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Picking a new denomination

Discussion in 'Looking for a Church' started by Lifelong_sinner, Apr 26, 2021.

  1. Lifelong_sinner

    Lifelong_sinner Well-Known Member

    United States
    Hello all. I have a question concerning picking a new church. For most of my life, i attended a disciples of Christ church. I left that church about 8 or 9 yrs ago. I have begun looking for a new church, and in the last 2 yrs have really started to study theology. I feel that the CoC church isnt what i believe to be true doctrine. Here lately, i have been attending a baptist church. I like it, its small, very informal, and with a hint of calvinism mixed in.

    My research seems to show that presbyterian churches are some of the most calvinist, which is what i want. But i havent visited any yet because i’m confused about something, their view on baptism. I dont believe babies should be baptized.

    so my question is, baptists tend to be more in alignment with my beliefs, but arent as calvinist in doctrine.
    Presbyterians are supposed to be more calvinist, but i disagree with their baptism views. How much can you disagree with a church and still support it??
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  2. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

    There is a large amount of variety in Baptist churches since they are congregational. You might talk to the pastors at the various Baptist churches in your area if there are more than one. Some are more than a little Calvanistic. And others not at all.

    Also, in some Baptist churches they allow you to hold a variety of views. I attended a Baptist church that included both freewill and Calvanist adherents. It makes for more interesting Bible studies!
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  3. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    To start, you say that you disagree with the Presbyterian view on baptism. Which one of you is correct? What is the truth?
  4. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

    United States
    I think some beliefs are more important to an individual than others. Only you can say whether the issue of age of Baptism is so important as to become a "stopper" for you. As for me, it wouldn't be a problem. If I didn't believe in infant baptism, I wouldn't have my infant batized. Problem solved. And, if I didn't have an infant I wouldn't care much about what the church believed about this.

    I think if a person waits to find a church with which they have 100% agreement, they'll find themselves with lots of free time on their hands come Sunday mornings.
  5. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

    United States
    Hello Lifelong_sinner, the Presbyterian denominations that you should probably be looking into (if you are interested in a conservative denomination that holds the Bible as infallible and inerrant, as well to the Westminster Confession of Faith, or to another, historic/conservative confession) is either the PCA or the OPC, ~not~ my former denomination, the PCUSA.

    Remember too that Presbyterian churches do NOT teach that infants (or adults) are regenerated in the waters of baptism (like Catholics and Lutherans do), so the baptism of infants in this case is similar to the child dedications that are done in Baptist and Evangelical churches, far more so than they are to the baptisms that are preformed in churches (like the two I mentioned above) that believe/teach that the waters of baptism are salvific.

    All that said, perhaps a Reformed Baptist church is the best place for you (if you can find one near you, that is)?

    God bless you!

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  6. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

    A couple things:
    • Presbyterians are pretty fragmented. You can have some solid ones, and you can also have some very liberal ones. My grandfather was Presbyterian for many years, but the fragmentation became a dealbreaker for him when he was visiting inmates at the jail. They'd ask him what kind of church he went to, because they saw that he was the real deal. He'd cringe because of some of the shenanigans going on in that denomination with other Presbyterian churches, so he became an Evangelical Free (very similar to Baptist) instead.
    • Baptism is a crucial doctrine to get right. It informs other Christian beliefs. If you want to raise children or teach children in this church, you don't want to be teaching them A about baptism at home while the church teaches them B. This will have both spiritual and social consequences for them at church.
  7. Paulomycin

    Paulomycin Well-Known Member

    United States
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  8. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    Then that church is not the one for you.

    In principle, you should be completely in agreement with the church so far as its most essential doctrines are concerned, and the sacraments certainly meet that standard. But in reality, many, many church members disagree with their own denominations on some important matters, rightly or wrongly.

    After all that is said and done, however, you probably should have a chat with a Presbyterian minister and put your concerns to him. Then you'd have the answer about whether the issue is as you think it is and, also, whether you still hold the same view of it after hearing his explanation.
  9. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member Supporter

    United Kingdom
    Depends on what is being disagreed with.
    Example my church policy was not to use anyone in positions of authority or trust if they were not a church member.
    One of my friends had been hurt as a member in a hasty church split and as a result would not ever become a church member.
    Yet he attended our church every Sunday, was at prayer meetings, work nights, gave generously. He was a church member in all but name.
    He ended up as one of our deacons looking after the church fabric.

    You will have to check out the local churches in your town, talk to theminister about any differences and from that decide which local church to attend.
  10. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    First, I think you need mature people who help you to know God's word and to live it. These are an example . . . sample . . . of what God's word means. If you find a younger pastor who ministers beneficially, you might try to find out who mentors the pastor, who is older and more mature, and get to know these people so you can feed on their example.

    If a group holds to certain beliefs, how do they live them? There might be good ways to apply free will or predestination, and very bad ways to hold to either, I can see. If people are very self-congratulating about their beliefs . . . this can have people too focused on ideas and not on personally sharing with God and finding out how to love as His family.

    And in case the doctrine leaves out how to become conformed to the image of Jesus . . . or if the emphasis is elsewhere . . . they could be elsewhere.

    "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29)

    This is what predestination is really about, by the way . . . not only about how much God controls people. And being conformed to Christ is the main focus of Paul's ministry, I would say, going by Colossians 1:28-29. But people who greatly praise Paul don't talk about this.

    But in our first sermon recorded of Jesus, where did He start? With how to be >

    poor in spirit



    pure in heart

    I offer that He means these to be the way He is . . . so we are pleasing to our Father the way His own Son is so pleasing . . . growing in this, so we share as family with Jesus. And this will have us loving as His family > there is plenty of scripture which can help us to relate as Jesus Christ's family. So, this is also a basic of God's word (including Ephesians 4:31-5:2, and things like James 1:19-20), therefore getting plenty of attention in a Biblical church.

    So, if ones are mainly praising how they have the right doctrine and they are copy-catting on Sunday . . . it doesn't matter what label they put on their church.
  11. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

    United States
    In Relationship
    There are Reformed Baptists, Baptists with strict Calvinist theology.

    Though as far as your issue with Presbyterianism, it may be worth asking yourself why you have a problem with the baptism of infants--something that Christians have always done, and arguably, since the very beginning (even in Judaism conversion through ritual washing, the Jewish precursor of Christian Baptism, involves the conversion of infants and small children through said ritual washing). Historically God's People has never only consisted of adults, but of full communities consisting of adults and their children. Children have always been included in the Church, and that inclusion into the Church has always been through Baptism.

    If Baptism is the ordinary means God brings us into the covenant community of faith, and if God has never excluded children in the past, why would children of those in the Church be excluded from the Church?

    Now I'm a Lutheran, so I'd be of the position that Presbyterianism doesn't go far enough in the importance of Baptism; but even apart from my belief in the Sacraments as efficacious means of grace, at the very least Baptism is the means and covenant seal through which we become members of God's people, given for that purpose. And thus it is worth asking: Why should Christians deny to their children the promises and the words of Jesus Christ which are freely available here mingled together with the water of Baptism?

  12. AdamjEdgar

    AdamjEdgar Member

    I feel myself a lone voice crying out in the wilderness here...

    Have you considered visiting a Seventh Day Adventist Church?

    I can honestly say, our denomination simply follows the bible and take the 10 commandments exactly as they are written.
    We do not see the Old Testament as having no relevance in society today, its statutes and laws (Gods statutes and laws) are eternal and the moral compass by which sin is defined. We are not saved by the law, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

    We do not have our own bible, we dont start from a position of doctrine then attempt to find a bible that suits said doctrines. Any bible (even the JW NWT) can be used to bring people to Christ.
    We are a relatively conservative Christian movement who do go a bit outside the box in that we worship on Saturday and do not drink alcohol.
    In terms of Baptism, our view is via immersion. Our model with young children is different, we believe that Christian parents should dedicate them to the Lord usually via a commitment from said parents and a simple prayer from our church pastor that can be in front of the church congregation or privately (usually in front of congregation).
  13. tampasteve

    tampasteve ✞ Christian ✞ Staff Member Administrator CF Senior Ambassador Angels Team Supporter

    United States

    This thread has been moved to a new forum that is more appropriate and a few posts that were Off Topic have been removed.

  14. Daniel Marsh

    Daniel Marsh Well-Known Member

    United States

    Visit neighbors of a church to see what their reputation in the area is.
    Look for churches that are known as servants.
  15. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

    I suppose you can support any church group you want, and if not you can always leave. I prefer one that shows they are Bible-only, rather than various personal doctrines that a gathering prefers. You need to know what you are looking for. Keep looking up!
  16. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

    United States
    Well, there are notable Baptist Calvinists, such as Dr. Al Mohler. However, to quote the late Presbyterian minister Dr. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, in his book on cults, we Christians should not allow ourselves to be divided on the basis of minor doctrinal differences. And one case study in his book was a profile of a Baptist minister who had the difficult task of getting his deacons to quit Freemasonry, in which he succeeded. I think if you like the Baptist church you are now attending however, since they agree with your doctrinal views, I suggest sticking with them.

    There are a large number of Calvinist Baptist churches outside the Southern Baptist Convention, including the Primitive Baptists. Among non-Baptist denominations such as Presbyterians, I think at a minimum the following Calvinist churches should be considered:

    - The Presbyterian Church in America
    - The Orthodox Presbyterian Church
    - The Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America*
    - The Conservative Christian Congregational Church**
    - The Reformed Episcopal Church***
    - The Christian Reformed Church in America

    There are a few more very decent Calvinist denominations which are too small to be listed here; you are very likely to be near an SBC church and one of the six mentioned above, however, I suggest perusing the list of Calvinist denominations in the United States on Wikipedia to learn about some of them. There are also some non-denominational Calvinist churches, although most non-denom churches are Evangelical.

    You should avoid the PCUSA unless your theology and worldview is extremely left wing; there is a moderate breakaway group called the Evangelical Covenant Order which ordains women but rejects gay marriage, abortion, etc. Likewise, the United Church of Christ is extremely liberal, and no longer objectively Calvinist in my opinion, which was tarnished by intimate involvement in that denomination.

    Also I would urge you to avoid any church associated with 9Marks at all costs. This is a grouping of Calvinist churches, some Presbyterian, some Baptist, which stresses church discipline (i.e. punishing members), and if you leave a 9Marks church without a letter of dismissal, you cannot join another. They also had an extremely racist post on their website which attacked Eastern Orthodox and other Eastern Christians, which is documented on the Wartburg Watch blog. Although somewhat Lutheran/Evangelical in orientation, Wartburg Watch does an excellent job tracking abusive pastors and churches and is a good resource; I would avoid any church they have concerns about.

    * The RPCNA is possibly the most Calvinist church in North America, related to the Covenanting Presbyterians of Scotland, with a capella exclusive psalmody as their music.
    ** Full disclosure: I am a Congregationalist minister, although not affiliated with the CCCC; however, their most famous parish, Park Street Church in Boston, which is the only remaining traditional Congregational church in that city, the rest having become UCC or apostatized to Unitarianism (that apostasy took place in 1770-1800, and caused the Congregationalists, formerly the Puritans, to lose control of Harvard Divinity School to the heretical Unitarian cult).
    *** This church is affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America, but has a much older history, having separated from what is now the very liberal and very non-Calvinist Episcopal Church USA in the mid 19th century, about 150 years ago give or take a decade or two, in order to embrace a more specifically Calvinist theology.

    I have tried to make this post as objective as possible in response to @Lifelong_sinner ’s reasonable request, being respectful of his theological convictions, which it is not my business to try and change. If he had asked for Eastern churches, or liturgical churches, or churches with Arminian theology, I would have written a post catering to that desire.
  17. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

    Let us just be sure it is all 'Bible only' and not man's religions; and in that: taking "all the counsel of God" and "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" as God tells us!
  18. 9Rock9

    9Rock9 Sinner in need of grace.

    United States
    If you can, try finding a Reformed Baptist church or a Calvinist non-denominational church.
  19. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

    So many professing Christians think their denomination is more right than others; but actually 'denominations' is sectarianism. The BIBLE-ONLY concept in reality is what we need; and notwithstanding that many insist they are 'Bible-only', true Christianity must be "all the counsel of God" and "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" in accord with the Epistles --rarely seen in evidence.

    Therein biblically we see that in each city there was A TESTIMONY of gathered saints of "one accord" in agreement with all such gatherings WORLDWIDE (often visiting other cities, as shown); with some pastors, teachers; evangelists among them locally as led of the Spirit, without a hierarchy. Since the Reformation time (1500 AD) man has turned to 'denominations'. Such kind of fellowships seem thus non-biblical, it appears, than Bible-only everywhere.
    Can we ever turn from 'denominations' to Scripture and seek the "unity of the faith" worldwide, as God enjoins us? Real saints will ALL be together in Heaven! I have often raised this question over time, and was much helped to learn how this can be achieved biblically. I believe I know how to find that ground; and can speak personally with those interested --and certainly not wanting to offend any dear saints of God following various ideas; thus will not speak of such here. -1watchman.
  20. AdamjEdgar

    AdamjEdgar Member

    Are you really sure that a Calvinist reformed group is where you wish to go?
    Take a look a the following doctrine which i am certain in grave error...

    Unconditional election (also called sovereign election[109] or unconditional grace) asserts that God has chosen from eternity those whom he will bring to himself not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people; rather, his choice is unconditionally grounded in his mercy alone. God has chosen from eternity to extend mercy to those he has chosen and to withhold mercy from those not chosen. Those chosen receive salvation through Christ alone. Those not chosen receive the just wrath that is warranted for their sins against God

    this means according to some Calvinists, salvation is not a free gift to all...God has already decided whom he will save and that is that! Not what the apostle Paul preaches!

    Also John wrote...in the 6:37
    “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2021 at 4:51 PM