Breaking Down the Walls
One of the greatest hindrances to effective ministry in the church is the wall of separation built by the church…the wall that the church calls denominations. I’m not saying get rid of all of the denominations. I also acknowledge that some churches do come together for programs, ministries, and events from time to time. However, I’m honestly asking what would happen if we did get rid of denominations and came together all the time? What would happen if every Bible believing, Bible teaching, God honoring, Spirit filled congregation and/or denomination came together under one banner…the Church? I’m not talking about or advocating universalism which is something different all together.
As many are actively thinking of why that would not work, let me ask another question. Isn’t that the church that Jesus Christ created? Think about it; denominations today are usually separated by one of three things:
Theology – Based on the leader or initiator of that denominations interpretation of scripture. That theology, or emphasis on that interpretation, gets taught to the followers who tend to adopt it as their understanding of scripture. If you carefully research it, most of our denominations were started by men who separated from a larger body based on the teachings of a person or group of people. In essence, the denominations are set up to acknowledge, teach, and exhort the ways beliefs or understandings of a man or group of men. Unfortunately, some of the theological points that cause us to separate are not ones that should keep us from worshipping, fellowshipping, or serving together.
Structure – I can’t see how calling someone a deacon or elder or trustee…or how not calling them that should be a dividing line between congregations but it is one. I can’t see how whether a celebration service starts at 10 A.M. on Sunday or whether it starts at 6 P.M. on Saturday night is worth dividing a church. And seriously, how many denominations and congregations have split over the type of music that is played? Are we really so arrogant to think that when we get to heaven the only music we hear will be the music we like? Didn’t God say that our minds cannot imagine or even conceive of the things we will see and hear and experience in Heaven? Think of the song “I Can Only Imagine” which serves to remind us that we cannot imagine.
Administration – How we administer communion and how we baptize people should not divide the church; nor should any programs or ministries of the church. What’s more important is that we do administer communion and that we do baptize people and that we continue to minister to those in need.
For all of these reasons and more the church has done what Paul told the church not to do…follow after people who have established or created their own culture or way of worshipping and experiencing God. Paul chastised the congregation that was meeting in the city of Corinth for just that reason. After greeting them he immediately ripped into them for the divisions they were experiencing by those who followed different men.
So before you write me off for this blog, or before you write me to criticize, ask yourself this question: What would happen if every Bible believing, Bible teaching, God honoring, Spirit filled congregation and/or denomination got together, and worshipped, together, and served God together alongside one another as the Church, the Bride of Christ? What would happen if the non-believing world saw a united Christ following Church? What would happen?