Every church claims to be "the right one", and I don't trust any of them!


That's not a bad approach, actually.

You absolutely should NOT trust a church simply because they claim to be "the right one" or "the true one." If you've read through any of my other articles, you may have noticed that the only truth I have encouraged you to trust is the truth found in the Bible, and the only person I've encouraged you to trust is Jesus Christ.

Among the myriad of available churches, there are many that get absorbed in "religious" or "social" activity, yet completely miss the whole reason for their existence. Some of these churches get obsessed with a certain leader, or a deviant interpretation of scripture (see my article on Bible interpretation), and ultimately become cultish. Others emphasize "tolerance" and "inclusiveness" to the point where they become nothing more than a friendly place to gather on Sunday mornings.

You might now wonder,

"How can I ever find the right church?"

First, I need to tell you that you will not find a perfect church anywhere. Even the most spiritually healthy churches have some problem areas and some problem people (as in "weird, arrogant hypocrites"!). The reason that all churches are imperfect is that they are made up of imperfect people; it's as simple as that.

Still, it is true that good, spiritually healthy churches do exist; they can, however, be a challenge to find. If you are really interested in finding one, here are some important questions to answer as you investigate different churches:

  • How do they treat the Scripture? Do they continually and consistently strive to make the whole Bible clear and plain to everyone (good), or do they teach peculiar interpretations of just a few verses (bad), or do they pretty much ignore the Bible (bad)?
  • How do they view Jesus? Is He presented as God incarnate, the only mediator between God and man, the one who was resurrected from the dead, the only source of salvation, and the ultimate authority of the universe (good), or is He presented as less than God, merely a teacher or prophet, or a mystical "Christ consciousness?" (bad)
  • What gospel do they preach? Is it a gospel of the undeserved grace of God, which is received only through your own trust in Jesus Christ as the ultimate authority and your only hope of salvation (good), or is it a gospel of human effort, in which you must perform any number of ceremonies, good deeds, or meet certain external "standards" in order to be considered "one of the flock" (bad)?
  • What is the function of the church leader(s)? Is he a shepherd who cares for the sheep, who gently leads the church in the love of God, according to the teaching of scripture, and by the example of his own life (good), or is he aloof, pushy, obnoxious, or self-absorbed (bad)?
  • What is the overall personality of the church? As I said before, even a healthy church will have its share of unsavory characters. But as you look at the group as a whole, do you see genuine love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (good), or do you see self-centeredness, negativism, emotional unrest, impatience, meanness, "something is very wrong here," inconsistency, arrogance, or spiritual recklessness (bad)?

I guess these aren't the only areas to consider, but they're probably some of the most crucial ones. Even good churches will differ from one another in more minor areas such as baptismal practices, whether or not "tongues" is for today, musical issues, etc.

Here's a little (unoriginal) statement to keep in mind as you search for a good church:

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

Don't let any church distract you with their own unique agendas; keep coming back to the basics!

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