They say that money talks. I don’t know. I’ve had a little, but I have never heard it talk. But let’s imagine that it does.
Suppose I opened my wallet to pay for something and all my money had somehow been changed and each bill had become indistinguishable from the others. “Hey, what is this?” I might ask.
“We are your money,” they reply.
I pull one out and ask, “What denomination are you?”
The bill proudly boasts, “I am non-denominational. After all, we are all money. I prefer to not be stereotyped by just one denomination. If I tell you I am a one dollar bill, you might not value me as much as the twenty dollar bill.”
So what’s my point? All bills are NOT of the same denomination. They may very well be worthless, but some are more worthless than others.
That’s why most churches are identified by denomination (a name). When I meet someone who tells me he is a Christian, I might ask him what church he attends. Why? Because I know that all denominations are NOT the same. And some of them are counterfeits. So it is not good enough when someone tells me he does not want to be identified by any particular denomination because “we are all just Christians.” And it’s not going to be good enough when my granddaughter decides that she wants to marry a nice Christian boy from Utah who dons a white shirt, a tie, and funny, secret underwear and rides around on a bicycle doing missionary work for two years.
Seriously, though - I am not suggesting that I can discern a truly, born-again, saved Christian by his church affiliation. I believe that there may very well be real Christians in all denominations because salvation is a free gift of God’s grace bestowed on undeserving sinners and it is received by faith alone in Christ alone.
But there are some characteristics of each denomination that are helpful in “profiling” those who are members. When a person identifies with a denomination, he is subjecting himself to the doctrines and practices of that denomination. He may be ignorant of his church’s teachings but he is never-the-less, sitting under those teachings and that will shape his beliefs. And, when it comes to the subject of salvation, there are some doctrines that are not negotiable; not everything that claims to be Christian is Christian and false doctrine can have eternal consequences.