The Protestant Melting-Pot

Yesterday I was caught off guard by two non-denominational Christians who made very surprising remarks. The first of these two grew up in a Baptist tradition and remains (as far as I know) completely unopposed to Baptist doctrine. He is around early 40s with 4 children. The other, a 27-year old, has been in the non-denominational tradition from childhood but borrows a lot of material from evangelical preachers (Billy Graham et al.)

The first one was teaching a youth group for 18-30 year olds about marriage, and had invited a married couple for a Q&A session in one of the youth group meetings. He said his reasoning for doing this was that he “believed it would be beneficial for young adults to see Biblical teachings about marriage put into practice.” He then gave an example of this: “Just as someone who is raised in a Baptist background might not understand what the Bible means about speaking in tongues until they meet someone from a Pentecostal church who can do it.”

I was shocked. I asked my 27-year old friend who goes to the youth group if he could clarify for me - as far as I always knew, non-denominationals and evangelicals did not support speaking in tongues. But apparently that’s not the case: he answered me, “I speak in tongues.” He then continued to say that, although both sides (Evangelical and Pentecostal) realize that there are “wackos” in all camps, many non-denominational churches support the idea of speaking in tongues.

Is this generally the case in your experiences too? If so, this is a far jump from a decade or two ago when non-denominational Christians more resembled Ned Flanders and regarded Pentecostalism as almost demonic. It seems the fashion is changing though: now we might expect Ned to speak in tongues too. What does this mean for non-denominational / Protestant / evangelical Christianity? Is it all becoming sloshed together, where one gets “saved” through saying the “Sinner’s prayer,” goes to church, gets “slain in the spirit” and “speaks in tongues,” etc. etc. etc.?

Not Lutherans!!! :eek:


I know a l lot of Evangelical Christians. There are thousands of denominations. But to them that is not the point. They view all the different denominations as being part of one big universal church. So whether one is Baptist or Non-Denominational or Pentecostal or Charismatic, it doesn’t matter much. Their primary focus in is on being saved by faith alone and being born again. So ideas drift back and forth in many churches. There is also a lot of overlapping theology in many Protestant churches. So in one church you might find someone who believes in tongues and others who do not. The Baptist groups who really don’t believe in tongues are the Fundamentalist Baptists. But other Baptists might accept the idea. But usually even if some Baptists speak in tongues, it is not a focal issue in the their churches.

To many Protestants the essentials of the faith are what matters to them. And the whole tongues thing is not considered an essential from what I’ve come to understand.

I hope this helps.

This sounds about right.

I grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s in a pretty staid Evangelical church that originally was a Methodist church for German immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1790’s. Though it had little charismatic influence when I was growing up, private charismatic manifestations weren’t viewed as unacceptable, either.

And interestingly, while reading an out of print memoir from around 1800 by one of the early leaders of my childhood church, he unmistakenly describes his own unexpected experience of what we would now call a charismatic manifestation. He didn’t speak in tongues, though.

I was under the impression that most “non-denomination” congregations fell under the charismatic label like the Calvary Chapels. While they believe that speaking in tongues does happen they do not wait for it to happen in one of their services. You would probably not see someone stand up to give a word and have a translation, however no comment would be made if a visiting speaker encourage them to speak out in their heavenly language. during a time of offering praise.

From what I’ve seen, Born-Again Christians do not believe in the whole tongues thing. Charismatics on the other hand tend to do so much like Pentecostals and Baptists.

Nor Anglicans.

I have been Catholic for one year and grew up in the Baptist and nondenominational traditions. Honestly, I have found that each and every church is its own fiefdom, making up it’s own doctrine like selecting from a menu. A major factor that led me to believe the Catholic Church is the true Church is that in every church I went to, they all each had their own statements of faith, some had a discipleship process but most didn’t, and it was essentially run by the pastor (pope?) and he did what he wanted. There was no accountability to a higher entity other than private interpretation and relelation of what the pastor or leaders thought the Bible said. There is so much I could say about why I am now Catholic and no longer am Evangelical, but this is one major reason. Also, I love that Mass it made entirely of scripture readings, the homily is always based on those readings, and the focus of everything (including music) is Christ.

Are you from the Philippines by any chance? “Born Again Christian” is a big tent term, it includes Evangelicals, Baptist, Pentecostal and mainline Protestants along with Catholics willing to say they have come to believe in Christ . Most Baptist organizations do not believe that the speaking of tongues continues to this day. The “Full Gospel Baptist” one of the mostly African American Baptist organizations does and are among the groups like the Church of God in Christ which speak in tongues as part of their services the most.

Yes, I am.
You have a point there.

A lot of the Born-Again Christians that I’ve met are either Evangelicals or Baptists, and they are both very diverse. And then, I’ve also seen more Pentecostals as of late.

I noticed that is how Filipinos used the term born again

You are quite right.

As far as Baptists go, there are those who tend to go for the whole speaking in tongues thing.

Talking from the point of view of a Catholic Charismatic, who has been around different denominations, speaking in tongues is the least of all gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is in the CCC under charism of the Holy Spirit. Most non Catholic churches refer to it now as the Anointing. The Gift is spiritual language between you and God. When done in public there is always some one with the gift to interpret. The Gift is only to be used to edify the Church and for the Good of the Church. I have seen many denominations moving closer and closer to the Theology of the Catholic Faith. We need to be real careful not to make fun of what we don’t understand.Look up CCC 2004 on the Charism of the Holy Spirit. Not every one gets these Gifts,but they are real.:wink:

I think that the Charismatic movement has come a long way since the 70’s when it started (and I was involved leaving the Methodist Church) and Charismatic gift are much more accepted by others. I think Charismatic movement is not seen as way out there and now more mainstream. Remember, most TV evangelists as well and “ministries” that reach thousands are Charismatic based so with a couple of decades, it is more accepted. like you said “it is all sloshed together”. The initial very negative response to the early movement is now only found in some isolated fundamentalists.

You should wikipedia the Charismatic Movement. You should also look into the Ecumenical movement. Denominations are becoming little more than “traditions” or “backgrounds” and are not nearly as divisive or segregated as they have been in past decades. I Know an American Baptist who Pastors a Lutheran Seminary. The Charismatic movement, I think, is what has so greatly influenced the interacting and “cross-breeding” of Protestant denominations.

Not true. There are also Lutherans who are Charismatic. As far as Anglicans go, Anglicanism is designed to allow a broad range of theological positions. They have a heavy emphasis of reason and versatility. For particular reasons, this has led to the downfall of the Episcopal church, though this would be a long conversation of another kind.

Long story short, there are a variety of beliefs in Anglicans. Many Anglicans, however, are Charismatic and hold healing services in their churches. Look up John Wesley, who was an Anglican. The Methodist church, which is followers founded, has always been, theologically, charismatic, because John Wesley was very charismatic.

I general, theologically, Protestants are becoming closer and closer theologically, though most feel perfectly comfortable with agreeing to disagree since salvation is through faith in Christ alone by God’s grace. Though I suppose the belief and submission to Biblical authority would also be a unspoken requirement.

From what I know the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church, never stopped in the 70’s.There are still Catholic Priest out there,especially in the Order of the Sacred Heart,I believe, that are still into the gifts.I know of One Catholic Priest on the TCC. It still in the CCC#2004 that I have,though it is an older version,unless things have changed?

I agree. When I was in different Protestant Churches, they are all moving more together.More and more are talking the Blood of Jesus and Communion as a Holy and Sacred thing.

Same here. The Apostles/Niceno creed (which isbasically a testimony of Faith/ what we believe in), three readings including the Gospel ( in which we all stand up showing respect and honor) sing Psalms say the Lords Prayer. Communion is done with bred and wine.

All this every Sunday :D:D:D

Pentecostals are evangelicals. Some say it like this: “Evangelicals plus tongues.” Pentecostals fit in very well with non-denominational churches. There are some Pentecostal churches that also consider themselves non-denominational. Pentecostals are also very similar to Baptists, except that we don’t generally adhere to OSAS.

And a historical note, Pentecostal churches have been members of the National Association of Evangelicals since it was founded in 1942. We’ve always been natural allies and theological cousins.

Historically, evangelicals and Pentecostals simply agreed to disagree on the tongues issue. Many evangelicals take the position of “seek not, forbid not.” The idea being that while we do not want to forbid anything that could potentially be a true gift from the Holy Spirit, we also will not actively seek tongues. Pentecostals for their part are willing to work with other evangelicals, and we don’t make tongues a litmus test for fellowship.

After the charismatic movement, a lot changed. Evangelicals became more “Pentecostalized” (i.e. hand-waving, swaying to the music, etc.) and at the same time Pentecostals have become more “evangelicalized” (i.e. toning down the more dramatic aspects of their worship, decreasing the amount of tongues speaking in their worship services, etc.).

Pentecostals and other evangelicals still don’t agree completely on the tongues issue, but it is not something that is much of an issue today. (However, a few years ago the Southern Baptists did tell their missionaries that speaking in tongues was not allowed and that caused quite a stir.)

Sounds like the Lutheran Divine Service :slight_smile:

My three younger sons have expressed interest in attending a RCC Mass sometime - I am hopeful of finding a very traditional one, because they will be hugely disappointed if it were contemporary.

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