There is an old Preacher Joke about an elderly church lady who went into a bank to make a withdrawal. The teller asked, “What denominations would you like?” With disgust, she said, “I can’t believe it, religious division has even made it into our banks!”
How many thousands of different churches are out there, I do not know? But what I do know is that Jesus died for but ONE! Scripture tells us “There is one body” (Ephesians 4:4), and that “Jesus is also head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18). We can be assured that he did not design his church to be cut up into tiny pieces for the sake of being offered in a variety of flavours. He had something unique in mind when he told his disciples in Caesarea Philippi, “I will build my church,” (Matthew 16:18).
So, what about all the denominations? Are they all wrong and thus going to hell?
I will have to concede that what goes on in the hearts and lives of every member of every church on earth is beyond my ability to judge; I will leave that to Jesus.
But what we can say with confidence is that the divisions inherent in the denominational model are not of Biblical design. Paul told the Corinthian brethren:
“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
All of us must not only seek the fellowship of Christ’s one church, but we must also oppose its distortion and division at every turn. If “by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13), how could we possibly encourage its fragmentation?
“Division is not an option!”