I think they started out honestly…with men and women who believed that together they could accomplish more than was possible individually
I think they started out innocently…I don’t think those who began denominations intended them to become the monstrosities of corporate organizations they presently are. Fact is, you could make the argument that God has blessed, and the idea grew beyond the imaginations of its originators.
I think they do ALOT of good…the core reason for their existence, mutual investment compounded by the quantity of investors, is still a great idea. Just look at any MLM scheme. Denomination do reach farther than the local church can by themselves. Denominations do have more resources than the local church does. Many people have been helped…Many people have met Jesus…Many people have grown because of the investment and service of denominations.
I think they may resemble a sort of junior mafia…complete with bosses, enforcers, collectors, middle management, and poor, inexperienced newbies who do what they need to do to jump up the “family” ladder toward influence, power, and well…money
I know it resembles a corporate organization…complete with executives, sales men (associational missionaries), and regional managers, and local branch managers (pastors). Even though I suppose there is some merit to this, I sometimes wonder that of business and the church, which is the cart and which is the horse (who is leading who?)
I think many within denominations struggle to see the confusion caused by their existence…I wish I could say denomination confuse the hell out of people, it just isn’t true. Truth is, people are so confused by the incredible number of divisions in groups who all claim Jesus, that they never consider Him, and spend their lives and sometimes eternity apart from Him. It is hard to explain how many groups there are who all call themselves Christians, and disagree so sharply. What is even harder to explain is how many different denominations there are within denominations, and groups within denominations, and categories within groups…It starts to look like a power grab…and people see the contradiction
I like the trend…of networks. As long as they do not become the new denominations. Networks seem to find common fundamental belief, and then get busy on a common work. Denominations seem enamored with requiring agreement on fringe doctrine, (alcohol) rather than calling out false doctrine within “Christendom” that confuse the onlooking world. It seems that gathering around a common work, after a few mutual distinctives have been confirmed allows the context we exist in to observe what we are about, rather than hear what we are about.
I hope a trend…of fundamentally like minded, interdenominational work becomes the norm. No one has the market cornered. No one is right on everything. Obviously, if we do not agree on the Gospel we will have a hard time working together. But, when we find agreement, regardless of what “team” we play for, lets hit the field together. The idea of mutual investment being compounded with quantity is sound…lets use it