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It is written:
Luke 8:11-Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
The apostate church-prophesied by the Lord Jesus and His Apostles-spread throughout the world, doing their best to chain the Word of God and exercise political and military power and persecution upon any who dared to stand against the wickedness of Roman Catholicism. Yet despite their efforts, many valiant men and women stood up and opposed the powers of the papacy. Deemed “Protestants” (i.e., those who officially protested the Roman Catholic church), these followers of Christ encouraged people to abandon the creeds of man. Yet sadly, their efforts were met with limited success by people who still could not understand the idea of Christianity without Denominationalism and mad-made creeds.
Now, many of the great leaders of the Protestant Reformation attempted to encourage their followers not to embrace sectarian names and creeds! However, their efforts often fell on deaf ears.
“Martin Luther What happens when people realize that the great reformation leader Martin Luther wrote: I ask that men make no reference to my name, and call themselves not Lutherans, but Christians. What is Luther? My doctrine, I am sure, is not mine, nor have I been crucified for any one. St. Paul, in I Cor. iii, would not allow Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrine, but Christian. How then should I, poor, foul carcase that I am, come to have men give to the children of Christ a name derived from my worthless name? No, no, my dear friends; let us abolish all party names, and call ourselves Christians after Him Whose doctrine we have. (Hugh Thomson Kerr, A Compend of Luther’s Theology [Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1943], p. 135, cited by Lewis W. Spitz, Ph.D., Our Church and Others [Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1969], pp. 23-24.) Yet people who call themselves Lutherans blatantly disagree with Luther himself, who on this point agreed with Christ. John Wesley Another great reformation leader, John Wesley, among whose followers are the Methodists, Wesleyans, etc. said: Would to God that all party names, and unscriptural phrases and forms which have divided the Christian world, were forgot and that the very name [Methodist—SGD] might never be mentioned more, but be buried in eternal oblivion. (John Wesley, Universal Knowledge, A Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Arts, Science, History, Biography, Law, Literature, Religions, Nations, Races, Customs, and Institutions, Vol. 9, Edward A. Pace, Editor [New York: Universal Knowledge Foundation, 1927], p. 540.) In violation of Wesley’s plea, his followers still call themselves Methodists, Nazarenes, and Wesleyans. Charles Spurgeon What transpires when people learn that Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest Baptist preachers who ever lived, said: I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living! I hope that the Baptist name will soon perish, but let Christ’s name last forever. (Spurgeon Memorial Library, Vol. I, n.d., p. 168.) Instead of Spurgeon’s desire coming true, we have at least twenty-six different Baptist denominations in this nation alone. Likewise, Calvinists today disagree with Calvin, etc.” (Samuel G. Dawson, Denominational Doctrines: Explained, Examined, Exposed, 5864-5883 (Kindle Edition); Bowie, TX; SGD Press)
As a result of the introduction of more man-made creeds, the result of the Protestant Reformation was that hundreds more man-made churches were formed. It was necessary to submit to the creeds brought forth by these churches in order to join them. So, to become a member of a Baptist church, one had to accept the Baptist Manual (s); to become a Methodist, one had to accept the Methodist Discipline; to become a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, one had to accept the Watchtower Society; etc. The idea of Christianity as it existed in the first century seemed to be unheard of.
However, there were some who attempted to return to New Testament Christianity. Desiring to rest their beliefs and practices solely on the Word of God, these Christians understood the principle of kingdom reproduction that Jesus taught (Luke 8;11; Matthew 13:19). If we do our best just to teach and practice what God’s Word teaches, and to allow that Word to be our standard of authority (as the early Christians), then we will just be Christians-members of the church which Jesus built and established.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.