We live in a world of religious confusion. There are
literally thousands of religious denominations claiming to
follow the Bible and declaring allegiance to Christ. Attitudes
of tolerance have developed toward all these differences. Many
believe God approves of all the conflicting denominations. Yet
most have never considered the meaning of the term
"denomination," or examined the word of God to determine if
denominationalism is scriptural.
The word "denomination" signifies a part of a whole, a
class, or division. When one searches the Scriptures he finds
that no where is it suggested that the church of our blessed
Lord is made up of divisions.
There are three very important reasons why the church of
our Lord cannot be made up of denominations. First, our Lord
prayed for unity-- the very opposite of division. With the
cross near at hand, Jesus prayed on the behalf of those who
would become believers through the words of the apostles asking,
"that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in
Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may
believe that Thou hast sent Me" (Jn. 17:20-21). Never did
Christ intend for His church to be a clutter of differing
groups each teaching conflicting doctrines and wearing different
Second, Jesus died for unity, not division. Before Jesus'
death all men fell into two classes, Jew and Gentile. There was
enmity between the two. Our Lord reconciled "both in one body
by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby" (Eph. 2:15-16).
Consider this...if Jesus died that men might not be "two," how
could He be pleased with men being divided into thousands of
Finally the teaching of Christ's New Testament advocates
unity and condemns division. The division among the Corinthians
was condemned (1Cor. 1:10-13). The Scriptures state Christ's
church is His body and that there is only "one body" (Eph.
1:22-23; 4:4) . Yet the denominations say there are many
religious bodies that make up the church. Who's right?
We can be Christians without being members of any
denomination by taking Christ as our creed and the Scriptures as
our only guide. If we will simply become Christians (Acts
2:37-38; 8:12, 35-39), serve, and worship God the way the early
disciples did (Acts 2:41-42), we will be a congregation, or
church of Christ for which He prayed, died, and directs us to be
in the Scriptures.