[thechat] Mythology was comics

McCreath_David McCreath_David at xmail.asd.k12.ak.us
Wed May 23 19:15:31 CDT 2001

>The methodist doctrine describes the beliefs of a methodist. 
>If you don't agree with it, you aren't really a methodist - 
>but you can very well be a christian,
>The lutheran doctrine describes the beliefs of a lutheran. If you don't
>agree with it, you aren't really a lutheran - but you can very well be 
>a christian,
>The nazarene doctrine describes the beliefs of a nazarene. If you don't
>agree with it, you aren't really a nazarene - but you can very well be 
>a christian,

Oh, come on, deke. Maybe I come from a buncha crazy Presbyterian liberals or
something, but I don't know *any* members of *any* Christian denomination
that unquestioningly accept every single article of doctrine of their
church. I come from a long line of ministers, all Presbyterian, and the
discussions that they had at family gatherings were bewildering in the range
of opinions expressed. My brother is married to an Episcopalian priest.
Believe me, as a woman, she has major issues with the Episcopalian church,
but it is the *most* right in the most ways for her.

The Presbyterian Church, USA (for which both of my parents work) has some
basic things that they define as their differences from other churches, and
then a whole pile of little details. Those details shift marginally from
congregation to congregation and region to region.

>But those who describe themselves as "non-denominational christians"
>say "if you don't agree with what we believe, you're not a christian."

Okay, specifically, I'm saying is that the self-proclaimed
non-denominational Christians that I know have never said or practiced
anything remotely like that.  

You seem to be coming at it from a general point of view and making an
assumption on behalf of those claiming non-denominational status that
because they don't adhere to one group they believe they speak for all.

My experience has been the opposite. Most non-denominational churches that
I'm familiar with tend to be local in the extreme. "This is what our
*congregation* believes. We are members of this congregation because none of
the large denominations make enough sense for us." Now I'm putting words in
their mouths, which is just as unfair, but again, I'm only attesting to my

>That's baloney. If you are a group of people with an agreed-upon set
>of beliefs, then you are a denomination. If you don't have a set of
>beliefs, then you are a secular organization. 

FWIW, this is the definition of "denomination" that I've always unconsiously
used (from dictionary.com):

   A large group of religious congregations united 
   under a common faith and name and organized under 
   a single administrative and legal hierarchy. 

   (Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the 
   English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1996, 
   1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by 
   Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)

The phrases "group of congregations" and "legal hierarchy" are the two that
differentiate most denominational churches from the non-denoms for me. For
you, it may be different.

>What I object to is that the so-called 
>"non-denominational christians", in defining themselves as the *only* 
>christians, are hardly exhibiting christian behavior. 

So, has a member of a non-denominational church actually said that to you?
I'm just curious. You obviously feel strongly about it, and I will stipulate
that any group, denominational *or* non-denominational, that claims to have
a lock on how to believe in and worship God is just plain wrong, but I've
just never heard it.

With respect,

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