by: David Hethorn
All that glitters is not gold.
A true enough statement, but how do you know what is gold and what is just glitter?
In trying to prepare ads for Facebook and other media I wanted to find something that would show the uniqueness of our Church over others. Much to my dismay there was nothing I could say about our church that hasn’t been said about other churches in our area.
All the “Evangelical” churches and Protestant churches all claim to believe the Bible and state that the Bible is, to one degree or another, inspired of God. They all claim to preach the word of God and their membership all seem to claim that their preacher preaches directly from the Bible (This is a very dubious claim since any wolf in sheep clothing is going to at least pretend to preach from God’s word and are quite able to deceive people into thinking he is preaching the word of God). All the churches claim to be the true church of Christ (which is quite false since all but the Catholic and Baptist churches had their start from about the 1500’s). Even the so-called Bible churches are of late origin and cannot claim to be the true churches of Christ (by true churches of Christ I mean churches whose doctrine and perpetuity have continued through every age and in every place, holding the doctrine of the Apostles handed down to them from the time of Christ.) Most of the modern Independent and Denominational Baptist claim to have a linage back to Christ but while such a claim might be true, they, as a whole, have left the true doctrines of the Lord’s church and have forfeited any claim to such a heritage.
So, this still leaves me in a bit of a dilemma, how do I express the uniqueness of our Assembly as a true church of Christ over the “glitter” of all the other professing churches?
I could say correctly that all the churches that exist today, only the Catholic and Baptist have a much more ancient origin than all the Protestants. I have in my possession the historical statements of every Protestant denomination declaring our Faith to be of ancient origins. It is a fact that both Catholic and Protestant historians have placed the origin of Baptist to the times of Christ, though the Catholics most grudgingly do so. But would such a claim encourage others to come to our church and check it out?
The Roman Catholic church makes great claims that Peter was the first Pope and the Head or See of the true catholic church. The truth is the Roman Catholic Church can owe their true origin, not to Peter, but to Constantine who instituted a “marriage” between an already existing apostate church and the Roman state. This new creation calling itself “The Church” is a terrible beast that cruelly waged war on the true churches of Christ, killing around 50 million of their members by the 15th century. But would the cruelty of the Roman church engender sympathy in people in such a way that they would want to at least visit our little church?
This caused me some discouragement because I know what we teach and preach is the original doctrine given to the Apostolic churches long ago. I know this because what we believe and teach in our assembly is exactly what they believed and taught in the ancient assemblies. But most don’t care about history, or origins or even what was taught in the ancient churches of the Apostles. Truth be known, most people don’t really care about what the Bible actually teaches, they only care if the Bible agrees with what they believe. How do I convey that to others who want to know what is different or unique about our church compared to all that the other churches?
One might not be able to tell the difference between false gold or real gold with the naked eye, but if you weigh the glitter all the false or fool’s gold will wash away in the sluice box of God’s Holy Word. When the word of God is applied to every “Faith,” only what is left is true and pure. There are hundreds, if not thousands who claim to be “true” to the faith. Yet, only one has stood since the day’s of Christ and his Apostles.