Discerning the Difference
By Frank Chesser
The church is divine in origin, spiritual in nature and eternal in duration. It is a monument to divine wisdom. It is a portrait of beauty and simplicity beyond the Rembrandts of the ages.
Sin drove a wedge between man and God. The church is the sphere of reconciliation. It was God's will from eternity to unite all men "in one body by the cross" (Eph. 2:16). That one body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23). Jesus saves only the church (Eph. 5:23) because it is composed of those who have obeyed the gospel (Acts 2). The gospel is God's power to save (Rom. 1:16). There are as many saved people outside the church as there were saved people outside the ark in Noah's day.
If the ancient Israelites were the "apple of God's eye" (Deut. 32:10), what must the church be but the joy of his heart. Even now, God awaits the moment when time shall give way to eternity, and the church, his Son's bride, robed in the beauty of holiness by virtue of his Son's blood, shall make its entrance into that heavenly realm to the enjoyment of eternal bliss and happiness.
Denominationalism is human in origin, physical in nature, and temporal in duration. It is a monument to human self-will, man's determination to do what he pleases instead of what God says. It is a portrait of chaos and confusion, a tool in the hand of the Devil to blind the "minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor. 4:4).
There is nothing good about denominationalism. It has no right to exist. Jesus did not plant it, and it "shall be rooted up" (Matt. 15:13). Its worship is ostentatious and mechanical, its kingdom hope is material, and its laws are ritualistic and traditional. David said, "I hate every false way" (Psa. 119:128). Let us love the people, but loathe the system. Israel was to discern between things holy and profane (Eze. 22:26). Christians need to perceive the grave distinction between the church set forth in the New Testament and denominationalism. There is a difference!
Published October 1996