Denominational Christians – Fact or Fiction ? by Keith Mosher, Sr.
Are there children of God in the denominations? Those who have accepted the call of Christ into simple New Testament Christianity are, of course, concerned about the eternal status of their friends in denominations.
In the Beginning, No Denominations
In the New Testament, individuals were never in denominations. All people were called out of the world and into what the Bible calls the “body of Christ” in exactly the same way: “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:14). The gospel is presented as a form of doctrine (Rom. 6:17). That “form” includes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). All men who received the gospel and obeyed it were Christians in New Testament days. Each one heard the gospel which produced faith (Rom. 10:17). Each one believed (or rejected) the gospel of Christ since it is the only power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Each one repented of his sins (i.e., made a mental decision to stop sinning and to turn to Christ (Mt. 21:28-29). Each one was then immersed in water to wash away his sins (Acts 22:16). The act of immersion was commanded by Christ (Mk. 16:16), put one into Christ (Gal. 3:27) and put one into the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3-4).
It was in His death that Christ shed His blood; therefore one is washed of sins by the blood of Christ at the time of immersion. No unbelieving, unrepentant, un-immersed person was ever in the “body of Christ” in New Testament days. Each believing, repentant, immersed person was added to the body of Christ by the Lord (Acts 2:47; 5:11).
The Saved Are in One Body
Are there children of God in the denominations? For a denomination to be the “body of Christ” implies that denominations are universally composed of all the saved. They are not. In the New Testament, the body of Christ was a universal concept (Mt. 16:18). The body of Christ is the church of Christ (Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 12:20, 27). If a denomination is claiming to be a part of the body of Christ, then it is too small to be the body. But, the apostle Paul wrote to New Testament Christians and stated explicitly: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Cor. 12:27, emphasis mine, KM).
Are there children of God in the denominations? The New Testament no where authorizes or justifies the existence of any religious organization except the church that Jesus established and of which all the early followers of Jesus were members. Could one introduce Jesus as an Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, etc.? Why not? These groups did not exist until hundreds of years after the resurrection of Christ.
Creeds of Men Divide, Condemn
Are there children of God in the denominations? The doctrines and creeds written by men support religious division. Those supporting sectarianism are guilty of sin (Mt. 15:9-13; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9; John 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10-13 and Gal. 5:20-21). No one can continue in sin and be pleasing to God. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1-2).
Denominational Dogma Versus Christ
Are there children of God in the denominations? A person cannot obey the gospel as the New Testament teaches one to do, if he is “baptized” according to modern denominational teachings. The purpose of denominational “baptism” is to dedicate babies, to remove “original sin” from babies (a non-New Testament idea – Mt. 18:1-3), or to show the world one is “already saved” (according to their doctrine!). None of these practices is scriptural or authorized by the Bible. Even though men call it baptism, it is not New Testament baptism and is thus condemned by the words of Jesus (John 12:48).
The Bible teaches that only those who are old enough to believe in the atoning Christ, repent of their sins, confess the name of Christ before witnesses (1 Tim. 612), are fit candidates for immersion in water (eis, Greek, Acts 2:38, “for” in KJV), that is, “unto,” or “looking toward” the remission of sins. Only then is one a child of God!
Christians Displaced Are Sinning Christians
Are there children of God in the denominations? The possibility exists that one could be immersed for the remission of sins and thus be added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:47), but then place his membership on a denominational roll. By so doing, he would be disobeying God by supporting division and false teaching (2 John 9-11; Gal. 1:6-9), and thus be in danger of eternal torment in hell! One cannot please God by disobeying God. He might be CALLED a child of God, but he is an erring one. Disobedient and defiant children of God are lost (Mt. 7:21-23; Luke 6:46).