Denominational Existentialism

I always wanted to know how we (Christians) got here. I read the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles. But there always seemed such a disconnect between the Day of Pentecost and a lazy Sunday evening service, at least to me. Compounding that question was the other churches that occupied my small town–lots of Catholic churches, a few United Methodists, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, a Mormon, and a Pentecostal or two.

Where did they come from? And why weren’t we all going to church together? Are they going to be in Heaven?

{Evangelicals are often, by their very nature, obsessed with who is going (to Heaven) and who is not. And we prefer it, thank you very much, if you can narrow down a specific time when you yourself became sure that you were, in fact, going. If you can’t, then let’s take care of this right now.}

My neighbors went to Catholic school Monday through Friday, confession on Saturday and Mass on Sunday. They had confirmation classes and a First Communion. It was as if their lives centered around their church. But were they Christian?

It wasn’t that I didn’t have fun at my church–with Sunday school, AWANA, and going to my church’s grade school. But I was always a little bit curious about the other churches, and concerned about who went to them. And to really make me worried about my neighbors, their dad smoked cigarettes and drank beer.

But I digress–back to the questions of origins.

Nowhere in any of my perusing and studying of the Bible did I find any real mention of church denominations, such as “And on the 14th day, God created the United Church of Christ”… “Blessed are the Protestants, for they shall inherit much confusion”… They (the denominations) had to come from somewhere. But no one really could explain it.

All this to say, I think I packed up for this spiritual and theological journey rather early. I don’t even think I knew I was taking this trip, and as I look back I really, honestly can see how every doubt, every question led me to this place. Even this question of from whence we came …

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Author: Rebecca

Orthodox Christian. Writer. SAR K9 handler-in training. All three of those are deeply related.

4 thoughts on “Denominational Existentialism”

  1. I think what got me thinking about other denominations, besides me feeling holier than thou, was during a mission trip. I noticed that my denomination (Plymouth Brethren at the time) had little struggling parishes, the Baptists had little struggling parishes, the Pentecostals had little struggling parishes and I asked our ‘team leader’ why they didn’t all work together to bring Christ. He answered “Well we all believe different things.” A light bulb went on and I thought “Good grief this isn’t right.” That is when my atittude toward denominationalism changed and it was my first step towards the Orthodox Church. It changed so much that I married an ex-United Church/Congregationalist (which would have been considered Liberal to my very Conservative denomination). 🙂 Now we are Orthodox. And very glad we are home.

    Matushka (who goes on and on)

  2. Bec,

    I’ve felt the same way. Learning about all the different denominations, attending some of them over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that for any of them to be correct, God must be schizophrenic, but since the word tells us He does not change, then that can’t be right either. Enter Orthodoxy. But each step I take closer to converting, it’s a step further from family and friends. What’s a person to do?

  3. Anonymous:
    I understand that sentiment. When I got to the jumping off place, I had to comes to terms with the Truth of Orthodoxy. Having determined it is in fact True, I had no choice but to commit to it. Anything less would have been dishonest. My family and friends have varied in their support, but I have seen God’s blessing in that area, much more than I could have ever imagined.

    You will be in my prayers. Keep checking back, for this is something I will write about in greater detail soon.

    Bec

  4. i admire anyone who goes running after God, no matter where it leads. I love how God takes us to paths that we didn’t expect and certainly wouldn’t have chosen. Press on sister! I have a feeling that your courage will help many other folks. 2 Cor 1

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