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What is a Non-denominational Church?

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

  1. Jim1999

    Jim1999 <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

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    The People's Church in Toronto was started on two points; the founder, the late Oswald J. Smith, was a Presbyterian and liberalism was rampant in that church as it merged with Methodist and Congregational to form the United Church in Canada; Smith was also strong on missions. In those days most missionary societies were non-denominational. This church was formed in keeping with those mission societies. At one point, the People's Church were supporting over 100 foreign missionaries from their church funds.

    It has a statement of faith and it is solid. It has always had faithful preaching and remained true to the fundamental faith once delivered to the saints.

    If I lived in Toronto and was looking for a church home, I wouldn't hesitate in joining the People's Church. It has a lot of Baptist churches looking poorly.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  2. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Active Member
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    Who does a local Baptist Church answer to?

    There are many Bible Churches in my area who are not associated with a denomination. In fact most of them are started by graduates of DTS or other Baptist seminaries. I would have no problems being a non-denom. given the right circumstances. Most are better Bible teachers than what you get in many Baptist Churches.
     
  3. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith New Member

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    I am curious as to why you say that? Is it because the seminary, in your opinion, prepares you for the polity and the doctrine of that denomination, but does not give you enough flexibility to work with another polity and/or self-defined doctrine?
     
  4. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler New Member

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    Now you have stirred my curiosity. Why so?

    Oops, didn't realize Joseph Smith had asked the same question.
     
  5. dh1948

    dh1948 Member
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    Could one say that non-denominational churches form their own denomination??
     
  6. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Don't be surprised, many people have a similar testimony.

    I stayed in the Church of Rome for 2 years after I was saved.

    And then after I left it was another couple of years to be baptized in a Baptist Church.

    While remaining in the RCC and after reading through the Bible, I talked with several priests about certain Scripture conflicts of church practice and dogma.

    Slowly I became convicted that the Church of Rome was indeed not following the Scripture in spite of the carefully crafted Orwellian double-speak of their theologians apologetics.

    There are also other possible obstacles for folks to overcome which God may choose to slowly free us from, like family rejection, ingrained brainwashing, propaganda, fear of reprisal, etc.

    As far as I am concerned, in my case, God's timing was perfect.
    Comparing Scripture with professing Christianity, I was attracted by the Baptist distinctives and have fellowshipped and held membership in Baptist Churches for 40 plus years now.


    HankD
     
  7. Gershom

    Gershom New Member

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    There's a lot of non-denominational churches in America and they're not all alike, so you can't say for certain unless you're familiar with each individual one. Not all are good, not all are bad.

    The early church didn't have "First Baptist Church of Jerusalem" on their sign out front on the lawn but I'm sure I would have no problem joining with them.
     
  8. Gold Dragon

    Gold Dragon Well-Known Member

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    Most ridiculously high estimates of the number of Christian or protestant denominations do this.
     
  9. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards <img src=/Ed.gif>

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    United States money has denominations.
    In my possession I have the following denominations:
    $1 coin
    $1 bill (paper)
    $20 bill
    $100 bill

    Not in my possession is the denominations
    $5 bill
    $10 bill
    $50 bill

    I also have a non-denominational check
    for $92.34 to pay the electric bill.
    But $92.34 is it's own denomination, it just
    isn't one of the standard denominations.

    I also have a One Euro Coin, but that is a whole
    'nother story.
     
  10. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    It is because most non-denominational churches do not want the politics and what they see in most denominations.

    They do not like pastors who try to convert them to the ways of a denomination. Most of the people are happy to have left a denomination and be called Christians instead of by a denominational label.

    Personally, when I left a denomination all the meetings for denominational things ended. The gossip ended as well. I was able to spend more time praying and being with my family by not being so busy with "other things".

    Non-denominational churches must stand on their own or close. They cannot rely on a denomination to bail them out. Those kind of churches are not led from a hierarchy in another state at a headquarters telling them what to do.
     
  11. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith New Member

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    I hear you. There is something to be said for being free of even felt obligations to a denominational program, let alone actual or required obligations. But one could argue that in Baptist life, it's all about what you feel and what you want to give, not what is required. There are no enforcers that I know of, nor any headquarters telling us what to do. There are, at our best, resource people offering possibilities and ideas. And yet, I do hear you on the gossip and politicing points. I guess the only rejoinder is that any human connections involve those things to one degree or another.

    For me, the great blessings of a denominational identity are: "iron sharpening iron", i.e., learning from colleagues I am thrown together with but probably never would have chosen if left to my own preferences; and -- you knew this was coming -- the opportunity to participate in a worldwide missionary enterprise.
     
  12. atestring

    atestring New Member

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    Just Curious, Why do you say so?
     
  13. Jack Matthews

    Jack Matthews New Member

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    In essence, isn't a Baptist church, which is independent, a non-denominational church? I mean, you are not affiliated with any specific group, like the Southern Baptist Convention or any other organized Baptist group. Your tradition is Baptist because of your general doctrinal position but you are not accountable to anyone except the Lord, as an independent, autonomous congregation, correct? In effect, isn't that the essense of being "non-denominational"?

    The church I attend is considered a Southern Baptist church, because it supports the Tennessee Baptist Convention with a voluntary, undesignated monetary gift each month, which is a percentage of the budget that the finance committee determined after prayer, and that the congregation voted on, again after a time of prayer. But our doctrine is not determined by the SBC, nor is our church polity determined by them. We own our own facilities, call our own pastor and elders, and choose our own deacons according to scripture. We are independent and autonomous and make decisions by consensus after prayer, not by majority rule or by what the SBC or TBC might decide to do. In that regard, we are also traditionally Baptist as defined by doctrine and polity, but non-denominational in that we answer to no one but God through the leadership of his Holy Spirit in our congregation.

    As I understand it, being Baptist is determined by church tradition, including the belief in independent, autonomous churches, baptism by immersion after a profession of faith and as a testimony of regeneration to church membership, soul freedom or priesthood of the believer and the freedom to interpret scripture according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Baptist churches are connected to each other through voluntary fellowship.

    Non-denominational churches, at least those with whom I am aware, operate in a similar fashion. They are independent, autonomous and are accountable to God and not to a denominational structure. Some tend toward Charismatic traditions, some tend toward Baptist traditions and these days, an awful lot of them have people in there from many diverse Christian backgrounds. What a lot of people are discovering is that the fine art of interpreting scripture produces differences of opinion, and regarding many things, no clear distinctive, and that it is silly, ridiculous and counterproductive, not to mention unChristlike, to get hostile and reject people who are brothers and sisters in Christ over these kinds of differences. The church's natural tendency, once the Spirit indwells the hearts of true believers, is to come together, not split apart, fracture and fragment over impossible differences of opinion that are totally based on human presuppositions, traditions and interpretations.

    Look in any part of the world where Christianity is a minority faith, and facing daily challenges to its very existence. The church is not splintered into denominational fragments that fight and bicker over stupid stuff, it is united on its common ground, drawing strength from each other. And God is blessing. Here in this country, it nitpicks, and behaves badly in disagreeing over silly human interpretations of scripture, and it is declining.
     
  14. Snitzelhoff

    Snitzelhoff New Member

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    Yep. And that was a good thing, to be called only a Christian. Sadly, that word has become so watered down, beaten up, and twisted around that it no longer means much of anything at all. John Shelby Spong still calls himself a Christian.

    I wasn't calling all Charismatics whacko, but referring to a specific fringe group of Charismatics that ARE whacko. Since there are definitely whacko Charismatics out there, my foot remains a very comfortable distance from my mouth. Thank you for your loving concern over my bodily position, though.

    Your last part of that sentence simply made no sense. I'll wait for you to clarify that before responding.

    I agree completely. But sometimes even when you don't go looking for fault, it presents itself anyway. And then we have the Biblical responsibility to correct it.

    Michael
     
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