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Old 11-08-2017, 02:31 PM   #1
Evangelical
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Default What is a Good Church Anyway?

What is a good church?

The main belief in Christianity today is that there are a plethora of churches to choose from, and they all relatively good or bad according to some desirable or not so desirable characteristics. "e.g. this one is friendly, this one has a good pastor, this one has bad music" etc.

Coupled with this belief is the idea that we must "find a good church". Often you hear people say "this is a good church" and "this is a bad church", or "I want to find a good church". Many Christians are on a quest to find a church which is "more good" than theirs. Newly converted Christians have a worrisome task ahead of them to choose a "good church".

People are normally thinking of a list of qualities that they believe are desirable. Today there is a church to cater for almost every list of desirable qualities one could think of.

In fact, many Christians think it is biblical to find a good church. They believe that God would want them to find a church, and secondly that God wants them to find a good one.

I do not think that is the case. I do not think God wants us to "find a good church". Did I just say God wants us to find a bad one or not find fellowship? No, I did not say that. I said "finding a good church" is not necessarily God's will.

You want me to prove from the Bible? Firstly, how about you find a verse that commands us to "find a good church". The term "a good church" is not found in the bible. Paul did not say, "I'm going to travel to this good church over here and then to this really bad one over here.". Imagine, after Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, he said "now I have to find a good church".

An illustration from marriage.

In the Bible, both Old and New Testament, wife is used as a metaphor for God's people or church. So I think it is okay to use verses about marriage and church interchangeably.

The Bible says:

Prov 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

Note it does not say whoever finds a good wife, finds a good thing. See where I'm going?

Replacing the word wife with church, it says:

"Whoever finds a church finds a good thing. ".

Finding a "good church" is not about finding a church which matches your list of desirable qualities or expectations. If you find Christian fellowship, then it is good.

You see, the "good" in marriage is the marriage itself. Being married is better than not being married. Being the church is better than not being the church. What is good is that we, as blood-bought believers, are the church. Look at yourself in the mirror, look at your believing family, these are the "good church". You don't need to look much further. A church is not good or bad just because you like it or don't like it. All believers, in God's eyes are good because of Christ.

With Adam, he found Eve (well, God brought her to Him). He found a wife and it was good, very good in fact. But Eve, she was the worst wife on the planet and we all know why.

Remember Hosea? God told him to marry a girl who he knew was going to be a whore. Was it a bad marriage? No, his marriage was good.

So what's God's perspective on it according to the Bible?:
Marriage is good
Church is good.

Let's consider the negative side:
Divorce is bad
Division is bad

Which of the churches in Revelation were good and which were bad? They all had problems, but they were all churches. Jesus never classifies them according to good or bad. He never says "oh that church in Sardis, you a bad church".

We can't say much more about it than that.

The general biblical principles of a "good church" are:

1. No one is good, only God alone is good. Church is the people therefore there is no "good church".
2. Church is good - God desires Christians to fellowship.
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Old 11-08-2017, 03:24 PM   #2
HERn
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Default Re: What is a Good Church Anyway?

Not sure what a "good" church is, but I suppose it would be one that at least does not falsify it's location: Like the church in Tampa that is really located in Lutz, and the church in Orlando that is really located in Apopka. I wonder what percentage of the LSM local churches have misleading names?
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Old 11-09-2017, 02:47 AM   #3
aron
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Default Re: What is a Good Church Anyway?

My advice is, stay away from bad churches. Other than that, the Lord has promised to lead you, guide you, bless you and protect you. He will never forsake you. Go and meet where the Spirit leads you. His Spirit is with you, even unto the end of the age.

But, the bad churches. . .

Bad churches have control issues. "We must all be one with Pastor Bob; he is deputy god. Even when he's wrong he's right." Etc.

Bad churches are infused with elitism, often disguised as some crucial truth or revelation that they alone possess.

Bad churches don't receive others except for disputation. Constant wrangling is the norm.

(Now, as noted above, none are good but God. Surely I'm not good, in any absolute sense. . . but I don't presume to be, nor should I require it of my neighbours. Meet others where they are. Look at Jesus! Lepers, drunks and tax collectors gathered round. But I've certainly learned to avoid the holier-than-thou systems of human subjugation - "We have God's present restored truth" - LSM/lc, JW, LDS, SDA - they're soul-sapping systems of all-too-human control.)

My advice is, avoid churches that have 153 different book titles on the shelf, all written by the same author, who was (naturally) president and owner of the book publishing company that printed & sold them, & whose continued sales the current acolytes now enforce rigidly via edicts such as "One publication policy" & so forth. Avoid such groups like the plague.

Other than that, go where the Lord leads. Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered by faith in the Name, there He is among them. He promised this - believe Him. His word is true. Really - don't stress whether the gathering is "good" according to someone's conceptual metric. Just love your neighbours. (And if you don't know what that means, they're the people next to you).
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Old 11-09-2017, 12:31 PM   #4
aron
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Default Re: What is a Good Church Anyway?

There are plenty of good churches out there. And the ones that "don't seem good", according to a kind of naturalistic reckoning, might offer the best opportunities to serve others. Remember that you didn't get saved to find the best choir or the most erudite preacher. You got saved to serve. So serve. Where the need is, the Lord will there supply the grace.

But I'd avoid churches whose leadership loudly and continually points out the flaws of everyone else, whether of parishioners who (apparently) need "perfecting" and "training" in front of the rest, or whether of those Christians not present, deemed "Babylon" or "fallen and degraded Christianity"; yet these same leaders ask you to overlook their own shortcomings, saying, "Hey, nobody's perfect".

Witness Lee told us to bear with his "messy kitchen", but he delighted in looking at everyone else's messy kitchen. And speaking of culinary metaphors, what of his (ahem) "unspiritual chef", for that matter - who'd want to be discipled in that kind of atmosphere? I wouldn't.

Other than that, most churches would probably be "good" churches; if the Spirit points and says, 'Go', then go.
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