Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My 95 Thesis - Point 10 - Denominations

Here's my 10th Point in My 95 Theses.

Yes, it is related to unity, which is my 1st point... but I want to focus on a specific concern.

Where do we get the idea that having different denominations is acceptable? Is Christ's church divided? Are we dividing Christ's body? Or are we assuming that our denomination is the only real church?

I used to agree that having denominations was a necessary evil. How else could all these different 'church' institutions function considering they all have different traditions and unique beliefs.

However now I am trying to view church differently. Not as a location, event, institution or corporation but as the body of all those in Christ's kingdom. It is not so much where a person spends their Sunday morning, or which group they belong to. If Christ is Lord of someone's life they are part of Christ's one true church.

Is there really a need for denominations? Is there any Scriptural support?

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

i do not believe that there is any scriptural basis for denominations,having said that, the differing interpretations of God's word leads to them. To the very varying degrees of acceptance of sol scriptoria leads to denominations. That is not to say a Christian is not my brother but I may not choose to promote him as a model of righteousness to others.
Wewally

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the comment.

I think I understand where you are at, I used to feel the same.

However consider the people in your denomination. Does everyone in your denomination agree with you on all doctrines. I know from my experience there has always been discussions and differences on a range of beliefs in every 'church' I've been part of. But within a church family we can often agree to disagree. Why do we have a different standard for those outside our church family?

I've come to think that to be my brother and sisters in Christ has more to do with our shared relationship with God than having a correct understanding of all truth (which none of us will achieve anyway).

Thanks for the feedback. God bless!

Anonymous said...

Christianity must never become the least common denominator bunch. While we are not to judge, allowing Christians whose life and actions demonstrate there acceptance of secular morals and lifestyle. to be teachers and models for the church, is not a Christian model. My denomination is very fractured and while we hold many common doctrines, applications are varied. That does not reduce the validity of the belief but does blunt its effectiveness.
wewally

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the reply Wewally. I understand your concern that accepting all denominations may seem like we are watering down the requirements to be a Christian.

However I don't think it's up to us at all in the first place to decide who is in and who is out. I have a really hard time judging the heart of man. I'll thankfully leave that job to God.

I also think over time we've been like the pharisees and have added to the requirements that Jesus set out. For example the early church put together the apostles creed as a summary statement of their faith, but for most denominations that statement is too short, we have to add additional doctrines to our lists of essential beliefs - to highlight what is distinct in our tradition.

Anyways, thanks for the discussion. Theses are just my 2 cents. I know there are many who agree with you. Maybe I'm nuts to hope and pray for unity. God bless!

Sol Michaels said...

I have been thinking about why we put names on buildings. Why do we name our groups. Is it nesseccary, or is that what helps feed division.

Imagine if we were just the church meeting on 4th street, or the church that meets behind McDonalds (descriptive only, no formal name)we would be the church only. Nothing more or less.

I think that if that was the case, we would have less trouble hanging out with the church on 8th street, no matter what differences in scriptural understanding might be involved.

The only time in scripture I can think of where they named themselves, they were rebuked for their division.

Jonathan said...

Yes Sol Michaels,

I think you are right. I'm sure within each community there would be some different beliefs and such, but there would be a sense that all church gatherings were part of Christ's one church.

God bless!