rather than solely on the foundation of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.

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