Ghandi is quoted as saying, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” If you ask me, I’d say, “I love Christ (and I love you), but I do not like your denominations. Your denominations are so unlike Christ.” If you’re a member of a denominational church, here are a few things I’d lovingly encourage you to consider.
1. The First Reason I Don’t Like Your Denomination
Let’s have an imaginary conversation. This is a conversation similar to one a friend of mine had with his mother, who was a member of a denominational church.
“Does a person have to believe and practice what your denomination teaches in order to be a Christian?”
“No,” you would likely reply, “of course not.”
Then I would ask, “Does a person have to believe and practice what the Bible teaches in order to be a Christian?”
“Yes, of course,” you would likely reply.
“Then you admit,” I would finally ask, “your denomination teaches things other than what the Bible teaches?”
Stop and think about it for a minute. If a person doesn’t have to believe everything the “United Church of Whatever” teaches, but they have to believe everything the Bible teaches, then the “United Church of Whatever” is teaching things other than what is in the Bible. That’s the first reason I don’t like your denomination, because it teaches things other than what the Bible teaches.
2. The Second Reason I Don’t Like Your Denomination
Do you know the very idea of denominationalism is rooted in division? When you divide something up into segments and name each part, you have “denominated” it. For example, we do that with coins; a quarter is denomination of a dollar.
Religious denominationalism says it’s ok to divide the body of Christ into sub-groups and name each group according to what they believe, teach, and practice. That may sound like a good idea to man, but I assure you Christ does not think that butchering His bride into pieces is a good idea. In 1 Corinthians 1-3, Paul chastised the Corinthian church for their division. He said they were unspiritual people (1 Corinthians 3:1). He warned them not to destroy God’s temple – the church – or God would destroy them (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
I realize you might not personally be a divisive person, but denominationalism is by its very nature divisive. That’s another reason I don’t like your denomination, because it teaches that it’s ok to divide the body of Christ.
3. The Third Reason I Don’t Like Your Denomination
The whole idea behind denominations is that they have a unique set of beliefs, practices, and teachings that set them apart from other groups. So people end up asking each other, “What does your church teach about…?” Then people choose the church that teaches what they like or prefer. No matter what you want to believe or do, you can probably find a denomination out there that puts their stamp of approval on it. But is that really Christianity?
No, that’s not Christianity. Christianity isn’t about having a smorgasbord of different churches you can choose from, depending on your doctrinal slant. That’s why Jesus sent the Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth and they went about teaching the same thing in every city and town (see 1 Corinthians 4:17).
Denominationalism has taught the world that you can do, believe, and teach anything and call it Christianity, but nothing could be further from the truth. Christianity – its doctrines, worship, and lifestyle – cannot be redefined or altered. If it isn’t the Christianity of the New Testament, it isn’t Christianity at all. Read Galatians 1 and then tell me what the Lord would have to say about having a unique set of beliefs, practices, or teachings that differed in any way from what was originally taught by the inspired apostles.
That’s third reason I don’t like your denomination, because it is contributing to the idea that people can attend the denominational church of their choice.
Just Because I Don’t Like Your Denomination Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Like You
Just so you know, I still like you. In fact, I love you. I hope I have not hurt you, but I do hope something I’ve said may cause you to rethink your association with a denomination.
And just so you know, there are many of us who are not members of a denomination. We are just Christians. We meet with congregations that are completely autonomous and don’t answer to a conference or a headquarters. We are simply doing our best to follow the Bible and only the Bible and be the church of the New Testament. We hope you’ll join us. Contact me and I’ll tell you all about it.
I love you and God loves you,