There are hundreds of protestant denominations throughout the world. This isn’t an indication of spirituality, but rather evidence of man’s itch to build and his need to scratch that itch.
A denomination evolved as one church became two and two became ten and ten became a denomination. Having churches stand alone with only the Holy Spirit to guide them is scary. Big is better. Big is safer.
Often a denomination splits and becomes two. And splits again to become three or four. Life among builders and controllers is often dysfunctional as they jockey for status and relevance.
As a denomination grows so does its influence. Increased influence equals increased power. With power comes corruption. Always. Little power, little corruption. Lots of power, lots of corruption.
Denominations were created through compromise. The 2% ministerial added to and subtracted from The Word, altered some parts and ignored others, until another denomination, with its own blend of peculiarities and distinctives and perspectives, was birthed. Compromise gave it life, and compromise glues the pieces together, and compromise maintains it.
Denominations professing the lordship of Christ actually compete with Christ for the loyalty of God’s people. Their success has enfeebled millions of evangelicals (etcetera), which diminishes the urgency of Christ’s great commission, which explains why “the way that leads to destruction” is still “broad” and “the way which leads to life” is still “narrow”.
Since a denomination is not birthed by God it will never submit to the governance of the Holy Spirit. The folks collectively bow to rationalization, the same god that rules the world from which we were saved. In this ecclesiastical maze, the ordinary pour homage unto the exceptional who in turn pour homage unto the remarkable. Those in power bask in their power…. because power corrupts. Always.
The denomination placed one of their own behind the pulpit, and though the denominational lords cannot be seen, their influence blankets the congregators every gathering. The nervous heart of the pastor is more attuned to the officers above him than the people in his care.
From the pulpit comes a strong suggestion: You need us. The congregator who once leaned on the Holy Spirit for direction soon learns to lean on the organization. What can be more damaging to the Jesus-christian relationship?
Paul finished what he called “my race” only because he submitted to the Holy Spirit. Same with the eleven. Same with any true disciple of Christ. We have no hope of completing our race (our calling, our assignment) except by an allegiance to the Holy Spirit akin to Paul’s.
The strength of the local church comes from registered members, evangelicals fully surrendered to the causes of their corner of evangelicalism. More than insignificant adherents, they carry the financial burden of the church (and also support denominational headquarters). Will those investing much of their lives into making this thing work be satisfied at the judgment seat of Christ?
There is a much better way than church membership….
Have you heard the term church hopping? Church hopping is attending various churches instead of regularly attending one church. Though frowned upon by controllers, the church-hopper has a major advantage over the regulars. Not only does he get a healthy variety of perspectives, it is easier to dodge the religion and compromise that has ensnared the regular attenders.
A church-hopper is there for spiritual feeding from the pulpit and inspiration from the corporate praise and worship, nothing more. Her social requirements are necessarily established outside the church. He feeds the offering plate only as the Spirit of the Lord leads. They have no reason to read the church bulletin.
Leadership’s disdain for church-hoppers reveals their true motives – which is not the welfare of the church-hopper, but control over his/her life. How can they supervise someone who only shows up occasionally? Church-hoppers make lousy building material for the ambitious builders.
Sometimes we fail to see the obvious: The early church was profoundly fruitful, and yet denominations were not yet invented. What does that tell us?