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Paul says to avoid quarreling in his letters to Titus. Have Christians failed at this, considering we have 45,000 denominations?

9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. - (Titus 3:9-11) NIV

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    Who says that lots of denominations is quarrelling? Remember that count includes approx 200 "Catholic Church" denominations (as it counts each country separately.) Are each of those in disunity? Are all the Presbyterian churches in disunity? All the baptists? If Protestants can cooperate for many missions and ministries then are they really quarrelling even if they disagree over whether to baptise babies? If all the Nicene churches uphold the Nicene creed, then are Protestants and Catholics quarrelling? It's an interesting question, but it's not one we can deal with objectively here.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 8, 2021 at 8:44
  • Are you crazy? We are no doubt quarreling. Even if you take out that 200 catholic denominations, you still have what, 44,800 denominations? That's crazy! Clearly there is infighting. Even though we all may share the title of "Christian", there is much disagreement over what that means, and what our fundamental basis is. I'm sorry, but you seem to be denying the gravity and reality of the situation at hand. I understand this may be a subjective stance, but there are ways in which we can objectively examine this question.
    – Luke Hill
    Oct 11, 2021 at 1:41
  • You missed my point... every denomination is counted separately for each country. And in many places denominations like the Baptists have separate structures for each state. That's not a sign of disunity. Pentecostal denominations get started whenever an independent church plants a second church. Yes there are real disagreements, but you need to recognise that the thousands of "denominations" are out of proportion to the actual branches of Christianity.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 11, 2021 at 1:53
  • Okay even so, this doesn't take away from my original point. There are very large signs of disunity, from anti-Catholic hate to large theological differences between denominations, especially in relation to EO vs Protestant vs Catholic.
    – Luke Hill
    Oct 11, 2021 at 1:54

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Yes, agreed, the very fact of denominationalism proves that the present day 'churches' (as a conglomerate) are fallen. But that fact does not obliterate the true Body of Christ, despite that it does obscure it.

The seven churches of Asia were different from one another as to their condition, and some were in a bad condition, one to the point where it was threatened that if there was no repentance, it would no longer be a distinct church at all.

But that was still the Body of Christ on earth.

Repentance was required in five out of the seven. Judgment was strictly warned. Much needed to be put right.

Yet, apart from those seven there was apostasy round about. Many had departed altogether and other gatherings were arisen, centred on erroneous doctrine.

False apostles attempted to lead all astray. The Nicolaitans propagated their hateful doctrine.

But Jesus Christ still walked among the lampstands of the churches, his eyes as a flame of fire, searching out, his feet as burning brass, making progress in judgment.

Still, the seven Spirits of God burned before the throne in heaven.

Still, Christ sent a message to the churches, through the apostolic ministry.

And, despite all that we see wrong, we can still expect Jesus Christ, enthroned above, to work such things in this present day.

Amen.

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    Amen indeed Nigel!
    – Luke Hill
    Oct 6, 2021 at 18:34
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The different denominations serve different functions in the body of God.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes the following:

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

(1 Corinthians 12:12-26)

From this verse, which discusses how different parts of the body serve vital roles in the body and the whole of the body requires each of the parts to perform its function for the body to function properly, in an analogy to the Christian Church which is metaphorically the Body of Christ, we can see that the denominations play a vital role in the flourishing of the greater Christian Church. While acrimonious division (e.g. the situation in Northern Ireland, the Thirty Years War, etc.) is bad, the flourishing of different denominations allows God to perform His work in the world in a variety of ways.

The Catholics appeal to those who seek comfort in ritual and remind us of the enduring history of the Church. Baptists and Evangelicals remind us of the importance of the Bible through their devotion to Bible study, and Charismatics remind us of the overflowing power of God; some denominations remind us of the importance of love for the downtrodden and charity to the needy, while more evangelistic churches help grow the Church by sending missionaries to foreign countries, etc.

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  • The view you present here is contentious, but it's definitely the case that the major times of disagreement were also the times when Christians were prompted to think more deeply about various doctrines. For example, we wouldn't understand the Trinity/Christology as we do if the various heretical positions hadn't been proposed first.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 8, 2021 at 8:47
  • @curiousdannii "The view you present here is contentious" Is it really? The Catholics have officially supported ecumenism since Vatican 2, and many Protestant churches do as well (e.g. through bodies like the World Council of Churches).
    – nick012000
    Oct 9, 2021 at 0:06

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