Within the pages of the Bible, God provides us with the devices the devil uses to draw away
disciples. Though Paul was speaking of a specific occasion and a specific device of Satan,
yet the principle of Second Corinthians 2:11 is nevertheless true and applicable for
our study. In this text, Paul wrote, "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we
are not ignorant of his devices." When Christians are ignorant of Satan's devices, he
has advantage over us. Therefore we must be keenly aware of Satan's devices! Christians are
to be vigilant because the devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour
(1 Peter 5:8). Consider these four devices the devil employs to lead the church of
Christ into denominationalism:
Concerning the nation of Israel, God through the prophet Hosea wrote, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hosea 4:6).
Does this not describe too many members of the Lord's church today? Sadly, the current apostasy attests to this very fact. If we are going to be on guard against Satan's devices, we must know the scriptures. The words of David ring loud and true, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalms 119:11).
A number of years ago while speaking with a denominational "pastor," he said religious authority comes by command, example, inference, and tradition. However, Jesus said, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). Even while man was in the garden of Eden, Satan substituted God's command (Genesis 3:1-5). When men substitute anything for the commandments of God, they are imitating and aligning themselves with Satan himself. Tragically, since the beginning of time, too many men have been too busy substituting their own wills for God's commands. Such substitutions will most certainly lead us down the paths of denominationalism.
What is it that we want — the praise of men or the praise of God? The Pharisees of Jesus' day "loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43). Such is nothing more than desiring to be friends with the world, but James wrote, "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4).
This is an either/or situation. Either we desire the praise of men, or we desire the praise of God. We simply can't have both. The desire to be accepted by others and to accept others will lead the church of Christ into sectarianism.
There are those within the religious world who are what they are simply because of what their parents were. So it is within the body of Christ. Sometimes they are referred to as "second generation Christians." They have no conviction of their own. They are simply members of the church of Christ because mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa were. Please don't misunderstand! Parents ought to bring their children up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). However, children also need to grow in their own knowledge, faith, and conviction and not simply depend upon the spiritual welfare of their parents. In other words, are you a member of the church of Christ because of your own conviction or because of your parents' conviction?
This was a problem with many of the Jews during John the baptizer's ministry. They trusted in being a child (descendant) of Abraham, but John said, "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham" (Matthew 3:9). Abraham's faith would not save them nor will our parents' faith save us. We must develop our own faith lest we fall prey to the devil's device of an inherited religion and become just another denomination.