THE HERESY OF SECTARIANISM
A LOOK AT MAN'S CORRUPTION OF GOD'S TESTIMONY
[As the saints of God consider the soon return of our Savior and Lord ----Jesus, the Christ of God, it is imperative that we endeavor to conform to the mind and will and purposes of God, as given in His immutable Word ---"all the counsel of God" as directed, and honor to Him. - R. L. DeWitt]
A Christian gathering is sectarian when it chooses --forms separately and independently from the universal church God has established, or gathers with such others thus after the ideas of man, and divides God's work of unity rather than following the clear Word of God; and may take a name (denominating), and establish creeds or doctrines, hierarchies, and/or practices and carnal activities, thereby excluding other faithful believers in Christ who desire to walk clear of the world and fully keep God's Word. They may also follow a man rather than the Holy Spirit. Sects serve special interests, which is Heresy -choosing, and divides the testimony of God in the world. God clearly hates a sectarian spirit.
The church is "one body" (I Cor.12:12-25 --KJV), and we ought to work to express that in the world in accord with the Word of God (John 17:11, 21-22; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor.1:9-10;
2 Cor. 1:1; Gal.3:28; Eph.4:4-6, 14-16; Phil.2:2). This is not speaking of having mergers, but unity in biblical truth. Faithful Christians should only be "born again" believers gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone, with all that everywhere call on His Name in truth and godliness (see I Cor. 1:2, & verses 12-13). One should know the history of the gathering they are in and see if it is sectarian. Others not gathered thus should at least stay clear of the sects of men to avoid dishonor to God and bad teachings; and seek to live for God.
MAN-MADE SYSTEMS MAY HAVE SOME OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. A paid or volunteer preacher or minister to act as kind of a priest-leader-authority, like the religion of Israel, and thereafter like the Roman Catholic Religion, rather than the exercise of the faithful "priesthood" of believers as I Peter 2 for the Church. No appointed leader is given for the Church. Pastors, teachers, evangelists, and elders (in the plural) are gifts to the various saints in the Church, not titles and appointments by men.
2. Ordination of men to an office in accord with the rules, doctrines, and approval of some governing authorities, rather than the gifts and calling of God to service by exercise of God's leading, and considerd by the gathered saints in sharing ministry.
3. Choirs or musical bands to entertain the congregation, rather than "the fruit of our lips", which is praise to God.
4. Organized programs and activities to occupy the saints, rather than the Scriptural way, and individual exercise to serve the Lord, and a quiet waiting on the Holy Spirit to lead for blessings.
5. Social and political causes to be like the world, and also try to influence civil affairs and leaders, which is carnal and not the calling of God.
6. Emphasis mostly on preaching and ideas of the preacher, rather than on collective Bible study and true worship (Acts 2:42 & 1 Cor. 11, etc.).
7. Independent fellowship apart from God's truth of the "one body in Christ", and not holding the truth of "unity of the faith" by the Word in the universal Church as given.
8. Loyalty to charismatic leaders who have rejected God's true testimony, go off independently, and gather a following after religious ideas and spiritual sensationalism. This has been happening down through the years and continues today throughout christendom.
THERE ARE AT LEAST EIGHT THINGS THAT DESCRIBE A SCRIPTURAL ASSEMBLY:
1. Gathering to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone (Matt.18:20), NOT to popular personalities and hierarchies, which usurp the Lord; and to sectarian systems ---limiting other believers who want to hold to the Word of God.
2. Receiving "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), "rightly dividing the Word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15), NOT traditions, entertainment, creeds, rituals, and pledges; programs, religious ideas, emotional experiences, and unscriptural things which are for the flesh.
3. Expressing the oneness of the “body of Christ” in the world (Rom.12:5; I Cor.12:25), NOT independency, nor mergers and unions, organizational systems, etc., which is the deceit of Satan to divide the saints and compromise the truth.
4. Acknowledging the priesthood of believers (I Pet.2:5,9), NOT titles, offices, hierarchy, dominion over the saints with selected ministers to lead, preach, and manage, which God hates ("nicolaitanism" ---rulers over the laity - Rev.2:6), etc.; which denies liberty.
5. Trusting the Lord and His Word as the only way ---authority and path for the Christian faith, rather than man's preferences or reasonings, which will lead one astray.
6. Worshipping collectively as is pleasing and obedient to God at the Lord's Table with the Lord's Supper, rather than innovations for the flesh, which is pride and entertainment.
7. Appreciating the scriptural assembly and maintaining God's order and government, rather than the ideas and governmental ways of men, which is unprofitable and dishonoring to God.
8. Yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit as in the early church (II Cor.3:17), not to ceremonies, schedules, plans, traditions, rules, and arrangements quenching the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19), which dishonors God.
Let us seek to always honor God and value His Word wherever we are. -- R. L. DeWitt, 2002; rev. 8/08; CH02 .
- A REMNANT WITHIN A REMNANT -
[Some few faithful saints within christendom today]
There are precious and faithful saints of God everywhere, and some of these appreciate fundamentals of the faith in a limited way; but some others also value and are endeavoring to hold "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20: 27), "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" (2 Tim. 2:15-16), are acting on the truth of it, and value submission to the Lord. Is that our objective? "To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
One should study the history. In the early 1800's God revived church truth, which had been lost in the religious and sectarian systems of man after the Apostles departed. A few have appreciated and continued that recovery of the testimony in unity worldwide. One can learn of this matter in other papers by contacting Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, IL. –RLD