Power Point Show MP3 audio
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6
Does God Approve of Denominations?
1. Warned against following the teachings of men, Gal. 1:6-11.
a. We must speak words of God (1 Pet. 4:11); Abide in doctrine of Christ (2 Jno. 9-11); and test all things (1 Ths. 5:21-22; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6).
b. All things not of God will be uprooted, Matt. 15:13-14.
2. Man's wisdom promotes denominationalism (“choose the church of your choice”), 1 Cor. 2:1-5.
3. God's wisdom promotes unity in Christ based on His word, Jno. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:3.
4. Denominationalism recognizes many bodies, many teachings and many paths to God. It attempts unity in spite of moral and doctrinal diversity. Such will never achieve unity, only more division, Amos 3:3; 1 Jno. 1:6-7; Matt. 7:21-23.
I. WHAT IS A DENOMINATION?
A. Denomination is a Sect that Results from Division.
1. To denominate: “The act of naming; a class or kind having a specific name; a religious sect” (Webster). To distinguish in name.
a. Denomination: A part, party, segment.
b. Denominationalism: The result; “division into denominations.” [i]
2. In denom. there is NOT UNITY in name, organization, doctrine or practice…or at times, even in spirit; Based on division.
B. The Nature of Denominationalism Shows it is not the NT Church:
1. Works of the flesh, Gal. 5:20.
2. There is oneness in Christ, not "many", Eph. 4:4-6.
3. Every denomination begins out of division and is perpetuated by its separation from other believers.
C. Attempted Justification from the Scriptures, Jno. 15:1-8.
1. Vine and branches equated with Christ divided into denom. But:
a. The Vine is Christ, not the Church. For denom. to be valid, the church is the vine, and its subdivisions (denom.) the branches.
b. If denom. is valid, then 15:2 authorizes removal of unfruitful denominations. Where are the "denomination pruners"?
c. Christ spoke to disciples, not to denominations, 15:3.
2. Disciple, not denominations (you, him, anyone, he, my, disciples), 15:4-8.
A. Promotes Division, 1 Cor. 1:10-13. (disagree, separate, divide)
1. Its use of “church” is not in NT. [Universal, (denom.), local]
2. Universal church is composed of Christians, not of “churches”.
B. Redefines the Church. [ii]
1. Ignores the singularity and uniqueness of the church, Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4. (Many bodies teaching conflicting doctrines, antagonistic to Bible and each other.)
2. It ignores the church’s relationship to Christ, Eph. 5:23-24. It is spiritual polygamy (adultery)!
C. Denies the Value of the Church. Acts 20:28 (blood); Eph. 1:22-23 (body of Christ); 2:16 (reconciled); 3:10-11 (eternal purpose); 5:23 (saved); 5:32 (bride).
D. Consents to the Choices of Men Above the Word and Will of God.
1. “Join the church of your choice” is its rallying cry.
2. Faithless thinking: Jer. 10:23; Prov. 16:25; Isa. 55:8.
-Naaman was angry at God’s way, 2 Kgs. 5:11; Jeroboam’s religion perverted God's way of worship, 1 Kgs. 12:26-30.
3. The same: “Choose the (river/worship/church) of your choice”.
E. Is Built on Subjective Sincerity instead of God’s Absolute Truth.
1. Sincere hearts are not enough to please God, Acts 23:1; 26:9. If sincerity is enough, why did Saul have to change? Saved anyway.
2. Must abide in truth to be saved, Jno. 8:31-32.
F. Ignores the Divine Standard of Unity, God's Word, Jno. 17:17, 20-21. “All read from the same Bible...all are going to the same place.” No, this is spiritual deception, Matt. 7:21-23.
G. Approves Making Laws where God has not Made Them, Gal. 1:6-9; Col. 3:17.
1. Creeds of men vs. inspired word of God, 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
2. Ex. Sprinkling vs. burial (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12)…Which is right? Does it matter? Yes!
H. Elevates the Human Will above the Lord’s Stated Will.
1. Man’s choices vs. God’s revealed will. Matt. 16:18
2. The Lord’s word is superior to any desire of man, Matt. 28:18.
1. We embrace unity, not division. So, we refuse denominationalism for Christ and His truth about His church.
2. Part 2 will look more closely at the church of Christ.
[i] “Denominations are associations of congregations, though sometimes it might be said that congregations are localized subdivisions of denominations, that have a common heritage. Moreover, a true denomination does not claim to be the only legitimate expression of the church.”
D G Tinder, Elwell Evangelical Dictionary, http://mb-soft.com/believe/text/denomina.htm
[ii] “The one, (John 17:20-21; Eph. 4:3-6) true, holy (I Cor. 3:16-17) church (Matt. 16:17-18; I Cor. 1:2; Eph. 2:18-19; I Pet. 2:9-10) is very broad, and includes all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.”
A Christ Walk Church Statement of Faith, http://mb-soft.com/cwalk/walk2.html
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: December 11, 2014