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TomL
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PostSubject: Denominationalism   Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:05 am

DENOMINATIONALISM
by Glenn M. Wenger

Denominationalism is turning our focus from Christ to our denomination or group. It is a sign of carnality. This is what the Corinthians did and Paul reproved them for their carnality: "For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?" (1 Corinthians 3:4). He pointed out to them that Paul and Apollos were merely ministers by whom they believed. For that they should be appreciated, but not make more of them. "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:13). We want to remember that our identity is in Christ, who is our salvation and our all.

Churches and denominations have the right and responsibility to provide guidelines and applications of Scriptural principles for their members, and the members should willingly comply unless something is contrary to Scripture. However, it is carnality to use these applications to distinguish ourselves among other churches or conferences. We should not strive to be recognized as a member of our denomination, but as the members of Christ. When denominational identity has become our motive it is carnality. All that we do should be to bring glory to God. When our church group becomes our focus, it becomes our idol, taking the place of God, and destroying the faith and unity in Christ.

May we always remember that our unity is in the faith in Jesus Christ. As we remember that, we recognize that we are not in unity with those who reject the faith as taught in the Scriptures. We also recognize that we are in unity with all true believers who embrace the Scriptural faith in Christ - regardless of denomination. There are no half brothers in Christ's fold. It is carnality that causes people to focus on creating differences for the sake of church identity.

Denominationalism is the same as individuality, but on a group scale. Whereas individuality focuses on self, denominationalism focuses on "us" or my group. Both are the result of carnality drawing the focus away from Christ, where it belongs.

May each one of us focus on serving the Lord Jesus Christ. May we each rejoice with the successes of any other sound Christian group, and weep and warn where there is a turning aside from the truth, regardless of denomination. May we all labor together in God's harvest field, serving Him with hearts undivided by denominationalism.

-from the December, 2012 issue of "Way of Truth."
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