A STUDY OF JOHN 15:1-8
By Dick Ward
Did you know John 15:1-8 does not authorize Denominationalism? Often, we hear preachers seek justification for the 250 to 300 different religious bodies (Denominations) by quoting John 15. We are told, "Christ is the Vine and all the churches (Denominations) are the branches".
WHO ARE THE BRANCHES?We encourage you to get your Bible and read John 15:1-8. Indeed, Jesus is the vine, but who are the branches? We read in verse 5, "ye are the branches " in verse 6, "If a MAN (not a church D.W.) abide not in me, he (a man, not a church D.W.) is cast forth as a branch "; in verse 8, "that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my DISCIPLES (not churches D.W.)." Well, for a religious teacher to argue John 15:1-8 authorizes many churches is to pervert and wrest Gods word. Without fear of contradiction, we see Jesus is speaking of INDIVIDUALS and not CHURCHES abiding in Him and being fruitful.
HOW MANY CHURCHES?Just how many churches were in existence in the Apostolic Age? The scriptures speak of only ONE! "There is ONE body " (Eph. 4:4). "For as the body is ONE we are all baptized into ONE body " (I Corinthians 12:12,13). "But now are they many members, yet but ONE body." (I Corinthians 12:20). Not only does the Bible plainly teach there is ONE BODY it identifies that body as the church. Christ is "the head over all things to the CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY " (Ephesians 1:22,23). In Colossians 1:18 we read, "And He is the head of the BODY, THE CHURCH." In verse 24 of this same chapter, "for His bodys sake, WHICH IS THE CHURCH." Friends, Jesus said He would build "His CHURCH" not churches! (Matthew 16:18). Paul said Jesus "purchased the church (not churches) with His own blood" (Acts 20:28).
DATES OF DENOMINATIONSWhile the Lords church was established in about 30 A.D., THE CHURCHES OF MEN (Denominations) came many hundreds of years later. Historical evidence shows the CATHOLIC church began in about 606 A.D. Martin Luther, with a few others, started the movement which resulted in many other different churches. History dates the LUTHERAN and PRESBYTERIAN churches in the 1500s; BAPTIST in the early 1600s; METHODIST in the 1700s; ADVENTIST, MORMON, JEHOVAHS WITNESSES and HOLINESS MOVEMENTS in the 1800s. All of these man made churches began centuries AFTER Jesus built His church. [Editors Note: Thanks to Dick Ward for the article! This article was published in a newspaper column titled, "Did You Know?" in the Carrier Newspaper in Madison, Florida. He may be reached at: Dick Ward, 18 Eldorado East, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35405, (205) 556-2407.]
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