Did The Apostles Starts Denominations?

Most people assume that denominations among believers have always existed. The fact is up to 90% of splintered churches of today have only come into existence over the past 500 years. Who started denominations among the professing followers of Jesus Christ? Did the Apostles of Jesus start denominations?
The word denominations is not found in the Bible. However, the idea of denominations among believers is condemned! Denominations is a word which is the opposite of unity. Merriam-Webster defines denomination as the “value that a coin or bill has on it.” With that definition in mind, it is implied that the coins or bills have “different” values; in other words, they are not the same.
Jesus promised to build One Church (Matthew 16:18-19). Jesus had prepared His special disciples called Apostles while He walked the earth and promised to send them divine guidance after He had gone back to The Father (John 16:13; Acts 2:1-4). Jesus commissioned His Apostles to preach the gospel, baptize believers into the name of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, and to teach them all the things Jesus had taught them (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).
So, did the Apostles start denominations? No, they preached the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. Friend, if every preacher preaches the same gospel there can be no denominations. The Apostles taught the same Jesus, the same gospel plan of salvation, how to organize the local church with elders and deacons and how to worship. The Apostles had unity in their message because, as I explained earlier, the message came directly from the Holy Spirit.
When the Apostles taught the gospel through the Bible lands, they preached the resurrected Christ. When men and women believed in Jesus, were willing to turn from sins in repentance and confess Jesus as the Resurrected Son of God and Christ, they were baptized into Christ (Acts 2:36-41). The new group of believers were taught the Apostles’ doctrine including how to worship. They were not taught the doctrines of men! (Acts 2:42; Matthew 15:9).
When the church at Corinth began to have divisions among them, Paul, an Apostle of Christ, quickly corrected their divisive tendencies (1st Corinthians 1:10). There was to be “no divisions among them”–none of any kind. While correcting the many problems at Corinth, Paul appealed to the other churches of The Lord and the unity demonstrated in their belief and practice. In fact, Paul told them he taught the same ways (things) in every church (1st Corinthians 4:16-17) The principle of unity in doctrine from congregation is repeated over and over in the first letter to the Corinthians to get them on board with the other churches (1st Corinthians 1:10; 1st Corinthians 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33; 16:1). The idea that the Apostles established churches which worshipped differently and that each congregation did things “their own way” like Burger King used to say in commercials of old is contrary to everything Christ stood for and everything the Apostles pleaded for in New Testament times!
Churches were praised when they followed the teachings of the Apostles. Even Corinth got some things right (1st Corinthians 11:1-2). Paul gave the brethren at Thessalonica the following exhortation: “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15).
Paul told the brethren at Philippi the God of peace would be with them only if they followed his example as he had learned from Christ: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you”(Philippians 4:9). Note: There is no promise of peace to those who refuse to do the things Paul and the Apostles teach us.
John the Apostle warned against going beyond the doctrine of Christ (2 John :9-11).
Peter warned against false prophets and apostasy (2 Peter 2:1-22).
Jude tells us to “contend for the faith” (Jude :3).
The Apostles understood there is only One Body (Ephesians 4:4) which is the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23). The Apostles teach us there is but One Lord, One faith and one baptism (Ephesians 4:5).
The first believers were continually reminded to keep unity and the one faith (Ephesians 4:1-3). They did actually start out with unity and worked to keep that unity. They did and could agree on doctrine. They did have congregations organized alike and that worshipped alike (Acts 14:23; Philippians 1:1; 1st Corinthians 16:1-2)
The same can be done today if men and women will realize that division and diversity is not from God, Christ, The Holy Spirit, or the Apostles. Denominationalism is the opposite of Bible doctrine. It is important enough for every reader to explore this Bible doctrine further and conform to the doctrine of Christ. This website exists to answer the errors of present day religions and point men and women back to the truth and unity of the New Testament.

Cite this article as: Michael Baggett, "Did The Apostles Starts Denominations?," in Answering Religious Error, August 12, 2016, http://www.answeringreligiouserror.com/inspiration/did-the-apostles-starts-denominations/.
Did The Apostles Starts Denominations?
  • Michael Marks

    No one really starts a denomination. People start churches and then they either send out missionaries or other churches decide they want to align with them because of similar beliefs. Its called church planting and CoCs do the same thing. This is a rant against something that isn’t even done – no one starts a denomination. Denominations are just groups rallying around a certain set of truths and yes that existed from the early church – Paul tells us of Peter separating from Gentiles when Jews showed up – not really a substantive difference – a division based on beliefs around what and who a real Jew was and is. We have several passages in acts that shows that difference and division was around.

    Furthermore some “denominations” were good divisions. It’s never a bad idea biblically to separate yourself from bad teachings. Protestants dividing from Catholics was a good and Godly thing based on the atrocities the catholic church was involved in. You’ve taken the passage out of context. Paul was talking to a local church AND he was not talking about a division based on doctrine. The same Paul prophecies in later years the church would suffer from bad teaching. A lot of denominations as you call them were formed to separate themselves from bad teaching – precisely what you claim to do as well. Unfortunately not even on issues which you have strong biblical support for.