Does God Care About Your Theology As Much As You Do?

Does God care about

“Maybe it doesn’t matter to Him?”

My friend stared at me in disbelief. How could I say something like that? We’d been discussing the state of the church in its four major divisions: Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant. (For the sake of brevity, I’ve lumped all us Protestants into one category. I don’t have time to list us all!)

“Of course THE Church matters to God”, he replied, “He died to give it birth!

I can’t argue with that!

What perplexes me though, is there are so many different types of churches. Catholics believe in purgatory, the other three divisions of the church, don’t. That’s a big difference. We don’t agree on how many books are actually the official “word of God”. That also seems significant. Some churches teach that how one lives has absolutely nothing to do with salvation, while others teach that it has everything to do with it. That’s a HUGE deal, right? Others are somewhere in-between.

We have Catholic decrees calling the Reformers heretics, and we have the Reformers labeling the Pope the anti-Christ. Orthodox and Catholics are at odds over one word in the Creed among other substantial issues. We can’t even seem to agree on the purpose of Christianity.

Then we have us Protestants!

Protestants agree that Jesus Christ died on the cross for “our” sins, but we can’t agree on who is included in “our”. We agree in the “Atonement”, but can’t agree on what it actually entails. We believe people worked miracles, but don’t agree on when or IF that has stopped.

  • We don’t agree on how a church should conduct itself in worship.
  • We don’t agree on something as simple as how a person actually comes to Christ.
  • We don’t agree on what it means to follow Christ.
  • We don’t agree on a host of important issues.

The world looks at us and sees “Christian” sects. Groups that argue amongst themselves and can’t agree on the essentials. We are divided, pure and simple. Stating otherwise is wishful thinking.

“Maybe it doesn’t matter to Him?”

Of course, Jesus did pray for “those who would believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one…May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me…” (John 17:20-21, 23.) Unity was important enough to pray for on the eve of the crucifixion.   The Father gave a big “Sorry Son, no can do” answer on that one. At least Jesus knows what it’s like to have his prayers go unanswered!

Why did God allow it to happen?

Many Protestants believe that around 300AD the real church was infiltrated and perverted by the Catholic Church. As a result, the true Gospel was lost. And God let the Gospel be lost for 1200 years? That leaves more questions!

If purity of doctrine matters so much…

  • Why didn’t God step in at such a critical moment to stop the hijacking of the Gospel?
  • Why would God allow His church to proclaim a false gospel? One that would consign its followers to hell?
  • Why didn’t he put a quick end to it? I find these questions a bit troubling.

To be fair, Catholics believe the Reformers are the real usurpers. Who can blame them? After all, the church existed virtually unchanged for 1500 years, until Luther come along. It’s understandable that they got together at Trent and called the Reformers heretics.

Here’s the compelling issue for me: In both cases, God did not stop the supposed error from taking root. If God is omniscient then he knew what would happen if he did nothing. God foresaw the doctrinal mess that would result. He knew what would happen if He did nothing, and he did…. nothing. Think about that!

He stepped in before, why not again?

We do know that if God wanted to step in and crush the rebellions, he could have. He did that very thing during the Exodus when Korah and his crew openly challenged Moses leadership of the young Israel. Read about it in Numbers 16. The gist of it is that God caused the ground to open up and swallow the leaders of the rebellion, their families and everything they owned! Rebellion over. Case closed. God’s leadership of his people settled.

But that is not what he did in 300AD. That is not what he did when the West and East Split in 1054. It’s not what he did at the beginning of the Reformation. He still hasn’t done it. In all these cases, God allowed it to stand. He had the opportunity to answer the Son’s prayer for unity, but chose not to.

You may counter and say that God NOT acting isn’t proof He doesn’t care. And I’d agree with you 100%. His non-action doesn’t prove anything on either side of the question. What we know from the Bible is that God has acted in human history. At key moments and in powerful ways, he’s intervened to ensure his plan moves forward as planned. But not on this issue. When you consider how significant the Church is to God’s plan, I think his inaction is worth considering.

It matters to us, but does it matter to God?

This brings me back to my conversation with my friend. Obviously, the doctrinal differences we’ve killed others for matter to us. They are a big deal, to us. But do they matter to God? Personally, I don’t think so. (My thoughts on this are shaped by far more than what I’ve covered here.)

Before you get the kindling and tie me to the stake consider what I’m NOT saying. I’m not saying that God doesn’t care about the Gospel or the church, or the world of lost souls. He does. But our petty little in house arguments?

This isn’t simply a thought exercise. The church in the USA could be heading into a very dark period. The culture is shifting. Their opinion of the church is souring even more. They’re calling some members of the church terrorists. They don’t like that we want to gather together for worship. New political leadership is rising that doesn’t care about religious freedom. What lies ahead? I’m not sure. But it sure seems like dark clouds on the horizon.

If dark days lie ahead, we’ll need to circle the wagon of faith. We’ll need to set aside our petty theological differences. We’ll need to unite around the basic essentials.

Who am I kidding? That will never happen! That would take a miracle and miracles don’t happen anymore. 🙂

That’s my view from the cheap seats. What’s yours? Why do you think God has allowed so much diversity to exist in His Church?

Read another thought provoking post on worship:  God Does Not Need Our Worship…We Need It!

About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on February 15, 2021, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, Early Church History, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. False doctrines brings Death and the Church is full of False doctrines which is why no churches agree with one another. Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    In short, people in the present day have never known the HISTORY of separation…
    They just accepted whatever they have in the present day, taught by the today 33,000 types of churches with different doctrines from each other.

    From day one (in about 50 AD) during Paul’s time, the churches in Asia Minor (Turkey) have followed false apostles teaching Another Jesus as they rejected Paul’s teaching. These Countries are Turkey, the 7 churches in Revelation, Ephesian, Thes., Corinthian and Syria which are now Islamic.
    Why are there 33,000 different churches today have different doctrines from each other???
    What happened is the bible tells us that they rejected Paul and other apostles gospel for another false Jesus. 2 Corinthians 11:4
    Today we are all misled and we are under Great confusions by doctrines of the Devil. Because Satan’s pastors looks So very Godly. 2 Corinthians 11:13 – 15

    PLEASE WAKE UP AND UNDERSTAND THE DANGER OF WRONG DOCTRINES OR WE WILL PERISH !!!!!!!!
    Peter wrote that Paul warns that wrong understanding of scripture Will Kill Us. People wrong understanding of scriptures brings about their own destruction because they will perish just like those who rejects knowledge.
    2 Peter 3:16
    – As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
    Hosea 4:6
    – My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

    “The false Christians are liars.”
    But to them, or those who lack esteem for truth or concern for accuracy, as long as they have wonderful intentions, and utopian notions (e.g. “equality for all,” “world peace,” “social justice”) then the truth isn’t important. They won’t even, at that point, examine their premise(s) to see if it is true or not! Their ire is now reserved for those who dare challenge their false accusations, false premise(s), false teachings, etc.
    If only they poured that much effort and intent into making sure they were basing their love on the truth. Yet, because all of us our prone to error…especially if we do not highly value truth, their love grows more and more into error, and therefore it becomes to opposite of “love.” But at that point they don’t really care, because they believe they are more than covered due to their motives and idealistic-but-not-realistic/biblical goals.

    Evident in scripture where the churches in all of Asia Minor falling into apostasy during Paul’s time. They have all rejected / forsaken Paul and the true Gospel to follow heresies.
    2 Ti 1:15 – This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
    4:16 – At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge.

    The majority willingly embraces these false doctrines. 1 Corin 11:19 , 1 Tim 4:1
    1 Corin 11:19 – For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
    1 Tim 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    Beware. When scripture is rejected it is also a rejection of the Holy Spirit, which is the unpardonable sin. (Thanks to Bill Sorensen who quoted this comment)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Alex! It’s been a while.

      You believe that starting around 50 AD, a false Gospel was preached and accepted by most churches in Asia Minor. This false gospel then took over and has been preached and accepted by the churches ever since?

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      • Yes, it is written in epistles of Paul and in 1 Clement, also supported by history of the Schism.

        Here is another later chapter that speaks of the Schism…..and of St Paul and the Corinthian epistle he wrote to them. Parts were repeated by Clement.

        Chap. XLVII. Your recent discord is worse than the former which took place in the times of Paul.

        Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached? Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you. But that inclination for one above another entailed less guilt upon you, inasmuch as your partialities were then shown towards apostles, already of high reputation, and towards a man whom they had approved. But now reflect who those are that have perverted you, and lessened the renown of your far-famed brotherly love. It is disgraceful, beloved, yea, highly disgraceful, and unworthy of your Christian profession, that such a thing should be heard of as that the most stedfast and ancient Church of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition against its presbyters. And this rumour has reached not only us, but those also who are unconnected with us; so that, through your infatuation, the name of the Lord is blasphemed, while danger is also brought upon yourselves.

        I Clement is the only epistle that is believed to be genuine. There were later writings that claimed to be written by him but likely all or part of them are not genuine. Clement of Rome died around 100 A.D. He was martyred for his faith. Some say he died about 99 A.D. Others say he lived for a while after 100 A.D. I have not seen any source that claims he lived past 110 AD There are many references to him by later writers like Ireneaus of Lyons. He was recorded to have interacted with the Apostles. Likely he served as a helper to the earlier Bishops of Rome, Linus and Cletus. There were so many Christian leaders martyred that it is believed sometimes there were multiple layers of succession appointed. Something like 90% or more of the first 30 bishops of Rome were martyred. The genuine epistle (I Clement) was written to the Corinithian Church that had schisms going on. Groups were meeting seperately from the Church that was under the Bishop. Clements epistle is largely two things. The assertion of Clements authority over the Church and correction for rebellion and against the ordained leadership. They seemed to have threw the ordained bishops out so they could no longer “offer sacrifices” (The Eucharist was viewed as a re-offering of the Once For All Sacrifice of Christs Body and Blood.) See Chapter 21 below.
        A lot of the first part talks about Christian unity in general terms.. Here are some exerpts that relate to these issues. The calamities that Clement spoke of are believed by many to have been the martyr of a large number of bishops almost at the same time the Corinithian Church asked for help. This source says that the delay may have been the erpution of a well known volcano…..but that is minority view in the sources I have seen. That Mt Vesuvius Volcano theory requires an earlier time-table than the 92 A.D. theory…more like 80 A.D. Apparently there was a delay of many months from the time the Bishop of Rome received the request for help until Clement sent a response.

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        • I love 1 Clement and read it all the time. I’m very familiar with it.

          Are you also saying that you believe 1 Clement is the only writing of the “church Fathers” that is authentic? What about the rest of the New Testament? Do you accept all those books as authentic?

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        • 1 Clement is just to support all the epistles of Paul, Peter and John, in the NT Bible.
          I accept the Old & New Testament and I accept all those books as authentic.
          But there are many errors in the translations of the original Hebrew Bible to English.
          The NT is worse due to the burning of manuscripts during the Middle Ages.
          It is told that the Papal is keeping some early manuscripts in secret.

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        • Your view, then, is that all the books of the Old and New Testaments are authoritative, but poorly translated. They have been since the middle ages. This is part of the reason the church is so screwed up today and has been since the Middle Ages?

          Most translations of the the Bible are based off of manuscript copies. There are no original writings in anyone’s possession, but there are lots of copies.

          You likely don’t have access to anything better than translators use. So, how do you know your translation isn’t full of errors too?

          What church group is getting right, in your opinion?

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  2. Our faith is based on All the commandments of YAH, the Father of Yeshua.

    First and foremost commandment;
    Hear O Israel, Yahuwah your Elohim, Yahuwah Echad ( Yahuwah is ONE in unity with Yashua ) John 10:30

    Mark 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
    30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
    31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

    If you can understand these 3 Great commandments, you will know that the Yeshua (and Paul) is very much authenticating all the law of Moses in the New Covenant except the Levi priesthood and burn offerings had been changed, Yeshua being our New High Priest.

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    • It’s difficult for me to believe God would allow his church to completely change the Gospel AND allow a very tiny number of people to somehow get it right.

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      • ” It’s difficult for me to believe God would allow his church to completely change the Gospel AND allow a very tiny number of people to somehow get it right. ”

        Didn’t God forsake all the children of Abraham ( the 12 tribes / sons of Jacob ) for 430 years and after that raise up Moses to teach a new generation?
        And the dark period in 1 & 2 Kings books where the children forsook God and the OT books, the Torah and misplaced it. And the people killed God’s prophets.

        It is the same today, nothing is new under the sun.

        Mat 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
        “See! Your house is left to you desolate;
        “for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ ”

        The time has not yet come for God to save the remnant of all the 12 tribes of Jacob but it is nearing as God had exposed many false teachers and Truth is revealed to those who love Yahuwah, the Father of Yeshua. Many from the 12 tribes of Jacob are now believers and today the Rabbis are teaching us the Torah but they are not well versed with the New Testament books.

        Evident in scripture where the churches in all of Asia Minor falling into apostasy during Paul’s time. They have all rejected / forsaken Paul and the true Gospel to follow heresies.
        2 Ti 1:15 – This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
        4:16 – At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge.

        The majority willingly embraces these false doctrines. 1 Corin 11:19 , 1 Tim 4:1
        1 Corin 11:19 – For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
        1 Tim 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

        Like

  3. Most translations of the the Bible are based off of manuscript copies. There are no original writings in anyone’s possession, but there are lots of copies.
    Very true. Many of the NT manuscript copies are forgeries by false apostles, brethren. So the only way to proof text them is to refer to the Tanakh i.e. OT books.
    You likely don’t have access to anything better than translators use. So, how do you know your translation isn’t full of errors too?
    I joined a group of Hebrew Root study and I also listen to many other sources in order to widen my knowledge. We need more Hebrew teachers to translate the Tanakh for us to weigh them out ourselves. It has helped me in many way to understand the NT books and to debunk false doctrines.
    What church group is getting right, in your opinion?
    We need to share and debate more to correct each other. Bear in mind that the word”” Church”” has been mistranslated. You already know that, it is an assembly of Yeshua’s disciples/followers in accordance to the law of YAH.
    You already know the word; Lawlessness in Mat 7:21-23
    Thus, you know any church group that do not teach and obey the law of Moses are wrong.

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  4. I. love. this. article.
    And my thought response to it is this: I bet that the Father doesn’t care so much HOW or WHO helps Him bring the individuals to come “into Christ (make disciples)”. I think He’ll work with whomever will try to do it. That and the other command that Jesus left us. And since not a one of us (denominations) in the Church (big C) have the corner forever on living out the doctrine (ie, we tend to lax off now and again), a fresh approach has been born/refreshed every so often. That’s about as far as I can ‘splain it to date. Love Jesus. Love our neighbor. Bring others near Him. He’s with us to do the cleansing and transforming. Wow! – Talk about a patient person!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have the same thoughts. Looking at creation, one can see that God doesn’t create things exactly the same. No two people are alike, plants and animals have a lot of variety. Why would it be any different with HIS church? Maybe, he sees this situation as being better?

      I’m not sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellently written and I agree 100%. Some people try to find resolution in this quandary by saying something like, “When us Christians get to heaven, we’ll all learn from God that we’ve all gotten those ‘minor points’ (but still within the realm of Biblical orthodoxy) wrong.” I look at it the other way: “When us Christians get to heaven, we’ll all learn from God that we’ve all gotten those ‘minor points RIGHT.” Meaning, in the end those minor nuances aren’t what has ever really mattered; not speaking from a postmodern perspective, but to your point: God doesn’t care about our theology as much as we do.

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    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts!

      How did the early church understand this concept? That question goes to the heart of the issue for me. They were a lot closer to Jesus and the Apostles than we are. If anyone understood it correctly, it would be them. And what mattered most to them? It was how righteous a life one lived. Not how much information one had about God.

      In fact, they argued that a person whose walk didn’t match their talk, was outside of the faith. A person who could recite the correct “facts” but who didn’t live by them, was an outsider to the faith.

      Think about that.

      How many of today’s Christians would be considered non-believers using this same standard? Justin said “We don’t speak great things, we live them.” The non-believing world of his day agreed with him and wrote about it. The early Christians were famous for how they lived.

      We argue about God and we’re famous for being total hypocrites. We speak of great things, but we don’t live them. Therein lies the biggest issue of the day for the 21st century church.

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