Christianity is divided into multiple doctrinal camps. Division reigns supreme. Many people wonder why this is the case. Many conclude it’s because the Bible is too hard to understand.
I agree there is too much division, I do not wonder why though, I think I know. And it’s not the Bible’s fault for being too confusing.
The main cause of division is that few are using the Bible anymore as an authority. Sure, they have verses and favorite passages, but few comprehensively use the Bible and fewer submit to what it says.
Today’s doctrine is largely based on what other guys said. When people argue you into their theological camps, it’s generally not out of a concern for your soul but it is 1) a defense of their doctrinal camp and leaders and 2) an attempt to get you into their camp to make their camp look bigger and better.
As we know (from reading the Bible), there is nothing new under the sun. People have long been more interested in defending and building their group than in the eternal state of your soul. Here are two biblical examples:
It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.
The main reason most stayed away from the Gospel is because it would cause them problems. They wanted to appease those who would persecute them for following the Gospel. Best way to do that is to defend the old camp.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Pharisees of Jesus’ day are acting the same as those messing with the Galatian church. They would rather count you in their camp than get you right with God. In order to escape hell, you have to first escape the bad teaching and then embrace the good teaching, that’s my interpretation of “twofold child of hell.” You have to be saved from bad teaching and then saved by good teaching, as it were.
People, in general, don’t care about your stand before God; they care about their stats. Better stats means playing a people-pleasing game, winning people to our side so we win. The more we win the more we feel like we are right.
Surround yourself with your camp and you’ll never have to face reality. Unless, of course, you find a camp that deals with reality, by which I mean, the reality God explains in the Bible.
There are no shortcuts and avoid anyone who offers you one. Use zeal, effort, energy, work, toil, labor, and get this right. Beware of theological camps and doctrines named after people. Read the Word so much you know when you’re hearing false teaching.
Having the Spirit teach you the Word through His means (which can be other people with the Spirit; I’m not throwing away all people or churches here) is the only safeguard we have against false teaching and division. Pray for wisdom, then do the work to get it. Be sober, watch and pray.