Showing posts with label Denominationalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Denominationalism. Show all posts

Friday, January 07, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Good Reasons to be Non-Denominational

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

I was just poking through the archives and realized that last year we did a post together called “Bad Reasons to be Non-Denominational”. It was all about the recent trend toward non-denominational Christian gathering that doesn’t always have a whole lot in the way of specifics and convictions.

Tom: We agreed that wasn’t our preferred way to go, IC. But now I’m wondering if you can think of any good reasons to meet together with Christians without a lot of the historical baggage that goes with a well-established, well-known bloc of believers — like, say, the Southern Baptists.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: Bad Reasons to be Nondenominational

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Christianity Today reports that about one in six Christians now refer to themselves as “nondenominational”, which is about double the number who did so as recently as the turn of the century.

Tom: Gallup says:

“Increasingly, Christian Americans … prefer to either identify themselves simply as Christians or attend the increasing number of nondenominational churches that have no formal allegiance to a broader religious structure.”

What do you think about that, IC? It’s not all good news, is it?

Immanuel Can: No, probably not. Some of it is.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: Religion by the Numbers

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Lyman Stone is a Lutheran believer who likes math. So he has built, in his words, “a complete annual dataset for every religious group in America as far back as I could get data”. That turns out to be 1925. If you want to know how your favorite denomination is doing demographically these days, especially compared to how it has done historically, Stone might well be the most informed guy on the block.

George Barna would be proud. Maybe. Assuming he doesn’t mind the competition.

Tom: You’ve mentioned before that you’re not a big stats guy, IC. What is it you don’t like about parsing data?

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Denominations and Discernment

Discernment is a difficult quality to teach. Some people have a great deal more of it than others. It’s a quality that seems to me increasingly and depressingly rare.

It’s not hard to think of Christians who have known the Lord for years, yet remain more than a little gullible and sometimes require the protection of family and friends. You probably know some too. They like people. They think the best of everyone. They have a tendency to be so gentle and trusting that they fall for almost every new thing that comes along, provided it is presented with a smile. They mistake niceness for goodness and pleasant talk for the gospel truth.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: Spare Some Change?

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Last week we were discussing how we can best live out the truth that, denominations notwithstanding, the church of God remains one Body, not many.

Tom: I do think the number of available evangelical church options out there can be beneficial in some ways, especially for elders. For instance, when you find that great new couple who want to join your church but can’t restrain themselves from talking about the glories of speaking in tongues, or the blessed benefits of Reformed Theology, or why women ought to worship audibly, the multiplicity of options allows you to easily point them to the gathering in your neighborhood that might suit them better in that respect without a lot of hard feelings.

After all, it's not like you’re saying, “If you don’t like the way we do it, there’s no place for you in the Church.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: He Ain’t Baptist, He’s My Brother

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: Quick quiz, IC: How many different local churches have you been part of? I’m not counting churches you’ve visited, but just those you would have considered “my church” for a period of time; churches in which it would have been notable to others if you weren’t there.

Immanuel Can: Um … rather more than most people, I suspect. I’ve been regarded, for some time, as a regular attendee of … I make it 14. I might be missing one or two. My youth and early adult years were marked by a lot of moving around, so it wasn’t a product of unhappiness in most cases. How about you?

Tom: Eight. Second question: How many of those churches were in the same town as one of the others?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Why Do Christians Disagree?

Religious skeptics, along with many sincere believers young and old, find the lack of agreement among Christians to be a most perplexing and off-putting fact.

Denominationalism is only one manifestation of its reality. Within virtually all denominations we can find numerous ‘minor’ convictions still considered significant enough by their proponents to justify breaches of fellowship with those who hold different views, amicably or otherwise.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday, August 11, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Bad Reasons to be

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Religion by the Numbers

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner?

Yesterday I dealt with the most practical reason ecumenicalism is a non-starter.

But not every argument against a major campaign to reunite the Church organizationally is all about utility.

The other reason we haven’t seen a lot of small, local churches devoting their energies to ecumenicalism is theological.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sacrifices and Trade-offs

Nathan Abdy says some churches pay insufficient attention to what’s currently being taught in the larger evangelical community. I have argued that, at least in my experience, lack of elder awareness about the big picture isn’t a problem.

But then I also happen to know some exceptionally well-studied, highly intelligent older Christian men. I hope they represent the larger trends, but I could be wrong.

If so, that’s an issue. After all, elders keep watch over both the flock and themselves. That’s their job. “Pay careful attention,” said the apostle Paul. So they should, and so should we all.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

On Not Showing Up to the Conversation

I’ve watched with interest the back-and-forth over at assemblyHUB around Nathan Abdy’s multi-part online defense of ecumenicalism.

Abdy is a Bible College student who feels the churches in which he circulates are out of touch with the broader Christian community: “If the greater Evangelical Christian world is a party, then ‘the Brethren’ are in the corner twiddling their thumbs, waiting for it to be over.”

Now, in some quarters them’s fightin’ words, and the feedback reflects it: “It’s so sad to read articles like this,” or “Today, [evangelicalism] is a big mess.” Other comments are cautiously approving or even enthusiastic.

Monday, June 19, 2017

This Would Be Why I Can Do Without Denominations

Wow, those Southern Baptists sure don’t waste any time.

Seems like the Alt-Right only really came to the attention of the mainstream for the first time back in September when Hillary Clinton gave her now-infamous “basket of deplorables” speech in New York City. Whether calling a significant number of Trump supporters racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamaphobic hurt the Clinton campaign is a matter of opinion; what isn’t debatable is that today the “deplorables” have their guy in the White House.

The Dems don’t.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

False Unities and Lines of Division

As Christians living in a day in which we have every possible advantage in understanding what God has revealed of himself to mankind down through the centuries, the importance of having our hearts and heads thoroughly marinated in the word of God cannot be overstated.

There is no area of human investigation that matters more. None.

But in a fallen world, the word of God divides. The more we read it and follow it, the more we will find ourselves separated from those who don’t.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Nothing to Worry About

The other day I happened across a series of comments responding to a post that referenced in passing the words of the Lord in John 17. You remember: the part where Jesus prays, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me”.

What did the Lord mean? I have rarely encountered greater diversity of opinion about just a few words. One person even not-so-tentatively floated the proposition that the Father has answered his Son’s prayer in the negative.

I’m thinking Eh, not so much.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Spare Some Change?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Inbox: Breeding Atheism

Mac Pier, head of a parachurch organization in Manhattan called The New York Leadership Center, is calling for unity in the church.

Fox News thinks Pier’s “confessions” on behalf of the church are important enough for Bill O’Reilly to spend five minutes quizzing Charles Krauthammer about the church and how its longstanding divisions are alleged to encourage atheism in the world.

Our reader Qman asks, “What’s your take, is it valid?”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Denominations and Discernment

 The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Despising the Clans

I was working on Thursday’s post on denominationalism when I came across a little statement in Jeremiah that may give us some insight as to how the Lord feels about divisions in the church.

Sorry, this one needs a little setting up, as I’m not going to assume all our readers are currently engrossed in simultaneous study of the Old Testament prophets.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

By Any Other Name

Pretty, but you get better light when it’s in one piece ...
What is the church, really?

If we want to understand the concept as God designed it and as he sees it, we have to start with the New Testament. The truth about the church cannot be known any other way. Sure, there are lots of invented, historical ways in which we may conceptualize the church. But if we believe in the inspiration of the Bible, this is where we need to begin.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why Do Christians Disagree?

The most recent version of this post is available here.