Friday, January 19, 2018

WHICH CHURCH?

Which Church?

As a new arrival from Canada to Australia and as a recent convert to Christianity I set out to find a suitable church to start to attend. I must admit that I didn’t know too much about Denominations. I had become a Christian about maybe two years before I left the snowy Canadian winters for sunny Queensland. In Canada I had visited various churches not really being aware of which each Denomination was. I simply wanted to be a Christian without a label. I started attending what was called “a non-Denominational” church. Someone asked my which church I attended. When I told them that it was a non-Denominational church the response was, “So, you are a non-Denominationalist?” You can’t win! Every Christian has a label, or at least every other Christian has a label for you. Therefore, I suggest that you don’t worry so much about labels but concern yourself about attending a church in which God’s Word is highly honoured and taught.

On my first Sunday morning in Australia I attended a church that was more interested in the voices and visions that they may (may not!) have heard and seen, than the actual Word of God written. The next Sunday morning saw me in a Chinese church! The service was conducted in Cantonese with an English translator. God’s Word was highly honoured but I thought they were translating what was being spoken in Chinese solely for my benefit! Therefore, I thought I’d do that church a big favour by not attending again so that they could get on with things in their own language!

The following Sunday I found myself in church full of Dutch people. The service was conducted fully in English. Before the service began I was given a hymn-book at the front of which contained what is known as The Heidelberg Catechism. A Catechism, if you don’t know, is “a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians.[1] The Heidelberg Catechism begins with,

Lord’s Day 1

Q & A 1 

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death? 
A. That I am not my own,1
but belong— body and soul,
in life and in death—2 to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.3 He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,4 and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.5 He also watches over me in such a way6 that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven;7 in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.8 Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life9 and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.10 
1 1 Cor. 6:19-20
2 Rom. 14:7-
3 1 Cor. 3:23; Titus 2:14
4 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:2
5 John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11
6 John 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5
7 Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18
8 Rom. 8:28
9 Rom. 8:15-16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14
10 Rom. 8:1-17

I asked one of the elders if I could take a copy of their hymnbook (containing the Catechism) home with me to study and that I’d bring it back the following Sunday. My request was granted and I studied the Heidelberg Catechism cover to cover! Like a good Berean, for the whole week I checked everything therein again and again against Scripture. This church used the New International Version of which I had a copy.

I attended that church each Sunday morning thereafter and eventually got baptised there and became a member. The Bible was faithfully expounded from the pulpit each Sunday as we worshipped God.

Not only do I hold The Heidelberg Catechism in high esteem for teaching what the Scriptures say in an easy to understand and pastoral way, but I would endorse also The Westminster Larger Catechism and the more easily digestible Westminster Shorter Catechism. These are wonderful teaching aids in that they succinctly summarise what the Bible says about each question asked. Westminster Shorter Catechism Q & A 1, What is the chief end of man? Ans. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. (1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 11:36).

So, the layman should find a reliable version of the Bible. He/she should read and study the Bible. He/she should find a church that honours and expounds the Bible. He/she should check out against the Bible the things that the church is teaching. He/she should utilise The Heidelberg and Westminster Shorter Catechism (find them on-line) to help him/her to get an easy and helpful handle on the basic things the Bible is teaching. Should the layman do these things diligently, not only will he/she simply believe that Jesus is Lord. He/she will be honouring and serving Him as his/her Lord.

“May the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”[2]


[1] Internet.
[2] 2 Corinthians 13:14 New International Version (NIV).

No comments:

Post a Comment