Have “denominations” outlived there purpose? …

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John E. Ruffle | PentecostalTheology.com


Have “denominations” outlived there purpose? Denominationalism has always carried in its wake -however inadvertently- division, not unity. If denominations are redundant, within by what are they replaced by, and by what action might result in a tendency toward unity in Christ rather than division around doctrine? (Or is it that at the root of the denominational phenomena is man’s insatiable urge for power and control?)

Also what is the role of the Holy Spirit in true unity among Christ’s followers.

We speak much about what is biblical and what isn’t, but surely denominations are not at all biblically-endorsed? Paul clearly speaks against divisions.


  • Reply October 23, 2015

    Greg Causey

    In the beginning was the Word …and the Spirit hovvered ..With the word and the spirit there is no creation, including being born again.And Demon-nations have helped destroy the church. Every church should focus on Jesus (whom depended on Holy WSpirit) Anything else is a waste of breath.

  • Reply October 23, 2015

    Angel Ruiz

    Stephen Prothero says: “I am not a fan of Independent/non-denominational churches.


    He has commented on Christianity in dozens of programs of National Public Radio and TV programs on CNN, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, MSNBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. He is a regular contributor to USA Today, he has also written for magazines and books of The New York Times, also for Slate, Salon .com, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal.

    Prothero argues for mandatory Bible courses in public schools (to combat the decline of Christian world view that promotes a satisfactory “abnormal mortals”), along with required courses on world religions.

    The Theologian Dr. Stephen Prothero of Boston University argues that groups who identify themselves as “Independent/non-denominational” hide the fundamental theological and spiritual issues that brought Christianity to be divided into denominations; they hide behind a false appearance of ” christian unity”.

    He argues that “non-denominationalism” promotes a decline of Historic American-Christianity and, in fact, promotes satisfactory “abnormal moralism” rather than an approach to deal with the complexities of the devotees, culture and spirituality.

    Prothero also argues that “non-denominationalism” soothes ignorance of the Scripture, which in turn reduces the knowledge of Christianity in general, and at the same time increases the chances of misunderstandings and conflicts between Christian groups.

    Prothero says: “I am not a fan of non-denominational churches. In fact, they can be downright dangerous. The main argument of non-denominational church is that believers will be free from the margins of a denomination and the hierarchy of leaders who tell them what to do.”

    The lists of Dr. Prothero 5 objections:

    1) The members of the non-denominational/ Independent churches in general are not familiar with the details of their dogma or creed. They do not know what beliefs bind them to other members of the church. While members can all believe in Christ as their Savior, other theological important areas are never discussed.

    For example: “What is your interpretation of his church about how to understand and interpret the Bible; what is the interpretation of the church about the sacraments (i.e. the Lord’s Supper, baptism, the washing of the feet)? What is your belief … about raising children? What is you biblical answer … about why people suffer? What is you belief … about prayer? If a person cannot answer these questions, and offers a private interpretation, then a red flag should go up.”

    2) Non-denominational/Independent churches may not be associated with a (classical) historic church. However Churches must agree with the essential doctrines, such as the key points of the Nicene Creed, or a similar declaration of faith that outlines key beliefs of Christianity of the First 3 centuries.

    While various Evangelical Protestant churches do not recite a creed in the church, they often have a declaration of faith or doctrine that will be aligned with the elements of an historical creed. (That does not mean that in minor elements all denominations will agree, that does not happen, but they should at least agree on important matters described in the historic creeds.)

    3) Non-denominational/Independent churches on average have no accountability. If a church is not part of a larger governing body, what happens if a pastor or church drifts away from biblical truth? Who will that person or church be accountable to? Who will serve as a mentor or guide for the pastor or church? “NOBODY.”

    4) Non-denominational/Independent churches foster a consumer or customer spirit in believers. Instead of staying with a church that may be going through difficulties, often people change church in search of a church that is “comfortable”. This does not mean that there is never a reason to get out of a church. However, the consumer spirit is a product of the American mentality of “capitalist economy” and not of a spiritual truth.

    5) Non-denomination churches encourage a selfish spirit of effortlessness. These churches often offer relaxed environment, encouraging members to a Liberal outlook. The idea is to make it look and feel more like the world every day, which will make it easier for people to come and attend services. Personal comfort is a top priority. While I recognize the clothes do not make a person holy or unholy, my argument is that if the church looks and acts like the world ceases to be the church. The church is not a place for me to feel satisfied; it is a place where God is worshiped. It’s not about whether I was being fed spiritually or if I like the music. The question is, if the church is teaching me how to properly worship God?

    Ultimately we must understand that it is Christ who unites his church, no matter what kind of denomination one belongs to.

  • Reply October 23, 2015

    Corey Forsyth

    I think differently about denominations. While I do agree that they are man made and do contribute to divisions among the Body, I also feel they provide an equal amount of unity. The division isn’t a result of denominations but a result of the pride and arrogance of man. It is our arrogant assurance that our belief is 100% correct even though its naturally flawed that causes division. It would exist with or without denominations. These man made denominations provide a degree of unity by allowing groups of like-minded believers to gather together and have a unified identity. Some are obviously “more wrong” than others but still each are flawed on some issues because of the humanity that is behind them. Having denominations has very little to do with causing division in and of itself. The root problem lies with the men and women who create them based on their flawed confidence in their correctness of Scripture.

  • Reply October 23, 2015

    Brian Crisp

    I believe the time of denominations is pretty much over. I think that people are coming to realize that denominations have held us back for too long.

  • Reply October 23, 2015

    Timothy Nail

    I think denominations will be replaced by ministerial fellowships which will turn into denominations. We can just do so much more together than apart.

  • Reply October 23, 2015

    Brian Crisp

    There is too much politics in denominations i believe and it would probably be better without them.

  • Reply October 23, 2015

    Charles Page

    denominations need to rid themselves of the politicians!

  • Reply October 23, 2015

    Brian Crisp

    Yes they do. I have recently experienced it firsthand and its shameful.

  • Reply January 12, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Another good one John E. Ruffle

  • Varnel Watson
    Reply February 23, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    yeah I say unto thee Terry Wiles

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