There was a time when all the Early Church had to go on was the sound doctrine that they had learned from the Apostles. It included Jesus’ teachings and the letters that had been floating around for decades. For them, to not follow the Word of God was worse than disobedience, it was disbelief.
As for the Modern American Church, no two of them believe exactly the same thing. Between the denominations, disagreement in interpretation, fighting over the proper Bible translation, and whatever else, it’s easy to see why we’ll believe pretty much anything. Perhaps we’ve forgotten to actually be doers of the word, and in the process we’re becoming unbelievers of the word. We didn’t mean to, it just sort of happened over the years. Perhaps it’s because there’s more emphasis in talking about the word than in the teaching of applying it to our lives. Perhaps it’s because we’re afraid we will fail God’s expectations of us. Perhaps it’s because the importance of belief in and obedience to the word got lost over the years.
Instead of reconciliation, it’s “If John wants to believe in the day-age theory, supernatural healing, and that the God of the Old Testament is not the God of the New Testament, he can go to that other church down the road where all the other crazy people like him are.” There’s not alot of love there, is there? Since when is that ok? The whole idea of it takes away from the unity Christians are supposed to have. After all, if we have Jesus Christ in common, is there really anything to argue about? Unfortunately these days, people have come up with some irreconciable beliefs about Jesus. I’m not talking about “Lord, liar, or lunitic”, but “Jesus is Satan’s brother”, “Jesus is actually the archangel Gabriel (or Michael – I’m nost sure which of the two it is.)”, and “By following Jesus’ example you can become the Lord of your very own planet”. What are you to do about Christians who will believe anything but sound doctrine?
It’s not as if the Early Church didn’t face the same problems, heresy week proved that much. They had to contend with their own sudden revelations about the things they believed. Instead of washing their hands, they took the oppurtunity to talk about the why and the where the Bible supported these new ideas. Should we not do the same? Perhaps those that walked away from the Bible will be attracted back to it.