The Church of Christ: A Denomination?
Whenever we talk about the church of Christ, we are not talking about a denomination or conglomeration of denominations, but God purposed the church as the Bible reveals (Eph. 3:10- 11). Prophets prophesied of it (Isa. 2:1-3; cf. 1 Tim. 3:14-15). Jesus Christ promised it (Matt. 16:18; 9:1). He purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28). On the Day of Pentecost following His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, it came with power (Acts 2). Notice with me this undenominational church in light of the religious confusion today by answering the following important questions.
In times of the New Testament, were Christians members of some denomination? No, Christians in New Testament times were not members of some denomination because denominations did not exist. In fact, the first denomination did not form until hundreds of years later. Were Christians in the times of the New Testament members of the church of our Lord? Yes. Why were they members of the church of Christ? They were members of the church of Christ because the Bible says so (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:1). Therefore, it is possible to be a member of the church in the Bible without being a member of a denomination.
If we were to follow the New Testament, would its commands lead one to become a member of a denomination? No, in order to become a member of a denomination, one must do something more than what the New Testament commands. Would it lead one to be a member of the church of our Lord? Yes!
If following the New Testament will not lead one to become a member of a denomination, what must one do to become a member of a denomination? He must leave the teachings of the New Testament. This shows us that there is a great difference between the church of our Lord and denominationalism.
Do those in denominations strictly adhere to the teachings of the New Testament? If they did, they would not be a denomination. We can see a difference in what some do and what the New Testament teaches. For example, concerning the plan of salvation, most denominations teach other things. Concerning worship, most denominations teach other things, although God means what He says and says what He means—Cain and Abel, Nadab & Abihu and such like illustrate this (John 4:24; Acts 20:7). Scholars agree to what these things mean, but it is a matter of whether God means what He says.
If everyone quit following everything but the New Testament and just followed the New Testament, what would happen? Denominations would crumble and go away. Would the church crumble? No, because following the New Testament makes one a member. Are there Christians in denominations? If so, how did they get there? (cf. Acts 2:47).
Therefore, we learn that Christians were not members of denominations in the times of the New Testament. Obeying the New Testament does not make one a member of a denomination. To become a member of a denomination, one must leave the teachings of the New Testament. Those in denominations do not strictly adhere to the teachings of the New Testament. If everyone followed only the New Testament, no one would be a member of a denomination!