Question:

I believe in God, read the Bible and try to abide by it. When I was a baby I was baptized. I have not gone to church since I was very young, mainly because I can't seem to locate one that I am comfortable with. A frind of mine asked me the other day if I was a Christain and I told him yes, but now I am having doubts because I don't go to church. Am I considered a Christian? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


Answer:

I'm wondering how you claim to abide by the teachings of the Bible while ignoring them at the same time. God said, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:23-25). Yet you have a long established habit of not assembling with Christians. Because of that, you can't accomplish the command to encourage others. You can't teach them through singing as Paul commanded: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 3:16). And you can't come together with the saints to share in the Lord's Supper. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread" (I Corinthians 10:16-17).

Your parents got you wet when you were an infant, but that is not the same as you choosing to enter into Christ's body and have your sins forgiven through baptism. "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"" (Acts 2:38). The choice has to be your own; no one can make it for you. "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). I understand your desire to live as a Christian, but so far you haven't made the choice to be one and live as one. "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15).

I'm surprised that your criteria is a church you are comfortable with. Shouldn't you be looking for a church that Christ finds acceptable? After all the church belongs to him and not to you and I (Matthew 16:18). Hopefully what Christ wants in a church meshes with what I look for in a church, and if it doesn't, then I need to fix my thinking. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10).

Instead of wondering, it is high time for you to start doing. "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:23-25).

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I'm sorry, but may I ask one more question: Does it matter what kind of church it is, Christian, Baptist, Methodist, etc.

It matters a great deal. Jesus built only one church (Matthew 16:18). Mankind has fractured it into many divisions, despite the warnings not to do so. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10). Just because a church claims to be following Jesus and his teachings, it doesn't mean it is true. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).

So use your Bible and compare what you see to what you find in the Bible. Then you will find a church as Jesus designed it and not as man designed it.

Again, thank you and I will follow your suggestions.