• Christ and Church Life and Building Spirit and Bride


    As a lover of Christ and a pursuer of truth, I write down my joys, memories and reflections.

    May God lead us all into the secret of His presence, and build us into the oneness of His body in love.
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Three types of losers in Proverbs

The scorners 亵慢的人

Proverbs 9:7 He who corrects a scorner gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man blemishes himself.

13:1 智慧之子听父亲的训诲;亵慢的人不听责备。
A wise son hears his father’s instruction, But a scorner does not listen to rebuke.

15:12 亵慢人不爱责备他的人,也不就近智慧人。
A scorner does not love him who reproves him; He will not go to the wise.

22:10 赶出亵慢人,纷争就出去;争竞和羞辱也必止息。
Cast out the scorner, and contention will go out; Indeed, strife and dishonor will cease.

24:9 愚妄人的计谋乃是罪恶,亵慢人为人所憎恶。
The devising of folly is sin, And the scorner is an abomination to men.

The fool 愚昧的人

10:18 包藏怨恨的,有说谎的嘴唇;口出谗谤的,是愚昧的人。
He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who utters slander is a fool.

11:29 扰害己家的,必承受清风;愚妄人必作心中有智慧之人的仆人。
He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, And a fool will be servant to the wise in heart.

13:16 凡精明人都凭知识行事;愚昧人张扬自己的愚妄。
Every prudent man works with knowledge, But a fool displays his folly.

13:19-20 所欲的成就,心觉甘甜;远离恶事,为愚昧人所憎恶。与智慧人同行的,必得智慧;和愚昧人作伴的,必受亏损。
A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil. He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be troubled.

14:1 智慧妇人建立家室;愚妄妇人亲手拆毁。
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.

14:3 愚妄人口中骄傲,如杖责打己身;智慧人的嘴必保守自己。
In the mouth of a fool is a rod for his pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them.

14:7-8 当离开愚昧人的面,因为你不见他嘴中有知识。精明人的智慧在乎明白自己的道路;愚昧人的愚妄乃是诡诈。
Go from the presence of a foolish man, For you will not perceive in him the lips of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent man is to understand his way, But the folly of fools is deceit.

14:16-17 智慧人惧怕,就远离恶事;愚昧人却狂傲自恃。急躁易怒的,行事愚昧;设诡计的,被人恨恶。
A wise man fears and departs from evil, But the fool is arrogant and is confident. He who is quick to anger will deal foolishly, And a man of wicked devices is hated.

14:33 智慧安居在聪明人心中;愚昧人内里所存的,显而易见。
Wisdom rests quietly in the heart of one who has understanding, But in the inward part of fools it makes itself known.

15:2 智慧人的舌善发知识,愚昧人的口吐出愚妄。
The tongue of the wise utters knowledge well, But the mouth of fools pours out folly.

15:5 愚妄人藐视父亲的管教;领受责备的,乃是精明。
A fool despises his father’s correction, But he who regards reproof gets prudence.

15:7 智慧人的嘴播扬知识;愚昧人的心并不如此。
The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, But the heart of fools does not do so.

15:14 聪明人的心寻求知识;愚昧人的口以愚妄为粮。
The heart of one who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on folly.

18:2 愚昧人不喜爱聪明,只喜爱显露自己的心意。
A fool has no delight in understanding, But only that his heart may reveal itself.

18:6-7 愚昧人的嘴带来争端,他的口招惹鞭打。愚昧人的口自取败坏,他的嘴是他生命的网罗。
A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth invites blows. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.

20:3 远离纷争是人的尊荣,愚妄人却爱争闹。
It is an honor for a man to keep away from strife, But every fool rushes headlong into it.

23:9 你不要说话给愚昧人听,因他必藐视你言语中的智慧。
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.

26:4-6 不要照愚昧人的愚妄话回答他,免得你也与他一样。要照愚昧人的愚妄话回答他,免得他自以为有智慧。藉愚昧人的手传信的,是砍断自己的脚,自受损害。
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes. He who sends a message by the hand of a fool Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.

26:8 将尊荣给愚昧人的,好像人把石子包在甩石的机弦里。
Like one who binds a stone in a sling, So is he who gives honor to a fool.

26:11 愚昧人重复愚妄事,就像狗转过来吃自己所吐的。
Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly.

28:26 心中自恃的是愚昧人,凭智慧而行的必蒙拯救。
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.

29:11 愚昧人怒气全发,智慧人忍气含怒。
A fool utters all his anger, But a wise man holds it back.

The simple 愚蒙人

14:15 愚蒙人凡话都信;精明人步步慎思。
The simple man believes every word, But the prudent man considers his steps.

22:3 灵巧人见祸藏躲,愚蒙人却前往受罚。
A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and suffer punishment for it.

27:12 灵巧人见祸藏躲,愚蒙人却前往受罚。
A prudent man sees evil and hides himself; But the simple pass on and suffer punishment for it.


Alexander Fraser Tytler’s quote on democracy

Alexander Fraser Tytler, 15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilisations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.

Attributes of Angels

  1. Angels are immortal
    • Luke 20:36 For neither can they die anymore, for they are equal to angels, and they are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
  2. Angels are emotional (Joy)
    • Luke 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting.
  3. Angels are holy
    • Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
  4. Angels are glorious
    • Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of this one will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
  5. Angels are obedient to God
    • Psalm 103:20 Bless Jehovah, you His angels, Who are mighty in strength to perform His word, By obeying the voice of His word.
  6. Angels have authority
    • Revelation 18:1 After these things I saw another Angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illumined with His glory.
  7. Angels are powerful
    • 2 Peter 2:11 Whereas angels, though they are greater in strength and power, do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.
  8. Angels are wise
    • 2 Samuel 14:20 In order to change the appearance of the matter, your servant Joab did this thing; and my lord is wise, as wise as an angel of God, knowing all that there is in the land.
  9. Angels can be visible
    • John 20:11-12 But Mary stood outside at the tomb weeping. Then as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb And beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
  10. Angels have intellects
    • 1 Peter 1:12 To them it was revealed that not to themselves but to you they ministered these things, which have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, which things angels long to look into.
  11. Angels can speak
    • Matthew 28:5 And the angel answered and said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are seeking Jesus, the crucified.
    • 1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
  12. Angels do not reproduce
    • Mark 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in the heavens.


No man is an island,
entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were:
any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
and, therefore,
never send to know for whom the bells tolls;
it tolls for thee.

-John Donne






We are all members of the body of Christ and are members of each other. While this poem captures the spirit of the oneness of human race, shouldn’t we Christians, as members of the body of Christ, touch the same spirit even more so?


以西结书 39:22 这样,从那日以后,以色列家必知道我是耶和华他们的神。

1. 被杀的人必倒在你们(以色列人)中间
6:7 被杀的人必倒在你们中间,你们就知道我是耶和华。

2. 使这灾祸临到他们(以色列人)身上
6:10 他们必知道我是耶和华;我说要使这灾祸临到他们身上,并非空话。

3. 他们(以色列人)被杀的人倒在他们祭坛四围的偶像中
4. 使他们(以色列人)一切居住的地荒凉
6:13-14 他们被杀的人倒在他们祭坛四围的偶像中,在各高冈、各山顶、各青翠树下、各茂密的橡树下,就是他们献怡爽香气的祭给一切偶像的地方;那时,你们就知道我是耶和华。我必伸手攻击他们,使那地,就是他们一切居住的地方,比第伯拉他的旷野更荒凉;他们就知道我是耶和华。

5. 按你(以色列)的行径报应你,照你可憎的事报应在你中间
7:4 我眼必不顾惜你,我也不可怜你,却要按你的行径报应你,照你可憎的事报应在你中间;你就知道我是耶和华。

6. 照他们(以色列)的行径待他们,按他们的判断审判他们
7:27 君王要悲哀,首领要披惊恐为衣,这地百姓的手都要发颤。我必照他们的行径待他们,按他们的判断审判他们;他们就知道我是耶和华。

7. 拆毁你们(以色列)用未泡透灰所抹的墙
8. 你们(以色列)也必在其中灭亡
13:14 我要拆毁你们用未泡透灰所抹的墙,拆平到地,以致根基露出;墙必倒塌,你们也必在其中灭亡;你们就知道我是耶和华。

9. 必坚定我与你(以色列)所立的约
16:62 我必坚定我与你所立的约,你就知道我是耶和华,

10. 拣选以色列
11. 向雅各家的后裔举手起誓
12. 领他们出埃及地,到流奶与蜜之地
20:5-7 对他们说,主耶和华如此说,当日我拣选以色列,向雅各家的后裔举手起誓,在埃及地使他们认识我,说,我是耶和华你们的神;那日我向他们举手起誓,要领他们出埃及地,到我为他们探察过的流奶与蜜之地;那地是全地的荣耀。我对他们说,你们各人要抛弃眼中所喜爱那些可憎之物,不可因埃及的偶像玷污自己;我是耶和华你们的神。

13. 我为我名的缘故,不照着你们邪恶的行径和你们败坏的作为待你们(以色列)
20:42-44 我领你们进入以色列地,就是我举手起誓要赐给你们列祖之地,那时你们就知道我是耶和华。你们在那里要追念你们那些玷污自己的行径和一切作为,又要因所作的一切恶事,看自己为可厌恶的。主耶和华说,以色列家阿,我为我名的缘故,不照着你们邪恶的行径和你们败坏的作为待你们;你们就知道我是耶和华。

14. 你(以色列)必在列国人的眼前因自己所行的被亵渎
22:16 你必在列国人的眼前因自己所行的被亵渎,你就知道我是耶和华。

15. 使拉巴成为牧放骆驼的地方,使亚扪人的地成为羊群躺卧之处
25:5 我必使拉巴成为牧放骆驼的地方,使亚扪人的地成为羊群躺卧之处,你们就知道我是耶和华。

16. 向摩押施行审判
25:11 我必向摩押施行审判,他们就知道我是耶和华。

17. 攻击非利士人,剪除基利提人,灭绝沿海余剩的人。向他们大施报复,发怒惩治他们
25:16-17 所以主耶和华如此说,我必伸手攻击非利士人,剪除基利提人,灭绝沿海余剩的人。我要向他们大施报复,发怒惩治他们;我报复他们的时候,他们就知道我是耶和华。

18. 推罗在田野的众女儿必被刀剑杀灭
26:6 推罗在田野的众女儿必被刀剑杀灭,他们就知道我是耶和华。

19. 与西顿为敌,在她中间施行审判
28:22 说,主耶和华如此说,西顿哪,我与你为敌,我必在你中间得荣耀。我在她中间施行审判,显为圣别的时候,人就知道我是耶和华。

20. 使瘟疫进入西顿,使血流在她街上;被杀的必在其中仆倒,四围有刀剑临到她
28:23 我必使瘟疫进入西顿,使血流在她街上;被杀的必在其中仆倒,四围有刀剑临到她,人就知道我是耶和华。

21. 四围轻侮以色列家的人,必不再向他们作刺人的荆棘和使人痛苦的蒺藜
28:24 四围轻侮以色列家的人,必不再向他们作刺人的荆棘和使人痛苦的蒺藜,人就知道我是主耶和华。

22. 将以色列家从他们所分散到的万民中招聚回来
23. 使他们在这地上安然居住
24. 向四围轻侮他们的众人施行审判以后
28:25-26 主耶和华如此说,我将以色列家从他们所分散到的万民中招聚回来,在列国的眼前,在他们身上显为圣别的时候,他们就在自己的地,就是我赐给我仆人雅各之地,仍然居住。他们要在这地上安然居住,盖造房屋,栽种葡萄园。我向四围轻侮他们的众人施行审判以后,他们必安然居住,并且知道我是耶和华他们的神。

25. 埃及一切的居民,因向以色列家成了芦苇的杖
29:6 埃及一切的居民,因向以色列家成了芦苇的杖,就知道我是耶和华。

26. 使以色列家的角发生
27. 使你以西结在他们中间得以开口
29:21 当那日,我必使以色列家的角发生,又必使你以西结在他们中间得以开口;他们就知道我是耶和华。

28. 我因他们(以色列)所行一切可憎的事,使这地荒凉旷废
33:29 我因他们所行一切可憎的事,使这地荒凉旷废;那时,他们就知道我是耶和华。

29. 田野的树必结果,地也必有出产
30. 我折断他们所负的轭,救他们脱离奴役他们之人的手
34:27 田野的树必结果,地也必有出产;他们必在自己的地安然居住。我折断他们所负的轭,救他们脱离奴役他们之人的手;那时,他们就知道我是耶和华。

31. 使你(西珥山)的城邑变为荒场
35:4 我必使你的城邑变为荒场,你必成为荒凉;你就知道我是耶和华。
35:9 我必使你永远荒凉,你的城邑必无人居住,你们就知道我是耶和华。

32. 使西珥山和以东全地荒凉
35:15 你怎样因以色列家的地业荒凉而喜乐,我必照样对待你。西珥山哪,你和以东全地必都荒凉。他们就知道我是耶和华。

33. 使人和牲畜在你们上面增多,并比起初更亨通
36:11 我必使人和牲畜在你们上面增多;他们必增多繁衍;我要使你们有人居住,象先前一样,并要使你们比起初更亨通。你们就知道我是耶和华。

34. 在列国的人眼前,在你们身上显为圣别的时候
36:23 我要使我的大名显为圣别;这名在列国中已被亵渎,就是你们在他们中间所亵渎的。我在列国的人眼前,在你们身上显为圣别的时候,他们就知道我是耶和华;这是主耶和华说的。

35. 荒凉的城邑必被人群充满
36:38 圣别作祭物的羊群怎样多,耶路撒冷在所定的节期羊群怎样多,照样,荒凉的城邑必被人群充满;他们就知道我是耶和华。

36. 给你们加上筋,使你们长肉,又将皮遮蔽你们,
37. 使气息进入你们里面,你们就要活了
37:6 我必给你们加上筋,使你们长肉,又将皮遮蔽你们,使气息进入你们里面,你们就要活了;你们便知道我是耶和华。

38. 开你们的坟墓,使你们从坟墓中上来
39. 将我的灵放在你们里面
40. 将你们安置在本地
37:13-14 我的民哪,我开你们的坟墓,使你们从坟墓中上来,你们就知道我是耶和华。我必将我的灵放在你们里面,你们就要活了;我将你们安置在本地,你们就知道我耶和华如此说,也如此成就了;这是耶和华说的。

41. 我的圣所在以色列人中间直到永远
37:28 我的圣所在以色列人中间直到永远,列国就必知道我是使以色列分别为圣的耶和华。

42. 我必显为大,显为圣别,在多国人的眼前让人认识
38:23 我必显为大,显为圣别,在多国人的眼前让人认识,他们就知道我是耶和华。

43. 降火在玛各和那些安居于众海岛的人身上
41. 在我民以色列中使人认识我的圣名,也不容我的圣名再被亵渎
39:6-7 我要降火在玛各和那些安居于众海岛的人身上,他们就知道我是耶和华。我要在我民以色列中使人认识我的圣名,也不容我的圣名再被亵渎;列国人就知道我是耶和华以色列中的圣者。

44. 使他们被掳到列国中,后又聚集他们归回自己的地
39:28 因我使他们被掳到列国中,后又聚集他们归回自己的地,他们就知道我是耶和华他们的神;我必不再留他们一人在列国那里。

Prayers at Presidential Inauguration Day 2017

1 Timothy 2:1-3
I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men; On behalf of kings and all who are in high position, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and gravity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of our Savior God,

I am not political and I do not endorse Donald or either party. Still, it is glorious to see and hear our Lord’s name being honored at the presidential inauguration of the greatest country on earth.

Prayer played a major role in the inauguration of Donald Trump. The ceremony featured six religious leaders, more than any other inauguration in history. The list included Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Paula White, one of his spiritual advisors, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Rev. Franklin Graham, and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson.


Cardinal Timothy Dolan beseeched God for wisdom for the new president as he read from the scriptures.

Rodriguez read from the Sermon on the Mount, in chapter five of the Gospel of Matthew.

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs

And God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. For you are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on its stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

He ended his prayer in the name of Jesus.

Paula White prayed,

We come to you Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus with grateful hearts thanking you for this great country that you have decreed to your people.

We acknowledge we are a blessed nation…every good and perfect gift comes from you,” she too referenced the name of Jesus after her prayer.


Rabbi Marvin Hier also led a prayer.

Bless President Donald J. Trump and America our great nation,

Guide us to remember the words of the Psalmist, “Who may dwell on your holy mountain? One who does what is right and speaks the truth. Bless all of our allies around the world who share our beliefs. ” By the rivers of Babylon we wept as we remembered Zion… If I forget thee o’ Jerusalem may my right hand forget its skill.”

Rev. Franklin Graham pointed out that it started to rain as President Trump delivered his inaugural speech.

Mr. President, in the Bible, rain is a sign of God’s blessing,” he said. “And it started to rain Mr. President when you came to the platform.

Graham also quoted a passage of scripture from from 1 Timothy 2.

I urge then first of all that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people,” he said. “For kings, for all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

This is good and it pleases God our Saviour who wants all people to be saved,” he added.

Graham also acknowledged,

There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.


Bishop Wayne T. Jackson rendered the benediction at the close of the inauguration. He hosted the then-Republican presidential candidate at his Great Faith Ministries International in Detroit during the presidential campaign. He prayed for the new president and for unity and healing in the country.

We’re not enemies. We’re brothers and sisters. We’re not adversaries, but we’re allies. We’re not foes but we’re friends. Let us be healed by the power of your love and united by the bond of your spirit.


What Denomination Should I Join? (By John M. Frame)

This article first appeared in the Viewpoint column of the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, volume 36, number 02 (2013). The full text of this article in PDF format can be obtained by clicking here. For further information or to subscribe to the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL go to: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/

People often ask what denomination is best, or what denomination they should join. Of course the prior, and far more important, question is: What should be our relation to Jesus Christ? The answer to that question is that we should believe in Christ as the Bible presents Him, and receive Him as our own Lord and Savior. Lord means that He rules our lives; Savior means that He, and only He, through His work on the cross, brings us divine forgiveness and salvation from sin.

After we have resolved that question, there is room to discuss many other questions. An important one is how we relate to the church; for Jesus did not die for us just to establish a one-on-one relationship. Rather, He baptizes us into one body including people of all backgrounds: Jews, Greeks, slaves, free (1 Cor. 12:13) and gives to each of us gifts of the Spirit intended to build up that body.

So new believers naturally want and need to know what church they should be part of. As we look around us, what strikes us are all the denominational names: Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian. We therefore tend to ask the question of church membership in terms of denomination—hence the title of this article.

The Birth of Denominations. But if you look in the Bible, you won’t find anything about denominations. Look up “denomination” in a Bible concordance. It isn’t there. Denominations, as we call them today, play no role in the New Testament, and they have no part in New Testament church government; yet they are so very prominent in our contemporary church life. One recent study estimates that there are approximately forty-one thousand denominations in the world today.

How did this happen? According to the New Testament, Jesus founded one true church (Matt. 16). After His resurrection, the church was administered by apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers (Eph. 4:11). There were, from time to time, controversies and disputes among the believers. Jesus indicated what should be done when a believer accused another of sin (Matt. 18:15–20), and the apostles directed the churches to exercise discipline in moral (1 Cor. 5:1–13) and theological (2 Tim. 4:1–5; Tit. 1:13) matters. But the New Testament never suggests that when someone is unsatisfied with the church’s judgment, he should leave the body and start a rival church, a denomination. Indeed, in 1 Corinthians 1:10–13 and 3:1–23 Paul warns against the kind of rivalry that later produced denominations.

Despite such warnings, in time some church members failed to accept the provisions of the one, true church and left to form other “churches.” There were the Novatianists, the Donatists, and various groups of Monophysite and Nestorian bodies. Then there was the great schism between eastern and western churches in AD 1054, the sixteenth-century Protestant/Catholic split in the West, and the general inability of Protestants to achieve visible unity, leading in time to forty-one thousand denominations.

Some of these differ only by name and/or nationality. But many have, or think they have, substantial differences of doctrine or practice, so that they cannot worship together and/or operate under a common church government.

What Is Wrong with Denominationalism? Now I think we should be clear on this fact: denominationalism is sin. It is a refusal to resolve disputes in biblical ways and a rejection of the one, true church founded by Jesus. I am not saying that everybody involved in a “walkout” has committed sin. Sometimes, the sin is on the part of those who leave, and sometimes on the part of people who wrongly forced them to leave. More often, there is plenty of guilt on both sides.

This is not the unforgivable sin. The grace of Jesus covers such people (in church history they have been called “schismatics”) when they repent and trust in His sacrifice. But Christian believers should be at least a little bit sad about these divisions, these wounds in the body of Christ. Unfortunately, what many of us do is to celebrate the founding of our denominations. We praise the great wisdom and spiritual courage of our founders, the sacrifices they made, and so on. And we pledge that we will maintain their position in the continuing strife and in analogous battles taking place today. But I can’t believe that such denominational chauvinism pleases our Lord.

There are battles to be fought today, but the chief battles are against spiritual beings: angels and demons (Eph. 6:10–20), not other believers, definitely not other denominations. Certainly, we are to fight for righteousness, holiness, and truth (2 Tim. 4:1–5); but according to the New Testament, these battles take place within our own church bodies and in the unbelieving world.

Deciding on a Denomination. But the question persists, what denomination should I join? Let’s put the question in more biblical terms: what church should I join? Although there are no denominations in the New Testament, certainly there are churches. The church that Jesus founded is a universal church—a church embracing all nations. But there are also city churches, like the Church of Thessalonica, and house churches, like the one mentioned in Romans 16:5. I have the impression that the city church embraced many house churches, and all the city churches were part of the universal church.

Part of the problem today is that, because of denominationalism, there is no overarching fellowship in a city or throughout the world. The Christians in our cities are split up by denominational differences. If you join the Lutheran church, you will have limited fellowship with Baptists or Episcopalians. So when you make a choice to join one church, you will cut yourself off—not entirely, but somewhat—from fellowship with other believers.

Unfortunately, in the present time, a believer cannot join a church without joining a denomination. Even “nondenominational” churches are actually denominations of one.

Jesus wants us to be part of the church, and to do that we must (with some sadness, I hope) also become parts of denominations. Here are some important considerations in making this choice:

  1. Does the church uphold the basic teachings of Christianity (as in the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds)?
  2. Is the church committed to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture?
  3. Does the preaching of the church fairly represent the teachings of Scripture (as you understand them, of course!) and apply them to the lives of its people?
  4. Does it administer the sacraments in a biblical way?
  5. Does the worship glorify God? Does it edify the worshipers?
  6. Does the church encourage and provide good opportunities for fellowship among the people? Does that fellowship convey the love of Christ?
  7. Does it meet the particular challenges of ministering to specific groups in the church: children, young people, old people, the sick and disabled, men, women, people of different races, income groups, and educational levels?
  8. Does the church reach out to bring the good news of Christ to the unchurched people of the area?
  9. Does the church display the love of Christ to the poor and needy of the area?
  10. Does the church encourage the ministry of the gospel around the world?
  11. Does the church stand for righteousness and against wickedness within its membership and throughout society?

You may notice that none of these criteria uses the word “denomination.” One can often make a wise decision about church membership without even inquiring as to what denomination the church belongs. But generally it is wise to take a church’s denominational membership into consideration.

Some denominations are better than others, in that they encourage churches to be more like the eleven descriptions above. You may sometimes find an excellent church within a weak denomination, or vice versa. But knowing the denominations and their histories can sometimes bring important facts to your attention and save heartaches later on.

For example, some denominations are very preoccupied with their histories and the controversies that led to their formation. That’s usually a negative indication, for the time spent celebrating these histories is usually better spent doing other things. Some denominations are historically Swedish, or English, or Scottish, or Dutch, or African-American, or some other background. That is fine, as long as the church welcomes people from other ethnicities; but often they do not. Sometimes denominations insist on particular emphases of doctrine or practice, which limit the flexibility of a congregation to minister in its present situation. Some denominations are more authoritarian than others in the degree to which they govern each congregation’s use of property, curriculum, missions support, colleges, and seminaries. In some cases that may be a good thing, but prospective members must choose how much authority they think the church should grant to a denomination.

Some denominations claim to be the one, true church, founded by Jesus and the apostles. Then they devote a large amount of effort and resources to persuading people of this claim and disparaging churches and people who belong to other bodies. As I have developed the argument of this article, I think such claims are all false. No denomination is equivalent to that one, true church. The one, true church today is the fellowship of all believers in Christ throughout history and throughout the world, with Jesus at the head. When a denomination claims to be the one, true church, that should be a danger signal to those who think about joining it.

Denominations are not the true church; indeed, denominations are not churches at all. We should get out of the habit of referring to denominations as “churches,” like “the Evangelical Lutheran Church” or “the Presbyterian Church in America.” What are they, then? They are makeshifts. The one, true church still exists, but it has lost much of its earthly unity because of human sin.

Denominations (and for that matter, also the often-criticized “para-church organizations”) are like duct tape or Elmer’s Glue—human attempts to restore something like, but not identical to, the unity of the original church. So one important mark of a good denomination is humility.1 —John M. Frame

John M. Frame is professor of systematic theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.


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