Ask Your Preacher
In your opinion, is there a right denomination? I have attended several different types of churches: Baptist, Church of Christ, Non-Denominational. I’ve talked to Jehovah Witnesses and listened to Catholics on TV. They all teach something different, but I am not looking for a place that offers their own thoughts. I just want to know what God wants me to know. I have been so confused by all these different teachings; I am unsure of what to believe. Now, I like ya'll; so far you are the only ones that haven't completely confused me or contradicted the Bible. How can I find a church like how you teach? I want to go to church so bad, but after I attend for a little while, I notice some churches will start to say things completely different from what my Bible teaches. And I am left wondering what to believe anymore. Any help?
An Honest Soul
Dear An Honest Soul,
The denominational world is confusing… exactly the opposite of God’s church (1 Cor 14:33). The term ‘denomination’ comes from the idea that a church believes that it is a subgroup of a larger religious body. Lutherans worship and teach differently than Episcopalians, Catholics, Presbyterians, etc., but they all believe themselves to be christians – this is wrong. Jesus said that there is only one path to heaven (Matt 7:14). Denominationalism teaches that how you act and worship are matters of opinion, but Jesus said that how you act and worship are matters of truth (Jhn 4:24). The only way to avoid denominationalism is to find a congregation that simply teaches what the Bible says – no creeds, no opinions, no personal agendas. If we truly love Christ, we will follow His commandments (1 Jn 5:2).
Everything a church does (worship, membership, how they teach to be saved, how they spend their money, even their name) needs to have Bible verses backing them up (1 Tim 3:15). A church needs to be able to explain the reasons for why they do what they do (1 Pet 3:15).
Our congregation here in Monroe goes by the name ‘Monroe Valley church of Christ’ because ‘church of Christ’ is a Biblical name for a congregation (Rom 16:16). We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2). We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21). We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible. As you said, you don’t want to go to a church that offers their own thoughts – you want God’s thoughts.
There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world. Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’, but then again, many churches that use that name aren’t faithful. A Bible name for a church isn’t enough to make it faithful. We have helped others, like yourself, looking for New Testament Christianity find faithful congregations in their area by contacting other preachers and christians that we know. We’d be happy to do the same for you. If you feel comfortable, just let us know what general area you live in, and we will try and get you in touch with a congregation that lives like your Bible reads (our e-mail is email@example.com). It is frustrating, confusing, and exasperating to deal with denominationalism. Thanks be to God that there is a better option!
5 minutes a day 5 days a week - a year of Bible Wisdom
When you die, do you go straight to heaven, or do you stay in the grave until Judgement Day? I have asked this question to other people before, and well, some responses I get from them seem not completely as the Bible says. I have asked several different denominations. Then are only 144,000 going to heaven? If so, what happens to the rest of us?
When a christian dies, they go immediately to Paradise and await the day of Judgment, the day when our eternal heaven is created. Jesus said that angels immediately carry faithful souls off to Paradise (Lk 16:22, Lk 23:43), and the wicked are immediately sent to torments (Lk 16:23). Both Paradise and torments are part of Hades (‘Hades’ means ‘the unseen place’). When you die, your spirit is separated from your body and goes to Hades (Jas 2:26). On the Day of Judgment, all the souls will be emptied out of Hades (1 Thess 4:14), and all the bodies will be removed from the graves (1 Thess 4:16). On that great Day of Judgment, every soul shall be judged (Heb 9:27). After that judgment happens, this earth will be destroyed, and a new, heavenly, spiritual world will be created for the saints to live in eternally (2 Pet 3:12-13). On that great day, every righteous person will be allowed to dwell in heaven eternally (not just 144,000 people – those who say that only 144,000 will get to go to heaven are grossly misinterpreting Rev 14:1. Jesus came to pay for the sins of the whole world – Jhn 3:16).
5 minutes a day 5 days a week - a year of Bible Wisdom
If you were young when you got baptized and really don't think you truly understood the meaning of being baptized, then is it okay to get re-baptized when you do fully understand? And if you can, should you? And if you should, is it required? Or is the one time the only time?
Dear Dried Off,
The word ‘baptism’ simply means ‘immersion’ – it is the reason for your immersion that makes baptism a soul-saving act. When we understand that baptism saves us from our sins (1 Pet. 3:21) and are baptized by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38) and believe in His Name (Mk. 16:16), then that baptism saves us. Many people are baptized without understanding these things… in which case, they just get wet. You will have to evaluate for yourself whether or not you understood what you were doing when you were baptized. If you did, there is no need for re-baptism. If not, we’d recommend you starting looking for water.