Are There Christians in The Denominations?
This article will offend some people. That is not our intent. However, it happens whenever people love the darkness of error more than the light of truth (John 3:19-21). We must learn to love truth more than anything else, especially when it rebukes and exposes our sin, because that is God’s way of calling us to repentance and salvation (2 Tim 4:2-4; Acts 2:37-39).
Denominationalism is not from God. Jesus built one church, which is His one body, “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Matt 16:18; Eph 1:22-23; 4:4). The gospel of Christ condemns religious division: Christ is not divided (John 17:20-21; 1 Cor 1:10-13). One is not following Jesus Christ when he practices what Jesus opposes. If God approves of denominationalism, we would find clear and convincing Scriptures that teach it. We do not.
Christians are disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26). A disciple learns and follows the will of his Master - Jesus (Luke 6:40). Since Jesus never taught, endorsed or encouraged denominationalism, one is not following Jesus when he engages in it; he is sinning against Christ (Col 3:17).
Jesus adds saved people to His church, not to denominations (Acts 2:47). Christ does not count among the saved those who teach and practice the errors of denominationalism; “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Tim 2:16-19).
If there are saved people - Christians - in denominations, these conclusions follow:
1) Denominationalism makes the Gospel plan of salvation unnecessary. Denominations do not preach and practice the Bible plan of salvation (hear - believe - repent - confess Christ - be baptized - Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38; 8:5,, 12, 36-38; Rom 10:9-10). If there are Christians in denominations then people can be saved without obeying the Gospel (which is false - Matt 7:21-23).
2) Denominationalism makes the church of Christ unnecessary. The New Testament teaches the church is essential to God’s eternal purpose of redemption (Eph 3:10-11). God is glorified “in the church by Christ Jesus” (Eph 3:21). Yet, the denominations say one can be saved without being a member of their denomination. True enough, and therefore, denominations admit they are not essential. When one is saved the Lord adds him to the church, the blood-bought body of the redeemed (Acts 2:47; Eph 5:23). Therefore, the church of Christ is essential and necessary.
3) Denominationalism makes contending for the faith futile and factious. If Christians are in denominations should we not embrace them as brethren instead of contending against their error (Jude 3-4)? The error of “Christians in the denominations” silences the Bible call to contend for the faith and to hold fast the pattern of sound words. Instead, we are told there are many faiths and God accepts them all (2 Tim 1:13; Eph 4:5).
4) Denominationalism makes fellowship with error acceptable. The New Testament teaches Christians not to have fellowship with error (Eph 5:11). To suggest that false churches practicing error contain saved people (Christians) is a denial of every verse that warns against having fellowship with error (2 John 9-11; Gal 1:6-10; 2 Cor 6:14-18).
There are good people in the denominations. But there are not saved people in them (including any who have obeyed the gospel and then left the Lord, His church and His truth and are having fellowship with any denomination or other false religions - fv). The Gospel of Christ saves the lost, not the doctrines of error perpetuated by religious division and human creeds (Rom 1:16-17; Col 2:8; 3:17; 2 Tim 2:15). The Lord adds those who are saved to His church, not to the denominations of men (Acts 2:47).