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Non Denoms.... an honest question

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by Lost Squirrel, May 24, 2011.

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  1. Lost Squirrel

    Lost Squirrel Seeking the 3rd satalite lock on God's GPS.

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    I'm not trying to incite a riot or nor do I want anyone thinking that I'm leaving my happy Lutheran home. But I just drove past a non-denom church today that has really been booming in attendance. Then it came to my attention that a LOT of our local non-denoms are really booming.

    My question is, what exactly is the allure of a non-denom to some folks? What is their retention like - How long do members last there before either 1) returning to a mainstream religion or 2) leaving organized religion altogether?

    It feels like I'm watching stray sheep wander when I see the car in front of me turn in to their parking lot Sunday mornings. I almost want to pull in to "poach and preach!" What on earth are these guys feeding the many itchy ears and poor souls???? I honestly don't get it. There is NO uniformity from church to church, and the attendee is truly at the mercy of a potential loose canon pastor who may or may not know his butt from a hole in the ground. Am I off base here?

    In other words, regarding recruitment, is it the appeal of the "non-religion religion" that gets then in the door, or is it entirely something else?
     
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  2. freeChris44

    freeChris44 Newbie

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    Me don't like the boxes that people try to fit God in. Then on top of trying to fit Him in a small box. if that's disrespectful enough, they then slap a label on Him. Ugh.
     
  3. lux et lex

    lux et lex light and law

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    Non-Denomination is a denomination all on its own, even though it denies it. My ex and I went to a non denom church for a while...it's all very contemporary and me me me (in my opinion).
     
  4. Lupinus

    Lupinus Senior Member

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    They preach (on average) a very feel good me me me, all the nice things God does for me message.

    And the most popular one around here is more like a music concert than a church service...and also quite theatrical at times.
     
  5. Logical_Lutheran

    Logical_Lutheran Disgruntled inhabitant of reality

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    I'm doing bible study with non-denoms right now and the overwhelming message that comes across to me is that they chose to go to heaven so God loves them now. Also it's completely works based and tends to translate trivial issues into major biblical ones. For example an engaged couple in the bible study group is going to marriage counselling to figure out that God wants them to share household responsibilities. Also they have this thing called discipleing which they've kept secret from me for the most part. It'll be interesting because they are bent on converting me and keep hitting brick walls with their theological stance.

    On the whole it's a theocentric works based system of cheap grace with worldly allures parading in white robes.
     
  6. LilLamb219

    LilLamb219 The Lamb is gone Supporter

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    Oh, the happy clappy crowd that gets to go home feeling so good because the Holy Spirit was there enjoying himself. :doh:

    That's not how all non-denoms feel, but that's pretty much the gist of things when you look at it. They get entertained at church. Their emotions run high. It's like a drug and you need your next fix. They're proud of what they've done for God (accepting Him into their heart, bearing fruit, going to multiple services, etc...).

    Again, this isn't all non-denoms. But it does give a reason as to why attendance is so high. Who doesn't want to feel good about himself? :sorry:

    As for me, I know feelings are a part of my human nature. I'd rather seek out Word and Sacrament so I know I'm being properly fed. Entertainment? I can get that on the radio whenever I want.
     
  7. LutheranChick

    LutheranChick Senior Member

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    I think the non-denom services are more of a social event than anything. That's the impression I got when I visited one once. They served rolls & juice - not just before, but all during the service- and the praise band 'entertained' and they sang all these 'feel-good' songs about praising God - but never once was it mentioned 'why' God should be praised. It is all about feeling good about themselves. God will bless you if you have enough faith, so pray for faith, and you won't have so many troubles.

    It was all very casual and not a bit respectful.

    This may make the people 'feel good' for as long as they are at the service, caught up in all of it, but does it last? I doubt it. I think it is like living on a diet of nothing but sugar- it cannot sustain you. I went away from the service feeling ashamed that I was even there, and very empty, and felt very sorry for the people that bought into that. Thankfully I had not missed my own service to attend this. I struggle with trying to figure out how to approach my friend who attends this church, about my concern for her and her family's spiritual welfare.
     
  8. Luther073082

    Luther073082 κύριε ἐλέησον χριστὲ ἐλέησον

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    Itching ears have certain things they like to hear.

    My understanding that most non-denominational churchs where baptist in theology. Am I incorrect in that understanding?
     
  9. doulos_tou_kuriou

    doulos_tou_kuriou Located at the intersection of Forde and Giertz

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    Well this is tricky since every non-denom can be different, really different, since it often lacks formal doctrine. But here are some things that have the draw:

    1) Decision theology usually reigns. This allows them to preach conversion as an "empowering" thing (as opposed to the Lutheran view that it is a passive reception of a gift of God).

    2) When God is preached, he is usually understood by one word--love. This is the predominant shape of God and in fact replaces dogma. All you need to know about God is that he loves you.

    3) Doctrine/denominations are seen as bad. To some it is seen as constraining God, to others it is understood as taking priority over God or scriptures, they look at denominations as destructive to the body of Christ (even though, ironically they seem to lack deeper unity with the greater church--although I suppose some non-denoms are like confederated or something into a denomination with no requirements other than claiming to be church).

    4) The emphasis on preaching and the Christian life is you, it is ethical. What does God call you to do. The way to avoid doctrine is to make the focus works. It is easier then to make this seem "relevant" in their life.

    5) It is attractive because faith is not seen as conformity or believing "the right things" but rather faith becomes about personal choice and a lifestyle. Which lets the congregation determine faith for themselves.

    6) Many non-denoms--like unitarians--are castoffs from other formal bodies that had some bad experience. The often alternative worship, lax sense of doctrine, and stricter moral emphasis seems to give everything people felt they lacked in mainline churches.

    7) The "getaway" experience from past church bodies really attracts people, and the bottom line is healthy churches grow easily because they have more noticable participation, a positive atmosphere, and an impression that all is going well. When churches are growing rapidly or packed to the brim visitors are more likely to come back.

    8) Simply put, it is easy to get behind a simpler vision, and the "results" in how they change/live their life appear either more attractive or more evident.
     
  10. abysmul

    abysmul Board Game Hobbyist

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    There are many wonderful "Bible only" non denominational/congregational groups/churches out there. Many of which simply try to worship in the manner that the first Christians worshiped as recorded in the Bible.

    Small, simple, bible driven worship.


    All the way to the extreme of the "church of the neon god" type non denominational mega churches.
     
  11. seajoy

    seajoy Senior Veteran

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    There are liturgical non-denoms? :confused:
     
  12. Logical_Lutheran

    Logical_Lutheran Disgruntled inhabitant of reality

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    The first christians didn't have the bible
     
  13. doulos_tou_kuriou

    doulos_tou_kuriou Located at the intersection of Forde and Giertz

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    Trying to get back to "apostolic worship" often makes many mistakes. For one it disregards what has been sustained through the generations, often missing the liturgical footprints of our church fathers. But also, there is a false notion that true worship looks exactly like worship in the first century. God gave us great freedom in our worship, centering us around Word and Sacrament. The key to apostolic worship is not to look like the 1st century church but to have the same center, Christ crucified.
    And while there is something of worship that transcends culture, it is also deeply contextual. The bottom line is to some extent we cannot worship exactly like the 1st century Christians because we are not 1st century Christians.

    Sticking to the Bible and having simple worship is fine (assuming the gospel is proclaimed purely and sacraments administered according to Christ's command), but "Bible only" churches often miss part of the story because they have no tradition of theological conversation, debate, and discernment to rely on to answer questions and give the full breadth of God's witness.
    I've never been to a church that does not claim the Bible, but I've been to plenty that do not read/use it entirely/properly.
     
  14. Luther073082

    Luther073082 κύριε ἐλέησον χριστὲ ἐλέησον

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    Might I point out that these "bible" churchs really arn't into the sacraments.
     
  15. DaRev

    DaRev Well-Known Member

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    Many of these mega-no-denoms have revolving doors in terms of membership. They are quick to tell you their membership numbers, but not so quick to tell you the back door exits.
     
  16. Logical_Lutheran

    Logical_Lutheran Disgruntled inhabitant of reality

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    Yup...pretty much everything is adiophora to them in light of God's love and the name Jesus.
     
  17. goldbeach

    goldbeach Guest

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    I spent years wandering in and out the the non-denoms and both of your posts are very correct. :thumbsup: And as DTK points the non-denoms, as well as a large amount of protestent denoms, have no "history" to build on of the forefathers liturgical worship. This is one of the major points of Lutheran Sola Scriptura as adverse to any other denoms sola scriptura. Many protestants denoms only use the Bible as a source with no contextual reference and without Christian forefathers interpretation. Lutherans use both. Hence the Bible and the BOC. We are unique in that aspect. For instance the RCC and EO reverse the distinction. They rely more heavly on the forefathers teachings and then the bible next.





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    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2011
  18. abysmul

    abysmul Board Game Hobbyist

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    I've spent years wondering in and out of non denominational congregations and long standing denominational congregations and have found that it's easier to generalize about the large organized denominations.
     
  19. LilLamb219

    LilLamb219 The Lamb is gone Supporter

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    What does that have to do with a liturgy?

    When you read through scripture in the NT, you'll see how they worshiped and it was very liturgical in style. :thumbsup:
     
  20. thegospelisgoodnews

    thegospelisgoodnews Newbie

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    your question is aready answered in the bible, they are the daughters of the great harlot, doing the same things their mother does only with a new twist
     
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