But since I realize some people are reading this, and it is going to take me some time to get through my thoughts on some of these details. I should give some of my current thoughts.
I don't want to sound like I am defending any particular institutional church. I have just come to a place where I believe we should not judge a persons standing with God based on where they spend their Sunday mornings. There have been many divisions created by differences in doctrinal details. I think there is a place for debating doctrinal points, but I don't believe there will be a doctrinal entrance exam to heaven. I don't believe I have to figure out all the correct answers to gain God's favor.
I believe the world needs to see Christ's church as we see Christ - firstly a place of love, mercy and grace. The judging should be left to God.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Matt 7:1-5 NIV)
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.(Rom 14:1-8)
A few other things I've discovered:
- praying for unity is a good thing - Christ did it so we should too.
- it is easy to question one's faith when we focus on differences in doctrine
- it is harder to question ones faith when we see signs of the fruit of the spirit, and signs of love and devotion to the same Jesus that we love and serve
- most of the time when I researched doctrinal differences that I disagreed with, I found that the opposing argument usually had some sound logic and biblical reasoning backing it. I still may not agree with it, and I can still think it is wrong - but I have to respect that they are picking their side for some good reasons, and not just because they want to be wrong. :)
- Christ's church is not composed of any one denomination or label that we've made. Christ's Church is composed of those who love and follow Him - regardless of where they spend their Sunday mornings. (P.S. I like my local church - I believe it is a good place to meet with many from Christ's Church - and point others to joining Christ's Church)