7 Reasons Christian Denominations Are A Stupid Idea

christian-denominations-bad-idea

So let me just come right out and say it.

Christian denominations are a really, really bad idea.

In fact, they’re the worst!

I’m not talking about any specific denomination. I’m talking about the very existence of denominations within the Church.

Denominations are part of a system that is rendering the Western Church ineffective, both to its own members and society at large.

Here’s why.

1. Denominations directly promote division

Are we the Body of Christ? The theoretical answer is “yes”, but for all practical purposes, we aren’t Christians.

We are Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Catholics, etc.

And this isn’t just semantics. Most denominations want nothing to do with each other. You can spend a year at any given church and never meet someone from a different church right down the road.

It’s insanity. It’s the opposite of family.

And it’s NOWHERE in the Bible.

Paul didn’t address the believers at the First Apollos Church of Corinth.

No. He addressed the CHURCH at Corinth.

In other words, if you were in the same city, you were part of the same church.

As Christians, we should be working together to bring the world into a revelation of the Father, just as Jesus did.

Instead, we are finding new ways to avoid each other.

2. Denominations discourage family

Family is based on identity. You are my father/mother/uncle/grandmother. I am your son/daughter/nephew/granddaughter.

It’s an inherent part of our identity. There is nothing we can do to change it.

That’s what the Body of Christ is supposed to look like. Family.

But unlike family, Christian denominations do not congregate based on identity. They congregate based on agreement.

You believe the same thing as me, so we can spend time together and develop relationship. You think similarly to me, so everything is dandy and I want you in my life.

But what happens when we stop agreeing?

Church split. Or you just pack up and leave. Simple. I’m offended with your beliefs now, so I’m gone.

That’s not family. That’s not even meaningful friendship.

That’s just “church”.

3. Denominations prevent long-term spiritual growth

So we are getting together based on agreement, right?

Here’s the kicker. Not only does agreement-based church discourage family, but it also prevents long-term spiritual growth.

How so?

Just like a small child, brand new Christians often need direct feeding. It’s what Paul refers to as “milk” (1 Cor 3:2).

They don’t really need to be thinking for themselves just yet. They need to learn the essentials from their parents, and given that most Christian denominations agree on “the essentials,” a structured church environment can be a good place for a new believer.

But then they hit the “teenage” years, where it’s time to begin thinking for themselves and putting what they’ve been taught to the test. And just like so many over-controlling parents, many communities of Christians seek to control these believers into thinking as they do.

Denominations further exacerbate this problem, because the institutions themselves are dependent upon maintaining agreement. As a denominational pastor, I know that you aren’t in my church because I’m a spiritual father in your life.

You’re here because you agree with me, and the moment we stop agreeing, you are going to leave.

That means I can’t allow you to think for yourself. I need you to think how I think.

And if everyone is thinking alike, no one is growing.

If everyone is thinking alike, the Church, as a whole, isn’t growing…

4. Denominations prevent Church-wide revelation

Here’s the deal. No one on this Earth has a perfect revelation of God.

Jesus revealed the Father, kickstarting 2,000+ years of relationship. Relationship is never intended to be stagnant. It’s progressive.

God is infinite, and there is always more of Him to explore. His Presence in our life was never intended to be left to the pages of a Book.

He is here, NOW, doing new things and revealing Himself continuously to people all over the world in ways we’ve never imagined.

Denominations are predicated on an idea that we’ve already figured it out. We have all the answers, so it’s time to stop learning and start getting everyone to agree with us.

If we are actually getting to know God more and more each day, our theology should be continuously changing.

Yes, there are many, many things the Bible can tell us, and we should utilize it’s revelation. But our theology was never meant to be based on a book.

I know people who can give me all the stats and info on a celebrity they’ve never met. I know Christians who can give me all the scriptures on a God they’ve never met.

When we all get together and decided we have it all figured out, we are effectively disqualifying ourselves from learning anything new. Which means we aren’t getting to know God any better.

5. Denominations create unnecessary rules that mess people up

As a leader in a Christian denomination, I need my church members to think like I do and do as I do.

But how can I make that happen?

Rules.

Because we aren’t teaching believers to think for themselves, there is no internal motivation within our churches. Everything must be externally motivated.

Do this. Don’t do that.

We have rules for everything – even for things the Bible never mentions – kind of like the Pharisees.

On the one hand, it makes life needlessly complicated. I had a reader email me about navigating dating laws within different denominations.

He wanted to date a girl from a different church, but her pastor had rules for dating that conflicted with his pastor’s rules for dating, and he was caught between a rock and hard place.

We’ve created quite a needless mess for ourselves, but that’s not nearly the worst of it.

The really tragedy is what we use to motivate adherence to these rules.

6. Denominations often motivate with fear

The real tragedy isn’t that we have a few inconvenient, necessary rules to follow.

The true tragedy is that Christian denominations often use fear to motivate behavioral change rather than love to facilitate heart transformation.

We equate standing before Christ with our behavior. Our theology may say otherwise, but if you look at the money trail, we are motivating through fear.

“If you don’t date according to these rules, you are going to fall into lust and ruin your life.”

“If you don’t tithe, God won’t let you be financially successful.”

“If you don’t agree with this interpretation of the Bible, you’re falling into heresy and can’t be a part of this community.”

If you don’t do _____, you’ll be punished. It’s all fear, and it really ***** people up.

I’m young, but I’ve already had the privilege of ministering to many people who have spent 50+ years in the church. It’s amazing how broken many of these people are. They’ve spent their whole life without a voice, without the power to choose, being sucked dry without anyone investing in the dreams of their heart.

Thank God that He is pouring out His Spirit on ALL flesh. Thank God that these precious children of the Most High are coming into an understanding of their identity as valued sons and daughters. Thank God that old men are beginning to dream again.

7. Denominations castrate the church’s influence in society

It’s no secret that influence is often measured in numbers, and bigger numbers tend to leave a bigger mark.

When we are constantly splitting into different groups, we effectively eliminate our influence. Instead of a unified Church bringing the world into a revelation of the Father, we are instead engaged in a ceaseless squabble over the pettiest of arguments.

Our influence, as a whole, is humorous, when it should be monumental.

The more we bicker the less influential we become. Nowadays, secular society doesn’t even need to denounce us. We are constantly degrading each other.

Reading the comments section on Relevant Magazine or Fox News is one of the most disappointing things I do in a given month.

We denominational Christians are so eager to attack each other – so eager to trash fellow believers because we don’t like something they said. So ready to get angry or offended.

Is any of this reminding you of Jesus?

No.

The only reason anyone should pay attention to us is if we are living in wholeness, enjoying the abundant life Jesus offered and the world craves.

That’s our ticket to influence. We have something literally EVERYONE wants.

Well… we could have it. But most of us are too busy being angry and offended to live abundantly.

A Unified Church IS Our Future

I’m writing this because, if I have anything to do with it, my generation will shed the denominational system like a tattered snake skin. The seeds have been sown.

The future of the Church IS unity.

And a unified church looks like family. It looks like fathers and mothers. It looks like sons and daughters. It looks like a community of healthy, powerful people growing in understanding of their Heavenly Father and inviting the world into abundant life.

If you attend a denominational church, I’m not asking you to leave your church. I’m asking you to reform your thinking.

I’m asking you to invest in your fellow believers like family. I’m asking you to give yourself and others the freedom to think for yourselves.

I’m asking you to fight for relationship instead of bailing when it gets tough or inconvenient.

We are the Body of Christ.

Here’s to a body in one piece.

Jacob McMillen

Jacob McMillen is a professional writer, preacher, and the chief editor of Uncompromised Men. In addition to throwing down sweet lines on manly topics, he enjoys writing about theology and will absolutely steal your dignity on the basketball court. Follow him on twitter @jmcmillen89… if you dare.

  • Lissandro Jonas

    Great text! I’m completely thankful for it, and let’s pray to GOD in order to ask for unity, because it is what we are needing these days. JESUS is coming! Let’s hurry up on union!

  • Desmond M. Watson

    I agree and disagree.

    I think the very idea of denomination or (as you correctly put it) “separation” of the Church (“big C”) presupposes discord and enmity. So before we even begin to talk about the separation, we HAVE to talk about what causes the separation- in this case the unwillingness of Mankind to allow other to think for themselves. But let’s skip the Dark Ages and get to the heart of the matter: humans suck. #sinprobz

    That being said, I do not believe denominations are inherently “bad” or “evil,” nor am I saying you are saying that (which you may be, but that’s beside the point). But I believe that denominations help facilitate what people think is “more true” of Scripture from what they think is “less true” of Scripture. And that’s not saying that the Bible is flawed in any way, but that our judgement of a thing is incomplete and not perfect.

    There’s more I want to say on the issue, but instead of ranting about it I’ll try my best to summarize the point- in an utopian society, one Church can be a reality, but because of sin and our own need to have people conform to our personal beliefs this dream cannot be reality (until the return of Christ). So we can allow this division to divide us as a whole, or we can allow it sharpen each other and learn what others believe.

    I want to ask you two question- what do you mean by our “theology” should be continuously changing (because God is immutable and never changing, and theology literally means the “study of God”); and also what do you mean by “our theology was never meant to based on a book” (what have you discovered about God that Scripture doesn’t exemplify)?

    Peace and much love.

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Good points Desmond. I definitely am NOT saying denominations are evil!

      To answer your question, God doesn’t change, but we have an extremely narrow view of Him. He is infinite and thus, by definition, beyond our comprehension.

      The Bible introduces us to God, just as Jesus introduced mankind to the Father. It is the inspired Word of God, but it is incapable of fully depicting an infinite God.

      Indeed, John even says that if everything Jesus said and did was written down, there wouldn’t be enough books to contain it.

      God is vastly bigger than even what we can see in the Bible.

      The problem with most denominational doctrines is that they are predicated on the idea that theology can be perfectly assessed from scripture. Every question needs to be answered, and every phase of life and church activity needs some sort of absolute belief behind it.

      The Bible should introduce us to God. Our spiritual father and mothers should guide is in our personal discovery of God and exploration of the Word. Our community of believers should help keep us safe and provide critical feedback if our interpretations are taking us to crazy places.

      Instead, we try to accomplish all the above with doctrine. Here’s a piece of set, immovable doctrine you need to believe perfectly defines God, and it will serve as your accountability.

      Unless God is absent and the Bible is all we have to know Him by, our theology should be constantly changing as we see new sides of an infinite Being.

      • Mark

        So what do we do when you come up with a ‘new side’ of God and I come up with a different and contradictory one? And after a few years, there are now 4, 5 or more contradictory new sides. Now what? Agree to disagree? We now have the beginnings of different denominations. We are to test the spirits (1 John 4) and watch out for those that cause divisions and keep away from them (Romans 16). Am I to trust that your feelings are right? Maybe they are what your itching ears want to hear. I am to encourage but also correct and rebuke you when necessary (2 Timothy 4). I am not even to trust my own feelings (Jeremiah 17). 1 John and 2 John are clear that we are to have the right Jesus. I can show many denominations, and even congregations within them, and even Pastors within a congregation, that see Jesus in different ways.
        Jesus, the Word, said He is the truth.
        Even Jesus when on earth did not contain all knowledge (Matthew 24: 36). Who am I to presume that God has not already shared with me everything I need to know while on earth?
        I know my comments will be easy to dismiss if you choose to rely more upon your feelings than scripture.
        With all respect, thanks but no thanks. I choose to trust in scripture alone in determining who God is.

        • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

          You make good points Mark, but the fallacy underlying your perspective is the belief that any of us can precisely know “the right Jesus.”

          We can’t. He’s too big and too complex. We will never arrive at perfect theology, and accordingly, the only path to unity is a body of believers with an understanding that we are going to disagree on different issues, and that’s okay.

          There’s no reason to be afraid of it. There’s no reasons to cry “heresy” at anyone who says something contrary to our interpretation of the Bible.

          The second fallacy is the idea that scripture alone can reveal God. That’s not even what we see in scripture.

          Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” He didn’t say that no man comes to the Father except through scripture.

          The word is a “lamp to our feet and light to our path” (Psalm 119:105). It’s “inspired by God and profitably for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16).

          The scripture is not God. But you’d think it was considering how many Christians can quote the Bible but have never bothered to come to Jesus Himself.

          The Word introduces us to God. It teachers us about God. It shows us Jesus and reveals the Father. It points us to the Holy Spirit.

          But it was never meant to replace a relationship with God Himself. It was never meant to replace the heart-to-heart connection.

          It has nothing to do with feelings. It’s about a living God.

          If Jesus was still buried in a tomb, than the Bible would be our best chance at knowing Him. But He rose again, and He didn’t come back to life so we could just read about Him and debate over His historical teachings.

          I have no interest in a relationship with a book. Thanks but no thanks. I have an all-consuming passion to know the living God, and the Bible is a priceless gift in that journey, but it’s not the relationship itself.

          • Mark

            You quoted John 14: 6. That is theology. You said “our theology should be constantly changing…”. What if my new theology says John 14: 6 is no longer true? What if I am a Christian and believe the resurrection was ‘only’ symbolic? Do I have the right Jesus? Should anyone ever call my new theology wrong?

            You said ” the only path to unity is a body of believers with an understanding that we are going to disagree on different issues, and that’s okay.”

            Did Jesus ever encourage the idea ‘agree to disagree’? On the contrary. See Matthew 15, Mathew 16, John 8, Matthew 22. Nothing close to agree to disagree.

            Did Paul ever encourage the idea ‘agree to disagree’? On the contrary. See Acts 17, Acts 24, Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 1, 2 Corinthians 10, 2 Corinthians 11, 2 Corinthians 13.

            I hardly think Paul had in mind for all of us to hold hands around a campfire singing Kumbaya when in Galatians 1 :6-9 he says, “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, LET THEM BE UNDER GOD’S CURSE”!

            Correct theology matters. Correct doctrine matters. God is hardly looking upon us saying, ‘Oh, whatever’.

            Give me one good reason why I should not believe that you or anyone else that comes up with a new or changed theology are under God’s curse?

            Jacob, I never said our only experience of God is scripture. Our only basis for theology is. They are totally different things.
            Though redeemed, as a sinner still in a sinful world, I know my heart is deceitfully wicked. I could never trust any theology I came up with.

            Is the denomination I belong to perfect? No. I would never presume to be able to determine perfection. But I belong to no other because I believe their theology wavers from scriptue.

          • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

            I’m guessing you’re Presbyterian?

            You’re doing a lot of apples/oranges comparisons. Our denominations are not divided over our basic understanding of the Gospel.

            They are divided over our interpretation of the Bible’s instructions on baptism, or our interpretation of how sovereignty interacts with our personal will, or whether a given passage of scripture was written specifically for a historic body of believers or was meant to be received as a universal directive.

            None of these things falls under “another Gospel.” You are making it out to seem like I’m saying, “Hey, theology doesn’t matter. Let’s just create new ideas and all be happy with it.”

            If you read anything on this page with an eye to do something other than argue, you’d know that’s the exact opposite of what I’m saying.

            What I’ve been saying here, time and time again, is that in a sincere pursuit of God, Truth, and a correct understanding of the Bible, we WILL come up with differing viewpoints.

            So we have two options.

            1) We can divide and belittle each other – threaten each other with the CURSE FROM ABOVE for their “heresy”, because they give that verse that espouses free will priority over the verse that suggests predestination.

            Or

            2) We can drop the self-righteous arrogance and do what Jesus instructed in John 13:15.

            “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

            It’s no wonder the world can’t get a glimpse of God. The church certainly doesn’t “love each other.”

          • Mark

            I appreciate your points. I’m not Presbyterian. There are many people who call themselves Christians who have changed their theology over John 14: 6; that is the Gospel and is not a non-essential. I’m not saying you believe theology doesn’t matter. I’m responding to you stating that our theology should be changing and you have not stated with what parameters. When would you call someones theology wrong? If you allow theology to be based upon something other than scripture, I don’t see how you could.

            I came to your blog looking for additional resources for our men’s discussion group. You have chosen this forum to state your beliefs. I am simply responding to them. If you feel belittled because of my tone, I am sorry. In scripture Jesus and others do call out those with wrong theology time and time again. Are they not being loving? Were they self-righteous? Love is shown in many ways. I do love you and because I do, I wish to bring out points that I believe you may be in error with the possibility of leading someone astray.

            If you feel I am being self-righteous for pointing out what scripture says on these matters I can’t change that. You brought up John 13: 15, I think you meant verse 35. Don’t forget the context from the previous verse, “As I have loved you…”. Did not Jesus correct and rebuke His disciples? Was this not love?

            Again, I don’t know of an example from scripture where Jesus or Paul would be approving of the ‘campfire’ scenario of agreeing to disagree. The world has had a glimpse of God and they have rejected Him. Not because of us, but because of who He is and their own self godliness.

            Thank you for your discussion and I believe we would only continue with the same from now on. Yes, I do love you.
            Mark

          • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

            Mark, I just want to offer a disclaimer that when I’m generalizing about church responses to these issues, I’m not attempting to imply that this is your personal response or to infer something specific about you. I appreciate you making your points, and I can only imagine that your motivation in doing so is the same as I perceive mine to be.

            The definition of theology is “the study of the nature of God.”

            As you said yourself, our experience of God is not limited to scripture. But I would completely agree with you that it should be the basis for our understanding and interpretation of our experiences with God.

            There are places in scripture that can be legitimately interpreted in different ways. Whether your interpretation is influenced by exegesis, linguistic analysis, traditional interpretation, or cross-reference, I don’t think anyone can argue that there is an obvious interpretation for the entire Bible that cannot be disputed in any way.

            When we get to those points where it can be legitimately interpreted in a number of different ways, our understanding of God plays into the direction we go. If we see Him as Father, which He is, we will interpret it in one direction. If we see Him as judge, which He is, we will go in a different direction. If we see Him as _______, we will interpret accordingly.

            None of these are indisputably wrong, and as we grow closer to God – as our understanding of Him matures, our interpretations of these passages should evolve.

            And that’s where my premise comes in.

            In the context of unity and a culture where it’s okay to disagree on things and still be close (aka family), our response to a differing point of view isn’t to ostracize and divide, but to test and hold accountable.

            This provides safety while allowing for learning. It allows for Biblical correction and instruction. If I say, “Hey, we’ve always assumed this means ______. But what if it’s actually saying ____?”, then I have a family that can either say, “Hmmm that’s a possibility, let’s look into that together,” OR they can say, “Hey, you totally missed all this over here that shows that idea isn’t Biblical.”

            And if we both disagree on something that can be interpreted multiple ways, it’s okay, because our relationship was never based on minutia agreement – our agreement and unity is in Christ.

            We forget how much we actually agree on sometimes.

            One of the big problems is that we don’t really understand church history. We don’t understand that many of the things we currently believe are believed because someone challenged the previous assumption decades or centuries before. We also don’t understand that many of the things we believe are simply because no one has challenged it yet.

            Unless you’re Catholic, your current belief structure and theology is incredibly new relative to history. If you’re Methodist, your belief system came into being because John Wesley had a fresh revelation of who God was that contradicted the prevailing ideas just 300 years ago.

            If you’re Baptist, your beliefs stem from just 400 years ago, when Christians said, “Sprinkling doesn’t seem like what it shows in the scripture.”

            For every system of belief, I can point to a moment where someone said, “This doesn’t seem correct.”

            It’s not that God is changing, it’s that he is bringing the world into the knowledge of God. This was the mandate on the Jews, and it’s now our mandate as Christians.

            If you’re Catholic, the discussion changes immensely lol, but regardless, I think it’s silly to think that our way of thinking is supposed to stay stagnant – that in the presence of an infinite God, our task is to memorize a belief set someone else dictate a few years before. It seems to me like we should be building line upon line, from glory to glory, into a fuller understanding of God.

  • Choose Carefully

    Congratulations! You just started a new denomination. You do know that this is how they all began, right? 🙂

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Haha indeed, but disagreement only leads to division if you’re looking for a way out.

  • Tyler Williamson

    Jacob- thanks for writing this, this is a powerful post bro. I’m excited to share this with some friends – such a valuable topic to bring up, and you present it well

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Thanks Tyler! It certainly brings up more questions than it answers, but hopefully the conversation leads us to unity.

  • ChristianGuysLife

    Wow! This article is eerily timed. I just found your blog and really enjoy it! I was just discussing denominations this morning with FB friends. For some time now I have rejected the idea of identifying as a denomination. I am a Christian. I happen to go to a baptist church but in the end I am not baptist!
    We need to unite the Body of Christ as one whole! Thanks so much for this!

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Thanks for the kind words!

  • http://www.venulas.com Andrew von Ehrenkrook

    Denominations are a natural response to our human nature – to congregate with those we trust or feel we can work with. There is some value in this, though I agree that the practice has been overemphasized. A group of toenails which decide to group together does not a body make. Yet forced union is not union. How to square the two?

    1. Eliminate the position of career pastor. There is no biblical model for it. It only insulates the clergy and forces them to justify their existence. Denominations further this artificiality. Bi-vocational pastors gain invaluable insight from working in the same construct as their congregations. They also are more free to speak their mind, entertain alternative viewpoints and share power because they are no beholden to a paycheck. Better still is the ruling-elder model, where the spiritually mature rotate teaching/preaching duties and the pastoral needs are attended to by the deacons.

    2. Keep churches small. The smaller the sample size, the more likely I’m going to disagree with those I meet. This is not forced union, but the natural consequence of demographic and geographic distribution. Keep churches below 100 (25-50 is my preference) and discourage attendance from those who travel more than 30 minutes. To accomplish grand undertakings would require multiple congregations to band together but only for a specific and limited purpose.

    If we did these two things, I’m convinced the denominational fissures would dissolve into the blessed bond of local Church unity which we all seek and hope to one day see.

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Great ideas Andrew! I’m actually a big proponent of both bi-vocational ministry and smaller church sizes for many of the same reasons you listed.

      One of my big questions stems from people’s natural desire to congregate in large groups. Whether Christian or secular, people LOVE concerts, conferences, and large gatherings of every kind. How do you make room for that or even harness the momentum of that in a small church model?

      Quarterly city-wide conferences? All the churches get together to pray and worship? You can’t really make teaching a main point here, but maybe keep it to the Gospel or to sharing about what God has been doing in the city?

      • http://www.venulas.com Andrew von Ehrenkrook

        Absolutely! We cannot deny the power of a large crowd. There is something awesome and inspiring about 10,000+ people singing praises to the God of the universe.

        I think the quarterly city-wide conferences are a great idea. Might be more practical to divide up by zip code or area code.

        But before we can work on the big get-togethers we have to get people to stop driving past dozens of Bible-believing churches to get to the one they like or feel comfortable in or their friends go to or whatever.

        My wife and I committed a long time ago to attend the most-local Bible-believing church, wherever we live. That decision has grown my faith, allowed me to influence the Body and interact with more ideas and personalities than I ever would have it I went to the ‘hot-spot.’

        Another great thing about the small church route is that it forces maturity and ownership. You can’t be a wallflower at a church plant. Everyone has to pick up an oar and start rowing. You also can’t hang out for years. Church planting becomes a necessity not an imperative. Discipleship takes on a whole new meaning because in a year, half the group will be charged with starting something from scratch.

        In such an environment, we don’t have time to worry about denominational schisms or trite gimmicks. We’re too busy working as servants of the King.

        • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

          That’s an interesting approach Andrew and certainly a noble one.

          While it sounds nice, I’d be curious as to how you’d respond to a number of potential scenarios.

          1) Church leadership is extremely dogmatic about conforming to the minutia of their specific beliefs – aka controlling – aka 50% of churches one visits (statistics quoted may or may not be 100% arbitrary)

          2) Your vision for the city contradicts that of church leader’s theology. For example, you want to reach people on the streets and in the work place; church leaders just wants you to bring people to church and discourages outside evangelism. Or you want to pray for people to be healed like you read about in the Bible, but church leaders say that’s not for today and people who pray for healing are demonic.

          3) Your relationship with God is as a son to a Father. You don’t believe He condemns you. Church leaders constantly preach condemnation and wrath.

          I’m not saying any of those are reasons to leave, but if the average person were to attempt to follow your model, those are scenarios they could encounter. How would you suggest they respond?

          • http://www.venulas.com Andrew von Ehrenkrook

            I like that you don’t pull punches.

            The common thread in each of your scenarios is the common problem – “church leadership”

            1) 1 Corinthians 12 is clear. There are many parts but of the same body. Church ‘leaders’ are not the head, Christ is. A leader is not ‘in charge’ but a servant, as Jesus modeled in John 13. Dogma is not doctrine. If I believe in my heart, confess with my mouth and produce fruit consistent with Jesus being my Lord and Savior we should be able to work through any doctrinal disagreements philosophically without interfering with our evangelism or discipleship.

            2) The secondary role of church ‘leaders’ is to safeguard doctrine but this must be done WITHOUT quenching the Spirit. Preference is pejorative. Look what you wrote. “…discourages outside evangelism…people who pray for healing are demonic.” That Pharisaical. The Great Commission is individual. Its not my church. Its not your church. Its HIS church. Church leaders should be facilitating any possible action by any member, as long as it has been fully explained and reasonably well-thought through. There is certainly a place for consultation (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6). Many church ‘leaders’ hold the reigns of power so closely because they fear failure. They fear that such failure will somehow reflect their inadequacy as a ‘leader’ and will ultimately lead to their removal. We have no idea what ideas will hit and which will flounder. And even worldly ‘failure’ can be a huge spiritual success for it builds character of every stripe.

            3) We should never downplay that our God is just as much JUSTICE as He is LOVE. LOVE triumphs in the end for the elect, but JUSTICE is not abandoned or shunned (Revelation 20:12). Father/Son is one aspect of a complex relationship. I focus more on the King/Vassal aspect, personally.

            So, if church ‘leaders’ are the problem who makes church ‘leaders?’ Seminaries. I am immediately suspect of anyone who flaunts their seminary credentials. It is not a bad thing to gain more knowledge, but something seems to happen to good men at seminary that is not healthy for the Church Universal.

          • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

            I would agree with most everything you said, and I talk about a lot of this in the article itself, but it brings us back to your suggestion to just attend the most local Bible-believing church.

            You could argue that certain stances I outlined in the previous comment wouldn’t be Biblical at all, but that takes us right back to denominationalism lol.

            The fact is that our current system involves a lot of seminary-trained career clergy leading local churches with an iron fist.

            So how would it be possible for a believer, like yourself, to join a church in that system and prosper? The leadership is what it is, and in most cases, it’s not going to change for any given church.

          • http://www.venulas.com Andrew von Ehrenkrook

            What is success?

            2 Peter 1:5-8 is a good start. If the bureaucracy prevents you from gaining or increasing in these virtues or encouraging them in others- move on. Yet, do not be too quick to blame church. Before you move on do the following:

            1) Start being a producer instead of a consumer. Don’t wait for the church to make you a better person or give you the opportunity to need to fulfill the Great Commission. Go do it yourself and invite as many along as possible.

            2) Attempt to have a personal conversation with the pastor/preacher once a week. A deacon or secretary is not the same thing. Any pastor who cannot respond personally to their congregation is not longer a pastor, but a celebrity. Can you remember what your pastor’s sermon was on yesterday? Contacting him today to show him you remember could be the basis for a fantastic friendship.

            3) Get married and have kids (plural). All of this stuff will fade in comparison with being a head of household and molding young minds. Don’t make the same mistake with your kids that the Church makes with you.

          • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

            Lol I agree with everything you’re saying Andrew, but I feel like you just jumped into several entirely different conversations!

          • http://www.venulas.com Andrew von Ehrenkrook

            Its all inter-related, isn’t it 🙂