Your Kids Will Likely Have No Idea How to Choose Their Own Christian Church as Adults…and That’s a Problem
by Natasha Crain
I grew up mostly in non-denominational churches, with a Baptist church or two thrown in. For all intents and purposes, my understanding of the world was that there were two types of churches: Christian and non-Christian.
If you gave me a label maker, I could have visited every church in town and promptly placed “Christian” or “non-Christian” on each one based on my simplistic understanding.
The church has the word Bible in it? Christian.
The church has the word Christian in it? Of course Christian.
The church has the name of one of the major denominations in it? Christian.
The church has the name of one of the cults from my mom’s giant Kingdom of the Cults book? Definitely not Christian.
The church has a generic name like “[Town] Community Church” that doesn’t seem to be affiliated with any of the aforementioned cults? ProbablyChristian.
I’d venture to say that this is the understanding of churches that many, if not most, kids leave home with. And that’s a very dangerous thing.
Searching for a “Christian” Church
Like many kids who leave home with a nominal faith, I went off to college and didn’t bother to attend church at all. But after college, my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I decided we should find a church to attend together.
For us, picking a church was as arbitrary as picking a marble out of a jar. In retrospect, I think we had just two criteria: close and “Christian.” There was a beautiful old mainline denominational church down the street that seemed to qualify. We went, and eventually became members.
Over the next three years, I noticed a few teachings here and there that didn’t seem to be the same as what was taught in the churches I grew up in. But my husband and I didn’t realize it wasn’t a biblically sound church until the pastor told us one Easter that it didn’t really matter if Jesus was raised from the dead (you can read more about that problem here).
That was my first experience learning that “Christian” doesn’t always mean what I thought it meant. In many churches today, “Christian” means accepting a lowered view of the Bible, dismissing central tenets of the faith, minimizing the gravity of sin, questioning the need for the atonement, and even rejecting the divinity of Jesus…
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