You may have heard two members of the Lord’s church debating over issues which concern them, and eventually someone will say in desperation, “Denominations share your belief.” This they say in order to poison others to their opponent’s ideas. Yet, the question is, what does the church have in common with denominations. The answers just might surprise you.
First of all, most all denominations believe Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. So do we! Most all denominations believe one must repent of their sins. So do we! Many denominations believe that baptism plays a part in salvation. So do we, but we believe that baptism saves (Mk 16:16 f; 1 Pet 3:21). Most denominations sing, but they add instrumental music. We sing, but we make music in our hearts to the Lord (Eph 5:19). Denominations give of their means each Lord’s Day, but they also tithe and give each time they meet. We only give of our means each first day of the week, freely and not out of necessity (1 Cor 16:1-3. f; 2 Cor 9:6,7).
Denominations have women teaching ladies classes and children. So do most churches of Christ. The bible give no such commandment, approved biblical example, or necessary inference to such a doctrine. Denominations have women preachers in their pulpits. We do not, but this is slowly changing among more liberal minded brethren. Denominations have banquets and entertainment supported by the church treasury. So do most liberal minded churches of Christ.
Most denominations condone or accept adulterous marriages and pre-marriage cohabitation. We condemn both, but many have changed the definition of what the bible actually teaches adultery truly is (Mt 19:9). Denominations believe that speaking where the bible speaks and remaining silent where the bible is silent is a form of legalism. So do most liberal minded brethren. Many denominations think ‘Faith only’ saves them. Many misinformed brethren believe baptism only saves them. Some denominations baptize babies, though their baptism in nothing more than pouring or sprinkling water over their heads. Many churches today are baptizing children between 6-10 year old. Baptism is not for the sinless, but the sinful (Mk 2:17). Babies are incapable of believing or confessing. Little children may be able to believe and confess, but have nothing to be repented of. Therefore, they have nothing to wash away. I know of no brethren which teaches children of such a young age, should they die at that age, would go to hell. What’s more, little children are incapable of making decisions at such a young age.
Conclusion: Oh yes, we have much in common with denominations. At times, we are in complete agreement with them. At times, we are at complete odds. At times, we appear to be doing similar things. Sometimes they are right and we are wrong. Most times, we are right and they are wrong. Sometimes we are both right. Sometimes we are both wrong. The key to absolute truth is not whether or not we are in agreement with denominations, but rather if we are in agreement with God’s Word. Therefore, seek to imitate the apostles and continue in their doctrine and be secured in the knowledge that salvation comes in our obedience to the gospel and doctrine of Christ (1 Cor 11:1 ff; Acts 2:42; 2 Jn 9).