QUESTION: “If there’s only one God and only one Bible, then why are there so many different churches or denominations?”
Excellent question! Certainly that’s not the way God intended for it to be, nor is it the way things were in the first century between 33 A.D. when Christ established His church (Matt. 16:18-19) on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-47), and the writing of Revelation by John, somewhere near the end of the 1st century. During that time the Scripture shows us but one church in existence. The church was the body of Christ, and there was only one (Eph. 1:22-23, 4:4-6). During that time all the ‘churches’ (that is to say, local congregations of the same, one, exclusive, New Testament church over which Jesus was Head – Eph. 1:22-23) all taught the same things (1 Cor. 4:17, 7:17, 11:16, 16:1). They were expressly, exclusively, and unequivocally committed to the apostles’ doctrine only (Acts 2:42), as the apostles alone delivered by divine authority the very commandments of God (1 Cor. 14:33-38; 1 Thess. 2:13, 4:1-8; 2 Tim. 1:13).
Divisions (or denominations) were thoroughly condemned (1 Cor. 1:10-13), while unity was achieved only by simply standing together as one on the absolute truth of God’s Word just as Jesus had prayed for (John 17:6-23; Phil. 1:27-2:2). For 200 years or so thereafter there was but the one church Jesus built as seen in Scripture. Emperor Constantine later (313-337) began departures from the Scripture that led to the foundation of the Catholic Church being laid, and it wasn’t until 1517 that the first major protestant denominations began to be built by mere mortal men (Matt. 15:7-9), which did not resemble the church of Christ as seen in Scripture (Rom. 16:16), its having been established some 1484 years earlier. Most people are stunned to learn that in fact, none of the modern-day Protestant denominations (i.e. divisions) are more than 500 years old, being founded and established by mere, mortal men instead of Christ and His hand-picked, divinely-inspired apostles.
Bottom Line? There is one and only one God, one faith, one Lord, one baptism, and one body/church, according to God Himself in His holy word – period (Eph. 4:4-6). Want to learn more about the Lord’s one N.T. church as established and experienced in Scripture; the same one the apostles worked and worshipped both with and in respectively? Come and see and check us out. Ask for a study. Ask questions. We’re easy to find, both in the phone book, and, unlike the denominations, also in The Book (Acts 2, Rom. 16:16).