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Why Are There So Many Christian Denominations

Updated on January 27, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

At last count

There are a lot of figures tossed about by unbelievers when they are that a particular denomination may not have the truth. Their arguments usually say that it is difficult to know who has the truth because there are over 40,000 christian denominations in the world.

But at last count there may be only about 33,000 denominations. It all depends on which denomination you consider Christian or not. If the cult religions are included with that total, then their exclusion would drastically reduce that total. They are far from being Christian.

Unbelievers should understand this

Whether people accept the fact that an evil entity called the devil or Satan exists or not, evil does play a role in life on this planet. For those who do not believe, they are easily deceived, for they have little help or protection against the deception methods used by evil to keep them away from the truth.

Unfortunately, many in the church do not have the protections they need and often are influenced by evil to do things that are not supported by the biblical teaching. This influence plays a role in the growing number of Christian denominations.

Then the Bible tells us that men love darkness rather than light. This is also true for many church members. They prefer to walk after things that are not of God while still claiming to be a Christian. They can justify their decisions any way they want but their justifications are not solid enough reasons for their departure from God’s instructions.

As this influence over certain church members grow, these believers tend to find fault with the true teachings of the bible and decide to go their own way. This leads to the establishment of more Christian churches and even more cult centers.

You shall know the truth

These words of Jesus give us hope that we can find the truth. Once we do we should be remaining in the truth until our lives have passed. This is not always easy to do as evil tries to trip up believers and believers are not bestowed with perfect christian behavior at salvation.

Christians have to grow and learn the adapt when they come upon the truth. Fortunately we have help. Jesus promised us in John 14 & 16 that the Spirit of Truth will help us get to the truth.

We just have to make sure we are following that Spirit and not deceived by those demons posing as an angel of light. Some believers just do not do that little exercise and they get led astray quite easily.

There are many reasons why people do not follow the Spirit of Truth and their failure tends to lead these people to doctrines, ideas, and faulty teaching, Once these misguided people accept that faulty teaching, they find that they cannot accept the truth any more and leave to start their own religious organizations.

They still claim to be Christian and some follow basic Christian teaching but the details are usually far from what Christ and his disciples taught. This leads to a growing number of Christian denominations which lack the truth and cause confusion among all people.

But Jesus did warn us that this would happen. It is only a surprise to those who have not read the Bible.

There are a lot of Christian Churches

Regardless of the figure used, there still are a lot of churches out there claiming to have the truth be the true church of Christ. This number does seem to grow every day as people change affiliations, leave a denomination en mass and so on.

It makes it hard for any one to know which church is the true church. It also makes it difficult for people to hear the truth. In Acts 2 we are told that the true church were of one mind and that all believers worshiped together, observed communion in different houses and so on.

They also did one important thing. In Acts 2:42 Luke tells us that the early church ‘continually devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching.’ That is not taking place today in a wide assortment of those 33,000+/- Christian churches.

Too many of today’s believers are following the concept that they must interpret the Bible their way. Using interpretation is not biblical teaching. As stated earlier, Jesus said to follow the Spirit of truth for he will guide believers to the truth.

Many who claim to be Christian are following their own interpretations and using those to start their own religious denomination. They only cherry pick the passages they like and try to re-translate those they do not like.

These actions only cause more confusion for the unbeliever who do not have the Spirit of Truth in them to help them see what is or isn’t true. They do not understand how people can claim to have the truth yet disagree with so many of their fellow Christians.

There is such a thing as false teachers

The New Testament has made it clear that there are those who claim to be of God yet turn around and begin to teach things that are not of God. Most of them sound very good and it is hard to tell the difference between these false teachers and true teachers of God.

False teachers will abound but if a person seeks help from the Spirit of truth, they will be able to see the difference between who is telling the truth and who isn’t.

Paul told us that if they bring a different message than the one Jesus and the disciples taught, then they are false teachers. Of course, we must be very careful not to condemn someone as a false teacher.

There are those like Apollos who do not have the truth yet speak very fervently about God (Acts 18:26). These people re not false teachers but people who need a better Christian education before they start too preach or evangelize.

The church has to be careful before they label anyone as a false teacher for they may be turning a true Christian into an unbeliever by their rejection.

Some final words

It is merely an excuse that unbelievers use when they quote a 33,000 or 40,000 christian denomination figure. Most unbelievers would rather not hear the gospel and continue to think they are good people. Of anyone, the unbeliever should understand why so many Christian denominations exist.

Many of the leaders and adherents of those supposedly Christian denominations are exactly like they are- they do not want to hear the truth. They want to live their lives their way and according to their own ideas.

That does not work if you want to say you follow Christ. Christ did not go his own way but taught the words of his father. In order to get to the truth, one has to go back to the disciples teachings and follow the Spirit of Truth to the truth.

Then they must adopt the truth and live by it.

© 2019 David Thiessen

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    • sonfollowers profile image

      sonfollowers 

      10 months ago from Alpharetta, GA

      Stacy, about the Mormon thing, feel free to message me. I’ll be happy to discuss with you. I totally understand your concern and am happy to help you understand the Mormon faith from a non-Mormon’s perspective.

    • david tee profile imageAUTHOR

      David Thiessen 

      10 months ago from Philippines

      I am not a Mormon. That is a cult which teaches things Christ and his disciples never taught

    • profile image

      Stacy 

      10 months ago

      Are u of the morman faith?

      I was raised Christian in assembly of God churches and Pentecostal church. I married my husband and he is morman. They have a good insight but I still struggle with conversion. Please help.

    • david tee profile imageAUTHOR

      David Thiessen 

      10 months ago from Philippines

      At sonflower- actually, they should be thinking what Jesus thinks and taught. If you read the early chapters of the book of Acts, you will see many passages that say 'they were of one mind'. If you have the truth then you will be thinking like others who have the truth

      Historical context has no role in understanding the Bible. That leads people away from the truth and allows them to ignore God's instructions in today's modern world.

      The author is God, his intent is for you to find the truth

    • david tee profile imageAUTHOR

      David Thiessen 

      10 months ago from Philippines

      At Segun-- thank you

    • Segun Tewogbola profile image

      Segun Tewogbola 

      10 months ago from Texas

      Good thinking, great hub!

    • sonfollowers profile image

      sonfollowers 

      10 months ago from Alpharetta, GA

      Interesting thoughts. The "people who are doing it right" believe precisely what you believe? In other words, anyone whose theology differs from yours is clearly doing it wrong?

      It would be helpful if you would specifically outline "the directions God has given to identify the Spirit of Truth" from your perspective, including book/chapter/verse references just so it's clear where you're coming from.

      It sounds like there's no need to be concerned with things like historical context, context of the passage/verse within the surrounding text, what the author was actually trying to communicate (ie. author's intent), etc?

    • david tee profile imageAUTHOR

      David Thiessen 

      10 months ago from Philippines

      There are a lot of people who are doing it right. I am not the only one. Since Jesus said you shall know the truth, he was not limiting that directive to a small group of people. Anyone can learn the truth if they follow the directions God has given to identify the Spirit of Truth.

      YOur comment seems to also prove one of the points I made in the above article.

      Plus, with the Spirit of Truth interpretation is not taking place

    • sonfollowers profile image

      sonfollowers 

      10 months ago from Alpharetta, GA

      Greetings, David. I feel like this is a fairly common perspective and is very reminiscent of things I’ve heard elsewhere. From a big picture perspective I might agree with a lot of what you said. Clearly there are a lot of false teachings out there, because with so many different denominations it’s not possible for all of them to be correct. The real question is whether or not any of us have it all exactly right (including you), and I suspect the answer is no (just a hunch).

      You said “using interpretation is not Biblical teaching.” When you read the Bible, you are interpreting the text somehow. If you have no interpretive guardrails or best practices other than “listening to the spirit of truth”, that places you squarely in the camp of a large segment of Christians who are all over the place in terms of their theology. A ton of Christians let their connection with the Holy Spirit be the primary driver for what God is saying to them through scripture, and they’re going in all different directions, often adding ideas or meanings to what’s found in the text. “It’s true because the Holy Spirit told me so.”

      So i’m Interested in whether or not you believe those other people just weren’t doing it right but you have actually got it all figured out. If so, I’m eager to read more about your theological perspective in future hubs.

      Thanks, and welcome to HubPages!

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