Denominations - Of God or Not?
"And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" Romans 10:15a
Denominations of today lead the way for believers who must choose from one variety to another, much like different ice cream flavors. But belonging to Baskin Robbins Ice Cream allows one to come together twice a year in general conferences and camp meetings for sampling of various flavors in preaching and choirs singing, all having the same banner and standard, thus the same spirit. Very little is spoken of Word, but of the orator of the hour and so-and-sos great singing voice and musical ability. Have we exchanged Holy Ghost anointing to personal ability; the Spirit for the sensual?
Many hold that the Azuza Street Revival was the last day latter rain outpouring of the Holy Ghost, believing that there is little else to come in these last days from God in glory. Where do we get these rather stupid and idiotic ideas? For God will have a great bride who has made herself ready, without spot or blemish, perfect in all her ways; both spirit, soul, and body presented blameless.
Is there more to come? Will it come from the denomination of man? Historically, a move of God has never been in or through a denomination, but through a group of people who set their minds and hearts on God, hungering after truth, not being satisfied until they were filled. The same will be true in the last days, for the last day Pharisees and Sadducees will be at work in their particular sects just like it was in the days of Jesus. Any move of God will be spoken against as these backslidden believers have no idea of the glory and faith of Jesus in faith coupled with love, but instead chose the praise of men rather than pleasing God.
Over my years in the ministry, I have seen men and women moved on by the Spirit of God only to have these godly men and women sacrifice their vision for the sake of denomination, since headquarters will not allow this or that because so-and-so will be violated by this vision from God. After all, if God was going to give someone a vision and dream concerning His Person and Word pertaining to His will for that believer, then He would certainly have spoken it to the current leadership in their particular flavor of denomination.
In the last days, God will tear down all denominational walls between his people, proving that He alone is God, and He alone is the leader of His people, calling the apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers according to His own will and not by the electorate of the governing religious denominations who lord over Gods heritage.
So a believer has a choice. Either join up and take the same spirit, or be lead of the Holy Ghost. Some will state that a believer can do both in their particular denomination which has the hierarchy and structure of any corporation. Lets consider the Word of God in this area.
Divisions is the Greek word Schisma meaning:
Divisions and heresies are the same we see in modern denominations of today separating the various beliefs by divisions the same as money is divided into various denominations. God is not pleased in his body being separated and not coming together as one body. Therefore He will proceed to do a work in the last days in gathering all things together in one, in Christ Jesus, unto the perfect man with no divisions or heresies standing in the way, but the body of Christ edifying itself in love unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ being a perfect bride of maturity.
Some would attest that this certainly is not the case in the Oneness Church organizations or denominations as they conclude that they have the truth. But it is the same in all denominations as well as independents as well. For all use the same techniques and methods of fellowship rather than the leading of the Holy Ghost in determining the will of God for their so called fellowship.
The church is not mans to operate and delegate, but belongs solely to Jesus being orchestrated, operated, governed, and owned by Jesus only. The Lord will do with His as He pleases, for His own good pleasure and will. Jesus will gather all things together into one in Himself as Paul has told us in his letter to the church at Ephesus.
Notice in the above scripture the reason for the heresies among the church is to that they which are approved not of God but of man may be made manifest among you, getting themselves a name of reputation, coming is ones own name, rather than coming in the name of Jesus. Someone will say, But I am Jesus name. The factions or sects among Oneness believers are due to men getting themselves a name or reputation. There is more excitement of the elected officials and their ranks rather than the Lord Jesus Himself. Very little is spoken of the Word and great conversation is placed upon who is this or who is that in position as leading their states or districts.
This virtually eliminates the office of the apostle since things are delegated out of headquarters along with the offices of prophets and evangelists as well, since pastors preach pastors and officials from within the denominations organization giving them the freewill offerings amongst the pastorate thereby playing the political game for recognition and reputation while the traveling evangelists are not given enough to stay alive in the work of the Lord. While in the world of business I managed an insurance agency of over 500 agents in seven states in a corporate structure realizing the decision making process was of greatest importance for the success and survival among the competition in that industry. While most may not agree, the same competition exists in the governing process in a denomination or fellowship. While some fellowships may be just fellowships, most have a governing body of elected officials or some specific men that call the shots for camp meetings and conventions, with the same competition present. You will hear the saints of God speak more of the preacher and his reputation than the Lord Himself. Here is a simple test to do while listening to believers conversations; do they speak more of the man than they do of Jesus? If so, then there is a government of man who are approved of the denomination or organization rather than approved of God, for they are made manifest as a leader of the sect.
The evangelist then works centers-of-influence, conferences, and camp meetings in order to get his name out among the fellow leaders/pastors of the denomination. The tithe of the minister himself, if he is to be successful, must be paid back to the denomination in which he belongs. This insures the survival of the organization as well as maintaining control over the ministry. As a young minister many years ago doing Gospel Tent Revivals in the Oneness ranks, I met with many a pastor who promised support of our Jesus name tent meeting with the agreement that any souls would be instructed to go to their respective churches, only to have them go into their own revivals in order to keep their flock away from our ministry. In 30 years of preaching, we have had only battles against denominations when it came to reaching souls. Therefore, this article is through experience as well as the Word in stating this article concerning denominations and exclusive fellowships. I remember one small Oneness denominational church in Louisiana where we were holding revivals who would hardly have a revival because they stated they were too small only to have an elected official out of headquarters come and preach a night with an offering of $5,000.00. Quite impressive, dont you think?
May none be found dividing the body of Christ, but working for the unity of the faith among the brethren. What is the litmus test for divisions and heresies? Simply does a body of believers unite only under their name using only approved licensed ministers of their particular flavor, or do they go by the leading of the Holy Ghost, knowing them that labor among them, not by a license, but by the works of God in and through the believers and or ministry, knowing them that have a good report and not a license where one has to pay to be a member in order to be used of God.
Some state that they are independent Apostolic united only in a fellowship, but the fellowship picks and chooses who is in and who is not, therefore, one must be in the click in order to be accepted into their fellowship which is the same as a denomination, the only difference no dues are paid usually in order to be in the particular fellowship. Preachers have learned that if you want to preach in any denomination, you better join up and become their flavor, networking in and through the denominations or fellowships conferences and camp meetings. In this respect, non-denomination apostolic churches preach only their beloved ones that are in their fellowship, just as the Trinity denominations. For a denomination by definition have its own members and ministry from whom they pick and choose for office as well as ministry. The primary purpose of the officials in any denomination and or fellowship is the survival of the institution or corporation, the Word is secondary since it is by their leadership decisions are made, not by the Holy Ghost in and throughout the body of Christ. Is it because the leaders are not good men filled with the Holy Ghost? No, most are good men filled with the Holy Ghost. The only problem is that the denomination is a government outside of the government of God, and must be governed by men in business in order for it to survive. Bottom line, it is business decisions for a business to survive; whereas, Gods government is increased not by affairs of business, but the leading of the Holy Ghost instead supplying the needs of His own body.
Can God move in these surroundings? Yes, and He often does to lead his body into the truth since he loves His children. Will He use the particular flavor of denominations to lead His body from glory to glory, bringing in a move of God? No, God has never used denominations or fellowships to bring in a move of the Holy Ghost, but uses those that are praying, fasting, and earnestly seeking for a move of God in desperation rather than the complacency of mans governing denominations. God will not give His glory to man, or share His glory with a denomination or fellowship. Of course, after the move of God comes, then man is more than pleased to put his particular name of flavor on it and put God in a particular corner under the heading of his particular denomination or fellowship.
Here is a quote from earlier centuries and I thought it was appropriate here:
Denominations consist, not in holding what God said, but in subscribing to articles drawn up by fallible man. Man can applaud his fellow; for in so doing, he praises himself. He can approve the sayings of another; for thereby he constitutes himself a judge. And thus, in the divinity of the day, we shall find that creeds, confessions of faith, and writings of the Fathers, really assume the place of the Word of God.
We travel throughout the United States and welcome you to come to the meetings. If you are confirmed in a denomination or fellowship, these meetings will not be to your satisfaction. But if you are seeking more of God, then come. You will be inspired in the things that God is doing for His great names sake, not for that of a denomination or fellowship.
In summation, let the apostle fulfill his office; let the prophet do the same. For God has given these gifts to men for the perfecting of the saints. But most organizations and denominations proclaim that they are perfect already and have need of nothing; therefore, why rock the boat, stirring the believers up in order to get more of God, in aiding the body of Christ to come unto perfection? God will do His work, and who will let it?