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I was recently in a store, conversing with a sales manager, when the topic turned to our church that my husband and I are planting in our area. I had mentioned that we rent a school for our location, and he asked me, “Is it non-denominational?” He asked that, because that is what most new church plants are, that arise out of theatres and schools. It’s the current national trend that follows a basic formula: have a core group of people, who are being sponsored and financed by a much larger, mega church, and plant the people within a new community, to offer rocking worship bands and great seeker messages, that will attract large crowds. People filter in, almost like attending a concert. My husband and I have attended these before, saying it makes a great date, because you get free childcare, a concert and a speaker!

Most say they are ‘non-denominational’ so that they can attract everyone, and not be seen as one certain denomination, such as “Baptist” or “Church of Christ” or “United Methodist,” so if someone doesn’t have a past association with that particular denomination, it won’t stop them from attending their more generic “Community Church.” It’s definitely down to a science for many churches, and it works. Many people flock to these churches, often leaving their smaller, denominational family churches behind, which have not kept up with the popular trends of more modern music and slick, professionally marketed sermon series, technologically advanced sound and light shows, with video presentations, and ministries for every type of addiction and social group you can think of. It’s sort of like Walmart moving into your community. You get great low prices from China, but often at the expense of local businesses and factories which must close, because they fail to compete. Of course, that makes the “church” sound more like a business, and we shy away from any such talk in the public domain. We certainly don’t want to turn off potential seekers, if we sound too much like a business, when we are supposed to be about God, not money.

But, I digress! Back to the conversation I had recently! When this man asked me this question, “Is it non-denominational?” My answer was, “We are denominational!” What? Are we bucking current trends with associating with a particular denomination, when that is proven to be the fast track to failure, when the majority of all church plants fail within the first year? Uh….yeah!

You see, our church plant {which has the name, “Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith” tacked onto it} is built on the promises made to Abraham. God promised a few things to Abraham, way back in the book of Genesis, and in the book of Hebrews, the writer {a book much later in the New Testament} brings Abraham back up again, and says, “He died, without ever receiving those promises.”

In a nut shell, the Bible is all about those promises God made to Abraham, and because Abraham believed God, and knew those things would eventually happen, just like God said they are going to, Abraham was seen as righteous. Meaning he was made right with God; seen as pure and spotless of any wrong doing, when Abraham clearly had some sin in his past. So, when Jesus comes back someday, resurrects Abraham from the dead, Jesus is going to give to Abraham the things God promised to him – like the land. Romans 4:13 says, “For the promise to Abraham or to his seed that he would be heir to the world, was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” He, and you and me (if we believe in Jesus), will be heirs to the world. That means, we’ll own it. We won’t just be passing through. We will O-W-N it. Possess it. Build houses on it. Maybe even a mansion. Even Jesus said in Matthew 5:5, that we are going to ‘inherit the earth.’ Quite the promise, eh? And Galatians 3:29 says, “if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.” Alrighty, then! That means, we get to be heirs to the world, too, if we believe and belong to Jesus, the Christ [Messiah, Anointed King].

Christianity is built upon these promises made to Abraham, the ‘father of our faith.’ Abraham became the father of the Hebrew people, and through Jesus, we are adopted into this family, grafted in, so to speak, to be seen as righteous, God’s chosen people, even if we aren’t technically Jewish or Hebrew! Pretty cool. Our ticket into this family of God, is through Abraham’s seed, David’s heir to the throne: Jesus. Miraculously conceived, by the power of God, Jesus! Jesus, the Christ. Anointed King of a kingdom that will be everlasting, and have dominion over every tongue, tribe, and nation. Talk about diversity! This will include the whole world. We’re not just talking about Israel, or a little track of land in New Jersey, honey! This kingdom, or dominion of rulership is the entire earth.

We call these teachings, doctrines. And if you want to find groups of believers who believe this too, you can find us by our denominational name, “Church of God of Abrahamic Faith” or “Abrahamic Faith.” It’s a name, where you can google us and find our statement of belief, and know what we believe. We don’t hide it under a bunch of fancy web graphics. We don’t pretend we are ‘non-denominational’ yet still cling to doctrines made up by councils in 325 A.D., but pretend that we don’t, like almost all non-denominational churches actually do. Don’t believe me? Then ask the pastor if they believe in the Trinity. They will say yes. Then, if you don’t accept this man-made creed of the Trinity, that Jesus is fully God, then are they really non-denominational? Because the name “non-denominational” insinuates that all people of all denominations would be accepted there! No, most of these churches are NDINO Non-Denominational In Name Only, meaning that they are Non-Denominational, only to the extent that you still must believe and accept all their points of belief or you will not be accepted into their membership. If you dig far enough into their background, you will find that there is a denomination associated with most of them….they just don’t want to claim it publicly. I find this very deceptive, and deceiving of the masses.

Personally, I love that our church has the “Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith” in it’s official title. Why? Because it is a wonderful reminder and a good excuse to share with people that we believe what the Bible teaches: that if we belong to Jesus, we will be heirs to the world someday. We are going to have faith in what Abraham had faith in: His God and His God’s promises!

The beauty of this truth is often lost on most churches, who preach in a fictional Jesus who is both Son of God and God, and sing and teach about a heavenly shore which one will fly off to when one is dead, which does not sound very Scriptural at all in its teachings. Not once, did Jesus preach that you go to heaven when you die.  Not once does he teach that your soul flies off to be with God as soon as one dies.

Instead, the Bible teaches that our hope is in a man, named Jesus, who preached about a coming Kingdom, when the earth would someday be restored and when he will rule and reign upon the earth, and the fact that we will get to reign with him. This man, Jesus, died for our sins upon a cross, and his God raised him up from the dead, to immortality [to live forever, and never die again]. When God resurrected Jesus from the dead, He exalted him (raised his privileges up) to be above all authority and every title. That hope of a resurrection from the dead, is our hope also. That’s what Paul was in prison for — teaching the resurrection from the dead, without which our faith would be pointless.  Do we hear the resurrection of the dead being preached in our churches today?

Jesus’ kingdom will be ours, also. “And You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.” Revelation 5:12.  This is GOOD NEWS.  The true and complete GOSPEL that must be preached to the ends of the earth.  It’s good news, because we are sick of the way our world is going.  We’re sick and tired of people dying of cancer.  Of hearing about terrorists bombing innocent victims.  Of earthquakes and tsunamis.  Of famines and people without clean water, and sicknesses and AIDS, and children and young women sold into sex slave trade.  Injustices and wickedness that can make us hurt for people, desperate for things to be made right again, make us yearn and groan for a better government that is not corrupt and selfish, but good, just and righteous.  That government is going to be headed up by King, Lord Messiah, Jesus, and his saints – you and me, if we believe these beautiful truths laid out in our Bibles.  Its the message of true hope in a dying world.  “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.”  Isaiah 65:17.
Denominations may be a thing of the past, but the truth of Scripture will never be passe! Jesus says in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” And “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18.

“For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me.  Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure….Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.  I have planned it, surely I will do it.”  Isaiah 46:9-11.

God’s words, and Jesus words [which come from God – John 12:49], are true. They will stand the test of time and will happen, because whatever God says He will do, He will do. So, if you believe in the promises made to Abraham, have faith in God’s word that it will be fulfilled, then we will be made righteous, also, and we will share in this hope of Jesus, the hope of a resurrection from the dead, and the Kingdom of God which Jesus will establish upon the earth at his return. If that’s uncool and not the popular trend, that’s okay by me. If I have to buck the trend, to follow the true Jesus who is the Son of God, not God; to believe in God’s promises, not puffy cloud fairy tales; and worship the one and only true God, Yahweh, then so be it. But, I invite you to come along with me! Become a revolutionary for the truth of the word of God. It will transform your life; Give you hope, where you had none before, and fill you with purpose, which this purpose, if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me {Luke 4:43}!

Have faith like Abraham. Abrahamic Faith. You don’t have to call it by this name, but you can certainly find us, if you do!

14 Responses to “NDINO – Non-Denomination In Name Only?”

  1. on 28 May 2010 at 4:57 amFiona

    Right on, Angela!
    We have exactly the same problem here in South Africa- the mega churches splitting up. I think the NDINO is a way for them to lure people in without disclosing their doctrines (yes, lure, because after all this is about money- the more people attending, the more money). In fact, doctrines are only discussed if one gets pushy, most of the attendees seem to be not bothered about such unimportant details!

    I wish you were here in SA! We have no Abrahamic faith movement here. Due to health issues, I personally am not up to starting anything, but be sure I’m there with you in prayer!
    Fiona

  2. on 28 May 2010 at 6:02 amWolfgang

    Hi there,

    do you think that “Baptists”, “United Methodists”, or other denominations, etc. perhaps believe quite similar things concerning Abraham and promises made to him?

    Also, perhaps you may want to define the term “denomination” as you are using it …. Could it be that it is slightly different from how the general public and/or Christian community at large is using it?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  3. on 28 May 2010 at 6:06 amWolfgang

    Hi again,

    oops forgot a question which I had meant to ask after my first question above:

    If folks from any such denominations do believe similar or the same things concerning Abraham and promises made to him, would you thus include them in you particular denomination of “Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith”? If not, why not?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  4. on 28 May 2010 at 9:20 pmRay

    What about the man that says, “I don’t know if the Trinity doctine is an urban legend, folklore, or absolute truth. I don’t want to make a decision about such things, but I do want to confess what the scriptures say.”?

    Should he be accepted as a brother if no one sees any sins in his life that he needs to repent of?

  5. on 28 May 2010 at 9:30 pmXavier

    Ray

    Should he be accepted as a brother if no one sees any sins in his life that he needs to repent of?

    This reminds me of the story of the young rich man…

    You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”

    “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

    When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing… Lu 18.18-30

  6. on 29 May 2010 at 6:47 amDoubting Thomas

    Ray
    You said, “I don’t want to make a decision about such things, but I do want to confess what the scriptures say?”

    It sounds to me like your going through a period of doubting your beliefs. This is normal we all go through this at various times in our lives. I think it is good that you have an open mind and are willing to consider all possibilities. There must be something in the Trinitarian argument that has you doubting your Unitarian beliefs. I think the best thing is for you to share these doubts with others. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

    In the meantime, if your not ready to share your doubts, you can confess the other teachings of Jesus to people. Jesus’ Unitarian beliefs only make up a small part of his teachings. You can talk about the good news of the coming kingdom of God and how everyone is welcome (Trinitarian or Unitarian).

    Whenever I’m having doubts, I find the best thing is to find a friend (someone you trust) to talk it over with. I believe that Satan wants us to be afraid of talking about our doubts and to bottle them up inside…

  7. on 29 May 2010 at 10:15 amFiona

    Hi DT
    Yes,was just saying to a friend this morning, that spreading the Gospel is a bit like giving a good friend a gift- their delight in opening it becomes a double blessing to you. If we spread the Good news (especially if it falls on willing ears!), it is a gift of the greatest value- to the giver as well. Lets give lots of “gifts” this weekend
    Fiona

  8. on 29 May 2010 at 10:25 amRay

    I remember hearing someone say that there were two Trinity doctrines, one was OK and the other was not.

    Let’s look at this statement:

    Jesus is God.

    True or not?

    It depends on what we mean by it.

  9. on 29 May 2010 at 10:26 amRay

    Xavier,
    Yes, Jesus saw something lacking in the man.

  10. on 29 May 2010 at 12:20 pmWolfgang

    Hi,

    what do posts #4 – #9 actually have to do with the topic of the original post which was about the matter of “non-denominatinal” / “denominational” ?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  11. on 29 May 2010 at 12:36 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray
    The way I understand it God is not a name but a title. Jesus as the agent of God is entitled to to be addressed by the title God but he has his own separate name Jeshua/Jesus…

  12. on 29 May 2010 at 1:26 pmRay

    Thomas, I agree with you (#11). I also want to remember that God is what he is and not just a “who” as some have said that he is.

    God could have said, “I am who I am.” but it seems that he said, “I am what I am.” or “I am that I am.”, which I believe to be an old English way of saying “I am what I am.”

    To refer to Jesus always as “God” I think would be wrong. To do so once in a while in worship by song or poem, or by teaching, in order to teach something about how words are used is acceptable, it seems to me, if it is done in a godly way.

    I want to get back to the topic.

    Can we say that John the Baptist was non-denominational? That seems right to me.

    Can we also say that Jesus and his disciples were of one denomination (religious group) and John and his disciples were a good example of another.?

  13. on 29 May 2010 at 1:41 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray
    You asked, “Can we say that John the Baptist was non-denominational? That seems right to me.”

    The way I see it, at that time, there were no real denominations as we have today. They were all Jewish. There were about a half dozen Jewish sects, but they all met together, worshiped together, celebrated Holy Days together, etc…

    The one exemption was a group of Jews that lived out in the desert called the Essenes who kept themselves isolated from the rest of the Jews. They are believed to be the ones who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Some people believe that John the Baptist was an Essene but I’m not so sure…

  14. on 30 May 2010 at 9:06 amDoubting Thomas

    Fiona (msg. 7)
    You said, “Spreading the Gospel is a bit like giving a good friend a gift – their delight in opening it becomes a double blessing to you.”

    I agree. 1st. Peter 4:8 says, “Above all keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

    What better way to show your love than to spread the good news of the gospel whenever you can…

  

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