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Denominationalism was not God’s Idea. –

The concept of denominationalism challenges and wounds the unity and effectiveness of the Christian church, leaving us with a sense of loss and a longing for the unity we once had.

When the church was established on Pentecost, there were no denominations. The believers were united, sharing everything and agreeing as one body. This historical context stands in stark contrast to the present state of denominationalism.

Over the past 2,000 years, the church has become fragmented into numerous denominations, each with its doctrines and practices.

Denominationalism has not only fragmented the church but also weakened it and led it astray. One of the significant consequences of this fragmentation has been the neglect or outright refusal to practice speaking in tongues, a vital element of the early church’s spiritual life.

According to the scriptures, denominations are discouraged because they do not align with God’s original design for His church.

The Early Church: A Model of Unity and Power

The early church, which began on the day of Pentecost, was notable for its remarkable unity and spiritual strength. The book of Acts provides a vivid picture of this unity:

  • Acts 2:44–47: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who needed them. Every day, they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the people’s favor. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

This passage illuminates the extraordinary power and strength of the early believers, united in purpose and practice. It inspires us to believe that such unity is not only possible but also within our reach.

The Problem with Denominationalism

  1. Fragmentation and Disunity: Denominations have fragmented the body of Christ into numerous sects, each with its interpretations and practices. This disunity contradicts the prayer of Jesus for His followers to be one:
    • John 17:20–23: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so the world may believe you have sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so they may be united. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
  2. Doctrinal Differences: Denominations often emphasize different doctrines, leading to confusion and division among believers. This can result in the neglect of critical biblical practices, such as speaking in tongues, which was central to the early church’s spiritual life.
    • 1 Corinthians 14:2, 4: “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit… Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.” Speaking in tongues is a powerful means of personal edification and communion with God, yet many denominations either ignore or reject this practice.
  3. Resistance to the Holy Spirit: Some denominations have resisted the work of the Holy Spirit, particularly the gift of speaking in tongues. This resistance can quench the Spirit’s work within the church and limit its spiritual power.
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:19: “Do not quench the Spirit.”

The Biblical Mandate for Unity and the Role of Tongues

The New Testament consistently emphasizes the importance of unity among believers and the vital role of the Holy Spirit in the church’s life. Speaking in tongues is not just a practice but a significant aspect of this spiritual life, as highlighted in the scriptures.

  • Romans 8:26–27: “Similarly, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people by the will of God.” Praying in the Spirit, including speaking in tongues, is a means of aligning ourselves with God’s will and experiencing His power.
  • Mark 16:17: “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name, they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues.” Jesus Himself affirmed that speaking in tongues would be a sign accompanying believers.

The Call to Return to the Pentecost Model

To address the problem of denominationalism and its consequences, the church must return to the model established on Pentecost. This involves:

  1. Repentance and Unity: Believers must repent of divisions and seek unity in the body of Christ. This unity is essential for a powerful witness to the world.
    • Ephesians 4:3-6: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
  2. Embracing the Holy Spirit’s Gifts: Churches must embrace and encourage the practice of spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues. This practice is not optional, but a vital aspect of the church’s spiritual life and power.
    • 1 Corinthians 14:18: “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” Paul’s frequent use of tongues underscores its importance for personal edification and spiritual vitality.
  3. Submitting to God’s Blueprint: The church must follow the blueprint given in the Scriptures, which includes praying in the Spirit and fostering unity among believers. Any church or denomination that rejects these practices is not aligned with God’s design.


Denominationalism has fragmented the church and weakened its spiritual power. The refusal to practice speaking in tongues and the resulting disunity sharply contrast the early church’s model. By repenting of divisions, embracing the Holy Spirit’s gifts, and returning to the biblical blueprint, the church can experience revival and regain its effectiveness. The path forward involves a renewed commitment to unity and the power of the Holy Spirit, leading to a vibrant and powerful witness to the world.

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