Denominations: Division in the Body of Christ

Have you ever drove around your city or town and discovered how many different “flavors” of Christianity there are? Have you ever counted the number of churches you pass by driving down the road? Or wondered why there are different churches right across the street from one another, sometimes even three or four? Have you ever wondered if it’s even biblical? Well, that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about this week. The other day I drove across the town I live in and counted 13 churches. All different denominations or sects of denominations. Some were pretty old, some were brand new, a couple were being built. I even noticed that most of there signs were almost the same. The name of their church (usually no less than 3 or 4 words) with a marquee below it that had a phrase with little to no depth in the statement. Some were charismatic, some were conservative, some were contemperary, and some were old school. Some were closed most of the time, except Sundays, others were open during the week.

So, I started asking myself “Is this biblical?”. What I found was no, most certainly not. I kept going back to John 17 where Jesus prayed to the Father. He prayed for His disciples and for future believers.

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.John 17:20-23 (NIV)

Jesus prayed that we would be brought into unity; for us to be one as They are One. He also told His disciples “They will know you are My disciples by your love for one another.” (John 13:35). So, I had to ask myself this one question: “When Jesus prayed for perfect unity, what did He mean? Did He mean unity with our fellow brethren who have similar belief systems? Or did He mean unity, as in, no matter what our different belief systems are that we would love one another in perfect unity?”  I believe it’s the latter. It breaks my heart to see so much division in the Body of Christ. From what I’ve seen, most denominations are generally the same. They believe that Christ died on the cross for our sins, they believe in the Trinity, they believe that Christ is coming back. What causes splits usually isn’t these fundamental beliefs. (Though, I’m sure some have split over the Trinity, end times debates, and the like). No, what causes these are normally little disagreements in doctrine; in interpretation of Scripture. For example, Pentecostals believe in the manifestation of spiritual gifts, speaking in tongues, prophecy, the presense of God, etc. But the Church of Christ beilievers don’t. Evangelicals believe that our sole purpose for being on earth after getting saved is to “win” more people of to Christ. Baptists believe in legality. There is even division amongst different denominations. Like some Baptist believe in predestination, some don’t. Some churches use Holy Water, some don’t. But most of these disagreements are, in my mind, small. So, where’s the unity?

I believe, that if we all just let all these little “details” go and just focus on Christ, I believe many will come to unity. The same unity Jesus prayed for 2000 years ago. If we would just lay down our weapons, our little disagreements, at the feet of the cross, much good will come to the Body. I’m not saying that these are bad things by any means. I love spiritual gifts, evangelizing, praise and worship, and the like. But those are just “its”. They aren’t Christ. Christ should be our main focus as believers, not gifts, laws, commandments, doctrine, preachers, authors, or buildings. If we focus only on the gifts and not on Him, what do you think God would call that? Giving your life and energy to something besides Him? Think about it.

Is He sufficiant? Is He not enough? The best gift he could ever give somebody is Himself! Wow, and if you truly love Him, you already own the greatest gift of all! Praise God! Please don’t take this the wrong way, I love the works of God, I love saving the lost, giving the the needy, going to big-budget praise and worship concerts, listening to a good teaching. But again, these are only “things” and “its”, they are only meant to bring Him glory. They aren’t the main focus, but instead they are things that happen automatically once Jesus gets a hold of you.

Also, when you read the bible how many Churches were in each city? 5? 10? 20? 50? No, usually one or two, depending on the size of the town and the number of believers in each town. But of course you could say “Well, some cities have millions of people in them, so of course there’s alot of churches.” Ok, but were the churches of the new testament completely seperate from one another? Or were they all unified? They were all, essentially one church. It’s known that Paul would gather money from the other churches to help the poor and needy in Jerusalem. They weren’t competing with one another for more “members”.

Christ is our Head. We are His body. Why are we throwing His right arm over here, His toes over there, His leg there…? So please, dear Christian, don’t brush this observation off. It’s a common plague in the Body today.

I would most definatly like your opinions on this subject readers. If you read this blog, please don’t leave the site without leaving a comment.

Bless all of you who read this.

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to MySpaceAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

9 thoughts on “Denominations: Division in the Body of Christ

Add yours

  1. I think alot about this too!!! Which belief is correct? WHO has the right interpretation of The Word? Our focus on God and HIS principles should be our goal!

    Like

    1. Yes, true. Jesus Christ is the goal. Not in a legal way or even a set of principles. Jesus lives in us! We don’t have to fight sin anymore. That’s His job lol. But yeah, I know of several Christians who meet in small groups at homes and stuff and interpretation of doctrine varies widely. But you would never guess it, some are more liberal, some are more conservative. But our minor doctrinal beliefs aren’t the focus, or even debatable. Because we all are focused on Christ and Christ alone. That, in my mind, is how it should be with ALL believers. The Spirit will reveal truth because Jesus IS truth! Wow, I love it!
      Thanks for the comment Mendy 🙂

      Like

  2. Denominations were man made, not God made. Man decided they wanted to believe only certain portions of the Bible so they threw out other parts. Or they took verses out of context and made a whole religion out of this misconception.

    I heard of a pastor who said he would think about a verse for a few months. After that time he would decide if he wanted to believe it. If he wasn’t sure, he would put it back on the shelf and consider it again later. Seriously? How could someone have the audacity to think they get to decide if the Bible is true. Unbelievable!

    You also often hear people say “We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this or that.” I say “NO WAY!” It doesn’t matter what our opinion is. All that matters is what the Bible said. The Bible is not open for your opinion. You can believe all you want that the grass is orange but the truth is that it is green. You can believe that you are poor but the truth is that someone left you a huge inheritance. You just don’t know or believe it yet. Same with the Bible. You may not believe it, but it doesn’t make it any less true. God said our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways. Why do people think they can pick and choose what they want from the Bible? So frustrating…

    Christy
    http://www.OverflowLiving.com

    Like

  3. Wow profound- we had just this preaching last week- March 14th from our pastor- even to the “dismembered” parts of the Body of Christ— wow- God at work- all over the world! Wow- God is so wayy cool!

    Like

  4. So what you are saying is that there should be one church for all? How I do agree with you that there needs to be unity with the body of Christ and that there is a big spilt in between churches for some stupid little reasons, but to have a huge meetings with thousands of people, it’s not healthy for everyone. With a big group like that, people get left out and the whole reason to come to a meeting is to worship with fellow believers. It’s hard when you get a big group to have everyone included and feeling love, so maybe the different groups are a good thing, but the negative reasons for the splits as you say, is so small compared to God and all He does. It’s not that we have thousands of churches around, but that people are so fast to be judgmental if they come across a “different type” of believers. It’s sad the body being split, God didn’t attend for the Bride to be cut into pieces but to be one. One beautiful body! We worry too much about what our part is instead of the whole body sometimes… It’s sad!

    Like

    1. No, I am definatly not saying there should be one, single church in which thousands meet together all at once. That would put me in agreement with what “mega-churches” are doing which I disagree with. The topic-at-hand in this post is sects and denominations. I don’t believe in serperating us by different doctrinal beliefs or disagreements. There seems to be an attitude that “I can’t have fellowship with such and such, because they are in disagreement with my doctrinal position.” That is dividing the Body of Christ no matter how you slice it. I do, however, believe having several places to meet. Since I put a high influence on “shared life community”, then places in which believers meet should be relatively close to where all/most of the congragants live. But those multiple meeting places should never be divided amongst themselves. I think there were actually two churches in Jerusalem in the first century.(My history may be way off here so forgive me if I’m wrong.) Not because they had a dispute over a theological disagreement, but because the original gathering place was becoming over-populated and so they needed to split so no one would be over looked. Christ lives in us ALL and we have and EQUAL priesthood. Members of the Body should never be over-looked or divided. EVER. Now of course if you, unrepentently, steer away from funamental Christianity (Jesus lived, died on a cross, and resurrected on the third day for our sins, etc) that’s a totally different issue.
      Thanks for your comment. Bless you

      Like

      1. hmmm good good. I like your response and it does sadden me that there are people who refuse to fellowship because of pride or some sort of false ideal they have on their self righteousness. It’s encouraging to see that there are people who don’t just others on what details they believe when it come to the Christian Faith. As you said, its all about the fundamentals! Jesus lived, died on the cross, then rose on the third day. Thanks for the blessings, you too brother! 🙂

        Like

  5. It has been my experience to see groups of people who believe the exactly the same thing divided. Usually it is about power and control. The word of God teaches that we are all a members of the body of Christ and some have been set in the church as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers or a combination thereof depending on the believing of the individuals involved. Leadership in the New Testament is that of serving others. It is about functioning in the body of Christ, not position. It is God that sets not man. We each have our functions and they are not hierarchical. They function to help people rise up to function as they are called to function. sometimes people choose to not fellowship with a group because it affects their walk. Instead of encouraging them to rise up they tamper them down; and it is not self-righteousness to walk away once you have honestly spoken the truth in love to try and change it. Unity of the spirit begins with lowliness (not doormat stuff but a thankfulness to God who is sovereign). God is clear in Ephesians 4 what unity is based on: one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God. God has provided the Lord Jesus Christ to be head of the body. His whole life and sacrifice gave us access to God. It was God’s plan. No organization or group stands between us and God.

    Like

  6. Yes, I used to believe that doctrine didn’t matter, but it does. If we say that only Jesus matters but don’t do his will we contradict ourselves. If speaking in tongues is for today we should be teaching it, if Jesus is coming back after the tribulation we should be teaching it. Jesus wants us to be prepared in all things and be in one accord. More Christians need to be reading the bible (kjv) more and not listening to tv preachers and study guides. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 6:31-32

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: