How do you know which denomination?

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shelly

Puritan Board Freshman
If all churches are to be part of one "catholic" church/the body of Christ then ideally there should only be one denomination. Right? During the Reformation did it ever get to that? ie You're either presbyterian, catholic or something in the middle? Was the thought that only presbyterians were right and no other church was a "true church"?

Always reforming--If the presb denomination one is in deviates from the original practice and/or beliefs then a new denomination is formed. This happens over and over. So now here we are with a plethora of presbyterian denominations and need to find the "right" one. How? When a new denomination or splits occur doesn't everyone still think they are in the "true church". Do you look for the ABC(presbyterian denomination) that has the "best" interpretation and application of the Westminister Confession, and never changed any part of it? Won't the "best" interpretation and application will be the one that most closely agrees with your own?

How can so many people believe so differently and yet all be "right"?

I purposely attended my first presbyterian worship service yesterday. We talked with them 3 years ago, but weren't even in agreement concerning the basic 5 points at the time. Now the poor man will have to face our questions in real life:D;) Aren't y'all lucky we aren't walking into your church!:lol:

My husband decided that the schedules of our current church and this PCA one mesh well enough that we can do a "double header" and go to our service and then run to the PCA one for their worship and education class.

We're joking about how long it will take for our current church to get tired of questions once we start studying :book2: the WMC in earnest and to tell us to leave. Seriously though, they have truly pastored us personally and as a family and I don't want to downplay their tremendous help to us during very difficult times.

I grew up IFB, my husband was reared Episcapal (I can't even spell it) and can still recite the prayers when we go with his parents. This whole presbyterian way of thinking is completely foreign to us. We don't speak presbyterian yet!:lol: but we have taken on an online language course to learn how.:scholar: Perhaps you've heard of the Puritan Board?:bigsmile:

We're on the road in the journey to being reformed. We don't know how much farther we have to travel. We just keep seeking our Father and asking "Are we there yet?" He says "No"

shelly

[Edited on 5-6-2006 by shelly]
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Shelly: The reformers wanted to reform the church, not split it into denominations. Their efforts were only partly successful. Nobody immediately went to a denominational system. Typically a religion was determined by regional government, whether entire countries (like England) or even city by city (as in France). Governments enforced what they believed to be orthodoxy, protected the state churches and suppressed dissenters. Religions often changed with governments, with entire populations being protestant one day and Catholic the next (with the ascension of a ruler from that persuasion). The people were remarkably pliable in this regard. In the end, the Church was rent into pieces - a terrible thing.

As for choosing among denominations today, one must read the Bible and determine which denomination he or she thinks best reflects biblical teaching and under ordinary circumstances go there. That can be hard to do with all the babel in the religious marketplace
 

Irishcat922

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by Scott

As for choosing among denominations today, one must read the Bible and determine which denomination he or she thinks best reflects biblical teaching and under ordinary circumstances go there. That can be hard to do with all the babel in the religious marketplace


Yeah! So I'd pick Presbyterian or Presbyterian! :bigsmile:
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
"Yeah! So I'd pick Presbyterian or Presbyterian!"

And you would be right! :D
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Shelly, I was raised IFB also and hubby was raised SBC...we've been around the block with churches and have finally become Reformed...


Welcome to the journey!
 

beej6

Puritan Board Sophomore
Denominations are a necessary evil... uh, consequence, of less than faithful churches. Would we (who belong Presbyterian type church in America) have really wanted to stay in the PC USA?
 

shelly

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Scott

As for choosing among denominations today, one must read the Bible and determine which denomination he or she thinks best reflects biblical teaching and under ordinary circumstances go there. That can be hard to do with all the babel in the religious marketplace

"Best reflects biblical teaching" Wouldn't that be the Westminster Confession?----We are still changing from IFB in our thinking. We still find it at times. Where we are members now the teaching is not completely reformed. But I don't know in what areas it's not, except for specific doctrines we have asked about.

To even chose a church/denomination intelligently I would think I would need to know quite a few things which I don't. My husband and I do have it narrowed down to Presbyterian.:banana:

Here's the prob. We can't, with good conscience, just walk into any Presbyterian church, even one from a list of conservative churches, and stay there until we find that we disagree. I would venture to say that we will disagree with almost any conservative Presbyterian church we walk into; the problem will most likely be with us. This is why the search is on for a church/denomination that is in line with the WC. The prob is that is seems like they all say they are. So how does one discern who is and who isn't? Or are the allowable differences really as broad as they seem?

The whole thing is quite a puzzle to us.:detective:

Isn't there a book somewhere called Presbyterian Denominations for Dummies?:lol: I could also use one titled Reformed Doctrine for English Speakers :book2: (as opposed to one for those who speak Presbyterian)

I know I need to read and study the Bible more, but I'm just now getting to where I can do that without the IFB filter being turned on. I read other books and just feel stupid because I don't understand what it's talking about. The Almost Christian by Meade I really understood enough of it for it to really impact me. Other books I work so hard to understand what they're saying that I don't comprehend the point of it. I read Shakespeare and get it, so it's not simply a difficulty with my reading level. It's a basic ignorance of the whole topic of theology and doctrine. So where can I begin? I'm currently reading Beginning at Moses by Michael Barrett.

shelly
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Hi shelly,
{First a moderator note--unless you have been allowed for reasons given to and approved by the Admin/owners, you need to update your signature line in accord with the board rules.}

OK, now that that's out of the way, I want to 1) welcome you, and 2) give you an idea of something to read.

YES! There is something out there for someone just like you. But its not called "Presbyterian Doctrine (or Reformed or Covenant or ... ) for Dummies." Mainly because no one is a dummy, just untaught. The book is called a catechism, yes a run-of-the-mill catechism.

There are several to choose from. You've probably heard of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (very doctrinal). Another excellent one is the Heidelberg Catechism (very personal). They are best studied with the "Scripture proofs" attached or appended. That way you can go from the "formula" to the Scripture, and see how the doctrine comes from God's Word. It's good too check the verses in context, so read "around" the proof-text as well.

NOW! what would be really great for someone in your situation, is to use the "First Catechism" (or sometimes "Children's Catechism" or "Catechism for Young Children" available from Great Commissions Publications ( I don't know if you have little ones, but you can use this catechism, with simple answers, not only to teach the babes God's truth in a systematic way, but you find yourself learning along with it. It is no scandal to realize that you can learn from a children's text, especially when you find that you need to absorb this material as fast as they do just to keep up! EVEN I USE THE CHILDREN'S CATECHISM SOMETIMES. It's so basic, yet so profound.

[Edited on 5-4-2006 by Contra_Mundum]
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Shelly, I agree that a denomination that affirms the Westminster Confession is solid. In terms of denominations, do you have any churches that are either in the Presbyterian Church in Amerca (PCA) or Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). Those are two reliable denominations. Avoid the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

if you would like, you can list the denominations in your areas, and we can tell you about them.

Thanks
 

Ivan

Pastor
Originally posted by joshua
Originally posted by Contra_Mundum
NOW! what would be really great for someone in your situation, is to use the "First Catechism" (or sometimes "Children's Catechism" or "Catechism for Young Children" available from Great Commissions Publications ( I don't know if you have little ones, but you can use this catechism, with simple answers, not only to teach the babes God's truth in a systematic way, but you find yourself learning along with it. It is no scandal to realize that you can learn from a children's text, especially when you find that you need to absorb this material as fast as they do just to keep up! EVEN I USE THE CHILDREN'S CATECHISM SOMETIMES. It's so basic, yet so profound.

Rev. Buchanan is absolutely right about this! The other night, in fact, after I finished catechizing Chloë for a bit, I read through the rest of the Catechism. I have to echo Bruce's above words. :amen:

..."and a little child shall lead them"... Marvelous idea!
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
I heard that there is a professor at Greenville Presbyterian Seminary who quotes from the Children's Catechism in class. It is what he memorized as a child.

[Edited on 5-4-2006 by Scott]
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
We are going through the Shorter Catechism (in the little booklet form though I also have a study guide)...highly recommended!

I agree with the poster that said to list denominations in your area...we could give you a brief overview of each and their differences...hubby and I have had to do alot of research, asking questions, and for us we even travel a ways for church.
 

shelly

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the good recommendation.
YeeHaw. I just ordered the catachism books for the family. Maybe it's overkill to get one for each of the children, but we want them to know the importance we attatch to it.

We have a strong emphasis on reading and have many books. We should at least put as much effort into teaching catachism as we did in ancient history this year(I've learned more about Roman armour than anyone should have to know.:biggrin:) Our children know what's important to us by what we have in our favorites menu, what we take pictures of, and the books we read and talk about.

As far as the list of denominations in the area:


My daughter and I went last week to a PCA and she liked it because she could understand what he was saying during the preaching time. There is something to be said for a pastor not fully implementing the upper range of his vocabulary in sermons.



shelly

[Edited on 5-6-2006 by shelly]
 

beej6

Puritan Board Sophomore
Also, if there isn't a lot of choice near you in terms of the number of Reformed churches, I'd evaluate the local church *first* before worrying about the particular Reformed denomination. If you are fortunate to find several churches that are suitable for your and your family then perhaps the "tiebreaker" would be the particular denomination.

And now I'll contradict myself... we moved about six months ago, and chose to stay in the OPC because none of the other churches were noticeably superior w/r/t fellowship, preaching, sacramentology....
 
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