To many Christians and other religious people, the church is an organization with a priestly set-up of different ranks and the laity under that government. Denominational governments are set up such that in a region, nation or even globally there is a human head and headquarters. Many Christians equate membership and adherence to doctrine and tradition of the particular church to salvation. This article sets out to show that contrary to that mindset, the true church of Jesus is a living organism.
Origin of Christian Denominations
Denominations sprung from the doctrine of Nicolaitanism, spoken of in Revelation 2:6, 15. This word is a combination of two Greek words: “nico” meaning conquer, and “laity” meaning congregation. In the primitive church, false believers infiltrated the ranks, introduced teachings, and administrative structure that were contrary to the Bible. The false ones, whose origin was in the pagan world, introduced a human government that gave graded titles to different ministerial levels.
The effect of these false teachings and non-Biblical structures was that the Holy Spirit’s leadership was set aside, and so-called holy men exalted instead. Believers lost their freedom to worship in the Spirit since carnal minded men now controlled worship. Through the years, denominations multiplied owing to splits and counter moves all based on the original false doctrine.
Effect of Man-made Denominations
One of the tragic results of denominations is that they, like the Pharisees, have denied people access to God and eternal life. The levels of leadership in these establishments purport to mediate between God and the worshipers. As result, organizational Christianity trashes the foundational biblical truth of Jesus as the sole mediator (1st Timothy 2:5) between God and human beings.
The cumulative effect of denominational governments is that they will wind up in a super, global ecumenical movement. This means adherents will get the mark of the beast spoken of in Revelation chapter 13, and with it the permanent loss of the chance of eternal life. Man-made teachings make contemporary Christianity anti-Christ, since the only standard for truth is the Bible.
The Church of Christ as a Living Organism
The true church of Christ is a body of believers that has in it the life of their master. Unlike denominations, the true believers operate by the Holy Spirit. Denominational practices are lifeless rituals that groups alter as they see fit. The genuine body of believers has dynamism that saves the lost, heals the sick, gives a living hope, and casts out demons. It also gives joy, peace, and holiness.
The members of this body of Christ are united by the new birth, which is the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Christ is the head, who gives instructions and guidance to the subjects. Another great fact is that this group is always in the minority, and it is usually gets persecution from denominations.
Origin of the Genuine Body of Believers
The body of believers came into being on the day of Pentecost, when Christ baptized the disciples with his own life, the Holy Spirit. This event led the Christians to have unity of faith and purpose. Besides, the Bible in Acts 4:32-35, states that they shared their possessions. It was, in fact, a community of believers with a communal way of life.
It is instructive that this regenerated body of believers preceded the denominational outfits. The latter only fully organized into institutions in 325 AD at the Nicene Council.
The true church of Jesus has always been a living organism, indwelt by his own life. God is not the author of Christian organizations, since they are in opposition to his word. It is important for the Christian to understand that what God requires is not membership of a denomination, but the true baptism of the Holy Ghost. The individuals who attain this can then have fellowship among themselves.