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  Alan Jones, Editor

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"Brightly beams our Father's mercy

From the lighthouse evermore;

But to us He gives the keeping

Of the light along the shore."

       Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box 86-233, Westland, MI  48186     

Volume 3                                                                        February 2004                                                                               No8 

 

“BABEL”:  LANGUAGE BARRIER CREATED, THEN TORN DOWN

 

Following the Flood, God’s instructions to man were to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen 9:1).  As generations passed, men did multiply, but they had no intentions of filling the earth.  Instead, in rebellion to God, they decided to build a great city and a great tower in the land of Shinar where everyone would live.  This project was designed, not only to prevent them from scattering, but also to make for themselves a name- it was to be a monument to their own greatness.  (Gen 11:2-4)

            It was easy for men to work together because they spoke the same language (11:1) But, when God saw their defiance and their pride, He confused their speech, causing them to speak in different languages instead of one.  The language barrier put an end to the work on the city and the tower (now called “Babel” or “confusion”) and men went their separate ways and filled the earth, as God intended.  (11:6-9).

            However, not long after man scattered from Babel, God began to work out a plan to bring all men together, not on the physical globe, but in a spiritual body.  He promised Abraham that he would be the beginning of a great nation through whom He would bless all nations (Gen 12:3).

            For nearly 2000 years, there was a national barrier among men, as Israel, the nation that sprung from Abraham, was God’s special nation out of all the nations of the earth (Ex 19:5-6).     This  barrier  was  temporary,  lasting  only

 

until God’s purpose through Israel was accomplished.  God used Israel to bring Jesus into the world to shed His blood for the forgiveness of all mankind (Acts 3:25-26).  Through Jesus’ blood, all barriers are broken down- national, racial, social, sexual, and language, for all men can be united into ONE spiritual body of saved people, Jesus’ church (Gal 3:26-29; Eph 2:13-18; 4:4; 5:23)

            The city and tower of Babel was designed to make a name for the men who built it and lived in it.  In contrast, the church Jesus is building, a body of men made up of both Jews and Gentiles is a monument to the wisdom of God (Mt. 16:18; Rom 11:30-36).  Those who are filled with human pride will not enter the saved body, for salvation does not come by human achievement.  Jesus’ body is composed of rich and poor, scholar and drop out, celebrity and common man, who through obedient faith, have all been saved alike- by the grace of God.  Therefore, to God be the glory.  No man can boast.  (1 Cor 1:18-31; Eph 2:8-9; Rom 16:25-27)

Only in the “Word of the Cross” (1 Cor 1:18) is it possible for all men to come together and with one voice glorify God (Rom 15:5,6).  The “good news” or “gospel” is God’s universal language, which through its translation into hundreds of human languages, has saved (Rom 1:16) and spiritually united men of all nations and languages.  As they all speak the common language of the gospel, they can work together to God’s glory (1 Cor 12:12-27).

THE SPRITUAL “BABEL” OF DENOMINATIONALISM

If God’s intention from eternity was to purchase with the blood of His Son “men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev 5:9) and unite them in One spiritual body where all could work together, is not the division of “Christianity” as we know it today contrary to His will?  Certainly, it is!  But, why does this division among “Christians” exist? 

The answer is simple.  Those who call themselves “Christians” today cannot work to-gether.  They are in the same position as the men who had to stop building Babel because they did not speak the same language.  A “Catholic” does not speak “Methodist” and a “Methodist” cannot speak “Catholic.  And on it goes.  Each denomination has its own language (doctrine) and its peculiar speech is the reason for its beginning and its continued existence.  As men join with those of the same language (doctrine), they separate themselves from those of other languages (doctrines).  The result is the “scattering” of “Christians”.

               The first Christians were united because they “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).  They spoke “the same thing” (1 Cor. 1:10).  They stayed in the doctrine of Christ” (2 Jn 9).  They contended “earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).  They were “striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil 1:27).

 

Numerous warnings were given con-cerning inventing or following “languages” other than the gospel (Acts 20:28-31, Gal 1:6-9;   1 Tim 4:1-3; 2 Tim 4:1-4, to name a few).  Despite these pleas, new languages (doctrines) have continued to develop until now there are hundreds of denominations, each set apart from the others because of their peculiar language (doctrine).  Many are not disturbed about this “spiritual Babel”.  They say, “You speak your language and I will speak mine.  God will accept us both.”  But, the Scriptures clearly state that both “language” (doctrine) and unity matter to God! 

Some see a problem with “spiritual Babel” and propose the solution of “non-denominational” congregations who accept men of all “languages” (doctrines).  In these churches, denominational loyalty is abandoned, but the language barrier remains and men cannot truly work together since they do not speak the same language.

  The only Scriptural solution to “spiritual Babel” is to break away totally from denominationalism, from its organizations and its languages (doctrines), and to unite with others who speak only the language of Jesus, His gospel, in a local church.  This is our intention at the Palmer Road church of Christ.  We pray that you will let us study the gospel with you that you may be able to learn the language of Jesus and be able to distinguish it from all the “Babel” of men.



 

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