Church Shopping

Edward N. Melott

There are those who love to shop. "Shop till you drop" is their motto. These are the ones who are shopping before daylight on the so-called black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). They are the ones who very frugally inspect the sale papers for clearance items and the like. Often they will ban together and tease one another, and, in all good fun, boast about a certain deal on a certain item they bought that they just could not live without. Others, usually men, shop with a certain disregard for sales and clearances and such, knowing exactly what they want when entering a store and stopping to look at nothing else. Whether very frugal or not so economical, most people in our society find it very difficult to pilgrim through this life without shopping at least for food, clothes, homes, etc.

Most, usually in their thirties, often earlier or even much later for some, reach a point when spiritual ideals begin to surface in their thinking. "Shall we go to church?" "Should we go?" Then, inevitably, "Where should we go?" At this point, friends and family members who attend various churches will often extend invitations. The "church shopping" has now begun. The family may attend several different churches, comparing qualities, programs, preachers, etc. The husband may ask the wife, "Which did you like the best?" She, in turn asks him his opinion. We must commend a family for wanting to go to church, for Jesus died for the church, says Paul, "Feed the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). Similarly, he wrote, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it" (Eph. 5:25).

Church shopping should not be relegated to what you like or what I like, but, rather, to what God likes; more rather, "What does God, in His Word, authorize?" God's Word is our "lamp and light" (Psalm 119:105) given by God to guide us through this life, an eternal roadmap which leads to heaven. We who live today are bound to the New Testament as our guide and rule. The Old Testament, though important for "our learning and admonition" (Rom. 15:4), has been nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14) and is no longer valid for men now living. The New Testament is the "perfect law of liberty" (Jas. 1:25), even the "words of eternal life" (John 6:68). One who is "church shopping" must look into the New Testament!

The New Testament contains many descriptions of the church, and many of these will not be noticed in many present day denominations. For example, the church of the Bible was described in such terms as the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16), the church of God (1 Cor. 1:2), the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15), the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23, Col. 1:18, Eph. 4:4), etc.; not by Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, etc. Let us find a church with a Biblical name. Secondly, the church used the Bible for its only creed (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:3). Thirdly, the church worshipped on the first day of every week (Sunday). Also, that worship consisted of praying (1 Thess. 5:17), singing, without instruments of music (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16-17), preaching (doctrine) (Acts 2:42), giving (1 Cor. 16:1-2), and partaking of the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7). Fourthly, the church taught a proper plan of salvation, not a perverted "faith only, grace only" plan. The plan included belief (Mk. 16:16), repentance (Acts 17:30; Lk. 13:3), confession (Mt. 10:32-33), and baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

Those who are church shopping would do well to visit the church of Christ and obey the Gospel and worship God properly until death (Rev. 2:10). 69 1/2 East Thistle Dr., New Martinsville, WV 26155.


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