RELIGION

"Why are there so many denominations?"

In the early 1500s, a German monk named Martin Luther was so conscious of his sins that he spent up to six hours in the confessional. Through study of the Scriptures he found that salvation didn’t come through anything he did, but simply through trusting in the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ. He listed the contradictions between what the Scriptures said and what his church taught, and nailed his "95 Theses" to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Martin Luther became the first to "protest" against the Roman church, and thus he became the father of the Protestant church.

Since that split, there have been many disagreements about how much water one should baptize with, how to sing what and why, who should govern who, etc., causing thousands of splinter groups. Many of these groups are convinced that they alone are right. These have become known as Protestant "denominations."

Despite the confusion, these churches subscribe to certain foundational beliefs such as the deity, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible says, "The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are his" (2 Timothy 2:19). Thomas Jefferson once wrote of a preacher, Richard Mote, who "exclaimed aloud to his congregation that he did not believe there was a Quaker, Presbyterian, Methodist, or Baptist in heaven, having paused to give his hearers time to stare and to wonder. He added that, in heaven, God knew no distinctions."

"Why are there so many different religions?"

It has been well said that "religion" is man’s way of trying to deal with his guilt. Different religions have different ways of attempting to rid their adherents of sin and its consequences. They fast, pray, deny themselves legitimate pleasures, or chasten themselves, often to a point of inflicting pain. They do this because they have a concept of what they think God (or "the gods") is like, so they seek to establish their own righteousness, being "ignorant of God’s righteousness." The Good News of the Christian faith is that no one need suffer the pains of religious works. Christ’s blood can cleanse our conscience from the "dead works" of religion (Hebrews 9:14). Jesus took our punishment upon Himself, and He is the only One who can save us from sin and death. See Acts 4:12 and John 14:6.

"Why is Christianity better than other religions?"

In all major religions, the followers strive to rid themselves of sin through various practices. They may pray in a prescribed way, do various good works, deny themselves legitimate sexual pleasure, follow dietary restrictions, lie on beds of nails, etc. The uniqueness of Jesus is shown in His statement, "The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins." No other religious leader has ever made this claim. Jesus Christ alone can wash away every sin anyone has ever committed, be-cause of what He did on the cross. By paying the penalty for our sin, He can release us from the torture of guilt. We cannot do anything in the way of religious works to wash away our sins. Forgiveness is a free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8,9).