According to Bruce Shelley, the dissenting brethren of the Westminster Assembly articulated the denominational theory of the church in terms of four fundamental truths.
1. Differences about the outward form of the church are inevitable. This is due to mankind's inability to see the whole truth clearly.
2. Our differences on the outward form of the church are not matters of indifference. Even though they do not involve fundamentals of the faith, every Christian is obligated to practice what he believes the Bible teaches.
3. The universal Church of Christ can never be fully represented by any single ecclesiastical structure because there are true followers of Christ in a number of ecclesiastical structures.
4. The mere fact of separation does not itself constitute "schism." It is possible to be divided at many points and still be united in Christ.
There was a beautiful display of these realities this past week at the Together for the Gospel Conference where pastors, church leaders, and laymen from a number of different denominations gathered to celebrate their unity in the gospel of Jesus Christ.