Recently I toured a recreation of a late 19th Century American town, I won’t say which one because it is not pertinent to the discussion at hand. However, in the church there was posted a sign which, simply stated, warned the preacher to keep his nose out of community affairs and stick to the Gospels. The warning was posted after America’s Civil War (oddly enough in an abolitionist state), and was part of a break in the Methodist Church. The prior minister was anti-slavery, and many in his congregation were pro-slavery. They had ousted the prior minister, broke away from the Methodist Church, and instated a preacher “more to their liking”.
Paul warned the Corinthians and the Galatians, John warned the church at Ephesus,and almost the entire book of Jude was a warning that “if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached” that people will all-too readily accept it as truth. This is not a problem unique to Paul’s time, but one that has been rampant throughout the 2,000+ history of Christianity…or any religion for that matter. We can look at all of the divisions (denominations) within Christianity today and ask ourselves, “Are they preaching another Jesus than the one the Apostles preached?” Indeed, this is something we should be asking ourselves yesterday, today, and every day of our lives whenever we hear the Gospel being preached. Just because the building has a cross on the outside doesn’t mean Jesus dwells inside.
Now, I am not saying that every division is not Christian, but neither is every new “revelation” from the Holy Spirit. We must look into the New Testament to determine if what is being preached is truly of Jesus. A church that breaks from the Gospels to cater to a modern society, or some special interest group, isn’t doing the congregation any favors if the teaching doesn’t lead them through the narrow gate (Matt 7:13).