The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Evangelical Universalists Survey: What denomination are you?

Paidion said
"I am of no denomination. I am a member of the only Church there is, the one Christ established.

“Is Christ divided?” While some say, “I am of Luther” or “I am of Calvin” are you not carnal? [modern apostle-Paul question]"

I have been saying the same thing for years.

Well said!

I’m a seminarian seeking ordination with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and having it recognized by the American Baptist Churches USA

They may “exist” for those purposes, but SHOULD they? The unity of the one and only Body of Christ does not depend on philosphical or theological agreement. That unity is contingent on discipleship. If we are submitted to the authority of God’s Son and Messiah Jesus, then we are unified in the only way that matters. Emphasizing doctrines (whether true or false) is what divides Christians.

I used to meet with the so-called “Plymouth Brethren”. (I would probably still do so, if there were any in my area). As I remember, they met in the name of Jesus alone, and any brother in the assembly could minister. Actually they were non-denominational. But assemblies who are expressions of the one and only Christian Church are given “denominational names” by others since many can’t seem to fathom that churches can be expression of the Church without being denominational. That particular group was given the name “Plymouth Brethren” because they first met in Plymouth, England.

I have met with two other expressions of the Christian Church including the one with whom we are now meeting. Such groups are disctinctive in the following ways (I recognize that there is overlap in some groups, that not all of these neatly fit into one or the other. I am but expressing tendencies which I have observed)

Church Membership
Denominational Groups: You must join and be on a membership roll in order to enjoy full privileges. (similar to the requirements of other clubs)

Expressions of the Church: Anyone who is a disciple of Christ is a member of the only Church there is, and has full privileges in local gatherings.

The Ministry
Denominational Groups: In smaller assemblies, there is usually a single “minister” or “preacher” or “pastor”. He/she normally does all the preaching, visitation, dealing with problems, etc. In larger assemblies, there may be one or more “assistant pastors”.

Expressions of the Church: There is a “body ministry”, that is, each member may offer a psalm, a hymn, a teaching, etc. in the assembly as the spirit of God leads. There are elders and deacons, but they do not necessarily do the speaking. Anyone present may do so as the Lord leads.

Church Government
Denominational Groups: There are a variety of forms. Some denominations (e.g. Baptists) have a democratic form of government, led by “deacons”, though final decisions are made by democratic vote of the members. Other denominations have a “presbyterian” form of government where a board of elders make the decisions. Still others have an “episcopalian” form of govenment where the regional bishops have the last word.

Expressions of the Church:
There are local elders who rule the local churches, who are assisted by deacons, but input from the people is always welcomed when it comes to decision making. Expression of the Church are not democracies. Their aim is to be a theocracy where God rules.

Function of the People:
Denominational Groups: The people are expected to sit in pews as an audience, facing a platform at the front listening to the pastor or to the choir. In many churches, the sermon is the chief feature.

Expressions of the Church:
The people are expected to participate in all aspects of the ministry. In many expressions, the people sit in a circle in order to better minister to each other and to receive ministry from others.

Problem Solving:
Denominational Groups: In small assemblies, the pastor is consulted as the problem solver. In larger assemblies, there may be a psychiatrist or other official to handle such matters. If there is a physical need, the person may be directed to a professional or to a government agency.

Expressions of the Church:
The elders are often consulted, but they are pleased when other members also help those with personal problems. Often several or many members of the Body help to meet physical needs by contributing their time and money.

In my life I have travelled from Methodist to PCA Presbyterian to Methodist again. By the last Methodist church I was suspected by the pastor of being a universalist and was allowed to teach Sunday School (adult) only with oversight.

Currently my family and I attend a Mennonite church that is ‘liberal’ enough to accept me for how I am!

I’ve decided to go back to my roots. I was baptized non-denominational at 15 years old. Not the speaking in tongues kind though.

I’m a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

I’m a non-denominational Christian. I go to different churches but none satisfy.
I agree entirely with everything Paidion posted.
To be honest, the church I go to most often is the one close to my university campus, Antioch, a charismatic global missionary church with some of my close friends for social purposes. The people in the church are so full of crazy people and they all love Jesus. I haven’t quite figured that out. I’m an intellectual kind-of-crazy not emotional. I am pretty open to new stuff.
The group that I follow is Stephen Jones’ Gods Kingdom Ministries and Servias Ministries. These are part of the bigger group of Unity153. This supergroup merely exists for organizational purposes. God isn’t really keen on me joining any particular group because He is keeping me in spiritual wilderness training.

I’ve been a member of many differing churches across a range of denominations.

Long story short they don’t want me as I am, believing what I believe. I am ‘welcome’ to attend many, but I often cannot be a full, active member because of my theology - and I’m often looked at a ‘awkward’ or a ‘troublemaker’ if my views become known, or if I raise them in house groups or whatever.

And, to be fair, I often don’t want them as much as they don’t want me - most churches are very boring, under-educated, poorly equipped, unwelcoming, socially isolated and provide little for my family.

So, I’d like to be part of a church/denomination … but I cant see it happening anytime soon :frowning:

I guess I could attach a variety of theological labels to myself, and indeed I’m happy to do so, but I don’t ‘belong’ anywhere. And not of my own choice.

I’m with you, Pog.

Do you have a number of theological opinions that make you an outsider, or is it only universalism?

Thanks Cindy. I’m sorry it has to be that way for people like us :frowning:


I have a lot of non-mainstream opinions that have caused trouble, but universalism is probably the one most likely to cause trouble. The weird thing is, everything I hold to is held by some denomination or other, but not in combination! :slight_smile:. How silly.

One thing I’ve experienced is that people have never noticed my universalism, even when I express it. For example, after church a few Sundays ago I several times said stuff like, “Christ is the Savior of the cosmos, and therefore of all mankind.” Nobody blinked an eye. Some even nodded their heads. Now, if I had said something like, “Nobody will go to Hell,” then you can be sure I would have had opposition.

In other words, nobody in my experience has any problems when I say what I believe (that is, universalism). It’s only when I say what I do NOT believe that people get irate.

That might have more to do with how ambiguous some affirmatives can sound rather than being about what you don’t believe.

I get where you’re coming from, but try an affirmative statement like, ‘I think satan will be God’s friend in heaven one day’ and see what reaction you get! Lol.

It’s a funny thing though. I’ve also found that in casual friendships I often find (if the subject comes up) that many " good church-going people" affirm to me that they don’t believe God punishes people in a never-ending hell either – and when I clarify, they say yes, they think God has to save everyone if He’s really loving, and that He will. I’m pretty sure most of them haven’t really thought that through, and most of them aren’t obsessed with God or anything, but they’re kind, good people. Perhaps most of us would simply know better, instinctively, if we hadn’t had the “benefit” of rigorous “bible” preaching.

:laughing: Ha ha. That’s so true, Cindy. Speaking from experience here.

I was born and raised a Presbyterian (PCUSA) and still attend the church of my youth (I’m 59). My kids are benefiting immensely from the excellent youth program there. However, because of recent positions the PCUSA has taken on certain issues (not related to the EU vs. anni. vs ECT debate), I’m very disillusioned and therefore can’t bring myself to participate in this survey and select “Presbyterian.”

Also BTW, I’m not aware of a single 5-Point Calvinist in the congregation including the pastor.

I live in the Pacific time zone, so now I’m off to church.

I can see quitting denominations. But not religion. James wrote positively of pure and undefiled religion.

**James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.**

Hey Paidion,
I should clarify. I meant human-organized religion. I only get involved when there is an opportunity to serve others in the community or for the social occasion. I don’t commit to any church membership.

Once you find a Christian assembly patterned after the early church with whom to fellowship, you won’t need to join it. No one could join the first Christian assemblies. It was God who daily added to the Assembly those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47)

I am Dean of the General Lutheran Church. This church holds to Universalism as its core doctrine while holding to the Lutheran Tradition.