Vol. 8, No. 11
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Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines the word "nonaligned" thus: "not allied with other nations and especially with either the Communist or the non-Communist blocs." Religiously and as a Christian, I am aligned with Jesus Christ who said, "Follow me" (Matt. 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 16:24; 19:21). Period!
Religiously and as a Christian, I am not aligned with manmade religions, either denominations or so-called other world religions. Religiously and as a Christian, I am not aligned with man-altered, God-given religions, such as the warped Judaism of the first century that Jesus condemned in some of its proponents (Matt. 15:9, 13), or contemporary churches of Christ that have strayed from biblical authority by doing something as unscriptural as adding instrumental music to worship (Eph. 5:19). Religiously and as a Christian, I am not aligned even with God-given religions that have since been replaced with Christianity, namely Patriarchy and Judaism (Eph. 2:11-22). I am aligned with Jesus Christ--period!
Religiously and as a Christian, I am not aligned with subsets within the Lord's church either; I am aligned with Jesus Christ--period! For instance, though I graduated from Memphis School of Preaching and for 10 years taught at West Virginia School of Preaching or though my daughter graduated from Freed-Hardeman University, I am not aligned with any school, even if administrated by Christians and associated with the Lord's church. I am aligned with Jesus Christ--period! Though my religious articles have appeared in numerous Gospel journals, such as Gospel Advocate, Firm foundation, West Virginia Christian, Christian Bible Teacher, Therefore Stand, Power plus others, I am not aligned with any Gospel paper. I am aligned with Jesus Christ--period!
Alignment results in polarization, which, in part, Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines as "division." It is one thing to be aligned with Jesus Christ whereby we are divided from those who passively or actively oppose Jesus Christ (Matt. 12:30). It is quite another thing when alignment, polarization and division needlessly occur within the body of Christ! While we can derive great encouragement in following Jesus Christ through the good examples of others who are following Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 11:1), the sectarian spirit of alignment that polarizes and divides Christians from each other needlessly is detrimental to the cause of Christ (1 Cor. 1:10-13; Gal. 5:15).
Brethren, not everyone who disagrees with our personal views is a false teacher (Rom. 16:16-17), and not everything that isn't the way we personally would do it is a test of fellowship (Eph. 5:11) or a breach of the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11). "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part" (Mark 9:38-40; Luke 9:49-50 emphasis added). To quote a respected preacher-friend: "All glory, power and loyalty to Jesus, the King of kings, and not to any other!"
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. CD-ROM. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1993.