III. THE FACTORS OF A DENOMINATION (SECT)
Scripture Reading: Acts 2:42
In this supplementary word my third burden is to show you the factors of a denomination. A denomination is a sect. However, there is a difference between a denomination and a sect: a sect is not a denomination if it does not denominate itself. The divisions that have been produced among us in recent years have not yet denominated themselves. Hence, they are not yet denominations, but they are surely sects.
A. A Special Teaching
The first factor of a denomination or a sect is a special teaching that differs from "the teaching of the apostles" (Acts 2:42) in the entire New Testament, such as baptism by immersion, the presbytery (to administrate the church by the eldership), head covering, the keeping of days, diet, or a particular stress on a certain point of prophecy. All of these matters may be scriptural, but we should not make any of these a special teaching. It is right for us to have all our practices according to the Bible. Thus, in our practice we baptize people by immersion and we have the eldership, but we do not make these things particular items that divide us from other believers. Certain Christians divide themselves from other Christians over the matter of baptism by immersion. If a believer desires to be received into their membership, they require him to be baptized by immersion in their baptistry, by their pastor, and in their water. If he is baptized by immersion in another place and by other people, they will not recognize him. This is a special, particular teaching that divides these believers from other Christians, making them a sect and a denomination.
(A Brief Presentation of the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)