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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Church # 4

Question: Do you believe in having different denominations? Do sects do more harm than good in the cause of religion?

Undoubtedly, sects do more harm than good in the cause of religion, for the very idea of a sect is of something that causes division. The animating spirit of the sect is division.

However, a denomination is not necessarily a sect. The different denominations have arisen because different people saw some truths very clearly that others did not see, and around these people other people have gathered to enforce that particular aspect of truth. For example, the Congregationalists and the Presbyterians arose in England and Scotland to stand for the truth of the liberty of the individual believer. Many other truths were associated with this truth in the development of these denominations. The Quakers arose to stand for the truth of he illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit for the individual believer today. The Methodists arose to stand for the truth of a definite personal experience of regeneration and the necessity of a holy life. Afterward, other truths, such as the freedom of the will, became prominently associated with these truths in the teaching of the Methodist denomination. By standing strongly for some neglected truths that needed to be emphasized, the denominations have undoubtedly done good. In the present imperfect state of man, where no individual is large enough to take in the whole scope of God's truth, and where one man sees one line of truth strongly and another man another line of truth, denominations have been necessary. But it is fitting that denominational lines are now less defined and that each denomination is coming to understand and accept the truths which other denominations have stood.

~R. A. Torry~

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