There are so many churches in the world, each with a different set of traditions, rituals and beliefs. Which one should we join?
Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian... There are dozens of major christian denominations, and many churches often distantiate themselves from other churches, highlighting differences in rituals and beliefs.
Is it good for Christianity to have different churches, so that one can join the church that fits him most?
The separations between Christian started happening early in the days of Apostle Paul. This is what he wrote to the church at Corinth.
Some of you are saying, "I am a follower of Paul." Others are saying, "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Peter, " or "I follow only Christ." Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!( 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 )
So, let's ask ourselves if Baptists were crucified on the cross for us? Or, you were baptized in the name of Luther?
Christians keep fighting in debates about details on rituals, definition of the trinity, on the God's name, who can be named an apostle... Many philosophers and wise man read the Bible and argue over the meaning of certain verses and chapters. But what our human wisdom can lead us to?
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.( 1 Corinthians 1:20 )
Our human wisdom and the distinguished set of beliefs, even when scraped out of Bible, won't help us.
At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.( Matthew 11:25 )
Each Christian denomination embraces its own beliefs, establishes policies and rituals for the churches and their leaders to follow. But that all leads to one thing - separation. And how having separate churches impacts Christianity?
Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, "Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.( Matthew 12:25 )
When we walk on a road towards a goal, we do not draw too much attention to the obstacles on our way. We do not focus on discussing the obstacles and different ways of dealing with them. Instead, we keep our eyes on the goal and moving on. The same applies toward discussions about how to cross yourself right, the proper baptism procedure and so on. Do not let these discussions separate us and distract from the main thing.
I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.( 1 Corinthians 1:10,30 )
So, should we not join any church at all then? No. Joining a church helps you learn the Word of God trough preaching.
Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.( 1 Corinthians 1:21 )
Remember, that church is not a building, but church is people. God's people and God's temple
Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?( 1 Corinthians 3:16 )
As a church member, you need to maintain and ensure the right foundation for your own life, heart and soul - Jesus Christ.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have-- Jesus Christ.( 1 Corinthians 3:11 )
And avoid following particular denominations or individual leaders. Do not act like people of this world.
When one of you says, "I am a follower of Paul," and another says, "I follow Apollos," aren't you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God's servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow.( 1 Corinthians 3:4-7 )
And always be mindful to focus on the main thing - the Christ Jesus, the true image of the one and only one living God.
So don't boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you-- whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.( 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 )