What To Look For In Choosing A Church
My name is Danielle. I am 15 years old, and for the past year I've been struggling on what "denomination" of Christianity I want to be. I was raised catholic, but I now attend a non-denominational school, so many questions have crossed my mind.
At my school we were always taught that you can be secure in your salvation, but yesterday I was talking to a friend at my church and he said you can never be secure in your salvation, and we don't know what type of person we may be in a a year or so. I understand that, but I'm confused, because I feel if I died right now I would go to heaven, doesn't that make me secure in my salvation? He told me there was scripture to back up what he was saying, do you know of this?
Thanks for writing. I do not believe that if your salvation is real you can really lose your salvation. I've discussed this position pretty thoroughly in an article I've written entitled "Can You Lose Your Salvation".
As for choosing a denomination, I cannot answer that question definitively. There are may fine denominations out there from which you may choose. The most important point is to first make sure that any denomination to which you'd like to belong holds to the essentials of the Christian faith — those are:
- The belief in one personal all-knowing, all loving, and all powerful God eternally existent in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4-5, John 1:1-4, 1 Cor 2:10-11)
- The belief that humanity is by nature wicked and separated from the righteous God. This sin nature is present in all people from birth since Adam and Eve first disobeyed God. (Rom 3:10-18, Rom. 5:12)
- The belief in the both the humanity and deity of Jesus Christ as the second person of the Trinity. (John 1:1-14, Gal. 4:4)
- The belief in His virgin birth, His sinless life, His death on the cross and His glorious resurrection from the dead on the third day. It is this death and resurrection that atones for our sins and imputes us with Christ's righteousness before the Father. (Luk. 1:35, Heb. 4:15, 1 Cor 15:1-4, Rom 5:19-21).
- The belief that Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of the Father making intersession for the saints. He will one day come again to the earth in bodily form to put an end to sin. (Acts 2:23, Psa. 110:1, Eph 6:10-17)
- The belief in the resurrection of the dead, the just unto salvation and the wicked unto damnation.(2 Tim 4:1, 1 Cor. 3:12-15)
- The belief that the Bible in its original writings is the holy, inspired word of God. (Psa. 119:89, 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
I do believe it's important to understand what each denomination teaches and study the Bible to see if you agree with that position. Now, investigating the positions of denominations that hold to the essentials above but vary on secondary matters can still be a big job. It definitely won't be accomplished quickly and you may change your views on specific issues as you grow in your walk with Jesus.
To make things more complicated, many denominations have variances even within themselves, as the beliefs and personality of the pastor and the congregation will also come into play. That's all OK though, as you are starting off in the right direction as the Apostle Paul admonished us to "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good" (1Thess. 5:21).
If you feel that the teaching you are sitting under is Biblically sound and is helping you grow stronger as a Christian, then that's the type of church you want to attend. You won't always be "wowed" by the message or perhaps some of the music isn't to your specific tastes, but that's not the main purpose of a church. The main purpose of a church is to worship our Lord in fellowship, teach the word, prepare you for Godly living, and equip you for holy service in whatever gifts the Lord has provided.
I hope this has given you some guidance as to what to look for in a church. Please let me know how you're doing.