Why I Understand But Don’t Understand Church Denominations
I grew up in the First Christain Reformed Church. It was a predominantly Dutch church that teaches the Calvinist doctrine of TULIP. As I grew older, the more I struggled with the church. I left the reformed denomination when I went to college and never looked back. One of the parts of the church that bothered me was that it was a denomination. I didn’t understand why we had to do all these rituals. Why don’t we like the reformed church down the street? Why can’t we get along? We are all Christians.
There were many aspects of denominations that I didn’t think were necessary. I didn’t believe memorizing catechism was essential to my faith. Studying or understanding TULIP was not a top priority for me. I felt that I just needed to love Jesus and work on my relationship with Him above all else. All that other stuff would come later.
I will admit that I have recited the first question of the catechism when I have been afraid or sad. At the time, I didn’t know I still knew it! The reformed denomination gave me a good background for my faith, and for that, I will always be grateful.
When I went to college, I decided to go to a non-denominational church. I like that it wasn’t so structured. The church just focused on the Bible, on Biblical sermons, not traditions. I loved that they played worship songs from this century and that there were multiple pastors. I loved that there were authentic people my age that I could connect too.
As I interacted with more people in college and post-college, I realized I could work with many different people. I had unique classmates, lab partners, and coworkers, but it was a different story when it came to picking friends. I began to understand that you can talk and work with almost anyone, but that doesn’t mean you are going to agree on everything.
I understand churches split because the congregation can’t agree on everything. Churches split because of different opinions, power struggles, and mixed loyalties. A church is more than working with each other, and it’s more than being friends with each other.
I still don’t think that is a good enough reason to break up a church. We don’t have to agree on the age of baptism or sacraments. We have to spread the word of God…