Chapter 35, Part 1 Preview: Is Exclusivity “An Unpardonable Sin”? Here is unmistakable Biblical proof that simply belonging to a “sect” is quite literally “heresy”! “Is Messiah Divided” into Sects? Yeshua’s (Jesus’) harshest words were undeniably those directed toward the most obsessive religious ideology of His generation—the exclusivist sects. Why does sectarian “doctrine” so often make people arrogant? Why are there so many sectarian “ministries”. What is more important—stroking the egos of a hierarchy, or their acquisition of wealth and power? Yeshua charged that these “hypocrites” greatly love public praise, but have absolutely no concern for the spiritual well being of anyone!
Can we demonstrate that Yeshua had an extremely vehement aversion for sectarianism? Before we can associate “exclusivity” with being a so-called “unpardonable sin” we need to focus on Yeshua’s statements describing what “exclusivity” means. While English Bibles do not translate a Greek word as “exclusivity” in describing the offense, Yeshua certainly exposed the self centered sects as being exactly the opposite of what “pure religion” is! (Note: Frequenting one of these Churches or Assemblies for fellowship is not the same as pushing hierarchical strong arm tactics, so long as you are a member of “the body Messiah” rather than being a member of a sect!)
Matthew 23:1-7 Then Yeshua conversed with the crowd and His disciples. 2 He told them, “The Torah teachers and Pharisees have seated themselves in Moses seat. 3 Now everything that they tell you to obey [people didn’t own copies of the Torah], you must practice, but don’t do what they do, because they don’t ‘practice what they teach’. 4 They bundle heavy burdens and load them on people’s shoulders, but they won’t lay a finger on them themselves. 5 Everything that they do is done for appearances, like when they broaden their tefillin and extend the tzitzits [tassels] of their clothing. 6 They love the best seating at suppers and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and salutatory greetings in the market places, and being addressed by people as Rabbi [my great one]. —The Gabriel Bible
Here is the Biblical definition of “pure and special [holy] ministry”:
James 1:27 Pure and kadosh ministry to Yehovah [God] the Father means visiting the fatherless and widows in their distress, and keeping yourself unstained by the world.
Today’s incorporated churches generally perform exactly the same disservice that their forerunners the Pharisees did two thousand years ago. They are the modern day equivalent. While the teachings have evolved, such as their appropriating the name of Yeshua—the selfish motivations of the leaders are the same. It is a terrible offense to Elohim (God) to say that we represent Him, the loving Elohim, if we really advocate exclusivist arrogance, division and strife. How ironic it is that those who preach so much against division are the very cause of most of it! Paul anticipated that this would happen:
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 because I’m afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve with his chicanery, in a similar way your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity of the Messiah. 4 Because if someone had come to you heralding another Yeshua—who we hadn’t heralded, or you had received a different spirit than the one you received, or a different Good News than the one you have accepted, you would have been very persuaded!
Don’t let their acknowledging Yeshua’s name fool you:
Luke 4:41 Demons came out of many people shouting, “You are the Messiah, Yehovah’s Son.” But He scolded them and ordered them not to tell anyone that they knew He was the Messiah.
James 2:19 So you believe that there is one Aloha [God]. Good for you, but the demons also believe that, and tremble.
Yeshua, while admonishing the Pharisaical hypocrites in His presence, was apparently also foretelling that counterfeit Christian hypocrites would worship Him in vain:
Mark 7:6–9 He told them, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you pretenders. As the Scriptures say, ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their minds are very far from Me. 7 Their ‘reverence’ of Me is pointless because they teach human rules as doctrines.’ 8 You abandon the Commandments of Yehovah and hang onto human traditions, washing cups and pots and other things like that.” 9 He added, “Despite your pretenses, you reject the Commandments of Yehovah in order to establish your own traditions!
Demons also seduce false teachers into replacing the doctrines [teachings] of Yehovah with substitute teachings. Two specific end time examples are given.
1 Timothy 4:1-5 The spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will abandon their convictions of the truth and devote themselves to deceitful spirits and their demonic doctrines. 2 They’ll deceive BY A FALSE APPEARANCE, having their own consciences seared as if by a branding iron. 3 They will forbid marriages and require abstinence from meats that Yehovah created to be used with thankfulness by those who believe and understand the truth. 4 Every animal that Yehovah created for food is good, and there is nothing that should be rejected if it is received with thankfulness, 5 because it is kadosh by the Word of Aloha and prayer.
(Leviticus 11 is where “the Word(s) of Elohim” lists the foods we were intended to eat.)
Marriage literally pictures Yehovah’s family plan—making us actual Sons of Yehovah. The demons certainly hate to see our wonderful potential with them having no future, so they would naturally want to forbid marriage, causing gullible people to have warped sexual ideas. A second example, perhaps most valuable because it will point out some of the primary proponents of the “doctrines of demons”concerns prohibitions on eating foods “made special (holy) thru the Words of Yehovah”.
Incidentally, all of the “doctrines of demons” are designed to cause you to reject the Commandments of Yehovah—replacing them with these “works”:
Galatians 5:18-21 But if you are led by the spirit, you aren’t under sectarian law . 19 Now the workings of our physical nature are obvious: adultery and other kinds of illicit sex, profligate living, unbridled lusts, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, self-promoting partisans seeking control, rivalry, rage, hunger for power, divisions, sectarianism, 21 envy, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and anything like that. Those who perpetrate these things, as I have told you before and am telling you again, WON’T INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF Yehovah.
 The phrase “under the law” is a reference to the laws made by the various Jewish sects. That phraseology is apparent from its specific usage in the dead sea scrolls.
Reading the text of the prophecy from Isaiah that Yeshua quoted from is even more revealing. It mentions His coming at the end of this age for Judgment, while also alluding to when He came in the flesh. Then it describes the prophetic “marvelous work” of His silencing the preaching, “of their [sectarian] wise men”. When that day comes, Yehovah’s truth will not be hidden from “this people” any longer, instead, “the wisdom of their wise [sectarian] men will perish, and the understanding of their prudent men [scholars] will be hidden.” Their false knowledge will be exposed:
Isaiah 29:13–20 Yehovah says, “These people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but they’ve removed their thoughts far from me, and their awe of Me is based on human dogma, 14 So look, I’ll proceed to do a marvelous work among these people, even a marvelous work and a wonder, and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their prudent men will be hidden.”
15 I pity those who who try to hide their plans from Yehovah, whose works are done in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us?” And, “Who knows us?” 16 You turn things upside down! Should the potter be thought to be like clay, so that the thing made should say about the one who made it, “He didn’t make me,” or the thing formed say of the one who formed it, “He has no understanding?” 17 Isn’t it yet a very little while, and Lebanon will be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field will be regarded as a forest? 18 On that day, the deaf will hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind will see out of obscurity and out of darkness. 19 The humble also will increase their joy in Yehovah, and the poor among men will celebrate in the Kadosh One of Israel. 20 The ruthless is brought to nothing, and the scoffer ceases, and all those who are alert to do evil are cut off-
Only after understanding the gravity of the transgression should we venture into how “the unpardonable sin” might actually be applied to exclusivist religious sects.
For all practical purposes—any sin that gets you tossed into the Lake of Fire would be an “unpardonable sin”! Many people believe that there is a sin that you can’t repent of and be forgiven in this life. This chapter deals with an attitude that, unrepented of, blazes a wide trail to the “second death”. While there may be a paragraph break implied in the following verse; it is interesting that “the road is broad that leads to destruction” is followed by, “Beware of false prophets” in the very next breath.
Matthew 7:13-15 Enter thru the narrow door, because the door is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and many enter thru it. 14 How narrow is the doorway and constricted is the road that leads to eternal Life, and very few find it! 15 Watch out for false [Gr. pseudo] prophets who come to you ‘disguised’ as sheep, but inwardly they are extortioning wolves.
Exclusivity is something that Yeshua condemned the Pharisees for endorsing. The Pharisees were exclusivist toward their race as well as their religious dogma. Yeshua condemned their hypocrisy, that was manifested as attitudes of superiority toward other people, which can also include extreme of racism.
The Pharisees, while they were a highly respected religious hierarchy, were in reality ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing. Despite these “minor character flaws”, the evidence of their snake charmer like abilities over the people is blatantly obvious considering that their oratory overshadowed the miracles and majesty of the Messiah Himself—to the point where He was slain for His righteousness. Yet even today the Red Riding Hood’s of the world keep being deceived by the hypnotic voices of wolves who appear as innocents. Prophecy indicates that in the end, the entire secular world will even be swayed by the charms and deceptions of wolves.
Religious exclusivity is saying or just thinking that your sect of people is better or more special than other groups in the eyes of Elohim (God). Among the very people who should know better than to have these thoughts are “Christian” groups that make the claim that: “If you are not a part of this organization then you cannot be saved”. Alternatively, some claim that your position in the Kingdom—if you happen to squeak in—will be of much less preeminence than if you had chosen their “guru” to lead you into the Kingdom. Such egotistical teachings make a mockery of Yeshua’s actual teachings.
Romans 12:16 Think of your Friends as your equals. Don’t be arrogant, rather, associate with the humble. And don’t think of yourselves as wise.
To be sure, Yeshua said that His flock was a “little flock” (Luke 12:32). And there is “one body” (Romans 12:5), but it is not for us to decide who is in it and who is not. But here are some clues as to who are part of the flock:
1 John 2:4 Anyone who says, “I know Him”, but doesn’t obey His Commandments is a liar—not a person of truth.
1 John 3:22 We receive from Him whatever we ask because we obey His Commandments and do what pleases Him.
1 John 3:24 Anyone who obeys His Commandments remains in Him. We know by this that He remains in us, by the spirit that He has given us.
1st John 5:2 This is how we know that we love Yehovah’s children: when we love Yehovah and obey His Commandments.
1st John 5:3 This ‘demonstrates’ the love of Yehovah, that we obey His Commandments, and His Commandments aren’t burdensome.
2nd John 1:6 This is love, that we live by the Commandments. This command has been heard from the beginning, and we should live by it.
Revelation 12:17 The Dragon was furiously angry with the woman, and he went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, those who obey the Commandments of Yehovah [TORAH] AND have THE TESTIMONY OF YESHUA.
Revelation 14:12 ‘This calls for’ patient endurance by the kadishea, who preserve [obey, guard] the Commandments of Yehovah AND the faith of Yeshua.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who obey His Commandments . They’ll have the privilege to the Tree of Life, and be permitted to enter thru the gates into the city.
 The Wescott & Hort versions of Revelation (most modern versions) unconscionably substitutes “wash your robes” for “obey His Commandments”, unlike the Peshitta and the Majority text versions (the KJV “family”). See Matthew 19:16-19.
In case you don’t know which Commandments are being mentioned here—and are required for eternal life—allow Yeshua to answer that:
Luke 18:18-20 One of the leaders asked Him, “Good Master, what must I do so that I can inherit eternal Life”? 19 Yeshua asked him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except Aloha alone. 20 You know the Commandments, [Aramaic order] ‘You must never murder. You must never commit adultery. You must never steal. You must never give a false testimony. And honor your father and your mother.’
By naming half of the Ten Commandments the fellow got the point. These are the minimum requirements “to inherit eternal life”. Of course you can do more. The leader thought that this answer was too simplistic. So Yeshua went on to explain what being one of his twelve disciples required. Tragically, most professing Christians today believe that the Commandments are optional at best! That particular heresy is a “damnable heresy”. It is known as Antinomianism (outside link).
There will be more in this chapter on exactly what heresy is. It is of great importance that you know what it is and what it is not! The English definition of heresy differs entirely from the Biblical use of the term. The Encyclopedia Wikipedia has a detailed explanation for how the Catholic definition of “heresy” is still considered the technically “correct” definition.
“While the term is often used by laymen to indicate any non orthodox belief such as Paganism, by definition heresy can only be committed by someone who considers himself a Christian, but rejects the teachings of the CATHOLIC CHURCH. A person who completely renounces Christianity is not considered a heretic, but an apostate ...”
Revelation chapters 2 and 3 describes the Seven Assemblies (“Churches”) of Elohim at the end of the age. They aren’t “church eras”, rather they are regrettably what has become of the people of Yehovah today. The Commandment keeping people are divided by “heresies” (as the word has come to mean in English) and most of them are divided into “heresies” or “denominations”—and that simply means a group brandishing a sectarian name as is implied in the Greek, and virtually always having a “Statement of [mandatory] Beliefs”.
Philadelphia would not be sectarian, or Yehovah would have certainly mentioned it. Smyrna is also not likely tainted with sectarianism. These smaller Assemblies would be described as “independent” and would follow a 1 Corinthians 14 format, as described in The Bible Never Mentions Sermons at their gatherings—everyone has the right to express themselves, so long as they do not try to repeatedly force sectarian ideas down the throats of the others. They are loosely affiliated, but don’t have a human “king”. Fortunately for the other Assemblies, sectarian heresy is not necessarily one of the “damnable heresies” tho stringently teaching hierarchy may be.
Exclusivity can be expressed by a wide range of biases—anything from believing that anyone not a part of your religious organization should be killed, to simply believing that you are more righteous than, for example, publicans (tax extractors). Very often secular people are more decent and loving than religious people.
A friend told me of a preacher that he heard who said: “I’ll get to heaven on my superior knowledge far sooner than you will get there on your superior love”.
That man is void of both knowledge and love!
1 Corinthians 13:2-10 And if I were to have the gift of prophecy, and if I understood every mystery and knew everything, and if I had supreme faith, so that I could move mountains, but lacked love, I would be nothing. 3 If I were to donate everything I owned to feed the poor, and if I were to allow my body to be set on fire [keyword: burn] as a martyr, but lacked love, it would be of no benefit at all! 4 Love perseveres patiently and is kind, love doesn’t burn with envy, love doesn’t boast, it’s not conceited 5 and doesn’t act unbecomingly, doesn’t seek its own way, it’s not easily provoked, and doesn’t have a bad nature. 6 It finds no pleasure in violating the Torah, but rejoices with others in the truth. 7 It endures every threat, and is persuaded of every conviction, with limitless hope and perseverance. 8 Love will never end. But prophesying will come to an end, and language will no longer stir us, and some knowledge will vanish. 9 We have limited knowledge, and our prophecy has limits. 10 But when everything is finished, then the limitations will vanish.
These “superior” men are the very ones who cast true believers out of their places of worship! When John spoke of being put “out of the synagogues” he was not referring to end time Judaism!
John 16:2 You’ll be thrown out of their synagogues  and far worse, the time will come when whoever kills you will believe that they are giving a ze’bak [sacrifice] to Yehovah.
 or Congregations or “Assemblies”
Here is what an exclusivist thinks about anyone not in his “synagogue”:
Luke 18:11–12 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed, ‘Yehovah, I thank You that I’m not like everyone else—thieves, dishonest, adulterers, or like this tax extractor. 12 I fast twice on the sabbath [two meals] and pay tithes on my entire income.’
You may wonder why kadishea (saints) would be fellowshipping in such places to begin with. More than likely it is to help the others. Some local groups are more tolerant of a good example than others, but eventually the truly converted will likely be excluded.
In short, sectarian exclusivity is judging other people to be less righteous than yourself—leave the judging to Yehovah:
Luke 6:37 Don’t express judgments and you won’t be judged, don’t pronounce condemnations and you won’t be condemned. Pardon those who sin and you’ll be pardoned.
Philipptians 2:3-4 Don’t do anything thru partisanship or conceitedness, but with true humility everyone should think of your acquaintances as being better than yourself. 4 None of you should only be concerned about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of your acquaintances.
Exclusivist “hypocrisy”, in the form of needless separations, was so deeply instilled in the culture of the day that even Envoys (Apostles) became ensnared!
Galatians 2:11-13 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I confronted him to his face because he was at fault. 12 Because before certain ones came from James, he ate with the other ethnicities, but when they came, he timidly withdrew himself and became exclusivistic, because he was afraid of the circumcision proponents. 13 The rest of the Jews sided with him in this regard, so that even Barnabas yielded to their favoritism.
How many people today separate themselves—or more often—separate others, by “excommunication” or “disfellowshipment” or “marking”, or “dismembering” for imperfections or even for having deeply held personal convictions over issues “not leading to death”?
Here is what the Bible says to do when someone sins “a sin not leading to death”:
1st John 5:16-17 If anyone sees their Friend ‘commit’ a sin that doesn’t result in death, they should ask Aloha, and Life will be given to them, so long as their sin isn’t deadly. There is a deadly sin, and I’m not saying that we should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness [violation of the Torah] is sin, yet there are sins that aren’t fatal.
If someone is not breaking the Ten Commandments, then they must not be treated as a heathen, they must be treated as a Friend! When “ministers” throw Commandment keeping people out of their Assemblies, they may be throwing themselves into the lake of fire! It would be better for them to tie a millstone around their own neck and shove it into the sea than to jeopardize the spiritual life of one of their sheep!
Luke 17:1-4 Yeshua told His disciples, “It is inevitable that scandalous offenses [Gr. skandalon] will occur, but I pity the person who causes them. 2 It would be better for them to be plunged in the depths of the sea with an ass powered millstone hung around their neck, than for them to trip up one of these little ones! 3 You should pay attention! If your brother wrongs you, reprimand him, and if he changes his ways, disregard the sins. 4 If you are wronged seven times in a day, and then seven times that day they come to you and say, “I want to change my ways, then acquit them”.
Yeshua even emphasized caution to the Jews concerning how they condemned others:
John 8:7 ... “The person among you who hasn’t sinned [in this way] should be the first to throw a stone at her.”
I have a friend who was cast from his “synagogue”, in the____Church of God (name upon request), because he refused to eat out at restaurants on the Sabbath, setting a “proper” example. They call that “trying to outrighteous the ministers”. That is a quote from a taped headquarters sermon on the subject. Other friends there are threatened with “dismemberment” for daring to discuss the Bible without a minister present.
Another Church of God sect has “dismembered” anyone who once belonged to the WCG, who has not since proclaimed that their splinter group is the only “righteous” one. A friend was recently invited to a wedding, but on arriving the parents told this former WCG man that either he had to leave or they would! Myself and both of these parties had spent years as friends.
Certainly there are people who should be avoided, but here are the criteria:
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 I wrote to you by letter not to befriend a male prostitute. 10 But I don’t mean with the male prostitutes who are in the world or with the greedy or predators or idol worshipers, otherwise you would have to leave the planet. 11 But now I have written to you not to befriend anyone who calls himself a Friend who is a male prostitute or greedy or worships money or those who use abusive language or a drunkard or an extortioner—dont even share a meal with those kinds of people. 12 What business do I have judging those on the outside? But you must judge those within the body 13 and remove the wicked ones from among you, (Yehovah judges those outside).
The above points do not including mandatory agreement with the tenets of a particular sect! What if the point of contention of the sect is right? There is a great difference between the wicked and someone not convinced on a particular point of doctrine. I have seen babes in the Messiah get booted as well. The Apostle Paul said that he would sooner become a vegetarian than offend a vegetarian, even tho he knew their issue to be wrong. You simply dare not cause a Friend to stumble:
1 Corinthians 8:11-13 Should a weak brother who the Messiah died for be destroyed because of your knowledge? 12 When you sin against your Friends and wound the consciences of the feeble, you sin against the Messiah. 13 So if what I eat is an obstacle for my Friend, I won’t ever eat meat again, in order to keep my Friend from stumbling.
I know of a man who began fellowshipping with the Radio Church of God over fifty years ago. The “minister” asked him if he believed that the RCOG was the only true church. The man said that he did not know but that every church that he was familiar with made that claim. He was banned from ever attending! Fortunately that babe in Messiah had the tenacity to keep the Sabbath in his own home, and has done so to this very day [did so til death]! He did learn intolerance from them tho. After joyously fellowshipping with him for a couple of years he allowed a point of disagreement to come between us and told me never to come back. He refused to tell me what the point was.
Then there is the often used excuse that a Friend was “causing division”. Is having a different opinion than the hierarchy preaches really “causing division”? The Biblical term for actual division is called “heresy”, and it is strongly denounced in the Bible. “Causing division” would actually mean trying to create a new sect! Here is the definition. So if your intent is “storming a city”, or figuratively speaking, taking over an assembly of people, then you might just be a heretic!
And here are the four references generally translated as “heresy”:
1 Corinthians 11:19 Of course there must be sects among you, so that those of you who are genuine can be recognized.
Galatians 5:20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, self-promoting partisans seeking control, rivalry, rage, hunger for power, divisions, sectarianism,
2 Peter 2:1 There have been false prophets in the world, and there will also be false teachers among you who will introduce destructive heresies, denying the Master who bought them and bringing on themselves swift and eternal destruction.
Acts 24:14 Yet I certainly acknowledge that in accordance with the Way that they refer to as a sect, I do serve the Aloha of my ancestors and believe everything written in the Torah and in the Prophets.
As Paul Harvey would say, “And now, the rest of the story”: Belonging to ANY particular “sect” (or “denomination” or “church”) is HERESY by the Biblical definition! The English word translated as “sect” is in truth the Greek word hairesis—heresy! Here are the other five places where heresy should be written into your Bible. Note that while belonging to a particular “heresy” was quite acceptable to the Jews, it is not what Yehovah desires for the followers of Yeshua. The same situation happened in ancient Israel. Yehovah’s people Israel wanted to be governed “like all the nations” so Yehovah allowed it!
1 Samuel 8:4-7 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together, and went to Samuel to Ramah. 5 They told him, “You’re old, and your sons don’t ‘live their lives’ like you do. So appoint a king for us to rule over us, just like all the other nations have.” 6 But Samuel was very angry when they said, “Give us a king to rule over us. So Samuel prayed to Yehovah. 7 Yehovah told Samuel, “Listen to what the people are sayig, to you, because they haven’t rejected you, but they’ve rejected Me as their King!
Here are the other places where the word “sect” is actually the more the more versatile word “heresy”[hairesis]:
Acts 5:17 The high priest and everyone with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees) were filled with jealousy.
Acts 15:5 Some of the people who had come from the sect of the Pharisees, but who now believed in Yeshua got up and said, “It is a necessity for you to circumcise them as required by the Torah of Moses.”
Acts 24:5 We have found this man to be an assassin [Gr. “a pest”] who stirs up sedition among all the Jews thruout the Empire, he is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
Acts 26:4-5 The Jews know, if they would admit it, the kind of life I lived from ‘birth’ in my own nation and in Jerusalem. 5 They’ve known for a long time, if they would admit it, that I lived according to the ‘strictest’ doctrinal paradigm [hairesis: sect] of the Pharisees.
Acts 28:22 But we would like to hear what your views are, because we know that people everywhere are speaking out against this doctrine”.
In short, the Biblical definition of heresy is belonging to a sect—period! The Catholic definition of heresy is belonging to any sect EXCEPT the Catholic sect and the definition non Catholics use is simply belonging to any sect which they consider to be unorthodox (that they don’t like).
Yet claiming to follow any man or sect is idolatry!
1 Corinthians 1:12-13 I’m telling you that one of you says, “I’m of Paul”, and another says, “I follow Paul”, and another says, “I follow Apollos”, and another says, “I follow Cephas”, and another says, “I follow the Messiah”. 13 Now was the Messiah divided? Or was Paul crucified for you? Or were you immersed in the name of Paul?
However claiming to be “of the Messiah” if you really only want to follow yourself is folly as well. “Work out your own salvation” but don’t forget the “fear and trembling” part!
Philipptians 2:12 So Friends, as you have always listened to and obeyed Yehovah, not only when I was near you, but now that I am far from you—continue in the necessary work to make sure of your own eternal Lives, with fear and trembling,
It is very good to worship Yehovah with other people of a similar mind whenever possible. Yet salvation is a one on one relationship with Yehovah. People want to worship Yehovah in groups for the wrong reasons. Many think that there is safety in numbers and at least unconsciously feel that just belonging to their church will get them “saved”. Belonging to a group encourages people to believe whatever they are taught by others without actually taking the time to understand the only book that Yehovah delivered to mankind. That is why the vast majority of people actually “inherit” their religion. People are naturally inclined to want to become members of sects, gangs, clubs etc. Trusting in Yehovah rather than man is what is required to become one of Yehovah’s kadishea (saints)
Psalm 118:8 It’s better to take refuge in Yehovah, than to trust in people.
A sect is a wall of exclusion. People want to belong to a “name-brand” group. When a church becomes popular then “franchises” tend to spring up. The more people are told what they like to hear the faster their franchise grows. People are not content to tell someone that they are a “Saint” or a “Christian”. They prefer to be named after Luther (Lutherans) or Calvin (Calvinists) or call attention to the way they baptize people (Baptists). That is extremely convenient, but if you don’t have a handy label then people might just have to discuss at length what you believe rather than simply ask who you believe and end the conversation.
This can lead to heated discussions. That is OK. As long as love is present there just might be some learning going on. If love is not present then it is just a fight! Bad. Everyone loses. Also debates are a sport, they are about winning rather than edification.
There is some sentiment towards what is called the Restoration Movement, which denies overt sectarian names for the following reasons:
“Christianity should not be divided, Christ intended the creation of one church.
“Creeds divide, but Christians should be able to find agreement by standing on the Bible itself (from which they believe all creeds are but human expansions or constrictions) instead of on the opinions of men about the Bible.
“Ecclesiastical traditions divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by following the practice (as best as it can be determined) of the early church.
“Names of human origin divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by using biblical names for the church (i.e., “Christian Church,” “Church of God or “Church of Christ” as opposed to “Methodist” or “Lutheran”, etc.). It is in this vein that conservative members of the Churches of Christ object to the phrase “Stone-Campbell Movement”.
Yet even these “Biblical names” are used as sectarian names for all practical purposes and there are numerous divisions among these “no name” groups.
Having strong disagreements is no reason to disfellowship someone tho. Even Apostles could have real controversies yet without accusing each other of “heresy”.
Acts 15:36-41 After a few days, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit the Friends in every city where we proclaimed the Word of Aloha to see how well they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, who was also called Mark, 38 but Paul was unwilling to take him with them because he had deserted them when they were in Pamphylia, and hadn’t gone on with them to the work. 39 As a result of this disagreement they went their separate ways. Barnabas took Mark and they sailed to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left after the Friends had entrusted him to Yehovah’s care. 41 He traveled thru Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the assemblies.
It may be comforting to realize that any time that you are thrown out of a “name brand” sect (or church or denomination) that you are literally being thrown out of heresy!
Now for Part 2