Assemblies of God
Christian & Missionary Alliance (CMA)
Church of Christ
Church of God
Disciples of Christ
Evangelical Free Church
Four Square Gospel
International Pentecostal Holiness
Roman Catholic Church
Comments regarding "Christian" DENOMINATIONS
The existence of numerous denominations is not so difficult to understand. Some denominations sprang up as a result of sincere disagreement over Bible doctrine and/or practice. Others resulted from the strong personalities of specific individuals. There are some who argue (and they may be correct on this point) that the existence of denominations is un-Biblical and anti-Biblical. The effects of having numerous denominations include lack of unity and confusion. As to lack of unity, it is clear that the differences between denominations are often exceedingly great. Denominations often maintain a less-than-godly attitude toward one another - even making jokes about one another. If one denomination separates from the other denominations based on Biblical truth, there would seem to be no basis for unkind, derogatory remarks or demeaning "humor"; but rather, there would seem to be a basis for praying for one another, in love and humility, and a continual effort to lovingly instruct others in the truth. As to confusion, it seems that too few professing Christians know (let alone are able to explain) what the differences are between "Christian" denominations or why a denomination believes what they believe. Unbelievers will undoubtedly experience the same confusion in this regard (and more so). Note - simply becoming "non-denominational" doesn't fix all the issues associated with denominationalism. We need to study to show ourselves approved unto God, to be workers that need not be ashamed, and we need to rightly divide the word of truth - before we can even begin to identify what may truly be right or wrong with any given denomination. We need to know what God says and measure everything against God's truth. An observation about denominations in general is that many, if not most, (and some to a greater degree than others) carry the excess baggage of "religion". This is often apparent based on the traditions (every denomination has them!) that they follow. Traditions may start out as well-intended actions, but all too often they result in "religion", whereby people believe that by observing those things they are doing God service, obeying God and pleasing God even though all too often those traditions have little, if any, Biblical basis/authority and all too often those traditions are elevated above God's Word (just try to Biblically challenge someone's "sacred" tradition and see how well received are your recommendations). The presence of "religion" can often be seen in the edifices, the amenities, the budgets, the programs, the rituals, etc. of denominational churches. While house churches are not a panacea for fixing all problems associated with denominations, they are worthy of consideration. For more information, please click here.
"Protestant denominations" essentially have their roots in either the Protestant Reformation or the pre-Reformation period (the 200 years or so just prior to the Reformation). While Roman Catholicism has been dominant throughout much of history, there have always been individuals and groups who did not subscribe to the beliefs and practices of Catholicism but were nevertheless true believers. At a later date we hope to fill in some helpful history of the church that was not of the Catholic "fold", but for now (see the links below) we focus on the fact that most non-Catholic "Christian" churches and/or groups today have a recognized starting point in the post-1300 A.D. period - some directly resulting from the famous Protestant Reformation, many others being the result of people who left groups that had been formed by people leaving another group, and so on. Divisions occurred for many reasons. Often, one group was too strict and others wanted to break away to be less strict, and at other times, there were folks who felt that their group was becoming too lax in some areas of doctrine and/or practice, so they formed a new group to "get back" to where they felt they should be. Part of the initial motivation for creating BibleTruthForToday was the belief that there are churches, groups, and people which have a faulty foundation, and that simple reforms will not change the faulty foundations. Others have not built well upon the true foundation - perhaps they started well but they are not finishing well. Others have neglected proper care and have allowed the "building" to become in disrepair and it will take much work to get it back where it should be. Still others have "sold out" the "building" to alternative uses. Too few are the churches who preach and teach uncompromising truth (in love). A thorough study of denominations is very involved, very difficult and can be rather frustrating. There have been many splits and then many mergers. That which one group believed or practiced at one time has changed over time. In the links above, we have focused on where these groups as of the time this information was gathered in terms of their doctrine and practice, but have also tried to provide some brief historic perspective as well. We have also attempted to identify areas which, according to our understanding of Scriptures, are not consistent with Biblical teaching.
As a kind of side note to this topic, we would like to include some quotations from A.W. Tozer's "Divisions Are Not Always Bad", which is excerpted from his "God Tells The Man Who Cares":
"When to unite and when to divide, that is the question, and a right answer requires the wisdom of Solomon. Some settle the problem by rule of thumb: All union is good and all division is bad. It's that easy. But obviously this effortless way of dealing with the matter ignores the lessons of history and overlooks some of the deep spiritual laws by which men live. If good men were all for union and bad men for division, or vice versa, that would simplify things for us. Or if it could be shown that God always unites and the devil always divides it would be easy to find our way around in this confusing world. But that is not how things are. To divide what should be divided and unite what should be united is the part of wisdom. Union of dissimilar elements is never good even where it is possible, nor is the arbitrary division of elements that are alike; and this is as certainly true of things moral and religious as of things political or scientific. The first divider was God who at the creation divided the light from the darkness. This division set the direction for all God's dealings in nature and in grace. Light and darkness are incompatible; to try to have both in the same place at once is to try the impossible and end by having neither the one nor the other, but dimness rather, and obscurity."
"Union for union's sake, and men shall brothers be for a' that. Unity is so devoutly to be desired that no price is too high to pay for it and nothing is important enough to keep us apart. Truth is slain to provide a feast to celebrate the marriage of heaven and hell, and all to support a concept of unity which has no basis in the Word of God. The Spirit-illuminated church will have none of this."
"'Divide and conquer' is the cynical slogan of Machiavellian political leaders, but Satan knows also how to unite and conquer."
"When confused sheep start over a cliff the individual sheep can save himself only by separating from the flock. Perfect unity at such a time can only mean total destruction for all. The wise sheep to save his own hide disaffiliates."