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Author Topic: "I'm Non-Denominational/'just Christian'"  (Read 4265 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 26, 2012, 02:18:27 AM »

Ever have those religious pet peeves that really are not that big but just seriously annoy you? This is one of those things that annoy me. When Protestants say that they are 'just Christian' or 'non-denominational'. When I hear someone say 'I am non-denominational' I usually retort with the question 'So you are Orthodox?' and they stare at me in confusion. Non-denominationalism is in itself a denomination because denomination implies change, and the 'non-denominational' Churches are a change from the original Church, which is the Eastern Orthodox Church. The only non-denominational Church is the Eastern Orthodox Church; everything else was born from schism and is thus a denomination, including the modern 'non-denominational' Churches that function differently than the original Orthodox Church does.

The only Churches that can even claim non-denominationalism or being 'just Christians' are the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Roman Catholic Churches. And even then, that is a debate that only us three can have. The modern 'non-denominationals' have really no say or authority in this debate.

'Non-Denominationalism' is perhaps the most dangerous out of all forms of Protestantism because they have absolutely no doctrinal clarity or authority. Even Evangelicals have some guidelines and authority. But not 'Non-Denominationals'. You can have people with all sorts of bizarre beliefs in a 'Non-Denominational' Church and there is no authority in which to refute them by. I've met 'Non-Denominationals' who even rejected the Trinity and others who did accept it. How can you have differences this big and really consider yourselves all 'non-denominational'? Surely some clarification is needed.
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012, 02:20:29 AM »

When I hear someone say 'I am non-denominational' I usually retort with the question 'So you are Orthodox?' and they stare at me in confusion.

I hope you don't actually do this to people who are just being honest with you.
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 02:21:59 AM »

When I hear someone say 'I am non-denominational' I usually retort with the question 'So you are Orthodox?' and they stare at me in confusion.

I hope you don't actually do this to people who are just being honest with you.

I must confess I do it in my head.

There is something incredibly smug and hideous about the word "non-denominational".
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 02:22:35 AM »

When I hear someone say 'I am non-denominational' I usually retort with the question 'So you are Orthodox?' and they stare at me in confusion.

I hope you don't actually do this to people who are just being honest with you.

No. Only to the polemic ones that generally have a negative attitude toward my beliefs. Like many of my friends.
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 07:27:53 AM »

Back in my Protestant days, we once had a pastor who pointed out that "No Name" is a brand.
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2012, 08:33:04 AM »

I find the whole term silly.
Dig deeper into their beliefs. They're either vastly ignorant of what they "believe", or they have beliefs that coincide with a "label" but refuse it for whatever reason.

Most non-denominationals I know are either prosperity gospel calvinists, or angry baptists  laugh


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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2012, 09:04:32 AM »

Well, it seems that most people that tell me they are Non-Denominational say it to get across the message they are in an elite category of Christians.  However, it often is the case they don't know anything about theology or history.  It's just a feel-good term for those that often are led into the same heresies the Church Fathers had to deal with in the beginning of Christianity.
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2012, 09:09:56 AM »

Most non-denominationals I know are either prosperity gospel calvinists, or angry baptists  laugh


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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 09:35:19 AM »

Ever have those religious pet peeves that really are not that big but just seriously annoy you? This is one of those things that annoy me. When Protestants say that they are 'just Christian' or 'non-denominational'. When I hear someone say 'I am non-denominational' I usually retort with the question 'So you are Orthodox?' and they stare at me in confusion. Non-denominationalism is in itself a denomination because denomination implies change, and the 'non-denominational' Churches are a change from the original Church, which is the Eastern Orthodox Church. The only non-denominational Church is the Eastern Orthodox Church; everything else was born from schism and is thus a denomination, including the modern 'non-denominational' Churches that function differently than the original Orthodox Church does.

The only Churches that can even claim non-denominationalism or being 'just Christians' are the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Roman Catholic Churches. And even then, that is a debate that only us three can have. The modern 'non-denominationals' have really no say or authority in this debate.

'Non-Denominationalism' is perhaps the most dangerous out of all forms of Protestantism because they have absolutely no doctrinal clarity or authority. Even Evangelicals have some guidelines and authority. But not 'Non-Denominationals'. You can have people with all sorts of bizarre beliefs in a 'Non-Denominational' Church and there is no authority in which to refute them by. I've met 'Non-Denominationals' who even rejected the Trinity and others who did accept it. How can you have differences this big and really consider yourselves all 'non-denominational'? Surely some clarification is needed.
"Denomination" simply means "name", so I suppose that, since we call ourselves "Orthodox", we can be considered a denomination.
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2012, 09:47:38 AM »

I think there are some who just want to follow the Gospel but do not know where to go & there are some who mistake justification by faith into self justification of faith.
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 10:04:01 AM »

When I hear someone say 'I am non-denominational' I usually retort with the question 'So you are Orthodox?' and they stare at me in confusion.

I hope you don't actually do this to people who are just being honest with you.

No. Only to the polemic ones that generally have a negative attitude toward my beliefs. Like many of my friends.

My sympathies are going to have to side with your friends.
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2012, 04:09:47 PM »

In addition to what has been written keep in mind there are some 'Non Denominational' Churches that are founded (have separated actually) because the Denominational Church (they once belonged) has wondered so far from the original doctrine they were founded upon.

Of course that creates an 'Independent Non Denominational' Church that could be a different topic post within itself!  Wink

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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2012, 04:14:08 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



Meh,


From my experience, its often just folks trying to cling to faith rather than politics.  ALL churches (our own included) have a lot of political baggage attached, and many folks from the "non-denominational" movements are just trying to get away and detached from all that.  Of course, they become inherently politicized when they form or join a non-denominational church out of political protest, because one way or the other politics influenced the decision.

I find these folks are trying their best to avoid that anti-Catholic and fundamentalist sectarianism which is coming to dominate American Christianity.  Then again, as these non-denoms evolve into mega churches, they become another problem entirely Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie

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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2012, 04:17:57 PM »

American Protestant decoder ring key:


"Non-Denominational" refers to low-church evangelicals who are holding evangelical youth groups for adults.

"House Church" or "House Church Network" refers to evangelical youth bible study groups for adults, possibly with restorationist undertones.

"Emergent" refers to intra-Christian syncretic evangelicals who utilize American "indie" or "hipster" methodology to form their ecclesiology, theology and praxis.

"Ecumenical" (when referring to a denomination or local church) refers to intra-Christian syncretic, high church vagante groups which may be loosely affiliated with Anglicanism, the ELCA and/or Roman Catholicism; possible syncretism with religions outside of the Christian sphere.

"Just Christian": Multiple definitions--- 1. A low church evangelical who functionally accepts only their own original 'conversion experience' understanding of Evangelicalism; 2. A convert to Christianity with no tradition other than the 'conversion experience' tradition (e.g. they were converted by an evangelical or a bible, but do not attend a church); 3. A disillusioned former member of a Christian tradition, usually Evangelical or Roman Catholic; 4. See "non-denominational".

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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2012, 04:29:56 PM »

American Protestant decoder ring key:


"Non-Denominational" refers to low-church evangelicals who are holding evangelical youth groups for adults.

"House Church" or "House Church Network" refers to evangelical youth bible study groups for adults, possibly with restorationist undertones.

"Emergent" refers to intra-Christian syncretic evangelicals who utilize American "indie" or "hipster" methodology to form their ecclesiology, theology and praxis.

"Ecumenical" (when referring to a denomination or local church) refers to intra-Christian syncretic, high church vagante groups which may be loosely affiliated with Anglicanism, the ELCA and/or Roman Catholicism; possible syncretism with religions outside of the Christian sphere.

Excellent! laugh
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« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2012, 04:38:50 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

American Protestant decoder ring key:


"House Church" or "House Church Network" refers to evangelical youth bible study groups for adults, possibly with restorationist undertones.



House Churches have a longer history in American Christianity than evangelical youth bible studies.  They have been here since the 18th century, and are often the result of either (a) a congregation either voluntarily leaving or being forced out of one of the more established Protestant/Baptist organizations or (b) rural churches with membership too small or poor to afford a building, hence the perpetual "building funds" of these groups.  If there is a resurgence of house churches in the young evangelical movements, that would be news to me, but evangelicals usually deride or dismiss house churches as creepy imitations.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2012, 04:53:57 PM »

If there is a resurgence of house churches in the young evangelical movements, that would be news to me, but evangelicals usually deride or dismiss house churches as creepy imitations.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Habte, I should have specified the house churches of today, within the Evangelical or Post-Evangelical traditions. They're huge in my area.
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« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2012, 10:03:02 PM »

Ever have those religious pet peeves that really are not that big but just seriously annoy you? This is one of those things that annoy me. When Protestants say that they are 'just Christian' or 'non-denominational'. When I hear someone say 'I am non-denominational' I usually retort with the question 'So you are Orthodox?' and they stare at me in confusion. Non-denominationalism is in itself a denomination because denomination implies change, and the 'non-denominational' Churches are a change from the original Church, which is the Eastern Orthodox Church. The only non-denominational Church is the Eastern Orthodox Church; everything else was born from schism and is thus a denomination, including the modern 'non-denominational' Churches that function differently than the original Orthodox Church does.

The only Churches that can even claim non-denominationalism or being 'just Christians' are the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Roman Catholic Churches. And even then, that is a debate that only us three can have. The modern 'non-denominationals' have really no say or authority in this debate.

'Non-Denominationalism' is perhaps the most dangerous out of all forms of Protestantism because they have absolutely no doctrinal clarity or authority. Even Evangelicals have some guidelines and authority. But not 'Non-Denominationals'. You can have people with all sorts of bizarre beliefs in a 'Non-Denominational' Church and there is no authority in which to refute them by. I've met 'Non-Denominationals' who even rejected the Trinity and others who did accept it. How can you have differences this big and really consider yourselves all 'non-denominational'? Surely some clarification is needed.
"Denomination" simply means "name", so I suppose that, since we call ourselves "Orthodox", we can be considered a denomination.

Thank you.

Non-Denominational is a denomination.
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« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2012, 11:31:13 PM »

I find the whole term silly.
Me too.  "Non-denominational" is quickly becoming a denomination.


Dig deeper into their beliefs. They're either vastly ignorant of what they "believe", or they have beliefs that coincide with a "label" but refuse it for whatever reason.

Most non-denominationals I know are either prosperity gospel calvinists, or angry baptists  laugh
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« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2012, 11:32:35 PM »

American Protestant decoder ring key:


"Non-Denominational" refers to low-church evangelicals who are holding evangelical youth groups for adults.

"House Church" or "House Church Network" refers to evangelical youth bible study groups for adults, possibly with restorationist undertones.

"Emergent" refers to intra-Christian syncretic evangelicals who utilize American "indie" or "hipster" methodology to form their ecclesiology, theology and praxis.

"Ecumenical" (when referring to a denomination or local church) refers to intra-Christian syncretic, high church vagante groups which may be loosely affiliated with Anglicanism, the ELCA and/or Roman Catholicism; possible syncretism with religions outside of the Christian sphere.

"Just Christian": Multiple definitions--- 1. A low church evangelical who functionally accepts only their own original 'conversion experience' understanding of Evangelicalism; 2. A convert to Christianity with no tradition other than the 'conversion experience' tradition (e.g. they were converted by an evangelical or a bible, but do not attend a church); 3. A disillusioned former member of a Christian tradition, usually Evangelical or Roman Catholic; 4. See "non-denominational".

"Saved": See the following video demonstration for 'Saved'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHv4s_hYs4c (Bible Interpretation 101: Zwingli's Razor)

Dude, you totally nailed it!  I'm saving this one.
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« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2012, 07:01:57 AM »

American Protestant decoder ring key:


"Non-Denominational" refers to low-church evangelicals who are holding evangelical youth groups for adults.

"House Church" or "House Church Network" refers to evangelical youth bible study groups for adults, possibly with restorationist undertones.

"Emergent" refers to intra-Christian syncretic evangelicals who utilize American "indie" or "hipster" methodology to form their ecclesiology, theology and praxis.

"Ecumenical" (when referring to a denomination or local church) refers to intra-Christian syncretic, high church vagante groups which may be loosely affiliated with Anglicanism, the ELCA and/or Roman Catholicism; possible syncretism with religions outside of the Christian sphere.

"Just Christian": Multiple definitions--- 1. A low church evangelical who functionally accepts only their own original 'conversion experience' understanding of Evangelicalism; 2. A convert to Christianity with no tradition other than the 'conversion experience' tradition (e.g. they were converted by an evangelical or a bible, but do not attend a church); 3. A disillusioned former member of a Christian tradition, usually Evangelical or Roman Catholic; 4. See "non-denominational".

"Saved": See the following video demonstration for 'Saved'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHv4s_hYs4c (Bible Interpretation 101: Zwingli's Razor)

Dude, you totally nailed it!  I'm saving this one.

I agree.

I'd like to add that a distinction can be made between saying "non-denominational" and "Non-denominational". (Similar to how saying "eastern Christian" isn't exactly the same as saying "Eastern Christian".)
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« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2012, 11:18:04 AM »

Me too.  "Non-denominational" is quickly becoming a denomination.

I'd say it's been one (or a group of them) for a while, it's just catching on in recent decades. The Protestant group I was a part of, which was started in the late 19th century, insisted that they were not Protestant and not a denomination for their entire history. If pressed they would only say that they were a "movement". What are you going to do though?  angel
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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2012, 12:59:54 PM »

American Protestant decoder ring key:


"Non-Denominational" refers to low-church evangelicals who are holding evangelical youth groups for adults.

"House Church" or "House Church Network" refers to evangelical youth bible study groups for adults, possibly with restorationist undertones.

"Emergent" refers to intra-Christian syncretic evangelicals who utilize American "indie" or "hipster" methodology to form their ecclesiology, theology and praxis.

"Ecumenical" (when referring to a denomination or local church) refers to intra-Christian syncretic, high church vagante groups which may be loosely affiliated with Anglicanism, the ELCA and/or Roman Catholicism; possible syncretism with religions outside of the Christian sphere.

"Just Christian": Multiple definitions--- 1. A low church evangelical who functionally accepts only their own original 'conversion experience' understanding of Evangelicalism; 2. A convert to Christianity with no tradition other than the 'conversion experience' tradition (e.g. they were converted by an evangelical or a bible, but do not attend a church); 3. A disillusioned former member of a Christian tradition, usually Evangelical or Roman Catholic; 4. See "non-denominational".

"Saved": See the following video demonstration for 'Saved'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHv4s_hYs4c (Bible Interpretation 101: Zwingli's Razor)

That first one is really not accurate, in many cases.  I've been a regular attender at three different non-denominational churches, the only one that could possibly fit that description is the mega church I attended for a while (and I'm not really sure it's accurate even then).  The other two were more or less Baptist churches that were unaffiliated with any organization.
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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2012, 12:59:54 PM »

One cat even said he didn't care for the word Christianity. 

I don't blame him; it isn't a particularly useful word.
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« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2012, 03:48:20 PM »

A non-denominational church isn't a denomination in itself, just an autonomous evangelical church that doesn't report to any higher human authority. Not all non-denominational churches shun official doctrinal statements. "Non-denominationalism" isn't a faith in itself, it's just a word that describes the way certain churches operate, their "polity" if you will. Think of it as Congregationalism within an evangelical context. That being said, almost all churches that claim to be "non-denominational" adhere to Evangelicalism.
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« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2012, 04:45:32 PM »

When I hear someone say 'I am non-denominational' I usually retort with the question 'So you are Orthodox?' and they stare at me in confusion.

I must confess I do it in my head.

There is something incredibly smug and hideous about the word "non-denominational".

I agree.  Non-denominational is thrown around like some sort of enlightened term with the same smugness I hear from people when they mention (i.e. proclaim) that they drive a hybrid.
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« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2012, 04:47:28 PM »

A non-denominational church isn't a denomination in itself, just an autonomous evangelical church that doesn't report to any higher human authority. Not all non-denominational churches shun official doctrinal statements. "Non-denominationalism" isn't a faith in itself, it's just a word that describes the way certain churches operate, their "polity" if you will. Think of it as Congregationalism within an evangelical context. That being said, almost all churches that claim to be "non-denominational" adhere to Evangelicalism.

We Orthodox don't submit to higher authority; Christ is our head and our Lord.

Evangelicalism submits to whose theology is in style a the time.  If that's not submission to human authority, I don't know what is.
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« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2012, 05:40:01 PM »

A non-denominational church isn't a denomination in itself, just an autonomous evangelical church that doesn't report to any higher human authority. Not all non-denominational churches shun official doctrinal statements. "Non-denominationalism" isn't a faith in itself, it's just a word that describes the way certain churches operate, their "polity" if you will. Think of it as Congregationalism within an evangelical context. That being said, almost all churches that claim to be "non-denominational" adhere to Evangelicalism.

We Orthodox don't submit to higher authority; Christ is our head and our Lord.

Evangelicalism submits to whose theology is in style a the time.  If that's not submission to human authority, I don't know what is.
I've been both an Evangelical and Orthodox long enough to know that what you say just isn't true. Both the Evangelicals and the Orthodox submit to their favorite theologians. It's just that we Orthodox are willing to admit that by calling our great theologians Fathers.
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« Reply #28 on: July 02, 2012, 12:19:06 PM »

The overwhelmingly vast majority of people that I have met who have preferred to think of themselves as "non-denominational" have had what appeared to be pretty benign reasons for doing so. Most people just don't want their walk with God to be limited to the constraints of a particular formal group, and they don't want their relationship with God to be defined in terms of a particular group.
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« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2012, 12:56:37 PM »

The overwhelmingly vast majority of people that I have met who have preferred to think of themselves as "non-denominational" have had what appeared to be pretty benign reasons for doing so. Most people just don't want their walk with God to be limited to the constraints of a particular formal group, and they don't want their relationship with God to be defined in terms of a particular group.
I can understand that, yet more often than not, their beliefs fall within what a group believes, but want the no label stuff. I just say that a spade is a spade, even if it thinks of itself as, and wants to be called, a plastic hair brush.

Quote
Evangelicalism submits to whose theology is in style a the time
I would not say that Evangelicals are such slaves to fashion. I do however, find them (as I myself did at one time) FAR too suceptible (sp?) to the "new interpretations" and "new idea" way too often. Look no further than the "emergents".

PP
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« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2012, 01:06:21 PM »

It has occurred to me that there's also that very common brand of Evangelical Protestants who hold no denominational loyalty and simply wander about from church to church seeking something "new and fresh". There are many of those here in my city. I'm sure most of them would identify themselves as "just Christian" rather than Baptist, Presbyterian, Nazarene, whatever.
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« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2012, 01:07:43 PM »

I just say that a spade is a spade, even if it thinks of itself as, and wants to be called, a plastic hair brush.

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« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2012, 01:08:29 PM »

I just say that a spade is a spade, even if it thinks of itself as, and wants to be called, a plastic hair brush.

Added to the OCNet Quotable Quotes thread.  laugh laugh
YAY! My first addition to the quotable quotes thread!

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« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2012, 01:43:07 PM »

The overwhelmingly vast majority of people that I have met who have preferred to think of themselves as "non-denominational" have had what appeared to be pretty benign reasons for doing so. Most people just don't want their walk with God to be limited to the constraints of a particular formal group, and they don't want their relationship with God to be defined in terms of a particular group.

Well, sure. Because that way they get to do whatever they want without any of the hard boring stuff.
I prefer to think of myself as a dead ringer for Angelina Jolie, too, but that don't mean I'm going to come home and find Brad Pitt sitting in front of the tv.
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« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2012, 10:14:24 PM »

It has occurred to me that there's also that very common brand of Evangelical Protestants who hold no denominational loyalty and simply wander about from church to church seeking something "new and fresh". There are many of those here in my city. I'm sure most of them would identify themselves as "just Christian" rather than Baptist, Presbyterian, Nazarene, whatever.
Most of the folks I have known who did that weren't really seeking something "new and fresh" as much as "finally, I feel comfortable."

Myself included.
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« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2012, 10:05:16 AM »

The overwhelmingly vast majority of people that I have met who have preferred to think of themselves as "non-denominational" have had what appeared to be pretty benign reasons for doing so. Most people just don't want their walk with God to be limited to the constraints of a particular formal group, and they don't want their relationship with God to be defined in terms of a particular group.

Well, sure. Because that way they get to do whatever they want without any of the hard boring stuff.
I prefer to think of myself as a dead ringer for Angelina Jolie, too, but that don't mean I'm going to come home and find Brad Pitt sitting in front of the tv.

Looking back, that was probably true for myself and many of my friends. But that was what we knew and had nothing else to compare it to.
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« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2012, 08:19:02 PM »

I think 'non-denominational' is a statement of intent.  I currently attend a church that used to describe itself as non-denominational (before they decided the leaders were not accountable enough to any outside authority and technically joined 2 denominations).  Many of the members were former Anglicans / Baptists / Brethren / Methodists etc.  What they mean is that they are intentionally setting aside the differences between these denominations and aspiring to 'core' Christian faith.

In actual fact, most 'non-denominational' Christians have little concept of Church history or theology.  They make the evangelical assumption that you can basically read the faith straight off the pages of scripture.  They assume that anything that isn't directly from Scripture is 'human tradition'.

Generally they're usually very sincere and faithful.  Any discussion on what constitutes heresy won't be very productive though.
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