Jesus prayed for the unity of His followers “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” (John 17:20-21) But look at the modern world of Christendom. There is not only the division between Catholic and Protestant but split further into numerous denominations. Mead, in his book Handbook of Denominations, lists several hundred and that is not all. What have we done?
Is the oneness for which Jesus prayed possible? Should it not be the aim of every believer to promote that unity? But how – how at this late date can it be achieved?
First, we can begin by abandoning those things which divide us. For starters the denominational system itself needs to be dissolved. In the New Testament each congregation was autonomous. There were no denominations. Neither Christ nor the inspired apostles saw fit to have such. Furthermore, the very idea of denominations is contrary to Jesus’ prayer that His followers be one. Also, we should discard all man-made creeds, disciplines, manuals, statements of faith, etc. They have no authority in Christianity and promote division. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is sufficient as a rule of faith and practice.
Second, we can begin to follow the pattern of the New Testament church. At that time, Christ Himself was the only head of the church and each individual congregation was autonomous – no denominational organization. All that came much later. At that time the only rule of faith and practice was the apostles’ doctrine. There were no man-made creeds to which to adhere – only the inspired word of God.