A Call for Unity

by Bryant Evans on June 9, 2013

Denominationalism is a sin. It was unknown in the days of the apostles and is a violation of both Jesus’ prayer for unity (John 17:20-21) and Paul’s inspired desire for Christians to speak as one (1 Corinthians 1:10). Today, denominations are a ubiquitous feature of the religious landscape. Some take pride in the so-called diversity of modern Christendom but it is a fact that the religious world is horribly divided and does not agree on many basic tenets of faith. There is little agreement on how one is saved or even whether a person must seek salvation. Even more basic, there is deep disagreement over how God speaks to man today. Most believe God has spoken through the Bible but some affirm that God continues to speak today and continues to reveal truth. That new truth often contradicts the Bible.

We should not be surprised that we cannot evangelize the world. Why would anyone be attracted to a faith that is so divided?

Despite the despicable division of those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God, there is a way back. It is possible for believers to come together in one place and stand upon one foundation.

For many years after the beginning of the church, there was minimal division. When brethren began to move away from the truth that had been “once delivered” (Jude 3), they were guided back to the truth through the efforts of inspired men. Today, those inspired efforts are recorded for us and should be our only guide.

We must reject all human catechisms, creeds, confessions, disciplines and synods. Over the centuries denominations have found it useful to condense their beliefs into a single document. When determining whether something is in accordance with their faith they amazingly turn to the human document rather than the Bible. When defending their beliefs they will often quote their creed as we would quote Scripture. These documents emphasize some beliefs, modify some and reject others.

Scripture is sufficient (2 Corinthians 9:8) and must not be tampered with (Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18, 19). It is unreasonable to think that unity among believers can be found when there are so many differing foundations. Let us reject any foundation not laid by God and use extreme caution when building upon it (1 Corinthians 3:10, 11). Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to his apostles, not to uninspired men (Matthew 16:19).

We must all commit to studying the Word of God with passion and commitment. If you want to know the truth (John 8:32) you must study it for yourself. No preacher is needed to interpret what you can read and know for yourself. Every Christian, without exception, should set aside daily time for Bible reading; should listen to preaching carefully while taking notes; and subject all teaching to the light of pure Bible. Only then will denominations begin to fade and we all will stand together, in one place and on the single foundation of inspired Scripture.

Unity is possible. Greater evangelism is possible. Christians can set a mark upon our world that will change the course of history. A group of just over a hundred did it 2,000 years ago and we can do it today if we will return to the Bible alone.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter  @jbevans.

 

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{ 2 comments }

Dave Moser June 9, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I have a few quick questions:
1. Would you prefer denominations dissolve or combine? One positive aspect of denominations is their ability to make bigger impacts with large organizations so combining seems more prudent.
2. In light of the fact that this will likely not happen, what do you recommend individuals do?
3. How would you recommend someone trying to move a church down this path respond to those in their denomination who resist on the grounds of heritage? On the grounds of doctrine?

Bryant Evans June 10, 2013 at 4:52 am

Good questions Dave, thanks for asking.

The ultimate goal here is glorifying God in his church. While big impacts may be useful in some social aspects they are not so important against humble obedience to our Father. With that in mind I would desire that denominations dissolve into the true body of Christ. Realistically, I know this is not a straight-line process but one that twists and turns over time.

Individuals within denominations as well as the church must be concerned for their own spiritual well-being. I would encourage a constant examination of teaching and doctrine and compare what is taught against what is Biblical. This boils down to personal Bible study and the recognition of personal responsibility. I recommend that individuals always seek truth and travel where that truth takes them.

We move churches toward Christ and his glory through gentle teaching and encouragement. We engage by speaking the truth in love. Heritage may be the hardest challenge but we seek the seekers and move forward. Doctrine is teaching and through sound, Bible based teaching we can and must conform our doctrine to God, not to heritage.

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