Let’s start with a definition from the Oxford Dictionary:
1. a recognized autonomous branch of the Christian Church. synonyms: religious group · sect cult · movement · body · branch ·
2. the face value of a banknote, coin, or postage stamp: “a hundred dollars or so, in small denominations” synonyms: value · unit · size
3. Formal: a name or designation, especially one serving to classify a set of things
1. Are non-denominational churches autonomous? Are they recognized?
2. They are not a bank note.
3. Does ‘non-denominational’ classify a ‘set’ of things (churches)?
Sounds rather silly, does it not? As well it might. Nondenominational churches tend to be autonomous, but so do churches within denominations, such as some independent Baptist churches. There is also ‘brand’ recognition, as a particular ‘set’ of churches.
My friend Ed would probably laugh at that, since he wears the ‘nondenominational’ badge quite proudly. And after all, isn’t it good to take a firm stand on something? I guess that depends. Should we stand on shaky ground? To answer that let’s look at what one nondenominational churches say about itself.
There is one particular nondenominational online organization called ‘The Interactive Bible’ (www.bible.ca) that just might be Ed’s church. The site uses ‘we’ a lot and so does Ed. Many of what is taught on site could have been written by my friend Ed.
This nondenominational church has a lot to say about itself at their ‘About Us’ page concerning their view of the Bible, way of life, doctrine, worship, organization, and how they are different than modern churches.
The last section, how they are different than modern churches, concludes with an invitation of sorts:
“You too can be just a Christian and serve God without belonging to any denomination bound by no (sic) denominational laws or obligations. If such freedom appeals to you, please visit us!”
Bad grammar aside (they should have left out “no” in front of denominational), they are offering “freedom” from human authority outside of yourself and your own interpretation of the Bible, while claiming to be a true New Testament church. I guess they don’t read the portions of the New Testament concerning church structure, organization, leadership, and things like church discipline.
What I find most interesting is all of the doctrine taught at some of their Web pages. Much is taught there, some of which will be discussed on another post or two. For now. . .
Yes, Virginia, NON-denominational churches ARE denominations unto themselves!