At the theological debate that took place on September 30, 2010 I was asked the following question:
How do you consider, are separations between Christians a sin? How do you see an eventual union of Baptists with the Orthodox?
Love for others is the evidence that proves those who are true Christians
At the Last Supper, Jesus Christ, after he had washed his disciples’ feet, he said to them these words:
Little children, I am with you a little while longer You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ( John 13:33-35)(NASB)
True believers are only those who remain in God’s Word (Holy Scriptures)
Christians today are divided into different denominations and pleas. Some became denominations because they added many teachings and traditions of men to the Word of God left on the pages of Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and other became denominations because they did not accept to live in the lie of serious deviations from the pure teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Savior wants that people may know us as His disciples. On this occasion it is good to see how he defines a true disciple:
As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:30-32)(NASB)
According to this passage, true Christians and disciples of Jesus Christ are:
- those who do not depart, but remain in His Word, that is God’s Word written in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament
- those who remain in the words of Jesus without adding other books and teachings of men
- those who know the truth of God’s Word
- those who became and live as free from sin just by knowing the truth of God’s Word.
With great sorrow I learned about the priest from the village Stauceni who began to criticize other denominations and to provoke interdenominational and religious hatred at the Religion course he had begun to teach in the school, but he did not teach the children from the Holy Scriptures. Is he a true disciple of Jesus Christ? Will these children become true disciples of Jesus receiving such a teaching? Is he not afraid to poison their souls with hatred as the Pharisees who condemned and sentenced the Lord Jesus Christ?
True Christianity is not the monopoly of a contemporary denomination
A peculiarity of heresies is exclusiveness, when they say that salvation is only theirs, only through them and that no one can inherit the kingdom of heaven unless he is part of that denomination. God doesn’t look at things this way. You will not find in the New Testament a list of denominations that will inherit the kingdom of God and another list of those who will not inherit it. God has another way of looking at things, as we saw above, He says that true disciples are those who chose to remain in His Word. In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John writes that he was in the Spirit and being in heaven he saw the following:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever Amen.” Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:9-17)(NASB)
This great multitude in heaven is the true church and they came to be so because they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Not belonging to a denomination or other one guarantees us the entry into the kingdom of heaven, but how we relate to the sacrifice of Jesus and His word left on the pages of Scripture.
About the sin of separation between Christians
Yes, everyone separated from the truth of the Holy Scriptures and preaching another teaching sins. When he wrote to Timothy and referred to a particular case, the Apostle Paul wrote:
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:15-18)(NASB)
A faithful servant of the Lord Jesus will always seek to accurately handle the word of God, that is to preach the word of God contained in Scripture and will avoid empty and worldly chatter, no matter how others qualify them and the status they give. Those who deviate from the truth of the Holy Scriptures commit sin against themselves and against other souls soul whose faith they upset.
True Christians are united in love
Any true Christian knows that his salvation comes from Jesus and will deal with the same love all those who are born again and believe the truth of Scripture, even if they belong to another denomination. The Apostle John wrote:
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. (1 John 5:1-4)(NASB)
According to this verse:
- a true Christian and child of God is one who believes in Jesus Christ and is born again
- a true Christian keeps the commandments of God as they are written in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. One can not say and does not have love for God unless he keeps the commandments of God as they are written in the Holy Scriptures
- a true Christian loves God and all other Christians who are born again and keep His commandments (Holy Scriptures)
- a true Christian overcomes the world through faith in the Lord Jesus
So true Christians will love the true born again Christians, regardless of what country they come from and denomination.
God help not only the Baptists and Orthodox, but all people of all denominations and countries to return to the purity of God’s word and be true disciples of Jesus by the fact that they remain in His Word, know the truth and become free of the influence and power of sin.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru