Jesus said that there would be one flock and one Shepherd (John 10:16). Jesus said that He would build His Church (Matt 16:18). He bought only one Church with His blood (Acts 20:28). He prayed for all His believers to be one on the night of His betrayal (John 17:20-21).
What happened?! Should we be disturbed by how there are so many different churches?
Many among denominations find themselves under the influence of a man-made additions to the church. Many believers do not consent to being under the bondage of such hierarchy that Jesus Christ did not institute. Many others do not think about the influence of their church government, or consider how these governing bodies have claim to God-given liberties.
Even in the first century, Christians in Corinth endured divisions according to names among their congregation (1 Cor 1:10–13).
“What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
While Paul, Apollos, and Cephas are faithful men, Paul is emphatic that Christians only identify themselves with the name of Christ for unity. While various church denominations associate to specific beliefs, should they use such names to set themselves apart from one another?
Paul noted that the Christians in Corinth were baptized in Jesus’s name (1 Cor 1:11–13; 6:11). They were added to the one body, the church of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 12:13). This one baptism was and continues to be essential to be the one body of Christ (Eph 4:4–5; cf. Acts 2:41–47).
The Corinthian church divided by names, which the definition of denominating. Despite Paul addressing this church as “people of the flesh, as infants in Christ,” Paul also referred the congregation as “of Christ” (1 Cor 3:1, 23).
Paul against this division by names (1 Cor 1:10–13). Paul also address the churches of Galatia condemning the sin of division that will keep people from inheriting the kingdom of Heaven (Gal 5:19–21). Because of this, those who maintain sectarianism mislead others away into condemnation.
A Way to Heresy
All Christians are able and commanded to speak the same thing, have the same mind, and have the same judgment (1 Cor 1:10). Jesus’s followers have the same mind as Him (Phil 2:5). Jesus made Himself unequal with God becoming a man, a bond-servant of no reputation (Phil 2:6–7). However, in the denominations, men make themselves like God by teaching traditions of men as though commands of God (Matt 15:7–9).
Jesus humbled Himself unto death and God exalted His name above every name (Phil 2:8–11). However, the leaders of denominations exalt their own names and titles that belong to God Himself who is the “reverend father” (Matt 6:9), “chief pastor” (1 Pet 5:4), and “archbishop” (1 Pet 2:25). Christ is the president and head of the Church (Eph 1:22–23). These practices of denominating is disturbing, and Christians should abhor such evil and have no part in it.
Unity is Possible with Christ
All must turn to listen to Christ. On the night of His death, Jesus prayed that believers be one by His Word (John 17:20–21). This unity is possible and active now for all believers. Jesus commanded unity despite our imperfections (Matt 28:20). Christ is fully capable in communicating the Word of God, so that His imperfect people can understand Him (John 10:27; Eph 3:3–5). Therefore, believers must refrain from dividing by names and unite as the church of Christ. Christ has no loyalty to a denomination. Christians need no hierarchies. Christ is the Head of His church (Eph 1:22–23).
Baptism in Christ or into a Denomination
Denominations altar the most basic teachings of Christ to lock people into their organization. If denominational position ever require any believer to do something that Christ did not command, then that is not the church of Jesus Christ.
How many have been baptized into a denomination rather than into the church (1 Cor 12:13)? The Lord adds to His church by baptism in Jesus’s name (Acts 2:38, 41, 47).
Christ’s Spirit says that believers are raised with Christ from baptism and are thus forgiven of all their trespasses (Rom 6:3–7; Col 2:12–13). By being raised with Christ, believers are saved by grace (Eph 2:4–6). That baptism in Jesus’s name is baptism in water (Acts 10:47-48). That baptism only has power in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For “baptism now saves you […] through the resurrection” (1 Pet 3:21), and it is “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” that believers are born again (1 Pet 1:3).
The Church of Christ
All believers must find the church of Christ. The church is recognized by their love for each other and for God, so that we observe all that Jesus’s commanded (Matt 28:20; John 13:35; 1 John 5:2–3). Elders pastor Christ’s church (1 Tim 3:1–7; Titus 1:6-9, 1 Pet 5:1-4). True worshipers form the church (John 4:23–24). Disciples of Christ partake of the Lord’s Supper in the assembly every first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 11:17–34; cf. 16:1–2).