Are You In God’s Church?

Will any church help me get to heaven? Now there’s a question.

Paul’s prophecy warns Timothy that a time will come when people will teach whatever they want to (2 Tim 3v16-17). Peter agreed, saying some people would distort Paul’s teachings, and that it would result in their destruction (2 Peter 3v16b). Timothy was also challenged to watch his LIFE and DOCTRINE closely, then he would SAVE both himself and his hearers. Does that mean that if he DIDN’T live and teach correctly, he and his hearers would not be saved? A scary thought.

When I came to England I searched for a church that would help me to live out what the Bible teaches . . . but there were so many churches!!

Which one should I commit myself to?

GAV

4 Replies to “Are You In God’s Church?”

  1. That’s a difficult question, Gav. The main reason why I started this site was that I felt that most of the churches I had been involved with were going wrong in major ways, and the next generation coming up were if anything taking these mistakes even further.

    If I could pick and choose bits from different churches, I’d have the sense of wonder and mystery of the Catholic church, mixed with the doctrine of post-evangelical Anglicans, and the sense of involvement of Baptists, evangelical free churches etc.

    😉

    What did you decide, Gav?

    Andy

  2. It is a scary thought… the Bible is full of things telling us to persevere to the end, so I guess all we can do is aim to do that, with the help of the Holy Spirit. It’s easy to see what damage a leader can cause if they go badly wrong – I remember one person in particular from my experience who was very prominent in a Christian youth club. He was very “superspiritual” and lots of people hero-worshipped him. But he turned out to be a hypocrite, with a lot of messy problems and blatant things wrong with his life. It’s not the sin, so much as the hypocrisy, which I think did the damage – I think a number of the young people in that group had their faith severely damaged. So in that sense it’s easy to see what kind of thing Paul might be talking about.

    I’m encouraged that while Paul warns Timothy of the dangers, he also assumes that there will always be some people who do hold to the faith. Also he doesn’t expect churches to be perfect – eg the Corinthian church, which was filled with all kinds of problems but he doesn’t give up on it, he wants to see it grow out of them. So while we should choose churches with care, there also comes a point where we pick one and stick with it, warts and all.

    Obviously it’s a personal decision when you are in the position of trying to find a church to belong to. I think the individual church is much more important than denominations or groupings. For myself, I would say, if a person finds a church where the Bible is taught helpfully and where people seem committed to Jesus and to each other, and they feel that they could become reasonably at home there, given a bit of effort, then instead of agonising any further, they should just go for it. It’s possible to spend months or years “looking for a church” and in the meantime miss out on the community.

    As davidb’s article points out, there are lots of questions to be asked about church. This is just my personal take on this aspect.

  3. If you were going to set up a church what would be your main fundamental points that you would like to see/be involved in.

    I’m not saying you will find the right church by this method but you can certainly rule out a lot of them.

  4. ‘It’s possible to spend months or years “looking for a church” and in the meantime miss out on the community.’
    Very much agreeing with that comment.

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