"Did God Create a Denominational Smorgasbord?"
Updated: May 19, 2022
Let’s be absolutely clear about this; It was not God who created a huge denominational smorgasbord with over 40,000 different denominations to choose from on the menu. Man did!
Those that believe that God created this smorgasbord to cater to the individual tastes of churchgoers are grossly mistaken. First of all, "God is not the author of confusion” ¹ – (I Cor. 14:33) No one chooses a denomination because it is God’s will or the Spirit has led them to do so. Countless millions of churchgoers pick and choose the denomination of their choice based upon their own religious tastes, family tradition, cultural affiliation, ethnicity and often social status.
There are so many choices and flavors to choose from that the process of picking one over the other can be downright confusing! But rest assured, there's a denomination for everyone! - for those whose personal tastes tend to be "over-the-top" to those who consider a person's faith to be a deeply private matter that no-one should flaunt publicly.
The tastes of some tend toward the more exotic Eastern variety like the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox or Assyrian Orthodox platter. Other prefer the domestic “down home” variety like the Southern Baptist persuasion although these have splintered into many Baptist fragments over the years. Those with more discriminating tastes may choose the Brethren church, Quakers or Mennonite varieties. Those who prefer “hot & spicy” may choose one of the Pentecostal varieties like "Jesus Only" or "Foursquare". Those with a sweet tooth often go for the prosperity fellowships and seeker sensitive churches. Some lean toward the “old-school” variety and some to the “new school” variety. For those who prefer the religious window dressing and liturgies the Anglican and Episcopalian varieties are a good fit. When it comes to the larger denominations, the process of selection becomes even more problematic because they have all been carved up into so many sub-groups.
When the apostle Paul challenged the Corinthian church for essentially doing the same thing He said, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. “He called them carnal babies because of their infantile behavior and went on to challenge them; “for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like men?” “Each of you says, ‘I am of Paul’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Peter,” or ‘I am of Christ.” – (I Cor. 3:1-4 & 1:12)
The same dynamics saturate denominationalism. Considering this, you could easily rephrase Paul’s rebuke by asking, “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like men? For one says, 'I’m a Baptist', another says, 'I’m a Pentecostal’, another says, ‘I belong to the Nazarenes', another says, 'I follow Joel Osteen’, another says, ‘I sit under Kenneth Copeland' and another says, 'I have been a devout Methodist all my life.'…etc., etc.”
Isn’t the denominational smorgasbord of 40,000 denominations manifesting the same spirit of divisiveness, disunity and doctrinal contention that Paul rebuked in Corinthians? Aren’t they acting with the same infantile carnality as the church in Corinth? It’s time to come out of the manmade confusion and put away childish things.
Christ proclaimed that He would build His church but the hopelessly fragmented monstrosity of denominational churchianity is not the church He said He would build. The denominational smorgasbord we see today represents the church man has made. It represents “churchianity” not authentic Christianity. Just as a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand so too, the vast, manmade kingdom of denominational churchianity divided against itself cannot stand either. Even the “World Council of Churches” or ecumenical movements won’t save her.
On the other hand, God has prepared a table for us and it isn’t in the smorgasbord.
1. CONFUSION: (Greek –(akatastasiates) - "a state of disorder, disturbance and confusion”