Here’s part 1. One of the more difficult things Christians do is to decide where to worship. They use a lot of criteria. Some of them are valid criteria but many of them are not. Frequently people choose congregations on the basis of worship “style” without asking more profound questions about what sort of worship God has ordained. Frequently families choose congregations on the basis of the youth group. Again, whether and how a congregation cares for covenant youth is important but there are other more basic questions. Recently Chris Gordon, the host of Abounding Grace Radio sat down to talk through what priorities Christians should set when choosing a congregation. We worked through several passages of Scripture but as we did we used for our guide the Belgic Confession article 29, which was adopted by the Reformed churches to help believers sort out the complicated question of discerning a true church from sects and false churches that call themselves churches.
We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully, by the Word of God, what is the true church—for all sects in the world today claim for themselves the name of “the church.”
…The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church—and no one ought to be separated from it.
These marks have never been easy to apply but it is possible to do. Here’s the episode:
Thanks for listening.