DENOMINATIONS

Filed under BALTATZIS - ENGLISH, ENGLISH
by John Baltatzis
 

I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus-Christ who gave me the honor to entrust me with this ministry that I put forth via Internet. I thank, also, all those who have given me the honor to read my messages with attention and comment on them. Their comments, positive or negative, constitute for me an invaluable and constructive dialogue. Sincerely, I thank them very much because I love dialogues! Our God first of all loves them. The following Bible verse proves it: Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name.” (Mal.3:16). The Lord is delighted to pay attention and to listen to the discussions of those who love Him. Moreover, “…“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2Co.3:17). The Lord Jesus did not teach with monologues but, most frequently, with dialogues… Today, the dialogues have almost been lost between believers, the churches have become “one way street” and some of their spiritual leaders do not obey the commandment of God relating to the active participation of believers within the framework of certain regular gatherings of the church (1Cor.14:26-40; Eph.5:19 and Col.3:16). Yes, it is ignored! Why? Is it because leaders, justifiably or not, are afraid of disorder as certain people do not know how to discuss or because they are afraid that there are certain Christians in the congregation who, having a deeper knowledge of the Bible, can discern false teachings or deviations or exaggerations? Certain leaders do not like men gifted with spiritual insight and discernment… They justify their attitude by referring to Sunday Schools and home cell groups or as if those who propose, according to the Word of God, required that the official Sunday morning services had to be replaced by “Biblical discussions”!!! Yes, and as if in the Sunday Schools, where catechism takes place, have the possibility mature Christians applying the Scriptural instructions/ commandments:

·“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (1Cor.14:26-33);

·speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” (Eph.5:19);

·“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col.3:16). The freedom of the Spirit in question does not exist, but partly, even in the home group meetings. The above mentioned God’s commandments cannot be applied without the participation and the contribution of believers.

 

And now on the subject:

1.I would like to inform my readers that I am not a theologian but an agronomist, specialized in agricultural development and economic planning, late Director of the Greek Ministry of Agriculture. I have served, also, my country in Brussels, as the Agricultural Counselor to the Greek Permanent Representation from 1976 to 1981 for its accession to the “European Communities” and then for the European Commission.

2.I have not ceased from the day God’s grace took me out of the darkness of atheism, in November 1952, studying daily and systematically “logon Theou ( the Word of God) and above all, trying to apply it in my life without any compromise and respect of persons.

3.My love for the Word of God, and not for any “denomination”, made me record on magnetic tapes, from 1962 to 1965, the whole Bible of the Greek Bible Society and in particular the translation of the archimandrite Neofytos Vamvas. Family, professional and technical problems did not enable me to convert the recording in question into audiocassettes but only after 40 years! It pleased God to put in the heart of a young believer, Angelos Margaritis, to transform these audio cassettes into two CDs and one DVD. We have put them at the disposal of those who are interested free of any charge. In the same spirit, desiring to facilitate all those who work for the Gospel or those who wanted to deepen their biblical knowledge, I copied in 1992 the Bible in floppy disks, then in CDRom and finally, in co-operation always with the Online Bible and the technical support of another young believer, Athanase Karabasis, to publish it on the Internet in three versions: Polytoniki or Multiaccent (MGreek), Monotoniki or with one accent (MGreekM) and Unaccented, without accents (MGreekU). Any interested person can download them free from the sites www.OnlineBible.org or www.OnlineBible.com. Recently, my voice has been added to each verse of the Monotonic (MGreekM) Version (consisting of two DVDs in the form of ‘slide show’, with a background of beautiful images) by the same young Christian who has made the CDs and the DVDs. Those who are interested can get them free of any charge from Angelos Margaritis and his e-mail address: anhelm@gmail.com

4.With regard to my spiritual messages in Greek, French and English, they are the product of my personal labors but basically of the light and the power that the grace of God has granted me. And I say the “grace of God”, firstly because if I worked it is not me but “…grace of God which was with me.” (1Co.15:10) and secondly because, as it is written, Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,” (2Co.3:5). This word is not of application only for the faculty of comprehension of the Word of God but also for its transmission. The glory, therefore, belongs to God.

5.With regard to my “denomination”, I wrote and I continue to write that I do not have any problem to answer any questions of my readers. I will agreeably do it and I will give any information concerning my spiritual ‘itinerary’ until the 76th year of my life that I am now walking, if they would consent to answer certain questions that I also would like to put to them, neither by curiosity nor by subterfuge but in order that we see together the truth. And now I will mention what I have already written and what I generally believe about “denominations”:

  • Have you read what Paul the apostle wrote in his first letter to the believers of Corinth? For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1Co.1:11-13). Continuing, Paul says: “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1Co.2:2);
  • I put the question: Of which denomination was Christ? Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant or which denomination did He create? What says the Bible? For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). He was and He is the only begotten Son of God, the Savior of any person who believes in Him (1Tim.4:10). Yes, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12);
  • When and who created the schisms? Why the great denominations of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant were created?
  • Some among the many readers of my spiritual messages, of various denominations, here in Belgium, but also from elsewhere, have asked me the same question of what my denomination is. Here is the answer that, in a stereotyped way, and according to my conscience I give towards all, orally and in writing: “I am Orthodox because I am wholeheartedly and faithfully attached to the Bible, the Word of God. I am Catholic because I believe in a holy, universal and apostolic Church which embraces all believers everywhere in the world and am Protestant because I protest against indifference and sin in all directions.” I am simply a faithful follower of Christ and not of any denomination. I am a sinner saved by the grace of God: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph.2:8-9). I am, therefore, just a Christian! This “nickname” was given by pagan idolaters to the followers / disciples of Christ because they were always speaking on behalf of Christ (Ac.11:26). The former despitefully, but the latter, all true believers, accepted this “title” with pride because they were followers of Christ! Nowadays, when somebody is challenged, the answer that he gives is: I am “Orthodox”, “Catholic”, “Protestant”, “Evangelical”, “Pentecostal” etc. My heart is upset when I hear them preach – even beautiful sermons – and that insert with pride, the expressions “we Orthodox”, “we Catholics”, “we Protestants”, “we Evangelicals”, “we Pentecostals” etc. Their attitude reminds me of the case of a cow which, after having given its milk, gave, at the end, a kick to the container and spilled it out!

Which denomination saves? None! Only Christ saves! And He saves only those who have given Him their heart, who have believed in His Word and who have made Him Lord of their life.

 

Independently of my spiritual course, this is my position for many years vis-à-vis the various denominations, which, because of their human “traditions”, their own human opinions and their imperialistic spirit, during the centuries, have:

ØCancelled and replaced, by their traditions, just like the Scribes and Pharisees of Christ’s days, the Word of God which is inspired by the Holy Spirit: making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:13); and

ØBroken into many pieces the “…church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Ac.20:28).

Results:

a)They give the opportunity to its enemies to insult it; and

b)Those who scorn the Word of God and/or who are pulled by “traditions” lose the occasion to be saved!!!

This is the reason why the believer should never move away from the fundamental truths and lose his spiritual orientation; truths on the basis of which he was converted and saved. We should never forget that the devil wages a war against true Christians to discourage them, despair them and cut them off from Christ, their Savior. The best “method” the believer can use to face Satan and the unbelieving sinner be saved is: By the blood of Jesus-Christ, i.e. with his sacrifice on the cross at Calvary! A confirmation of this great historical event, namely his sacrifice on Golgotha, was the historical and without precedent event, that is Jesus’ resurrection. Let me mention some key verses:

Ø“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1Jo.1:7);

Ø“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1Jo.1:9);

Ø“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Re.12:11).

These verses do not speak about denominations! All these verses say that if we believe in our heart on the Lord Jesus Christ, confess our sins to Him and confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus we will be saved. This is the ‘sine qua non condition for our salvation. If you, my dear friends, have one or more verses which speak about the blood of Christ and which bind the sacrifice of Christ exclusively to Orthodoxy or to Catholicism or to Protestantism or, or, or I would be grateful to you if you could make them known to me, because I love the truth above my opinion and all the human denominations or established traditions.

I am determined never to abandon the pure and fresh waters which gush out of the fountain (Word of God) and go to drink water which comes from far away (human traditions which are not in agreement with the Word of God) (Jer.18:14). All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2Tim.3:16-17). This is the reason why I was never reconciled with certain “established traditions” which do not respect the truth of God. On account of my position, I have seen people who were attached to their “traditions” push me away openly or in a camouflaged way. Never mind! What interests me is: What account I am going to give when I appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2Co.5:10).

 

In His service,

John Baltatzis

baltatzis@skynet.be

 
 
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