It Doesn’t Taste The Same: The Problem of Denominationalism

Ladies, have you ever been invited to dinner at a friend’s house, and been served a dish you knew you just had to have the recipe to because it tasted so good? When you ask the host or hostess for the recipe, they gladly comply and give it to you. Your husband gets excited at the prospect of having this delicious dish at home without having to sneak over to the Joneses from now on to get it. A week or two goes by, and you decide to try fixing it yourself. You’re a health nut, however, and so when the dish calls for milk, you substitute half & half. When it calls for sugar, you put in artificial sweetener instead. When it calls for vanilla, you put in artificial vanilla instead. You mix it all together and proudly serve it to your husband, who dives right in with gusto…for the first bite. You notice that he takes his time with the second bite…and appears to suddenly have a great desire to eat it out on the balcony by himself with the third bite. He comes back in ten seconds later, claiming a big bird swooped right in and snatched it right off his plate…but “Honestly, honey, I really enjoyed the three bites I had. However, I did notice that it tastes a little different than it did at the Joneses. Did you follow the recipe?” You think it sweet of him to try to butter you up so he doesn’t spend the entire night on the couch, and so you explain to him that, in the interests of eating healthy, you substituted the less healthier items on the recipe for healthier items. Being male, he then tries to explain to you that eating tastefully, not healthy, is what really matters to him, and urges you to follow the recipe fully next time so that it will be exactly like it was at the Joneses. You thank him for his advice, and tell him that you’ll ponder it all night long while he’s sleeping on the couch…

It is interesting how many of us think substitutions can be made and still be the same. It should be apparent that one cannot make substitutions and have the “real thing.” It is that way with recipes, and it is also that way with the church of our Lord Jesus. Sadly, denominationalism has brought about many substitutions and changes. Why is it that people think they have the real thing when so many substitutions have been made?

The fulfillment of Paul’s prophecy about the man of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:1-12)

Some don’t realize it, but there are all kinds of differences between denominations and the church you read about in the New Testament. In most denominations there is a clergy system with priests, pastors, and/or “Reverends” and “Fathers.” Often times there is a national, and sometimes an international, governing body. Some denominations have deacons, but a “Pastor” rather than elders. Others have elders who are bachelors, or women serving as elders.

Yet, the Bible teaches that Christ is the only head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), and therefore there is no authority in the New Testament for a church hierarchy. Every member of the Lord’s church is a priest (1 Pet. 2:9), so there is no authority in the New Testament for a clergy system. The church is overseen by a plurality of elders (Acts 20:17) and served by deacons (Phil. 1:1), so there is no authority in the New Testament for a lone man being an elder. Elders are to be married and have believing children (1 Tim. 3:2,4; Tit. 1:6), so there is no authority for bachelor elders. Women are not to exercise authority over men in the church (1 Tim. 2:12; 3:14-15), and elders are required to be the husband of one wife (1 Tim. 3:2), which negates the idea of a female elder.

The New Testament does not give one example of anyone being saved by praying a prayer (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

Denominationalism is different than what is taught in the Bible. How different depends upon which denomination. Many denominations teach that one becomes a Christian, a child of God, merely by “asking Jesus to come into one’s heart.” One is then accepted into the denomination based upon a testimony of conversion. Sometimes one is voted into the denomination. In other cases, one is sprinkled (not baptized) as a non-believing infant. Years later, after taking instruction, one is “confirmed.” One then is a member of the denomination. Other denominations have even different requirements.

However, the Bible teaches that one enters the body of Christ which is the church through baptism (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22-23). When one who has confessed his faith in Christ as the Son of God and has repented of sins is baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:35-38), God adds that person to the church (Acts 2:47). It is not a matter of “joining” the church or a denomination. It is also at that point that one becomes a child of God (Gal. 3:26-27) and has his or her sins washed away (Acts 22:16).

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:8-9)

Substitutions and changes have been made in denominations. Many denominational worship services center around entertainment, having bands, concerts, skits, drama presentations, and even aerobatic acts. Musical instruments have been added, and the Lord’s Supper has been taken away, being served only at certain times. In other denominations, burning of incense and the counting of beads have been added, along with statue worship. Saturday worship has replaced or been added to the first day of the week.

Yet, the Bible sets out God’s authorized manner of worship. The early church met upon every first day of the week to eat the Lord’s Supper and to give as they had prospered (Acts 20:6-7; 1 Cor. 11:20-34; 16:1-2). Prayers were offered up in worship (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 14:15) as well as songs of praise sung by saints with the instrument they plucked being their hearts (1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). There was also edification as they were taught God’s doctrine (Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7).

The Bible is all you need to go by (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Friends, we all should realize and teach others that the same principle that applies to recipes applies to Christianity. If you want the real thing, there can be no substitutions and/or changes. Deuteronomy 4:2 says, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Proverbs 30:5-6 says, “Every word of God is tested…Do not add to his words or he will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” Paul warned the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 4:6 to “learn not to exceed what is written…” The Bible closes with the warning of Revelation 22:18-19: “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”

If you want the church of the Bible, the church of God’s choice, it must be according to his instructions found in his Word alone. Otherwise, you have a man-made substitute, not the real thing.  If you don’t have the real thing, then salvation is not yours because Jesus is the Savior of those who are in his body, the church (Eph. 5:23).  It’s something to think about.

22 thoughts on “It Doesn’t Taste The Same: The Problem of Denominationalism”

  1. “If you want the church of the Bible, the church of God’s choice, it must be according to his instructions found in his Word alone. Otherwise, you have a man-made substitute, not the real thing. If you don’t have the real thing, then salvation is not yours because Jesus is the Savior of those who are in his body, the church…” I agree with being non-denominational. I agree that there is no “sinner’s prayer” in the Bible. I do not believe however that the last paragraph is on target. I have heard a similar statement from several friends and they all attend the same church and strongly adhere to their doctrine. Now I haven’t read the rest of this blog. I have no idea where you attend but I see several things in the above post that are along the lines of their church doctrine. The “church of Christ” refers to the entire body of Christ, ALL of His children, ALL believers, not just one denomination that claims they are the only ones who will enter heaven b/c they are “doing it right” and aren’t a denomination. Baptism is not required for salvation. Here is a link to an post the better explains than I can (http://www.gracepoints.com/articles/gpbaptism.php ) all though I will sum it up like this- By preaching baptism as salvation the power of the cross is diminished. Baptism is an important part of becoming a new creature but it is not a required, but should be desired.
    As for worship- I wish more churches did do the Lords Supper each Sunday. I feel that the act and what Jesus intended it for has been lacking in most churches. However, not once in scripture does it state that drums, and piano’s and contemporary music is not allowed in worship. Pray tell, where does it say so? Scripture states to worship Him from our heart! Studies have shown that music can affect the mood. https://www.google.com/search?q=how+music+affects+your+mood&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-beta There are over a million articles on just Google about musics affect on the human mind. I have been in a variety of services and I personally have found that I am able to worship the Lord best when the notes of a piano or guitar are present. No worship service is the correct service when it comes to music. Some prefer acapella hymns and others prefer the guitar chords of the latest Matthew West song. That’s personal preference. Its pitiful to quote Deuteronomy 4:2 and then do the same thing. That brings me to the last paragraph. What makes your church, no matter it’s denomination, the right one and all others wrong? Aren’t we ALL a part of the body? Shouldn’t our purpose to be bringing light and salt into this world? To stand out as examples of Christ and His redeeming love? 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Because the “real thing”/salvation is found not in how correctly a service is performed but in Christ alone. ” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

    Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-love-25-awesome-scripture-quotes/#ixzz258u5LcBf

    1. Hi A,

      Thanks for reading my article and taking the time to reply. I started this blog hoping to generate interest and a willingness to civilly discuss and study the Bible with others, so I’m glad that you have responded.

      You are correct when you state that the church of Christ refers to the entire body of Christ, all of his children, and all believers. However, I would respectfully encourage you to consider that when I’m talking about “the church of Christ,” I’m not referring to a denomination among denominations, mainly because the New Testament condemns the entire notion of denominationalism and sectarianism among Christianity. The Bible commands Christians to speak the same thing and have no division among themselves (John 17:20-23; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Phil. 2:1-2), but that does not happen when you have Catholics believing one thing, Baptists believing something different, Methodists, believing something different, etc., and all the while all of them professing to be followers of Christ.

      This gets back to the fact that God’s Word says that there’s only one faith (Eph. 4:5) and one body (Eph. 4:4), and that one body is Christ’s church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). In God’s eyes, there’s only one church, the church that his Son built (Matt. 16:18), the church which is the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15) which is his Word (John 17:17). All the rest were started by men in order to give them what they want instead of what God wants (2 Tim. 4:3-4). So when I talk about the church of Christ, I’m not talking about a denomination. I’m talking about the only church God talks about in the New Testament, the church that belongs to his Son.

      Concerning baptism, I understand why you believe it’s not required for salvation. Such is commonly taught among Christendom. However, Jesus himself commanded baptism (Matt. 28:19) and linked it to salvation (Mark 16:16). So did Peter (1 Pet. 3:21), who also linked it to forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), as did the man who converted Paul (Acts 22:16). Paul himself stated that it is baptism that puts us into Christ and into his body, the church (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:13; cf. Eph. 1:22-23). He also wrote that Jesus saves those who are in his body, the church (Eph. 5:23). So if one has to be baptized in order to be in Christ’s body, and if Christ saves those who are in his body, then one has to be baptized in order to be saved, which is exactly what the Bible teaches. Granted, this does not take away from the necessity of faith and repentance either (John 3:16; 2 Cor. 7:9-10), but it is also clear that the Bible teaches the necessity of baptism for salvation just as much as it teaches the necessity of faith and repentance also.

      Also, please consider that teaching baptism as necessary for salvation in no way diminishes what Christ did on the cross for us. It was Christ himself who said, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16), and he said that after going to the cross on our behalf. If it wasn’t for him and what he did, no amount of faith or any baptism on our part would matter…because our sins would still need to have that propitiation that only Christ can provide (1 John 2:1-2). However, the Bible also clearly states that Christ is the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Heb. 5:9), and he has commanded baptism. (He also commanded that only those who believe in him will be saved – John 3:16. I ask this respectfully, but would you say that me stating that one has to have faith in order to be saved diminishes Christ’s work on the cross?)

      Concerning what you wrote about instrumental music in worship, may I ask you a question? (Again, all of this is written with great respect to you.) You are correct when you state that scripture does not have a “Thou shalt not play the piano” in worship. However, Scripture also does not say, “Thou shalt not eat hamburgers and drink Pepsi for communion.” Would it therefore be acceptable to God for us to eat hamburgers and say that they represent Christ’s body, and drink Pepsi while saying that it represents Christ’s blood? Certainly not, because the Bible specifies what we are to eat and drink in communion (1 Cor. 11:23ff).

      In like manner, the New Testament specifies what we are to offer to God in musical worship. It specifies the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12). No mention of an instrument is made, just as no mention of hamburgers or Pepsi was made concerning communion. By God specifying what he wants in musical worship to him and in communion, he excludes everything else…just as you do when you go to a restaurant and tell the waiter that you want a hamburger. By stating that you want a hamburger, you omit everything else on the menu. By stating that he wants us to sing when we worship him, God excludes all other types of music.

      Remember, Christ purchased the church with his own blood (Acts 20:28). He is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22), and he has stated what he wants from us in worship. He has also stated what he wants us to do in order to obtain the salvation he freely offers us through his sacrifice on the cross. The goal of my article is to get us to do simply what he has told us to do, without adding to it (by saying instruments of music are okay in worship even though he only told us to sing) or taking away from it (by saying that one doesn’t have to be baptized when Jesus said they do.)

      I submit this to you for your consideration in love, in sincerity, and in humility. Thanks again for taking the time to read, and I hope you will continue to do so. See you around! 🙂

  2. “The Bible commands Christians to speak the same thing and have no division among themselves” Absolutely Agree- however I personally have still dealt with this even with those who claim to not be a part of a denomination.

    Baptism- I still believe that scripture doesn’t require it to gain salvation. Yes, it is linked to it in that we should make that outward proclamation to the world AFTER we are saved and something that we should do, but I do not believe that Jesus stated that baptism has any saving powers. His blood alone is sufficient and needs no water to support it.

    Communion- Scripture states that Jesus broke bread and drank of the cup and called them his body and his blood Matthew 26:26-29, Luke 22:7-23. So what was in the cup? Some scripture says wine, some just says cup. Which was it? What church uses actual wine? I have yet to receive communion in a church that uses wine. It’s usually grape juice. And often times there are crackers, not bread. There is not power in what is used but in the Holy Spirit within us. Christ commanded “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) So for everyone who has had grape juice and crackers, was their communion legitimate? For those who have held worship with singing AND piano/guitar, has their worship been real? ‘Cause I like fries with my burger. 😉

    I commend you for bringing clarity to scripture. I was able to read through a portion of another post and it was good (the latest on Genesis), however, I do not agree with the way that parts of it are being portrayed and put my 2 cents in. I did so fully knowing that we would likely not agree and it is not my job to sway you. I simply stated what the Lord has laid upon my own heart as I have read through scripture. 🙂

    1. Hi A,

      I sympathize with what you said about religious division. I too still encounter it quite a lot. It stems either from ignorance of the Scriptures (Hos. 4:6), or the attitude talked about in 2 Tim. 4:3-4. It takes continual self-examination (2 Cor. 13:5) in order to have that open and honest heart to simply accept what God’s Word says without wanting to change it in any way (Luke 8:15). That’s something I struggle with regularly. Perhaps you do as well.

      Concerning baptism, if you don’t mind me asking (and I do so respectfully), where in the Bible does it show or imply that anyone since Christ’s resurrection was saved before being baptized? After his resurrection, he himself mentioned the need for faith AND baptism in order to be saved (Mark 16:16). His apostles and other evangelists preached the need for faith, repentance, AND baptism in order to be saved and have one’s sins forgiven (Acts 2:38; 22:16). In fact, Peter stated plainly, “Corresponding to this, baptism now saves you…” (1 Pet. 3:21).

      That does not take away from the fact that Christ’s blood is very necessary to provide forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7). Nothing God commands us to do would take away from that. Without Christ’s blood, nothing could save us. However, that does not take away from the fact that God has told us that faith, repentance, baptism, and obedience to his commands in general are all required of us if we are to be given that gift of salvation (John 3:16; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:21; Heb. 5:9; Matt. 7:21). Granted, this does not mean that we would “earn” our salvation in any way, for all of us are sinners (Rom. 3:23) and thus need God’s grace and Christ’s blood for our salvation. However, God still says that we must obey him (Rom. 6:1-2), and he has commanded that we be baptized (Rom. 6:3).

      Concerning communion, those are some really great questions you asked, and I’m glad you did so. The Bible actually does bring out what was in the cup, and believe it or not, but it never says it was “wine,” at least not “wine” like we think of it (alcoholic.) In all three gospel accounts which record the Lord’s Supper being instituted, Jesus called it “the fruit of the vine” (Matt. 26:29). “Vine” in the original Greek that the New Testament was written in is “ampelos,” literally a grapevine. So we know that it was grape juice – fruit of the grape vine – that was in the cup. Furthermore, we know that it must have been freshly squeezed grape juice rather than being leavened, fermented, alcoholic wine because this was done while they were observing Passover, and Jesus (in order to be the perfect, sinless sacrifice for our sins) would have had to observed God’s command for no leaven to be in the house while Jews were observing Passover (Ex. 12:19-20). Concerning crackers vs. bread, you might be interested to know that crackers by definition are bread, specifically a form of unleavened bread. Unleavened bread was the exact type of bread Jews were commanded to eat during Passover (Ex. 12:14-20; Lev. 23:4-8), and therefore the type of bread that Jesus would have been using when he instituted the Lord’s Supper. There are many types of unleavened bread, with crackers being one of them.

      That’s why you sometimes see them being used in communion and grape juice being used in communion as well, because Jesus said “Do this (contextually, eat this unleavened bread and drink this fruit of the grape vine) in remembrance of me.” To bring it back to what we were originally talking about, by specifying what he wanted when he instituted communion, he excluded everything else. In like manner, when the New Testament says to sing when we worship God, that excludes all other types of music. I encourage you to think about it. There are lots of things that we are capable of doing that are not wrong in and of themselves, and yet we know they would be wrong to do them as worship to God…because God already told us how he wanted us to worship him.

      Just so you know, I’m glad we’re talking and I hope we can continue to do so in the future. I love studying the Bible with people and I want you to know that my door is always open to any questions or comments you might have. I’m glad you’ve read my blog posts so far and hope you will continue to do so and continue to chime in. Also, I want you to know how much I appreciate that we’ve been able to discuss these things in a civil manner. That means a lot, especially since it is so easy for things to get ugly on the Internet! 🙂

      Hope to hear from you again! See you around…

      Jon

  3. I managed to stumble across your blog. You write well. May I challenge your thoughts, by moving into deeper water? I begin with a simple question: Are all those who are in so-called denominations lost, bound for hell? Why or why not?

    1. Thank you for the compliment, M. Fearghail, and welcome to my blog. I’m glad you found your way here, and I appreciate your desire to study further and the questions you’ve asked.

      Your questions are very, very important. Many wish to avoid answering them, because they are admittedly “loaded” questions, i.e., questions which are highly likely to provoke a negatively emotional response. However, they are legitimate, and deserve an answer.

      The answer they and all other questions of a religious nature deserve is not one that comes from the mind, thoughts, and opinions of myself, you, or any other fallible human being. Rather, they deserve a scriptural answer, and thus an answer from God, because the Scriptures come from God (2 Tim. 3:16). The writers of Scripture were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:19-21), who alone knows the mind of God (1 Cor. 2:11). Christians are told to speak as “oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11) and to speak the truth (Eph. 4:15), and the truth is God’s Word (John 17:17; cf. 2 Tim. 4:2). Therefore, I wish to humbly and respectfully stress to you from the beginning that the answer I want to give you comes not from me, but from the Word of God, which is what will judge us in the end (John 12:48).

      God’s Word condemns any sort of religious division among Christians (1 Cor. 1:10-13; 3:3-4; Phil. 2:1-2; John 17:20-23), the exact kind of religious division which exists due to denominationalism. The Corinthians were rebuked for calling themselves the followers of men (“I am a follower of Paul,” “I am a follower of Apollos,” etc.); in like manner, those in denominations say, “I am a follower of the Pope,” “I am a follower of Martin Luther,” “I am a follower of John Wesley,” etc.

      Granted, if asked any member of a denomination would sincerely say that they are a follower of Jesus Christ in addition to being a follower of the founder of their denomination…but so did the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:12), and they were rebuked nonetheless. Why? Because they were not “speaking the same thing” as God commanded his followers to do (1 Cor. 1:10; cf. John 17:20-23). The denominations of Christendom likewise do not speak the same thing. Catholics believe one thing, Baptists believe something different, Methodists believe something different, as do Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Orthodoxy…the list goes on and on.

      They all believe something different, and so there exists in Christendom many multiple faiths. Yet, God says in his Word that there is only “one faith,” and that faith comes from his Word (Rom. 10:17). Likewise, there are many churches due to denominationalism, and yet the Bible says there is only one. Eph. 1:22-23 and Col. 1:18 specifically define Christ’s body as his church, and Eph. 4:4 and 1 Cor. 12:13 say specifically that there is “one body.” If the body is defined specifically as the church, and if there is only one body, then there is only one church as far as God is concerned.

      Concerning that church, God’s Word also says that Christ is the Savior of his body, the church (Eph. 5:23). True, salvation has been brought for everyone (Tit. 2:11; John 3:16), and God wishes that everyone would be saved (2 Pet. 3:9). Nevertheless, he also acknowledges that the majority will not be saved (Matt. 7:13-14) due to their rejection of the truth (2 Thess. 2:10-12). Christ is the Savior of his body, the church (Eph. 5:23), of which there is only one (Eph. 4:4). So if you wish to be saved, you must be in his church, of which there is only one. If you’re not in that church, you will not be saved…even though you might be a religious person who calls Jesus “Lord” and is involved in many good works (Matt. 7:21-23).

      How do you and I know if we are truly in his church? Maybe we think we are, but in reality we’re in some man-made denomination. The way for us to know is to see whether the church we belong to follows nothing more or less than God’s Word, because the church you read about in the NT is said to be “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), and God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). God’s Word says to not add to or take away from his Word (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; 1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19). Do a study of any and all denominations, and you will see that in addition to the Bible, they have their own creeds and traditions, many of which they put as a higher priority than God’s Word, something which God’s Word condemns (Matt. 15:1-9). So if a church goes beyond God’s Word or takes away from it in any way, that church is not truly “the pillar and support of the truth,” and thus is not the church you read about in the NT of which Jesus is the Savior.

      Thanks again for your questions. I hope you continue to read my blog. My door is always open for any questions or comments you might have, provided they are civil in nature. 🙂

  4. Thank you for your prompt and lengthy reply. May I infer from your comments the answer of “Yes,” to my initial question? May I further infer that the reason is due to not being saved, due to not perfectly, or accurately, interpreting and following scripture, and it alone?

  5. Thank you for focusing your answer to my initial questions. Are you, sir, then, saved, because you perfectly, or accurately, interpret and follow scripture?

  6. Excellent question, Fearghail. My question is along the same lines. Are those who are not members/attenders of The Church of Christ considered unsaved then, even if they have accepted Christ as their personal savior and been baptized (which my personal belief is that baptism isn’t a requirement of salvation, but a symbol of it, as I previously stated in my comments above)?

    1. Another great question, A. Let’s let God’s Word answer. God’s Word defines the body of Christ as his church (Eph. 1:22-23), and then specifically says that there is “one body” (Eph. 4:4). The Bible then states that Christ is “the Savior of his body, the church” (Eph. 5:23).

      Since the church is the body, and there is only one body, then that means there is only one church. (That certainly fits with Paul’s contextual statement of there being “one faith” in Eph. 4:5, as well as his condemnation of division and his exhortation that followers of Christ all “speak the same thing” in 1 Cor. 1:10. See also John 17:20-23 and Phil. 2:1-2.)

      And since Christ is the Savior of his body the church, of which there is only one, that means you have to be a part of that one church in order for him to be your Savior. True, you might believe in him and call on him, but he himself acknowledged that there would be those who believed in him and did many things in his name who would yet not be saved because of their lack of obedience to God (Matt. 7:21-27).

      God’s Word also says that one must be baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13). Since we know that the body refers to the church, and that there is only one body and thus only one church, and that Christ is the Savior of that one body which is his church, then it follows that one must be baptized into that one body, that one church, in order to be saved.

      As for the idea that baptism is not a requirement of salvation, I would encourage you to study carefully Mark 16:16 and 1 Pet. 3:21. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! 🙂

  7. Answer still pending to my question (9/13/12): Thank you for focusing your answer to my initial questions. Are you, sir, then, saved, because you perfectly, or accurately, interpret and follow scripture?

    1. Good question, M. Fearghail. No, I’m not saved because I perfectly interpret and follow scripture. The scriptures teach that we are to continually grow in knowledge (2 Pet. 1:5-8; 3:18), which implies that our knowledge of scripture is continually growing as well.

      I’m saved because, due to God’s grace, he forgives me whenever I, in my efforts to study and obey his Word, come to realize that I have not properly interpreted and/or obeyed his Word, and repent.

      It all comes down to God’s grace and our obedience, the latter of which cannot happen without proper interpretation.

  8. I’m putting this as a reminder to everyone, ladies and gents. Questions and comments are welcome in my blog, even when they challenge and disagree with the articles I’ve written. However, I do not wish for any question or comment on this blog to be sarcastic and/or impolite in nature. The reason I do not want this is because I want all articles and discussions on this blog to show a reflection of a Christ-like spirit at all times.

    Therefore, I reserve the right to delete and not answer questions or comments which I deem to be sarcastic and impolite in nature. This does not mean that I am trying to dodge the question, nor will I delete or ban the person who asks the question…unless, of course, they prove themselves by my judgment to be unrepentantly consistent in being impolite and/or sarcastic.

    In addition, I will do my best to provide a biblical response to each question asked of me as quickly as I can. Sometimes it might take a bit before you hear from me due to other responsibilities I have which in many cases take precedence over this blog, but I promise to do my best to respond with a biblical answer as quickly as I can and in as best a Christian manner as I know how.

    Please also note that each of my responses are designed by me to fully answer each question as best as I know how. While I do not claim to be perfect in reaching that goal every time, I do my best to do so each time I sit down at the keyboard. One of the main reasons I do so is because I’ve found that Internet discussions can easily turn into “beating a dead horse” territory, in which one or both parties end up making the same points over and over again. I want to try to avoid that on my blog. Therefore, for my part I promise to fully answer each of your questions as best as I know how, and in return I ask that you keep your follow-up questions from covering ground already covered earlier in my responses. If you have a follow-up question to a response that I give to an earlier question that you’ve asked, I will answer it if I honestly feel I didn’t already answer it appropriately earlier, either in the article or in my earlier response to you. If I feel that your follow-up is leading into needless repetition, I will delete it and not answer it. This will be done not out of any animosity towards you nor out of a desire to dodge your question, but rather out of a desire to avoid having future readers feel like both of us are “beating a dead horse.”

    Thanks for keeping all of this in mind, and thanks especially for reading my blog and caring enough to engage in discuss spiritual matters in a Christian manner.

    Jon

  9. Since my prior comment was considered rude I will apologize. I am sorry for coming across as being snarky and/or rude. It was not my intention at all (I was actually trying to be silly and lighten the mood since the subject matter is heavy) and I was asking for a plain Yes or No to the question “Are those who are not members of the Church of Christ considered not really saved?” I asked again because the first answer to the question referred to the church of Christ and the body but I personally feel that I am a part of His church and His body even though I am not a member of the Church of Christ. I was curious if you meant that the Church of Christ is the only true Church, thus implying that those who are not members of the Church of Christ are not a part of the body and, therefore, unsaved. If I may again pose the question- “Are those who are not members of the Church of Christ unsaved?”
    Thank you

    1. A, don’t worry about it. Glad you wrote back.

      Before a “yes” or “no” answer can be given by me, let me ask you a question which I believe will start a discussion which will help you fully understand any answer I give.

      Do you define the church of Christ as a denomination? If so, why?

  10. “de·nom·i·na·tion (d-nm-nshn)
    n.
    1. A large group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy.”

    “denomination [dɪˌnɒmɪˈneɪʃən]
    n
    1. (Christian Religious Writings / Theology) a group having a distinctive interpretation of a religious faith and usually its own organization
    2. (Mathematics & Measurements / Units) (Economics, Accounting & Finance / Currencies) a grade or unit in a series of designations of value, weight, measure, etc. coins of this denomination are being withdrawn
    3. a name given to a class or group; classification
    4. the act of giving a name
    5. a name; designation”

    “Denomination a set of the same persons, called by the same name and therefore of the same views. See also communion, confession.”

    Yes, I do see the CoC as a denomination (based on popular definition of the word “denomination”, which I will address below) by the fact that they hold their own doctrine that is individual from other churches. By that, I don’t believe that any Christian church can be classified as non-denominational.
    Now my personal opinion is that the definition of the word “denomination” signifies that the faith practiced in said church is set apart from others by what they believe and practice. Christians do not practice or believe as Muslims, Hindus do not practice or believe as Scientologists, etc etc. So each faith is its own denomination. The issue of the Christian faith breaking down into separate factions that people call “denominations” is bothersome to me, as we who have been saved and serve God should be a unit, however, that started long before I was born and I can’t change it, only speak what the Lord has convicted me of. As sad as it is, within the Christian faith churches have separated into factions (Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, CoC, Catholics, etc) by their interpretations of the Word and are known as “denominations”. So, again, YES, the CoC is a “denomination”, a church that is another faction of Christian faith.

    1. Thanks for clarifying, A. I also am glad to see that it bothers you that those who profess to be Christians have broken down into separate, denominational factions. Let me ask you this, as it also has bearing on answering your question. Why do you think these different factions started? I know you said that it is based on different interpretations, but why do those different interpretations exist? I know that there are a few things in Scripture that are ambiguous, but there are far more that are pretty cut-and-dried, easy to understand. So why the different interpretations?

      1. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Scripture reveals itself in various ways to the reader. Most, as you stated is cut and dried, and some is multifaceted. All facets are true but influence the readers heart differently than another. I do not believe that the “multifaceted verses” are the ones that caused the issue, but the twisting of scriptures due to personal desires, Satan’s lies, and plain old misunderstanding possibly from reading a difficult to decipher translation, even poor education, or a learning disability that causes reading to be difficult. It is the nature of people to be drawn to those who believe as they do and the result was people creating factions based upon their interpretations.

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