Why Being Non-Denominational Is Not Good Enough

Text: Revelation 3:1

In the past, more emphasis was placed upon denominational affiliation. But for many today, this is less important. This mindset has given rise to the number of “non-denominational” churches. For years, faithful brethren have rightly condemned denominationalism. So is the trend of non-denominationalism a good thing? Maybe not. Why not? Simply being non-denominational is not good enough.

Reminder: Why Is Denominationalism Wrong?

  • Jesus built just one church (Matthew 16:18; cf. Ephesians 1:22-23)
  • Denominationalism purports to divide the body of Christ – such division is condemned (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)
  • Denominationalism proclaims a different gospel – such preaching is condemned (Galatians 1:6-9)
  • Denominationalism keeps people from being saved – salvation is only in the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:23); we are baptized into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Acts 2:38, 41, 47)

Local Churches Are to Be Non-Denominational

  • Autonomous – self-governing (1 Peter 5:1-2); above the elders there is only Christ (1 Peter 5:4), not a larger denominational body
  • Independent – self-sufficient (1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 4:16); God designed the local church to be able to carry out the work He gave for it to do
  • Unaffiliated – not part of a confederacy of churches (Romans 16:16); they are “of Christ,” not part of any group/conference/synod/council

Non-Denominationalism Alone Is Not Enough

  • A church may be autonomous, independent, unaffiliated, and still be wrong – there’s a difference between “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) and a typical “community” church
  • Must do the work of the church (Colossians 3:17; Matthew 7:22-23) – evangelism (1 Thessalonians 1:8), edification (Hebrews 10:24-25), and limited benevolence (Acts 4:32-35)
  • Must engage in Scriptural worship (John 4:24) – singing (Ephesians 5:19), praying (Acts 4:31), teaching (1 Corinthians 14:26), Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7), giving (1 Corinthians 16:2)
  • Must be Scripturally organized – elders, deacons, and members (Philippians 1:1); elders and deacons must be qualified (1 Timothy 3:1-13), and cannot be appointed before then
  • Must teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) – cannot add to, take from, or change the gospel (Galatians 1:6-9)
  • Must teach the plan of salvation – belief (John 8:24), repentance (Luke 13:3, 5), confession (Romans 10:9-10), baptism (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21)
  • Most “non-denominational” churches do not measure up

Why “Non-Denominationalism” Is Dangerous

  • Not “non-denominational” like faithful “churches of Christ” are – really, they are more anti-denominational or pre-denominational
  • “Non-denominational” churches of men are dangerous
  • They give people a false sense of security (Amos 6:1, 7; 5:18-24) – they see no need to change
  • They lead people out of denominationalism without leading them into the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23)

Conclusion

  • The Scriptures show that denominationalism is wrong – but a church being “non-denominational” does not necessarily make it right
  • We must be part of the Lord’s church – not a church of man (regardless of whether it is denominational or non-denominational)
  • The Lord adds us to His church when we obey the gospel (Acts 2:38, 41, 47)

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on Government, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Social Issues.