Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 20, 1949
NUMBER 24, PAGE 2,6b

Is Christ Divided?

Roy E. Cogdill

If you look back into the church of the New Testament, you can not find anywhere any recognition of any man as the founder of that church in any way or in any sense. Neither did the church recognize any human being as its head; nor did it submit to the teachings of any man or group of men. They engaged in no use of human innovations in their worship. From everything that was human they turned away, and continued rather in the apostles' doctrine as it was revealed by the Holy Spirit making known to them the will of God.

Every religious organization that exists on earth today, founded by human beings, wearing the name of some man, or of human choosing, governed by human authority, with a human creed, with human innovations in its worship represents a departure from the teaching and authority of God. It is therefore contrary to God's will, and sinful in his sight.

Christianity Anti-Denominational

Religious division and denominationalism is contrary to the word of God. Christianity is not only undenominational, it is anti-denominational It not only cannot be identified with denominationalism and partyism, but is actually antagonistic and contrary to all such. No man can be a party to a denominational set-up and be a Christian. He becomes unfaithful to God, disrespectful toward God's word, and sinful in God's sight the very moment he engages in any denominational or religious division whatsoever.

Consider the argument Paul delivered to the Corinthian church in the first four chapters of his first letter. First of all, he said, "I beseech you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that ye all speak the same thing." The common conception in the religious world is that it makes no difference what men believe, that every man has the right today to preach what he believes, and to believe what he chooses. From a governmental and civil point of view that is exactly right. And as citizens of a free land we ought to be willing to defend and uphold that right at the expense of everything we have. Our civil liberties give every man the right to worship as he believes, and to do that which he thinks is right before God.

But from God's point of view what is our liberty? How does God feel about the matter? What does he say in his word about the right of men to preach different doctrines, wear different names, and hold different faiths? Paul said to the Corinthians, "I beseech you," and that word "beseech" partakes both of the nature of a command and of an entreaty. It simply means that Paul was both entreating and demanding of them in. the name of Jesus Christ, the highest and only authority that a Christian can recognize, "that ye all speak the same thing." There was no room at all for differences or variations among them. If God was not pleased then when men claimed to be his children yet spoke different things, God is not pleased today. That ought to go without argument to anybody who believes the word of God, and who has any reverence for it.

No Divisions

Paul said, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I beseech you" to speak the same thing, preach the same doctrine, teach the same thing, and believe the same thing. He said further that there should be no divisions among them. That was the second command. Not only should all speak the same thing, but no one should allow any division to exist. By the authority of Christ he demanded that. He required them to "be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment."

Those three rules (unity in speaking, refusal to allow division, and unity in mind and judgment) laid down by the authority of Christ, God's Son, who died for our redemption, would destroy and dissolve all denominationalism, partyism, strife, and factionalism within thirty days time if you could get the people who profess to be Christians to follow them. There wouldn't be a single denominational name, creed, organization, or doctrine left. The creeds would be piled in the public square and burned and forever forgotten. Party names would never be used or spoken, and the peace and unity for which Christ so earnestly prayed would be a reality. All this would come to pass just as quickly as those who profess to believe in Christ and to follow him would show enough respect and reverence for his word to (1) all speak the same thing, (2) refuse to be a party to any division that may arise, and (3) be perfected together in the same mind and judgment.

Is Christ Divided?

In condemnation of the division that existed at Corinth Paul raised the question, "Is Christ divided?" They were holding before the world a divided Christ. They were undertaking to divide and parcel out the spiritual body of the Lord. Each of them claiming to be a part of it, they were making a Joseph's coat of many colors and patches out of the church of the Lord. They were picturing it as that which could be divided and parceled out Paul charged them, you are misrepresenting Christ: with your denominationalism and your strife and your, division you are holding forth to the world a false picture. Christ is not divided; Christ is not divided; Christ is not to be parceled out.

This same argument was repeated later when Paul came to speak of the communion. He said, "we, who are many, are one bread, one body: for we all partake of one bread." (I Cor. 10:17). We are one body because we partake of one loaf. The argument would run like this. Christ had but one physical body to die upon the cross. He has given to us the Lord's Supper as a memorial of that sacrifice. As he had but one body to die, so we have but one loaf in remembrance of that one body. The one loaf keeps in remembrance the one body. In observance of that memorial unity is indicated by all partaking of the one loaf, so that as Christ had one physical body, the church is likewise one spiritual body. The eating of the one loaf shows that fact. That is Paul's argument on unity in I Corinthians, the tenth chapter. It simply cannot be answered. So far as I know, no denominationalist has ever even tried.

Christ is not divided. Any denominationalist that represents him as being divided is false. And no denominationalism can exist anywhere, at any time, or under circumstances which does not represent Christ as being divided. A true Christian can have nothing to do with such misrepresentation of his Lord.