Our church just began having a contemporary service in our Fellowship Hall on Sunday mornings in addition to our more traditional Sunday morning worship. W.I.T.H or Worship in the Hall wasn't a change in theology, but a different style of worshiping the same God. It is an amazing worship service and it got me to thinking about different denominations and the different ways that people worship the One True God.
I think it's really neat that we as the body of Christ can choose how we worship and belong to the denomination of our choice. It would be boring if everyone were alike. Some prefer chocolate, some vanilla. And so it is with worship, we have different preferences.
Sunday morning before last I turned on the television to hear a popular Atlanta pastor as usual before leaving for church. I couldn't find him, so I settled for a different channel and different pastor. I never did find our his name because I was listening from another room as I got ready to go to church. But it was a very interesting explanation of denominations.
He surmised that different denominations possibly existed in the Old Testament. I know what you're thinking, probably the same thing I was; huh? After the Egyptian Pharaoh released the Hebrews after 430 years of captivity, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and other laws. He later gave him detailed instructions on building a sanctuary or Tabernacle for Him so that He could dwell among the people. The Israelites were divided into 12 tribes and each tribe set up camp around the Tabernacle, the position of each tribe's campsite had been determined by instructions from God to Moses.
Each of the twelve tribes had different standards or banners that they flew over their tribe. Even though they were all Jews and they had all been enslaved in Egypt there were differences in each tribe. Every tribe had a set of values; personal values, traditional values and core values. Personal values could be shaped by circumstances in their lives, their jobs, etc. Traditional values were held by each tribe, and came from traditions that had been passed down from the families in the tribe from generation to generation, like what dishes they ate their Passover meal on, whether they watched the Passover football game, etc. (I'm just kidding. But you get the drift.) And core values are the values that they all held as God's chosen people. These core values were absolutely non-negotiable. "You shall have no other gods before me, You shall not make for yourself an idol, You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, Honor your father and your mother, You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not give false testimony, and You shall not covet".
We who are Believers have our own set of personal and traditional values. Some of us are quiet in our worship, and some of us clap our hands. Some of us like the old hymns and some of us like the new praise songs. We are Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and Lutherans to name a few. But our core values are the same. We are followers of Christ. We believe that Jesus died once for all, taking on our sins and on the third day rose from the dead, giving us eternal life and preparing us a place with Him in Heaven.