The church and Christians have come a long way to get to where they are now. The day known as Pentecost, when Jesus’ disciples had the Holy Spirit descended upon them, is known as the beginning of the first church. With over 2 billion adherents, Christianity is now one of the most widely practiced religions globally.
For quite some time, Christianity has been split into three groups: Protestantism, Catholic, and Orthodox Christianity. The second biggest branch of Christianity is Protestantism, with numerous denominations. So, what are these denominations? What is considered denominational, and what is non-denominational Christian? We have all the answers below.
What Are Denominations?
A denomination is a means of categorizing something. Money, cards, and even churches can come in several denominations. When you categorize a church as belonging to a denomination, you’re referring to a group of congregations that share a common belief system or theological identity. It may seem as if all churches believe in the same thing, but that’s not the case since certain doctrinal disputes can lead to people splitting into multiple denominations.
Let us give you an example.
A large proportion of people believe that the Holy Spirit’s gifts are still operational, just like they were when the church first started. Charismatic churches are more likely to fall into this category. Church of God in Christ, Assembly of God, and Pentecostal, to mention a few, are among these denominations. This is not to say that charismatic Christians are only found in these faiths; rather, these denominations are commonly associated with charismatic beliefs.
This is only one example. There are also Baptist, Lutheran, and Methodist and a variety of denominations. Even among the larger denominations, new denominations will emerge that differ from the greater institutions’ teachings. If all of this sounds puzzling, keep one main difference in mind. The fundamental distinction between denominations will be primarily one of doctrinal belief.
A non-denominational church is not affiliated with a particular Protestant denomination. Even though these churches are often associated with evangelical Protestantism, they aren’t affiliated with any particular evangelical community.
These congregations frequently chose the Bible over the norms of a particular church as their authority. A central authority doesn’t govern them. They go by various names and espouse a variety of doctrines. Individual pastors or even communities often found them. Non-denominational churches are typically led by a group of elders who are in charge of developing the church’s doctrine, teachings, and worship. This showcases the notion that a church is a group of believers instead of a hierarchy.
When people of various beliefs get together for one purpose or another, the word non-denominational also refers to neutrality. Inter-denominational refers to a gathering of people from several other denominations.
Growth of Non-Denominational Church
In recent times, the emergence of non-denominational churches has been extraordinary. The number of Americans who identify as non-denominational grew from less than 200,000 in 1990 to more than 8 million in 2008.
They can span from well-known and large organizations referred to as mega-churches to modest, family-oriented congregations that are more community based found on practically every Christian street.
The capacity of these churches to adapt to a forever-changing community is one of their greatest assets. These factors make them appealing to members of mainland churches who disagree with certain of their denomination’s customs and beliefs but still embrace the Christian faith.
Most non-denominational converts were raised in mainland churches but found themselves in conflict with their churches’ deep-rooted traditions and rituals. Being a member of a denomination used to be just as essential as being a Christian.
Due to their fast-adapting abilities, these non-denominational churches have reached more people. They have successfully reached the youth through modern music, social media, more easygoing and unstructured services, and initiatives that aid spiritual growth.
Beliefs of Non-Denominational Christians
Every church has a varied answer to this question. These churches usually think that the Holy Book can be the only source of worship, teachings, and other elements of life that pertain to the church. These churches depend on scripture to determine dogma rather than following the ideas of a bigger organization.
This draws a contrast when compared to denominational churches, which have defined theological concepts that aren’t always biblically-based. Instead, these beliefs are formed by extensive annotation and interpretation of the Bible and other secular factors (on rare occasions). According to non-denominational churches, these theological speculations are unnecessary and can be a diversion from God’s words.
Non-denominational churches often have informal structures, even if they have elders and pastors that can help and be guiding figures for congregations to build a better relationship with God. Members of the church are always welcome to participate in church life.
Several shared principles connect all non-denominational churches in the larger Christian community. Believing in Christ as the Son of God and worldly incarnation along with crucifixion, promised second coming, and resurrection is the foundation. Another important concept is that the Bible is God’s word, and it provides complete guidance to carry life forwards. It doesn’t require any additions. The Christian life is based on biblical ideas rather than ceremony or doctrine in these churches.
These churches have several things in common with later, non-episcopal Protestant churches in terms of central features of Christian doctrine, including communion, priesthood, sacraments like baptism, funeral proceedings, and marriage. They aren’t aligned with the American Episcopal Church, Roman Catholic Church, and Lutheran Church. The beliefs of these non-denominational churches are more streamlined than those of older churches, focusing on the essential biblical doctrine.
Our Final Thoughts
Despite who and what is non-denominational Christian, we should all focus on preaching and following Jesus’ words and live our lives according to his teachings. We shouldn’t let denominations get in our way of helping fellow Christians out and always find ways to come together to build a stronger bond with God.