Aren’t denominations bad?

You might think, “Denominations only divide Christians. Let’s all be united under Jesus.”  That sounds good, but as it turns out, things don’t actually work that way.  That’s because every church, whether it is part of a denomination or not, must outline what it believes not only about things like Jesus, the Bible, or sin, but also about things like how the church is governed (should the final say-so in decision belong to one person, a group of elders, or the whole congregation?) and what it believes about other Biblical subjects (baptism, speaking in tongues, prophecy, etc).  

What a church believes affects how it worships and does things, just like what you believe affects how you live.  And so Christians are divided on some things.  But shouldn’t local churches who believe the same things be accountable to one another, rather than every church being totally autonomous?  We would say yes, they should be, and that’s all a denomination is.  

At the end of the day, a church that is independent of all other churches is basically a denomination unto itself.  They have no accountability outside of themselves.  Yet even with accountability, churches and whole denominations can lose their way.  For that reason, we would say denominations aren’t bad, but bad denominations are bad.

Unfortunately, disagreements are often construed as disunity among Christians.  But this isn’t always the case. At Good Shepherd, we welcome Christian brothers and sisters from across the denominational spectrum.

 

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