Nondenominational Christianity (or non-denominational Christianity) consists of churches which typically distance themselves from the confessionalism or creedalism of other Christian communitiesby not formally aligning with a specific Protestant denomination. Often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations, but typically adhere to evangelical Protestantism, and are a type of Protestantism.
|Part of a series on|
The first non-denominational churches appeared in the United States in the course of the 20th century, in the form of independent churches.
Nondenominational and interdenominational missionary organizations, especially faith missions, grew in the second half of the 19th century, beginning with the Woman's Union Missionary Society (incorporated in the United States in 1861) and the China Inland Mission (incorporated in Britain in 1865).Later-founded U.S. missionary groups included Christian and Missionary Alliance (1887), Evangelical Alliance Mission (1890), Sudan Interior Mission (1893), and the Africa Inland Mission (1895).
Nondenominational congregations experienced significant and continuous growth in the 21st century, particularly in the United States.If combined into a single group, nondenominational churches collectively would represented the third-largest Christian grouping in the United States in 2010, after the Roman Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention.
In Asia, especially in Singapore and Malaysia, these churches are also more numerous, since the 1990s.
Non-denominational churches are not affiliated with specifically denominational stream of evangelical movements, either by choice from their foundation or because they separated from their denomination of origin at some point their history.Like denominational congregations, nondenominational congregations vary in size, worship, and other characteristics. Although independent, many nondenominational congregations choose to affiliate with a broader network of congregations, such as IFCA International (formerly the Independent Fundamental Churches of America).
Nondenominational churches are recognizable from the evangelical movement, even though they are autonomous and have no other formal labels.
The movement is particularly visible in the megachurches.
The neo-charismatic churches often use the term nondenominational to define themselves.
Churches with a focus on seekers are more likely to identify themselves as non-denominational.
Boston University religion scholar Stephen Prothero argues that nondenominationalism hides the fundamental theological and spiritual issues that initially drove the division of Christianity into denominations behind a veneer of "Christian unity". He argues that nondenominationalism encourages a descent of Christianity—and indeed, all religions—into comfortable "general moralism" rather than being a focus for facing the complexities of churchgoers' culture and spirituality. Prothero further argues that it also encourages ignorance of the Scriptures, lowering the overall religious literacy while increasing the potential for inter-religious misunderstandings and conflict.
Baptist ecumenical theologian Steven R. Harmon argues that "there's really no such thing" as a nondenominational church, because "as soon as a supposedly non-denominational church has made decisions about what happens in worship, whom and how they will baptize, how and with what understanding they will celebrate holy communion, what they will teach, who their ministers will be and how they will be ordered, or how they relate to those churches, these decisions have placed the church within the stream of a specific type of denominational tradition."Harmon argues that the cause of Christian unity is best served through denominational traditions, since each "has historical connections to the church's catholicity ... and we make progress toward unity when the denominations share their distinctive patterns of catholicity with one another."
Presbyterian dogmatic theologian Amy Plantinga Pauw writes that Protestant non-denominational congregations "often seem to lack any acknowledgement of their debts and ties to larger church traditions" and argues that "for now, these non-denominational churches are living off the theological capital of more established Christian communities, including those of nondenominational Protestantism."Pauw considers denominationalism to be a "unifying and conserving force in Christianity, nurturing and carrying forward distinctive theological traditions" (such as Wesleyanism being supported by Methodist denominations).
Evangelicalism, evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace, solely through faith in Jesus's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message. The movement has long had a presence in the Anglosphere before spreading further afield in the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries.
The Holiness movement involves a set of beliefs and practices which emerged chiefly within 19th-century Methodism, and to a lesser extent other traditions such as Quakerism and Anabaptism. The movement is Wesleyan-Arminian in theology, and is defined by its emphasis on the doctrine of a second work of grace leading to Christian perfection. As of 2015, a number of evangelical Christian denominations, parachurch organizations, and movements emphasize those beliefs as central doctrine. Holiness-movement churches had an estimated 12 million adherents.
A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization, leadership and doctrine. The Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy, meaning the large majority, all self-describe as churches, whereas many Protestant denominations self-describe as congregations or fellowships. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, ecclesiology, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.
In China, house churches or family churches, are Christian assemblies in the People's Republic of China that operate independently from the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and China Christian Council (CCC) and came into existence due to the change in religious policy after the end of the Cultural Revolution in the early-1980s.
The Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) is a Radical Pietistic denomination in the evangelical Christian tradition. The denomination has more than 875 congregations and an average worship attendance of 280,000 people in the United States and Canada with ministries on five continents. Founded in 1885 by Swedish immigrants, the church is now one of the most rapidly growing and multi-ethnic denominations in North America. Historically Lutheran in theology and background, it is now a broadly evangelical movement.
The charismatic movement is the international trend of historically mainstream Christian congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostalism. Fundamental to the movement is the use of spiritual gifts (charismata). Among mainline Protestants, the movement began around 1960. Among Roman Catholics, it originated around 1967.
Parachurch organizations are Christian faith-based organizations that work outside and across denominations to engage in social welfare and evangelism. Parachurch organizations seek to come alongside the church and specialize in things that individual churches may not be able to specialize in by themselves. They often cross denominational, national, and international boundaries providing specialized services and training.
The mainline Protestant churches are a group of Protestant denominations in the United States that contrast in history and practice with evangelical, fundamentalist, and charismatic Protestant denominations. Some make a distinction between "mainline" and "oldline", with the former referring only to denominational ties and the latter referring to church lineage, prestige and influence. However, this distinction has largely been lost to history and the terms are now nearly synonymous. These terms are also increasingly used in other countries for the same purpose of distinguishing between the so-called oldline and neo-Protestants.
The Fourth Great Awakening was a Christian awakening that some scholars — most notably economic historian Robert Fogel — say took place in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, while others look at the era following World War II. The terminology is controversial, with many historians believing the religious changes that took place in the US during these years were not equivalent to those of the first three great awakenings. Thus, the idea of a Fourth Great Awakening itself has not been generally accepted.
Protestants makes up nearly 11% of the Filipino population. It arrived in the Philippines during the late 19th and the early 20th century when American missionaries began to arrive in the country in the advent of the American rule. They include a wide variety of Pentecostal, Evangelical and independent churches. Some denominations were founded locally by indigenous people.
Modality in Protestant and Catholic Christian theology, is the structure and organization of the local or universal church. In Catholic theology, the modality is the universal Catholic church. In Protestant theology, the modality is variously described as either the universal church or the local church.
The Evangelical Christian Church(Christian Disciples) as an evangelical Protestant Canadian church body in North America (2004) can be traced to the formal organization of the Christian Church in 1804, in Bourbon County, Kentucky under the leadership of Barton Warren Stone (1772–1844). The Stone Movement later merged with the efforts of Thomas Campbell (1772–1854) and his son Alexander Campbell (1788–1866) to become the Restoration Movement that gave birth to the Churches of Christ (Non-Instrumental), the Christian churches and churches of Christ, the Churches of Christ (non-institutional), and the Disciples of Christ. The Evangelical Christian Church as a separate group within the Restoration tradition was reorganized in 2001. The Evangelical Christian Church's national office in Canada is in Waterloo, Ontario.
Christianity was first introduced to Thailand by European missionaries. It represents 1.2% of the national population, which is predominantly Buddhist. Christians are numerically and organizationally concentrated more heavily in the north, where they make up an estimated 16% of some lowland districts and up to very high percents in tribal districts.
Protestantism is the second-largest form of Christianity with a total of 800 million to a billion adherents worldwide or about 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than also by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.
Protestantism is the largest grouping of Christians in the United States with its combined denominations collectively accounting for about half the country's population or 150 million people. Simultaneously, this corresponds to around 20% of the world's total Protestant population. America has the largest number of Protestants of any country in the world. Baptists account for about one third of American Protestants. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest single Protestant denomination in the United States with one-tenth of American Protestants.
The Republic of China (Taiwan), commonly known as Taiwan has a Christian minority, making up about less than 3.9% of its population. Roughly half of Taiwan's Christians are Catholic, and half Protestant. Due to its minority status, Christianity has had only a small insignificant influence on the island nation's 10,000 year old ancient Han Chinese majority culture, which is practiced by over 97% of Taiwan’s population, and development. Although a few individual Christians have devoted their lives to charity work in Taiwan as illustrated by such exemplary figures as George Leslie Mackay (Presbyterian) and Nitobe Inazō.
Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Protestant Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through baptism with the Holy Spirit. It emerged from 19th century precursors between 1870 and 1910, taking denominational form from c. 1927. From the early 1930s, pentecostal denominations multiplied, and there are now several dozen, the largest of which relate to one another through conferences and organizations such as the Australian Pentecostal Ministers Fellowship. The Australian Christian Churches, formerly known as the Australian Assemblies of God, is the oldest and longest lasting Pentecostal organization in Australia. The AOG/ACC is also the largest Pentecostal organization in Australia with over 300,000 members in 2018. Until 2018, Hillsong Church was one of 10 megachurches in Australia associated with the ACC that have at least 2,000 members weekly. According to the church, over 100,000 people attend services each week at the church or one of its 80 affiliated churches located worldwide.