Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 4
In the middle of this confusion comes the Mennonite religion and the Quakers/Friends religion.
George For, a 19 year old dreamer, became disillusioned with all denominations and started a search for his own salvation. At the age of 23 he received a “call from Jesus” to become a full-time “witness” of the “divine light” which he claimed was his from John 1:4. His followers sought this light following their own inner feelings and when received became the “friends” of Christ of John 15:14. He and his followers were anti-war, anti-slavery, anti-oath takers in court, and were one of the groups that participated in the Underground Railroad of the Civil War. They teach that each has a “light within” and most meet in silence when they assemble until the Holy Spirit begins to move among them. They practice no rituals like baptism and usually have no physical representatives of Christ (the Lord’s Supper) in their assemblies. George, himself, was exiled from many societies and finally realized his “light” could not be communicated to any other human, or that no other human could experience the same “feelings” and declare doctrine based on written belief.
W Menno Simons, the founder and leader of what later became known as the Mennonites who believed in adult baptism after salvation. Born in Friesland (the Netherlands) in 1496, Menno was ordained a Roman Catholic priest. He left the Roman Catholic Church in 1536 after reading some parts of the Latin Bible. His views were like those of John Calvin but insisted on “believers baptism” when the faithful reached understanding and maturity. Associated many times with the Amish, Menno, strongly influenced the modern Baptist in many doctrines, considered by many in the Baptist faith the turning point of their religious beliefs.
About this time came along Roger Williams, himself a self-professed follower of Christ. Roger was favored by the Narragansett Indians whose language he learned and used. He intervened in the Pequot war and made the Narragansett Indians the strongest Indian nation in the northeast. He was truly the first abolitionist of the Americas. He was feared by the settlers of New England and often was in political trouble for his stand on the treatment of the Indians and freedoms for the African slaves (after his death this area became the beginning of slave trade in the Americas.) In Providence, Rhode Island, Roger started the first Baptist Church in America. He was later expelled from Rhode Island. Roger became convinced that all must negate infant baptism and accept “believer’s baptism” after a profession of salvation. He was a part of the Particular Baptist and is given credit for accelerating the spread of the Baptist denomination in the free world of America.
It isn’t hard to see how development of religion without the basis of the Word of God developed. Religion became a whipping post of political leaders, Kings, and governments. What they believed evolved from several “thinkers,” some with a semblance of “searching the scriptures” and others with their “light” of introspective illumination which could not be communicated, it could only be felt. Doctrines in our modern-day denominations had their beginnings in their views, not in the Word of God, and have been continued in many of the modern churches of our time. It is our plea that you reject all these “heart-felt” religious beliefs in favor of the inspired Word of God. During all this revolution of religious thought there remained on this earth the Church of Christ which began in A D 33, in the city of Jerusalem, in the country of Israel. Its doctrines and teachings have sometimes wavered, but the foundation being in the Word of God, these doctrines did not last long. History records in every generation of mankind those congregations that taught the simplicity of the “faith once delivered to the saints.” There is NO OTHER religious assembly of people that has continued this “search for the mind of God” that has not been rewarded with same teachings and principles that began some 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. As you see, and will continue to see if you will read on, the errors men have followed is because they have followed, men, NOT JESUS CHRIST.
It was the plea of our Master that “we all believe the same thing, that there be no division among us; that the world might believe that God had sent, Christ.” John 17:21 Church reformers might have made the history books, but did they and their followers make the “Lambs book of Life?” Revelation 21:27