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Denominations: Division in the Body of Christ


In Christianity today, there are 40,000 denominations (factions) that share the faith but are segregated into groups by their own differences in practices and beliefs. Judaism was the first monotheistic religion known to man, but the Gentiles (Non-Jewish) established a church in Antioch during the reign of the Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire. There is historical evidence of this church being founded (not a brick-and-mortar church) in Acts 11:20-21–” But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.”


The “Hellenists” were Greek, and some were Jewish, some were Gentiles; All were high and mighty. Christian Judaism got its start in Jerusalem, so the Gentile Christianity began at Antioch. The book of Acts gives us the first look at the structure of the five-fold ministry in action in a church. The disciples were the ones to lay down the framework and establish the church. Peter and Paul were the Apostles of this church. There were five prophets and teachers named by Luke: Barnabas, Simeon (Niger), Lucius, Manaen, and Saul. Barnabas was the head of Antioch. Ironically, we see that this foundation was built from the result of persecution.



History repeated itself because when Roman Catholicism was the primary religion being practiced, this led to restrictions on practices for Christians and they had no freedom to worship God how they wanted. Through this persecution, Protestantism was born, and its founder Martin Luther challenged the practices and beliefs of the Catholic church. This “movement” began in Germany in the year 1517 and was a rebellion against the idea of “Papal supremacy” (meaning the Pope reigns supreme as head of the whole church,) and issues such as the sale of indulgences (a way to lessen the severity and amount of punishment a sinner would suffer for their sins.) Many of the beliefs in this religion are unbiblical and involve idolatry, and greed. Although Catholicism teaches repentance and the holy trinity, there is much that has been added or taken away from the Word of God.



Today most Protestant types consist of: Adventists, Anabaptists, Anglicans/Episcopalians, Baptists, Calvinists/Reformed, Lutherans, Methodists, and Pentecostals. Each group shares different practices, and places emphasis on various aspects of the Christian faith. Adventists also known as “Millerites,” follow the teachings of a Baptist preacher named William Miller who believed he knew when the “Second Coming” would occur and theorized that the wicked may just cease to exist rather than suffer eternal damnation. Many members of this sect left after the “The Great Disappointment” in 1844, when the pastor’s prediction was inaccurate. This is also where Seventh Day Adventist originated from. Aside from these differences this church still believes in the Holy Bible, the gospels, Jesus being Lord and Savior and dying on the cross for our sins to grant us salvation and all of these mentioned denominations teach the basic concepts and principles of Christianity.



Next, we have the Anabaptists which consist of their own groups: Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and the Mennonites. They take non-conformity to the world as an extreme and separate themselves from things such as modern technology. Their beliefs are inspired by the “Schleitheim Confession;” a document written as a confession that is made up of seven different articles. However, we should listen to Proverbs 3:5-6– “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”



While there are many differences between these factions in Christianity, we can all agree on the basics of it. In fact, a core part of Protestantism is what theologians have deemed the “five Solae” (Solas):


  1. Sola Gratia – I am saved by Grace alone.
  2. Sola Fide – Through faith alone.
  3. Solus Christus – Through Christ alone.
  4. Sola Scriptura – According to Scripture alone.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria – To the Glory of God alone.



The magisterial “Reformers” placed emphasis on the Gospel through this creed. Many denominations do teach the fundamentals of Christianity, and this is the core value of it. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 encourages others to set aside their differences– “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we are baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and all have been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.”



This is unity in the Body of Christ. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 12:25–” that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” A “schism” is a divide, we are advised against religious factions yet there are 40,000 divisions in the Global Church. This is because, just as man’s traditions can kill faith, so can they poison the truth with lies. Mark 3:25 reveals– “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”



The Body of Christ is being mutilated and infected today with false doctrines and the acceptance of sin. There is unity in diversity, but let that diversity not be a disease but a cure. The cure is found in Ephesians 4:13-15– “till we all come to unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head—Christ.”



3 Responses

  1. I’ve been blessed to see a desire for and movement toward unity in diversity among denominations. My church prays every week for both churches within our denomination and churches of other denominations in our community, as well as different missionaries at home and abroad. And, in the last two or three years, we have purposely partnered with a couple of local churches from different denominations. I’m grateful my church and others have followed the Spirit’s leading in seeking unity in diversity and pray that many more will be convicted and moved where needed in this area.

    1. Amen! That is how it should be to close these divides. We need to do away with labels and know we are just children of God, saints that are joint heirs with Christ. Find some commonality and bridge that great divide with our love of God. We need disciples to carry this out too not just converts! But we should all be lifting each other up in prayer. We are all members of the Body of Christ. The foot is just as important as the hand.