What is a Non-denominational Church?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ScottF, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. ScottF

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    What in the world is a Non-Denominational Church? I have often wondered about this because I have never set foot inside one.
    The words "Non-Denominational" sound so utterly elusive to me. Maybe some of you have been to a "Non-Denominational" church before or know someone who belongs to one and can fill me in.

    What would a Non-Denominational Christian profess to believe? What kind of doctrine would they hold to? What is their tenets of faith all about? Is this even a legitimate branch of protestant christianity? How would this differ from being a Baptist? Is there even such a thing as "not having a denomination"?
     
    #1 ScottF, Nov 22, 2006
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  2. Snitzelhoff

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    Non-denominational churches usually fall into either conservative-Protestant-evangelical churches very similar to Baptists or into whacko-Charismatic churches. Most of them are non-denominational because they prefer to be called Christians only instead of aligning themselves with any particular denomination.

    Michael
     
  3. Amy.G

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    I believe they also have a statement of faith that they adhere to which can vary from one non-denom to another. Basically I think you don't have any way of knowing what their doctrine is until you get in the door.
     
  4. EdSutton

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    A "Non-Denominational" Church could just about 'run the gamut' as to what is believed and taught there, I'd say. But technically, all it means is that it is affiliated with no particular "Denomination". And I have "set foot" in some - some that were very good, some that were so-so, and a couple that were worse than bad.

    To name five well known churches of this flavor, which I'd say are 'pretty good', I'd pick on three that are around today, and a couple from "back when". They are the Moody Memorial Church in Chi-town, the People's Church in Toronto, and The Church of the Open Door in LA. The ancient ones would be the church at Jerusalem, and the church at Antioch. If any of the five 'claim' any particular denomination, I am not aware of it.

    Ed
     
  5. lgpruitt

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    I was a member of a non-demoninational church for 11 years. It was Evangelical. They are quite close to the Baptist Beliefs if they are evangelical in my opinion. I have since been to a church here in Jackson that is non-denominational that is more on the charismatic side. But, their theology is quite similar to baptist. These are the only 2 churches I can tell you about...but I was a member of one for 11 years.:type:
     
  6. I Am Blessed 24

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    I went to a non-denominational church for two years. Yes, it took me that long to find out it was a cult.

    To me "non-denominational" means they can do whatever they want because they have no one to answer to.

    This particular church had a lady 'pastor', they spoke in tongues, and got slain in the spirit. There are still people being 'debriefed' for leaving and there are still people who 'cannot' get out of the church - they are too brainwashed.
     
  7. saturneptune

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    Non-denominational usually comes in the form of ignoring differences between denominations and emphasizing the common. This is fine when the differences ignored make no difference, like caffine, but when it comes to baptism, or eternal security, how do you overlook such doctrine? The only place I ever saw it as positive was in the military, as a Protestant service was better than no service.
     
    #7 saturneptune, Nov 23, 2006
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  8. Ps104_33

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    The church had a lady pastor and it took you two tears to figure out something was wrong with it?

    Men start "non-denoms" because they figure that if there are folks out there who are seeking for a church and werent brought up in any denomination they may tend to choose a church that is not affiliated. Me? I am proud of my Baptist heritage. When you see a Baptist Church and it says on their sign "Independant, Fundamental, pre-millenial, King James" there is no doubt where it stands. You may not like it but then again you can choose some wishy-washy non-denominational that makes every attempt not to offend anyone.
     
  9. Jack Matthews

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    Sort of like how the church was for the first three hundred years of its existence.

    The judgement which you make by using the term "whacko" in describing Charismatics is not one that you are privileged to make, at least according to scripture. Might want to check that out before you continue opening your mouth, inserting your foot and proclaiming to people that you don't really believe what you claim.

    Denominations and divisions of Christianity over nitpicking issues of doctrine that are based on personal biases and presuppositions rather than on the context of scripture are not Biblical, and is not the way Christ intended for his church to be. Finding fault with other believers rather than looking for common ground to unite us in Christ, is sin.
     
    #9 Jack Matthews, Nov 23, 2006
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  10. Ransom

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    What in the world is a Non-Denominational Church?

    Generally speaking, an unaffiliated church whose doctrine typically tends toward that of either the Baptists, Brethren, or Charismatics.

    Put another way, it's a denomination unto itself.
     
  11. gb93433

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    For ten years I went to a non-denominational church that makes most Baptist churches look dead. It made the majority of churches look dead in terms of evangelism and discipleship.

    Some non-denominational churches start because the denomination the pastor came from was dying or caught up in their work rather than God's work.

    My sister, brother in law and their kids came to Christ about six years ago through a pastor who left a dead legalistic denomination to start an on fire non-denominational church. They are on fire for Christ while those around in other churches are dying. Because of their impact the "make me feel good" churches and half hearted churches are dying.
     
  12. HeDied4U

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    Not to be critical, but that sounds a lot like IFB churches too.
     
  13. LorenB

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    Non denominational means that there are no organizational ties. It generally comes about from churches who want to hide their roots.
     
  14. atestring

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    For 300 years the Church was Non denominational.
     
  15. Ed Edwards

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    'Non-denominational' means
    'i ain't a gonna tell you' :(
     
  16. EdSutton

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    Not necessarily, I don't believe, Ed. I think that is too broad a statement, personally.

    Some of these 'Non-Denominational' churches I've had some association with in the past, have had a statement of faith, as detailed as the BF&M, if not even more so. Some, granted, have not had much of anything, as to a defined position, on very much at all. As I said in my first post on this thread, they 'run the gamut'.

    And as a matter of fact, there is an 'umbrella group' known as the IFCA - formerly known as the Independent Fundamental Churches of America, But each of these churches is independent, much as 'Baptist' Churches are.

    BTW, by definition, any 'Baptist' church is independant in the first place, as there is no such thing as a 'Baptist' denomination, save the local church. She can associate and fellowship with whom she chooses, provided those she wishes to associate with choose to reciprocate. And as both are 'independent' in their own sphere, either can withdraw that fellowship, as well, I would think.

    And as far as that goes, some 'Baptist' churches are 'non-denominational', as well, being 'independant Baptist' churches, yet affiliated with no 'umbrella organization', at all, in any way.

    So a church may well "tell you", but also choose how she tells you.

    Ed
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    Maybe some of you who've been involved with non-denoms can comment about this, but my opinion is, if they won't tell you, get out of there as quick as you can.

    Some posters have commented that it took them a while to figure out something was not right. That's why it makes sense to have a conversation with the pastor first. Ask for a copy of their statement of doctrine and practice. Ask him how they receive members. Ask him how decisions are made.

    Listen for code words and phrases. Such as "doctrine divides." Or they're "inclusive." Listen for "self-esteem."

    A visit to a couple of their services will give you more answers. Are they motivational speeches wrapped in a scripture verse? The worship service will tell you if they're charismatic. The sermon will tell you if they're Word-Faith. (If the preacher constantly tells the congregation to "say so-and-so," they're WoF/Positive Confession types). We actually have one group in my city which openly advertises that it patterns its ministry after Joel Osteen.

    If a church names itself something like Grace Community Church, or Sovereign Grace Church, chances are they're Calvinistic.

    If a church has in its name Pointe (not point) or Wind--such as North Pointe, Cross Pointe, Crosswind, it just might mean seeker-sensitive or CGM (Church Growth Movement). Not every time, but in many cases.

    Even with all the clues, you're best bet is to quiz the pastor.

    That's my opinion, anyway. But I would certainly think those of you with experience in those churches are better qualified to comment than I.
     
  18. Brother Bob

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    I think there are some removing the denominational name so as to try and get more members. I know we have one in our area and I think they just wanted to try and please everyone. There are political people, funeral homes, businesses that don't want to look like they lean one way or the other so they join these non-denominational churches so as not to offend and hurt their businesses or lose votes.
     
    #18 Brother Bob, Nov 23, 2006
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  19. Gold Dragon

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    There are some affiliations of non-denomination churches even though that seems like an oxymoron. The largest and most prominant example is Calvary Chapel (wikipedia article) which is a fellowship of non-denominational churches started by Chuck Smith founded from the Jesus Movement in the late 60s and 70s. The Calvary Chapel fellowship now has over one thousand churches worldwide.

    They are pretty standard conservative evangelical protestant in their theology other than the whole non-denominational thing.

    I like to joke with folks from Calvary Chapel and call them the largest non-denominational denomination. ;)
     
    #19 Gold Dragon, Nov 23, 2006
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  20. gb93433

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    Try pastoring a non-denominational church if you have gone to seminary in a denomination. It is almost impossible.
     

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