The word “denomination” literally means “division.” Religious denominations are different bodies of “believers” who might differ from one another in doctrine, practice, or even the object of their worship. But what does the Bible say about religious denominations? Does it have anything to say at all? Isn’t everyone ok spiritually as long as they believe something?
Jesus said, “…upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). Paul wrote, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Eph 1:22-23). Jesus promised that He would establish His church (one church, not many churches), and He was to be the head of that church, which is His body. Paul further explained in I Corinthians 12:12-13: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
Take a look at what was occurring in the church in Corinth. Paul pleaded with them: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment (I Cor 1:10). The nature of their “divisions” was that some of them were saying, “‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’” To which Paul rebuked them, saying, “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (I Cor 1:12-13).
What is Jesus’ desire regarding religious division? He prayed that “those who believe…all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn 17:21). Do Christ and the father disagree on what is necessary for people to be saved? Do they disagree on how they want to be worshiped? God’s desire is that His people become “perfectly one.” This can only happen when all believers go back to the Bible for all religious authority.
- - - - Darrell Powell