Wow, that is a good way to put it. I remember thinking while attending there, that they had thrown out all of Christianity. A dumbing down is a better wording.
Many Baptist churches also are independent. I know specifically in areas in the midwest where I have friends and family, you can drive around out in the country and go past Baptist church after Baptist church, after Baptist church…, not one having any affiliation with the other. They, like many other non denominational churches interview their pastors, have them “audition”, hire them and fire them at will, depending how they like their preaching.
Yup. Baptists are generally congregational (autonomous) in their governance, and do hire and fire their clergy. They do have differing confederations, tho, such as the Southern Baptists (the largest in the US), the American Baptists (they’re Northern), and many others. All Baptists, differing regions or races or followings. It’s kind of unique in it’s structure. It works for them.
Oh definitely! They are on fire with the Holy Spirit for sure. I have known several devout non-denoms.
Well, yes, to a degree. But how can praise and worship songs compare with the Eucharist? Even those churches that have a communion service, it’s all just symbolic. I dont’ think I could ever give up the Eucharist.
Yes. I’ve seen a lot of churches split apart around here due to things like that. Cult of personality.
Ah yes, the megachurch. We have several in my area also. These things are gigantic! How in the world are they funded?! It’s like a Christian entertainment center complete with coffee shop/cafe…
For some churches, it’s symbolic, for others, it’s Sacrament. And remember, for those churches who have a symbolic communion service, they aren’t giving up anything at all. This is how they worship and follow Christ’s Word.
I’ve never met an evangelical or a non-denom protestant who believed it was Sacrament. Anglicans and some Lutherans, yes, but the others? no.
I can understand where you are coming from though. I know that they probably don’t have in depth understanding of Christian Church History.
Non-denominational Christianity is a very understandable attempt to escape the endless qualms over doctrine that occur among different denominations. It’s ultimately not successful because individual churches end up having their own culture and set of values. That’s not something you will ever be able to escape from, and without an apostolic hierarchy, you are left with a debate over metaphysical truth that will be decided via democrat vote. People vote to decide truth.
Or you hire a pastor and the congregation collectively pretends that the pastor is a font of all wisdom and not some dude/lady that went to a 2-4 year college.
If you really want an escape from denominational strife, you would go pre-denominational (i.e. Catholic ) but protestants don’t necessarily know this. The CC isn’t immune from the unfortunate human tendency to form cliques, but at least you’ve got a source of authority.
Non-denominationalism in a nutshell:
To offer a more serious reply:
I was personally drawn to non-denominationalism when I left Pentecostalism. For the most part, the draw was for ecclesiological reasons. There was the sense of denominations causing division, and non-denominationalism was seen as an antidote to that. In a naive way, I, and many non-denominational Christians, believed that removing explicit labelling would lend itself to greater unity.
The problem with most, if not all, of non-denominational Christianity is that they are non-denominational either because:
- They’ve got fringe beliefs very few people would be willing to accept. One church I saw had a ton of race-based beliefs that one would have to accept.
- They’re Baptists or Pentecostals who, again, want to get rid of labelling. Very frequently, they also don’t know a whole lot about all the different ways Protestants are divided and often think things like the paedobaptist and credobaptist debate is a purely Protestant vs. Catholic one.
Personally, I was in the second category, and almost all non-denominational Christians I’ve met are too. The problem, beyond just the fact that they’ll probably clash heavily with the first category, is that they haven’t considered a lot of the other ways there might be a lot of internal strife such as:
- Baptism: Lutheran, Reformed, and Anglican Protestants all believe in baptizing infants, preferably by an ordained minister. Baptist, Nazarene, and Pentecostals would all disagree. Tearing down denominations won’t suddenly fix this problem, and will really come to a head as the former group start having babies.
- Church Oversight: There are multiple forms of church government in Protestantism ranging from episcopalian to presbyterian to congregationalist. Non-denominationalism, by its nature, tries to avoid at least the first two. How do you reconcile this without devolving into denominationalism?
- Authority: Traditional Protestants still hold some degree of respect for tradition and church authority. Many Evangelical Protestants are incredibly skeptical of either and would refuse to allow the recitation and citing of traditional texts. This will at least cause division in liturgical and preaching matters.
Those are just three obvious ways division will still happen, especially as beliefs are put into practice, but I could list many, many more. Again, non-denominationalism, assuming it comes more from ecclesiological concerns and not simple pride, is naive at best. Personally, once I started delving deeper into Reformed beliefs, which frequently contrasted with my Pentecostal upbringing, I realized that non-denominationalism, even when considering just Protestantism, was completely untenable unless everyone collectively decided on a standard, as denominations do, or watered down belief and practice to the point that you no longer even have a religion.
Now if they expanded to one HUMAN family, then they would really have something wonderful.
Still not the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, even if they call it a sacrament
Yes. As one priest put it, protestantism is a spirit that just keeps protesting until there is nothing left and that is where nondenominationalism comes in.
I am a non denominational Christian, so definitely is a thing. I agree with your friend- I don’t care if a person is Catholic or Orthodox or Protestant or Other Christian- We are all part of the family of God.
Massively varies. normally to be a church leader you’ll need a theology degree, or at least training in preaching (or working towards it- we all need to start somewhere).
Depends, again, on the denomination. At my current church we dedicate infants to God (based on Samuel’s dedication at the temple) to welcome them into the church family and parents promise to raise them as a Christian. Then we have believers baptism by immersion once they are old enough to make the decision to follow Jesus for themselves.
I consider the trinity fundamental to Christianity- once you start walking away from that path you walk away from Christs kingdom IMHO.
Ahhh! Music to the ears of satan.
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