Focus Question Column
This new column will be devoted to questions submitted by readers, and, hopefully answers to these questions by students of God’s Word with experience of varied problems. Comments on the questions — and answers — will be welcomed from readers who may not entirely agree with the answers submitted, or who wish to present other aspects of the problems. Questions — or comments — should be sent to the editor of this column, Dr. J. A. Naismith, 1121 Hilltop St., Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 5S6.
The question for this issue comes in the form of a story, typical of many:
I Don’t Know Which to Choose!
This is Bill Brown: A few weeks ago my life started anew! I couldn’t begin to tell the sin, the tangles, the heartbreaks I experienced before. My home life was miserable: my wife and children and I fought constantly. Things weren’t much better at work. My past was catching up on me. I knew it couldn’t go on —but in my wildest dreams I could not have imagined what was going to happen to me.
Then one night it happened! I found myself, of all people, in a religious service. Don’t ask me how it came about. In my misery, I had allowed myself to be persuaded to attend — at least, I reasoned, it could do no harm: I had no doubts that it would not do me any good. Even if the nationally known evangelist could help others, his type of Bible-thumping approach was not for me! If God existed, He didn’t care about me.
I’ll never know quite how it happened, but, that night, in deep conviction and in tears (quite a new experience for me), I “went forward”, confessed my sin and failure, and committed my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I came from that wonderful moment loving Him and anxious to live for Him.
Now I have a problem and I need your help. I realize that I need a spiritual home — a church where I can worship God and share the fellowship of other Christians. But how to choose the right one? I have visited several churches in the neighbourhood and my choice seems to be limited to two:
A few blocks from here there is a strong, thriving, active church, with a wonderful pastor who really preaches the Gospel and believes the Bible (something I didn’t find in some of the other churches I tried). A good programme has been arranged for all the family. The congregation is growing. They make one feel really welcome, and I do enjoy going there.
Also close by there is a “Gospel Chapel” where the Bible is also believed and taught. There is no minister. Many of the speakers are untrained. Some are very good; others would be better not to speak! While this somewhat smaller congregation is not growing, the members appear devoted to Christ. They stress a weekly communion service.
I don’t know which church to choose. Please help me.
Here is the problem — quite a common one! If Bill Brown had called you for advice, what would you have told him? Focus is anxious to have reader responses to this practical problem, and will print as many as possible. Let’s hear from you!