ChurchETHOS

A Case for Denominations

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on September 30, 2005

Are denominations evil? Do the reflect an unhealthy fracturing of the Body of Christ? Or are denominations simply larger expressions of local churches banding together with a common purpose and identity. A lot of emerging church leaders believe that denominations are of the devil. I’m not so sure. I’m not happy with a lot of what denominations can do to the church, but that doesn’t mean everything about them is bad. I am of the opinion that soon there won’t be denominations anyway because as a culture we are moving away from systems thinking. Meanwhile, I love the association and partnership I have with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Our church is affiliated with the Baptist Convention of New England which is a regional association of the larger Southern Baptist Convention. I am grateful for the association and partnership I have with other churches all over New England as we hear of what God is doing, help each other when we hit a wall, and genuinely care for our fellow pastors and church leaders. As a part of a denomination, I have accountability and encouragement from others that are doing the same thing I am doing.

Not only do I have an association with other BCNE pastors and leaders, but I am a part of a world-wide mission sending agency that is unmatched in North America. Every year I take college students all over the world which exposes them to the need of people in India or Ecuador and etc. There are tons of mission sending agencies, but I have bought in to the responsibility that the SBC has towards it’s missionaries and short-term volunteers.

I may disagree with how our business is handled sometimes (a vote by delegates from all over the country in a very publicized yearly event), and I admit that sometimes we are known by our negatives, but the association I have with local pastors and the opportunities for missions around the world are great benefits to being a part of a denomination.

Of course, I have a great friendship with other local ministers who are not BCNE affiliated. I can appreciate efforts of others in missions around the world, but when I tell people why I am Southern Baptist, it is because I believe in those things very strongly.

Besides, whatever some may have against the SBC, you can’t say we don’t love God’s Word, seek His will, desire to reach out to our communities, etc. We don’t have a monopoly on the Kingdom of God, but we want the Kingdom of God to have a monopoly on us. I hope other denominations desire the same thing. I can’t speak for all denominations, but I can speak for my own. The SBC has it’s share of problems, but I can do something about my denomination, what are you doing about yours? Let’s stop railing against the evils of denominations and start living holy lives set apart for God’s glory regardless of denominational affiliation.

Finally, I believe that unity can be different from uniformity. Some have different strategies for discipleship, others have different ideas about evangelism. We all sense different shades of meaning from Scripture. I believe all Truth can be known, but there are some things in Scripture that I believe God made purposefully vague. Not because He doesn’t know what’s right and wrong in every situation, but because it might just be a minor issue. Maybe if people WITHIN the denominations stopped making such a big deal about our differences, the world wouldn’t be so confused BY our “divisions”. Let’s focus on what unifies us rather than what divides us. Let’s begin allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work and to guide us in every step while at the same time, not forsaking the friendships and relationships that can be built with a group that has the same affinity and kindred spirit that we have.

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