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Denominations

  DENOMINATIONS…just may be a tool of the devil to use for divisiveness. Man apparently devised these for the purpose of worship and theological unity for those who interpret the scriptures in a similar manner. They certainly are nowhere to be found in scripture, at least not by me. Technically, they are large groups of religious congregations united under a common creed and name and organized under a single administrative and often legal hierarchy.

 The interpretation of the sacred sacrament of baptism is reflected in these denominations; full immersion in water, sprinkling and even infant baptism. The communion table and its significance divide churches. There are moderates, conservatives and liberals all under the same umbrella. Splits in churches and from denominations happen continually over differences, usually about things not related to the gospel message. The style of worship, preaching, use of the gifts; all create division.

Is it any wonder that the non-believer, maybe an earlier ‘church-goer’, looks at the church and wants nothing to do with it? They must think; ‘if the church can’t agree among themselves, why would I want any part of it?’ No harmony, disunity, controversy! Satan must be smiling from one pointed ear to another. Scripture is so clear on this subject. “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psa. 133:1)! I submit that denominationalism does just the opposite. Division is one of Satan’s mightiest tools. Divide and conquer!

Jesus told His disciples to go to a place and wait for the promised Holy Spirit. They obeyed after His ascension. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14a). Miracle of miracles happened! Once the Spirit descended at Pentecost, the church was born. It was not the First Pentecostal, Baptist or Presbyterian of Jerusalem. They were united, not the First United Methodists! “And all that believed were together, and had all things common” (Acts 2:44).

A missionary friend of mine in China recently told me the introduction of the ‘western denominationalism’ had started having its influence there and it was becoming a problem. He also said that the church is growing everywhere in the world where large church buildings are not being built. Just people in need of a Savior, like the early church!

So, what should the one banner be that unites us as believers? The gospel! Paul said “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also the Greeks” (Rom. 1:16). And then he later records in I Corinthians 15:1-5 what this gospel is according to the scriptures. To sum it up into ten words: “Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.”

We have created denominations of differences, contrary to God’s word, and we have built grand buildings-both of which have, for the most part, closed out unsaved sinners! The great cathedrals in Europe have become relics for tourists, not worship. Billions of dollars are being spent here in the U. S. and elsewhere to do what? Comfortable worship? Exclusiveness? Ego? When all we are told to do is ‘make disciples, feed the poor, care for widows and orphans’!

Christ set the example for us. Stay with me! ‘Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.'” (Mt. 21:12-13). Now the point! “Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them” (vs. 14). See, the lame and blind were excluded, that is until Jesus made it accessible to them. He tore down the barriers to God. I say we must also!

 What do you think? Is the lame, blind, poor, homeless, ex-con, gay accessible to our monuments of wealth and power? Are we a ‘field hospital’ for the wounded or a Sunday Social Club where only like kind are welcome? God only gave one set of drawings for a grand temple. Western Christianity has majored in grand edifices; meanwhile, billions of men, women and children are being excluded, dying without the gospel. It is said that ‘Nero fiddled while Rome burned.’ Are we fiddling?

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:4-6).

When the perilous end times arrive, will anyone care what denomination you belong to, which way you baptize, who has the best preacher, do women serve in your church? I think not! And just maybe our denominations and beautiful church facilities are even keeping us, the insiders, from true worship. Are we able to see the crucified and risen Jesus for all the smoke and mirrors? Just asking!  

Copyright 2013

Bill C. Dotson

www.lifespeakstous.com

bill@abidingfathers.org

Scripture taken from the New King James Version

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