The Lord's Church...
NOT a denomination
By Nick Law
Funk and Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary defines "denomination (n) 1) the act of naming or calling by name. 2) a name. 3) any specifically named class or group of things or people: There are many denominations of criminals. 4) A religious group; a sect." The definition of "denominationalism (n) 1) a disposition to divide into or form denominations. 2) Rigid adherence or devotion to a denomination or sect; sectarianism." While our English word "denomination" is not found in the scripture other words are found such as SECT and HERESY. Webster defines "sect" as: "in religion: a party dissenting from an established or parent church, ...a denomination." He defines denomination as sect. When Paul arrived in Rome the Jews said "for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against" (Acts 28:22). The fact that these individuals called the church of which Paul was a member a SECT did not make it a sect. Tertullus accused Paul of being a member of "the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:1-5), yet in (24:14) Paul did not admit the charge of being a division of the Jew's religion, but rather he taught the KINGDOM OF GOD (Acts 28:23). Keep in mind that the Jewish leaders were not teaching Christ the Son of God, rather they were denying him as the Son of God and declaring it was blasphemy for Jesus who said he was the Son of God (Matt. 26:64, 65; John 19:7).
Does Denominationalism Please God?
Think for a moment as we look at three of the works of the flesh mentioned in Galatians 5:20, "... strife, seditions, heresies, (21) ..of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." The meaning of strife (erithia) "ambition, self-seeking, rivalry, self-willed being an underlying idea in the word; hence it denotes party-making."(W. E. Vine) Did Jesus die to approve men standing apart under differing beliefs and wearing names to identify them and divided by names founded of men? NO!! The church of Christ is not a denomination within Christendom. It was not built by man, organized by man or named by man. The term, "church of Christ" is a descriptive term of possession - the church which belongs to Christ. The church does not belong to Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans, or any other denomination - it belongs to Christ (Matt. 16:18). Nor will the identifying marks of name, beliefs and practices of the Methodist, Baptist, Catholics Lutherans, etc. make them a church of Christ. Paul condemned division under the names of men, even names of saints as Paul, Apollos or Cephas!! Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
The believers at Corinth were pleaded with to speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you. Jesus prayed for unity, that all be one even as He and the Father are one. Was Jesus praying for something that is impossible? Was his prayer for one to teach baptism and another to teach sprinkling? If we plant the seed, the word of God we will teach the same thing that Jesus taught and be of the same mind by being obedient to the Doctrine of Christ ( 2 John 9).
The truth will produce the same pattern of worship in the lives of those that obey. That worship will be singing (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16) without the accompaniment of a mechanical instrument of music. That worship will be eating the Lord's Supper every first day of the week using the elements of unleaven bread and fruit of the vine (1 Cor. 11:24,25). That worship will be giving upon the first day of the week into a common treasury to carry out the Lord's authorized work of preaching the gospel, edification of the saints and benevolence of saints. The unity of the Spirit will be had in all those that follow and obey what the Spirit teaches. There will be unity in one baptism and one faith (Eph. 4:1-6). Those that gladly receive the word are baptized according to the teaching of Christ and are added to the church daily. His church or kingdom in which men are translated and delivered out of the power of darkness is not a sect or denomination!
Denominationalism cannot be defended by the Bible. Being united with men will cause me to either fall short or go beyond the doctrine of Christ. His teaching is He built HIS CHURCH (Matt. 16:18) and purchased it with HIS BLOOD (Acts 20:28).
Are you willing to be simply a Christian? Are you willing to share together in belief and practice that which is written? What are you religiously? What verse of scripture gives the name you wear religiously? What did you do to be saved? Where in the scripture do you find this is what an alien sinner is to do to be saved?
I make no claim of infallibility, but seek to be right in what I do! Believing the Bible to contain the truth, I desire to speak as the Oracles of God. If you differ in your belief why not be willing to discuss the scriptures with others? Let us work to be one in mind with Christ and sharing that belief and practice with one another!
[Editor's Note: Thanks to Nick Law for the article! He can be reached at nlaw@Traveller.com 16335 Miller Street, Athens, AL. 35611]
Email the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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