What Is a Non-Denominational Church?
Do you feel like none of the major Christian religions adequately fulfill your spiritual needs or beliefs? Are you conflicted because you believe in Jesus Christ and the Bible, but your soul doesn’t fully align with the rigid doctrine preached by the principal denominations? If so, you may want to explore the beliefs of a non-denominational church.
Don’t worry if you’re wondering, “What is a non-denominational church?” We’ll explore the answer to that question in this guide. In the meantime,know that searching for truth is always a worthy endeavor that should be applauded. Church.org is a useful tool to help you find a religion that melds with your deep-seated beliefs.
What Does Non-Denominational Mean?
For some, the non-denominational meaning can be convoluted. While it’s true that the definition of a non-denominational church can get muddy depending on who you talk to, the concept is actually quite simple. Non-denominational Christianity is independent of mainline churches; it doesn’t adhere to the man-made traditions and doctrines favored by the major churches. Instead, it regards God’s word in the Bible as its sole authority.
What Are the Different Non-Denominational Churches?
Non-denominational Christianity falls under the broad umbrella of Protestant denominations, though its independent congregation is not part of the organized Protestant church. Likewise, many religions fall under the umbrella of Protestantism, including the Southern Baptist church, Presbyterian church, Lutheran church, United Methodist Church, and non-denominational Christian churches.
Some of the most well-known non-denominational Christian church names today include:
- Gateway Church
- Vineyard Church
- Grace Church
- City Life Church
- Cavalry Chapel
- Hope Haven
- Church of the Highlands
Because these churches don’t belong to a specific denomination, they are all considered non-denominational churches. But even though they don’t belong to a mainline church, these non-denominational churches focus on many of the same Biblical principles, including Christian fellowship and faith in Jesus Christ. However, they do not believe in some traditions or practices held by multiple denominations.
What Is the Basic History of These Churches?
The word “non-denominational” means that a church is not restricted to a single denomination. Based on this meaning, an independent non-denominational church could include any church that does not belong to a major or traditional denomination. But the vast majority of today’s non-denominational Christians belong to a branch of Protestantism.
Protestantism began in 16th-century Europe. During this time, many Roman Catholic church members became disenchanted with some of the practices, beliefs, and alleged abuses of the Catholic church. As a result, leaders of the Catholic church were charged with unbiblical practices by men such as John Calvin of France and Martin Luther of Germany.
The Catholic church was accused of valuing the traditions of men over the Bible’s teachings. The Protestant movement began as people left the Roman Catholic church. Today’s independent churches are similar to the first Protestants in that they abide by conservative Christian beliefs, and most do not adopt non-Biblical or modern values.
The Stone-Campbell-Scott Movement of the 19th century is another historical movement associated with the rise of today’s non-denominational church. During this movement, a Presbyterian minister by the name of Barton Warren Stone invited followers of Christ to return to a simple form of New Testament Christianity. He referred to predestination, reprobation, and election as modern “Calvinist” doctrines. This Calvinism was based on man-made traditions that arose during the birth of the reformed church.
If you are wondering, “What is a reformed church?” the answer is any church that makes major changes to its doctrine and theology. Reformed theology, often known as “Calvinism,” refers to the teachings of John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, who were protestant reformers.
The Stone-Campbell-Scott Movement
In the early 19th century, a father-son duo, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, also advocated for the church to eliminate man-made creeds. They believed faith should be founded on the words of God in the Bible. They established churches known as “Campbellite” churches. The two religious movements merged in the 1800s, and the Stone-Campbell-Scott churches were born.
The Stone-Campbell-Scott churches did not have a denominational affiliation. The congregation focused primarily on the New Testament, communion, ecumenism, and baptism by immersion.
What Does a Worship Service Look Like for a Non-Denominational Church?
Non-denominational churches often worship in unconventional ways compared to traditional church worship practices. Music is an important part of many churches’ worship services. Members of the congregation are encouraged to let the Holy Spirit move them during worship services.
Many people find non-denominational worship services more relaxed and comfortable than denominational worship services. This is because the topics and programs are designed to be relatable and refreshingly separate from tradition. However, the core doctrines of non-denominational churches are similar, theologically, to several modern Protestantism views.
What Bible Do Non-Denominational Churches Use?
The most common Bible translations used by members of non-denominational churches include:
- The New International Version
- The New American Standard
- The English Standard Version
- The King James Version
- The New Living Bible
- The New King James Version
The pastor of each non-denominational church decides which Bible translation to use. There are no “rules” that apply to all non-denominational congregations. Each local church operates independently, creates its own membership rules, and writes its own by-laws. But all are united in believing that the Bible is the word of God and should guide religious practices.
Is a Non-Denominational Congregation Right for Me?
A non-denominational congregation may be right for you if you want something different from the main denominational church traditions. Many of these churches have modern ways of worshipping but still hold many basic conservative Christian beliefs associated with the Bible. It is important to learn more about these and other churches in your search for a church that aligns with your beliefs and values most closely.
Can You Be Baptized Non-Denominational?
Just like mainline churches, non-denominational churches often perform baptisms. However, they typically require a public announcement of faith in Jesus Christ, so they usually do not believe in infant baptism. They also typically follow a full-immersion baptism model, as followed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
How Can Church.org Help Answer My Questions?
Church.org is a platform that can help you discover where you belong in terms of worship. Use our convenient search bar to find a church near you that aligns with your core beliefs.