Most of the reasons why denominations have formed are historical and I would ask you to consider a few ideas and then ask yourself whether the question is really that important anyway.
- Many believers would trace the birth of the Church to the day of Pentecost (a Jewish feast which took place shortly after Jesus Christ returned to Heaven). On that day the Holy Spirit came to give power to Christ’s followers, as Jesus Himself had promised). On that day, Peter and the apostles preached to a large crowd in Jerusalem, 3000 people believed and joined the disciples.
- The Church grew incredibly quickly from that day on, but soon encountered serious opposition and many believers fled from Jerusalem and spread out all over the world. Thus multiple small churches sprang up – each retaining the life of the Church, the relationship with Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, but, most likely, developing their own styles of worship.
- The apostles, particularly Paul, traveled from place to place to ensure that the message of Good News about Jesus Christ was fully understood, but did not apparently advocate any particular form of service. It is clear from Paul’s letters that individual churches met in different ways according to their circumstances – some in the temple; some in houses; some in the open air and some in public buildings.
- The bible calls all of Christ’s followers ‘The Church’ (with a capital C!) or the Body of Christ. From this we believe that The Church is Christ’s representative, working on His behalf, in the world.
- Today Christians also meet in different ways according to their circumstances and preferences, and their churches have significant differences of style and teaching. For example: some prefer traditional music, others prefer more modern music or while others even have no music at all; some meet in traditional buildings (such as beautiful churches and cathedrals), others meet in hired community halls and many even meet in homes; some prefer to follow an order of service written down over many years, others use a more open form of service, while some have no apparent form at all. They are not necessarily either right or wrong – they are different. What makes a church is not its style, but its relationship with God through Jesus Christ!
- Some of the denominations date back to times when the church in Britain was in turmoil. Many people became religious without necessarily being committed to Christ and much of the power of true Christianity was lost. As churches rediscovered the joy of serving Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, so they tended to focus on particular truths. For example: When churches began to baptize adult believers, they tended to club together as “Baptists”; churches which began from the ministry of the Wesley brothers often group together as “Methodists”; those who rediscovered the spiritual gifts that appeared on the day of Pentecost are often called Pentecostals; Anglicans trace their history back to the time when the Church of England separated from the Church of Rome – and so on. Although some people get really serious about the differences, Jesus taught that we should obey two commandments – to love God and to love each other. He certainly didn’t tell us to love only those who interpret God’s Word in exactly the same way as we do!
- These divisions are neither right nor wrong. As long as the people are worshipping Almighty God, following the bible and freely serving Jesus Christ, there is no reason for division – they just have different preferences. For this reason CHURCH@Claremont works to maintain friendly relationships with any other part of the Church who hold to the Gospel – the Good News of Jesus Christ.
- CHURCH@Claremont does not belong to any denomination and is known as an independent church. However, it would be unwise for any church to exist in a vacuum, which can lead to over emphasis on specific elements and even to dangerous false teaching creeping in, so we align ourselves with a number of like-minded groups of churches and share teaching with them.
- Find out more about the style and associations of CHURCH@Claremont from other pages in the section of this web site starting with “About our church”.
So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. (Romans 14:17-19 NLT)