There are hundreds of denominations in the United States of America and around the world. They differ in name, doctrine, and practice, and yet, all of them claim to be of God. Are these denominations authorized by the authority of God? No! Are they governed by God’s wisdom? No! Is God the author of all this division and confusion? No! Are they really of God? No! Is God really with them? Absolutely not! (1 Cor. 1:10 ff; Eph. 4:1-6; 1 Cor. 14:33.)
Many people say, “the churches of Christ is just another denomination.” Are they right to make this claim? There was a time when the answer was absolutely not, but the churches of Christ are slowly changing. Perhaps you haven’t noticed the change?
Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church ” (Matt. 16:18). The church that Christ built is “of” and “belongs to ” HIM and only HIM. Did Jesus have any denomination in mind when he said, “I will build MY church”? Obviously not. There is no evidence that Jesus ever built a single, solitary denomination nor did He establish denominational creeds!
To what denomination did the apostles, the three thousand Jews on Pentecost, the Samaritans, Saul, the eunuch, Lydia, the jailor and the Corinthians belong after they obeyed the gospel of Christ? (Acts 2:1-47 ff; ch 8-10; 16:25-34; 18:8; 1 Cor. 12:13.) Were they not Christians? Were they not citizens in the kingdom (Col. 1:13-14), and members of the body of Christ which is the church? (Col. 1:18 ff; Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Cor. 12.) But they did not “belong to” any denomination! To be a member of a denomination a person must meet the requirements set forth by that denomination. To be a Christian, to be a member of the body of Christ which is the church, one must meet the requirements set forth by the Lord. (Eph 1:22,23 f; Col 1:18)
In the first century, the Lord added the saved to the church, which was purchased with his own blood. (Acts 2:47 ff; 20:28; Eph. 5:25.) What about now? If a sinner hears and believes the gospel (Rom. 10:17; Mk. 16:15-16), confesses Jesus is the Christ (Rom. 10:9-10), repents of their sins (Acts 2:38), and is baptized for remission of sins in order to get into the body of Christ (Acts 2:38 ff; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor 12:27), just like every early day Christian in the new testament, will that make him a member of any denomination on earth? If so, why does it and which one? Please tell us to which denomination did the early Christians belong? Since Acts 2:47 tells us that the Lord added the saved to the church, do you think that God has changed his plan and today he adds the saved to various denominations?
All denominations exist without the authority of Christ. No denomination that exists today is the church that belongs to Christ. The church of Christ, i.e., the church that Jesus built, is not a denomination!
It is obvious from a study of the Scriptures that a person can be a Christian, live, work, worship and die in the Lord and be saved eternally without joining or even hearing of a human denomination. Every denomination on earth is a non-essential, useless, and worthless institution as far as man’s salvation is concerned. So why should any person who is interested in going to heaven be in one? In Matthew 15:13 Jesus said, ‘Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.”
So, what about the local churches of Christ? have any of them become a part of the denominational world? Sadly, yes. Some churches of Christ are using instrumental music as do denominations. Some have women giving announcements, leading singing, teaching, preaching and praying in the church as do denominations. Many use man made institutions to do the work of the church which is contrary to sound doctrine. (1 Cor 16:1-3 f; Eph 4:11-14) Just because a church has the name “church of Christ” on a sign or on it’s building doesn’t make it right with God. If a local church of Christ is not abiding by the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, they are not the church Christ built and died for.
In order for any “church of Christ” not to be considered a denomination, it must bear the Lord’s name, it’s members must obey the gospel of Christ, and continue in the doctrine of Christ. Anything less has not God and is no better than a denomination.
Why not put your faith in Jesus Christ? Why not obey HIS gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-9) that you may be saved and added to HIS church? (Acts 2:47.) Why not continue in HIS doctrine. (2 Jn 9) If you are not in the church, Christ is not your eternal Savior? (See Eph. 5:23.) If you are a member of the churches of Christ but you do not continue in the doctrine of Christ, heaven shall not be your reward. (Acts 2:42 f; Jn 9)