Denominations? or United?

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:27-28

For some reason while I was driving back from California to Washington (not a short trek) this verse popped into my head. And me being who I am I began to ponder the ramifications of this verse on the church and world of today. It seems to me that the church does a great job of dividing itself into it’s denominations. We haven’t been ‘one in Christ Jesus’ for a very long time. These divisions maybe slowly melting away, but the ‘modern’ church leader is not one to quickly cross that line. The ‘post-modern’ church is less likely to be this divided in my opinion. Even though post-modernism is not what the church stands for there are going to be church leaders that are brought up in a ‘post-modern’ society, and will have a Christian World-view, that has post-modern tendencies. From my observation these tendencies (when a true Christian World-View is held) are acted out by ignoring denominational differences. Slowly but surely I hope these differences will be ignored. I don’t know if the title, Baptists, Presbyterian, Mennonite . . . etc. will ever dissapear, and frankly I’m not sure if that part matters. We are to be a united Church in Christ.

These are really just thoughts off the top of my head. Does anyone else see this? Are any of you out there aware of the divisions? Are anyone of aware of the damage they can have on the church? Or am I just crazy?

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6 thoughts on “Denominations? or United?

  1. I’m with you. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Last I checked it didn’t work when every part of the body is working in a different direction, or one hand doesn’t agree to work with another hand simply because of some doctrinal issue or past conflict. The blood of Christ is stronger than any disagreement that exists between the fractured followers of Christ. You speak truth in all you say, especially the potential damage it can cause the Church. We become distracted with what other “churches” are doing or saying, rather than focusing on a central aspect of Christianity: Jesus Christ. We notice the damage we are doing to the Church itself, but that doesn’t take into account the TREMENDOUS damage it can do to the Church’s ability to demonstrate the love of Christ and witness to those in need of Christ. I see the potential problems and pray for the healing of the Body of Christ…

    • supermatt28 says:

      Good thoughts, way to bring in other scripture as well. So far the young leaders of the church are weighing in, how about you veteran leaders?

  2. Ryan Crundwell says:

    I am of the opinion that as our generation and the new generation grow up and take leadership positions in the church the focus on denominational differences will dwindle away. These two generations are, in a way, reformating the status quo. They question what is and change it, often to teh chagrin of the previous generations. It would not due to totally discard the previous generation’s wisdom and knowledge, lets face it, they’ve been there they’ve done that. But for the good of he body in this post-modern world, changes are necessary. People are looking for authenticity and character in a world where facade and deception are a way of life. So honestly the question of denomination is irrelevent. If people get focused on what denomination they are a part of they are taking their focus away from what truly matters. Spreading THE WORD to the world. The early church wasn’t a denomination, they were a collection fo believers on fire for Christ and spread THE WORD where ever they went. They were called the church of whatever city they were in, not baptists of corinth or methodists of laodicia. (obviously those denominations did not exist back then but you see my point). For that reason i think in this increasingly pagan world we should be like the early church, becoming one church of Redding, or one church of Yakima or whatever city we are in. Hedging up on denominational lines and debating about age old feuds over non-central theological issues is both futile and stupid in addition to being a detractor to the cause of Christ. Ok i’ve said my piece.

  3. Jake Hawney says:

    I want to bring a little bit of reality to this discussion, if I may. Although I agree that we are one in our devotion and faith in Christ, the divisions are a natural and healthy thing if done out of understanding and respect.

    The early church was united under the banner of “The Way” in an effort to spread the small faith base and avoid detection and persecution of the world. They needed to stay united to survive in a very real and physical way. We do not face that same level of threat, although our unity is still as necessary as ever.

    Because our our ability to grow and thrive as a faith without looming persecution, we were able to focus our attention on understanding God more, in light of the revealed Scriptures. I believe that God purposely left many things ambiguous so that we would strive as a people to understand Him more. Throughout time, denominations were formed because of differences of opinion on doctrine, not dogma, and this is a natural thing.

    I believe that it is wrong for anyone to reject another denomination because of differences in these secondary issues. I have my beliefs and stances, but that doesn’t make me the ultimate authority. But, it does influence me to attend a church that holds the same values on those subjects as I do. I am not a pentecostal, so I will not make an AG or Foursquare church my home. Does that mean I am not unified with those who worship there? Absolutely not! They are my brothers and sisters in Christ who hold a different position on the importance of praying in tongues.

    This is all to say that denominational lines are there for a reason. In our day and age, there would be fighting every week if all denominations were merged into one because no one would be able to agree on the proper doctrine to be preached from the pulpit! Could you imagine a Baptist and Lutheran congregation coming together and trying to accommodate baptism???

    It would be great if we could all just bury the hatchet on the differences that we have, but that is not going to happen. What the focus should be on is cooperation and understanding between denominations, not dissolving all of them and creating one giant mega-church per town.

    One other thing to keep in mind is that not all people want to be involved with large churches, which the single church per town would create. Many believers feel like they are less important and lost in the crowd in a large church. They want to feel like God is using them in a more intimate and relational atmosphere. Just a thought…

    The distinctions are meant to meet the needs of all believers from every theological background. While the system is not perfect, it is run by sinful people mind you, it is the best we are going to have until Christ returns. I appreciate the discussion and I would love to hear feedback on my thoughts.

    • supermatt28 says:

      I tend to agree with you, the point you are bringing out is the one I, and I believe Ryan was trying to bring out. I tend to be less specific to bring out discussion like this. I also don’t think that Ryan was saying that every church in Redding or Yakima, or wherever, should join as one super-church. I think he was just saying that the title Baptist or Presbyterian, etc. are confusing to the non-believer and should be dropped. Perhaps ‘The Yakima Church on S. 36th Ave.’ might be better? Denominations are a necessary evil today, but we should not allow them to keep us from working together.

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