FINAL WORD ON DENOMINATIONALISM

THE “DENOMINATIONALISM” ISSUE

A lot of arguing has been done about the word “denominational” and how it relates to the church Jesus built. Hugh Fulford in a very good article on the subject, said,“The church (the aggregate of all who have been saved by obedience to the gospel) is the spiritual body of Christ, of which there is but one (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4).” You would do well to read that entire article, lay aside your biases, and be reasonable about the premises laid out there. They are Biblically accurate. Surely you can’t fault someone for saying what the Bible says. But here are some further facts that also need to be considered.

Some insist that the church of Christ is a denomination. Their argument consists of technically defining the word. That misses the point. It does not prove that the church of Christ is one. It only distracts from the real questions at issue and leads to mistakes. The word itself means an identity that is named. The New Testament church is not named. Denominations presume to name it. But in its modern usage there is much more wrong with it than that. The word usually refers to a portion of the whole. The church is not that either. It is the whole and there is only one such “body of Christ.” What Christians reject is not the technical meaning of the word “denomination” but rather they reject what the denominationalism concept stands for in our time, the concept that flourishes today. It is a concept that refers to a group such as the Baptist, or Methodist, or Presbyterian denomination as a portion of the whole and gives to each a name chosen by men. It is a view that insists Christ is divided in that sense and that His church consists of many different factions or party groupings with differing doctrines.

This concept is expressly denounced in the Bible. At Corinth some brethren were thinking that way and Paul opposed it. (1 Cor. chptrs 1-3) Some were saying “I am of Paul” and others said, “I am of Cephas,” and some said “I am of Christ.” Paul’s objections centered around the same ones we raise today. He asked, “Is Christ divided?” and “Was Paul crucified for you?” This concept of a divided Christ with each segment headed up by a man or group of men, grew out of the protestant reformation movement around the fifteenth century. Jesus had already built His church centuries earlier and it excluded this concept.

As to Paul’s question, “Is Christ divided?” Denominationalism today says, “Yes.” The apostle Paul says “NO.” Is the apostle right or is denominationalism right? The fact that such an idea was rejected by an inspired apostle in scripture should settle the matter. That concept is unacceptable, not because of the technical definition of the word, but because it’s practices contradict what the Bible prescribes. “That you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you but that you be perfectly joined toegther in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:1) If we follow the Bible only we will be Christians only. To be hyphenated Christians is to follow man’s opinions. We ought to stand with the apostle and reject that whole idea. .

Share

Filed under: Uncategorized


Leave a Reply

*