Although it was not as simple as this when you read all the various histories, the final straw for Henry was the pope’s refusal to allow him to divorce one of his many wives and marry another. Henry wanted an heir and every woman he chose seemed unable to produce the desired son. At first the pope was leaning Henry’s way, then politics reared its ugly head and in the course of all the complications, he denied Henry’s request. So Henry simply left that church and made his own.
I wonder how many of the various other denominations came about for the same sort of reason. I wonder how many people try to camouflage their reason for dividing the Lord’s body by claiming that things are not done scripturally, when the real reason is, “They don’t do things the way I want them done.” If you look at the makeup of the New Testament church, if you study carefully the things being said in the epistles, there was a vast plurality among those people. Some came from Judaism and still practiced circumcision and Passover celebrations. Paul did not tell them they had to change; he just told them not to bind their rituals on others. The Gentile Christians came from a background of idolatry that kept them following dietary restrictions because they could not separate their old pagan beliefs from normal everyday activities, like eating meat. Paul did not tell them to go ahead and eat that meat—he just told them not to look down their noses at people who did. Even among the apostles we find a Zealot and a publican.
So believing things a little differently is acceptable as long as no one is actively sinning, or trying to force their own slants down other people’s throats. Henry’s problem was that he didn’t like the rules so he made a completely new standard. Now, he could do as he pleased.
Jeroboam tried the same thing in the Old Testament. He was not satisfied with the kingdom God gave him. Instead of trusting God to fulfill his promise to build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and [to] give Israel unto thee, 1 Kgs 11:38, he was afraid he might lose it all when the people worshipped God as the Law commanded, especially when they went south to offer their sacrifices on feast days. So he changed the feast days, he changed the place of worship, and he changed the priesthood. They were still worshipping Jehovah, just not the way Jehovah had dictated they should. At least that was how he rationalized it—we are still worshipping the One True God. And God let him know exactly how he felt about that through Ahijah the prophet: he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he hath sinned, and wherewith he hath made Israel to sin, 1 Kgs 14:16. Worshipping your own way instead of God’s way is sin.
Worship, in the true meaning of the word, has nothing to do with how we want to do it and everything to do with how the Worshipped One wants it to be done. That is why it matters what we do when we assemble, and that is why it also matters what we do the other six days of the week--our very lives are sacrifices (worship) to God, Rom 12:1-3.
I do not have a kingdom, and neither do you. We do not get to decide what the church does, or what will be acceptable if another does it. Who are you to judge the servant of another? Rom 14:4. We do not even get to decide what we do. Jesus Christ is King of the Church. Let’s all be careful to do as he says, and not as we want.
And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Eph 1:19-23.