Last week I had a stimulating email conversation with a visitor to the Surge Community Church, who observed,
I notice you guys gave no info about your history or denominational affiliation--
and I can appreciate why that might be part of your outreach strategy.
It’s flattering that someone thinks we have a strategy! I replied:
As to history, around 1832 some Christians weary of divisions chose to do something unusual: not fight, but unite. They hijacked the radically ordinary name, “Christians” that other groups had left behind. A preacher proposed this defining slogan, “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible, no law but love, no name but the divine.” A few minutes later, he recognized to his horror that his slogan violated itself. But the damage was done, and an undenomination had formed. Today, tenuously affiliated by a fuzzy set of Bible colleges, benevolence, mission, and parachurch ventures, autonomous congregations have enough beliefs and practices in common to be almost predictable. Addressing a 1974 meeting of Christian Church leaders, Baptist humorist Grady Nutt joked, “There’s one thing worser’n bein’ a denomination; that’s bein’ a denomination and not knowin’ it!”
The Bible Answer Man and his colleagues offer an independent critique of "The Churches of Christ, the Christian Churches, the Disciples of Christ". The CRI analysis hedges, “Because the COC and the NACC value the autonomy of the local church so highly, there is a great deal of diversity in the teaching of the individual churches, and generalizations, though valid and helpful to a point, may not apply in certain cases.” Amen, brother. We don't need no stinkin' badges. Lacking a governing body beyond the individual congregation, people who meet the Biblical qualifications for elders (such as in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) lead the local group.
I have visited energetic Christian groups in urban China and the mountains of Thailand who after decades of isolation and persecution had beliefs and practices spookily like these.
Denominations tend to form by fission. Undenominations tend to form by fusion, as is the case with the Surge Community Church. The fallout involves some infusion and confusion.
People often say, “I believe in spirituality and God. I'm just not into organized religion.” I reply, “Cool! We're about as unorganized as you'll find!”
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.