What is wrong with Denominationalism?

Some of the questions that are expressed by non-believers and some believers alike are; Why are there so many different denominations that separate people into different groups based on doctrinal difference, all the while saying, they are under one Head who is Jesus Christ? Why can't people who say they follow Christ get along with each other enough to travel the same path in unity? If Jesus is the Head and He is providing the different paths for the different religious denominations to follow, it is only logical to think that He has multi personalities and each personality do not know what the other is doing. Although He prayed for unity in His body, He is promoting division and doctrinal differences that can never unite. I am inclined to believe that someone other than Jesus the Head, is planting such unbelievable ideas and acceptance of the different paths of denominationalism!
In reply to such questions, some of the adherents to this religious mentality make an attempt to minimize the significance of religious division by denominations by suggesting that the difference that separates them is not all that bad as long as we agree on the main points, or that religious division is good because it allows people to be a part of a church whose doctrines are more inline with what they believe. How blind can people be, not to realize that such thinking is in direct opposition to the prayer of unity that Jesus prayed for His Church and does a disservice to the cause of Christ by believing that there is more than one Church that hey can be a part of...Christ established ONE CHURCH that is united in Him. There are not many Churches that people may choose to attend based on their doctrinal differences...this is a prevision of the gospel, (even though you follow the name of your group with the word church)!

At this point I would like to pose the question...Is denominationalism wrong? If your answer is no...is it possible for the followers of Christ to maintain unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace in conjunction with Eph.4:3 without being unified in the understanding and the purpose of the gospel.

What is the definition of "denomination." According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: "A large group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy." Webster's defines it as; "A religious organization uniting in a single legal and administrative body a number of local congregations." In simple terms, a denomination is a group congregations that are joined together under some governing body...by their submission to an authority above the local congregation, by definition they are "denominated" from all
congregations that do not submit to the same authority. This has lead to thousands of different denominations all with its own governing hierarchy.

What does the dictionary say about "denominationalism"? According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, it is: "The tendency to separate into religious denominations"..."Advocacy of separation into religious denominations"..."Strict adherence to a denomination; sectarianism"..."Devotion to denominational principles or interests"..."Narrow emphasizing of denominational differences: SECTARIANISM"

I understand that many people in denominations today are not all that devoted to their denominational principles or  interests, but by membership in a denomination they are by implication advocating segregation and relationship with other believers is hindered.

Is denominationalism really all that bad? Can a believer follow Christ fully or faithfully while participating in religious division that divides members of the Body of Christ while under the headship of someone other than the Head...Christ, if not it is bad. 

Though denominationalsim may do some good is it still wrong? It is without Scriptural support, there is no basis in scripture for local churches being divided up into various denominational bodies. In the New Testament...Local congregations were independent and self-governing but were the same Church. Church structure was limited to within the local congregation, with elders (also known as pastors, bishops. overseers, presbyters) appointed to oversee only the local congregation of which they were part, Ac 20:17,28; 1 Pe 5:1-2. The only authority above the local church in the New Testament was Christ and His apostles. At this point we need to understand something...Jesus established His Church, once His Church began, the apostles were not physically replaced by someone else after they died however, through the Word of God, the authority of Christ and the Spirit by which the apostles operated continues in the Body of Christ by being appointed by Christ from the Body of Christ and not by man-made institutions (Paul was such an apostle given to the body of Christ by God). Individuals, denominations, synods, conferences, etc., that place man in authority over local congregations today do so without Scriptural authority and are usurping the authority of Christ

Not only is denominationalism  without scriptural support it is "anti-scriptural" and contrary to what scripture teaches. It is contrary to the prayer of Jesus for unity among His Body, Jn 17:20-23. It is condemned by Paul in his epistle to the Church at Corinth...there are to be no divisions among believers, 1 Co 1:10. Segregation is a sign of carnality, 1 Co 3:3-4. It opposes the efforts of Christ on the cross,  Ep 2:14-16. Jesus died to break down the wall of division, Jesus died to reconcile man to God as ONE body. Just as sinning works against the efforts of Christ on the cross (for He also died to put away sin), so it is with denominational division!

Also deniominationalism is harmful to the cause of Christ and His gospel. Jesus knew that unity among His disciples would be "the final apologetic", "that the world may believe" Jn 17:21. In view of Jesus' words, we should not be surprised when unbelievers are slow to accept the gospel coming from divided
"church". Many people point to the divided condition of those professing to follow Christ...agnostics often use religious division as an excuse not to believe in God. Adherents to other religions (such as Islam, Judaism, etc.) will often use denominationalism as a reason not to believe in Christ.

Understanding that denominationalism is not biblical has led to men who were a part of the Reformation to have made the following statements. Luther stated, "I ask that men make no reference to my name, and call themselves not Lutherans, but Christians.  What is Luther? My doctrine, I am sure, is not mine, nor have I been crucified for any one. St. Paul, in 1 Cor. 3, would not allow Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrine, but Christians.  How then should I, poor, foul carcass that I am, come to have men give to the children of Christ a name derived from my worthless name?  No, no, my dear friends; let us abolish all party names, and call ourselves Christians after Him Whose doctrine we have." - Hugh Thomason Kerr, A Compend of Luther's Theology (Philadelphia: p. 135)

John Wesley, another reformation leader, among whose followers are the Methodists, stated, "Would to God that all party names, and unscriptural phrases and forms which have divided the Christian world, were forgot and that the very name [Methodist] might never be mentioned any more, but be buried in eternal oblivion."  Universal Knowledge, A Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Arts, Science, History, Biography, Law, Literature, Religions, Nations, Races, Customs, and Institutions, Vol. 9, Edward A. Pace, Editor (New York: Universal Knowledge Foundation, 1927, p. 540)

Charles Spurgeon, a Baptist preacher stated, "I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living!  I hope that the Baptist name will soon perish, but let Christ's name last forever." (Memorial Library, Vol. I., p. 168).

Well, as we all know that day has not yet come, and religion with its  denominational divisions seems to have a hold on people as strong as ever! The blindness of deception is great and needs to be broken!


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