by Larry Ray Hafley
Religious denominationalism in general and Catholicism and Protestantism, in particular, are unnecessary institutions. First, if they were essential, they would be found in the Bible. Christ would have spoken of them and told us how to sustain and support them. That he did none of those things shows they are not required for the salvation of man. Second, there is not a single spiritual blessing in any human religion or denominational body that cannot be received outside it. There is no eternal benefit claimed by any denomination that cannot be obtained in Christ, whether or not one ever heard of any denomination.
If one lived and died as a faithful Christian, what did he lack if he never became a member of either a Protestant or a Catholic church? If one is saved by the blood of Christ by grace through faith and lives a life dedicated and devoted to the Lord, what insufficiency is in him if he never joins a Baptist church? If one is born of water and of the Spirit, and if he, as a newborn baby, grows up in Christ through the word of God, of what is he deprived if he never becomes a Methodist or a Mormon? If one believes in the Lord with all his heart, confesses that Jesus is Lord, and serves God with a pure heart fervently, what does he miss if he never learns about the existence of a Presbyterian or a Pentecostal church?
In short, if it is possible to be saved and cleansed by the blood of Christ through the washing of water by the word, and if it is possible for one to be baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ and to serve the Lord therein all the days of his life, and go to heaven when he dies, denominationalism is unnecessary.
One cannot be saved outside the body, or church, of Christ, for Christ "is the Savior of the body," the church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23). All spiritual blessings in heavenly places (in spiritual realms), are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). There are no spiritual blessings outside of Christ since "all" are said to be "in" him. For one to be "in Christ," he must be in his body (for a germ to be in me, it must be in my body; it cannot be in me without being in my body). The body of Christ is the church - "the church...is his body," "the body, the church" (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). Thus, to have all spiritual blessings in Christ, one must be in his body, the church.
One may be saved by grace, be faithful unto death, and enter heaven at last whether or not he ever enters a denominational church, thus, denominationalism is not essential to one’s spiritual life or eternal salvation. The same, though, as we have seen above, cannot be said about the body of Christ. One must be in it to be in Christ where all spiritual blessings dwell (Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:16; 5:23, 30-32).
In light of the plain truth of the Scriptures, will any say that any denomination is necessary? Will any declare that the body of Christ is unimportant, insignificant, and not in any way related to the salvation of the soul and every spiritual blessing? If not, why are some of our readers in those unnecessary, non-essential bodies and outside the body of Christ?