Nondenominational Christianity

Nondenominational Christianity (or non-denominational Christianity) consists of churches which typically distance themselves from the confessionalism or creedalism of other Christian communities by calling themselves nondenominational.

History

Lakewood worship
Worship service at Lakewood Church, a nondenominational church, in 2013, in Houston, United States

The first non-denominational churches appeared in the United States in the course of the 20th century, in the form of independent churches.[1] They have experienced significant and continuous growth in the 21st century, particularly in the United States, where they represented the third Christian denomination in 2010.[2][3][4] In Asia, especially in Singapore and Malaysia, these churches are also more numerous, since the 1990s.[5]

Characteristics

CCFPasayjf1270 37
Worship service at Christ's Commission Fellowship Pasig, a nondenominational church, in 2014, in Pasig, Philippines

The first characteristic is that non-denominational churches are not affiliated with a denominational stream of evangelical movements, either by choice from their foundation or because they have detached themselves from their Christian denomination of origin in their history.[6] This doesn’t prevent them from being a member of a church union.

Nondenominational churches are recognizable from the evangelical movement, even though they are autonomous and have no other formal labels.[7][8][9]

The movement is particularly visible in the megachurches.[10][11]

The neo-charismatic churches often use the term nondenominational to define themselves.[12]

Churches with a focus on seekers are more likely to identify themselves as non-denominational.[13]

Criticism

Boston University religion scholar Stephen Prothero argues that nondenominationalism hides the fundamental theological and spiritual issues that initially drove the division of Christianity into denominations behind a veneer of "Christian unity". He argues that nondenominationalism encourages a descent of Christianity—and indeed, all religions—into comfortable "general moralism" rather than being a focus for facing the complexities of churchgoers' culture and spirituality. Prothero further argues that it also encourages ignorance of the Scriptures, lowering the overall religious literacy while increasing the potential for inter-religious misunderstandings and conflict.[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ Roger E. Olson, The Mosaic of Christian Belief, InterVarsity Press, USA, 2016, p. 43
  2. ^ Hartford Seminary, Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Nondenominational & Independent Congregations, hirr.hartsem.edu, USA, accessed December 14, 2018
  3. ^ Michael De Groote, The rise of the nons: Why nondenominational churches are winning over mainline churches, deseretnews.com, USA, February 25, 2011
  4. ^ Vincent Jackson, How non-denominational churches are attracting millennials, pressofatlanticcity.com, USA, February 2, 2017
  5. ^ Peter C. Phan, Christianities in Asia, John Wiley & Sons, USA, 2011, p. 90-91
  6. ^ Gabriel Monet, L'Église émergente : être et faire Église en postchrétienté, LIT Verlag Münster, Switzerland, 2013, p. 135-136
  7. ^ Pew Research Center, AMERICA'S CHANGING RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE, pewforum.org, USA, May 12, 2015
  8. ^ Ed Stetzer, The rise of evangelical 'nones', cnn.com, USA, June 12, 2015
  9. ^ Peter C. Phan, Christianities in Asia, John Wiley & Sons, USA, 2011, p. 90
  10. ^ Sébastien Fath, Dieu XXL, la révolution des mégachurches, Édition Autrement, France, 2008, p. 25, 42
  11. ^ Bryan S. Turner, Oscar Salemink, Routledge Handbook of Religions in Asia, Routledge, UK, 2014, p. 407
  12. ^ Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2013, p. 66
  13. ^ Kimon Howland Sargeant, Seeker Churches: Promoting Traditional Religion in a Nontraditional Way, Rutgers University Press, USA, 2000, p. 28
  14. ^ Prothero, Stephen (2007). Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know - and Doesn't. New York: HarperOne. ISBN 0-06-084670-4.

External links

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Christian Association of Washington

The Christian Association of Washington was an organization established by Thomas Campbell in 1809 to promote Christian unity. It was a study group that Campbell formed with like minded friends and acquaintances in the local neighborhood of Washington, Pennsylvania. The group sought to foster unity by focusing on a common form of Christianity that they could all agree upon. This charter that Campbell wrote for this group, the Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington, became one of the most important early texts of the Restoration Movement.

Christian Fellowship Church

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Christians (Stone Movement)

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Chuck Swindoll

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Disciples of Christ (Campbell Movement)

The Disciples of Christ (Campbell Movement) were a group arising during the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century. The most prominent leaders were Thomas and Alexander Campbell. The group was committed to restoring primitive Christianity. It merged with the Christians (Stone Movement) in 1832 to form what is now described as the American Restoration Movement (also known as the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement).

John Osteen

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John Smith (Restoration Movement)

"Raccoon" John Smith (1784 – February 28, 1868) was an early leader in the Restoration Movement. His father, George Smith (originally Schmidt) was of German ancestry, and may have been born in Germany, while his mother, Rebecca Bowen Smith, was of Welsh and Irish ancestry. He played a critical role uniting the movement led by Thomas and Alexander Campbell with the similar movement led by Barton W. Stone and in spreading the message of the movement over much of Kentucky.

LCBC

LCBC (Lives Changed By Christ, formerly Lancaster County Bible Church) is a non-denominational Evangelical multi-site megachurch with eleven campuses in central Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1986 and is now one of the largest churches in the United States.

List of the largest evangelical churches

This list of the largest evangelical megachurches contains only evangelical Christian megachurches related to the following currents: baptism, pentecostalism, evangelical charismatic movement, neo-charismatic movement and nondenominational Christianity. Large churches from other denominations, like catholic, are not included as they are not deemed to belong to the megachurch phenomenon which by definition is part of Protestantism. The list is not exhaustive, there are large annual changes, and there are difficulties to compare the churches as different methods to count can be used.

Local churches (affiliation)

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Assemblies identifying as "local churches" can be found worldwide and have several million members.

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Rick Wiles

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Sandals Church

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The Lord's Recovery

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The Potter's House Church, Dallas

The Potter's House is a megachurch in Dallas, Texas, United States, founded by T. D. Jakes.

Outreach magazine ranked it the 10th largest in the US as of 2008 based on a weekly attendance of 17,000 and a capacity of about 8,000.

Thomas Campbell (minister)

Thomas Campbell (1 February 1763 – 4 January 1854) was a Presbyterian minister who became prominent during the Second Great Awakening of the United States. Born in County Down, he began a religious reform movement on the American frontier. He was joined in the work by his son, Alexander. Their movement, known as the "Disciples of Christ", merged in 1832 with the similar movement led by Barton W. Stone to form what is now described as the American Restoration Movement (also known as the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement).

Walter Scott (clergyman)

Walter Scott (1796 – April 23, 1861) was one of the four key early leaders in the Restoration Movement, along with Barton W. Stone, Thomas Campbell and Thomas' son Alexander Campbell. He was a successful evangelist and helped to stabilize the Campbell movement as it was separating from the Baptists.

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