Truth Seeker

What is Sectism?

One would think that it be a simple thing to answer. I find it very difficult, and if anyone has things to add, be my guest. However, as in all things, such must be documented and supported by the Holy Scriptures.

At first perhaps, it might be the wisest thing to establish what the truth is.
Warning: This may get a little long.

The Truth, what is it?

As commented elsewhere, the Bible is for the common man. Therefore most of it may be understood by the common man if he is guided by a desire to search not for his own righteousness, but for God's. In that case, God promises to let the veil that blinds the unbelievers fall so that the man of God may clearly see what the width, the breath, and the height of God's teachings are.
2 Corinthians 3:16, But when there is a turning to Jehovah, the veil is taken away. (NW) (Because of the veil reference to the OT, I have accepted the NW rendering for Lord, otherwise it is too ambiguous)

Romans 10:3, For they, not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, have not submitted themselves to the justice of God. (DRC)

Ephesians 3:17-19, That the Christ may dwell, through means of your faith, in your hearts, in love, having become rooted and founded, 18In order that ye may be mighty enough to grasp firmly, with all the saints,—what is the breadth and length and depth and height, 19To get to know, also, the knowledge-surpassing, love of the Christ,—in order that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God. (Rotherham)
The case of Philip and the Ethiopian shows how such Bible truths may be learned. That and personal Bible study, together with a Bible study conducted by a qualified Christian well versed in the scriptures will teach all meek and righteous people the truth.
Acts 8:29-31 And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest? 31Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. (DRC)
Here are several scriptures uncommonly frequently ignored:
Galatians 1:8, But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. (DRC)

1 Corinthians 4:6, that in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other. (ASV)

Proverbs 30:6 Add nothing to his words, that he may not reprove you, and that you may not have to be proved a liar. (NW)

Revelation 22:18, I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: 19and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book. (ASV)

The truth then is revealed not to be what a particular church today preaches, but as the word that was handed down to the Christians and penned for our benefitIt is our task to apply ourselves so as to understand this truth. Fortunately, in regard to the common foundation truths taught in the Bible, the common man can if he knows or is shown the scriptures applying to a particular point or teaching - reach the correct conclusion.

Only, in the case of difficult prophecies such as are found in e.g. the book of Daniel, or as is the case with the cryptic language peppered about in the book of Revelation, does it become necessary to have a number of Saints working in tandem to decipher these matters. Even so, such matters routinely need to be updated every few decades as the end progresses toward its conclusion. Each revision undoing some prior conclusions and spawning new ones.

These final difficult matters fortunately do not affect the basic foundation truths. Such difficult matters are not so important that it is necessary to demand that the common man should not read the Bible and must not interpret the Bible on his own!

That this last assertion is true and in accord with the spirit, we see in the following:
Acts 17:11, Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so. (ASV)

1 Thessalonians 5:21,22, all things prove; that which is good hold fast; 22from all appearance of evil abstain ye. (YLT)

Rev 1:3, Happy is he who is reading, and those hearing, the words of the prophecy, and keeping the things written in it--for the time is nigh! (YLT)

From this a warning then must be issued! That those who rule with tyranny over their fellow believers and punish them when they by means of scriptural examination and common logic arrive at truthful dogma - these are going against the will of God in regard to how his inspired word should be used!

Sects and Sectism

Now that the truth has been defined. It seems a little simpler to define what a sect or what sectism is. That doesn't mean that I'm entirely confident that the end conclusion shall measure up to excellence.

First, let's examine the scriptures that forbid sectism.
1 Corinthians 11:18-19:
a. For first of all I hear that when you come together in the church, there are schisms among you; and in part I believe it. 19For there must be also heresies: that they also, who are approved, may be made manifest among you. (DRC)
b. . .for first, indeed, ye coming together in an assembly, I hear of divisions being among you, and partly I believe it , 19for it behoveth sects also to be among you, that those approved may become manifest among you. (YLT)

Galatians 5:19-21, And manifest also are the works of the flesh, which are: Adultery, whoredom, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strifes, emulations, wraths,rivalries, dissensions,sects,21envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revellings, and such like, of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that those doing such things the reign of God shall not inherit. (YLT)

2 Peter 2:1-2, And there did come also false prophets among the people, as also among you there shall be false teachers, who shall bring in besides destructive sects, and the Master who bought them denying, bringing to themselves quick destruction, 2and many shall follow out their destructive ways, because of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of. (YLT)

1 John 2:21,22, I did not write to you because ye have not known the truth, but because ye have known it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22Who is the liar, except he who is denying that Jesus is the Christ? this one is the antichrist who is denying the Father and the Son. (YLT)

1. Condensing the above information, we see that "no lie is in the truth." This should mean that the true church needs to be receptive, non tyrannical, on teaching dogma. Not, that in any way it should be receptive to falsehood; rather, it needs to be truly approachable and interested in authenticating the veracity of presented claims apropos dogma.

That this is in in line with God's wishes, his spirit, Peter tells us next:
1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. And always be ready for a defense to every man who asks you a word about the hope in you, with mildness and fear. (ACV)
Thus perhaps, rather than categorically having everything issuing from church leaders being stated as if from the Almighty himself, a humble statement to the effect - 'Dogma as it presently is understood! - followed by a list of dogma and their explanations. In that way, when church leaders are presented with undeniable scriptural proof demonstrating clearly and obviously a certain point of change in understanding in respect to a point, truth grows ever brighter.
Jeremiah 15:19-21, Therefore this is what Jehovah has said: "If you will come back, then I shall bring you back. Before me you will stand. And if you will bring forth what is precious from valueless things, you will become like my own mouth. They themselves will come back to you, but you yourself will not come back to them." 20 "And I have made you to this people a fortified copper wall; and they will certainly fight against you, but they will not prevail over you. For I am with you, to save you and to deliver you," is the utterance of Jehovah. 21 "And I will deliver you out of the hand of the bad ones, and I will redeem you out of the palm of the tyrannical ones." (NW)

Matthew 24:48-51, But, if that wicked servant should say in his heart—My master, delayeth, 49And begin to be striking his fellow-servants, and eating and drinking with the drunken, 50The master of that servant, will have come, on a day when he is not expecting, and in an hour when he is not observing,— 51And will cut him asunder; and, his part, with the hypocrites, will appoint: There, shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth! (Rotherham)
For any church, the exhortation in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is not an excuse to beat their fellow worshipers over the head and say "we taught you this - see, you must believe what we have told you." No! Far from it! It is an exhortation for the church ' pour rapprocher ' to approach the truth ever closer, to stand firm for Bible truths. It's not an exhortation to stand firm on teachings found wanting because the church is going to lose face when very important dogma taught for many years, even decades, is changed.
2 Thessalonians 2:15, So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that ye were taught, whether by word or by letter from us. (ACV)
In fact, for all these different churches to exists is absolutely in contradiction to the prohibition against sects. Paul also puts the Corinthian congregation to rights because divisions existed within it. If Paul had seen today's number of sects and the division existing today, he would have been appalled.

However, the fact that even the best church acts in a tyrannical manner makes it hard. In that case, the work must take priority: we have to be peaceful, righteous, have joy and accomplish our ministry - that of bearing witness about Christ, Jehovah, and the kingdom. If that permits us to serve within a church, however tyrannical, then let's accomplish our ministry because it was given to us to suffer for Christ - there is no other choice.
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and there be no divisions among you, but ye may be thoroughly prepared in the same mind and in the same understanding. 11For it was declared to me about you, my brothers, by those of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now I say this. That each of you actually say, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you, or were ye immersed in the name of Paul? (ACV)
2. A. Next, we see that sectism and sects are connected to antichrist. The ones that deny either the Father or the Son, or deny them both. This is sectism. (See Trinity pages for clarification on this point)  Many professed Christians remake God and Christ into something not taught by the Bible — in this manner they deny either or both.

It seems that there is one other point beyond that one that the inspired scriptures emphasize. The point that no human being or group of human beings whether Saints, or not, must imagine themselves to be so divine that they have to be treated as if their very words are God's - that is, unless the utterances are God's words. Here at the end of the following scripture, it is abundantly clear that the lack experienced by these is "the love of the truth" and this prevents salvation.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-10, Let not any man deceive you in any way, because if not, the defection may come first, and he may be revealed--the man of sin, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or an object of worship, so as for him to sit in the temple of God, as God, displaying himself that he is God. 5Do ye not remember that when I was yet with you I told you these things? 6And now ye know that which restrains, for him to be revealed in his own time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already working, only he who restrains it until now will develop from the midst. 8And then the lawless will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the spirit of his mouth, and will neutralize at the appearance of his coming. 9Whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and marvels of deceit, 10and in all deception of unrighteousness in those who are perishing, in return for which, they did not accept the love of the truth in order for them to be saved. (ACV)

Another point Paul emphasized was the teaching of the resurrection. But let me add it all up in a moment.
2 Timothy 2:17-18, men who missed the mark about the truth, saying the resurrection happened already, and they overthrow the faith of some. (ACV)

Hebrews 6:1-3, Wherefore leaving the word of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to things more perfect, not laying again the foundation of penance from dead works, and of faith towards God, 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and imposition of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (DRC)

B.a. We may then understand that the point about the resurrection that Paul mentioned in 2 Tim 2:17,18 must be included in things that should be unalterably established by the true church.  Backing that up that point, the apostle John, in John 3:13 penned ca 96CE, confirms and affirms that until this late time, no one except Christ had received a heavenly resurrection and gone to heaven.

B.b. Since the point in 2 Timothy about the resurrection must be part of unalterable doctrine, the condition of the dead who need to be resurrected would seemingly have to be included. Why else would they need a resurrection, heavenly or earthly? However, the willingness, openness to examine scripture, to listen should never disappear.

Two other basic points of dogma must be included in what is absolutely necessary for the true church to teach:

C. The first is that the whole Bible, all of it, must be accepted as the inviolate word of God. This would mean that the creation account and the account about Adam and Eve must be accepted as is. This doesn't mean that a creation day must equal 24 hours! Here the weight of the whole inspired word of God must be brought to bear.  (A scriptural discussion of a creative day's length is found here Trivial Stuff

D. The second point affects Christians and the Law Covenant. The true church would have to teach that Christians are not under the Law Covenant. This was a basic reason for Christ's coming!

E. The true church would also have to be busily occupied with preaching the Good News. So many parts of the Christian writings are dedicated to this that there is no avoiding it.  It would also have to pay attention to the needs of its poor and do what it could, not in word, but in deed.
About the preaching work there seems much to learn in regard to how the first century Christians accomplished this.  Not all seem to have been able to since many were slaves.  For this reason perhaps, in Ephesians we read that Christ gave apostles, teachers, and evangelists, etc.

Having included the above points, I want to restate the principle from a previous paragraph. A readiness to defend to "every man who asks you a word about the hope in you"  should be a paramount attitude of the church.  It should be open to scriptural scrutiny, and be swift about checking the veracity of claims.  A desire to adjust should be a manifest trait of church leaders regarding dogma.  As it itself preaches and expects individuals to adjust because of the truth -- exactly similarly should they want to adjust to new points clearly part of the Bible truth.

If such openness exists, a settling in of basic truth will eventually occur. On occasion, a Saint or one of the Other Sheep may have an epiphany in regard to a particular doctrine in which case the church leaders must want to examine this train of logic and the scriptures supporting it.
Since a settling down of the basic points of truth will occur, a time surely will arrive when few changes to the basics occur, but it is yet in the future.  Having said this, I know that there yet are many serious Bible truths left  unacknowledged by any church. Each church seems to have partial knowledge only. So far, all churches have gaping holes in their knowledge.  Even the most accurate is sadly lacking behind in acknowledging the scriptural account and teachings.

It is unfortunate that not all of the foundation teachings are understood as of yet by any one church on earth. (2008.01) For this reason alone, there is ample reason for everybody to keep applying themselves to scriptural scrutiny and meditation.

The conclusion about Sects and Sectism presently rests mostly on the basic teachings about God, the Father, Jehovah, and his son, Christ Jesus, the teaching about the condition of the dead. On this the charge of heresy and sectism should rest. When saying the condition of the dead, I exclude the resurrection and judgment from being part of that since here in particular room for improvement abounds.

In our day, one more highly important point in finding the 'best' church is in regard to the preaching of the Good News worldwide. Still, there are points to ponder. So as to let you ponder, read this concluding scripture. And let this information be augmented by readers if God wills.
Mark 9:38-42, John said unto him—Teacher! we saw someone, in thy name, casting out demons,—and we forbade him, because he was not following with us. 39But, Jesus, said—Do not forbid him! For, no one, is there, who shall do a work of power in my name, and have power, soon, to revile me; 40For, whosoever is not, against, us, is, for, us; 41For, whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water, in name that, Christ’s, ye are, Verily! I say unto you, in nowise, shall lose his reward. 42And, whosoever shall cause to stumble one of these little ones that believe, it is, seemly, for him, rather, if there is hung a large millstone about his neck, and he is cast into the sea.(Rotherham)

Matt 12:49,50, And having stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, he said, Behold, my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in the heavens, he is my brother, and sister, and mother. (ACV)

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