Mar 15

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Over the last number of years the subject of “undenominational Christianity” has made the headlines. Has it ever occurred to anyone that Christianity is undenominational by its very nature? What is denominational about it : one God, one Lord, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one body, and one hope (Eph. 4:4-6)? How do you “denominate” one?
Just what does this word mean? Merriam-Webster gives as the first meaning to the word “denominate:” to give a name to. So, how can you be “undenominational” while giving a name to the group you are a member of? Among some of the first things done by a new group, desiring to be known as “undenominational,” is to put a name on the building and on a sign in front of the building. Take a look at some names found on church buildings: Harvest International Family Church, the Community of Faith, The Church Without Walls, Pathway Church, and the Antioch Community Church. It is here confessed, there is much creativity in these names, but just what do they tell you about those who are members? What do they teach and what do they believe? Yet, the greater question, from where did these names come? Jesus asked about the baptism of John, from heaven or men? The New Testament has not one word about any of these names; therefore, they do not come from heaven! They are very denominational!
On the other hand, the churches of Christ in America have from the early years of this nation, sent forth the clear call of the only true undenominational teaching; Christianity as revealed in the New Testament! It is a call to fellowship with God and Christ as expressed in the words of John, the apostle of Christ: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine (teaching, FRW) of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). Whatever these so-called “undenominational” churches teach, it is not “the teaching of Christ;” therefore, it is not “undenominational.” Each one of these churches “denominates” itself by name and teaching!
A look from another perspective will be helpful just here. Paul wrote: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). By the authority of Christ, Paul wrote: “that there be no divisions among you!” When there is “division” between two churches, at least one of them is denominational! It is possible that both are denominational, but it is certain that one is denominational.
In the New Testament, there are at least twenty-two phrases by which the church is described; but never denominated! Look at just a few of these descriptions: 1) “the church, which is his body” (Eph. 1:22-23); 2) “the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10); 3) “the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15); 4) “he church of God” (1 Cor. 1:2); 5) “the temple of God” (2 Cor. 6:16) and 6) “The churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16). Do you see any denominationalism in any of these phrases? If so, look again! There is no division, and not one phrase denominates, as each phrase, each term, is addressing the “one body” of which Paul wrote in Ephesus chapter four, and verse four. Remember, division points to sin; for it means some teaching other than the teaching of Christ has entered and produced division!
Read with care Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
Yes, the desire should be for an undenominational church, but the only true undenominational church is the “one body,” that abides in the “one faith,” practices the “one baptism,” worships the “one Father, serves the “one Lord,” obeys the revelation of the “one Spirit,” and looks forward in the “one hope.” Another name is just another denomination!

— Frank R. Williams

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