“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; ” (Heb 1:1,2).
But men have also spoken unto us. With excellency of speech and persuasive words of wisdom, they have troubled us with many variations of a perverted gospel; all different from that preached by the apostle Paul and other inspired men (Rom 16:17,18 f; Gal 1:6,7). Missionaries have taken the doctrines and commandments of men throughout the world. It has been printed on slick paper with the latest sophisticated printing equipment and mass mailed to millions. It has been embellished with impressive and professionally produced TV specials featuring coy orators and moving testimonials. It has been broadcast all over the internet and has been seen by billions. Sadly, with great results.
More people have been more influenced by religion by what men have spoken than by what God has spoken. Denominationalism itself is a living monument to the influence of false doctrine Doctrines of men denominate and divide, not the doctrine of Christ. Denominationalism offers men many ways to be wrong: the doctrine of Christ offers men on way to be right. Oddly, denominations claim to follow the Bible. Notice this affirmation from a popular creed book: “The Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or thought requisite or necessary to salvation.” To which we say, “Amen!”
However, in the same creed book may be found “articles of faith” and practice that are not contained in the Holy Scriptures and certainly cannot “be proved thereby”. One, for instance, says that “we are justified by faith only…” The Scriptures say otherwise (Jam 2:24). Many believe and are influenced by what this and other denominations teach concerning justification by faith only. They think it to be Bible doctrine, but God has never spoken thusly.
Elsewhere, the same creed-book gives instructions for the baptism of infants. From where comes such a practice? From heaven or from men? The same could be asked concerning another statement about baptism. “Let every adult person, and the parents of every child to be baptized, have the choice of sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.” The New Testament knows nothing of baptism by sprinkling or pouring; only an immersion, a burial (Rom 6:4) as the word itself indicates, and as demonstrated in the baptism of the Ethiopian in Acts 8. Infant baptism and sprinkling as baptism are practiced, not to please or obey God, as some may suppose, but in response to doctrines invented by men. God deserves better.
It is not enough to be “religious” and well-intentioned. Fellowship with God is possible only as we abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn 9). That requires knowing Truth (Jn 8:32) and making it the standard of everything believed and practiced in the name of religion. False prophets and false teachings offer false hope. We need to be sure about our salvation! — and we can as we “prove all things” by the gospel standard (1 Thess 5: 21).