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Do they matter?
Q. I think the differences of denominations is a clear sign that nobody is absolutely correct…more so they are petty and fall into the pharisaical…"the separated ones." (MJA)
One of the best ways to learn why there are so many differences between denominations is to study the source. Learn what the Bible teaches. That way you can make your own judgments about whether differences are important to you.
Acts 17:11 is a scriptural example of good students. The apostle Paul traveled to Berea and complemented the people of that region because they were open minded and studied Scripture to find out what things were true or not. It says,
"And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth" (New Living Translation, NLT).
Agreement in Essentials
What is amazing is that in the essentials most Christian denominations DO agree if they use the Bible as their source document. Most agree that Jesus is Lord. He died for our sins. He was raised from the dead - and if we believe this we will live forever, too. This gospel (or good news) in a nutshell comes from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
Mankind's Worst Problem?
It's a good thing this is our "good-news" message because most agree that our worst problem is death. None of us have the power to resurrect ourselves or to conquer death. The power of the 2nd law of thermodynamics over us dictates that all things are breaking down and dying. But, this is what Jesus of Nazareth came to conquer.
On top of those core beliefs some denominations think church members should be fully immersed in water baptism. Others think we should be "sprinkled." Some believe in infant baptism and others don't. Most Christian denominations think we should take communion at least once a month. Some take it every week. Others take it every time they meet. Some follow strict rituals observed every week while others are more casual in worship style. Some use soft rock-and-roll music while others use a pipe organ and choirs to praise God during services.
Stylistic Preferences Superficial
Those are superficial differences that don't affect the essentials of belief. They are just stylistic preferences in worship rituals.
However, you might want to find a church that practices baptism and communion in some form. Jesus Himself asked us to observe these sacraments. Both are highly symbolic of our core beliefs. (Read Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38,&1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Kinky Strange Groups
Those so-called churches that do not use the Bible as a source-document can get pretty strange or "kinky." Examples are the "mind sciences" like Christian Science, Religious Science, Dianetics or Scientology.
These are not "Christian" at all. (I know because I was once one of them). Sometimes they pick a verse out of the Bible to use - but they do not treat it in a scholarly manner at all. None of their teachers or "experts" has studied Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin or any other languages used in early Christian documents. They are not qualified to tell you anything about the Bible.
If we want to learn chemistry or calculus we study with professors who are knowledgeable in that field. In the same way, if we want to learn about a collection of books written in antiquity then we need to study under the tutelage of educated people versed in ancient languages, cultures and history. In my opinion that means finding a church denomination that demands some basic, quality education for their ministers.
The Human Condition
Yes…some church leaders are petty and pharisaical. They are human. They suffer from the same failings and sins as you or I. That is just part of the human condition and we won't escape it until our bodies and minds are transformed by the Lord himself.
In that regard the Bible tells us something really fascinating. It says Christians will be "transformed" into new beings at some point in the future. Our bodies and minds will be changed in a split-second of time when Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) comes back for us! Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 for yourself. It's awesome.
Beamed Up off the Planet
At that time we will also be "beamed up" or "snatched-out" from planet earth:
"We who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thessalonians 4:17, NLT).
I always tell our younger friends to start watching and reading good sci-fi if they want to understand many things in the Bible. But, the point is that all Christian believers can look forward to a day when their sin-filled bodies and minds are completely transformed into non hypocritical, glorious, powerful beings.
So, yes…there are denominational differences. But, in the essentials most churches agree. Yes…there is pettiness and pharisaical behavior among church leaders and church members because they are part of the human condition - filled with pride and sin just like you and me. But, at its core there is much agreement among denominations. We suggest you begin to visit various churches and find one you like. Just remember to use the Bible as your foundational source.
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