In our last tele-con I had asked you about what church you attended. That peaked my curiosity when you made a comment that you weren't interested in churches because each denomination thinks they are right. If you don't mind I'm going to send you this blurb, in which I think the logic of which might interest you. Being your long time friend I am naturally interested in your welfare.... and that also includes not only your physical condition, mental condition, but also the condition of your immortal soul... oh, gee... another Jesus freak you must be thinking, but that's OK because like it or not you can't separate yourself from your soul. And, believe it or not, God created a soul for you while in your mother's womb. After you pass on from this earth, your soul lives on forever. The question is: where do you want your soul to live in the life hereafter, in closeness to God, or apart from Him. As it turns out it's always humorous to me when someone says "Oh, I believe in God!" God really wants a personal relationship with his children. To say that one believes in God is about as funny as saying I believe in Frank. In my next life I want to live in closeness to God. So you can tell that I know for certain where I am going to be in the next life.
But, getting back to all different churches thinking they are right. I think a different slant on it would be better off in expressing differences between denominations, as simply being different folks putting a different emphasis on a particular phase of the Bible. Ex. Baptists stress water baptism as an outward expression of their acceptance of Jesus as their Savior. Seventh Day Adventists emphasize which day of the week is appropriate to worship God. You can find that most Christian denominations will agree on the basic principles given in the Bible, mostly enumerated in many passages of the New Testament, and the Seven Commandments from the Old Testament. I think that as far as attracting folks to the Christian Church (in general), the existence of so many Protestant denominations might be considered counter-productive. It certainly was a confusion factor during my young upbringing. Like most young folks during my young life, I went to the church of my mother and aunt. It was just a natural thing to do. But being a free thinker, as I have always been, and I guess this is why I became an engineer in career, because whenever anyone including pastors made statements, there was always that little question mark or curiosity in the back my mind... show me the data. I still am that way. When engaged in conversation particularly in subject of politics, I dislike it when I hear someone making a pronouncement, like they had memorized sound-bites from television. .... show me the data.
With this "peculiarity" in my personality, I raised questions when I was in Sunday School classes in the little Episcopal Church in Newton Highlands. I always wondered why there were so many different churches, and which one is right?? I experienced being born-again at age 53, as I was skeptical about all religions, and my wife and I went to a summer Bible Study that was being put on by my Son-in-law Tom and my daughter Robin, then living in Bolton. In hindsight, I now say that it was "rigged" because everyone in the study had already accepted their Lord Jesus. I say this humorously because one of the ways that folks become attracted to Christianity is by going to a Bible study session with friends or family, and it is apparently quite successful. Tom taught from a Campus Crusade booklet entitled "Have You Experienced The Spirit Filled Life?". My first session, I was there to simply support an in-law as being well meaning, yet one who had gone off the deep end in his faith. It was a totally normal reaction, to one who has not had this real-life experience. On first exposure to a born-again Christian, it is a totally normal reaction. However, the little booklet that Tom used made NO REFERENCE whatsoever, to any denomination, because the Christian Faith does not belong to any particular Christian denomination. In using the term Christian denomination I am excluding those earthly religions not based on the Trinity, and not based on acceptance of Jesus as one's Saviour. Now, unfortunately, there exist some denominations that beat you over the head with the Bible. In my opinion, they do a great disservice to Christianity, because as far as I am concerned, people show their Christianity by the way they live, and they walk the walk, and most folks are attracted by friends and family who are genuine Christians.
Now as far as...."show me the data": after one becomes born-again (John 3:3, and 3:16) one experiences being filled with the Holy Spirit. He "showed me the data". Before that time, one can only think about the possibilities talked about in Scripture, and wonder if it is all really true. But one feels the physical presence in one's body, which becomes proof.... "showed me the data". I've often thought that it is a shame that it takes this kind of dramatic effect on you to teach what Christianity is all about, and how one will want to live his life after this experience.
I won't go into all the experiences I have had, but I am currently a member of Trinity Congregational Church in Bolton, MA. It's one of the best things I ever did. It is a church full of really genuine folks about 90% of which are very active in governing the church on various committees, as well as teachers. As for myself, my gifts are administration and music and used extensively at this church. I'm currently Accounts Payable Treasurer, and in the choir, and we have such a great time both at rehearsals, and singing on occasion in a church service. It is a heart-warming experience to be a part of a 400 person congregation of all believers, and we support each other in prayer. The only requirement we have for membership is being a Bible believing Christian, and have been publicly baptized as such. And we don't give a hoot for denominationalism as such. Aside from being a Bible believing church, and as a congregational type of church simply means we govern ourselves. We don't worry about denominationalism as such, since we think of it as counter-productive.
Hope this gives you some clarity about your phrase "all churches think they are right!"
Your long-time friend,
Do you have any questions or comments?
Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to chat!