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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Oct. 1, 2007

  • 2007 Oct 01

Where Do All the

Denominations Come From?

Acts 19

Conclusion Part 3 continued from September 30th


Denominations are outside the Word of God—there is supposed to be one body. Ephesians 4:4-5 says, “4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you[1] all.”

I don’t think denominations are wrong, I just don’t think they are Biblical. All of them are an attachment to a man. Knox started the Presbyterian Church as a protest against something. Luther started the Lutheran Church as a protest. Wesley started the Methodist Church as a protest. Roger Williams started the Baptist Church in America

Where is Tulsa Bible Church? It’s right here HAHAHAHAHA. As long as we remain faithful to the Scriptures. What’s neat is we have within our fellowship Reformed, former Roman Catholics, Charismatics, Baptists, etc. The denominations show up in 1Corinthians 1:10-17,10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. 12Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” 

It is not that you should jump out of a denomination, denominations identify what you believe. A lot of people don’t know what their denominations believe fully and that is part of the problem, too. Seminaries, Bible colleges, mission agencies and Sunday school are extra-Biblical, too. In the New Testament early Church, everything was done through the local Church.

That is interesting to think about. How were pastors trained in the olden days? They were raised up from within a church. They were recognized, they were tested, they were affirmed and they were sent out. It wasn’t a business were you went off and got a pedigree and a great big long thing to hang on the wall then you went out and marketed yourself.

We are becoming so worldly and people wonder why there is constant falling of pastors. It is because no one knows them personally, knows their heart, their character, personal devotion, they just know whether or not their books sell. They are not trained in the local church and recruited and brought in. There is a lot of problems with that. 

I have 430 books that I consult on a regular basis. Half of them are Reformed and half are non-Reformed. I know incredibly Godly men who are absolutely Reformed to the core and I know absolutely Godly committed incredible saints of God who are completely non-Reformed. If you can be absolutely Godly, pleasing God, standing before him as a good and faithful servant, and be on both sides, it is not worth spending your life fighting over. Paul said in Romans 14:5, “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.”  

I think our church is a nice blend. I remember when we first came here in 1995 I stood here and look up in the balcony and there was a family in which all the ladies wore head coverings. On the other side were some who had painter’s pants and t-shirts on. I saw the whole spectrum in one church. I had never been in a place where you have not only all the theological spectrum but you even have all the personal standard spectrum. I have never seen it work like that under one roof. Usually churches polarize. 

TBC has a document called “What We Teach” which was my response to the Elders when they asked me about my doctrine. That was the doctrinal statement that I had been a part of at Grace Community Church- The 50 Elders there studied that with John MacArthur. I knew what that document meant to me, however when it came here, some people really resonated up above the line and really got excited. Some people down here got all troubled.

We are going through that document now, and are only retaining the parts that you can defend from Scripture without having John Murray or John Wesley. Without having John Calvin or Armenius. You just have to be able to defend it from the Bible because we are seeking as Elders to not polarize our church either way. There are extremes in Calvinism and Amenianism- and we are not interested in either.

We are interested in preserving the heritage of systematic doctrine that Reformed people have and the feel, the love, the compassion, the ministry and humility that the non-Reformed people have. 

If you are in Tulsa and you have a food kitchen or a homeless center, 99 out of 100 will be the Armenian and Charismatics. They tend to have all the enthusiasm and compassion and the Reformed have all the doctrine and truth—I THINK YOU SHOULD MIX IT ALL UP REAL WELL. Like the first cake I ever made—I just dumped everything in and put it in the oven and it never mixed and it wasn’t a cake. The church has to be “fitly framed together” as it says in Ephesians 2:20-22,20   And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21   In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22   In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (KJV) 

I think we need the Charismatics to warm us up, I think we need the Reformed to keep us straight and we need that old missionary passion and evangelistic outreach of the world missions movement. From the Catholic side we need to remember our heritage and the body of truth that the Church has always believed from the very beginning.  

We have an “internet mentality”—you don’t know where the information came from, who wrote it or anything about it, you just accept it because it is pretty and you found it online. That is the problem of where our world is going to.

The Catholic church’s (not Romanism) heritage and history and body of teaching – that’s the Reformed, and we have a heritage and we are headed into a world that is post modernistic and detached from everything. That’s why it is good to hold a Bible.

Most of the men that I went through seminary with 10 years ago, didn’t carry one of these anymore. They had a personal digital copy. I said how can you have tear stains on your PDA or your notebook computer? How do you know what you are reading and what it is tied to because it is all electronic and can be changed instantaneously? There doesn’t seem to be a tie to something you can hold on to and that is where our world is going and we have to be careful of that. People in most evangelical churches don’t bring Bibles anymore. They project it—you don’t need a Bible, you don’t need anything, just come and go—touch and go church. 

What ever our view of the Gifts is, they come back in the Tribulation because the 144,000 have the genuine gift of tongues. The gift of tongues in the Bible was speaking a real language that you have never learned. In Acts 2 you find Jewish preachers speaking the languages of 21 different nationalities of people. The 144,000 Jewish evangelists who are ministering around the world during the Tribulation speak to every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation. They can speak any language in the world. 

City-wide evangelistic efforts: It used to be that a Godly man moved into town—Moody would go to London, to one church and have meetings every night and all day. Then it would spill out into other churches then he would be invited to find the largest place to hold meetings and it was not a business. Evangelism is a business today. To bring an evangelist in now costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. It has become a show. You have to put up 50 foot high speakers because young people won’t come if they can’t be vibrated. After a while in order to get everybody to come you offend everybody. So you have to decide… 

Modern day citywide evangelism that we do now is not Biblical. The Apostle Paul always went first to the Synagogue where the Bible learned people were and started working. People got saved and when the word got out wider and wider, he would go out into the public market place and there would be huge crowds. The result was “string him up, beat him up and throw him out” or he would stay for three years like he did in Ephesus and turn the whole place upside down.

Now, I think because of Finney, he mechanized evangelism—he said if you do this and this and this long enough, you will have a revival. People have bought in to that and I don’t think we need to call in a “big gun”—if all the Christians got serious—if every person in Tulsa Bible Church began to live a holy life with no secret leaven in their life and was in the Word and had a Godly family setting in their home and then started learning how to fast and pray, we would not have enough room for all the new believers (not for all the church hopping people) that we would influence by our lives.

All of us individually need to decide what we want to answer to the Lord for when we stand before Him not too long from now. 

If we really get serious about it, we would clean up our lives, we would start learning how to fast and pray, we would start learning how to worship so much that we would come into church hot, full of the Spirit of God that the unbelievers would take note and see that God is in that place.






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