by Matt Slick
Since there are thousands of churches in America and abroad, we cannot list each one and provide individual endorsements. Therefore, we recommend that if the church you are considering has a website that you go over its statement of faith to see if it is within orthodoxy. You could compare it with the one on CARM which is very orthodox. Also, you can contact any church you are considering attending and do a phone interview with the pastor, or someone officially representing the church, so that you can determine whether or not you want to go check it out.
However, CARM can generically recommend the following denominations since they adhere to Christian doctrines and are not liberal. I apologize that my list is not very extensive.
|Recommend||Do Not Recommend|
Here are some questions you might want to consider asking them. The list could get quite long but these are the basics, and they should be sufficient to weed out bad churches.
They should say YES to all of the following. If say NO to any of these, then avoid that church
- Does the church affirm that the Bible consists of the old and New Testaments and that it is inspired and inerrant?
- Does the church affirm the doctrine of the Trinity which is the position that there is one God who exists in three simultaneous, distinct, persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
- Does the church affirm the deity of Christ, that Jesus presently has two natures: divine and human?
- Does the church affirm that Jesus is a man right now, that he was resurrected in a glorified body?
- Does the church affirm the personhood of the Holy Spirit?
- Does the church affirm that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone without any works (or baptism) necessary to obtain or maintain salvation?
- Does the church affirm that Adam and Eve were the first people who ever existed and that they were created by God?
They should say NO to all of the following. If they say YES to any of these, then avoid that church.
- Do they support women pastors and elders?
- Do they support homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle?
- Do they affirm that a practicing, unrepentant homosexual can be a true Christian?
- Is water baptism necessary for salvation?
- Do they affirm universalism, the teaching that eventually all people will be saved?
- Do they support the ministries of Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Joel O'Steen, Kenneth Hagin?
- Do they affirm that all Christians are supposed to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous?
- This is an aberration known as the health and wealth gospel which maintains that Jesus, on the cross, not only paid for our sins, but also guaranteed that we are supposed to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous.
- Do they have any unbelievers on the worship team?
- In other words, are they paying unbelievers because of their musical ability, to lead worship? If they do, avoid the church.
- Can the believer lose his salvation?
- This question is a bit more tricky in that there are Christian denominations that maintain it is possible to lose one's salvation. The pertinent questions at this point whether or not there is a list of requirements that a person must adhere to in order to maintain his salvation. If they teach such a list, then they are teaching works righteousness and you should avoid the church.
- Is evolution what God used to bring us into the world?
Other questions worth asking
- Is it possible to lose one's salvation?
- This question is more difficult to unpack because there are varieties of positions regarding the security of the believer. CARM's position is that it is not possible to lose one's salvation. Whenever I encounter a group or an individual that says we can lose our salvation, then I ask what things must be done to maintain our position with God. If they provide a list of things such as don't not seeing certain movies, not drinking, etc. then I recommend you avoid the church. However, some churches teach you can lose your salvation only by open rejection of God. Though I do not agree with that position, it does not mean the church is bad. I recommend you consider reading the articles listed at the end of this paper for more information.
- What style of worship does the church have?
- Some people prefer contemporary, and others prefer traditional. This is a personal preference.
- How often do they take communion?
- There is no biblical mandate for exactly how often communities to be taken. But it's worth finding out.
- Does the church allow children in the sanctuary during the service?
- This is another issue of preference. Some people don't mind the children in the sanctuary, where others do because they can be distracting.
- Has there been a church split recently? If so, why?
- If a church split has occurred, it could be important to know why since it could reveal potential problems that you might not discover right away.
- Do they hold to the King James only version?
- Depending on the church, this could be a problem or not be a problem.
Picking a church to attend is a subjective endeavor. Different Christians have different criteria. Perhaps the questions above might help you better determine whether or not a church you are looking into is worth attending.
I hope this helps.