One Church vs. Denominationalism
* In Matthew 16:15-19, Jesus said that He would build His church upon Peter’s confession that he was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”. Jesus did not say that He would build many churches, and neither did He say that others would be allowed to build churches in His name. Only one church was to be established, Christ’s church!
- In Matthew 28:20, Jesus commanded the apostles to teach the disciples “to observe all things that I have commanded you”. He didn’t mention the commandments of men. Only His were to be followed.
* During Jesus’ intercessory prayer in John 17:11, He prayed for unity, saying, “keep through Your name those whom you have given Me, that they may be one as we are.” He didn’t pray for division, yet we see division in the denominations today.
-It’s obvious from these passages that the church achieves unity through the teachings and commandments of Jesus.
*The church was established in Acts 2. The apostles received the Holy Spirit and preached to the thousands of Jews present. Following Peter’s sermon, 3000 were baptized. These were the first disciples. In vv. 44, we read, “Now all who believed were together and had all things in common.” A few verses later in vv. 47, the writer tells us that “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
-There was unity when the church began. The 3000 disciples shared common beliefs and all were saved by the same process. Based on these qualities, they were all added to one church (vv. 47).
*Romans 16:16-18 tells us a lot about this subject of unity in the church.
-Verse 16 establishes the name of the church; “The churches of Christ greet you.”
-Verse 17 tells us that we achieve unity through Christ’s doctrine which is the New Testament. Anything outside of this doctrine will cause division.
-Verse 18 proclaims that those who cause division do not serve God, but themselves.
*In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul writes to the church at Corinth... “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 judgement.”
-Paul demands unity in the church. He is not speaking of unity in that they all believe in Christ, or that they are united in some things, but he demands that they be unified in all things.
*Look also at Gal 1:6-10, Eph 4:4-5, Phil 3:16, 2 Thess 2:15, 2 Thess 1:8-9, and 1 Tim 4:16
*It is obvious from these above passages and others that there was one church established in the beginning. They all abided in the same doctrine and obeyed the same commandments. Division was condemned, and unity was achieved through the word of God which was preached to them. Jesus said that, “Upon this rock I will build My church.”, and in Acts 2:47, we read that he added to the church those who were saved. If a church today isn’t built the same as it was in the scriptures, then that church isn’t Christ’s, and there is no salvation outside of Christ’s church.
*The Origin of various denominations
-The Catholic church was officially established in 325 A.D. after the writing of the Nicene Creed. There was a further division in 1054 which became the Greek and Roman Catholic churches.
-The Lutheran church was established in 1517 after Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle church (Catholic).
-The Presbyterian church was established in 1592 after the writing of the first book of discipline. John Calvin was the founder, an ex-member of the Catholic church.
-The Episcopalian church was established during the reign of Henry VIII. He formed his own church when the pope of the Catholic church refused to annul his marriage so that he could marry another. It’s based upon the Nicene Creed and the 39 articles of the Church of England.
-The Methodist church was established by a member of the Episcopalian church named John Wesley. Although he never intended on beginning a new denomination, the official beginning of the Methodist church was December 24, 1784. Additional creeds, doctrines, and articles were instituted at this conference.
-The Baptist church began in 1611 and has since divided numerous times. There are dozens of types of Baptist churches today.
-Mormonism was established in 1830.
*As you can see, every denomination today was formed hundreds of years after the establishment of the one true church in the scriptures. Not only is their timing off, but they believe and obey manmade doctrines and articles which is condemned in the bible.
Study #3: Organization of the Church