Does God care what Christian denomination we belong to?
God never wanted any denominations under Christianity. His view is that “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:4, 5). God wanted His people to have the same faith based on the same truth. Unfortunately, because of the many different human interpretations of the Bible and God’s teachings throughout history, a variety of denominations have arisen.
The key to choosing a Christian denomination for you is to select the one that preaches closest to the truth outlined in the Bible. However, there is no doubt that there are many people who belong to all denominations who are sincere in their search for the truth. It is also important to remember that “all are justified [saved] freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus,” (Romans 3:24) and not by our own actions.
In Acts 17:30 (KJV) it says that God “winks” at ignorance. This tells us that God will judge us based on what we know, not what we don’t know. But this also means that when God impresses upon us truths that require a change of mind-set or even lifestyle, He wants us to respond to it. To ignore Him is to reject the Holy Spirit’s leading and disobey Him.
How do I choose a denomination?
While the following list is not exhaustive, these are a few key things you should look out for in a church’s teachings. Does it:
- teach that we are saved by faith through grace (Romans 3:24)?
- have a reverence for God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3–17)?
- preach on Jesus’ love and that He is returning to earth a second time (John 14:3)?
- keep the seventh-day Sabbath (Exodus 20:8–11)?
- teach about the Holy Trinity—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:2)?
- believe that God created the world in six literal days (Genesis 1)?
While some churches are attractive in perhaps their simple lifestyle and ways of evangelism, it will be important for you to choose a church that has a solid understanding of the areas above. If they don’t hold their beliefs on the above areas, don’t invest your precious time with them. Instead pray for the ability to find a church that holds to the Bible’s teachings.
Is it really necessary for me to go to church?
Leviticus 23:3 says, “There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord.”
This means God has commanded us that on the seventh day, we are to rest and cease from work and regard it as a holy gathering day. Jesus attended the synagogue (“church” for a Jew) regularly on the Sabbath (see Luke 4:16). Since Jesus’ life is to be our continual example and since Jesus as a human needed to go to the synagogue (despite the corruption) to meet with others weekly on the Sabbath, then we ought to follow in His steps.
The apostle Paul himself reminded the Christian Jews to “not [give] up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
How much can I rely on a pastor for spiritual guidance?
It is important to understand that church pastors and priests are humans just like us. While their role is to lead members of a church spiritually, they have struggles too and are fallible. While we should respect what the pastor/priest has to say, particularly about faith matters, it is still up to us to have an individual personal relationship with God and to study the Bible. If we simply rely on the words of the pastor but don’t test them against the Bible, we will not grow in our spiritual relationship with God and be abounding in knowledge. The pastor is to lead the church, but church members should never solely rely on the pastor to be fully “fed.” So pray and read your Bible, do your own research, even if the pastor is a good pastor. This will strengthen you to not be swayed in a different direction.
Every month, our Bible correspondence school instructors, Wayne Boehm, Charissa Fong and Christiana Leimena, delve into the Bible to answer some of life and Christianity’s deeper questions. Suggest a topic at [email protected].