Is it Possible for a Christian to Worship Acceptably in or with a Denomination? – Andrew M. Connally

Andrew M. Connally

Brethren and friends, denominationalism is of the devil and all who remain in such till death will be lost! Notice what our Lord has said:

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart isfar from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable (Mat. 15:15).

There are several significant points in this passage. One, our Lord warned that there are religious people who “transgress the commandment of God because of their tradition.” Two, there are those “who have made void the word of God because of their tradition.” Three, there are people who claim they are “honoring God” while they practice “vain worship,” “teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.” Four, many hearing these truths become “offended.” Five, there are those disciples who are more concerned over those “offended” than they are over God! Six, our Lord stated that all plants(churches) not planted by the Father shall be rooted up! And finally all such blind guides who lead blind followers are going to be lost unequivocally, irretrievably lost! We doubt seriously that any stronger indictment of human denominations has ever been written.

A parallel passage to the above is found in Matthew 7:21-23. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Here the scene is the Judgment and the people are expecting Salvation based on these reasons. First, they are “calling on the name of the Lord.” Second, they had taught “by thy name” and “by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works.” But they are rejected, notice why: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.” It is evident the “will of the Father” is one thing, while their actions did not, and we repeat, did not fit the will of the Father! This is a true picture of denominationalism in our day. They are busy worshipping the Lord, they have their “good works going” and they did accomplish things, but neighbor it was all according to “their will,” and not the Father’s!

It is very evident from only these two passages something is radically wrong with denominationalism. Surely it is not the sincerity, for they called. on God, they worshipped God, they did it all by the name of the Lord, so if sincerity is not the question, what is?! It is plain to see they did everything without God’s will (authority), and their will (authority) was the mitigating circumstance. Let us notice why worship in a denomination is not acceptable to God.

Denominations Are of Human Origin and Exist Without Authority of God

There is only one body (Eph. 4:4), “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling,” and that one body is the church of Christ (cf. Eph. 1:23), “which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Jesus built only one church (Mat. 16:18), “upon this rock I will build my church” God planned it in eternity (Eph. 3:10-11), “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,” and Christ built it in time (Acts 2:47), “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

Human denominations wear unscriptural names, teach unscriptural doctrines and worship in unscriptural ways. Anyone who compares them to the one true church can substantiate each of these points.

God forbids doing anything in religion that is not authorized by the doctrine of Christ:

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds (2 John 9-11).

Since God does not authorize denominations then God forbids denominationalism! If men follow the Bible and the Bible only then no denominations could exist. Think about this!

Denominations Wear Unscriptural Names

The church is found in our New Testament and it has various designations to describe its nature. Notice: It is the family of God, the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15), “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” It is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16). It is the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16), “Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.” It is the Church of God (1 Cor. 1:1-2):

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.

It is the church (Acts 8:1), “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

It has various designations to describe the nature of the individuals who make up the church. They are disciples (Acts 11:26), “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” These disciples were called Christians (Acts 11:26). They are saints (1 Cor. 1:2), “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” They are sons and daughters of God (2 Cor. 6:18), “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.” They are an elect race, a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9). All such designations of individuals or congregations are divinely named and such names can be worn in honor and with great dignity. Now where does that leave the names of the denominationalist? Completely without divine authority. In fact, to wear any other name than those given by God is to dishonor God! Think about this! Now, how in the world could a child of God be acceptable to God, living, working, supporting and worshipping in a denomination? It is impossible.

No Christian should ever be found worshipping in a denomination. For it is sin! Don’t you think we should quit trying to merge the church with denominations and quit fraternizing with them before we are lost with them? “If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Mat. 15:1-15).

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Author: Editor

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