I Am Not a Denomination

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  • I Am Not a Denomination

    As the title of the topic suggests, I am not a denomination--I am a Christian. I am not going to criticize this denomination or that one, but the concept of putting one's self as a denomination ahead of or equal to the identity of being a Christian. What it means to be a Christian is to believe the Bible is the infallible, inerrant word of God, and that God preserves a version for each language so every tongue in the world gets to hear the Gospel, as is taught in the Bible shall take place; then shall the end come. The Scriptures are supernatural in that they are spiritual and God-preserved. This is the only way they can withstand the test of time. There is no other written work in the world as perfect nor so long lasting in its perfection as the scriptures. Denominations tend to add their own rules or forget some commandments of the Lord, but the scripture disciple who rightly divides the word of truth has less fault.

    We are human and all make mistakes, whether from times of old or contemporary, whether adhering to denominations or being dependent solely on God. Even when we obey the Lord and trust in Him with all our hearts and lean not unto our own understanding, and even when we let the Holy Spirit be our teacher of all things and don't heap to ourselves teachers having itching ears, yes, even then we make mistakes. The point though, is that when we do as the Bible says in this regard, we deal with the Holy Spirit on a personal basis as our teacher, teaching and having the final say on whether what we hear from man is correct. The scriptures, by the Holy Spirit, being rightly divided must be the final say, not what a denomination says.

    I go to an independent Baptist church, and it is Arminian, but I know better than to believe in the Arminian teachings because the Bible does not teach we have free will to choose salvation; rather it teaches we don't. Other Baptist doctrines also I do not believe for the same reason, but there are many truths the pastor of this church teaches whereby I have grown in the Lord. There is no such thing as a perfect church or perfect pastor, so I suggest we put our allegiance into what is perfect and who is perfect--the scriptures and the Holy Spirit. Fellowship also varies in churches from superficial to supernatural in the sense of good, not demonic, though that can enter into many churches too.

    So when asked what church I go to, I just simply say, a good one, but I am a Christian first, not a denomination. I go to so-and-so Baptist church. God doesn't look at denominations, but how well we know Him on a personal basis from the heart, so what right have we to judge others by their denominations, unless... unless, said person puts their denomination above their being a Christian. All Christians are Biblical, but not all people who know the Bible are Christians. Does not Satan know the Bible too? Our personal relationship with God is of utmost importance, not the amount of scripture knowledge we have or what our denomination is. In the beginning of Revelation, does not Jesus issue corrections to 7 churches, but after each church say "Let they who can hear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches (plural)? For each church, correction is for all churches, but using the one addressed as an example. Same is true for the apostolic epistles.

    God: Don't lock him out and don't leave home without Him. We are not above making that mistake, most any of us, including myself. I forget God is with me. He is our Christian walk, our teacher, source of correction and power over the evil one, and the one whom we should pray to only, and not to any other.

  • #2
    There's no such thing as a non-denominational church. A better phrase than non-denominational is hyper-denominationalism.

    A denomination is an isolated religious group. Isolated, meaning divided off from others, with its own organization and not sharing its distinctive interpretation of Christianity with others. Stratcat, you belong to a denomination of one church. And, rather than fewer denominations, you're an advocate of more denominations, as many denominations as there are charismatic and power-hungry ministers to create new denominations composed of their single churches or of "multi-site" churches consisting of several churches sharing one head pastor.

    I can just as easily say I'm Christian as anyone in a non-denominational church. I can manage to be both a Christian and a Presbyterian, and many other things. You're an Independent Baptist.

    Denominations help keep false teachers in check. Look at the Televangelists the Assemblies of God church disciplined, like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Baker. The denomination stripped them of minister status for their sins. But, these two corrupt men did what other corrupt men do, they started non-denominational churches, where they wouldn't be held accountable. Since those Pentecostal scandals, the AoC has created more mechanisms to increase accountability (Pentecostalism is ripe for abuse).

    If your current pastor retired, where would they get a new one? From Independant Baptist Seminary? Your church doesn't have the resources to train new pastors. Instead, you'd hire someone from a denominational seminary, maybe an SBC seminary (the largest Protestant denomination). You'd have an SBC pastor, but you'd just go on call yourself non-denominational. Where did your current pastor graduate?

    Maybe you would find a minister from one of the few non-denominational seminaries, and get a teacher of potluck doctrines, because he doesn't conform to any particular religious tradition.

    If someone moves to your town, why should they consider your church? As far as they know, non-denominational churches are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Actually, non-denominational churches are predictable, because of the shallowness of their theology. Just look to see where the wind blows and there you'll find non-denominational churches. Armenian, check. Dispensationalist, check, Drums in the service, check, etc. They are usually nominally conservative, claiming to believe the Bible is inerrant, but an unrepentant sinner wouldn't feel too convicted in their sanctuaries. There are some tossups, like Charismatic-or-not, or some random nonsense from the pastor.

    Denominations tend to add their own rules? Hopefully the rules of the denomination are based solidly on the Bible. And, a good denomination has better rules than the rules of nearly all non-denominational churches (they have many unwritten rules are, but they follow the wind to know what they are). Some denominations have very few rules, such as the SBC. Unlike your church, the SBC doesn't have rules for Arminianism and Dispensationalism (although, both of these are popular doctrines in SBC churches). A conservative Presbyterian Church has a lot of rules, but they've been hammered out by great men over many generations, rather being the fruit of some power-hungry pastor pandering popular beliefs of the congregation in a post-Christian society.

    Bad denominations reject the Bible as the final authority on doctrine. If I moved to a new town, I'd know to visit the churches of a few good reformed denominations, like a Presbyterian Church in America or even a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I'd know to avoid the denominations that reject the authority of the Bible, like the Roman Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church USA. And, I'd know to avoid non-demoninal churches, because there's rarely a good reason for to be non-denominational, they're likely to be extremely shallow, and they could easily have some very strange doctrines.
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    • #3
      Church discipline attracted me to the OPC the most. Having spent some years in non-denominational churches, I came across a few instances that were completely unacceptable. For one, I am not tithing to a church that spreads the false gospel of Arminianism. And secondly, one church sent a pro choice unbeliever on a Missions trip. Without creeds and confessional standards I question the discipline and disciplinary actions from the elders. Does your church hold to a standard and do the members submit to the standard or agree to disciplinary actions? Of course not, otherwise there would not be an Arminian preaching from the pulpit while others oppose that soteriology. If I wanted to join a social club or be entertained come any given Sunday there are plenty of churches nearby that would save me the distance of traveling.

      Cornelius, I couldn't agree with your points more. If there were not a Presbyterian church OPC or PCA available to me then the Lutheran Missouri would be second option. My third would be to build a little sanctuary in the backyard.

      God bless,
      William
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      • #4
        You both have completely missed the point I was trying to make. First, I started out by not bashing any particular denomination. Second, as far as God is concerned, which is the most important thing, our relationship with Him is best from the Holy Spirit through the scriptures, not what denomination we are, and anyone who disagrees with that statement is just plain wrong.

        Like denominational churches, there are good and bad independent ones. Also, I am not saying don't go to a denomination: I am saying that we are to identify ourselves as Christians first, then maybe our denomination second. Does God have a list of what are the best churches and which are the worst? No. He judges individual hearts. Anyone who is not trusting the Lord to give them the best teaching from the scriptures is masking a big mistake. Anyone who blindly lets man tell us what to think without making sure it is what God would have us believe is making a bigger mistake.

        We simply cannot accept what someone else tells us is taught in scripture without checking the scriptures for ourselves to be sure we are getting sound doctrine. There is more taught on learning from God and to beware of false teachers than there is on leaning on teachers for our doctrine. Ask yourselves who believe the scholars of old have it right: I am not saying they are wrong, but where do you think they received their knowledge from? The same place we should ALL be getting it from; the Holy Spirit and the scriptures. Otherwise, how do we know when we are hearing blarney or hearing the truth? Part of growing in the Lord and glorifying Him is in our private study with Him. OUR own private study with His word.

        We have certain disagreements on worshipping the Lord. 1. I don't like receiving instruction from a faceless, hierarchical board who directs our local pastors on what to preach. 2. I think amillennialism doesn't make any sense and ignores certain scripture to try to make itself fit the doctrine. 3. I don't believe in tithing 100% to the local church, but to give as the Spirit would lead us to give.
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        • #5
          Do you think the Lord is pleased with preaching and missions works, the spreading of heretical Arminian doctrine?

          Just curious, how much has your heart been lead to give to that work?

          God bless,
          William
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          • #6
            None, to your second statement. If I am giving to false teachers, the Lord will reveal this. Learning these things is a process. Believe me, I hate false doctrine as you do. I am not so easily coerced into believing in false doctrine. I am angry that my pastor will not read my predestination verses.

            I have prayed to the Lord for the truth and He has given it to me, as I was ambivalent to the doctrine before reading the Bible. The Lord confirmed that I understand the doctrine of predestination/election correctly, and that carries infinitely more weight than the word of man. Knowing this, your belief in TULIP is, according to the answers of prayer and scripture, correct. I am not in danger of becoming Arminian because it is man-made perception and doctrine and not taught in the Bible.

            I support missionaries that to my knowledge are doctrinally correct. If I could find a good church that shared all truth and no falsehoods, I would surely attend it. They don't exist. Knowing this, I must be armed with the truth from the Lord and the Bible, as we all should be. As I said, the scriptures, by the Holy Spirit have the final word in teaching me the truth. When I am in error or are ignorant, people and the Bible are used to get it straight. I know I get it straight when the Lord lays it on my heart, in His own way and good timing. I have learned things that are truth from you, for example in this forum. But I knew they were the truth because I found that the scriptures teach them. That is the process.

            It does bug me to give to a church that believes in free will, and I would change churches if I could find a better one. I could, however, withhold giving to the church and give that amount to missionaries I believe to be in good standing. You brought up an interesting point there, and yes giving to that church does bother me in light of Biblical facts; especially when the pastor won't hear me out.
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            • #7
              I attend a non-denominational church because I got tired of all the infighting that so many denominations partake in. They argue, get mad, do the schism thing and start yet another denomination. And this process never ends. :rolleyes:
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              • #8
                Welcome to the forum Phillip. It is wonderful to have you!

                God bless,
                William
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by William View Post
                  Welcome to the forum Phillip. It is wonderful to have you!

                  God bless,
                  William
                  Thank you William, I appreciate that. :)
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Phillip View Post
                    I attend a non-denominational church because I got tired of all the infighting that so many denominations partake in. They argue, get mad, do the schism thing and start yet another denomination. And this process never ends. :rolleyes:
                    I'm curious, why do you think that there's less infighting in non-denominational churches? I think just the opposite, because non-denominational churches don't have settled doctrine, so every doctrine is up for dispute, unless the pastor has cult-like authority.

                    What do you mean schism? Are you saying your church is in no danger of breaking ties with fellow churches because it has no ties to break? Or, do think think non-denominational churches are less likely to split?
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cornelius View Post

                      I'm curious, why do you think that there's less infighting in non-denominational churches? I think just the opposite, because non-denominational churches don't have settled doctrine, so every doctrine is up for dispute, unless the pastor has cult-like authority.

                      What do you mean schism? Are you saying your church is in no danger of breaking ties with fellow churches because it has no ties to break? Or, do think think non-denominational churches are less likely to split?

                      You have to ask? Really? I think you're just looking for someone to argue with. But I'm not falling for it. :D
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Phillip View Post




                        You have to ask? Really? I think you're just looking for someone to argue with. But I'm not falling for it. :D
                        I honestly can't think of any respectable mechanism to reducing infighting in a non-denominational church vs. other churches, unless you mean church vs. church. But, I see no virtue in isolating yourself and then boasting about having no one to disagree with.
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                        • #13
                          Phillip's right. And no church is immune to infighting and denominational splits. Infighting comes from not believing what we read in the Bible and let the Holy Spirit be our teacher. Human teachers often foul things up, as is true through church history from the beginning of it. God is not a respecter of persons, and that includes what church they belong to.
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                          • #14
                            Hello Stratcat
                            I enjoyed reading your material.
                            I also believe predestination is scriptural.
                            Predestination by foreknowledge for God is eternal and therefore can never have a new thought.
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                            • #15
                              I have never become a member of a church and my reasons are simple... my parents were kicked out of a Lutheran one back when I was an infant, (when dinosaurs ruled the Earth) for NOT speaking in tongues as there was a tongues movement going on in that particular church at the time. So they started attending a Baptist facility and raised us kids as a cross between the two denominations. I refer to these as my Luther-Baptist years. Later we attended a different Lutheran church and even later, a different Baptist one. Still later, we attended a Church of the Nazarene, and at the same time we were going to a United Church of Christ. More recently, my husband and I attended a Presbyterian and then a First Baptist. It's weird that none of those places ever gave me exactly what I wanted... something straight out of the Bible without the doctorings of man to foul it all up. I guess such a creature doesn't exist anymore? At any rate, I too just consider myself a Christian, as in Born again. I guess in a way I sort of joined a denomination once... when I got married as my husband is a Presbyterian.
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