When we search for truth, we receive great comfort and joy when we find a group which tries to practice true Christianity. That group of individuals will naturally become organized as they carry forward their common goals. During that organizing process, it is also human nature for the group to identify themselves with a name or title.
Throughout history, hundreds and hundreds of religious groups have formed. Some calling themselves Catholics, some Protestants, some Universalists and the list goes on and on. As time progresses, groups may define orthodoxy for their followers thereby falsely lifting each member’s personal responsibility to “search the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) People may become more inclined to identify with their group rather than with Biblical principles. This struggle is nothing new.
The Apostle Paul had to deal with this very issue. Some believers identified more with their group than with the true meaning of their faith. Some were saying “I am of Paul” while others would say “I am of Apollos” (1Corinthians 3:4). Later in the chapter, Paul corrected that error by saying that Jesus was the proper and only foundation for faith (1 Corinthians 3:11). So whoever labeled himself as “Of Paul” or “Of Apollos” was really missing the point.
When we personalize Paul’s point and apply it in our lives today, we might rephrase these concepts by declaring: “Some of you say that you are Catholics, some Protestants, and others of you say that you are___________(fill in the blank). But the foundation of our faith and our lives should be Jesus Christ.”
God has requirements for us. But we need not sign a commitment to a particular church organization. God’s requirements are much more personal. He tells us in Proverbs 23:26: “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes observe my ways.” God wants us to watch him – not an organization founded by humans. Philippians 2:12 admonishes us to “work out your own salvation…”, not depend on an established group to tell us what they think the path to God is. God’s plans and purposes for any organization are on an individual, one-by-one, deep, heart-guided personal basis.