Horse Cave Church of Christ


Online Booklet - "Introducing the Church of Christ"

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by Wendell Winkler

(1) Our Lord did not align himself with any party or division during his earthly pilgrimage. While our Lord lived upon the earth, there were four principle divisions among the Jews: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, and the Essenes. Though each of these advocated some truth, our Lord identified himself with none of them. This is most significant.

(2) Additionally, let us note: (a) Our Lord prayed for unity, the antithesis of denominationalism (John 17:20, 21); (b) our Lord paid for unity, the antithesis of denominationalism (Eph. 2:16); (c) our Lord pleaded for unity, the antithesis of denominationalism (1 Cor. 1:10); and (d) our Lord planned for unity, the antithesis of denominationalism (Eph. 4:1-6). Therefore, our Lord was undenominational and anti-denominational. Thus, must his church be!




(1) Divine in origin. (Matt. 16:18; Daniel 2:44) (1) Manmade, without divine origin. The Lord is not the author of confusion nor denominationalism (1 Cor. 14:33). Our Lord did not work against his own prayer for unity by establishing conflicting and contradictory denominations (John 17:20,21)
(2) Will last forever. (Dan. 2:44; Heb. 12:28, 29) (2) Will be rooted up. (Matt. 15:13).
(3) Designated by Bible names. (Rom. 16:16; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 1:2) (3) Named after men, forms of church government, virtues, days, "ordinances", etc. Yet, we are to speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11).
(4) First century in origin. (Acts 2:47). (4) Catholicism had its beginning in the 7th century and Protestantism had its beginning in the 16th century.
(5) Heavenly headquarters. (Eph. 1:22,23; 1 Pet. 3:22). (5) Earthly headquarters. Some in Rome, or Salt Lake City, or Independence, Missouri, or Cleveland, Tennessee, etc.
(6) Bible only (Acts 2:42; 1 Pet. 4:11; Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 22:18, 19; Jude 3) (6) Creeds, manuals, disciplines, confessions of faith, catechisms. Such reflects upon the all-sufficiency of the word of God (2 Tim. 3:16,17)
(7) Added to (Acts 2:47). (7) Join. You do not join the family of God; rather, you are added thereto (1 Tim. 3:15).
(8) Essential to salvation (Eph. 5:23; Acts 20:28). (8) Can be saved and never be a member of a given denomination. Thus, denominationalism stands self-condemned as being unnecessary and nonrelated to salvation.
(9) Calvary-purchased (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25). (9) No such price paid.
(10) The apostles were members of this church (Acts 2:41). (10) There was no apostolic membership in human denominations. After all, they were not even in existence!
(11) The church of Christ's choice (Matt. 16:18,19; Col. 1:24). (11) The church of man's choice. Now, read Psalm 127:1.
(12) Entered by believing, repenting, confession and being baptized (Acts 2:36-47; 8:26-40). (12) Human laws of induction. One man, being told he must have an experience of grace before he could be considered as a candidate for membership in a given denomination, fabricated a story. Whereupon this denomination voted and accepted him. Later, his conscience bothered him because of the lie. Accordingly, he returned, stating the same, resulting in his expulsion from this denomination. He succinctly observed, "They voted me in for telling a lie, and they voted me out for telling the truth!"
(13) Jerusalem the birthplace (Zechariah 1:16; Isaiah 2:1-4; Mark 9:1; Luke 24:46; Acts 1:1-4). (13) Varied places of beginning, with Jerusalem not being the place of beginning for a single one.


  1. Denominationalism is contrary to the Lord's prayer (John 17:20, 21).

  2. Denominationalism is a fruitful cause of infidelity (John 17:20, 21).

  3. Denominationalism is wrong because Christ is not divided (1 Cor. 1:11-13).

  4. Denominationalism is wrong because the body of Christ is one, not many (1 Cor. 12:13,20; Eph. 4:4; Col. 3:15).

  5. Denominationalism is contrary to one of the basic purposes of Calvary's cross (Eph. 2:15, 16).

  6. Denominationalism is a vain attempt to serve God (Matt. 15:9; Psalm 127:1).

  7. Denominationalism divides homes, when God wants homes united (Joshua 24:15; Amos 3:3; Mark 3:25).

  8. Denominationalism is contrary to Paul's plea for unity, for undenominational Christianity (1 Cor. 1:10).

  9. Denominationalism is contrary to the apostles' doctrine (Rom. 16:17, 18).

  10. Denominationalism is a sin that God hates (Proverbs 6:6-19).

  11. Denominationalism implies that God is the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).

  12. Denominationalism is not apostolic.

  13. Denominationalism is destined for destruction (Mark 3:24, 25).


We must have an unreserved commitment to the Bible as the sole, objective standard in religion. If three people differ as to the time of day, they can settle their differences by consulting the objective time standard, the naval observatory time. Such settles the matter, and produces unity. If a man goes to three different post offices, he will be given the same postage for mailing of his package. Why? Because each postal clerk consults the same guide book.  Unity exists because of allegiance to a single objective authority. In like manner, when all men will lay down their creeds, disciplines, manuals, confessions of faith, catechisms, think-so's, maybe's, and subjective feelings and each with an unprejudiced and receptive heart turns to the word of God, then, and only then, will unity result.  Such will constitute the death knell to denominationalism. We must be committed to being nothing, calling ourselves nothing, obeying nothing, and saying nothing except that which is authorized by the word of God.  Only then will we have "the unity of the spirit" of Ephesians 4:1-6: one body – unity of organization; one Spirit – unity of guidance; one hope – unity of aspiration; one faith – unity of message; one Lord – unity of authority; one baptism – unity of practice; and, one God – unity of worship.

To look at it another way, one of God's immutable laws is that seed bears after its kind (Genesis 1:12). Accordingly, if we preach only the gospel, it will produce in our day the one, true New Testament church that it produced in the days of the apostles, when no denominations existed. To believe otherwise, is to repudiate one of God's immutable laws!

The church of Christ is not a denomination. If she were, she would surrender her right to exist (Matt. 15:13).  Our Lord was undenominational and anti-denominational. His church cannot afford to be otherwise. Her plea is for pure, New Testament, undenominational Christianity. And, how encouraging it is that many are being attracted thereto.


  1. Define "denomination" in its temporal and religious senses.

  2. What meanings does the Bible give to the word church?

  3. Give three New Testament examples that illustrate the oneness of the Lord's church.

  4. State four reasons why Jesus' church is not a denomination.

  5. What is the cure for denominational division?

*This booklet may be purchased from Star Bible Publications.  You may call them at 1-800-433-7507 or visit their website at: Star Bibles for more information. It is also available in Spanish.

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Note: This material is copyrighted (1981) by Star Bible Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 821220, Fort Worth, TX 76182 and is used with the express permission of Mr. Alvin Jennings, owner