I grew up mainly in non-denominational churches, with a Baptist church or two thrown in. For all intents and purposes, my understanding of the planet was that there have been two sorts of churches: Christian and non-Christian.
If you gave me a label maker, I could have visited just about every church in town and promptly placed “Christian” or “non-Christian” on every a single primarily based on my simplistic understanding.
The church has the word Bible in it? Christian.
The church has the word Christian in it? Of course Christian.
The church has the name of a single of the big denominations in it? Christian.
The church has the name of a single of the cults from my mom’s giant Kingdom of the Cults book? Absolutely not Christian.
The church has a generic name like “[Town] Neighborhood Church” that does not look to be affiliated with any of the aforementioned cults? Possibly Christian.
I’d venture to say that this is the understanding of churches that quite a few, if not most, youngsters leave property with. And that is a incredibly unsafe point.
Looking for a “Christian” Church
Like quite a few youngsters who leave property with a nominal faith, I went off to college and didn’t bother to attend church at all. But following college, my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I decided we should really come across a church to attend with each other.
For us, choosing a church was as arbitrary as choosing a marble out of a jar. In retrospect, I believe we had just two criteria: close and “Christian.” There was a wonderful old mainline denominational church down the street that seemed to qualify. We went, and at some point became members.
More than the subsequent 3 years, I noticed a handful of teachings right here and there that didn’t look to be the exact same as what was taught in the churches I grew up in. But my husband and I didn’t comprehend it wasn’t a biblically sound church till the pastor told us a single Easter that it didn’t actually matter if Jesus was raised from the dead (you can study extra about that trouble right here).
That was my 1st encounter mastering that “Christian” does not often imply what I believed it meant. In quite a few churches these days, “Christian” indicates accepting a lowered view of the Bible, dismissing central tenets of the faith, minimizing the gravity of sin, questioning the will need for the atonement, and even rejecting the divinity of Jesus.
My mental label maker was revealed to be naïve.
We moved quickly following and once more discovered a “close, Christian” church. We at some point realized that this was a further church teaching liberal theology.
Soon after a third move, we attempted once more and visited a church down the street. We only went when simply because there have been no other young households there, but seeking at their internet site these days, it is clear that this church was no diverse from the other two we attended.
By God’s grace, we then followed a recommendation for a huge non-denominational church in our location. This time, the church had biblically sound teaching and it was in that church that our faith actually grew. We attended there for 10 years just before moving to our existing (biblically sound) church closer to property.
Here’s what I want you to take from this story: Devoid of even attempting, I landed in 3 churches in a row that weren’t teaching the historic Christian faith.
This is not a warning about the existence of a single or two intense churches out there. This is a warning that there are various churches these days that veer from the historic Christian faith. And if we do not raise our youngsters to have discernment in church choice, they can conveniently fall into unsafe teachings—some of which can be a matter of salvation.
Here’s what you can do.
1. Have a conversation about the significance of thoughtful church choice.
This is fundamental, but I believe it just does not happen to most parents to have a conversation about discernment in picking out a church. This is not just for youngsters prepared to move out on their own—kids of all ages should really realize the significance of picking out a biblically sound church and how to do so (extra on that in the subsequent point). They should really know that in today’s planet, “Christian” can imply all sorts of issues, and we have to be vigilant about picking out a location to worship.
two. Clarify what to appear for when deciding on a church.
As a enjoyable way to get youngsters considering about this, ask them to list as quite a few issues as they can that would be significant to think about when picking out a church. This will most likely contain things like proximity, size of youth group, the pastor, and so on. Then ask them to rank these issues in significance. Use that as an chance to go over what matters most and how deciding on a church that adheres to biblically sound teaching should really often be our 1st criteria.
If a church is not strong in doctrine, none of the other things matter.
Finish your conversation by seeking at a thorough statement of faith on the web from a trusted church so youngsters can see what they should really think about.
three. Teach them about warning indicators to watch for when evaluating churches.
A lot could be covered right here, but some huge red flags contain:
- No statement of faith. This is not often accurate, but in my study, churches which veer from the historic Christian faith have a tendency to not have a statement of faith on their internet site. Biblically sound churches typically have a menu item for “What We Believe” exactly where you can clearly see their doctrine outlined.
- A statement of faith that does not clearly recognize Jesus as component of the Trinity. Lots of liberal churches skirt about identifying Jesus as God. They may possibly not come out and say they do not think in the Trinity, but if the language does not clearly state as a great deal, there is a very good likelihood they do not. For instance, a single church says, “We think that God’s will and way have been revealed in Jesus of Nazareth” and then goes on to clarify how they reside as followers these days. But there’s absolutely nothing about his deity, and it is clear from the rest of the web site that this is a church which has abandoned biblical teaching.
- A statement of faith that implies a lowered view of the Bible. A single church, for instance, says, “We think that the Bible is a collection of books, letters, poetry, and other writings written by human beings in order to share their encounter of God.” Yes, the Bible was written by humans, but if all a church can say about the Bible is that these writings shared people’s encounter of God, they most likely have a lowered view of the Bible’s divine inspiration (this is definitely accurate of this unique church).
- A list of “core values” that could be discovered in any organization—religious or secular. In lieu of a statement of faith, a single church we attended functions a “core values” list on their internet site that incorporates issues like dedication to a nurturing neighborhood, accepting diversity, and service to other folks. If a church does not explicitly tie their core values to who Jesus was, what the Bible says, and how we should really reside accordingly, it is most likely a terrible sign.
- Any verbiage that indicates a belief such as, “The Christian faith is our way of becoming faithful to God, but it is not the only way.” I took that wording straight from the statement of faith on a single church’s internet site (a church with a incredibly standard sounding name). This is complete blown religious pluralism—the notion that all roads lead to God—and is not constant with biblical teaching.
The churches our youngsters attend as adults will have a big effect on their faith. If we’re not intentional in guiding them in this location, there’s a incredibly true possibility they’ll finish up a church that can basically harm their faith.
I know how effortless it is…it occurred to me 3 instances.