Exposing Non Denominational Denominations
By: Brian A. Yeager
For many years brethren have said, “we’re non denominational” meaning that we do not belong to any human named/organized church. Now, the phrase “non denominational” has become rather popular. In fact, some seem to want to boast of being “non denominational”. For example, Calvary Chapel, like many other “non denominational” groups says this on their website: “We are not a denominational church…” (http://beta.calvarychapel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22&Itemid=37). Yet, there are hundreds of domestic and many international “churches” that are affiliated with this supposed “non denominational church”. I know this because I viewed their online directory of churches affiliated with them (http://beta.calvarychapel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=69). This group, though they try to deny it, is organized beyond the local denominational church. In fact, this group of churches are governed in this way: “Further information can be found within the pages of the book ‘Calvary Chapel Distinctives’ which can be accessed at: TWFT Book Page” (http://beta.calvarychapel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22&Itemid=37). The TWFT Book Page is here: http://www.thechapelstore.com/product_info.php?products_id=11430. Further digging reveals this denomination has more than affiliation through local churches; they have their books and even their own college (http://beta.calvarychapel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18&Itemid=56).
What you can see from the example above is simple; we have to examine more than just a phrase. Wolves have always tried to be sneaky (Matthew 7:15-20, Acts 20:28-31, II Peter 2:1-3, and Jude 4). False teachers have always tried to sound and look like teachers of the truth (II Corinthians 11:12-15). What is really found when you examine the “Non Denominational Church Movement” is that this movement is two things. For one, like you see above, some denominations are just trying to hide behind terms that make them look less organized. Secondly, as we shall see from this point forward, most “Non Denominational” churches are really just “Interdenominational” churches.
The Non Denominational Church Movement Is Really An Interdenominational Church Movement
Notice: “WELCOME TO FAITH FELLOWSHIP OF LEXINGTON, KY… a non-denominational, traditional church” (http://www.faithfellowshiplex.org/). Just a little looking around on their website and you find this: “Many people who attend Faith Fellowship were once members of a Methodist church in downtown Lexington, but you will also meet folks who have Baptist and Presbyterian backgrounds or who come from other mainline Christian denominations. All are welcome at Faith Fellowship” (http://www.faithfellowshiplex.org/about-our-church.html). To add to those facts, guess where this group assembles. Notice: “Our services are held in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church at 968 Lane Allen Road in Lexington” (http://www.faithfellowshiplex.org/).
This one would be funny if it weren’t so sickening: “The ULC | Universal Life Church is the only denomination worldwide that opens its doors to all, and welcomes all who ask how to become an ordained minister, rabbi, priest or clergy. We are non-denominational. We support a full spectrum all faith ministry” (http://www.ulc.org/).
Another group says this: “At Family Spiritual Center, a New Thought, Non-denominational Church, we present Spiritual Principles in a practical and instantly-usable way… INTERFAITH - One Life, One Mind, One God, One Family, There will not be peace until there is peace among religions" (http://www.familyspiritualcenter.org/). We could continue listing evidence to prove that “Non Denominational” often means they’re really “Interfaith” churches, but the point should be clear by now. What we want to do from here is examine the Scriptural problems with the two prevalent mindsets of the “Non Denominational Denominations”.
What The Scriptures Say About These Errors!
Those who claim to be “non denominational”, while really belonging to an organized group of man-made churches, are dishonest. Anything that is born out of a lie is not right in the sight of God (cf. John 8:44). Reall Christians would never be dishonest (Proverbs 8:7, Proverbs 13:5, Romans 12:17, Romans 13:13, I Thessalonians 4:11-12, I Peter 2:12, and Revelation 21:8) and try to hide who we are (Matthew 10:32-33, I Timothy 6:12, Hebrews 4:14, and Hebrews 10:23). Those who try to sneak about spiritually should not be tolerated, not even for an hour (Galatians 2:1-5).
Consider for a moment the concept of an interfaith or multiple faith church. These “non denominational” churches are only such in that they cannot claim hold to one denomination. They will, as we noticed above, accept them all. On the contrary, our Lord prayed for true unity (John 17:20-23). God wants His people to come together into one body (I Corinthians 12:12 and Colossians 3:15). Christians do not exist outside of that one body (Acts 2:47 and Ephesians 5:23). People cannot decide to just put aside differences and unite under some unofficial denomination. God expects His people to be united truly, in one faith (Ephesians 4:1-6), without any brand of denominationalism (I Corinthians 1:10-13). The body of Christ does not and cannot exist wherein people are compromising the truth (Acts 2:42-46, Philippians 1:27, I Corinthians 16:13, II Timothy 1:13, II John 9, and Jude 3). Moreover, every congregation of the Lord’s people need to be teaching/practicing the same truths (I Corinthians 4:17).
The very idea of forming a church and naming it is denominationalism. Calling that group of people “Non Denominational” doesn’t change what these groups are doing. They are forming “Non Denominational Churches”. Our Lord did not die to purchase “Non Denominational Churches”. Our Lord died to establish His church (Matthew 16:18). The Lord’s church is the church [body] of Christ (Romans 16:16, I Corinthians 12:27, and Ephesians 1:22-23). If any man tries to build any other church, his labor is in vain (Psalms 127:1 and Acts 4:10-12).
Many false teachers today have sought to break away from their Baptist, Pentecostal, etc. roots by forming unofficial denominations. Now that you know the trick of their trade, make others aware of it (Romans 16:17-18). There is one more brand of “Non Denominational Christianity” we need to expose. Our next article will be exposing those meeting under the name “church of Christ”, but really practicing human creeds. That will be our next and final article in our series on denominationalism.
Volume 10 – Issue 51 - September 12th, 2010