Are denominations biblical? Recently I told a friend of mine that I didn’t think denominations were biblical, and I haven’t heard from him since I made that statement. Now it’s possible that there is some other reason our contact has diminished, but I have a hunch that I may have offended him.
My intention was not to offend, and I don’t mean to offend anyone else that reads this. The point I was trying to make is that God is interested in building his kingdom, and seeing his kingdom expanded on the earth. One of the ways that happens is as his people come together, and serve together in unity.
Lessons in Our Lord, Jesus Christ’s Prayers
Jesus taught us to pray,
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
In John 17 Jesus prayed in his high priestly prayer, right before he was delivered over to be crucified, that the church would be unified.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you , that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
Christ prayed that the church would be unified so that the world would know, in essence that we are representatives of Christ on earth, and that we are loved by the Father. We are to be witnesses, so that the world will believe in Christ.
The Importance of Unity in Kingdom Work
My point isn’t that we are in sin if we are in a denomination. My wife and I serve for a denominational mission. I’m more concerned that we strive for unity within the church, and seek to partner with other ministries to see the kingdom expanded on earth as it is in heaven.
I do think that denominations serve a purpose, and God does use them for kingdom work. Just as we have people with different personalities, each church has a personality and it appeals to some people more than others. They do a better job of reaching a particular segment of society.
Tim Keller – Movement Dynamics
Dr. Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City has a helpful short video. He speaks of the importance of catholicity of spirit (largeness of spirit). “No church is perfectly balanced and no denomination is perfectly balanced … we all need each other that’s the beginning of catholicity of spirit.” Understanding that we all need each other and working together for that end is kingdom work. It makes the Father’s heart glad.
What is your Opinion?
Maybe the question of whether denominations are biblical or not isn’t the best question. What do you think? Maybe a better question is how can the church put aside her differences for the sake of the kingdom? How can we demonstrate true catholicity of spirit? I’d love to hear from you – let me know what you think.
In His Grip, Dave