There are so many religious discussions. One person says you need to baptize. The other says baptism isn’t necessary. Still another says it is for forgiveness of sins, but another says it is to give a baby a name. One person takes the Communion every Sunday, and another quarterly. One person fasts, and another doesn’t. One person has musical instruments, and the other doesn’t. One speaks in what they call miraculous “tongues,” and the other doesn’t. One says they are a Christian because their parents were Christians, but they know nothing about it, and the other studies the Bible like crazy. One does the sign of the cross one way, the other does the sign of the cross another way, and the next one doesn’t do the sign of the cross at all. There are big religion discussions about all kinds of issues, and everyone wants to know the right way of doing it. However, these people have really missed the point of Christianity. I am not saying none of them are Christians, but they need to go back and figure out why they even want to do anything like this, and what is most important to God.Everyone wants to be close to their creator, but do you want to be close enough to really learn what he wants from you, or do you do what others tell you to do?
.All Christians agree that the Bible is the inspired word of God. That is where we need to begin. The people who are busy reading and studying their Bibles trying to figure out what God wants are on the right track. The Bible is God’s message to mankind, no other book. The Old Testament was written by Jewish prophets, and it is the foundation of Christianity. Jesus was born into this world into a Jewish family, and he was a rabbi, a Jewish religious teacher. He knew that Old Testament and all of its teachings very well. If you read Matthew 4 where Jesus was being tempted by Satan, he used scriptures from the Old Testament to give reasons to the Devil for not giving in to temptations. The Devil also tried to use the Bible against him which means the Devil also knows the Bible, so we really must study so that the Devil can’t use the scriptures against us. Jesus knew the Bible better than the Devil, and we should also try to do the same for our own protection.
The New Testament was written by the apostles, the men who were with Jesus everyday for three years learning from him and who also gave their lives up and let people kill them for the teachings as Jesus did. The only apostle who was not killed for his faith and died an old man was the apostle John. The church of the first century knew the apostles. The church of the first century are the ones who collected all the books that are in the New Testament and put them all together in one book. They went through lots of different writings about Jesus to figure out which ones were true because they knew the stories about Jesus and his teachings first hand. There were other people who set out to write gospels, but those gospels weren’t included as scripture because the first church found a problem with them. The first chapter of Galatians, a book written by an apostle says that we should accept no other teaching except that which was originally accepted. It says even if an angel from Heaven teaches something different, we should not accept it. That means that books like the book of Mormon, the Koran, the Catholic catechisms, the Baptist Manual, the twenty other books that the Orthodox think are holy, the prayer books,even song books and religious poetry, etc. are not scripture. They are not from God, but from man. If they say something different than what is in the Bible, they are wrong and should be condemned. Some of these books have value like Orthodox stories that tell history of Christianity or song books that inspire us and help us all sing uniformity, but if any of these books is taken as scripture over the Bible, it is wrong. The last chapter of the Bible says that if anyone adds anything to what is written in the Bible, that the plagues described there will be added to him. It also says that if anyone takes anything away from what is written in the Bible, then his name will be taken out of the book of Life. That means he can’t go to Heaven if we accept another teaching other than what has already been given to us in the Bible. There are other scriptures cautioning us to handle scripture well and study it to be good workmen. Still others that talk about scriptures as being the inspired word of God saying the scriptures have everything we need for life and Godliness.
Why do we need the Old Testament? Understanding of the Old Testament brings us to the New Testament. All the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, are there. The Ten Commandments and other laws are there, and they bring a better understanding of who God is and how God thinks. The Ten Commandments are all repeated in the New Testament, and Jesus enlarges on them and explains them better.
The main point of the Bible is that Jesus knows the way to Heaven, and everything points to him. He teaches us how to act and how to get along. He teaches us how to be better people. I have often thought that if the world just understood what Jesus taught and did, the families and societies could be like utopias. Jesus gives us morality. He gives us love. He gives us acceptance when others don’t. It is not all about which way you should do the sign of the cross or if you should do it at all. It is not all about whether or not we should have musical instruments in worship or not. It is all about following Jesus and doing what he said and following his example. He knows the way to Heaven. He knows how to help us get along in life and with other people. We struggle doing the things Jesus asks us to do, but we are not gods. We are human beings with feelings, and he knows that. He forgives us, picks us up and encourages us to do better. The Bible teaches us there is a difference between right and wrong. The difference between right and wrong doesn’t mean we should fast or should we should not fast nor does it mean we speak with miraculous tongues or we don’t. It means,”Are we conducting or day to day life in a way that will bring glory to God?”
Are we treating other human beings right? Are we hurting or helping? Are we being immoral or acting in a clean, acceptable manner? Are we honest or sneaky? Are we selfish or caring? In the end, the doctrinal differences will be worked out if we just study our Bibles, accept what is there rather than what some other books says over the Bible. We need to be honest with ourselves and with God. We shouldn’t make laws that God didn’t make, and shouldn’t try to force others to think our way. Forcing anyone doesn’t help anyone. Acting like a Christian in our day to day lives is the only thing that will help. Arguing over doctrine doesn’t help anyone. If there is a disagreement, we need to be reading our Bibles and figuring out what is right and wrong. We need to realize Christianity is not about the doctrinal differences. Christianity is about Christ and following his example and doing what he says. He didn’t argue with everyone. He gently taught them. He sat outside on the mountain with the people around him as he explained God and his ways to them. He helped people. He pointed the way to God. When they got scared of him and came and got him to take him to the cross, he let them do it. He didn’t fight with them. He gave his life willingly for others. He knew if he didn’t, we would never understand that we must give ourselves for others. We must serve one another and try to treat one another as well as we can. That is at the core to his message, but there is more, so read the Bible and learn how to go to Heaven. You might just improve the world along the way. That is what Jesus did, and that is what Christianity calls us to do. Christianity shows us the way to Heaven and the way to a better life on earth. If you read your Bible, you may figure out all your questions about Communion or baptism, but those are just on the peripheral. The core is the way we act. Jesus’ life, love, example, and teachings is the core.