Many suggest the following quote came from Puritan Richard Baxter: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.
In discussions I’ve had with doubters, one of the objections they bring up is why are there so many different denominations? They wonder why there are Methodists, Presbyterians, Charismatics, Lutherans, and Baptists. They query why there are different kinds of Methodists, Presbyterians, Charismatics, Lutherans, and Baptists? After all they suggest, if they are all Christians why is there so much disagreement?
First, don’t be confused between Orthodox Christian Denominations (Represented above), Cults, and entirely different religions. Examples of cults are Mormonism, Christian Scientist, and Jehovah Witnesses. Different religions are Judaism, Muslim, and/or Buddhism. This post is about Christian Denominations only.
There ARE essentials required to be a Christian. These include: The Trinity, The Infallibility of Scripture, The Virgin Birth of Jesus, Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved, The Humanity and Deity of Jesus, Jesus’ bodily death… resurrection… and ascension, and Jesus’ sure return. If a person or group denies any of these truths they cannot rightly call themselves Christians. In these things there must be unity.
For the most part the reasons for different denominations are doctrinal. These matters include Church Government, Baptism (Immersion, Sprinkling), Worship style, Eschatology, Spiritual gifts, Assurance of salvation, among other things. These are non-essential in nature. This means that the doctrinal issue is not a matter as to whether or not a person is saved. Rather than stay together in a state of disagreement, groups have chosen to separate in order to maintain peace. In these things there is liberty.
When two denominations, or people from different denominations, disagree on a matter… as believers in, and followers of Christ… there must be charity (Love). This is not “We agree to disagree” but rather respecting and honoring the each other in a manner that is not contentious or brings disrepute upon Christ or Christianity. After all, as Jesus said… “People will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.”
Can people who disagree love each other? Of course! When two people disagree it does NOT make them enemies. Maybe if Christians showed more love toward each other in their churches and between denominations the world might just take notice of who Christ is.
I appreciate this blog for the truths it contains.