Sunday, June 13, 2010

Denominational Brands

The Writer, H. C. Heffren, liked to talk about how Soap Companies proclaim their special, even mysterious, ingredients, which they maintained made their products superior to all those lesser brands. His question was really probing whether or not different denominational brands of Christianity don’t spend more time advertising and promoting the superior doctrinal differences and advantages of their brand of denominational faith, rather than in lifting up Christ as Savior and Lord.

When we all check in for our final accounting, it seems pretty certain God will not be so much concerned about the kind of “soap” we used, as he will the garments we wore. The label on our brand of soap doesn’t clean anything; but, if the Prophet told it right, all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags. . .” He will be more concerned about our relationship (walk) with Christ and our being robed in his righteousness.

Denominations (especially in American life) all tend to think “they” have an edge on truth, a more biblical approach to life, and a better than average brand, or ingredient, for changing people’s lives. I wonder what would happen if we became less competitive and more complimentary--even complementary.

Complimentary--spelled with an I--suggests being civil, polite, appreciative, and such. Complementary--with an e--means filling in, supplementing, or making full. We behave like the rest of the world when we separate as Catholics or Protestants,Calvinists or Armenians, even Reformed, or Wesleyan, or Pentecostal.

If we could all step back a bit and observe things from Christ’s perspective, we might find that He said, A new commandment I give you, That you love one another; as I have loved you … By this shall all men know that you are my disciples. . .” (John 13:34-35).

My longtime friend Derl belongs to the Church of the Nazarene, but I don't. He is Arminian, and Wesleyan, and holiness, as am I. That, however,is not what makes us brothers in the faith: we each have a common walk with the Christ who is our common Lord. Paul reminds the whole church that there is but one body of Christ, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4).

Some of us might be more “biblical” than others, but our source of life for each of us is the Christ who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” This being true, each of us needs to be both more complimentary and complementary of each other, for there is but one gospel, one source of life--one Savior.

The gospel is a sensational story that we might call “From rags to riches.” Better yet, call it “From rags to robes.” Whatever results we achieve in our lives, we do not overcome by sewing our denominational labels onto our “filthy rags” as we run them through our Ecclesiastical Laundromat.

The old rags must be discarded and the robes must be “imported,” because they are always “fit for a king” and no substitute is permitted in the presence of the King of Kings. Moreover, the truth we share is not that of our superior brand, but of the Redeeming Savior who transforms our lives and makes life for all of us worth living.

From Warner’s World, we are

No comments: