Finding Authentic Fellowship

In writing this, I’m not trying to sound self-righteous. I am the greatest of sinners and I still struggle with my sanctification. This is about my experience with searching for a good Christian fellowship. As a conservative, Bible-believing Christian, it is sad to see the downward spiral that many mainline denominations have taken. In their adoption of certain liberal policies over the years, they have turned against the Word of God. Some of these denominations are quick to point out the faults and sins of the least popular Christian groups that have refused to fall into that same downward spiral. The less popular groups have been called “old fashioned” and “dying”. I will go up with a “dying church” before I go down with a liberal denomination.

Call me “old fashioned”, “backwards” or “country”, but I would much rather place my lot with a conservative, fundamentalist church that honours God and His Son Jesus Christ, that is filled with the Holy Spirit and has a genuine care for the household of God – even if it means not being able to agree with every single aspect of certain beliefs. True Christianity is not about forcing everyone to believe the same thing, but rather the teachings of Christ are about doing the will of the Father in heaven and believing in the work of the Cross and living a life that is filled with fruits of the spirit. I am not interested in a church that has laser shows, or that tries to entice children with food, candy and colouring books, or adults with potluck suppers, sewing groups and hunting clubs, while at the same time failing to teach sound doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:3-4) Those activities are social instead of being part of a fundamental biblical education.

When I started searching in my little town for a church in which to either join or attend on a regular basis, I made my interest known to various pastors whom I was able to contact. Most of those who reached out (not all of them) were more interested in increasing their membership numbers. Some of the first things they mentioned were the activities of their churches that are available to members. Some of the ministers were so excited to talk about bingo, bunko and concert nights for the youth. I asked several questions regarding the church’s stand on certain key biblical, and historical doctrines, but these often fell with silence, or the oft-used phrase, “Well, God can sort that out in the end.” One said, “Having an Orthodox priest become a Christian for our church would be a good thing.” A secretary of one of the churches asked me who I was going to vote for. This was the time before Donald Trump won the election between him and Clinton. I told her that I was neither Democrat nor Republican and that my vote is based on my faith, religious beliefs and the facts that I am able to discern about the candidate. She told me, “Well if you’re not voting for Hillary, you probably won’t be happy here.” She wanted to talk about politics, but I informed her that while I have a lot of thoughts concerning the topic, this was not the time to discuss the matter.

I was very happy to find the little church that I did. I admit that initially, I had some preconceived ideas about it, but those misconceptions were quickly corrected. The pastor is always there to answer questions I have and is able to intelligently respond to my various concerns. Even though he is very busy and has many obligations, he stays in contact and still visits on occasion. While the little fellowship of believers I found is tiny by comparison to some of the others in the area, it is God-centred and strives to follow “the faith of Jesus Christ” and the Apostles. (Romans 2:22) In my little church there are no bingo nights, professional choirs or seizure-inducing laser shows and ear-piercing concerts, but there are spirit-filled believers who have put God first and who love their brothers and sisters (Matthew 22:37), and who want to hear Biblical teaching – the “old fashioned” Gospel truth. They are interested in Jesus’ teachings instead of the philosophies of men. (Colossians 2:8)

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to attend the services in a while due to chronic health issues that usually keep me at home. I do enjoy the simple, live-streaming of the sermons when made available. I pray for all the brothers and sisters in the church and for all those in my county regardless of what their affiliation might be.

The times in which we live are certainly not a time for door prizes and games. We are living in times when we need Christ and His atoning blood for our salvation. No amount of man’s philosophies and doctrinal theories can save us.

Pray for those who have been deceived or do not know better. Pray for the sinners who have caused rifts in the houses of God. Pray for their repentance and salvation. Pray for me, a sinner.

God bless my pastor and my brothers and sisters.

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