Douglas Wilson: Two Cheers for Tribalism
So in the negative sense of tribalism, the reforming tribe is likely to be the most tribal. I remember one time making the mistake of referring to the Church of God as a denomination, and being corrected by someone associated with them. No, they were not a denomination — they were the answer to denominationalism. No doubt it seemed that way to somebody once upon a time, but now they are just one more denomination. The same goes for all those highly denominated non-denominational churches. It is a good thing we quit denominating them — that might have caused us to sin.
One last thing. When a non-denominational zeal reaches its zenith, as it does with the Church of Christ and the Local Church, that claim necessitates that they read themselves right out of Protestantism. Groups that see themselves as “the one true church” can’t be Protestant, any more than the Roman Catholic church can be Protestant. This is because Protestantism cannot be sectarian to such an extent, by definition. When churches like the Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Methodist confess themselves Protestant, they are confessing that their particular tribe is part of a larger confederation of tribes. The Protestants are like the Iroquois Nation, and I think we should let the Lutherans be the Mohawks.
The campus ministry I attended at university was one of these "we're not a denomination" denominations. Right. That's why (later, when I was part of the student staff) the associate campus minister didn't care for me collecting some money to send to World Vision (before it lefted-out) because "They're not affiliated with us". Now, they were good people ... but incoherent on this point.
Several years ago, I attended their "we're not a denomination" denominational church a time or two with a retired boss and her husband (raised Catholic and with a very negative opinion of Catholicism). It was all I could do to keep from rolling my eyes when I heard the partor's wife taling about "teh denominations". Again, these were good people ... but incoherent on this point.
And incoherency on one point has a way of twisting all sorts of other seemingly unrelated things, such is the price of protecting the incoherency.
Douglas Wilson: Some Doctrinal Triage