Why Have Denominations?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by bmerr, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. bmerr

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    To All,

    bmerr here. I must say, at the risk of offending, that the current state of "Christendom" is probably the single greatest hindrance to the gospel of Jesus Christ on the face of the planet.

    Try for a moment to put yourself in the position of an un-churched person. Let's say you've come to realize the futility of the life you've lived, and have heard that there is pardon in this Jesus some talk about. It is the desire for pardon and the possibility of forgiveness that turns people back to God.

    Next imagine yourself wanting to know how to receive this forgiveness you've read about on bumper stickers you've seen while stuck in traffic. You decide to check out a few churches to see what God requires of you.

    Imagine the despair and confusion as you are told to "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" by one preacher, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" by another, and "Pray with all your might until you get the gift of tongues" by another.

    On and on you go, hearing one thing from one, and something else from another, each preacher claiming to be telling it straight from the Bible, and yet all giving different answers. How sad to see that glimmer of hope fade away!

    Friends, it ought not to be this way, but I think we'd all agree that that's pretty much the way it is.

    This is NOT what the Savior prayed for in John 17. This is NOT what Paul begged the Corintians to do in 1 Cor 1:10. This is NOT the unity of the Spirit we read of in Eph 4.

    This is confusion, and God is not its' author (1 Cor 14:33).

    I have a good friend and co-worker whose dad is a prominent Baptist preacher in town. My friend is a part of the Nation of Islam.

    Anyone want to guess why my friend gave up on Jesus and turned to Allah? Too many denominations all using the Bible and teaching different things.

    Who knows how many souls will be lost for the same reason.

    We've got to do other than what we've been doing.

    In Christ,
    bmerr
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    What, specifically, do you think we need to do differently?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. violet

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  4. gb93433

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    Anytime a group of people takes pride in their group they have lost the battle.

    God blesses humility. We must realize that we are all sinners saved by grace. We are no better than anyone else just better off.

    It is quite irritating for me to hear from Baptists how great they are. I would have to only take you to the central coast of California to show you that almost every SBC church is dying and are at about 30 percent of what they once were 30 years ago. Every Baptist church is dying except those who have taken a different route. Those who remove their pride and seek to reach people are reaching them. In that same area are churches that are virtually no different than a good Baptist church and they are springing up all over and doing very well.

    I think a major problem with so many is they look to the headquarters to give them guidance. They forget about the role of the Holy Spirit and seek to get help through some program.

    A walk with God and a church that grows must be dependent upon God not some program that comes out of Nashville or some other place. It is God who is at work not a program that can mock Him and attempt to be a substitute for Him. I am at a church now that is exploding with growth. The church has gone from 70 to 2000 in seven years. At its low point the people were fighting and doing it the Baptist way. The pastor leading point people to God and leads them to seek God not some program coming out of headquarters.

    A friend of mine pastored a GARB church and the deacons asked him to leave. So he started a church on his own. Today the church is about 4.5 years old and they have planted nine new churches. The church that was started by him is 4.5 years old and it has about 800 in attendance each Sunday. When you walk in the building you know God is at work. People are changing and God is at work.

    People really do not care what the name says. What they care is that people are real and Christ is worshiped.

    George Barna writes about a church in one of his books that went to Willow Creek and came home to do everything Willow Creek did. The church in the first year grew in attendance to about 500 and then the next year went back down to the 50 it once was and stayed there. God will not be mocked by our programs but He will work when we humbly seek Him first. His ways are not our ways. So we must do things His way if we expect to get His blessing.
     
  5. jacob62

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    Amen bmerr.Smite the Shepard and the sheep will scatter.Arguements will cease(as I am guilty as any here)and the body will be one.I believe somewhere the real church will appear and all denominations will lose many many members(God will clean His house first).This will cause a great gnashing of teeth,when people have to realize they have believed in vain.Pride in denomination is the biggest enemy,they all say:"We can never be wrong in our belief!"
     
  6. Ben W

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    I too think that denominationialism is becoming a problem. Sometimes Christians are so frightened of Ecumenicism, that they withdraw from one another. It is my opinion that Ecumenicism between likeminded Christians should be encouraged. I also think that a number of denominations need to have a serious think about amalgamating with other likeminded groups.

    To often it is about power and control, which is not what it was ever meant to be about.
     
  7. Living4Him

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    Ben W I believe you may be right. A lot of people freak out over one religion because they are sure that it is satan's evil plan based on Revelations.

    But it ought not be seen that way. Jesus is one shepherd and He has one sheepfold.

    Ephesians 4
    4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

    5One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

    6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

    8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

    9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

    10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

    11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
     
  8. BobRyan

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    Because as Thomoas Bokenkotter reports - the RCC has elements "borrowed from Paganism" and at some point -- Catholics inside that institution had to see their error and start to come out. The Various efforts to leave ALL the error behind - resulted in the first generation Protestant denominations in addition to the Roman Catholic denomination, the Eastern Orthodox denomination, the Anglican denomination -- etc.
     
  9. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Anytime a group of people takes pride in their group they have lost the battle.

    God blesses humility. We must realize that we are all sinners saved by grace. We are no better than anyone else just better off.

    It is quite irritating for me to hear from Baptists how great they are. I would have to only take you to the central coast of California to show you that almost every SBC church is dying and are at about 30 percent of what they once were 30 years ago. Every Baptist church is dying except those who have taken a different route. Those who remove their pride and seek to reach people are reaching them. In that same area are churches that are virtually no different than a good Baptist church and they are springing up all over and doing very well.

    I think a major problem with so many is they look to the headquarters to give them guidance. They forget about the role of the Holy Spirit and seek to get help through some program.

    A walk with God and a church that grows must be dependent upon God not some program that comes out of Nashville or some other place. It is God who is at work not a program that can mock Him and attempt to be a substitute for Him. I am at a church now that is exploding with growth. The church has gone from 70 to 2000 in seven years. At its low point the people were fighting and doing it the Baptist way. The pastor leading point people to God and leads them to seek God not some program coming out of headquarters.

    A friend of mine pastored a GARB church and the deacons asked him to leave. So he started a church on his own. Today the church is about 4.5 years old and they have planted nine new churches. The church that was started by him is 4.5 years old and it has about 800 in attendance each Sunday. When you walk in the building you know God is at work. People are changing and God is at work.

    People really do not care what the name says. What they care is that people are real and Christ is worshiped.

    George Barna writes about a church in one of his books that went to Willow Creek and came home to do everything Willow Creek did. The church in the first year grew in attendance to about 500 and then the next year went back down to the 50 it once was and stayed there. God will not be mocked by our programs but He will work when we humbly seek Him first. His ways are not our ways. So we must do things His way if we expect to get His blessing.
    </font>[/QUOTE]gb,

    It seems to me that the original post dealt a lot more with confusion about doctrine than it did with the attitude of Baptists. What specifically should we do to change that confusion in doctrine.

    BTW,

    It does not surprise me one bit that California Baptist church attendance is waning. I agree that programs, etc... are simply a band-aid and not a good, permanent fix to the issue (even cookie cutter approaches that come out of California (not Tennessee). I am disturbed that you think a highly attended church = a Godly Church. I have always disagreed with the bean counter mentality. The reason I care about what the name says is because it tells you more about what kind of doctrine they might be teaching there and there is less confusion, which is the original problem stated in the original post. For example, if I walk into a Southern Baptist Church, at least out here, there is a good chance that I will not here messages about accepting homosexuality, and other sins. Such would not be true if I went to, say, an Alliance of Baptist Church. I do not hear messages about name it and claim it, and barking in the spirit. Such would not be true at a charasmatic church, or most non-denominational churches these days, ironically enough... ;)

    So, as much as you would like to lament the differences between denominations, or the fact that we even have them at all, to me, it is a good thing to have on the sign so that there is not confusion of doctrine.

    Also, please don't assume that because church attendance numbers are not as high as yours that this means the church is dying. And don't assume that because you have a mega church that God is blessing what you do. Neither assumption is fair nor necessarily true.

    Matthew 7:13-14

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  10. tamborine lady

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    [​IMG]

    One thing that needs to happen is that pastors need to listen to the people.

    Heres what I mean. Lets say brother Jones receives a revelation from God that such and such church down the street has it right on this certain thing.

    Instead of just kicking the varment out, they need to check it out! He could be right!

    But so many times,"Brother Jones" is just dismissed, and he leaves that church, takes some of the people with him and starts ANOTHER denomination!

    There we go, instead of unity we have division, and on and on it goes.

    We need to start consolidating instead of dividing.

    Selah,

    Tam
     
  11. Joseph_Botwinick

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    If Bro. Jones' "revelation" from God doesn't square with scripture, they should disregard it and if he persist, kick the varment out.

    Perhaps you could give an example of the kind of revelation you are talking about. For the record, I don't believe that unity is always a good thing. Unity at the cost of sound doctrine is a bad thing.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  12. tamborine lady

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    [​IMG]

    No, don't compromise sound doctrine, but sometimes churches split over dumb things, like for instance:

    One group says,"we need to dress up in our best clothes when we come to church".

    Other group says" it don't matter as long as you are decent".

    Don't laugh, I saw a church split over exactly this reason.

    Tam
     
  13. BobRyan

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    But when a church splits like that (in the cases you mentioned above) isn't that really ONE congregation - ONE localchurch in one denomination becoming TWO church congregations in ONE denomination?
     
  14. Ben W

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    In the Salvation Army church that I grew up in, that split in half at one stage over the issue of public speaking in toungues, half of the group had been going along to a Pentecostal group that met on a Friday night, and had wanted to have a pentecostal type service at the Salvationist Church on the Sunday, yet the other half did not want it, so half stayed and the other half joined the local Apostolic church.
     
  15. bmerr

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    To All,

    bmerr here. I am humbled by the number of responses. Several of you make good points and observations. BobRyan specifically mentioned those who recognized error in the RCC and split from that organization. In so doing they set a good example. Not that the conclusions they came to were all sound, but their aim was to abandon error and seek after truth. In that respect, they are to be commended.

    Living4Him took us to Eph 4, where we find the seven "ones" of Christianity.

    One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all.

    I think one cause of division among us is perhaps the different thoughts (or the lack of serious thought) concerning these seven "ones", or points of Christian unity. Joe B. and tambourine lady both make the observation that true Christian unity is never gained at the expense of truth. I think most of us would agree.

    I have had the experience of being banned from two different websites thus far. One after more than a year, and one after only a week or so. Something I noticed on both forums (and actually on this one, too), is that oftentimes people are very confident in the idea that they already know what a person believes as soon as they find out where they're from.

    For example, I am a member of the church of Christ.

    Admit it: many if not all of you immediately thought, "bmerr believes immersion in water is essential for salvation", or something similar.

    It's okay! If one of you told me what church you belonged to, I'd probably do the same thing. I just think we'd all benefit more from our discussions if we were less sure of ourselves regarding what others believe or teach.

    1 Thes 5:21 says, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." Paul tells us to check things out, and hold to the things that do. Skepticism can be a good thing, as long as it's open-minded skepticism.

    gb said that a major problem is that many churches look to their earthly headquarters for their doctrinal positions. He is correct. Many hold the decisions of a synod, or convention, or council, etc., over the plain words of Holy Writ. This should not be.

    Don't we see? It is these such things that have caused the divided religious landscape which we have inherited.

    In the Bible we have been given "...all things pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Pet 1:3), and everything "...profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim 3:16, 17).

    God didn't give us His Word to confuse us. He wasn't trying to fool anyone. He loves us, and He wants us to be saved. He would not give us instructions for salvation that we could not understand. How eternally cruel He would be if He had!

    We all desperately need to return to the Scriptures to see what saith the Lord. It would require us to be prepared to possibly abandon long-held beliefs if evidence to the contrary warrants such. Objectivity is essential.

    Would any be interested in a study of the seven "ones" of Eph 4? I do not propose this as one who has all the answers. I will admit up front that I already hold beliefs concerning the topic. I will also say that I am willing to be convinced otherwise if evidence shows my positions to be in error.

    However, I will not assume that I already know what anyone else believes until they tell me themselves. As I said earlier, that kind of thinking is not condusive to profitable Bible study.

    If this is an agreeable proposition, we could start with "one body". If thread space gets tight, we could start another, provided the site administrator has no objections.

    Anyone would be welcome to participate, and all would be encouraged rise above the name-calling and personal attacks so often found in religious discussions. I think we can all be mature. We have so far.

    I'll look forward to your responses.

    In Christ,
    bmerr
     
  16. billwald

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    Because no one knows exactly what Jesus had in mind or what the Bible "says" or means.
     
  17. bmerr

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    billwald,

    bmerr here. I'm chuckling as I write this. I took a quick look at your profile and you listed "arguing" as your interest. I love it! Many times my wife or one of my children has peeked in on me and said, "Arguing again?" That's what these forums are for though, isn't it?

    In keeping with this train of thought, I'd respectfully disagree with you as to whether or not we can know what the Bible says or means.

    Jesus taught (and His teachings are trustworthy) that we can know the truth. In John 8:32 He said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

    Not only can we know the truth, we must know the truth in order to be free from sin.

    The apostles knew the truth. They understood what Jesus had in mind. They had the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth (John 16:13).

    When Paul wrote the Ephesian letter, he said in 3:3-5, "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."

    If we read what the apostles wrote, we can understand the truth that the Spirit guided them into.

    Think about it: If we were not able to understand that writings of the Bible, why were they written?

    It is the Word of God that is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17). God's word is that by which the Spirit does His work in the hearts of men, both sinners and saints.

    One of the hardest things for men to do when it comes to understanding the Bible is to read it objectively.

    Too often we are guilty of examining Scripture in the light of our preconceived ideas or beliefs, when we should be examining our beliefs in light of the Scriptures.

    I believe it is possible for people to understand God's word alike, and to obey it. Want a Biblical example? Remember in Exodus, just before the last plague? God told the Israelites (a couple million or so of them)to put lambs blood on their door frames in a certain way or they would suffer the death of their firstborn.

    Now it may be the case that a few didn't understand God's directions, but the Bible doesn't record it. If there were someone who didn't understand, I'm sure their neighbor would explain it to them. The only thing that could trip them up would be to be too stubborn to accept the correction.

    Jesus had in mind the salvation of man. If no one can understand His word, then no one can be saved. Sounds pretty hopeless.

    In Christ,
    bmerr
     
  18. BobRyan

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    The Pope knows -- lets all listen to "him" [​IMG]
     
  19. Kathryn

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    In the Great Commission Jesus sent out a teaching church:

    How can one "contend earnestly for the faith" as Holy Scripture teaches, if "no one knows exactly what Jesus had in mind or what the Bible "says" or means." ?
     
  20. bmerr

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    Kathryn,

    Exactly!

    in Christ,

    bmerr
     

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