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Question

What is a denomination?

what is a denomination
Answer


In a religious context, the word denomination is often defined as “a recognized autonomous branch of the Christian church.” One denomination will include many local churches that are usually spread over a broad geographical region.

At GotQuestions.org, we have many articles about denominations that you may find helpful:
What are the most common denominations of Christianity?
What is a non-denominational church? What do non-denominational churches believe?
Why are there so many Christian denominations?
What are the mainline denominations?
What does it mean for a church or organization to be interdenominational?

There are many good denominations, and each denomination has good and bad local churches. When looking for a church, study the individual church’s statement of faith and ask about the church’s practices rather than blindly keeping loyal to a particular denomination. Selecting a church should not be based solely on denomination. It is better to pick a church based on the quality and accuracy of the Bible teaching and how well the church is fulfilling the Great Commission, regardless of the denomination.

The Bible nowhere mandates we have denominations, but there is nothing inherently wrong with them. Sometimes denominations are simply a way to distinguish a particular group of like-minded churches. Denominational labels are useful for the quick identification of groups of Christians. Being familiar with the doctrinal distinctives of the various denominations allows one to gain a general overview of the churches in a particular town.

Are there too many denominations? Probably. Sometimes, new denominations form because of valid disagreements over essential theology or vital church practice, and truth must separate itself from falsehood. Other times, new denominations form over minor matters that are better resolved in a spirit of love and humility. “Live in peace with each other” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).

The Body of Christ is interdenominational. We may choose labels for ourselves and others—and such labels have their place—but Jesus never assigned denominational tags. The Body of Christ is made up of “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21), and the gospel of salvation by grace through faith unites believers, despite our denominational differences.

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This page last updated: April 26, 2021