I just “googled” on the internet and asked this question. How many different denominations are there? There were various answers because there is no precise, uniform definition as to what a denomination is which makes it difficult to answer, but the answer given is astounding.
What would be your answer to this question? You look around where you live and there are older religions which have been around for centuries. Then, there are newer denominations beginning in the community church movement. As you drive around you see new churches beginning often as small groups in local abandoned shops. You watch the news and hear how even the older denominations are splitting over moral issues like homosexuality and the sanctity of marriage. Just how many denominations are there with doctrines and practices which separated them from others. What would be your answer to the question?
The answer given? There are at least 34,000 and possibly 41,000 denominations in our world! Contrast this with the reality that in the first century there were no denominations at all. Every church was like every other church (1 Cor. 4:17), and any departure from uniformity was confronted and dealt with. There was just one body of believers. Some may think such could not exist but read the words of Paul. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). God does not demand the impossible, but if such were followed today there would not be a single denomination.
How did all of this come about? Beginning this Tuesday morning, we will find the answer. The class is open to everyone, and if you have any interest in finding the answer make your plans to become part of this study. Let me encourage those of you who have attended the Tuesday class to make sure others know about the class. It will be a great way to let neighbors and friends find the answer.
What did “Christendom” look like in the centuries immediately following the establishment of the church? What did it look like a thousand years after the church began? We know what it looks like today—from one uniform church to over 30,000 different churches—how did all of this come about? Read those words of Paul again and think of the fact that we are not all speaking the same thing with the same judgment about God’s truth.
It will be a great study. Make your plans to be at this one-hour weekly study beginning Tuesday at 10:30.