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Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by SaggyWoman, Aug 30, 2013.
Is denominationalism on its way out??
It seems to be. Most of the fastest growing churches are nondenominational and even in the denominational churches very few of the young people care anything about denominational activity. The younger people are also either ignorant or unconcerned about doctrinal matters.
In my experience, the nondenominational churches seem more denominational than otherwise. I suspect that they simply do not know enough church history to understand doctrinal distinctives. Come to that, as you implied, their lack of concern for doctrinal matters -- reflected in their children's ignorance -- is likely at the root.
There is an interesting book that I read recently that gives some interesting insights into the gradual evolution of American's lack of interest in these matters:
Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don't Think and What to Do about It by Os Guinness, published 1994 by Baker Books (ISBN-10: 0801038707)
By the way, in ARBCA and SBC Founder churches, the knowledgeable young people seem to now be outnumbering the knowledgeable oldsters. I am speculating, but this may be because there is an interest in sound doctrine in the parents and grandparents. I think that some churches try to simplify Bible theology for children; therefore, children grow up thinking that the Bible is simplistic. Consequently they are drawn away by the allurements of the world. In our churches we tend to teach expositionally and systematically -- adults and children. I am a Jewish convert to Christianity, so I don't know what things were like decades ago. Nonetheless, I am continuously amazed at the number of pre-adolescent and adolescents in the church who can articulate with clarity both their faith and the Scriptures on which they are based. I have only been a Christian for some 15 years, but that is long enough to see some of these young people grow up and have families of their own.
I hope that these thoughts might prove useful. If not, I won't be bothered. I have a lot more to learn than teach anyway!
I Hope So!
While I think it is NOT LIKELY (at least in the complete sense) this side of heaven (where there will be no more denominations...just saved people) I can say that I do hope that denominationalism is "dying". It is most certainly showing how imperfect it truly is in our day.
Wishfully thinking...we could then re-name this Board the "Bible-Believers Board.com" and banish all the denominational "distinctives" which generally just add up to DIVISION within the Body of Christ, the true church. Sadly, even saved men and women, in all their imperfection in the flesh, will never be able to experience that kind of sweet unity on this side of eternity. Even so, COME Lord Jesus!!!
I haven't been a Christian for very long, I just accepted Christ this summer. My parents are unbelievers and are NOT happy about my conversion, so I really didn't have alot of help in choosing a church where I can learn to follow Christ.
Denominational "statements of faith" are very good for helping me choose a church, and I'm really suprised at how different their beliefs are even though they all claim the bible as their "supreme authority" for knowing what is true. They all say they teach the bible, but they interpret it so differently, omygoodness it's confusing.
I have learned that some of the denominations are named for their form of government rather than for their beliefs (Congregational, Presbyterian, Episcopal), and most have some kind of doctrinal statement to tell me what they believe.
Except - suprise again - many Baptist churches! The Baptist Faith and Message is so generic that it barely distinguishes Baptist churches from non-denominational ones. My church is Baptist, but has a LOT in common with Pentecostal churches, including "getting the baptism in the Spirit" and using spiritual gifts like tongues and stuff.
Okay so my point is two-fold:
1 - Doctrinal statements, confessions, creeds, whatever, are GOOD things for searchers like me to at least get a clue what they believe and how they practice their Christianity.
2 - I went to the people who led me to Christ and just go to their church because I'm brand new, and I don't have alot of choice because I'm only 13 and can't drive yet. "Start where you're at," I guess is what I'm saying, and keep your bible open alot and use it to "verify" what the teachers say or not.
I have alot of questions that might get me in trouble already at my church because when they do stuff like speak in tongues and interpret, it's nonsense, or it's interpreted by a church member instead of by an unbeliever like in the bible. But it's a happy place, and a safe place for a girl to run to when things get crazy at home and school.
Denominations? I think they're a good thing, and I hope that more churches will adopt confessions, creeds, catechisms, and whatever to help define their beliefs and describe their practices.
Very good points, Penny!
I am very proud of our Lord for what He has done in your life. Keep praying for the folks -- something I will join with you.
When I became a Christian it was tantamount to becoming a Gentile as far as my family was concerned; i.e., a lawless one. However, God was gracious to save every one in my immediate family -- there were seven of us. Now, only three survive, but oh how the others died well; God granting grace and bringing glory to Himself right to the last moments of their lives.
So be encouraged. Perhaps these things are the beginning of redemption for your parents. God, in His providence, may have you right there to ultimately bring jealousy to them like Paul speaks about in Romans 11.
I am also grateful that you are being taught so well!
People sometimes complain about the division that occurs due to doctrinal distinctions. Certainly such division makes us sad. But then, truth always divides: it divides the wheat from the tares; the sheep from the goats; the righteous from the lawless; the church from the world; etc.
Penny....first of all...welcome to the family little sister!! God Bless you. If you read my post above then you know what I think about denominations but let me clarify that my position is on the other end of the spectrum from the perspective of an older Christian (59 years old,saved for 36 years). Your "take" on Denominations from your perspective on YOUR end of the spectrum (at 13 years of age) is very valid. Let me also say that you are ON THE RIGHT TRACK and it is refreshing to me that you seem to respect your elders in the faith.
I also want to encourage you and tell you that according to what you have said in your post, you already have more spiritual discernment than some I have seen and heard of who profess to have been saved for YEARS. I predict that you may quickly "out grow" some of the folks you are currently surrounded by.
My only advise to you is that you keep your heart and mind in the Word of God. Make much of it and spend much time in your Bible and prayerfully read it and study it while asking God in prayer to teach you by His Holy Spirit and led and guide you into the Truth He wants you to know and follow for His sake and His glory....ONLY. He will take care of you. He will give you discernment as you grow in Him. If my wife and I can be any help to you personally, feel free to ask. God bless you little sister! One other thing...I, like you, am the only saved one in my family and they too were not "happy" about it. The Lord will take care of you and He may well use your testimony for Christ to reach them. Just live humbly before them and try to be obedient to them and the Lord.
That's so sweet Big Brother Greg! Thank you!
I read a LOT - maybe too much, since I get a little confused when I'm reading such vastly different "explanations" of the same bible passage!
If I ask my pastor I get politely scolded for being "too concerned" about "doctrine." ???
My goodness, doctrine matters! I've read enough of Paul's writings to take his warnings about false teachers seriously.
But I'm reading the bible all the way through just to kinda get a clue about the whole big picture. Then I'll go back and read it a BOOK at a time before I try to "interpret" a verse here and a verse there like they do at my church. They can take a single verse from here and there and build a whole new religion out of it or something.
But you know what really helps me when I'm reading the bible? I make it a two-way conversation. I ask it questions and read for the answers, and compare answers with answers. That's part of the reason I'm already in trouble at my church I guess. Sometimes when Pastor goes off on a subject and quotes a verse or two that I have read (I mean that I've read my way - as part of a BOOK, that is part of a larger LIBRARY), I'm like, "Are we even reading the same bible?"
I don't dare say anything because I'm just a kid and brand new to following Christ. But I write down all my questions, and I'll be asking them here as well as "reading for the answers," the way I read my school books.
A Penny, perplexed but pleased to be here