Following Jesus Without Denominationalism Series
Contributed by Sam Baker on Mar 18, 2012 (message contributor)
Summary: With all the different views today, ‘Why is Denominationalism Wrong?’
Following Jesus without Denominationalism
Part 1: ‘Why is Denominationalism Wrong?’
Let me tell all of you something very unique . . . As from the very first part of even making mention of this type of series, I met some strong rebuttals from a lot of fellow Christians, as well as fellow ministers.
It seems like a series on this type of subject is considered by them to be very ‘judgmental and harsh towards people and their beliefs’ . . .but like I always say . . .
GOD PUTS ON MY HEART WHAT HE WANTS ME TO PREACH . . .
AND I WILL FOLLOW HIS LEAD AS TO WHAT HE WANTS ME TO DO!!
So . . . let’s get started . . .
While many people are attracted to the good news of the grace of GOD offered through HIS son JESUS CHRIST . . . there are certain questions that often linger within their minds . . .
The NUMBER ONE question I have heard over and over again from new Christians is: ‘Why are there so many different denominations?’
The NUMBER TWO question goes right along with that: ‘Can’t the followers of Jesus Christ learn to get along?’
NUMBER THREE: ‘What can be done about the religious division that exists today?’
NUMBER FOUR: And this one can really cut to the heart: ‘Is it possible for me to be a simple Christian, following Jesus without being a member of any denomination?’
All in all, these are four very important questions that deserve proper answers.
In the reply to some of these questions, some people make an effort to discount the significance of religious division by suggesting . . .
--- That the differences are not all that great . . .
--- Or that religious division is good, for it enables people to find a church that suits them personally . . .
THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS THAT I PERSONALL BELIEVE THE ANSWERS ARE WRONG!!!
AND THEY ALSO DO A GREAT DISSERVICE TO THE CAUSE OF CHRIST!!!
Within this series, it is my intent to share with you several objectives for all to consider . . .
--- To explain why denominationalism is wrong . . .
--- To illustrate how one can simply be a Christian, serving JESUS without being a member of any denomination . . .
--- To suggest how followers of CHRIST might be able ‘to maintain the unity of the SPIRIT in the bond of peace’ . . . (Ephesians 4: 3)
Important topics that we all need be mindful of . . .
I want to start out in this message by giving you two key thoughts:
--- Why denominationalism is wrong
--- Why anyone who truly follows CHRIST will do all they can to avoid participating in it . . .
Perhaps a good place to start here would be:
(1) Defining ‘denomination’ and ‘denominationalism’ . . .
When you think of the word ‘denomination’ . . . what is it that comes to your mind?
According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English language, this word is defined as:
‘A larger group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy.’
Webster’s brings out a similar definition:
‘A religious organization uniting in a single legal and administrative body a number of local congregations.’
In simple laymen terms, a denomination is a group of congregations that are joined together under some governing body.
The number of congregations can be as few as two or more . . . but it is their tie to a governing body above the local congregation, that by definition that they are ‘denominated’ from all congregations that do not submit to the same authority.
That is so very confusing, Reverend Sam . . . can you give any examples to help me understand a little more?
Fair enough . . . I think I can give you a few examples . . .
A) The Roman Catholic Church is a denomination made up of those churches that submit to The Pope in Rome.
B) The Eastern Orthodox Church is a denomination made up of those churches that submit to the patriarch of Constantinople.
C) The Anglican Church of England is a denomination made up of those churches that submit to The Archbishop of Cantebury.
D) The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) is made up of those churches that submit to the Synod in Missouri.
E) The International Church of Christ is made up of those churches that submit to the Boston Church of Christ.
Now granted, these are just a few examples of the thousands of different denominations that now exist, but this hopefully will help you understand what I am attempting to teach you.