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Christian Denominations

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Question: "Why are there so many Christian denominations?"

Answer: There are so many denominations for several reasons. (1) Each denomination has a slightly different doctrine or emphasis from the others. (2) As people started churches, they simply gave them different names. (3) Denominations are good in that if you attended a Baptist church in one town, and then moved to another town, you could attend a similar Baptist church in the new town. The Lutheran denomination was named after Martin Luther. The Methodists got their name because their founder, John Wesley, was famous for coming up with “methods” for spiritual growth. Presbyterians are named for their view on church leadership - the Greek word for elder is "presbyteros." Baptists got their name because they have always emphasized the importance of baptism.

We, as believers, must believe the same on the essentials of the faith, but beyond that there is great latitude in how a Christian should worship, serve, and live his life. This latitude is what causes so many different flavors of Christianity. Diversity is a good thing, but disunity is not. If two churches disagree doctrinally, it is fine that they remain separate. This separation, though, does not lift the responsibility Christians have to love one another (1 John 4:11-12) – and ultimately be united as one in Christ (John 17:21-22).

Recommended Resource: The Master's Plan for the Church by John MacArthur.

Article: gotquestions.org
 
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Thanks Chad , I asked someone this question the other day, they kind of knew but didn't explain as clearly as this post.

In Christ:love:
Heather
 
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We, as believers, must believe the same on the essentials of the faith, but beyond that there is great latitude in how a Christian should worship, serve, and live his life.
This all depends on what one regards as "essential". Here is what Paul says:

1 Cor. 1:10-13 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

It is also true that different people have different callings, but it is important that we teach correct doctrine, and see that our callings are in line with Biblical doctrine.

Christ's Serf
 
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christserf said:
This all depends on what one regards as "essential". Here is what Paul says:
1 Cor. 1:10-13 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
It is also true that different people have different callings, but it is important that we teach correct doctrine, and see that our callings are in line with Biblical doctrine.
Christ's Serf
Amen, good post, denominational differences are divisions. I realize that we are not all on the same maturity level, but if baptist is first grade and presbyterian is second grade and methodist is third and so on, then why don't the baptists move to presbyterians and presbyterians to methodists and so on?
 
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jiggyfly. I think the denominations choose to meet separately because they dissagree on some points of doctrine. I think it grieves Christ to see how the divisions have grown to be often in contempt of one another and unable to work together to further His kingdom. Aren't we of one Spirit? I pray Christ's bride will get ready for Him!
 
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pottershands said:
jiggyfly. I think the denominations choose to meet separately because they dissagree on some points of doctrine. I think it grieves Christ to see how the divisions have grown to be often in contempt of one another and unable to work together to further His kingdom. Aren't we of one Spirit? I pray Christ's bride will get ready for Him!
Amen pottershands, I know it grieves Christ, and I pray
that everyone understand it is the readiness that makes us the Bride.

Matthew 25:1-13
1 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of ten bridesmaids* who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish took no oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all lay down and slept. 6 At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and welcome him!’
7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Sir, open the door for us!’ 12 But he called back, ‘I don’t know you!’
13 “So stay awake and be prepared, because you do not know the day or hour of my return.
 
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jiggyfly said:
I pray that everyone understand it is the readiness that makes us the Bride.
Matthew 25:1-13
That is an excellent point! It also would make an excellent sermon. I'm going to ask my husband if we can study this further tonight. Thank you!
 
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Certainly it's great when different groups of Christians can find unity in Christ, and certainly it's harmful when false teachings (as determined by God) find roots among us, but even division can find good purpose and use in God's grace.
Sometimes such gatherings of like-minded Chritians may focus their efforts and contributions to the Body of Christ as a whole. One fellowship of Christians may focus their energies on doctrine and specialize in education, another may focus their energies on exuberant worship and specialize on praise, another may focus their energies on social service and specialize on helping the sick or poor... Just as God gives gifts within one church for the building up of its members, so the specialized gift a whole congregation may offer in congregational focus may be appreciated as a unique contribution to the Body of Christ as a whole.
 
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hopper said:
Certainly it's great when different groups of Christians can find unity in Christ, and certainly it's harmful when false teachings (as determined by God) find roots among us, but even division can find good purpose and use in God's grace.
Sometimes such gatherings of like-minded Chritians may focus their efforts and contributions to the Body of Christ as a whole. One fellowship of Christians may focus their energies on doctrine and specialize in education, another may focus their energies on exuberant worship and specialize on praise, another may focus their energies on social service and specialize on helping the sick or poor... Just as God gives gifts within one church for the building up of its members, so the specialized gift a whole congregation may offer in congregational focus may be appreciated as a unique contribution to the Body of Christ as a whole.
Hopper , I have to disagree with you, is Christ divided? Our focus should always be Christ not the gifts.

Ephesians 4:11-13
11 He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, 13 until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.
 
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If two churches disagree doctrinally, it is fine that they remain separate.
If it is ok for two important parts of the body of Christ to remain separtate, how can they function as one? How far can I walk if my foot is not attached to my ankle?
Sometimes I think that denominations can be an excuse for not being able to work things out between each other, and actually get past the divisions and really love each other.
When was the last time that you have heard of a church in one denomination sacrificially (e.g. giving all of their building fund) giving to one of another denomination, (or no denomination) that is in need? Or what about a church helping a smaller church of a different denomination cover the costs of bringing in a special guest speaker to a conference that they want to host?
What if the guest speaker will be teaching Christian doctrines that are not held by the larger church?
I also wonder how effective denominations are from a city wide perspective.
If I were an army general, and I had been given a mission to carry out in a particular city, and I had 15 different sub commanders under me, each of which had 800 soldiers, which would be the best way to accomplish my mission?
Would I gather my sub-commanders together and get them all on the same page, explain the mission and the strategy, give them their assignments and have them working together as a tightly knit group and fulfil their assignments, being eager to sacrifice themselves for the others, or would it be more effective to explain the mission and have them all doing what they want, (which would inevitably be trying to accomplish the entire mission on their own), working independently of each other, without having meaningful communication, commaradery or team work?
Just a few thoughts...
 
Member
christserf said:
This all depends on what one regards as "essential". Here is what Paul says:

1 Cor. 1:10-13 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

It is also true that different people have different callings, but it is important that we teach correct doctrine, and see that our callings are in line with Biblical doctrine.

Christ's Serf
The ancient Corinthians came from a culture that worshipped gods they could conceive with their limited human understanding. Paul saw them drifting back in that direction when they started identifying themselves as followers of Cephas, Apollos, or Paul; men they could experience in the flesh as opposed to following Christ, whom they could not experience in the flesh.

It was not a matter of different interpretations of Scripture. These people were beginning to drift away from the faith entirely.


SLE
 
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The ancient Corinthians came from a culture that worshipped gods they could conceive with their limited human understanding. Paul saw them drifting back in that direction when they started identifying themselves as followers of Cephas, Apollos, or Paul; men they could experience in the flesh as opposed to following Christ, whom they could not experience in the flesh.
I see this still going on today. Where do you think having to have a name for your church and denomination comes from?
 
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Here we go again!

Greetings in the 'Wonderful' Name of
Yeshua [Jesus] Our soon coming Messiah!


I was on another Christian Forum site
last year. This very question drew swords
and Christians that 'once' were posting in
compassion and 'God's Love' were now
drawing a line in the 'spiritual' sand!!


It truly 'grieves' my spirit when I hear a
'man of God' on the t.v. or radio 'attack'
another churches belief [it's in the Word!]
especially on the 'gifts of the Holy Spirit-
Mark 16:17,18 ;1Cor. 12-14th. chapters,
Jude 20. and targeting 'the praying ,
speaking and interpretation of the 'gift'
of 'TONGUES'!! 1 John 1st. chapter!

With so many 'denominations' it's no wonder
people are confused! That's why the 'cults'
and 'false religions' are growing so fast!

Unbeliever's can point to the division among
alleged believer's and are slow to accept the
words coming from a divided church.

Mormonism was a direct reaction from the
many 'denominations' that were around
in the days of Joseph Smith, the founder
and false prophet of this cult.

" Jehovah Witnesses" use Christian church
division to encourage people to follow their
strictly-controlled organization.

To me , as well as other 'non-sectarian'
Christians 'denominations oppose Christ's efforts
on the Cross. Christ came to knock down the wall
of division among us, to reconcile man back to God.

Eph. 2:14: For he is our peace, who hath made both
one,and hath broken down the middle wall of partition
between us;

When Jesus came to earth the religious climate of His
day was the Israelites were living under the law of God
as given by Moses. The law made no provisions for the
"division" of His people or sects, or denominations. !!


You will not find any such doctrine!!



But when Jesus came on the scene the 'Jews' had
already 'divided', formed 'denominations' of these:

Saducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and Herodians. !!

They all were 'serious' about their relationship with God!

And if you were 'also' serious about 'your' own realationship
with God you would have to belong to one of these groups!

So I ask you! As Christ is 'our' example right?! 1 Peter 2:21.

Which one of these 'denominations' 'did' Jesus belong to?

:confused: You give up??

Answer is!............. NONE OF THEM !

Christ maintained a non-partisan [non-sectarian-def. of;
[A member of a sect who is intolerant of the views of any
other sect] of His relationship with His Father [Our Heavenly
Father] ................ to the very end of His 'earthly' life!!

Praise God!!

'Riddle me this Christian' If Jesus was simply an Israelite then,
would He not simply be a "Christian" today? It was what His disciples
were first called. Acts 11:26

In closing: When I was first 'saved' 28 years ago and was
attending church faithfully for many years. I started to see
how Satan was 'dividing' the Body of Christ' with pastors
and ministers yelling basically " Hey, we got 'all' the goods!

'They 'are wrong! That's not of God, it's of the Devil! Our
'revelation' is correct from God's Word! [2Peter 1:20]

And blah, blah, da blah so on.......... and I thought I heard
something 'sinister' giggling everytime these 'preachers'
in the pulpit and on t.v. and radio would start their ingodly
'rhetoric' against the brethren of the Lord!

Wake up Church!! The 'enemy' has divided us! He is the one
who 'accuses' the brethren! Rev.12:10

Brethren,

Do not let what you see the "organization" of the church
sour you towards God. What you see, is not what God had
intended! He did not want us divided! Denominations
divide the church.

I am a Christian, so is my wife and son with no stupid,
'denominational' tag!! We were once in a denomination as
born-again believers until one day... Jesus 'SET US FREE!"

PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!
_________________________________________________

Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest Baptist preachers
who ever lived said this;

"I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will

not be a Baptist living! I hope that the Baptist name will
soon perish, but let Christ's name last forever."



Eph. 4:13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of
the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man,
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:


May the Body of Christ, the church, 'stop' listening to the Devil's lies
and accusations 'dividing' us!

And may the Holy Spirit send conviction and repentance to the
pastors and leaders of the church to prepare it 'as one unified
organism without any 'schism' or division.

This is the hour for the Body of Crist to 'adorn herself and make
herself 'ready' as the Bride of Christ' for 'His' soon return! Amen!

Matthew 25:6: And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold,
the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

 
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Richard said:
If it is ok for two important parts of the body of Christ to remain separtate, how can they function as one? How far can I walk if my foot is not attached to my ankle?
Sometimes I think that denominations can be an excuse for not being able to work things out between each other, and actually get past the divisions and really love each other.
When was the last time that you have heard of a church in one denomination sacrificially (e.g. giving all of their building fund) giving to one of another denomination, (or no denomination) that is in need? Or what about a church helping a smaller church of a different denomination cover the costs of bringing in a special guest speaker to a conference that they want to host?
What if the guest speaker will be teaching Christian doctrines that are not held by the larger church?
I also wonder how effective denominations are from a city wide perspective.
If I were an army general, and I had been given a mission to carry out in a particular city, and I had 15 different sub commanders under me, each of which had 800 soldiers, which would be the best way to accomplish my mission?
Would I gather my sub-commanders together and get them all on the same page, explain the mission and the strategy, give them their assignments and have them working together as a tightly knit group and fulfil their assignments, being eager to sacrifice themselves for the others, or would it be more effective to explain the mission and have them all doing what they want, (which would inevitably be trying to accomplish the entire mission on their own), working independently of each other, without having meaningful communication, commaradery or team work?
Just a few thoughts...
Amen Richard good post.
 
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I think the true church (made up of true believers in Christ) is much more united than we think. Well at least that's how I see it in Australia.

I teach Christianity in public schools (we're allowed to do that in Australia) and I also go to several camps each year as a leader, plus similar outreaches. The other team leaders come from all different denominations: Churches of Christ, Baptist, Anglican, Assemblies of God, etc, etc, etc.

There are no problems because our primary goal is to spread the gospel of Christ (as found in the Bible) to unbelievers. We may have different preferences as to how we express our faith, but ultimately we have the same faith.

That is:
That God is the creator of the universe.
We believe that Jesus is the Son of God,
That He became human (while remaing fully divine)
That He died cruelly and shed His blood to pay for our sins
That He rose triumphantly from death
That by putting our complete trust and hope in Him alone as Savior, we will be born again by the Holy Spirit and have eternal life.
That we can have a personal relationship with God the Father, through Jesus Christ, facilitated by the Holy Spirit.
That we are called to know, love, obey and serve God

:love:
evangeline
 
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Very good post Chad. I believe also that if we understand that before Martin Luther and the Reformation there were always lightbearers people who kept the Truth even during the "Dark Ages" when Papal Rome took over and stated no one can interpret the Bible except themselves. If you were to look into it they tried to do away w/the Bible, they used to only have it chained in the front of the church.

Anyways look up peoples like the Waldenses, Jan Huss, Wycliffe, etc. See I believe as ourselves coming to know Our Lord and Savior, whrn He took me out of the mess I was in did not give me all the light or truth at once. Samething He did when He was taken or giving light or truth during the Reformation. Martin Luther God bless him still baptized by sprinkling. The Anabaptist or Baptist also still believed in sprinkling water on your head and your baptised. Wesley or the Methodist held on to the idea of "once saved always saved". Sorry i believe that was John Calvin

See these people or church founders stil were searching when they died. What went wroung is that thru many years we as followers clung to tradition and stopped searching for truth, clung to tradition. Now we have over 2,500 diff denominational names all thinking they are right. By what basis, sad to say from my experience not Biblical. God bless
 
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The Lutheran Church began in the 1500’s as a reforming movement which sought to restore the centrality of the bible, faith and grace within the Catholic Church. There is no biblical basis for a new denomination to be created on the basis of difference in doctrine, tradition or practice. The only path a Christian can take is to remove themself from a denomination, and fellowship as the genuine church. There is no such thing as leaving one denomination, only to join or start another one. The first step is to realize that denominations are wrong. But this is not enough, the second step is to realize what the genuine church is, and fellowship on this basis. Luther was right for taking a stand against the Catholic Church. But some of his followers were wrong in creating a denomination bearing his name. Luther was right, but Lutheranism is wrong.
 
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