IS DENOMINATIONALISM 
REALLY WRONG?
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 BY DENOMINATIONALISM we mean the situation we find in so-called Christendom today. We are confronted with all of these separate and distinct religious groups, or parties, all claiming allegiance to Christ. In some way, they are all different one from another.
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 Denominationalism in its full-blown modern version was not known in the early church. However, among the Jews of that time we see a parallel to present-day denominationalism in the Pharisees and Sadducees. A word used to describe them means about the same as denomination. The Jews called Christianity this, regarding it as a splinter off of Judaism, and those practicing partyism in the church were labeled with this word.
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 That word was hairesis, which has a twofold meaning. It basically has to do with (1) opinion (choice), and (2) a party that forms around this opinion. This meaning can be seen in the two ways the word is translated in the New Testament (KJV), "heresy" and "sect." Here are all of the references containing this word in the New Testament: Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5,14; 26:5; 28:22; I Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20; II Peter 2:1 (and Titus 3:10 with a word from this root, translated "heretick," KJV).
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 We believe denominationalism is wrong for at least two reasons (and there are many others): (1) because of division; and (2) because of doctrine. These two things are interwoven, they are wed, and the last usually produces and perpetuates the first (unless human personalities per se have been the factor, or that division simply continues after distinctive denominational doctrines have eroded).
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 Denominationalism is wrong because it is synonymous with division. The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross to bring about unity and to make all of us part of one body (Ephesians 2:13-17). It is not a worldly, denominational, ecumenical unity. That one body and one plan is stressed in Ephesians 4:3-6. The night before his crucifixion the Lord prayed for unity among his followers in John 17:20-22. Division and wearing party names is condemned as sinful (I Corinthians. 1:10-13) and consequently called "carnal" (I Corinthians 3:1-5). Romans 16:17 tells how those who cause division are to be dealt with.
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 Diverse doctrines and traditions of men cause division, and thus separate men into denominations. Doctrines of men are wrong. Even before the church was started, the Lord Jesus quoted prophecy, saying, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). When the church was established, they were all with "one accord" (Acts 2:46), and "they continued stedfastly in the apostlesí doctrine" (Acts 2:42). As stated, Ephesians 4:4-6 stresses the oneness of Godís plan. Then Paul told Timothy by taking heed to himself spiritually and to the doctrine he would save himself and those who heard him (I Timothy 4:16). To preach any other gospel is to invite the curse of God down upon us (Galatians 1:8). So, in view of these things, it is alarming that denominations run counter to the teaching of the New Testament by their distinctive names, doctrines, and traditions of men. Jesus said, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Matthew 15:13).
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 Yes, denominationalism is wrong because of division and because of denominational doctrines not found in Godís Word. We have not gone into all of the particulars (this has been very brief), but this should be enough to make us want to examine the Word of God. We must divest ourselves of all man-made organizations, creeds, and traditions of men if we want to be acceptable in Godís sight. Let us practice the oneness of the body of Christ in the context of the local church. Paul said to the Corinthians, who were given over to partyism and wearing the names of men, as they disrupted the unity of the church, "If any man defile [destroy] the temple of God [the church], him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (I Corinthians 3:17). It is no light matter.

 
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