Stephen Prothero is a professor in the Department of Religion at Boston University and the author of numerous books on religion in the United States.
He has commented on Christianity on dozens of National Public Radio shows and television shows on CNN, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, MSNBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. He is a regular contributor to USA Today, has also written for the New York Times, for Slate, Salon. com, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal.
Prothero argues in favor of required Bible courses in public schools (to battle the decadence of Christianity that promotes a satisfactory “current moralism”), along with mandatory courses on world religions.
Theologian Dr. Stephen Prothero of Boston University argues that groups that identify themselves as “non/post-denominational” hide the fundamental theological and spiritual issues that led Christianity to split into denominations behind a false appearance of “Christian-Unity”.
He argues that “non/post-denominationalism” fosters a decadence of Christianity and, in fact, promotes a satisfactory “current moralism” rather than an approach to dealing with the complexities of devotees, culture and spirituality.
Prothero further argues that it also comforts the ignorance of the Scriptures, which in turn reduces the knowledge of Christianity in general, and at the same time increases the possibilities of misunderstandings and conflicts between Christian groups.
Prothero says, “I am not a fan of non/post-denominational churches, in fact they can be downright dangerous.” The argument of the non/post-denominational church is that “believers will be free from the margins of a denomination and the hierarchy of leaders who tell them what to do.”
He mentions 5 objections:
1) Members of non/post-denominational churches, in general, are not familiar with the details of what their dogma or creed is. They do not know what are the beliefs that bind the other members of the church. While members may all believe in Christ as their Savior, other important theological areas are never discussed.
For example, “What is your churches doctrine about how to understand and interpret the Bible?” What is your churches doctrine about the sacraments, (ie, the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, Foot Washing) What is your doctrine … about how to raise children? What is your doctrine … about why people suffer? What is your… doctrine about prayer? If a person Cannot answer these questions, or offer a private interpretation, then a red flag should rise. ”
2) Churches without denomination may not be closely associated with a larger (classical) historical church. However, churches must agree with the basic doctrines, for example the Nicene Creed, which declared the beliefs of Christianity in the third century. While several Evangelical Protestant churches do not recite a creed in the church, they will often have a “Statement of Faith” or a doctrinal manual, and many of their principles will align with the elements of a historical creed. (That does not mean that in minor essentials all denominations will agree, that will not happen, uniformity and unity are two different things; but at least they should agree on the important matters described in the historical creeds.)
3) Churches without denomination are not accountable. If a church is not part of a larger governing body, what happens if a pastor or church departs from biblical truth? Who will take that person or that church to account? Who will serve as a guide or ecclesiastical guide for the pastor or the church? “No one”.
4) Churches without denomination promote a spirit of consumer in the believers. Instead of staying with a church that may be experiencing difficulties, people often change their church in search of a church that is “more comfortable.” This is not to say that there is never a reason to leave a church. However, that consumer spirit is a product of the American mentality of the “capitalist economy”, not of a spiritual truth.
5) Churches without denomination encourage a selfish spirit of comfort. These churches often offer a relaxed atmosphere, encouraging the members to a liberal style of worship style. The idea is to make it look and feel more like the world every day, which will make it easy for people to come and attend services. Personal comfort is a high priority. While recognizing clothes do not make the place holy or profane, my argument is that if the church looks and acts the same as the world, it ceases to be the church. The church is not a place for me to feel satisfied; It is a place for God to be worshiped. It’s not about whether they’re feeding me spiritually or whether I like the music. The question is, is the church is teaching me how to worship God properly?
Ultimately I understand that Christ is the one who unites his church, no matter what type of denomination they belong to.