When We Preach Against Denominationalism… – Lee Moses

Lee Moses

Churches of Christ are known for standing firmly against religious denominationalism. Sermons refuting denominationalism have been common in churches of Christ. Members of churches of Christ are known for taking denominational errors to task. Perhaps unsurprisingly, members of denominations do not always appreciate this stance. But unfairly, many accuse churches of Christ of self-superiority—as well as malice, envy, and hatred against members of denominations—for preaching against denominationalism. None of this is true. Such accusations stem in large part from a misunderstanding of what message churches of Christ seek to convey when preaching against denominationalism. When we preach against denominationalism…

…We are not saying that members of denominations lack intelligence. Some seem to take it this way. However, it is neither from superior intelligence that one has become a member of the Lord’s church, nor from lesser intelligence that one has become a member of a denomination. The apostle Peter did observe that Paul wrote “some things hard to be understood” (2 Pet. 3:16). But those are only some things, deeper matters calling the Christian to deeper contemplation—not all things in the New Testament are hard to be understood. Einstein-level I.Q. is not required to understand the fundamentals of the Gospel to become a Christian (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26).

…We are not saying that members of denominations are deceitful. Most of them truly believe what they say they believe. Honest, sincere people can be led to believe error is true, just as Jacob was led to believe his living son Joseph was dead (Gen. 37:31-35), and as Saul of Tarsus was led to believe that his continuation in Judaism and opposition to Christianity would secure God’s favor (Acts 22:3-5; 26:9). One can likewise respect the conviction that members of denominations have while at the same time warning them that what they believe is incorrect and a dire threat to their souls.

…We are not saying that members of denominations are immoral. False doctrines certainly can and do lead to immorality (cf. 2 Pet. 2:13-15). However, New Testament Christians have all known members of denominations who exemplified kindness, morality, and helpfulness. We all consider it a privilege to number such people among our neighbors and friends. To preach against the doctrines that denominations hold is not the same as saying all members of denominations are horrible, awful people. They are not, and I have never known a Gospel preacher to suggest otherwise.

Churches of Christ simply seek to convey and uphold the message of the Gospel. However, the Gospel leaves no place for denominationalism, as it nowhere authorizes denominationalism and condemns the very idea of it. Furthermore, denominationalism obscures and destroys the message of the Gospel. When we preach against denominationalism, it is never a personal attack against all members of a particular denomination or of all denominations. What we are saying is that members of denominations need to exchange the man made snares in which they find themselves for the true kingdom of Christ.

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Author: Editor

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