Denominations are not addressed in Scripture. This is very important to remember.
Scripture directly refers to 1) The Universal (catholic) Church of all truly ‘born-again’ Believers, and 2) the Local Church which is composed of ‘cats & dogs’.
There is a Church Council of some Apostles & Church Leaders referred to in Acts 15, but never ‘diverse’ ‘denominations’.
When people ask me about Denominations … I usually change the subject.
This website author holds that the Bible commands all Christians to “love the brethren”, and he knows many godly Christians in many different denominations. It is true ‘spiritual’ unity that Jesus referred to in Jhn 17:21, and not an artificial ‘organizational’ unity.
It is the web author’s opinion that different Christian denominations do not necessarily show a lack of unity within Christianity.
Rather, these different denominations can be expressions of tradition, culture, worship styles, or even Christian life emphasis. Examples of doctrinal differences include: Baptism, Tongues, and even different interpretations of eschatological scriptures (prophecy). Examples of some differences in structure or emphasis are: church polity, teaching emphasis, missions, internal ministry, or social ministry. It is also true that there can be some structural or doctrinal differences between some denominations as demonstrated by Statements of Faith, but generally, these are derived from scriptures that are open to a variety of approaches or with a different hermeneutic.
Valid denominational differences in doctrine should only be in secondary doctrines or in ‘convictions’ or ‘opinions’. Acceptable denominational differences should not ever touch ‘Cardinal Doctrines’ such as a different interpretation of the person of Jesus Christ, nor a different way of salvation. Belief Systems or teachings that deviate from “cardinal” doctrines have been identified as “Cults”, and the differences have been demonstrated from scripture by many capable authors.
Now it is true, that some modern day Denominations (at least their national or regional leadership) no longer adhere to their historical, biblical and Christian life roots. Examples are Methodist, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, some Lutherans, some various Baptists denominations, etc. And in fact, many individual churches within those denominations have abandoned any biblical standard or foundation of belief, and have officially repudiated many clear biblical doctrines and practices. However, other congregations within ‘liberal’ denominations do maintain their historical doctrinal roots, and they maintain their traditional Christian witness and ministry.
It is important to remember that individual members or congregations of those historically strong denominations should not have their personal beliefs and Christian life practices lumped together with their official denominational affiliation. There are many genuine Christians who remain in churches or denominations that some would identify as ‘compromised’. The individual should not be so labeled, but “by their fruits you shall know them.”
Christians of good faith and holy life from any denomination should experience good fellowship together, and live a life of unity of the brethren.