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Topic: The Nature of the Church

The Necessity of Opposition

by Darrel Cline

In our consideration of God's Church, (143) we have seen that He has allowed a large multiplicity of religious claims and churches, all of which cannot possibly be right. There is only one Gospel; and there is only one true church. But, discovering which of the local churches that exist in any given town are genuine reflections of that one true Church is not an easy task.

We raised the question, (147) why has God allowed things to get so confusing? We said there were at least two reasons: one, He allows deception so that those who don't really want to know Him on a personal basis can be deceived; and two, He allows deception so that those who really do want to know Him on a personal basis can be strengthened in their faith by the necessity of weeding through the false to get to the True. Then we spent all of our space addressing the first of these reasons.

In this article we are going to look into the second reason for God's permission of vast confusion. In almost every discipline, except religion, people have no problem with the necessity for opposition. In weight training and muscle building, for instance, we universally recognize that if there is no opposition, there is no progress in muscular development. Gravity is the fundamental principle here and it is fundamentally a principle of opposition. Few people gripe about gravity because most recognize its necessity.

In mathematics also, there are many false answers to any given problem, but only one true one. The difficulty of weeding through the process in order to know how to come up with the truth in the presence of an almost infinite number of false answers is a necessary difficulty. Accepting the difficulty and going to work on the process is how we landed men on the moon, built almost every kind of helpful machine that we have (from washers to computers), and enjoy the quality of life that we now experience. Few people honestly wish that math and all of its products of benefit would go away. The difficulty comes with the terrain and being willing to work through the difficulty has great rewards.

So it is in religion. There is only one true God and He has only one true Gospel. He also has only one true Church. The multiplicity of local churches does create confusion for the person who genuinely wants to go to heaven when he dies. But, in order to go, the person must recognize that he has to weed out the false in order to discover the true. To do that, he must be willing to check out the possibilities.

But, every false church is militantly against that idea. Some even threaten their people with eternal condemnation if they visit other churches in the search for the truth. The stronger the warnings against such investigation, the further from the truth any given church is. So, let me ask you: Is your church and its leadership open to your visiting other churches with an open mind? Or are you warned against such a pursuit? Ask yourself: what could possibly be wrong with trying to find Truth?

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This is article #148.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.