I was brought up in the Catholic church, but eventually became an evangelical charismatic. That process began with the Baptist Student Union in college. Then there was the Jesus People Movement of the late '60s and early 70's. The Charismatic Movement was influential during the same time period.
The Charismatic Movement crossed almost all denominational lines, including some of the traditional Pentecostal churches. During that time many new churches were formed which claimed no allegiance to any particular denominational form, creed, or headquarters.
Then the discipleship/shepherding movement came along to begin forming a new group. They wouldn't admit to being a denomination, so the only true way to classify them is to call them a "non-denominational denomination." However, that is not limited to only that particular group. Since then, other groups have formed as we have moved to gravitating toward the mega-church.
We have the "word of faith" group, the "apostle/prophet" group, the "emergent/emerging" group, the "organic church" group, etc. All and each of these have formed at least an informal affiliation within their own particular set; and in some fashion, have become a denomination.
What is a denomination?
a value or size of a series of values or sizes (as of money); name or designation, especially a general name for a category; a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices.
There is also another group that avoids any affiliation or group identification and that is the independent group. By definition, though, they are a denomination from the existence of their congregation.
During my journey through all this, it was thought that we were somehow "better" than those who were affiliated. Kind of like when it was hip to be a hippie non-conformist--everyone conformed to the group in their non-conformity.
Before the Ecumenical movement, jokes were made about how the Baptists hated the Catholics, the Methodists hated the Baptists, etc. Then tolerance began to show up and people were less aggressive in maintaining opposition to other forms of belief.
Each group, collective, denomination, congregation exists for a reason. Most are founded because of some disagreement with the status quo. Some are established due to a new insight (revelation) that no one else seems to be teaching.
While the fighting has mostly ceased among the various groups, the idea that "we are better/they are wrong" has not; though in some quarters, I find this to not be as true as in times past.
We all want to be "right." It is a basic need that feeds our need for security. Because of our dualistic, black or white approach to life, we subconsciously believe that anyone who is different is by definition wrong.
When you look at a cut and polished stone, what do you see? Except for the one who examines stones for their quality, most of us see a beautiful gem. We don't see the facets that go into making that stone sparkle. However, each facet is necessary to bring out the inherent beauty of the stone; and each facet is different from the others.
So, which facet is wrong?
Only the one that tries to be the entire stone all by itself.
Which work of God, by itself, could possibly encompass all that God is? As the psalmist writes, "O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." (Psalm 104:24)
Each of these denominations and non-denominations show forth some aspect of God. (Eph. 3:10)
I formerly believed that each of these were part of "Babylon" mentioned in the Revelation. That was while I was still operating with my dualistic mindset. (I still do battle with that mind. It's just that in some areas I have gained a little more clarity.)
It is all a matter of perspective.
God's perspective suits me better than my own.
Comments, questions, and criticisms are welcomed here. Please add to the discussion by giving yours. Thank you.