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So, to brainstorm, if the Lord will do as Ephesians 4:11-13 says, and if denominations are to come to an end, then practically speaking, how do you suppose He will do that? My conviction is that the Lord will use the difficult times that come upon the world in the last days to sift and refine the Church. In this process, the demands put upon the Church in the last days will demand the Church make a decision to follow Christ, pressing on unto maturity, and in doing so, will be forced to abandon everything that is not born of the Spirit of God.
At the same time though, I believe the Lord has been waking believers up to these truths concerning denominations being something born out of a schismatic attitude and hero worship than anything having to do with the Spirit of God. In part, I believe that is why many within the Church today have little to no loyalty to the denomination they may belong to. Indeed, in part the rise of the "non-denominational" movement is probably a reflection of this.
| 2010/9/6 10:15||Profile|
| Re: |
I feel after further thought that I need to clarify a few things about my stand to not sign on the dotted line. I am in submission to those who are in leadership over me. I shared with my pastor about why I feel restrained from "joining" a church on paper. He was very understanding and still has the heart to allow me to participate in everything. He has never made me feel like a partial member.
I also know that just because folks have signed on the dotted line does not mean they are there or take part. In fact I who have not signed on the dotted line am there all the time, and many of those who did sign are seldom there and many don't participate at all.
I do believe what will happen is that persecution and difficult times will make us all band together as one. I actually look forward to those days. We will find out just how wonderful community really is.
I saw pictures this morning of muslims bowing down in the streets on New York City in prayer, while christians can't even have a cross on in many places, Salvation Army workers could not wear their T-shirts with SA logos on them while helping with disaster relief. The tides are turning, and on the surface they are not in our favor. But what does that matter we are in His favor and that is all that matters. We shall overcomer and be with Him where He is. Hallelujah!!!!! We just need to bring as many as possible with us.
I have been reading the early church fathers, Ignatius and the others had no fear of death, and in fact welcomed it so they might see Him face to face. We need that heart in us for the days ahead. We need not fear what is coming on the earth because we know Who wins.
| 2010/9/6 11:03||Profile|
| Re: |
Jimmy said, "I have thought about doing such before. But I've decided that by officially joining a local church, even if that technically makes me part of a denomination, my loyalty is ultimately only to the local church I've joined. At best, I look at my association with the denomination as a way of networking with other local churches in the area. But sometimes, I've found in some denominations, they have little to no involvement with sister churches under the denominational label, even if they are only down the street."
If you believe the Lord plans to put an end to denominationalism, what about identifying with what you believe, Jimmy?
...Or are you concerned you might lose out on that "networking" advantage that membership in the denomination gets you? If you can't produce your membership card, you might be suspect, ay? They might not let you behind the pulpit.
Of course, identifying with the truth will always bring a cross into our lives.
| 2010/9/6 11:05||Profile|
| Re: The End of Denominations|
 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,  for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Epheisans 4:11-13 NASB)
A couple of questions i would ask about this passage of text before i would attempt an exegesis.
1. If denominations did not exist at the time this scripture was written. What did the church at the time understand the scripture to mean?
2. there are many false ways or denominations but is the scripture really talking about consolidation of all these false perverted ways?
3. is unity and unification the same thing in the context of what is spoken of?
4. is there any eschatological difficulties in correctly interpreting this verse.
if i was to read into the scripture eisegetically then.....
when the church faces end of days apocalyptic persecution before the return of christ. there wont be a baptist church or a pentecostal church there will just be a persecuted church. The pastors wont fly around in private jets they will probably be living in caves on a can of baked beans for on week.
| 2010/9/6 11:09||Profile|
| Re: |
I appreciate the many good points that many of you have made concerning Denominations. The scripture that Nathan quoted is the heart of the Lord concerning His people, and that is that we would all be made one.
The Body of Christ consists of many different members in one body. It is unity in diversity. The basis of our unity is being in Christ. "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:4-6).
The Church is the Body of Christ and the Body of Christ cannot be divided therefore God is against anything that divides His Body. Denominations do not bring unity to the Body but division.
Many denominations had their beginnings in revivals and moves of God. Fresh revelation and restoration of vital truths were restored to the Church. However any time that man gets his hands on that which God is doing, the end result will be that of mixture, having some of God in it and a lot of man. Instead of Jesus building His Church, what we have is man building his own little kingdoms for his own glory.
Christ is the Head of His Body and men are the heads of the various denominations. The true Church can be in the denominations but the denominations can never be the Church. It is only what God is building on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ that will endure the great shaking in these last days. All that man has built will be consumed as wood, hay, and stubble in the fire that will try all things.
The true Church is a living breathing organism which is filled by the Spirit of God, while the organized Church is an organization that is built by man. The true Church is being led by the Spirit of God through waiting on Him and seeking Him in fervent prayer. The organized Church moves through planning by committees that are set up by man.
| 2010/9/6 11:18||Profile|
| Re: |
Good questions AD. I've had to wrestle with them myself. No doubt, I've signed on the dotted lines for the "advantages" that come with such membership. But I don't look at that any differently than Paul being a Jew unto Jews and as a Gentile to Gentiles. To me, it's no different than Timothy undergoing circumcision for the purpose of His ministry unto the Jews. It's just a "practical" step I've undertaken, so as to increase the sphere of my ministry.
Besides, Paul talked of being the "approved among you," in regard to the divisions that existed in Corinth. Those of us who do not carry about us a party spirit can still run in these circles, though we are not of them. Indeed, our ability to fellowship in the midst of these factions, and across party lines reveals just where we stand in regard to the Lord and each other.
Indeed, we must be careful not to be factitious even concerning being non-denominational. Paul said some in Corinth said they were "of Christ" in contrast to those who said they were of Paul or Cephas.
And for the record, I've preached in pulpits of churches that I had no denominational affiliations with.
| 2010/9/6 11:26||Profile|
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Without having read the entire thread, I will comment that denominations are not necessarily a "bad" thing. If we are out of town and searching for a church in which to gather with the saints on a Sunday morning it is certainly very beneficial to have that sign out front that tells me a little bit about that church. If I see "Reformed Presbyterian" I know what to expect. If I see "Southern Baptist" I know what to expect. If I see "First Church of Crystal Powers and Resurrection Hippie-dom" I may not know what to expect but I know well enough to leave alone!
But should there be divisions between denominations that hold to and preach the same basic essential doctrines? Absolutely not.
| 2010/9/7 7:43|
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Such is a fair point. I went to a church out of town this weekend while visiting my parents, one associated with the denomination of the church I attend. However, I think a basic description on the sign such as "Evangelical" would've been enough to tell me that church is probably grounded in something resembling Biblical Christianity. As it is, I've personally found over the years that churches within the same denomination can be VERY different from one another, even if there is a somewhat common denominational "culture" associated with them. So, such tags aren't always helpful, though, I get the point you are making.
| 2010/9/7 8:31||Profile|
| Re: |
Hey, thats an excellent point to. Example: how many different flavors of Baptists are there? Ultra liberal to extreme fundamentalism.
| 2010/9/7 8:44|
| Re: The End of Denominations|
I read this thread and appreciated the comments. We are in the Harvest, which is foundationally separation. One union will is drawn to God, one union to be burnt. The Bible says that THE BODY [the Bride ] has made herself ready. One Body, One Lord, One Baptism, One faith...
Paul spoke quite directly about denominations...NAMES...primarily of sects drawn around men, and their doctrinal flavor I presume...[ Isn't that how it always is? ] One says that I am of Paul, One says that I am of Apollos, One of Cephas, One of Paul...and his response to them all was "Was Paul crucified for you?"...meaning that to act in such away, was to remove yourself from Lordship...that pure devotion to Jesus alone.
Generally, I have found most denominations to be filled with spiritual babies, spoon fed, and adhering to forms of ecclesiastical order...the "service" order is first passed out, with exact times designated for announcements, "worship" preaching, the "offering and tithe", and "ministry" time...if their is any..when in reality the Holy Spirit has been quenched every minute of the gathering, and probably for years and years.
And everything seems to be centered around "the Pastor"...an unscriptural reference if their ever was one.
"Diotrephes is the only one mentioned in the New Testament singulary, and 3John makes it clear his status in the apostles eyes.....EVIL. Always plural and equal...that is the Bible truth anyway.
Mostly, denominations are Pulpit driven and deny the least of the Brethren in ministry, sisters, and the weak. Paul, the apostle made it very clear that without including the weaker, we deprive ourselves GRACE...and we are no body at all, but pretenders.
There has and is, a floodgate opened in the Denominational world, of souls fleeing the deadness , and hypocrisy of it all. The one man show, the pews, the handshake and "love" you only seem to get for that 90 minutes...?? Perhaps 40%-50% have vanished, in the last 20 years, and many such churches have shut down.
This of course has brought the "user friendly" gospel to us..along with the liberal excesses of the "Emergent" church, just to fill up the churches, and numbers have replaced holiness, and a prosperous organization that assures the well being and happiness [ "needs" ] of the people; the epitome of true ministry.
Worship is now entertaining, as is the witty and often funny preaching...and the Starbucks quality coffee bar in the lobby keeps you alert. There are lessor and grater variations, but in reality, it is dead religion, that will kill you if you do not find life....which will only come learning to walk with Jesus.
"The Lord seeks WORSHIPERS, and those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth." If you do not flee the death in a false worship system, you may perish. It is your responsibility, not another.
The answer?...Home churches? Maybe, but you can take folks out of religion, but it is a bit harder to remove religion from the hearts of men. Often, we find ambition in many home churches..someone qualified to teach and control..[so they think...they may know Greek...that would surely make them qualified...] or a man or woman with a success driven personality that sees anything less than leading God's people as a lessor goal.
God is shutting down Names except the Great Name, and we will become One Body in these last days, for it is written; "THE BRIDE HAS MADE HERSELF READY!"...and I assure you, this is unto the least of the Brethren, wether we like it or not. Beware how you discern and honor the body of Christ, and we are our brother's keepers. Ministry minds and denomination usually do not see this.
| 2010/9/7 12:26|