We Can & Must Remain Undenominational
By Rico Brown
November / December 2017
It is generally conceded that the denominationalism that divides Christendom is neither healthy nor wholesome. For a century, the major denominations have been trying to figure out how to overcome their divided state. Most people with a little Bible knowledge confess that in her original state, the Lord’s church was an undivided body of people, worshiping and serving God.
Only in the last 30 years or so have some of our preachers and professors decided that denominationalism is a good thing and that we ought to embrace it and take our place among the 1,200 denominational bodies. We must admit that it takes a man with an inordinate degree of self-esteem to embrace and promote that which Scripture so clearly condemns (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:3-4).
We can and must be the undenominational church of Christ described in the New Testament. First, we must realize and accept the fact that the church founded by Christ and planted by the Apostles was undenominational and nondenominational! The very idea of a divided body is unscriptural and contrary to the Bible (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).
Secondly, we must also remember that a major part of our ongoing goal is to restore the church to her original unity. While we cannot make men give up their parties and denominations, we can only teach them and show them God’s will on the matter. We can show them according to the Word and by our practice how to be undenominational Christians.
Thirdly, we must dig deep into the New Testament of Christ, taking it as our pattern (2 Timothy 1:13) and only guide. Next, we need to keep in mind the constituent elements of denominationalism as follows: 1Every denomination was founded by a human being or group of them. Christ founded his undenominational church (Matthew 16:18).2Denominations are governed by men. Christ is the head over all things to His church (Ephesians 1:22). 3Denominations are regulated by creedal statements written by uninspired men. Christ’s church is governed by His inspired word (John 12:47-48). 4Denominations wear humanly-conceived names. Christ’s church wears His name (Romans 16:16). 5In denominations, men worship as they choose to do. In Christ’s church, we worship as he has directed (John 4:24). 6In denominations terms of salvation and church membership are devised by men and vary from body to body. Christ has provided these terms for His church. They are plainly stated in his Word (Mark 16:16). 7The very nature of denominationalism is divisive. The nature of true Christianity is unity in Christ (John 17:20-23).
Every denomination competes with Christ’s church and its mission. They offer men pardon and hope of heaven on faulty premises. Although all denominations teach some truth, they all teach man things contrary to Christ’s revealed will and Word. Denominations consume vast amounts of resources that have been given to God. They are used to build and maintain separate places of worship and to employ workers to promote their cause. They dilute and weaken the message and influence of Christianity around the world. Seekers are often left bewildered and confused by the conflicting messages of different denominations.
The man who sees nothing wrong with denominationalism does not understand Christ’s message nor His Church. Likewise, the man who says the Church of Christ is a denomination does not understand, love, or appreciate the Church. Such a statement betrays the fact that he himself is denominational in his thinking. Jesus is the head of only one body (Ephesians 1:22), the husband of only one bride (Ephesians 5:23), and the king of only one kingdom (1 Timothy 6:15).