I didn’t invent church denominationalism—I inherited it, and so did you.  And in that we were handed an unwritten set of implied rules and mysterious guidelines or God’s “unrevealed” law, …the church’s “do’s and don’ts”.  A lot of those ‘do’s and don’ts’ have nothing to do with Bible (Lord help us if you followed the Bible over some church ‘do or don’t’).  Some of the do’s and don’ts include the following—only ‘pure’ people serve communion—women shut their yappers in the building (except to sing, and, if they weren’t tone deaf)—no wearing of jewelry in the church building—women can’t wear pants—no raising of hands (it’ll split the church)—King James only (also pray in King James— canst, wouldst, thees and thous)—don’t play cards (“it’s the devil”) or shoot pool for that matter—hymns only (no choruses)—the Bible doesn’t “authorize” hand clapping—no long hair for people who should have short hair—no short hair for people who should have long hair (go figure).   Invented, enforced, spoken, or unsaid church “do’s and don’ts” make church cramped, un-imaginative, un-ingenius, and un-heavenly.  Church down here is suppose to be a practice run for heaven up there.

   We can, however, approximate what heaven would be like in our churches if, on one Sunday, we get all the preachers to meet downtown, put their church name in a hat, then, blindly draw a church name, then, go preach at that church that Sunday.  Kinda like a ‘fruit-salad turnover’ of preachers. The congregants of said preachers would be sitting on the edge of their padded pew wondering who they would get—and—what they would say.  And, I know what the preachers in this town would preach about.  The Baptist preacher would preach about how wonderful it is to be saved.  The Methodist preacher would preach about what an awesomely Holy God we serve.  The Pentecostal preacher would tell us about a loving God filling us with the Holy Spirit.  The Assembly of God preacher would encourage the people to worship God without caring what anybody thought.  The Black preachers would tell us pale faces how we all can be overcomers in Christ Jesus.  The Church of Christ preacher would tell us how we can make beautiful music with our voices to God.  The Baptist would be at the Methodist.  The Methodist at the Assembly of God.  The Pentecostal would go to the Missionary Baptist.  The Missionary Baptist would go to the Christian Church.  The black to the white-the white to the black.  The formal to the informal.  The excited to the mundane.

   Here’s one for ya—Church denominationalism ain’t heaven.  God ain’t got no labels on His pearly gates—and—I don’t think that the Apostle Paul would be to happy of how we do church today either.  He’s the one who wrote “We are all one in Christ Jesus.”  But lets not cloud the issue (right?).  I don’t think Paul would fellowship in any of our churches until we all came to an agreement that going about showing preference to denominational loyalties over being one man in Christ is bad heaven prep work.  Paul would have church at the town square before he would walk into a building labeled as a faction of Christ.  “Is Christ divided?” would be Paul’s question to us today just as it was in the day he wrote it. 

   But, alas.  I know.  We have been more programed to divisiveness than extending a right hand of Christian fellowship.   We’ll just have to do the best we can at heavenly prep work and daily love each other  … except on Sundays. 


Roy Platt is minister of Jennings Church of Christ in Jennings, LA.