Attending a local church is vital for every Christian believer. This is especially true for someone who has left Mormonism for Christianity. At Mormonism Research Ministry, we desire to partner with churches to equip the body of Christ (the “Church”) for every good work. MRM is an Evangelical Christian parachurch organization, with the purposeful intention of working with church bodies that teach biblical doctrine and practice Christian behavior. (Take look at our statement of faith, and for another look at solid Evangelical Christian beliefs, see www.evangelicalbeliefs.com.)
It is important to understand that there are no “perfect” churches. When a church is made up of people who are sinful, the “saints” have not yet been made perfect. Yet a list like this is important because there are some churches calling themselves “Christian” holding a variety of beliefs that do not coincide with the biblical Christian faith. Hence, our desire is to give a starting points to finding a church that has biblical standards as its foundation.
We looked at the different church websites to see what their statements of faith were. For those churches that didn’t have a statement of faith on their websites, we wrote an email and posed the following questions (with the answers we hoped to receive in parentheses):
- Do you uphold the Bible as being the inerrant Word of God? (In other words, is the Bible to be trusted as God’s Word today? We believe it is.)
- Do you teach the Triune God as taught in the Bible? (The Trinity is biblical. As the Athanasian Creed states, “there is one God in three persons and three persons in one God, without mixing the persons or dividing the divine being. For each person—the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit—is distinct, but the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory and coeternal in majesty. What the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit.”)
- Do you believe justification (salvation) comes by grace through faith and not by works, as so stated in Eph. 2:8-9? (We are looking for agreement with this statement.)
- Do you believe that membership in your church is a requirement for salvation? (The Bible never suggests that joining a church is required for a relationship with God. An Evangelical Christian church should stress the idea that it is possible to have a personal relationship with God not dependent on church membership.)
- Do you believe water baptism is a requirement for justification for one’s sins? (The answer we need is “no,” as water baptism—though important after justification—is part of sanctification and is not a requirement added to belief, for then it becomes a work.)
- Good doctrine is vital! In fact, we would strongly caution anyone from attending a church that answers badly the questions above. We might also suggest having a personal interview with the church’s pastor or elder(s). A good shepherd will want to take the time to help you become familiar with this church and its congregation.
In addition to this, you ought to visit the church and ask yourself these questions based on your personal/family needs:
- Does the church I am considering have a children’s program? A youth program?
- Does the church offer instruction on other days besides Sunday? (i.e. home fellowships, Bible studies, etc.)
- Is the worship style your genre (traditional/contemporary/mix)? Are the church members friendly to visitors? Is the preaching based on the Bible?
- Is there a place at this church for you as a Christian to use the spiritual gifts you have?
Choosing a church should be a long-term commitment. Therefore, consider checking out as many churches in your area as possible. Sometimes visiting a church a second time can be helpful in getting a better picture of what this fellowship is all about. It is vital for the Christian who wants to grow to find a local body of believers and become involved.