I was not raised in the denomination that I am a part of now.
And let me preface this post by saying, YES, I am a part of a church that belongs to a denominational organization. Denomination in and of itself is not evil. It seems that people are usually the reason an otherwise acceptable idea becomes messed up.
When I was a teenager I was a regular attendee of my youth Sunday School class. I have such fond memories of that class. My teacher was an older, wise-in-the-Lord gentleman, that may have looked "boring" to other kids, but not to me. I so enjoyed hearing his stories and gleaning from his knowledge.
I began to feel the calling of ministry upon my life while I was under his teaching week to week. I believe he could tell, even though I never mentioned it to him, because one Sunday he asked me if I would like to teach the class the following Sunday. I gladly accepted!
My "lesson" (that lasted all of 45 seconds) was about unity. My scripture was 1 Corinthians 12:25- "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another." I realized after I said my two sentences that I had written down, that I was grossly unprepared to teach a 30 minute class. I looked up from my paper, and everyone was just staring at me...waiting for more...but I didn't have more.
Mortified is not even the word.
Because of my embarrassment that day, that Bible verse has stuck with me all these years. I guess you could say that I have a bit of PTSD attached to that Bible verse because any time I hear it, I remember the feeling of humiliation from that Sunday School class. The word "schism" was one that I had looked up in the dictionary in preparation for my flop of a lesson. Because of that, I have never forgotten that verse, or its meaning. It is forever engraved in my mind.
The word Schism means division. There should be no schism in God's body. We all could agree to that, right? Division within a church is not good. Division within families is not good. Division among God's people, our brothers and sisters in Christ is not something we would advocate for. It sounds pretty. And of course, we Christians believe what the Bible says. If it says we should not have division, then we believe it.
But what about on a larger scale? What about God's family as a whole? We don't have a problem keeping peace within OUR church, but what about between our church and the church down the street? What about between our church and the church of different denomination? What about between you and your family member who attends a church of a different denomination?
Several years ago, it dawned on me that I did not know the actual definition of the word denomination. I went back to the dictionary and looked it up. You won't believe this but the literal definition of denomination is "A DIVISION OF CHRISTIANITY." Insert gasp here! When I read that definition, the youth Sunday School class, the verse, the meaning of the word Schism-- it all came back to me.
Now, hear me: I know that not everyone is going to interpret the Bible the same way. I understand that people are never going to fully agree on what the teachings and meanings of the Bible are. I do not live in some sort of fantasy world where every person on the planet can agree on everything Biblical. I get it.
But I do believe that we can agree on one thing-- Jesus Christ is the way to Heaven. And if we agree on that, then does the other stuff matter? If it's not a Heaven or Hell issue, is it worth fighting over? (Hint: there is only one Heaven or Hell issue.)
And I believe this: if you think that ONLY the people in your church or denomination are correct, or headed to Heaven, you should think again.
There are things I believe about the Bible that I do not believe others understand correctly. I'm sure that goes both ways. But it's not my job to win arguments. It's my job to win people. The nuts and bolts of the gospel are the same for every believer. Beyond that, there is a reason that the Bible says to work out your own salvation.
With salvation comes the dwelling of the Holy Spirit inside. If we lead people to the Book, and to the Savior, then HE will give them understanding. It's not our place to try and indoctrinate people with what our "church" says is right.
The Bible crosses all denominational barriers. Just stick with the Book, and you will be on the right path.