Does Non-Denominationalism destroy the Church & Calvinism?

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Jackie Kaulitz

Puritan Board Freshman
After reading about how the church government structure contributed to the Congregational Calvinists falling away and completely losing their Calvinism, I've begun to wonder even more than before about the dangers of Non-Denominationalism. Is this one-pastor show (elders are often rendered useless in a corrupt church) very similar to a Congregational government structure? I'm very lay in church government but would love to hear about similarities/dissimilarities.

I've also noticed ALL Word Faith cult teachers on tv (who got kicked out of the Assemblies of God denomination) have all gone "non-denominational". It's as if no denomination would accept their false teachings, so now they claim the title "non-denominational", which really means "so false that no one would accept their teachings." People like this use the "Non-Denominational" title to claim "We teach the Bible and aren't corrupt like those denominations" "We reject all labels" and these terms have become "cool" in our society today. But really it's a label used to slip in private and false teachings.

Is Non-Denominational almost a pointless title? Doesn't it mean "this pastor doesn't want to be held accoutable and wants to teach HIS OWN PERSONAL interpretation of the Bible?" I see similarities between this and the Congregationalists. I also noticed that almost no one is truly non-denominational. Almost all Non-Denominational churches I know are either Sovereign Grace Baptists (in their theology) or Dispenational Arminian Baptists (in their theology). Yet they hide under this "I reject labels" title because it gives them the freedom to accept Christians of ALL denominations (Arminian and Calvinistic), which actually leads to church splits. From my limited experience with two of these Calvinistic Non-D churches, they were both closet Calvinists and ended up watering down their teachings and actually teaching mostly Arminianism plus the 5 points. How can a Calvinistic church hide its Calvinism without losing all its Calvinism in the end/down the road? Or is it practically inevitable that they'll all go down the path of the Congregationalist Calvinists and be swallowed up in Arminianism?

If there are ANY good reasons for non-denominationalism, I am eager to learn.

From what I've gathered, non-denominationalism is counter to our Reformed Confessions. Should a Reformed believer continue in such a church? How important is this?
 
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Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
After reading about how the church government structure contributed to the Congregational Calvinists falling away and completely losing their Calvinism

I'm not sure on which of the two threads this should be discussed, but I'm not sure that charging the form of government with the result is fair, given how quickly the denominational Calvinists have fallen away.
 

Moireach

Puritan Board Freshman
After reading about how the church government structure contributed to the Congregational Calvinists falling away and completely losing their Calvinism, I've begun to wonder even more than before about the dangers of Non-Denominationalism. Is this one-pastor show (elders are often rendered useless in a corrupt church) very similar to a Congregational government structure? I'm very lay in church government but would love to hear about similarities/dissimilarities.

I've also noticed ALL Word Faith cult teachers on tv (who got kicked out of the Assemblies of God denomination) have all gone "non-denominational". It's as if no denomination would accept their false teachings, so now they claim the title "non-denominational", which really means "so false that no one would accept their teachings." People like this use the "Non-Denominational" title to claim "We teach the Bible and aren't corrupt like those denominations" "We reject all labels" and these terms have become "cool" in our society today. But really it's a label used to slip in private and false teachings.

Is Non-Denominational almost a pointless title? Doesn't it mean "this pastor doesn't want to be held accoutable and wants to teach HIS OWN PERSONAL interpretation of the Bible?" I see similarities between this and the Congregationalists. I also noticed that almost no one is truly non-denominational. Almost all Non-Denominational churches I know are either Sovereign Grace Baptists (in their theology) or Dispenational Arminian Baptists (in their theology). Yet they hide under this "I reject labels" title because it gives them the freedom to accept Christians of ALL denominations (Arminian and Calvinistic), which actually leads to church splits. From my limited experience with two of these Calvinistic Non-D churches, they were both closet Calvinists and ended up watering down their teachings and actually teaching mostly Arminianism plus the 5 points. How can a Calvinistic church hide its Calvinism without losing all its Calvinism in the end/down the road? Or is it practically inevitable that they'll all go down the path of the Congregationalist Calvinists and be swallowed up in Arminianism?

If there are ANY good reasons for non-denominationalism, I am eager to learn.

From what I've gathered, non-denominationalism is counter to our Reformed Confessions. Should a Reformed believer continue in such a church? How important is this?

It's definitely an error and a harmful one. Yes denominational Calvinists have fallen too but I think it is fair to say slower than a one man congregation. I would agree with your points.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Well you have John Macarthur's church that is staunchly calvinist.....but yes have Baptist Dispensational views. I guess hes the exception to the rule.
 

TheElk

Puritan Board Freshman
Our church left the Reformed Church in America. We left because we still hold to the Three Forms of Unity, which the RCA as a whole has abandoned. For instance, there is a "married" lesbian "Pastor" leading an RCA congregation in New York. This is unacceptable. On the floor of Classis, an Elder of another church stated something to the effect of, "if the people who wrote the Bible knew about DNA and the X and Y chromosomes, they would not have written what they did about homosexuality being wrong." Mind blowingly unacceptable. It took over a year before that person was "talked to." Once again, unacceptable. There are many more instances... Eventually we left the denomination and our building.

Our church government works as follow: We have an Elder board and a Deacon board. The Pastor is on the Elder board. He is not the President nor the Vice President of the board, but another member of the board whom are all equal under Christ. We believe that a plurality of Elders is the Biblical model. However, we also believe that when an Elder board submits to another authority other than Jesus Christ, that they are abdicating their God-given authority. I know that there are many views on this, but this is ours.

We also believe that the Church, the Bride of Christ, is all those whom are regenerate and are adopted as His children. We have experienced how denominations divide the body.

God Bless!

ETA: We belong to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Short answer: no. Nothing destroys the Church, and Calvinism will be okay too.

Slightly longer answer: This seems to be a really cynical view of non-denominationalism. Sure, there are likely some pastors who don't want accountability, but the vast majority of non-denominational church leaders I've met and read do so because of a (perhaps misguided) distrust of the power structures they've seen in denominational systems.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Good questions. A lot of people are thinking these through.

After reading about how the church government structure contributed to the Congregational Calvinists falling away and completely losing their Calvinism,

The form of church government less so than other factors. It's important, but I don't think a main root cause. Leaving the Bible as the basis for polity, yes, but there are honest differences on the exact form.

I've begun to wonder even more than before about the dangers of Non-Denominationalism. Is this one-pastor show (elders are often rendered useless in a corrupt church) very similar to a Congregational government structure? I'm very lay in church government but would love to hear about similarities/dissimilarities.

The case for a hierarchical church government is weak biblically. Practically, it also tends to separate more the people from ecclesiastical authority.

I believe the best biblical case is for governance by plurality of elders/ministers/bishops and that Deacons also are part of church government, each in their own sphere, but given authority by Christ.

While there is much, much involvement of church members in service and ministry, men and women, I would be very careful using a term of "lay government."


I've also noticed ALL Word Faith cult teachers on tv (who got kicked out of the Assemblies of God denomination) have all gone "non-denominational".

There are some known frauds out there and some we might use that term for. But, generally, charitably, it might be better to say serious error.

It's as if no denomination would accept their false teachings, so now they claim the title "non-denominational", which really means "so false that no one would accept their teachings."

The spirit of our age. We have made a virtue out of being unattached, undecided (and uncommitted). Some nondenominational communions have an intact biblical gospel and hold to the inerrancy of Scripture. But they almost always have a "low' view of the church, no binding confession so it boils down to the opinion of the leaders at a given point in time. As those leaders mature, or diverge, there is no real mechanism to resolve doctrinal difference.

People like this use the "Non-Denominational" title to claim "We teach the Bible and aren't corrupt like those denominations" "We reject all labels" and these terms have become "cool" in our society today. But really it's a label used to slip in private and false teachings.

This is done in other spheres, politics, etc. and "ropes" people in every time.

Is Non-Denominational almost a pointless title? Doesn't it mean "this pastor doesn't want to be held accoutable and wants to teach HIS OWN PERSONAL interpretation of the Bible?"

The superficial view, self-centered assumption is that they don't exclude people based on denomination and are more "free." So they invent what the stand for, center it on one Pastor, and when he matures or goes off doctrinally, the church splits,and the sheep are scattered.

I see similarities between this and the Congregationalists. I also noticed that almost no one is truly non-denominational. Almost all Non-Denominational churches I know are either Sovereign Grace Baptists (in their theology) or Dispenational Arminian Baptists (in their theology). Yet they hide under this "I reject labels" title because it gives them the freedom to accept Christians of ALL denominations (Arminian and Calvinistic), which actually leads to church splits. From my limited experience with two of these Calvinistic Non-D churches, they were both closet Calvinists and ended up watering down their teachings and actually teaching mostly Arminianism plus the 5 points. How can a Calvinistic church hide its Calvinism without losing all its Calvinism in the end/down the road? Or is it practically inevitable that they'll all go down the path of the Congregationalist Calvinists and be swallowed up in Arminianism?

If there are ANY good reasons for non-denominationalism, I am eager to learn.

Perhaps as a temporary situation where a church separates from a communion that has fallen away. Long term, we need to recognize accountability for what the Bible teaches, and our relation to others who hold the same, and toward the church universal.

From what I've gathered, non-denominationalism is counter to our Reformed Confessions. Should a Reformed believer continue in such a church? How important is this?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
As church history has shown over and again, alterations in the instituted form of church government undermine the headship of Christ over the church and open the door for foreign powers and influences to corrupt the doctrine and discipline of the church.
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
Our church left the Reformed Church in America. We left because we still hold to the Three Forms of Unity, which the RCA as a whole has abandoned. For instance, there is a "married" lesbian "Pastor" leading an RCA congregation in New York. This is unacceptable. On the floor of Classis, an Elder of another church stated something to the effect of, "if the people who wrote the Bible knew about DNA and the X and Y chromosomes, they would not have written what they did about homosexuality being wrong." Mind blowingly unacceptable. It took over a year before that person was "talked to." Once again, unacceptable. There are many more instances... Eventually we left the denomination and our building.

Our church government works as follow: We have an Elder board and a Deacon board. The Pastor is on the Elder board. He is not the President nor the Vice President of the board, but another member of the board whom are all equal under Christ. We believe that a plurality of Elders is the Biblical model. However, we also believe that when an Elder board submits to another authority other than Jesus Christ, that they are abdicating their God-given authority. I know that there are many views on this, but this is ours.

We also believe that the Church, the Bride of Christ, is all those whom are regenerate and are adopted as His children. We have experienced how denominations divide the body.

God Bless!

ETA: We belong to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

I understand why and applaud your congregation for breaking with the apostasy she found in her prior ecclesiastical connections. Does that justify going independent or nondenominational? Do you still adhere to the three forms of unity? Is their no other ecclesiastical connection you could have made? What about the Reformed Church US, or the United Reformed?
 
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