Including my parents, my siblings’ families, and my uncles and aunts, from the time that I was a youth until the present day, those who are part of my family either were or continue to be members of at least seven different denominations. Having been exposed to denominationalism from an early age, I have long recognized what denominational “churches” are and comprehend their doctrine and their practices.
Would it be appropriate for a congregation of the Lord’s people to be supporting of a denominational activity? What about as individual members of the Christ’s spiritual body – would God be pleased if you or I as individuals gave verbal support, helping-hand support, or financial assistance to the various activities of any denominational group?
Consider these truths about denominations:
- They were all started by humans, not God.
- They all began many, many centuries after Jesus bought His own church with His blood.
- They are all unauthorized – in God’s sight, they have no right to exist.
- They teach falsely about what a lost person must do to be saved from his/her past sins.
- They practice unscriptural worship.
Not started by God, denominations’ existence is in vain (Psalm 127:1). Beginning centuries after Jesus established His church, they cannot be the one body/church which existed in the first century (Ephesians 1:22,23; 4:4). Having no right to exist in God’s sight, they will be uprooted (Matthew 15:13). Because they do not teach the truth about salvation, those who are influenced by and accept their false teaching will remain lost, having never obeyed the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9). And, those who join their unscriptural worship are not worshiping “in truth” (John 4:23,24).
If you ask how many times the word “denomination” is used in the Bible, that is easy to answer: “zero.” If you ask how many denominations the Lord had a part in establishing, the scriptural answer is still “zero.” Though denominations are not named specifically in the Bible, there are some biblical principles which can help us make proper conclusions about rendering assistance to denominational groups and their activities.
The establishment and maintenance of denominational “churches” or any other man-made religious organization is wrong. While it may be true that the persons involved in specific cases are kind and “good” in a moral sense, it is wicked to endorse or uphold that which violates God’s will. Consider a couple of Bible reminders. When Jehoshaphat joined forces with and assisted King Ahab, the most evil man to sit on the throne among God’s people, God sent a prophet to rebuke him. Why? Because, as the prophet said, Jehoshaphat had helped the wicked (2 Chronicles 19:1,2). We further read that Jeremiah pointed out this fault of the false prophets of his day: “They also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness” (Jeremiah 23:14). It is evil to hold up or strengthen the hands of people who do evil! And, when God’s people take such a course of action, they are being a stumblingblock to those who are in darkness. Why? Because our support of them makes them think that they do not need to change their ways; so, they continue their sinful choices.
The Holy Spirit instructed Timothy not to “share in other people’s sins” (1 Timothy 5:22). Other first-century saints were taught, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). It is written also that one who receives and greets those who do not bring the doctrine of the Christ is, in fact, guilty of sharing “in his evil deeds” (2 John 10,11). In this instance, the “evil” deed is proclaiming a false message. The guiding principle, though, is the same, whether we are contemplating immoral action, false worship, or false teaching (whether in or out of the Lord’s church): God does not want us to endorse or participate in the sinful activities of others.
The very existence of denominations is evil. Their teaching is wicked, too – it deceitfully comforts the hearts of the lost by convincing them that they are saved, even though they are not yet in the Christ. So, would it be acceptable for a congregation of the Lord’s church to support a denominational activity? No! Would it be acceptable for an individual member of the church to support a denominational activity? No! Remember what we noted in Jeremiah 23 – support of that which is wrong in God’s sight strengthens the hands of those involved in that wrong. This, we must n-o-t do.
If you are blessed with material wealth, and your denominational friend asks you to sponsor him/her on a “mission trip,” what to do? Politely decline.
If you have great musical skills and your dear friend arranges for you to be invited to help lead in her denomination’s worship by playing a musical instrument such as a piano or guitar as people sing praises to God, what to do? Politely decline.
If you are extremely close to your nephew, a denominational member, and he asks you to announce in our bulletin and pray for his denom’s upcoming Revival Meeting, what to do? I cannot give you the exact words to say to him, but we must not implore God to bless actions that do not please Him.
May God help all of us to be caring, courageous people. And support denomination activities? Never.
— Roger D. Campbell