Denominations: What Parliament teaches us about the church


When a group of people want to do what is right, but disagree about how to get there, there’s chaos.

Think Brexit.

On the whole, MPs are standing up for what they think is right. Some emphasise democracy. Others, the economy. Others still, individuals’ rights.

But because progress depends on finding one approach of achieving the good, the House of Commons is paralysed, divided and angry.

The Church: A Divided House?

Someone recently said the church was like Parliament. He was depressed by its many denominations.

For sure, God’s perfect world would never have had factions (Psalm 133:1). This comes down to sin – both in our inability to get along (Acts 6:1), and to interpret secondary gospel issues correctly (Romans 1:21).

We disagree on whether to baptise babies. How our churches should be governed. What the church’s social responsibility should be. The list goes on. 

And to deal with this, we break off into different denominations, networks and affiliations of churches who agree on both primary and secondary issues.

But let’s remember something. All Christians are working for the good: to spread the gospel of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).

And breaking off into groups may actually help us in this mission.

The Church: A United Family

After all, how could an inter-denominational church reach the lost so long as it was divided by theological and stylistic in-fighting? (Philippians 4:2-3)

We’d be as effective as Parliament has been. Paralysed. Divided. Angry.

But unlike Parliament who must legally agree on how to go forward, arranging ourselves into different gospel-centred groups enables us to get on with God’s mission, avoiding paralysis, division and anger.

All churches in denominations which hold to the primary truths of the gospel are labouring side-by-side on God’s mission, spiritually united with Jesus, and spiritually united with one another (Philippians 1:5).

So denominations don’t mean division. And that’s cause for encouragement.