By SUE SEIBERT
Recently a friend of mine and her husband drove to New Hampshire to purchase a summer home. Sunday came and, as they had seen an Anglican church close by, they decided to attend. Instead, they ended up going to a Bible church down the street. As they drove up to the church, she turned to her husband and said, “I surely hope they believe in the same Bible we do!”
My thought, exactly. However, my next thought was, “The Bible is the Bible, so they should all be the same, right?” But I have learned over the years that they don’t appear to be.
My belief is that the Bible, not any particular version, contains all things necessary for salvation, and all the Bible is the inspired word of God. Right?
In the last few months a troubling undercurrent seems to have come to light locally. I have had several friends who have been accosted by people in the community who have told them that because they don’t attend the same church, they are going to hell.
Can you imagine? I can’t!
If we all believe in the same Bible, then we can’t pick and choose certain passages and leave out others and we can’t judge who is and who is not going to heaven or hell – that is entirely in God’s hands, not man’s!
How in the world can one Christian say to another Christian of a different denomination that if you don’t attend my church you are going to hell? That is certainly not in the Bible … my Bible or anyone else’s. Nowhere in any Bible does it say that a particular Christian denomination is the only one to be saved. In fact, nowhere in the Bible are denominations mentioned at all.
A different friend told me recently, and I agree with him, that God set down the rules we should live by, and they are really quite simple to understand. If we abide by the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ teaching, we should “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and Love your neighbor as yourself.
Those rules are really easy to understand, my friend commented, but they are really hard to do.
But if we live by those rules to the best of our abilities and when we stumble if we ask God’s forgiveness and endeavor to not break the rule again, God will forgive us. And those rules simply do not mention Christian denominations.
So, I ask you, “What do you believe? Do you believe the Bible? Do you believe it contains all things necessary for salvation?”
If so, then your Bible and my Bible are the same, no matter what denomination or Christian sect we attend. We are Christians, that’s all. We are Christians.