Value of Denominations

There may be merit in revisiting the issue of how we benefit from a denominational relationship. Any current concerns and headaches aside, what values do we take from a denomination?

1. Heritage. As Christians we have a rich, deep history across denominational lines. However, every denomination has historically been a unique movement and particularly characterized by a specific emphasis. Every denomination has it’s story, it’s weakness, it’s strength, it’s peculiarities.

2. Perspective. Being part of an organization larger than us sometimes forces us to relate to a different perspective. There is great value in being challenged, it helps us define ourselves more clearly and in some cases see where we might be in need of some tweaking. I am not entirely against independent churches, but there is great value in projecting and affirming submission to a larger body.

3. Accreditation. Our relationship with a denomination gives us a structure for licensing and ordination. Perhaps we would take issue with the exact structure, but again there is value and merit in submission to someone else’s system. From my personal perspective, without a denomination we do not have the authority to send chaplains into the Armed Forces. The denomination also provides an additional set of checks and balances on pastors, morally and doctrinally.

4. Missions. Many churches today get their system of supporting missions spiritually and financially from the denomination they support. I disagree with some aspects of how our denomination does missions, but we along with some other denominations uses a system which allows missionaries to devote themselves to sharing the Gospel and making disciples rather than get discouraged and distracted by seeking financial support here in the states. Our missionaries are fully funded from Day 1. The Southern Baptists employ a similar system, but there are many Bible-embracing denominations that do not.

5. Divorce. I believe it to be true after cursory glances at a number of other denominational statements, you can verify this. But divorce is a watershed issue in our culture today, and we have one of the strongest if not the strongest statement of any mainstream evangelical denomination. Most denominations have a statement on divorce and we benefit from this national identification and standard of righteousness.

It is not my place to define our goals or determine our direction, but I hope each of us can remain submissive and supportive of our denomination for as long as the Lord allows us to remain in this organization. The passion I see in others and embrace myself is that we would challenge weakness as we encounter it and seek to offer positive solutions that embrace Jesus and are true to His Word.


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