Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Perhaps there is no other area where the differences arise within denominations than in the area of doctrine.
We understand the term doctrine to mean what we believe, teach and desire to live by. Within denominations we see where doctrine really highlights the differences between us as Protestants.
Let me extrapolate this to give you an idea of where I am coming from.
Typically, in a Baptist church for example, the term Baptism means the public act of being immersed under water as a public showing of your new salvation in Christ.
In a Presbyterian church, this term takes on a different meaning. The child of believing parents may be baptized by sprinkling signifying that that child is a child of the covenant.
In a Pentecostal church, this term takes on an even different meaning. This type of church does hold to the Baptistic view of believer's baptism. The change comes from the phrase "Baptized in the Spirit." Some churches believe that the baptism of the Spirit is an experience different than initial salvation. They see it as a second experience that gives a person much greater spiritual power and boldness, and the ability to live a more victorious Christian life. Some groups teach that the baptism is accompanied by such signs as speaking in tongues.
I am not going to discuss these differences and what is wrong or right. That is for another time.
The point I am sharing is that denominations show marked differences in how we worship and what we believe. If we were to break down the doctrinal differences of the above-mentioned groups Blogger would probably say I am taking up too much time on their server because there are a lot of differences; some trivial, others foundational.
Denominations do define us.