Dear reader, it is not my intention to sound mean or harsh, but simply to tell the truth.  To those that may be offended by this article I share the words of the Apostle Paul.  (Galatians 4:16) “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”  I am not ashamed to call denominationalism sin, simply because God does that very same thing.

It is going to be my intention in this article to try and persuade those who are in denominationalism to see it as sin, and remove themselves.  To perform such a task, I believe that I must be able to prove denominationalism is sin.  I will do that by identifying what sin is, what a denomination is, and how one can remove his/herself from a denomination.

What is sin?  (I John 3:4) “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”  Someone might ask, how does one who does love God, and tries so hard to serve him transgress the law.  Dear reader, it is such a shame that many in this world are truly confused with what God wants.  You see many try to serve him without really studying his word to find what God demands.  Jesus Christ made this statement towards the conclusion of his noted “Sermon on the Mount”.  (Matthew 7:21-23) “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  This is the point of this article.  Doing the will of the God.  This and only this will get you to Heaven!  Many may think that they have done the will of God, but will hear those words “I never knew you, depart”.  That is a day that I believe all would want to be prepared for.

Now in proving that denominations are sinful we will look at some of the error of denominationalism.  First, we have the unauthorized wearing of names.  Such an example is given and God’s view is stressed when those in the Church of Corinth started the name game there.  (I Corinthians 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?”  Paul told them not to divide and not to wear the names of men.  Is this not what denominationalism is?  Denominations are started when the desires and doctrines of men are put before the word of God.  Men decide that they want something different than that which the New Testament authorizes.  They do that which Christ condemned.   (Matthew 15:7-9) “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  They err because they know not the scriptures.  (Matthew 22:29) “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”  Denominations generally do one of two things.  They either bind where God has not or loose where God has ruled.  Thus they separate themselves from God by not abiding by the teachings of Christ.  (II John 9-10) “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.”

Now I will give some common errors among denominations to help the readers of this material identify them.  First, we will look at the name as was briefly touched on in stating (I Corinthians 1:10-13).  The name should be one that can be found in the New Testament.  Such as the “Church of Christ” (Romans 16:16).  By examining the name “Church of Christ” we can learn some things.  The “Church of Christ” name denotes to whom the head and ownership is, which is Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23 and Matthew 16:18).  The name Church of Christ eliminates any confusion as to what we are, who we are, and whose we are.  If we think of some denominational names such as Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, the Christian Church, Presbyterians, Disciples of Christ, Independents…, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and so on, we can see none of these in the New Testament.  None of these denote ownership to our Lord.  He did say he would build HIS Church (Matthew 16:18).  The Church that is identified as being the only (Ephesians 4:4, I Corinthians 12:12-13, and Colossians 1:18).  All others are works of men, and we do remember what will happen to works that are against God and beyond or short of his authority (Revelation 22:18-19 and Matthew 15:7-9).  Christ warns of rejecting his word.  (John 12:48) “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

Denominations can also be identified by their erring worships.  Such as instrumental music being added to the song worship.  Most people fail to recognize that only vocal music is authorized in the New Testament with the instrument involved being the heart (Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16).  I debated a man on this subject, and although he could not provide a verse authorizing such he argued with every fiber of his being that it was OK to worship in song with the accompaniment of a instrument.  He argued with passages from the Old Testament of which I reminded him was past in Christ (Romans 7:1-6, Colossians 2:14, and Hebrews 9:15-17).  He argued that they could be in Heaven, and again I reminded him that things on this earth would not be in Heaven and vice versa (Matthew 22:29-30).

Denominations err because the pass the contribution on times other than the first day of the week.  We only have authority to do such on the first day of the week (I Corinthians 16:1-2).

Denominations err by having the Lord’s Supper on days other than the first day of the week, and some do not even have it on every first day of the week.  We have an apostolic example of proper New Testament worship with the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

Denominations err in the teaching of the Bible plan of Salvation.  Some teach that baptism is not commanded, which contradicts Christ and the teachings of the inspired apostles (John 3:3-5, Acts 2:38, Acts 10:47-48 etc..).  Many denominations teach that baptism is an outward show of an inward action and that you can actually be saved prior to submitting to the water.  This is a blatant error!  (Romans 6:1-6) “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”  Baptism saves us (I Peter 3:20-21).  Baptism is where we receive the washing of our sins (Acts 22:16), and the remitting of those sins (Acts 2:38), all of which is by the blood of Christ (Matthew 26:28).  Denominations do not teach the Church, which is required before conversion (Acts 8:12).  After all, how can we expect someone to teach something they do not know!  {On that thought, ignorance is not an excuse (II Thessalonians 1:8-9).  Someone who is seeking will find (Matthew 7:7).}  Some also teach that baptism is a sprinkling or pouring.  Why then did the Eunuch go down into the water (Acts 8:38)?  He did so because baptism is a burial, of which we looked at above in (Romans 6:1-6).

It is truly easy to see how that God does not approve of those things that denominations do!  He does not approve because he has not authorized.  He does not approve because they do not obey.  Christ says this: (John 14:15) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

If you love him, as Christ loved you, would you not want to do his will?  I promised that I would tell you the way out, if you are truly in a denomination.  First, you must take time and study God’s word (II Timothy 2:15).  Contact a true Christian to assist you in your study that you may hear the word and then obtain faith (Romans 10:14-17 and Mark 16:15-16).  Learn about the Church of the New Testament and seek to find the answers from the saints that meet there.  At the point of which you believe in that Gospel, recognize that you must turn (Repent) of you sins (Luke 13:3,5).  Confess that Christ is the Son of God (Matthew 10:32-33 and Acts 8:37).  Then be obedient to Christ in baptism that you can have the remission of sins, put on Christ, and be added by him to HIS Church (Acts 2:38, Galatians 3:27, Acts 2:47, and I Corinthians 12:12-13).  Seek today, and find the Gospel truth!

Let us think a little about when some denominations came into existence.  The first is what most would call the “common religion”.  The Roman Catholic Church came officially into existence in about 606 AD.  They really began forming during the early apostasy of the Church, and headed towards their doctrines in 325 with the first “Council of Nice”.  Then as we look at some other denominations we can find the “Reformation Period” ran from 1517-1800, and formed such denominations as the Lutherans (1530), Presbyterians (1536), Congregational (1608), United Brethren (1609), Baptist (1611), and the Methodist (1739).  Then came what is know as the “Restoration Movement” in which men such as Baron W. Stone, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, “Raccoon” John Smith, and all the way to David Lipscomb and N.B. Hardeman.  This movement began just before the 19th Century and is still in effect as we speak.  The plea of this movement is to return to the Church that which became in effect on the “Day of Pentecost” in Acts chapter 2 (33 AD).  This Church was the Church of Christ, and is effective in this day following nothing other than the New Testament and is being restored to the truth of the Bible.  As the Catholics have the Pope the Church of Christ does too have a head, his name is Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:18)!

Thus, by studying God’s word, and realizing the purchase price of the Church (Acts 20:28), I Am Not Ashamed To Call Denominationalism Sin!  God does!

Copyright 2001 by Brian Yeager may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others. www.christianlibrary.org

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