The title of this article is not intended to sound vague. Nor is it intended to sound arrogant or like I have all the answers. If I know my heart, it reflects a sincere desire to honor our God and Savior and to respect His holy, authoritative word. It’s a belief I think many people in our world share. If some are unwilling to subject religious beliefs and practices to the scrutiny of God’s will, what does that ultimately say about them? If Jesus is Lord and Savior, shouldn’t His word be the final word? (cf. John 12:48; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The title of this article combines two truths: (1) Christianity is undenominational; and (2) It is possible to restore the essence of New Testament Christianity, not by giving existing religious groups a makeover or reforming them, but by getting back to the New Testament ideal as given by God Himself. The first truth sees that something is not right within “Christendom.” The second gives us Divine direction and hope for unity. In this article, let’s focus on what is wrong with the idea of denominations.
1. It introduces a concept that simply never existed in the New Testament. The word “church” means, “those called out of the world by the gospel of Christ into a saved relationship with Him.” The word of God speaks of the word “church” in a local and in a universal sense. Denominations introduce a “hybrid” – a segment, division or group that is without the authority of Scripture. When one became a Christian in the New Testament, no one ever asked, “Of what denomination had they become a part?” And the reason is simple: there weren’t any!
2. It is contrary to the Lord’s prayer for unity in John 17:20-21.
3. Jesus Himself was NOT a member of any denomination. There were a number of different religious groups within Judaism when Jesus walked this earth, all of whom surely had some sincere, wonderful people as adherents, and all of whom surely believed some very good things. Why did the Lord not align with any? If He didn’t then, why should anyone today?
4. It makes God the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
5. It violates the inspired plan for unity and harmony (Ephesians 4:1-6).
6. It fails to appreciate what the “seed” of the word of God can do when it’s taught in its purity, believed in sincerely and acted on in loving obedience (Luke 8:11, 15; Romans 6:17; James 1:18)
In concluding, God’s people should seek to be undenominational (the reverse or the opposite of), nondenominational (the absence or negation of) and antidenominational (against or the opposite of). Not only is this desirable, it’s approved by God and is the wisest course of action.