What Would You Tell Him ?

We have a friend who is kind, caring, and serves others kindly in his professional capacity. He asks us sometimes why there are eight separate Christian church buildings in our little town. We don’t know how to answer him, since we aren’t sure ourselves.

We found a new church family today. There was a carillon playing hymns when we entered the church. The flower beds at the front of the building were colourful and well kept, and the minister was kind. People were welcoming, but we were not required to give numerous people hugs or handshakes.

We loved the soothing pipe organ, and the stained glass windows. Best of all, we loved the name of the church; The United Church.

I’m still wondering how to explain to our friend why there is a need to have eight separate churches in a little town by the sea.

37 thoughts on “What Would You Tell Him ?

  1. I always notice there is a Christian church on every corner. I’ve seen shopping centers with 2 or 3 little store front churches. Sometimes I think they need to unite.

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  2. I know many people are scandalized by the large number of denominations (and the growing number of non-denominational churches), but not myself. Christians who accept the genuine Gospel of grace differ on secondary beliefs and practices and are more comfortable worshiping at a fellowship with like-minded believers. But we are united in our faith in Jesus Christ. The world expects the church to be governed by a central authority mandating doctrines and practices like the Catholic Church, but the Holy Spirit has done His work via the disorganized patchwork of evangelicalism. The growth and splintering of denominations have been a check against wholesale apostasy. Old mainline denominations no longer preach the Gospel of grace but have lapsed into unbelieving religious modernism. I could not unite in fellowship with anyone who does not believe the Bible or the genuine Gospel of grace. Such false “unity” would not be helpful for me or for lost religionists.

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    1. Tom, you make a good point. A lot of denominations have split off from others because of things they perceived as unbiblical – and in many cases, they were right to do that. But I also see Sally’s point, that it’s sad we are so divided, if the differences are relatively minor. The phrase “In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, charity” sounds great, and we may all agree with that approach – but then soon people are disagreeing about what is “essential.” :/

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      1. Thanks SDP. Having once been a member of an extremely large denomination (although they claimed they weren’t a denomination but the one, true church) that had an authoritarian central hierarchy that taught a gospel of works rather than the Gospel of grace, I have no desire to seek unity at the expense of watering down doctrine.

        Here’s an example. My conservative Presbyterian brethren preach the same Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone that I believe in, but they also believe in and practice infant baptism. I strongly believe in believers’ baptism only. For that reason alone I would not be comfortable in a Presbyterian assembly. There are many other such secondary beliefs and practices that, while secondary, are still important, Genuine believers are able to worship according to their particular beliefs and convictions without a central authority dictating a “standard” set of doctrines and polity. There’s much danger in that kind of “unity.”

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      2. Yes, Tom, I agree exactly. I remember the structure within Catholicism. I remember being taught that if the priest omitted even one prayer, the whole Mass would be ‘invalid.’ Thanks for commenting. 🤗

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    2. Tom, I was raised in the Presbyterian church, baptized as an infant ( – I’m told. I DON’T REMEMBER IT!). I had a heckuva time explaining why I needed to be baptized “again” as MY choice. … Anyway, I’m sure we could talk about this for hours, but I’ve got work to do … oops … :/

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      1. Thanks! I know my comments run counter to the popular desire for some kind of quasi false unity that ignores right doctrine.

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      2. I like your words “quasi false unity”. We have 8 churches in our tiny town. Two are directly opposite each other. They look like they are having a confrontation, which they are – they have been competing with each other for two hundred years. I attended the one, and was lulled by the pipe organ, but then I found out they marry ladies ( to each other ), and I made a hasty exit ! I ponder sometimes which of our eight churches Jesus would attend if He came here, and I decided that with all the division, He would not attend any of them. 🤔

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      3. RE: I ponder sometimes which of our eight churches Jesus would attend if He came here

        Thanks, Sally. Well, we discussed how the division of churches wasn’t necessarily a negative if viewed as the results of continuing reformation. Assuredly, some of those churches in your town no longer teach the genuine Gospel of grace but hopefully at least one still does. We have MANY churches here in the Rochester area but most are Catholic or old mainline Protestant that lapsed into Bible-denying modernism many years ago. However, there are a few nondenominational and conservative evangelical churches here and there that teach the genuine Gospel of grace.

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  3. Really good post. Makes us think. There are two sides to this, on one hand we feel like there should not be any division and on the other when you go to different churches we find that we don’t fit into every one of them so maybe the differences do cater to different people.
    Ultimately the truth(scripture) that is being preached should be taught as is. Neither adding to it or removing from it.
    And no particular church or persons belonging to it should feel superior or diminish another’s choice of church.

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  4. Jesus prayed for the Church to be one. I dont think different denominations is wise because the body of Christ shouldn’t be divided. There could be different ministries under the same church, but not different churches.

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  5. I would not say this unless I meant it, but I just wanted you to know that your posts always have a special positive impact on my, sometimes raging spirit. Your posts are like oil for my aches and pains. Thanks for being such a touching writer.

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  6. I think I may have the answer for you. We are by nature “fickle” & sometimes conflicted. Which calls for a little story:

    A man was lost at sea and was miraculously washed ashore on a small island in the Pacific. Years went by with little hope of ever being rescued.

    Nevertheless he would maintain his ‘SOS’ message of palm fronds on the island’s shore as the wind and waves further attempted to dash his hopes of an arial sighting.

    But, behold, it happened. A military aircraft spotted the SOS message and called in the island’s coordinates. Not long a rescue operation was launched and a craft headed to the island.

    After a joyous celebration with the rescue team, the rescuers noticed something strange. The man had built 3 huts on the island. Curious, they asked the man:

    “Why do you have 3 huts?”

    Without hesitation the man explained: “The first hut is where I live and the other hut is where I go to church”.

    Still perplexed, the rescuers asked: “Well, what is the third hut for?”

    Without batting an eye he explained: “That other hut is where I used to go to church!”

    Just had to tell this one. Apologize for the word count! Blessings.

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