5 - BECAUSE THE CHURCH IS UNDENOMINATIONAL
The church that Jesus built is not a denomination. It is not associated with any single or group of denominations. It does not single out any particular denomination and oppose or fight it, but opposes the entire system as an unscriptural set-up. There are some groups that claim to be undenominational, which in reality are all-denominational. They embrace people from all denominations.
You may be wondering just why we oppose the religious system known as denominationalism. There are many reasons, but basically it can be traced to the teachings of the system which conflict with the Bible. Consider the following outline:
|Denominationalism Teaches||The Bible Teaches|
|1. Many different churches or bodies||1. One body or church...at. 16:18; Eph. 4:4|
|2. Founded by men.||2. Built and founded by Christ. Matt.J6:18|
|3. Human heads.||3. Christ the head-Eph. 1:22-23|
|4. Human man-made creeds.||4. Bible as only creed. 2 Tim. 3:16-17|
|5. Wear human names.||5. Christian, the Bible name. Acts 11:26|
|6. Follow different men.||6. Following men is condemned 1 Cor 1:10-13|
|7. Membership in the many churches not necessary.||7. Membership in the church of Christ is essential to salvation. Eph. 5:23|
|8. Preach many gospels.||8. Forbidden to preach contrary to the one true gospel. Gal. 1:6-9|
|9. Many faiths.||9. One faith. Eph. 4:5|
|10. Many baptisms.||10. One baptism. Eph. 4:5|
|11. Sprinkling or pouring for baptism.||11. Immersion or burial only scriptural mode. Rom. 6:3-4|
|12. Join churches and get voted in.||12. Lord adds to the church. Acts 2:47|
|13. Walk by different rules.||13. Walk by the same rule. Phil. 3:16|
|14. Creeds subject to change.||14. Bible remains the same. Matt. 24:35|
|15. Thanks God for all churches.||15. Jesus prayed for unity. John 17:20-21|
From the above outline, we see that the Bible and denominationalism differ as to the number of churches. The apostle Paul says in Eph. 4:4, "there is only one body." If there is only one body, then the many hundreds of denominations that are all in existence today cannot all claim to be right. right. Someone else has been building churches and they had no Bible right to do so. Since this is the case, they must be man-made organizations. Not so with the one built by Jesus. It is divine - He's the Son of God. The human organizations of denominationalism have human heads. But Christ is the head of the church in the Bible. We read in Eph. 1:22-23, "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." Christ is not the head of human churches or organizations. They are headed by men.
Next, we notice that these human churches that are headed by men, also use and follow human, man-made creeds. Whereas, the Lord's church uses the Bible only. In 2Tim. 3:16-17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
The acceptance of human creeds leads also to the wearing of human names. This is forbidden in the Bible. We are admonished to wear only those names given by God. See Acts 11 :26. Because of its make-up, denominationalism causes people to follow different men. This also is condemned by the Bible. We are to follow Christ and not man. Paul teaches the dangers of such a practice in I Cor. 1:10-13. Here the apostle shows clearly the sin of following man. It leads to denominationalism.
One of the amazing things about denominationalism is that they tell you that you can be saved and never be in any church. We deny this. While we recognize the fact that the church does not save by itself, yet we are aware that Christ saves the church. Therefore, to be saved by Christ we need to be in His church. Eph.5:23 reads, "...Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."
Denominationalism preaches many gospels. The Bible forbids such in Gal. 1:6-9, "...but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." The unscriptural system also teaches that there are many faiths and baptisms. But in Eph. 4:5 the apostle Paul uses as plain a language as could ever be used when he states emphatically, "there is one faith; there is one baptism."
Another error is that many teach sprinkling to be baptism. But the Bible teaches that only a burial is baptism. In Rom. 6:4, "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Sprinkling does not meet the specifications of "a burial."
Another idea very popular is the one about joining the church of your choice. We cannot join the church of our Lord. He adds us to it. When we have completed our obedience to the first principles of the Gospel, the Lord places us in His church. No one can vote us in and no one can vote us out. The practice of voting people into the church is unheard of in the New Testament. Denominationalism causes people to walk by different rules, but we are commanded to walk by the same rule. - Philippians 3:16.
Lastly, man will often thank God for all the churches. But the Bible teaches unity, not division, John 17:20-21. With all that the Bible says about being united, how can I pray to God and thank Him for so many churches in the world? I need to be thankful for the one body of Christ, but never that other man-made organizations have come into existence which try and take its place.