The Church that Jesus built is not a denomination. It is not associated with any one or group of denominations. It does not single out any particular denomination and oppose or fight it but opposes the entire system as an unscriptural setup. There are some groups that claim to be nondenominational, that in reality are all-denominational in that they embrace people from all denominations.

You may be wondering just why we oppose the religious system known as denominationalism. There are many reasons, but basically it can be traced to the teachings of the system that conflict with the Bible. We have prepared the following outline for your convenience in study. As we study the outline in detail, you may refer to it from time to time.

Denominationalism Teaches The Bible Teaches
Many different churches or bodies One body or Church. Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:4
Founded by men Built and founded by Christ. Matthew 16:18
Human heads Christ the head. Ephesians 1:22-23
Human, man-made creeds Bible as only creed. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Wear human names Christian, the Bible name. Acts 11:26
Follow different men Following men is condemned. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13
Membership in the many churches not necessary to salvation. Membership in the Church of Christ is essential to salvation. Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 1:22-23
Preach many gospels Forbidden to preach contrary to the one true gospel. Galatians 1:6-9
Many faiths One faith. Ephesians 4:5
Many baptisms One baptism. Ephesians 4:5
Sprinkling for baptism Immersion or burial only scriptural mode. Romans 6:3-4
Join churches and get voted in Lord adds to the Church. Acts 2:47
Walk by different rules Walk by the same rule. Philippians 3:16
Creeds subject to change Bible remains the same. Matthew 24:35
Thank God for all churches Jesus prayed for unity. John 17:20-21

First of all, we begin by noticing that denominationalism and the Bible differ as to the number of churches that are in existence. One teaches that there are many while the other teaches that Jesus built one Church. Further, the apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:4, "there is one body." Now, if there is only one body, then the more than 2,000 that are in existence today cannot all claim to be right. Someone and something has to be wrong. The promise of our Lord in Matthew 16:18 concerned only one Church. Someone else has been building churches, and they had no Biblical right to do so.

Since this is the case, our only conclusion is that they were founded by man. If so, then they are human organizations. This is not the case with the one built by Jesus. It is divine. The very fact that He is the Son of God makes it so.

The man-made organizations of denominationalism have human heads. But Christ is the head of the Church in the Bible. We read in Ephesians 1:22-23, "And He put all [things] under His feet, and gave Him [to] [be] head over all [things] to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." Christ is the head of the Church--the one He built. He is not, however, the head of man-made churches or organizations. The only logical conclusion is that they must be headed by some man or group of men.

Next, we notice that these man-made churches headed by man use and follow human, man-made creeds, whereas the Lord's Church uses the Bible only. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

The acceptance of human creeds leads also to the wearing of human names. This practice is forbidden in the Bible. We are admonished to wear only those names given by God. Acts 11:26 tells us what that name is for people today, "And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the Church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."

Because of its makeup, denominationalism causes people to follow different men. This practice also is condemned by the Bible. We are to follow Christ and not man. Paul teaches us of the dangers of such a practice in 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you, but [that] you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's [household], that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos,' or 'I am of Cephas,' or 'I am of Christ.' Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" The apostle shows clearly here the sin of following man. It leads to division, or we might say it leads to denominationalism.

One of the amazing things about denominationalism is that, of the many churches that are a part of it, membership is not necessary in any of them in order to be saved. This fact shows the utter uselessness of them. They cannot have anything to do with salvation. According to denominationalism, you can be saved and never be in any church. We deny this assertion. While we recognize the fact that the Church does not save by itself, we are aware that Christ saves the Church. Therefore, to be saved by Christ we need to be in His Church. Ephesians 5:23, "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body."

Denominationalism preaches many gospels. The Bible forbids such in Galatians 1:6-9, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed."

The unscriptural system of denominationalism also teaches there are many faiths and baptisms. But, in Ephesians 4:5, the apostle Paul uses as plain a language as ever could be used when he states emphatically that there is "one faith, one baptism." How could anyone argue with that?

Another error of denominationalism is that it teaches sprinkling to be baptism. But the Bible teaches that only a burial is baptism. Romans 6:3-4, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Sprinkling does not meet the specifications of "a burial." Therefore, it cannot be considered baptism.

Another very popular idea is the one about joining the church of your choice. We cannot join the Church of our Lord. He adds us to it. When we have completed our obedience to the first principles of the Gospel, the Lord places us in His Church. No man can vote us in, and no man can vote us out. The practice of voting people into the church is unheard of in the New Testament.

Denominationalism causes people to walk by different rules because of the different and changing creeds they follow. We are commanded to walk by the same rule. And that rule does not vary or change. It remains the same for all ages and shall remain so until the Lord comes again.

Last of all, many times man will thank God for all the churches. But the Bible teaches unity, not division. Perhaps the greatest sin of denominationalism is the fact that it causes and sustains division. The Bible condemns it. Jesus wanted us all to be one. John 17:20-21, "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, [are] in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." How then, in the face of all that the Bible says about being united, can I pray to God and thank Him that there are so many churches in the world? Such action is nothing short of mockery. I must be thankful that there is the one body of Christ but never that other human, man-made organizations have come into existence to try and take its place. For these reasons and many others, the Church of Christ opposes denominationalism in all forms.

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