There are many sincere christians amongst numerous denominations who have a sense of being very happy and proud to be a part of the church in wich they attend. There is a sense of being brightened by the congregational functions that makes them feel as they are part of something extraordinary. They are overwhelmed by the Lord’s presence when they get together in worship on a Sunday morning or evening and getting together is without question the most important part of their week. In essence, I appreciate these people and God bless them since they are happy both in God and in the covenant community which He has ordained. There isn’t anything wrong with being joyous as an assembly and enjoying life as a christian.
There are those however, in every denomination or group, that tend to takes this way too far. They tend to lean towards the idea that they have it all figured out and everyone else has fell off the proverbial boat at some point. They worship and conduct their church meetings in a way that is more scriptural than everyone else. They have come to appreciate that they have something that makes them unique and that everybody else has unfortunately not faithfully searched the scriptures to figure out for themselves. They have come to the conclusion that their worship is far more appealing to God than that of other churches. They seem to feel pity for those who have an inferior form of worship and are not afraid to express their disapointment in these other churches publically. Their service or meetings are scriptural while these other places are merely trapped in traditionalism.
I want to clarify a few things prior to continuing. I’m not saying that every church is as biblically sound as another since there are churches who have grown together scripturally to a far greater degree than some others. Also, I’m not saying that most churches don’t have “traditions” that they seem to hold almost to the same level as scripture since many do to one degree or another. I believe that we can all agree that there are things we do as a church that are explicitly scriptural while there are other things that are more traditional. We should not attack the traditional side too harshly unless it is clearly against what is taught in the pages of scripture. If you are unaware that you have traditions when you meet as a church/congregation then you should seriously re-examine your church.
We really need to be careful that we have not bowed to our spiritual pride in such a way that has brought us to a point of arrogance at the expense of other christians. In other words, just because you may have seen something in scripture that you rightfully hold to while some others have not doesn’t give you the right to boastfully place yourself on higher spiritual ground than they. There are probably things they hold to that are more scriptural! I have experienced in the past individuals especially those in fundamentalist surroundings who will boldly express how they would never attend a service in another denomination because of the way they conduct their services. These services they argue are not scriptural and they would be willing to drive 100 KM away to attend their meeting rather than drive 3 KM and attend such a meeting. The sad part is that they will talk about this openly. It is almost like going somewhere else is treason against a holy God. I believe that when you have to abase other christians to lift yourself up then it is a sign that your church has a control issue. If you have to warn people to stay away from these other churches for fear that you might lose members than you have a very weak church. People should want to stay in the church without constantly being persuaded that they need to do so to be faithful to God.
We must remember that the Pharisees were the most religious men of their day. They had Judaism all figured out and were faithful to their religion. They saw any other sect of Judaism as false and they felt pride in holding the keys of God’s truth. The Lord Jesus called them a brood of vipers and a white sepulchre since while their outer presentation was outwardly commendable to most men, they fell into the trap of worship without the circumcized heart and arrogantly looked down on others. I doubt any of us want to be like the Pharisees.
Let us look at what we can learn from other churches and desire to dialogue with them. This doesn’t mean you need to even attend these other churches but respect what they have found scripturally in the bible while keeping in mind that you have not figured it all out yourself.