Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I've heard the concern that in the NT days there was only one church, but I'm not really sure if that argument holds water. When reading through the Epistles, we find that the different churches of the NT dealt with a variety of problems, including homosexuality, affairs, backsliding and an undisclosed sin that was great enough to have an influential member of a church excommunicated. The one advantage that they had was the instruction of leaders who literally walked with Jesus Christ, yet that didn't stop the church in Ephesus from adopting a completely different set of problems than the church in Corinth. We are much like the NT church, but on a MUCH larger scale.

Now, on to why I believe that denominations are a good thing. There is an idea that is taught called, "Disputable Dispensations." These are basically beliefs that we are allowed to disagree on. They are basically doctrinal differences that are not essential to salvation.

There are certain doctrines that are necessary to salvation. Things like Salvation through faith, the resurrection of Christ and the deity of Christ. These are the doctrines that unify the church as a whole. They are things that Rob Bell, Joel Olsteen and John MacArthur all agree on.

A perfect example of a disputable dispensation is speaking in tongues. The Church of God, in general, believes in speaking in tongues. The Southern Baptist Convention, in general, does not believe in speaking in tongues. Like it or not, this is a fairly divisive doctrine. If half a church broke out into tongues in the middle of every service and the other half flat out doesn't even believe that speaking in tongues is a modern spiritual gift, that would be a problem. It would be a VERY large stumbling block.

The advantage of denominations is that you and I can find a church that teaches and worships in the style that fits us best. If you want to find a more traditional church that believes in predestination and sings traditional hymns, there is probably a Southern Baptist Church with your name on it. If you are looking for a church that sings contemporary praise songs and speaks in tongues, there is probably a Church of Christ with your name on it. Both churches are united in the sense that they include members who are saved through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, faith in that blood and the grace of God, yet to try and combine the two on a weekly basis would pose big problems.