Church Denominations

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buou/1541519972/

 

I hear all the time that people are confused about the different beliefs of churches, especially the different denominations, like Baptist, Methodists, and so on. People tell me that denominations are wrong and not what Christ intended for the church. Someone just yesterday told me that they were about to quit going to church because of the confusion. I don’t believe that this is a problem and certainly don’t think it should cause people not to go to church. I think the biggest concern would be why the church can’t give a good reason for our differences.
Why are people not confused about food? There are so many restaurants out there and they serve so many different foods. What about cars? There are so many different car dealerships and they all say that their brand is better than the other. They can’t all be right. Maybe I won’t ever drive a car then. Even football teams are different. They have different colored uniforms and some run the ball and others throw the ball. Some are more focused on defense and while others are focused on offense. Why some even specialize in special teams. This has never stopped people from buying cars, eating out, or watching football. We all know that diversity is good for the food industry and the automobile industry. We all know that football teams have to be different and that it is good for the game. So why can’t churches be different without being wrong?
1 Corinthians 12:12 For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Churches are supposed to be different. We have different functions in the Body of Christ. My hand and my foot have two totally different functions but are still part of me. They don’t hate each other, but compliment and support each other. Because they are different does not mean that one is wrong and the other is right. Why we even have doctors who specialize in different body parts because they are so different, yet each doctor is caring for the same body. I am wearing contacts now, and even among my eyes there is a difference. One eye has a contact for seeing up close and the other has one for seeing far away and yet they function together for me to see well at any distance.
Denominations were formed out of the need for different people groups to join together with each other and worship and to serve. Sure there are some minor disagreements on things of the Bible, but that is not hard to understand given the fact that no one can fully understand God. Our minds just can’t fully grasp an almighty and holy God. So we will have some differences. What we do agree on is that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world and God loves us enough to forgive us if we ask. He thinks so highly of our unique needs that He gives us different churches so that we can find a place where we feel comfortable and can best serve the greater good of the Body of Christ.
As Christians, we need to defuse the idea that our differences prove that there is no God and explain that it instead shows the amazing love of God as He cares enough to not make us to be some sort of robots that have no individuality. The Apostle Paul said that we are to be all things to all men that some might in some way win some to Christ. If you need a more strict teaching then there is a church for that. If you need to be more free-spirited and like to shout, there is a church for that. If you need to perform certain rituals in order to feel closer to God, there is a church for that. I love my church. I think it is perfect for me. But I don’t dislike your church because it is not right for me. As long as the Bible is the guide, and Christ is the focus, then there is a purpose for that church.
God is THE Creator. He created different planets and solar systems and galaxies. He created different plants and animals and people. Why is there a problem with Him creating different churches? The answer is simple. There is no problem, yet rather a wonderful solution to the different types of people who He loves and wants to have a relationship with.

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One Comment to “Church Denominations”

  1. You make a great point for not abandoning church. In doing that, we would being abandoning Christ’s words and therefore Him (Matt. 16:18, 18:20, Eph. 1:22-23). Many people oppose denominations for being partyism and sectarian, since Christ’s Spirit corrected those in Corinth for dividing according to name, which is the definition of a denomination (1 Cor. 1:10-13, cf. Gal. 5:19-21). Add to this that there are unbiblical hierarchies of associations, convention, councils, presiding bishops, archbishops and so forth. We can be united without these.

    We can just be Christians speaking the same thing perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10) as you said, “As long as the Bible is the guide, and Christ is the focus, then there is a purpose for that church.” We need no creed but Christ. If we really accept that, how can we be carnal? “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?” Yes, there is variety, and some variety is good and other is contrary to Christ. As you say that the Bible is to be our guide, I agree. Add to your examples of variety that people do not give up. We see that cars are patterned according to sound engineering and laws. Football teams are united on united on one set of rules. Restaurants are to be sanitary.

    You wrote, “What we do agree on is that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world and God loves us enough to forgive us if we ask.” Many believers find that we must be in communion with Christ before we can ask for forgiveness. “If we say that we have fellowship [communion] with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7). In agreement with you, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). How can we confess our sins unless we walk in the light? How can we walk unless we are “united together in the likeness of His death” (Rom. 6:5) as Christ’s Spirit says, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also may walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4)? How can we be speaking the same things without recognizing baptism in Christ’s name (1 Cor. 1:11-13)? Yet, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). Yet, we who seek find that baptism in Jesus’ name is immersion in water (Acts 10:47-48, cf. Matt. 28:19-20, Acts 2:38, etc.)? This brings us back to unity, since “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13, cf. 1 Cor. 6:11).

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