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Excellent commentary on why denominations should not go the way of the dinosaur.
Non-denominal churches are growing while denominational ones are losing members. However where is that growth coming from? Having been in denominational and non-denominational churches, from what I see, the vast majority of the "growth" in non-denominational churches is from folks shifting from denominations or folks church shopping. Hardly a sign of real health.
I am disturbed by the thought that denominations are beauty spots when they are really festering boils. Every denomination is the result of contention and disagreement. This started early in the carnal church of Corinth. "I am of Paul, I am of Apollos etc. We noticed that the author didn't quote Scripture to prove his point on denominations. I have a question for him, which denomination does the Bible tell me to belong to?
Modern denominations, by and large, tend to be more Pauline than Christian, weakening their message. The Apostles Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus, who heard His teaching daily at first hand. Their writings should be first on the list for any Christian. Instead we hear endlessly "Ephesians.. Corinthians.. Galatians.. Ephesians.. Romans.. Thessalonians.. Galatians.." Concerning the key Damascus Road experience, Acts 9 says Paul fell, and his companions stood. Acts 27 says they all fell. Acts 9 says the companions heard the voice, but Acts 22 actually says they did not hear the voice. Jesus said 'Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me' (John 14:21). The Paulians reject this as 'works', 'the law'. Jesus said 'Beware of the teachings of the Pharisees'. Paul claimed, years after his Damascus road experience, 'I AM a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee.' No wonder there is so much confusion..
Michael M, I know where you're headed with your argument -- that we should all return to Catholicism. I won't go into the issues of Mary (she bore the Messiah) and Peter (Jesus did give him the keys to the Kingdom, but didn't commission him as pope), but will deal with the main thrust, to wit, the alleged separation of Christianity. In actuality, true Christians are one in Christ, no matter what label they may wear. The True Church is not contained in any denomination. Christ's true body is not broken. As for Been There, your denomination (not hard to figure out what it is) is extremely separatistic. Not all denominations are so exclusivist in their teachings. In fact, the problem today is just the opposite, that old walls are breaking down, without discernment. But I see this as leading up to the One World Religion of the False Prophet.
I think Michael M. makes a good point. I am theologically historical Protestant, but agree that Protestants have gravely erred in their propensity to so quickly break away. It is worth remembering that Luther never sought to start a new branch of the church, but to rather reform the RCC.
I don't have a full detail of how denominationalism came into full factor in the church's life. Denomination has its blessings and curses.Denomination has helped the gospel and has also hindered the free flow of the the Trinity doctrine. Denominational dogmas is one of the greatest weapon the enemy uses against gospel message or evangelism or even mission work. It is time we go back to the drawing board to see where we've failed as a result of denomination dogma that has brought decline in membership and all that
As usual I am saddened that the real issue isn't addressed, that question of whether Christ intended His body to be broken up into over 30,000 different denominations or if He actually meant for His children to "that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you".
As I drive in my little town and see the dozen or so churches (and 7/11 new) churches), I can't help but ponder the wasted resources that could instead be feeding the poor instead of buying a bigger PA or flat screen.
Did Christ intend their to be only one church?
Where is it the Bible as authority taught in the Bible?
Why did Jesus speak of works in every Gospel?, of His body as real food, and why did he give Peter keys to nothing, and why was He so cruel as to have His mother watch Him tortured and crucified if she was to have no further part in salvation history? . . . .and why would you want to follow a man like this?
Denominations tend to spend a lot of time convincing the congregation that only people of their particular denomination can attain eternal life. The one I grew up in teaches that members are forbidden from praying with other Christians because all others outside the denomination are "in error". Members are even forbidden from doing, for example, Scripture readings at a wedding of another mainline denomination, because they are "in error". At least one minister was expelled from his Lutheran synod for participating in group prayer with other Christians "in error" in Yankee Stadium after the 9-11 attacks. Denominations, from my experience, are all wrapped up in segregation and being haughty and "better" than other believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thoughtful, insightful, helpful. These are some of the terms that came to mind as I read Ed Stetzer's article. He also grasped the implications of the missional paragroupings that were protodenominations in the making. Denominations are bureaucratic and, often, nightmarish in their insipid ways and yet they can and do produce and sustain a huge mission program, of which the largest is the SBC. Unfortunately, that one is going to have even more difficulties, if it does not carefully consider GCR proposals with refernce to impact studies regarding the centripetal forces inherent in the recommendations. Once the cooperative Prgram loses its centrifugal force among the vast numbers of the SBC churches of small and mid-sized, the whole structure will dissovlve, rather quickly, I suspect.
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