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Problem of Church Denominations

Problem of Church Denominations

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Published by Ifechukwu U. Ibeme
Denominations are half-truths presuming to be the whole truth; they are often strange magnification of preferred or modified truth (or even outright falsehood) used to oppose and override another biblical truth. Christ and His Apostles prayed (John 17:10, 11, 20-24) and warned (Acts 20:26-34; 1John 2:19; Jude 1:19) against the Church splitting into denominations.
Denominations are half-truths presuming to be the whole truth; they are often strange magnification of preferred or modified truth (or even outright falsehood) used to oppose and override another biblical truth. Christ and His Apostles prayed (John 17:10, 11, 20-24) and warned (Acts 20:26-34; 1John 2:19; Jude 1:19) against the Church splitting into denominations.

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Published by: Ifechukwu U. Ibeme on Aug 07, 2013
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02/05/2015

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PROBLEM OF CHURCHDENOMINATIONS
By Venerable Dr Ifechukwu Ibeme
Comment on The Chapel of Grace Blog:
Denominations are broken communions of the Church resulting from disagreement,disunity and diision!
D"#()i#ati(#s ar" partial %it#"ss"s
 due to
s"l"cti,"pr"*"r"#c"s
 sometimes not without ulterior moties, presenting themseles as fulltrue witnesses for Christ!
D"#()i#ati(#al tra'iti(#s- '(ctri#"s a#' th"(l(+i"sar" (*t"# hal*.truths pr"su)i#+ t( &" th" %h(l" truth
" they are often specialmagni#cation of preferred or modi#ed truth $or een outright falsehood% used to opposeand oerride another biblical truth! Christ and &is 'postles prayed $(ohn )*:)+, )), +-.% and warned $'cts +:/-0." )(ohn :)1" (ude ):)1% against the Church splitting intodenominations!
D"#()i#ati(#s t"#' t( )a+#i* th"ir pr"*"rr"' TRADITIONS-TENDENCIES- THOU0HTS a#' TRENDS a&(," th" c()pr"h"#si," TRUTH (* th"Scriptural *(u#'ati(# lai' & Christ- Ap(stl"s a#' Pr(ph"ts
! DenominationalChristianity is always partial Christianity and denominational theology is alwayslopsided theology, so if not balanced with each other and ultimately with the 2cripturesthese are always certainly fraught with dangers! 3hateer adantages we may nowrationalise about denominationalism, it is obiously unbiblical and lacks certain checksagainst errors whereas Church unity is both biblical and has better checks againsterrors!
Matur" &i&lical Christia#it ris"s a&(," '"#()i#ati(#alis)
! 4erydenominational or ministry Church is a partial and preferential pattern of Christianitypropagated as it suits or as is understood by the founders, leaders and members! Thebiblical 2criptures constitute a comprehensie reelation of God5s redemption forhumanity and whateer is harmoniously reealed therein is the most authentic truthabout the 6iing God! 7any denominational and ministry Churches would still maintaintheir professed teachings, past traditions, present trends, personal tendencies eenwhen they see that these do not fully match the pure and perfect truthcomprehensiely reealed in the 2criptures! &ardly do you #nd a denominational orministry Church that accepts to change their preferred patterns because they haeseen that any particular teaching, tradition, trend and tendency of theirs is lopsided orcontrary to the balance and comprehensieness of the truth in the 2criptures! Though itmay be imperatie in some special situations to make a choice out all the alid optionsfound in the 2criptures but such choices must not oerrule other alid options butadmit itself to be only an option and not the rule of the comprehensie 2criptural truth! 8rom 'postolic times, the Churches were congregations and groups of congregationsplanted by the 'postles, 'postles9 delegates, Church 8athers, etc in eery geographicallocality, and not merely G'T&4I;G as disciples in a place but properly 24T I; <D4with leadership structure $7ar 0:)." 'ct ).:)-0" )Tim :" Tit ):=% as house, city,regional, or national Churches united under the leadership of >urisdictional Bishops and)
 
?resbyters ordained as successors to the 'postles! These successors ordained by the'postles were both representaties of the 'postles and teachers of 'postolic Doctrineto their Churches as well as representaties of their Churches to 'postolicCollege@Councils $'ct )=% for guidance and later to the 4cumenical $general@catholic%Councils $from GrkA
oikoumene
 
for inhabited world or GrkA
katholikos
 foruniersal% held to draw up creeds that sought to ensure doctrinal agreement with theharmonious teaching of the whole 2criptures! There were dierences of local, &ellenistor (ewish or miEed traditions as well as wider disciplinary and doctrinal ariations oreen controersies but all still remained within the same >urisdiction of Churchleadership locally and in same communion together as the united, holy, apostolicChurch which is both
tru"
 $i!e! 
(rth('(1
NOT Greek Orthodox Church
%, and
%(rl'%i'"
 $i!e! 
cath(lic
 NOT Roman Catholic Church
%! 3hile the Church was spreading underground during the 0++ years of 2tatepersecution, seeral diergent iews emerged due to lack of access to apostolicteachings or epistles and poor contact with each other! 8rom ;icaea in 0= 'D when2tate persecution ended under Constantine the Great, Bishops of all Diocesan Churchesin
B2a#tiu)
 $Greek 4astern 4mpire% and
R()"
 $6atin 3estern 4mpire% met togetheras eFuals at collegial 4cumenical Councils despite their language dierences! 2oonafter, this collegiality of the 4cumenical Councils was oershadowed by powerful7etropolitan Caucuses of both the 6atin ?ope of ome and the Greek ?atriarch of Constantinople! 6ater struggle for dominance between ome and Constantinoplecaused the #rst rift in the ))
th
 century! In )+=. 'D the 4astern Greek $<rthodoE% Churchand the 3estern 6atin $Catholic% Church split communion due to the
flioque
controersy of =1 'D on the procession of the &oly 2pirit, marriage ersus celibacy of clergy and political struggle for supremacy between the ?atriarch of Constantinoplecapital of 4astern oman $ByHantium% 4mpire and the ?ope of ome capital of 3estern&oly oman 4mpire! The split became hostile when in )+., 3estern Crusaders notonly attacked 7uslim >ihadists but also attacked to destroy or capture 4astern Churchesin the 8ourth Crusades!  The neEt split in the 3estern 6atin Church under ome was in the )/
th
 centuryeformation! The eformers whose ecclesiastical and magisterial reforms producednational Churches, protested against ome5s unscriptural doctrines as well as omandogmatic claim of apostolic monopoly and administratie dominance of their ?ope oerthe ?atriarchs and Bishops of other national Churches! 3ithin the ?rotestant nations,more radical separatist eformers $'nabaptist, Congregationalists, etc% also furtherprotested against their local ?rotestant Bishops and national ?rotestant Churches!
N(tic" that %hil" th" )a+ist"rial R"*(r)"rs pr(t"st"' *(r #ati(#alistic'(ctri#al i#'"p"#'"#c" *r() R()"- th" ra'ical s"paratist r"*(r)"rspr(t"st"' *(r i#'i,i'ualistic '(ctri#al i#'"p"#'"#c" *r() th"ir #ati(#s
 2incethe )1
th
 century, eorts of 4cumenical moements and the 3orld Council of Churcheshae led to union of seeral old ?rotestant Denominations in China $)1*%, Thailand$)10.%, (apan $)1.)%, and the ?hilippines $)1..% with the most heralded eEamplesbeing the nited Church of Canada $)1=%, the Church of 2outh India $)1.*%, and theChurch of ;orth India $)1*+%! <n the other hand, the +
th
 century resurgence of eccentricity, egocentrism and commercialism has also led to more schisms andmushrooming of many new proprietary denominations!
FORMS OF CHURCH 0O3ERNMENT OR POLIT4 
Denominations claim their own selectiely preferred form of Church goernment is themost biblical but the truth is that none of these is purely or comprehensiely biblical!
 
4ery form of Church goernment in the Church today is adaptation of some selectiepreferences from the Bible but has been modi#ed to suit the peculiarity of theChurches! There are three main forms of Church goernments used in ariousdenominations!)!4?I2C<?'CJ is the 4arly Church form of Church goernment by hierarchy of ordained deacons and priests under a Bishop $These hae introduced synodsinoling the laity%! 2een in Greek, oman, 'nglican, 6utheran 7ethodist,?resident-8ounder@General-<erseer ?entecostal Churches! Before the 'postles passed away, they had started delegating <rdinaries to<D4 the Churches and <D'I; $approe, train and authorise )Tim 0" .:)-%and discipline ?resbyters@Bishops and Deacons $)Tim =:), )*-" Tit ):=%, afunction the 'postles had hitherto performed by themseles $'cts /:/" ).:0%!2uch apostolically delegated 7onarchical <rdinaries like Timothy and Titusbecame the diocesan Bishops that succeeded the 'postles and presered the'postolic Testimony and Tradition about the Kingdom Gospel of Christ, Christian2criptures and Teachings and Church ?ractices as they receied them $)Cor )):,0" )=:0" )Thes :)=%! These Bishops met for the 4cumenical Councils thatformulated the catholic Creeds of Christian orthodoEy in the 4arly Church!!?42BJT4I';I27 is the eformation 4ra form of Church goernment byrepresentatie lay $ruling% and ordained $teaching% presbyters under ahierarchical system of circuit boards@courts of ?resbyters! 2een in eformed$&eletic and Belgic%, and ?resbyterian $2cottish and 3estminster% Churches! 4ach congregation founded by the 'postles had Bishops-?resbyters ordained tolead the Churches in ministry of the 3ord and ?rayers and Deacons ordained tosere tables and care for the needy $'ct /:)-." ).:0" ?hp ):)% in the Churches!?resbyters of Churches were meant by entrustment to shepherd $?astor% andoersee $Bishop% the Churches under Christ as their Chief ?astor and Chief Bishop $'cts +:)*, " )?et =:0-.%! The 'postles, though they are speciallyentrusted with the Gospel as the witnesses of Christ, saw themseles asbelonging to the 4ldership or ?resbytery in conference but as also being theirordinaries $Gal :*-" )?et =:)-=%! 0!C<;G4G'TI<;'6 I;D4?4;D4;CJ is the radical or sectarian eformation form of Church goernment where all canonical and >udicial authority is ested in theindependent congregational congresses, which also decide on ordination of ?astors and Deacon$esse%s $These hae tried to unite as regional, national andinternational conentions%! 2een in Baptist, Congregational, ?entecostal andIndependent Churches! 3hile the 'postles and their delegated <rdinaries trained and ordained?resbyters@Bishops as clergy for the custody of the 'postolic tradition $Tim :)-% and to lead in the ministry of the 3ord and prayers, the congregations electedtheir Deacons as council for custody of their treasuries and to sere their tables!?aul distinguished a eputable Class of ?illars $'postles and the 6ord5s brethren%and other ?resbyters in the (erusalem Church $'cts )=:.-/, -=" Gal ):)-)+%that speci#cally participated in the #rst ecumenical council presided oer by (ames the 6ord5s brother as the
 primus inter pares.
 They did not take directiesfrom the congregation but spoke by the &oly 2pirit on behalf of the wholecongregation of the Church and also gae circular directie to all other Churches$'cts )=" Gal :)-)+%! The writer of &ebrews also identi#ed leaders who bore rule0

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