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WHAT WE MEAN BY NON-DENOMINATIONAL
Bryan Matthew Dockens

What we mean by the term "non-denominational" is not what others usually mean when they say it. By the use of this phrase, others actually intend to communicate the notion of being "multidenominational" or "inter-denominational", meaning that all denominations are equally acceptable. We mean the opposite.

Describing the church of Christ as "non-denominational", we intend to convey the fact that we are "anti-denominational", meaning we reject all denominations outright.

We oppose the very concept of denominationalism because we have learned "There is one body" (Ephesians 4:4). The "body" is the "church" (Ephesians 1:22-23), and there are as many bodies as there are Lords, Gods, and faiths (Ephesians 4:4-6) - just the one.

We object to denominationalism because Paul condemned the behavior of the Corinthians when "each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos,' or 'I am of Cephas'" (1st Corinthians 1:12), "for when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another, 'I am of Apollos,' are you not carnal?" (1st Corinthians 3:4). It is carnal, that is fleshly, worldly behavior to wear the name of a man, rather than the simple name of Christ (Acts 11:26). To augment one's identity as a Christian with such qualifiers as "Pauline", "Apollonian", or "Cephite" was to detract from Christ's honor then, just as appending "Lutheran", "Baptist", "Methodist", or "Catholic" to one's religious identity is dishonorable now.

We renounce denominationalism because we have been taught to "walk by the same rule" and to "be of the same mind" (Philippians 3:16). Each denomination adheres to its own creed, catechism, or official confession of faith; therefore one walks by a rule different than another. The only objective standard by which Christians ought to be governed is the divine revelation of Scripture. When every disciple so walks, every disciple will be of the same mind. To the Corinthians, Paul pleaded, "that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1st Corinthians 1:10). What he pled for, denominationalism can never achieve, but only undermine.

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