I attend a non-denominational church, and I plan to keep visiting that type of church for the rest of my days. Though this is the ?denomination? for me, non-denominational churches have their downfall. Nothing is perfect.
Non-denominational churches, to put it politely, threw out any documents or theologies apart from the Bible. They don?t use the catechism, any creeds of Christendom, or TULIP. These Christians did something radical and went back to the source of their religion.
That?s fine, but that?s hundreds of years of arguing wasted. Scholars spent two thousand years discussing, writing books, and tearing the church apart to make those doctrines. I wonder how many hours lost, pages used, and relationships ruined because Christians took stances on different issues. Then the non-denominational church threw it out.
Someone put it this way: non-denominational Christians feel that it doesn?t matter if we disagree on doctrine; that?s not what is going to get us into heaven, so why fight over it? And I agree with that statement. I was the odd teen in my parent?s church, asking why the debate between infant and adult baptism was necessary.
I think those creeds have a place and not just in the history books. If you want to dive into one topic, say creation, you have two thousand years of knowledge at your disposal. It wasn?t necessarily a waste of time! We need to think these things through and have a stance on them, but we don?t need to be excommunicated over them.
The next downfall of non-denominational churches stems from the first pitfall: there is nothing to fall back on. If someone walks into the church and asks what the church?s stance on baptism is, the church might give a different answer depending on who is responding. I can?t point the person to a catechism question that was debated for thousands of years.
No classic doctrine might deter a few people. They might not want a church that disagrees with gay marriage or evolution, even if they don?t think those issues matter to be saved. When I was church shopping, the last straw for me on one church was their stance on gay marriage.
The church also has to explain what they believe on their website or through some other means. Saying ?we believe in the Bible? doesn?t cut it. Not being affiliated with a denomination means there are no sources to fall back on. If I want to learn about Catholics or Methodist, I can Google it, and thousands of pieces of information is at my fingertips. Not so with a non-denominational church.
A non-denominational church has to design their website to contain all of their stances. And if they don?t, a person might not want to join their church or check out their church. Not everyone is going to reach out and ask.
The last problem with a non-denomination church is that each grows differently, so they aren?t necessarily the same. A non-denominational church starts with a community of like-minded people. Those people nurture the church in their way, and the church evolves under their influence.
The church I currently attend has a motto of ?the church for the unchurched.? They have about three thousand ?members? (they don?t do memberships), but only a thousand individuals attend every Sunday. The church I attended in college had two thousand members, and two thousand people showed up every Sunday while school was in session.
Both churches did series, and their series went through a book of the Bible. My college church would take it about a chapter at a time and try to go through the whole Bible; my current church takes it a verse to a chapter at a time and doesn?t have the goal of going through the entire Bible.
My college church is a teaching church; they have developed a school for their leadership and members to get their masters in theology (from what I understand). My current church has classes they have designed, but they are inconsistent in their available dates and are more like Bible studies.
Two very different churches!
Every church has a different atmosphere, but if you walk into a catholic church in Iowa, you are going to get relatively the same thing if you walked into a catholic church in Florida. With a non-denominational church, that isn?t necessarily the case. One church could have lots of college students and love overseas missions, while the next could have lots of young couples and only preach out of the New Testament.
That?s because each church has different leadership and different goals. I would say that all non-denominational churches focused on creating authentic Christians, they just did it in different ways.Those are the pitfalls of a non-denominational church. If there are any other negatives, let me know in the comments below!
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