IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
It comes from Brian Wright, who wins a free, signed copy of one of my books for asking the question.
(By the by, if you have questions about the Bible or Christianity, let me know. You win a book, too, if I pick your question for this Monday blog fleature.)
Here’s Brian’s question:
Where does it say in the Bible what the true church is and whether or not you’re going to the right one? I’ve been struggling with this all my life.
Brian, here’s the short version of the answer.
Don’t worry about whether or not you’re going to the right church. That’s too hard to figure out.
Consider whether or not you’re going to the wrong church. That’s a no-brainer, thanks to the Bible.
It’s much easier to tell if you’re going to the wrong church.
That’s because the church you thought was right can sneak up on you and surprise you with a fertilizer truckload of no good—which it dumps in your front yard.
The wrong church, in most cases, I think, won’t sneak around. Right up front, it will hit you in the face with a skillet.
You’ll know it when you feel it.
You’ll feel it to the bone.
Compare your church to what Jesus said God’s kingdom is like.
Jesus illustrated that in his parables.
Good Samaritan. God’s people help folks in their general vicinity who need help.
Prodigal Son. God’s people welcome sinners instead of making them feel inadequate and guilty.
Lost Sheep. To folks who up and leave the church, God’s people don’t say “Good riddance.” They feel sad and worried, and they try to bring the people back.
Compare the church to what Paul said God’s kingdom is like.
Paul illustrated that in his letters to churches.
“You can tell when you’re around God’s people. It’s like being an apple hanging around other apples on an apple tree. You know an apple when you see one. You know a citizen of heaven when you see one, too. They’re loving, gentle, patient, kind, and joyful. You’ll see a family resemblance to Jesus.”
Galatians 5:22-23, Steve’s Bible Translation
Brian, if you’re not going to a church with people like that, you’re in the wrong church.
I’d add that if the preacher knocks you out every Sunday with a boring sermon, get the dickens out of Dodge. But I can’t find any solid Bible support for that. And, some of my favorite pastors have been boring preachers.
That said, I’d rather have a minister who can pastor, preach, and smile at grumpy old men.