Many years ago I attended a “non denominational” church. I chose to be apart of this particular congregation because I felt comfortable with their stances on abortion, speaking in “tonges”, helping the needy, etc. But in all the years that I have been raised in the church I have never become a “member” to any one particular body. I’ve been apart of a few different type of christian churches from a more disciplined to a more casual environment but never could I commit entirely to joining or becoming a member. Don’t misunderstand. I went every Sunday and every Wednesday. I served in worship, childcare, and sunday school over the years but in my subconscious I debated with myself “why belong solely to this body and not another”?
I always figured, take the good with the bad. Just ignore the things in church they belive about xyz and just stick to the “more important” things. I pretty much avoided what I thought were minor things about my faith and just kept on trucking. This is how I lived most of my twenties. I felt pretty good when a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness came to my house and we talked about what I believed until they began to bring up things that I had learned to avoid because in my circle of christianity we all avoided it to not make issue’s amongst ourselves. Suddenly I realized that these “issues” or doctrines that I had grown up avoiding where in fact the things that separated me primarily, from the outside denominations or religions groups.
It is most certainly our responsiblity as Christians to know what we believe. Timothy exhorts us to “study to show thy selves approved, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” If Timothy is warning us about not being put to shame it stands to reason that there will be times that we are questioned or will need to give an explanation for what we believe thus not bringing shame to our Lord by our lack of knowledge or understanding.
So, what do you believe? For many, as long as they are able to tell someone the “way to salvation” (confess with your mouth, believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, and that God raised him from the dead. . .) they feel like they are armed with enough information to make their faith work for them. This kind of thinking is what has led so many away from the one true faith. Can you think of at least five people who used to attend church with you while you were growing up or in the past who are not in fellowship with God anymore? I’m sure we can not only think of five but probably many more.
A bible can have anywhere from 1190 to over 2000 pages (depending on the version) in it and yet we are satisfied with the least amount of definitive doctrine we know and understand. You don’t have to be a theologian or bible school student to have a yes or no, black and white, stance on certain doctrinal issues.
My challenge to you reading is to dive into it. Pick out the things you’re hearing about on t.v. or reading about in the news and find out with certainty what the Christian faith has to say about it. Find out what the early Church Fathers passed down for us as doctrine. Have a leg to stand on and stand on it. Not only will you build up the body of Christ but you will not so easily be “tossed to and about by every wind of doctrine”.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church we recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday as well as everyday in our own private prayer time. For someone with my history of being non commital, saying the Nicene Creed as often as we do fills me with awe and power. And yes, I am a memeber of a church now and this is what this girl believes.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten of the Father before all worlds. Light of light; very God of very God; begotten not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things are made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day he rose again according to the scripture and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of Father; and He shall come again to judge the living and the dead; whos Kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and Son together are worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one Holy, Catholic (meaning universal), and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the reserection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
More about the Nicene Creed here.