One Saturday morning many years ago, while preaching in front of an abortion clinic with some other ministers, an elderly lady came up to me and asked me who I was affiliated with. In a quick response to her answer I said, âJesus.â I really knew what she wanted to know. She wanted to know what denomination or organization I was affiliated with. For the first 16Â½ years of my Christian life I was a member of two different denominations. Since then I have been what is referred to as nondenominational. Some call it independent. I like to call it âdependent,â dependent on the Holy Spirit.
It is only natural for many believers to want to know what denominations or groups other believers associate with. This would not be the case if the body of Christ would have never divided themselves up into schisms. No doubt, the intention behind many of those who form new denominations, fellowships and affiliations is an attempt to honor God by having the most accurate doctrine or trying to resemble the first century church. One of the problems this creates for us is that many of the saints do not seem to quite know how to have true fellowship with those outside of their particular denomination or fellowship. Those in the nondenominational, independent ranks donât always have it right either. They can have an attitude of excluding others who do not believe exactly as their church scripted as well. And, of course, those who want to gather disciples unto themselves will form their own church that foolish sheep will flock to. Thus we are left with the body of Christ, who is supposed to have one head and function as one body, being divided into many fragments and often unable to cooperate, much less get along with each other. Being on the outside of the denomination structure of the present day church has given me a little insight to this question of who I am affiliated with.
So with that said, I will tell you who I am affiliated with. I will mostly do that by telling you who I am not affiliated with. I am not a Lutheran because I donât follow Martin Luther. I am not a Wesleyan because I donât follow John Wesley. I am not a Roman Catholic because I donât follow the pope nor the false teachings of that church. I was born into a Catholic home, but learned this religion had no power to set me free. I am not a Calvinist or an Arminian, I am a âBibleistâ (I made that word up).
I am not a Puritan, but âunto the pure all things are pureâ (Titus 1:15). I do not belong to the Reformed Church, but I believe our God is sovereign and that He did predestinate me to be conformed to the image of His Son. Besides that, we donât need the church to be reformed, we need her to come back to her original form of holiness, righteousness, unity and power.
I am not a fundamentalist but I believe in the fundamentals of the word of God. I am not liberal, but I am liberated in the Spirit. I am not a conservative because a Christian is to be more conservative than many that call themselves a conservative.
I am not a Baptist, though I believe in getting baptized. I am not affiliated with the Church of Christ; even though I believe in baptism, I donât believe baptism saves you. Yet if you are in Christ, you belong to the spiritual church of Christ. I am not a Pentecostal, though I believe in the experience and power that was given to the church on the day of Pentecost to reach the lost, and I expect what happened on that day to continue until the Lord comes. I am not a charismatic even though I believe in spiritual gifts, all of them. I do not affiliate with the Word of Faith teachings or teachers, yet the faith I have is often heard in the words I speak.
I donât belong to the United Pentecostals / Jesus Only, yet I do believe, Jesus is the only way to the Father, who He and the Holy Spirit are One with. I also believe in the authority that is given to me in the name of Jesus Christ and use it often for Godâs glory. I am not a member of the Brethren Church, but all that are in the church are my brethren and I am theirs.
I certainly donât belong to any of the cults. I donât belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, although I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ and I am living in the latter days. I donât belong to the Watchtower Society also called Jehovahâs Witnesses, yet I am a living witness of our great Jehovah.
Iâm sure you know I am not a Muslim. Allah and my Heavenly Father are not the same God. The God of the Bible never threatens people to convert or else be killed. Instead He loves, invites and even woos people to come. He says, âThat whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal lifeâ (John 3:15). Instead of killing people in attempts to convert them, He sent His Son who demonstrated His love for fallen rebellious sinful man and went to the cross and died for all.
I donât belong to the Holiness Churches, yet I know that I must, ââ¦.put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holinessâ (Ephesians 4:24). Holiness is a life I live because the Holy One is inside me. That is what the HOLY Spirit does, He makes unholy people holy.
I am not a Seventh Day Adventist. In regard to the âSeventh Dayâ I believe in keeping the Sabbath day holy right along with keeping the other six days of the week holy. I canât imagine that we can wake up one morning and say, âI donât have to keep this day holy.â I read and pray all seven days of the week. About resting on the seventh day, I have entered into Godâs rest when I was born again. No more burden of sin nor weight of guilt. Since I have been saved, I have had my rest seven days a week, twelve months a year. In regard to âAdventist,â I am convinced that we are the generation that will witness the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is recorded that the early church met daily from house to house. Well, at this present time I have fellowship with the saints at least three days a week. But I believe the day is coming when we will meet more often because of the evil that will prevail around us all. We will need to meet because we will need one another.
I am not attracted to the Hebrew or Messianic Jewish influence on the church in that I rejoice in the consolation that I do not have to come under the bondage of the Law of Moses with its ordinances and feasts that cannot perfect me. Yet I am a Gentile who loves the Jewish people and still believes they are Godâs chosen people. I have willing submitted myself to a new royal law. It is the law of love which fulfilled and continues to fulfill all the law of God.
So the question was asked to me, âWho are you affiliated with.â I trust you can see that I am affiliated with Jesus, just as I told that dear sister that Saturday morning many years ago. Who am I affiliated with? I am affiliated with you, if you are a born again believer. The word of God is my final authority, not as I perceive it, but as the Spirit of truth teaches and reveals it. I am in unity with you, if you do believe the truth and are willing to believe all the truth. Without a determination to know all the truth, our unity at best will be just some ecumenical thing, which really is not unity.
Please forgive me if I overloaded your brain with all these different aspects of manâs organized religion. However, I didnât invent these; this is the mess the church is in today. Do you want to simplify your walk with the Lord? Then why donât you too be satisfied to be affiliated with Jesus and let the word of God and the truth fully establish your life.