“What denomination are you?” asks an innocent bystander.
“I’m a Christian,” I reply.
“No, but what type of church do you go to?” the bystander asks persistently.
“I go to a Church that preaches the Word of God and has correct theology, loves people, reaches out to the lost, strives to make disciples, and prioritizes living like Jesus.
I have this conversation typically about 2-3 times a month. People insist on knowing what denomination I belong to, and my reply remains the same every time. Honestly, I hate denominations.
Don’t get me wrong; they absolutely have their purpose. Although some denominations have very, very few differences and are pretty much theologically correct, there are definitely denominations that are known for straying from the truth put forward in the Word of God. Denominational beliefs can be an easy way to tell churches with correct theology apart from those with incorrect theology.
Yet, we have become literally OBSESSED with denominations.
I think I cringe every single time I hear somebody tell someone what denomination they belong to rather than, “I’m a Christian.” Our culture acts as if the important part is whether you’re a Baptist or a Lutheran, not whether or not you have been saved from the wrath of a just and holy God through the blood of a beautiful Savior.
It’s disgusting, and it diminishes the Gospel each time we participate.
I attend a church that’s technically considered a part of the Southern Baptist convention. I didn’t attend the church because of that; I attend it because they preach and teach and live out the Word of God, seek after lost souls, and make disciples. I’m not a follower of the Southern Baptist convention-I’m a follower of JESUS.
I also attend a school that’s part of the Southern Baptist convention (great scholarships, man), and I run into this problem CONSTANTLY. The fact that I hear discussion about being a Southern Baptist more than I hear conversation about Jesus is sickening. People are missing the forest for the trees; they’re missing the beauty of following after Jesus in a biblical way by insisting that everything get filtered through the lens of a denomination first.
Let’s start putting JESUS before a denomination. Ultimately, all that matters is that we attend churches that love and pursue him desperately, teach his word with accurate theology, and love and pursue people in an effort to grow the kingdom. Simply slapping a label on a church doesn’t make it biblical.
Jesus is greater than the denominations we try to use to restrict him. Let’s remember that. His word can stand for itself; it doesn’t need the backing of any denomination to do that.
(PC: The Gospel Coalition)