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This just occurred at work this morning. It involved a conversation with a co-worker regarding Christian denominations, and saying that it didn't end well is an understatement. Every denomination within Christianity believes that they've  got it "right" when it comes to their doctrines and creeds, so why are there so many differences within denominations? Jesus said:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:20-22)

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Jesus desire that all in the Body of Christ to be united in beliefs of the truth (cf. Phil.2:2). So why is it the complete opposite these days? This has been happening for centuries. I'm am in no way desiring that Christian denominations should be united because I know that this may never happen while on Earth, only in Heaven, especially because it causes confusion. So to put it bluntly, one of my colleague's at work is a Seventh-day Adventists, and regardless of how many times I attempted to point him to the truth of what the Bible actually says, he disagrees. He brings his bible everywhere he goes, even at work or in the bathroom. I don't know what translation of the Bible he has (maybe ESV), but it isn't the KJV. This is probably one of the reasons why he gets some of the facts wrong regarding what the bible teaches. He believes (as a Seventh-day Adventist) that all other denominations are incorrect in their creeds and belief system, and that the SDA's are the only ones who are the closest to understanding what the Word of God teaches in all areas. So I thought about this...why are there so many Christian denominations, and how do we (as an IFB) know if our beliefs are the closest to what the bible actually teaches? Because every denomination within Christianity will tell us the same thing, and that any "Christian" belief that leads to condemnation is a cult. Why am I a IFB? Simply because I've prayed over this before and diligently studied the Bible and what it teaches.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

To me, Christianity is the largest "religion", and there are very many offshoots from it which are also large -- Mormonism (a cult and non-Christian), just for example.  Of course true Christianity is not a religion but a saving relationship -- with Jesus Christ -- and sadly, many "Christian" groups are composed of non-believers almost exclusively.  In fact, for all denominations outside of Protestantism, that would be my expectation based upon what I know and have heard and experienced; and even within Protestantism, 50/50 would probably be putting the number on the high end.  Add to that the fact that just being saved is not the end: we are here to grow, walk with Christ, and help others do likewise (that is the true purpose behind giving, and here most Christians in Laodicea fall far short.  Why are there such differences between groups that do have some believers?  I think mostly because neither they by and large nor their teachers/pastors are much interested in growing in the truth, so that "doctrinal differences" are more like club colors than any definite commitment to the truth.  Those who are truly seeking the truth of the Word and doing so diligently find themselves ever circling in on the perfect center; those who are not find themselves spinning away from it.  And therein I think lies the difference and the problem. Feel free to share your thoughts and additions on this!

God Bless,

Daniel

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"Why are there so many Christian denominations?"

1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 

 Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 

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I am not sure if this response is going to be on-topic with your OP, because I am going to be considering only “Christian denominations”.  It seems to be a more pertinent question, as to why all born again believers, do not all hold, identical doctrinal views.

I will try to make this as short as possible. In my discussions with other Christians from other Christian denominations over the years I have been asked this question several times. I remember what may be the very first time that I was asked this question as a pastor about 25 years ago. I was at a lumber yard buying some material to work on my house and the man that was assisting me ask me why there are so many different denominations if we all believe the same thing.

Well, I pulled out the little Gideon Bible I carry in my back pocket and I laid it on a 2'-4' that was laying on a nearby table and said, “Here is the Bible and here are all the different Churches” and made a chopping motion with my hand on the board, along side my Bible.  This is most likely the best illustration you can make, to answer this question.  I said to him, "This first denomination(closest to the Bible), is the Baptist and from there out you have all the others, Methodist, Pentecostal,  Presbyterian etc, etc".  And I said, “What makes each of these denominations different from each other is how far away from the Bible they are”.

Now recently I've been thinking about the subject of Baptist distinctives: and as I began to think about the doctrines that set the Baptist denomination apart from others I realized why we are different. And that is because we are not afraid to dig deep for deeper truths in God's word. The two examples that are uppermost in my mind at this moment are the doctrines of “eternal security” and “the priesthood of the believer”. As I began to articulate some of these Baptist doctrines to other it quickly became apparent that I was taking them into deeper waters and they were used to.

Christian Denominations differ, because of how meticulously they study the Bible and accept the truths they find(in the same way that individual Christians differ).

As for how the LORD feels about these differing views among Believers, this can be found in Romans 14:1-ff
V.1 ¶ Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, [but] not to doubtful disputations.
V.2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
V.3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” (Romans 14:1-3)

The Lord wants us all to get along with each other, because "He has received us", even though some of us may have a deeper understanding of God’s truth, than others do.

 

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Denominations like political parties are evil.  They divide and do not unite.  New Testament Christians or Independent Baptists as they are called in America, are not a denomination.

 

Even our enemies admit that Baptists follow the bible closer than they do.  Fools.

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I find it very troubling that some "Christian" denominations could be classified as a cult. Although there is no technical definition. Functionally, when we use the word "cult" in this country we usually mean some sort of non-traditional group where the participants sever all ties with the outside world, give up their all of their property and all of their freedom to the cult leader, and engage in all sorts of odd and sometimes dangerous behavior.  Come to think of it, for many groups which are Christian in name only -- and even some awash in legalism or charismatic excess -- if we were to use the word "some" instead of "all" in the places it occurs in the definition above, the shoe would fit.  Nearly all denominations, it seems, are more interested in their traditions and outward forms than they are in the truth of scripture; that is a problem even if it is not as big of a problem as one finds in the R.C. church, Mormonism, and various out and out cults that dot the landscape today. When it comes to the R.C. church in particular, I don't think I've ever met an R.C. who claimed to believe in everything the church taught or who engaged in all of its practices.  But I've also never met anyone who has come to be fully committed to Christ and who has left that church who didn't claim that it was impossible to be a believer and an R.C. at the same time. Only genuine faith in Christ and a genuine commitment to learning the truth of His Word, following it and helping other do the same, cut any mustard with Him.

When it comes to some denominations, well, some believe in the post-Trib rapture (wrong and dangerous); they also believe in life at conception (God gives life at birth, people don't generate it biologically) . . . one could go on.  Some also tend to be very legalistic; and that is deadly to any sort of genuine spiritual growth. So while, depending on the type of denomination (there are dozens of sub-denominations as there used to be with the Presbyterians) and the specific church in question, there may not be anything more than a better cover picture on the cereal box . . . with pretty much the same old gruel on the inside.
 
God Bless,
Daniel

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