Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3)
Entrusted Once For All Time
In the last two thousand years, the church has undergone significant changes in the worship, organization, purpose, and design of the original New Testament pattern. Clear divisions exist among believers in Christ as each group carves out their specific brand of teaching. Names vary from the Roman Catholic Church to groups calling themselves Baptists, Evangelical, Holiness, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutheran, Methodist, Mormon, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Seventh-Day Adventist, and Unitarians. None of the Protestant churches are older than five-hundred years with the first break away from Roman Catholicism of Martin Luther and the beginning of the Lutheran Church in the year 1530. If a person lived in 1492 they could not be a Baptist or Methodist because those churches (among all the rest of Protestantism) did not exist.
The Holy Spirit warned of a great apostasy that would come soon after the first century. In a slow progression of departing from the faith, doctrines like forbidding marrying and commanding to abstain from foods began to form the mother of spiritual harlots called the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. For fifteen-hundred years the Roman Catholic Church held the western world in an iron grip of oppression, immorality, corruption, and murder of millions of innocence – all in the name of God. Martin Luther was not the first to oppose the Catholics but his work galvanized the movement that would be called a period of reformation. Every denomination owes its origins to the period of reformation.
There is one thing that makes each religious group distinctive with their own brand of faith: their creeds of faith. The Roman Catholic Church has its Catechisms and Councils (21 of those) along with the decrees of the Pope that form its body of teachings. It is impossible (unequivocally) that a man can become a Catholic if he uses the Bible and the Bible alone. As the Protestant churches began to develop, men began writing their own doctrines to formulate the orchestration of faith that made them distinctive. Each group developed their Confessions, Creeds, Disciplines, and dogmas that make them unique from other religious groups. If a man follows the teachings of the Pope, he cannot become a Methodist. Guided by the doctrines of the Lutheran Church a man could never be a Baptist. Accepting the teachings of Joseph Smith will only make a man a Mormon and nothing else. Jehovah’s Witnesses use their own brand of scripture (Watchtower) that teaches what they believe. Each religious group has its own method of using the Bible to create what they call themselves and how they worship the Lord in tandem with man-made dogmas defining their particular doctrines. It is impossible to cross-pollinate one faith to another. Baptists teach Baptists doctrine that makes a man or woman a Baptist; not a Methodist or Lutheran.
It is easy to see why many in the world are confused with the modern view of religion. While tones of unity are played before the world that all Protestant churches are united under the flag of Jesus Christ the reality of truth is that unity demands a common faith. There is no common faith among churches that divide over doctrines, practices, names, and leadership. If Catholics and Methodists are united as one (for example) will the Methodist be willing to obey the edicts of the Pope? Will the Methodist churches begin to practice the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church? This is impossible because there is no common faith among the churches of men. What makes a man a Baptist will not make him a Lutheran or Mormon. And the list goes on.
There is an answer to the division of religious groups found in the one book that can unify all men. The New Testament writer Jude wrote to those who were called, sanctified by God, and preserved in Jesus Christ of the common salvation found in the faith of Jesus Christ. He exhorted the brethren to contend not with one another but to contend earnestly for the faith that God had entrusted once for all time to his holy people. Jude seemed to think that God had given the early Christian’s everything they needed to know about salvation. The creeds of men were not necessary. If a person can read the Bible and become a follower of Jesus Christ, why is there a need for the Pope, catechisms, disciplines, manuals, another testament of Jesus Christ, or any other thing to save a man? Can the Bible alone make a man a Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Mormon, Baptist, or any other man-made religion? Let the Bible stand on its own foundation. The common salvation was once delivered to all the saints two thousand years ago and man needs nothing else to be saved.