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Hello, my name is.....


So we visited a friend's church yesterday. Josh wanted to talk with their worship team as he is going to be working with them on some recording projects. So what better way to get an idea on their needs than to see them "in action" and also have the opportunity to worship with some new Believers.

It was a smaller church than ours, but in a way......I loved the feeling of family that was felt as we walked through the door. You could tell that everyone knew everyone, it almost felt like a huge family reunion. I like that. Even their announcements included shout-outs for members who were celebrating birthdays that week. very cool.

After the announcements, there was a short intermission for people to "welcome others/mingle". Because everyone was part of this family, our family def. brought attention to ourselves as we were new-comers/visitors and were greeted by many wonderful people. There was just simple small talk with introductions, where we were from, and then *that* question.

The question that I never know how to answer.

What church do you go to (well of course I know that answer) but more so..... what kind/denomination of church is it?

I get asked that often and always feel like I am not answering it correctly, because I don't think I ever really thought about putting a "label" on what kind of Christian I am or what kind of church I attend.

I am pretty sure the church we go to is a charismatic Pentecostal church. Does that sound right?

Here is the faith statement from our church's website (I took out the supporting Scripture references)

  • We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace, through faith in the perfect and sufficient work of the cross of Calvary, by which we obtain remission of sins.
  • We believe in the importance of water baptism by immersion, in the Name of the Eternal Godhead in order to fulfill the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We believe in the creation, test and fall of man as recorded in Genesis; his total spiritual depravity and inability to attain Divine righteousness.
  • We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of men, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, very God and very man.
  • We believe Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day, and personally appeared unto His disciples.
  • We believe in the bodily ascension of Jesus to heaven, His exaltation, and personal, literal and bodily coming again the second time for His Church.
  • We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace, through faith in the perfect and sufficient work of the cross of Calvary by which we retain remission of sins.
  • We believe in the importance of water baptism by immersion in the Name of the Eternal Godhead in order to fulfill the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a real experience at or subsequent to salvation, with the Scriptural evidence, namely, speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
  • We believe in the operation of the gifts of the Spirit as enumerated in I Corinthians 12-14, as manifested in the Early Church.
  • We believe in the Spirit filled life, a life of separation from the world and perfecting of holiness in the fear of God expressing the true Christian faith.
  • We believe in the healing of the body by Divine power, or Divine healing in its varied aspects as practiced in the Early Church.
  • We believe in the table of the Lord, commonly called communion or the Lord's Supper, for believers.
  • We believe in the reality and personality of the devil and eternal judgment in the lake of fire for the devil and his angels.
  • We believe in eternal life for the believers , and eternal punishment for the unbelievers.


So here is what I wonder. My friend's church is an Assembly of God and from the preaching style/message, it seemed to be on the same page with what we have always been used to, only on a much smaller scale. Now I know, of course, that I didn't get to find out if they have the same exact beliefs with just this one time visit. But this pastor's message was great and the bonus was that we got to partake in Communion!

So here is where I am at; there are so many Christian faiths out there.....I have friends who are fundamental Baptists, Jehovah Witness, Methodist, Lutheran, Protestant, and Catholic. There are Word of Life churches, Assemblies of God, Worship Centers, Calvary and Bethel churches. What separates us all???



I have always said that I never claim to know it all......in fact, I am learning every day. All I know is that I love Jesus with all my heart and soul. Maybe I'll get corrected (please be gentle!).....with what I am about to share; but I am not so sure how much emphasis needs to be on what name tag we wear when it comes to being a Christian. I think it is more about taking Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and when we truly have Him *in* us.....our beliefs, actions, etc should follow according. It is SO not about religion......it's about our relationship with Him first and foremost.

I also know that God wants us to be joined in the body of Christ...the church is to be His bride. So how do you know you are in the "right" one?

I guess another reason why this is on my mind, is because I caught the tail end of this preacher who was on TV yesterday morning and he had a picture displaying many churches with arrows pointing to Heaven in the center. But he was talking about how we are misled in thinking that all churches/faiths are probably not going there. He referred to Noah and his ark being the only One way but more implied that his church/faith was the only way. Not sure if it was him that was more frightening or his message? (please don't ask me who it was.....not only is my short term memory blown to shreds....but I don't want to turn this into a bashing session on any faith/preacher/etc)

So my question to you.....how do/would you answer when someone asks what "kind" of Christian are you and/or what "kind" of church do you attend?

Looking forward to all that you can share with me......

Thanks in advance!

*~Michelle~*

22 comments:

Andrea said...

I, too hate that question.
Love and hugs,
andrea

Angela said...

I'm a "Catholic girl"..lol.

that is what I would be saying these days,,and that is HUGE for me to say..God KNOWS....

especially since after saying that I would probably get some 'oh you poor girl',,LOL... lol.. I'm giggling away here. It's true though since I've experienced it MANY times through my 13 years back to the Catholic Church...

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

We are all one in Christ. The most important thing is that we all believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He died for our sins. He was crucified, buried and rose again and will come back to get us one day soon!

Kristina P. said...

Well, us Mormons just have a hard time still being see as Christian by most of the world, so that's our first struggle!

~*Michelle*~ said...

I love ya, Kristina, my Mormon friend!!!
Even more so because you have enlightened me of the beauty of the Snuggie (which I can never see a Snuggie and NOT think of you....and then of course I giggle out loud)

Shirl said...

What separates us are the man-made values. There are core values, which seem to be stated in the creed you posted. Then there are those that step over into what man thinks we should be or do nor not do or wear or not wear. For instance, I grew up in an old-fashioned Pentecostal church. When the Bible tells us to be holy, often they interpret that into things we do and don't do. Things we wear or don't wear. Places we go or don't go. Different denominations exist because of this very thing...man-made values. Core values matter and are all that matter. The rest is what causes divisions.

Marty Duane said...

Oh, I don't like that question. But there are some good thoughts in this post.

Looking forward to reading more!

Kendra Lee said...

I hate the 'question' too... there are so many pre-conceived notions about different denominations ets... but - alas - here's my answer... (Hold on to your seat!)

I was raised Lutheran, saved in an Assembly of God church, grew in my relationship with Jesus, discipled and called to ministry in an Independent Baptist Church and am now church planting a Southern Baptist Church!!

Our church is called LifePoint Community Church - not LifePoint Southern Baptist Church - because we want the focus to be Jesus, not denomination. From the outside, you may not know we're SBC, for that matter, some attenders may not know we are SBC, but I would say most do...

I think your statement sums it up, "All I know is that I love Jesus with all my heart and soul." That is what it is all about. When we're cool with the black/whites (Jesus is the Son of God, we are saved by grace through faith) then I don't get too hung up on the grays.

It's all all about Jesus. It's about love. -

Great post!

PS - Regarding grays - I believe what I believe based on my personal study of 'gray areas' as the Holy Spirit leads me or answers for me... but that's HIS job to sort out the grays for each of us, not mine :)

Billy Coffey said...

Honestly, I'm not sure what I am either. I grew up in a Mennonite church, then went Methodist for a while, and now I'm Southern Baptist. I think whatever the divisions there are mostly deal with small points of theology than anything else. If you believe you're a sinner and that Christ died for your sins, then that's pretty much all I need to know.

Heart2Heart said...

Michelle,

Hmm difficult question and one that I find crossing my mind a lot. I find that if like Beth stated we have the same foundations of our belief systems and we are followers of Jesus that's enough for me. I belong to the church of Christ.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

rcubes said...

Like you, I don't know the differences and often wonder why we have to explain. To me, being a true Christian means a follower of Christ, not of any denominations. Blessings to you sister.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

You are so right- that question kills me. I am a Jesus lover, thankyouverymuch folks! SOmetimes, that is the only right answer!

Beth in NC said...

I am a Christian, and I'm Charismatic. I have the same beliefs as your church concerning the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was raised Baptist, but was a Bapticostal (ha) because I still had the same beliefs I have now.

I happen to know that sweet Catholic Angela (2nd comment) is a Charismatic Catholic. :o)

The denominational walls are falling down. Hallelujah.

I was just asked on Saturday about our church. I said, "We are Christian and we belong to the Every Nation" group of churches. I didn't even know how to answer. lol

christy rose said...

Oh my I have so much to say on this matter. I believe that I could write a whole book but I do not have time right now. The one thing that makes us all the same is our faith in His mercy and Grace by sending His Son to die in our place and exchange His Life for ours. And when He did that, He made us all the same, full righteous and washed as white as snow, able to stand before the throne of God in full confidence because of what Jesus did for us. His righteousness made us One with Him by sending the Holy Spirit to unite us together with Him and with one another. We are all one church. We are all the body of Christ. We are all united together by one Spirit. We can act like we do not belong together but in reality, our faith in Jesus makes us all equally the same. Everything that comes along and seems to divide us is all just not important. Can you imagine what the church could accomplish if we would all get out eyes on what we all agree upon instead of what we all disagree upon. Oooops I guess that was still kind of long. sorry! But I have been studying Ephesians and the revelation of what Jesus has accomplished for us to be made united to Him and to each other is mind blowing if we as the church would actually embrace it and expect the power of the Truth to manifest in all of our lives.

Alicia said...

Yes, so many people are so into the "what demonation" question. If I'm asked, I say that our church is non-denomination, but I always say I'm a Jesus follower!

Shark Bait said...

When I get asked the "what kind of Christian are you?" question, I usually respond with "A really bad one, who is extremely grateful for grace."

I think the question should not be "what makes us different?" but "what do we have in common?" In my course "Finding God in Finding Nemo" there is a chapter called 'All drains lead to the ocean' which talks about whether all roads lead to GOD. My basic conclusion is that we need to be united by "salvation through Christ only", and everything else is just window dressing.

<-SB><

Shark Bait said...

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!”
“Why shouldn’t I?” he said.
I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!”
He said, “Like what?”
I said, “Well, are you religious or atheist?”
He said, “Religious.”
I said, “Me too!
Are your Christian or Buddhist?” He said, “Christian.”
I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist?
He said, “Baptist!”
I said, “Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?
He said, Baptist Church of God!”
I said, “Me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!”
I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?”
He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!”
I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.

~*Michelle*~ said...

Thanks everyone.....keep 'em coming. I love how you all (we all) are in the same agreement that we are all One when serving Him as He desires.

this is great, Kendra
It's all all about Jesus. It's about love. -

Christy:
"Can you imagine what the church could accomplish if we would all get out eyes on what we all agree upon instead of what we all disagree upon."

So true!


SB....you have intrigued me with that little tidbit of your course, such wisdom, LOVE it!

.....looking forward to the whole thing!

Beth E. said...

I was raised Baptist, and have been in a Methodist church for many years. Our church isn't a typical UMC, though. It's also charismatic. I tell people I believe in Jesus and love him with all my heart!

I like what Beth said...it is spot on. Beths are soooo smart! ;-)

Deborah Ann said...

I was Catholic, then Lutheran, then Evangelical, then Pentecostal. When I was Catholic, I thought we were the only ones going to heaven. When I was Lutheran, I knew for certain that only the Lutherans were going to heaven, and definitely not the Catholics. When I was pentecostal I found out that neither the Catholics or Lutherans would make it to heaven, and so on and so on.


I'm so grateful to God for the journey, because having been in so many kinds of churches, I came to realize that God doesn't want us branding ourselves. If someone asks me what I am, I just say I'm a Christian.

Last year I wrote humorous devotionals for our local newspaper. The editor said I should probably announce what denomination I was, because people would want to know. I said "no way" because then they would label me. And if I wasn't the same religion as they were, they wouldn't listen to what I had to say.

I love blogging, because no one ever asks.

DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL

That's my motto, heheh...

Tracy said...

The fact that there are many different churches doesn't really bother me, as long as in a local area those churches show respect and love for one another since we're all the same body of the same Christ. It's just that on some of the "side" issues, we do not see things the same; we read the same scripture but come to different conclusions.

However, there are some groups that are cults. The classic definition of a cult is not that they are "bad" but that they differ from historic Christianity in substantive ways - ways that relate to our salvation through Jesus. I have friends and acquaintances that are involved in some cults and I pray for them. IF, and only if, they are interested I will show them how their church differs in terms of how they view the work of Jesus on the cross - His work on the cross being our only way into relationship with God is one thing I can not give on. It's the essence of Christianity. Other "side" issues aren't really that important, because once we've accepted Jesus' death on the cross as payment for our personal sins and turned our lives over to Him, then He gives us the Holy Spirit Who will lead us into truth.

5forjesus said...

Jesus is my JOY! I am an Independent, fundamental Baptist. I believe anyone can be saved by grace and faith in the Scriptures. It's all about our daily, personal walk with Him. What else matters?

 

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