What is your denominational background?

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What is your denominational background?

Postby natman » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:18 am

There are many different denomination represented here in this forum. Tell us about which ones you have experienced and how is it that you have settled into your current denomination.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

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Postby natman » Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:03 pm

Southern Baptist

I was raised in a Roman Catholic household growing up. From the age of six until I was eighteen, I attended church EVERY Sunday and Catechism classes every Tuesday. The Mass was observed in Latin until I was around fifteen, then we began hearing portions in English and Latin. Finally when I was around seventeen or eighteen, we began having the entire Mass in English as well as a Saturday evening guitar mass held by one of the younger priests in out parish.

During Mass and Catechism, we rarely, if ever (I don't recall ever) read from anything other than the Epistles; not the Gospels and not the Old Testament.

One time, while in High School, a friend of mine invited me to go on a clam bake at the beach with his church. He was of Italian decent so I just assumed it was one of the local Catholic churches in the area. It turned out to be a Baptist church. We rode a bus down to the beach and everyone was singing hymns and praise songs, laughing, joking and carrying on. We had a GREAT time at the beach playing games, surfing and singing songs around a campfire. On the way back, the pastor was driving the bus up a steep grade and passed a couple of kids walking up the road, obviously struggling a bit with the grade. He stuck his head out the window and yelled "TIRED OF WALKING!!!" to which they yelled back "YEAH!!!". The pastor yelled back "GREAT!!! RUN A WHILE!!!", then continued up the hill. I thought, "What a cool pastor."

At any rate, during my sophomore year in high school, I had a world history class that included discussions of the Salem witch hunts, the Spanish Inquisitions and the Catholic Church's actions of hiding valuable artifacts during the wars while hundreds of thousands of their members were starving to death. It soured my feeling about the Catholic Church and organized religion altogether.

This continued through college, and when I turned eighteen, I pretty much denounced my Catholic faith.

It was in my second year of biology, studying the complexities of the DNA molecule and the immense improbability of such a complex-ed structure coming together by mere chance (an illogical statement in itself) that I began veering toward an understanding that there must have been a divine creator. Simultaneously some friends invited me to a Christian "rock" concert at a local growing Baptist congregation. During that concert, all of my apprehensions about the "Church" were laid aside and I realized that despite what I was taught as a Catholic, I could have a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ, my one and only mediator to God the Father.

Because I had married an unbeliever, I laid low for years while I investigated various organized religious groups apart from Roman Catholicism. My Baptist friends encouraged me to read the Bible cover to cover... a real eye opener for me. Later, a close friend invited me to a small Bible study group that was part of the Vineyard movement. The studies were great, but the services always erupted into speaking in tongues and the pastor weeping uncontrollably. It was very confusing. The invited my wife to a social gathering, and without provocation, began praying for her to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior right then and there. She was so humiliated that she vowed NEVER to attend another "Christian Cult" meeting as long as she lived.

A few years later, my son was in the Boy Scouts and desired to get his religion merit badge. About the same time, a new non-denominational (actually Presbyterian) church opened literally across the street. We both attended and became heavily involved. We were both baptized in that church.

When I was transferred to Houston, I asked my pastor if he could recommend a church in the Houston area as he was from here. He said "There are lots of great churches in Houston, just stay away from those Southern Baptist churches." This was during the period when the Southern Baptists were experiencing a rift brought on by liberal thinkers. Instead, I attended a Messianic Jewish temple with a friend of mine, which gave me great insight into some of the great Jewish traditions.

My neighbor had been bugging me for quite some time to attend a men-only Bible study. Finally I gave in and attended with him. There was and immediate click as we began to go through the Bible in depth, asking very open questions, confessing our sins and holding each other accountable. The more we studied, the more the truth of scripture became clear to me. I found the Southern Baptist church that I became involved with to be mostly true to the teachings of scripture with very few traditions tacked on.

Each individual church has it's own rules such as "no alcohol", "no dancing" etcetera although some have none at all, experience the fullness of life in Christ.

I am currently working on a denominational grid to better understand the different beliefs of each major group in order to focus on the similarities.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

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Postby LivingFree » Sun Jun 04, 2006 4:59 pm

Hey, look here folks. I just "graduated" to the Platinum Member rank. I guess I'm the first one to make it. So just keep plugging away. It'll come sooner than you think.

Anyway, I grew up in a Mennonite Brethren home, the son of missionaries to the Mexican farm laborers in So. Texas. Most of them were Catholic, and my parents thought they weren't going to heaven because they prayed to the saints and confessed their sins to a priest, among other things. They were more in agreement with Baptists, Nazarenes, Assemblies of God, etc., and all those who believed in being "born again." Naturally, I thought my parents were right, and held the same beliefs for many years.

In college one of my research projects was to learn more about the Catholic faith. I interviewed a priest, and read some of what he gave me. Surprisingly, I discovered that their basic beliefs were the same as mine, and many of the practices my parents criticized had spiritual foundations in antiquity which my parents didn't understand. I decided that all "practices" of the human institutions are neither good nor bad; it's how we use them that matters.

Over the years I became closely associated with many other religious groups, and discovered the same thing about them -- it's not the way we pray when we come to Christ; it's the transformation of the heart that matters. Jesus talked about the difference between the outside of the cup and the inside of the cup, and said the inside was more important that the outside.

I have stayed within the Mennonite family through most of my life, although for eight years I was related to a Christian Church -- Disciples of Christ. It was the first denomination to be born on US soil. I found lots of similarities between them and my earlier faith, and felt very much at home with them.

Many people think of Mennonites as being a cult, or something weird. Actually, they were one of three Reformation groups to greatly influence the modern world. The three were Lutherans (1517), the Anabaptists (1925), and the Reformed (John Calvin, 1936). The Anabaptists were different in that they believed in total and complete separation of church and state (the first ones), and out of that came their conviction that to follow Christ and the way of peace was more important that the petty wars between dukes and princes in which often brother killed brother to gain more real estate for their prince. More than 20,000 were martyred in the first 30 years, and they then went underground to save their lives. That's the main reason they didn't grow as large as other denominations did.

Today Mennonites are strong in the areas of advocating for peace and justice concerns. One of their commitments is being a part of Christian Peacemaker Teams, which sends people into areas of conflict to witness for a peaceful way of settling disagreements. My favorite story is of one team near Hebron several years ago, which came upon a group of Israeli soldiers shooting into a crowd of Palestinians, and the Palestinians throwing stones back at the soldiers. The CPT team walked slowly, bravely and calmly into the cross fire between the two groups and just stood there. Soon the guns went down, the rocks stopped flying, and both groups disbursed.
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Postby natman » Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:02 pm

LivingFree wrote:Many people think of Mennonites as being a cult, or something weird. Actually, they were one of three Reformation groups to greatly influence the modern world. The three were Lutherans (1517), the Anabaptists (1925), and the Reformed (John Calvin, 1936).


The dates I have are 1517 (Lutheran), 1525 (Anabaptists), 1536 (Reformed).

More than 20,000 were martyred in the first 30 years, and they then went underground to save their lives.


That was the reason for their martyrdom if they were not involved in the conflicts?

My favorite story is of one team near Hebron several years ago, which came upon a group of Israeli soldiers shooting into a crowd of Palestinians, and the Palestinians throwing stones back at the soldiers. The CPT team walked slowly, bravely and calmly into the cross fire between the two groups and just stood there. Soon the guns went down, the rocks stopped flying, and both groups disbursed.


Were any of them killed in the crossfire?
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

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Postby LivingFree » Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:32 pm

natman wrote:
LivingFree wrote:Many people think of Mennonites as being a cult, or something weird. Actually, they were one of three Reformation groups to greatly influence the modern world. The three were Lutherans (1517), the Anabaptists (1925), and the Reformed (John Calvin, 1936).


The dates I have are 1517 (Lutheran), 1525 (Anabaptists), 1536 (Reformed).


You're right, Nathan. Thanks for the correction.

More than 20,000 were martyred in the first 30 years, and they then went underground to save their lives.


That was the reason for their martyrdom if they were not involved in the conflicts?


The martyrdoms came because they were too countercultural for their times. They refused to accept state church baptism, and they refused to bear the sword or participate in the petty skirmishes of that era -- but they also disavowed the defensive wars of the Empire, which is finally what turned the tide against them.

My favorite story is of one team near Hebron several years ago, which came upon a group of Israeli soldiers shooting into a crowd of Palestinians, and the Palestinians throwing stones back at the soldiers. The CPT team walked slowly, bravely and calmly into the cross fire between the two groups and just stood there. Soon the guns went down, the rocks stopped flying, and both groups disbursed.


Were any of them killed in the crossfire?


No. Very few CPTers have ever lost their lives in that line of work. One exception was the Quaker from Virginia who died recently in Iraq at the hands of kidnappers.
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Postby dune_nude » Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:46 pm

I grew up traditional/moderate Baptist. In the last 10 years the church shifted to the "Purpose-Driven" way of things and currently they are in a bit of an identity crisis. I'm away at school so I don't consider it my church anymore.

Currently, the campus ministry here is sponsered by the Christian Reformed Church (a.k.a. Dutch Reformed) but we also attend Mars Hill Church which could be classified as Emergent.
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Postby jochanaan » Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:45 am

Don't know how I missed this when I first joined!

I am a Seventh Day Baptist. "Seventh Day" means we worship on Saturday, which we are convinced is the Biblical Sabbath, rather than Sunday. Otherwise, our beliefs are very similar to other Baptists': we believe in God, accept Jesus as His Son and the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Godhead; consider the Bible authoritative, indeed the final authority for Christian faith and practices; and practice believers' baptism.

The Seventh Day Baptists began as an independent movement in England in the 1600s and soon moved to the American colonies. The first SDB church is the Mill Yard Church in London, founded in 1659, and the first American church was founded in Newport, Rhode Island in 1671; but even before these dates independent Baptist groups had been worshipping on the seventh day. Today there are about 5,000 Seventh Day Baptists in the United States and Canada, and many others around the world.

I was raised in the SDB church until I was eight years old, then my family moved to rural Nebraska, more than a hundred miles from the nearest Seventh Day Baptist church. My stepfather's family were Methodists, mostly because that was the nearest church to our ranch. When I was 14, I became involved with the Church of the Nazarene and accepted Jesus as my savior. But although I attended a Nazarene college and graduated with a music degree, increasing discomfort with some of its doctrines caused me to leave that denomination after ten years. Then I found--surprise!--that the church of my childhood welcomed me back with open arms, and that they had the same dedication to God that had attracted me to the Nazarene church. :)

I have also visited churches of many other denominations, including Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, and independent fellowships. My experiences there have convinced me that there is no one "True Church," but rather that all who trust in Jesus of Nazareth to save them are part of the One True Church, whatever denomination or fellowship they attend. I have found those in every Christian group who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. (It's not hard to recognize a brother. :) Doctrinal purity has little to do with it; love of Jesus and others is the mark of a Christian.)
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Postby dune_nude » Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:47 am

jochanaan wrote:(It's not hard to recognize a brother. :) Doctrinal purity has little to do with it; love of Jesus and others is the mark of a Christian.)

Excellent statement!
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Postby natman » Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:54 pm

jochanaan wrote:(It's not hard to recognize a brother. :) Doctrinal purity has little to do with it; love of Jesus and others is the mark of a Christian.)


I agree with the exception that there are "denominations" that use "Christian" language, but that actually worship a DIFFERENT Jesus that the one of the Bible. That is where understanding doctrine gives us an ability to discern the difference.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

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Postby nytro » Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:21 pm

I grew up in a regular Baptist church (GARBC) and I'm still a member there. Not a whole lot of Christian nudists out there that are a member of a GARBC church.

My wife and I are youth leaders at church, and have been working with them for almost 5 years now. In fact this past Sunday evening we had somewhere around 50 teenagers at our house following the evening service.

Rob
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Postby Jon-Marc » Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:52 pm

In Michigan I was in an independent Baptist Church. Here in Florida I'm in a Southern Baptist church. I don't see much difference except that the northern churches use the King James Bible, and down here many don't.
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Postby Desert Hiker » Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:30 am

I was raised up in a family that has a history of attending Church of Christ--which is a denomination rich in its own history, born out of the (Stone-Campbell) Restoration Movement during the early 1800's, and shares a common ancestry with the Disciples of Christ. The Campbellites, as they were sometimes called, wanted to do away with the whole political body of a synod, or presbytery--which they felt was an unbiblical, flawed, and divisive construct of man. They wanted to "restore" the church to what is described in the New Testament, and dispense with the non-essential, unbiblical issues.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article describing them

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoration_Movement#Churches_of_Christ.2FDisciples_of_Christ_split

The Churches of Christ are all over the world now, and each one is autonomous, however many schisms have led to many subdivisions--denominations, within a denomination--there are some that use instrumental music, and others that still adhere to the old tradition of acapella only worship. Traditionally, they are quite conservative, and strive to be very biblically based in all they do. If you are attending a C of C, or thinking of attending one, do take so me time and examine the doctrines they teach, and be sure they have not gone astray, and be sure that this is a church you can call home--as with any church, there can be great differences from one to another.

We were attending a C of C as recently as 2004, and were quite happy there, but there was some strife there, and it came to be that we moved to our current location--where I followed the leading of the Holy Spirit to locate our new church home.

We now attend a small, but growing church that was very non-denominational--as in they were literally not affiliated with anyone. They have most recently applied for, and were accepted into the Fellowship of Churches of Calvary Chapel.

Calvary Chapel is a non-denominational, Protestant fellowship of churches which began in 1965 in Southern California. The term "fellowship of churches" is used in contrast to a denomination. Churches who apply and qualify for affiliation are named "Calvary Chapels". Calvary Chapel has over one thousand such congregations worldwide. [1] The original Calvary Chapel is Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa which is pastored by Chuck Smith. Doctrinally, Calvary Chapel is evangelical, pretribulationist, and strongly sola scriptura.

In their form of church government, Calvary Chapel uses a mostly episcopal structure. Tongues and prophecy are not a normal part of typical Sunday morning church services, but they are held as doctrinally valid and encouraged among the members of the church. Calvary Chapels faithfully uphold expository teaching, a "verse by verse, chapter by chapter" approach to teaching the Bible. This essentially means that their sermons are directly related to a passage of the Bible, and following sermons will start where the previous sermon left off (often this is done from Genesis to Revelation). They hold the opinion that topical studies fail to present the "whole counsel of God" and that ministers who use this approach often choose topics that have a certain inclination to teach, while leaving out important controversial issues of the Bible. It is their desire to teach, not preach the word, in order to equip and train laymen for everyday ministry; as well as encourage development of a personal relationship with Christ. Calvary Chapel also maintains a number of radio stations around the world, and they also operate a number of Bible colleges. Chuck Smith's "Calvary Chapel Distinctives" is essential to understanding, holistically, the tenets Calvary Chapel stands for.

For more, follow this link to the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvary_Chapel

See also the "Jesus Movement" during the sixties--Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa was one of those early churches that embraced, facilitated, and supported this "reawakening", and has since prospered, and grown to a world wide scale.

The church we now attend is a very inspirational blessing to us, and we look forward to growing with them together.
Peace In Christ, Sam

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Postby bn2bnude » Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:39 am

Calvary Chapel was started by Chuck Smith (used to listen to him on the radio years ago). There are several in this area also, although not all of the churches have "Calvary Chapel" in the name.

Myself? The summary is non-denominational (fundamental/evangelical), Christian-Reformed (freshman in college), GARBC Baptist (sophomore college), independent (evangelical - junior college and beyond), Evangelical Free (many years), independent evangelical (last 3 years).

Except for the changes in churches in college, many were precipitated by moves, although the last one was God prompting us to change churches with the move the way to make it happen easier a year later.
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Postby jochanaan » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:51 am

I have a strong sympathy with the Restoration Movement and other independent-church movements. The one difficulty I see in this is that, in order for such churches to function, individual members must be strongly in tune with the Bible and the Holy Spirit. -- On second thought, that's no difficulty at all! :lol:

My churches, the Seventh Day Baptists, were exactly such a movement in the beginning, as was the entire Baptist movement; although there have been SDB congregations since the 1600s, not until 1802 was there a SDB General Conference. In my view, the Southern Baptists (and probably certain other Baptist branches) have left their Baptist heritage to the extent that they have centralized doctrinal authority.
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Postby natman » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:58 am

Sam,

That's cool!

It was at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, under Chuck Smith, at an open air Christian-Rock concert to celebrate the groundbreaking of their first real sanctuary (1975), that I came to accept Jesus as my Lord, Savior and Priest. Having been raised a Catholic and having denounced my faith over a few incidents that occurred to my mom when I was young and to me while in highschool, I had questioned the need for a human being, a sinful human being, to act as intercessor between me and God. In all my years of Cathechism, I had never been exposed to the verses that declare Jesus to be our one and only intercessor. We can pray directly to God, in the name of Jesus. That was the message that was presented that night and it went straight to my heart.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

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