Finding a Church

The Church is an essential part of the Christian life. Many people have the attitude that they can worship God on their own, in their own house. Others say that they don’t go to Church because they hate the hypocrites that go there. I will agree with them that they can worship God on their own and that there are a lot of hypocrites in the Church. However, this is no excuse not to be joined to a Church. The writer of Hebrews tells his hearers to “…consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some, but exhorting one another…” Hebrews 10:24-25.

The word for Church is εκκλησια (Ekklesia) this is also translated assembly, congregation, and even in a secular sense a mob of people. Jesus Christ said He will build His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). In Matthew 18 Jesus lays out the system of Church discipline, why would He bother if we don’t need to go to Church? There is also a authority system set up in the Church with qualifications to go with it. 1 Timothy 5:17 says “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scriptures says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when I treads out the grain, ‘The laborer deserves his wages.’” Why would we need elders preaching and teaching if we did not need the Church. (Giving is important too, to enable this work to continue)

The question remains, “how do I find a local Church?” If you live in the Lancaster/Palmdale area I would recommend my Church: Grace Reformed Church in the Antelope Valley

121 Carriage Lane, Suite 111 Lancaster, CA 93534

Or if your closer to the Tehachapi/Bakersfield area I would recommend the RCUS (Refromed Churches in the United States) Church in Bakersfield

and if you live anywhere else: RCUS Congregations or OPC Congregations or URCNA Congregations 

Article 29 of the Belgic Confession says

: About the Marks of the True Church

We believe that we ought to seek and discern

according to the word of God, with consummate

diligence and prudence, what then this true Church

may be, since all of the sects, however many flourish

in the world today, seize upon and cloak themselves

with the title of “Church.” We are certainly not now

speaking of the assembly of hypocrites, who are

mixed among the good in the Church although they

do not rightly extend into the Church in which they

are bodily present, but of having to distinguish the

congregation of the true Church from all sects, which

falsely glorify themselves as members of the Church.

Therefore the true Church will be distinguished from

the false by these marks; if the pure preaching of the

Gospel and the legitimate administration of the

sacraments, according to the prescription of Christ,

flourishes, likewise if the right ecclesiastical

discipline is used for the restraint of sin. And finally,

(so that we embrace the whole Word alone), it

measures all things according to the standard of the

Word of God and repudiates whatever things are

hostile to it and acknowledges Christ as the only

head. It is certain that by these marks it is possible to

distinguish the true Church, from which it is not

lawful for anyone to be separated. Moreover, those

who are true members of this Church can be judged

by marks according to the communion of all

Christians, of such a sort is Faith, by which, once

apprehending Christ as their Savior, they flee from

sin and seek after righteousness; likewise, they love

their neighbors, and, not turning to the left or right,

they crucify their flesh with its works, even though it

is too little, as if a greater weakness is in them, but

regarding that, they fight against it by the power of

the Spirit throughout the whole course of life, and,

constantly fleeing to the blood, death, suffering, and

obedience of our Lord Christ, as to the most safe

protection, since they know that in Him alone they

have forgiveness of sins, through faith in Him. Truly

the False Church, on the contrary, always assigns

more authority to its very self, and its institutions

and traditions, than to the word of God. It does not

suffer to subject itself to the yoke of Christ, nor does

it administer the sacraments according to the

prescription of Christ, but it adds something to them

in this way, and subtracts from them in that way,

according to it’s judgment. Furthermore, it always

relies more upon humans than on Christ, and, in a

hostile manner, it persecutes those who piously

desire to conform their lives according to the

prescription of the word of God or who indict and

repudiate its sins as greed and idolatry. Therefore,

from this, in turn, it is easy to discern and recognize

either Church from one another.

I believe there are many “True Churches” out there, but we must distinguish between a true church and a healthy church.

Dangers:

Mega Churches: While it’s awesome to see that many people in a church, most of the time there is a reason they got so big. Usually by watering down the gospel to be more appealing to the unbelievers. This makes for a church filled with hypocrites and unbelievers.  These churches are, often times, hard to be cared for because of their size. People can walk in and out without being noticed or held accountable.

Liberal Churches: While they may hold to the essentials of the faith, they often tread on dangerous ground. Look out for the ordination of women pastors, an acceptance of Darwinian evolution (or any non-literal view of Genesis), acceptance of homosexuality among their congregants/leaders.

Legalistic Churches: this is the opposite extreme of the liberal churches. Look out for non-biblical yokes (going beyond what scripture says), they believe they are the only true church, and love conspiracy theories.

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