Church Hopping

This is primarily for Protestants.

This is not a “anti-Protestant,bashing” question.

I want to know why it is that many Protestants seem to be in search of a Church that “speaks the Word of God as it should be” or worships the way that they (you) think God should be worshipped, etc. Firstly, I think it has to do with how you understand the Bible.

But how do you KNOW that a given church is the “right” one?

How do you KNOW that you are worshipping God in Truth and in Spirit?

I think you should know up front that I am a convert to the Catholic Church from Pentecostalism. HOWEVER I am not asking this as a loaded question, nor am I trying to “bait” anyone.

I would honestly be greatful for your insights and reply.

Thanks and God bless! - Mfaustina1

I suppose I was never all too concerned that I was in the “right” church, having the opinion that most Protestant Christian Chruches agree on the basics such as the Trinity, saved by faith alone, the Bible etc. (when I say most I leave out the JW’s, Mormons etc. because they DON’T agree on the basics) So anyhow, most agree on these basic elements so I could go to any one of them and whatever differences there were I didin’t think it mattered to God one bit. Does he care if I’m dunked or sprinkled when baptized? No, probably not. Does he care if I have communion weekly or monthly? No, probably not. Does he care if I sing “Celeberate Jesus” with a rocking band or Amazing Grace with an organ? No. None of that mattered because all that God cared about was “Do you believe in my Son Jesus who died on the cross for your sins?” After that, it’s pretty much a matter of personal choice and although within each denomination you find people who think that their chruch is “closest” to the truth, they leave room for the other Protestant demoninations and even some Catholics thrown in as well, despite the fact that Catholics are farthest from the “truth” since they added Saints & Mary and all that other junk.** **This is not what I currently believe so please don’t beat me up in future posts, I’m only stating what I used to believe and every Protestant I know believes IMO.

For myself when I became an adult I left one church because it claimed to follow the Bible completely but actually cherry picked what it would obey and what it would not. It would preach on how you ought to live as in very exacting standards in personal conduct (cut your hair a certain way, don’t go to movies etc) but when it came to helping the poor, they ignored it.

The next church I left because we moved. Husband was in the military and we had to go…I liked that church though. It was a Baptist Church in Okinawa. We attended there because it was the only one there!

Next was a Conservative Baptist Church. It didn’t have the legalistic standards of some of our former churches and we felt comfortable. Pastor left, we left. Turns out he was having an affair with the church secretary who also happened to be my husband’s aunt.

Next church was a Fellowship Bible. We attended there because we liked the Pastor and felt comfortable…we moved.

Next church was a Bible Fellowship church.Once again we liked the Pastor and felt comfortable…it got too big. Its now one of the area’s mega churches.

Husband now attends a Bretheren Church that basically has no standards. He found out about via a commerical on the radio. You can come to church dress anyway you want…smoke…drink ( I don’t think these things are a sin but its in contrast to the evangelical churches we had been in before)…they have a live rock band that plays for the services. Its a post-modern emerging ‘seeker’ church and he seems to like it a lot. I have no idea how long he will stay there.

dream wanderer

I started this same thread on

It’s a Protestant board. Go to the Forum and go to the Marriage and Theology Section. You’ll find the thread called “Church Hopping.”

You will see some insightful responses from Protestants, and it looks like it will be a fairly active thread. This is a topic that is near and dear to many Protestants.

I believe the advent of the “needs based church” in the 1980s started the “church hop.” People look for a church that “meets their needs.”

I think it’s sad. We should look for the Church that Jesus Christ established.

When we were Protestant, we used to base our choice of Protestant church on the people in the church. As long as the doctrine wasn’t way off, we could tolerate bad doctrine. Same for music, traditions, etc. But the people were always the deciding factor. If you are surrounded by great people, you can put up with a lot of junk.

Unfortunately, nowadays the church people aren’t always so great. I think that two decades of “meeting my needs” philosophy has led to Protestants who are rude and self-centered, who don’t care two figs for what happens to their pewmate or anyone else. Nowadays the thinking is, “So you’re not happy in our church? So you don’t fit in here? Well, get out. We don’t need you. Go find another church.”

How very sad and unloving. This philosophy had tragic results for my husband and I, as we were asked to leave our Protestant Church after several years of good service. It was terrible, and our two daughters have not been involved with a church since that day. They don’t trust any church.

Well, I was also one raised in the Protestant tradition (Baptist). I think , at least in the Baptist denomination, that you go “where the Spirit” moves you. So lots of Protestants seem to venture to other churches. Like shopping for comfortable shoes. :smiley:
After becoming dissatisfied with the Baptist churches I went to, I started going to the Methodist church as it was more traditional. Nice, but felt it was lacking something.
Anyway, am now taking the journey to the Catholic Church. (Attended my first RCIA class today. Woo Hoo! :smiley: )

My husband was raised Southern Baptist, and he told me that his parents left the church he grew up in (after he had already left home) because they got tired of the “bickering.” The church they’re in now (also S. Baptist), also has “bickering” (I’ve heard them occasionally complain about the goings on, but I guess it’s not enough to leave). When I asked how S. Baptists choose a church (this is when we were just dating, after I explained how Catholics can go to any Catholic church, the structure of the Mass is the same everywhere, as are the readings), he said you find one where the pastor interprets the Bible the same way you do. I laughed out loud. I asked how they know they are right, and he admitted they don’t, but that’s not terribly important, as long as you like the sermons and music and programs, and the pastor doesn’t start preaching “crazy stuff” (which I took to mean heretical, or what they think to be heretical). He and other Baptists I’ve known openly admitted that they “church shop”, and have no problem w/ it. A lot of them put an emphasis on “being fed” (w/o the Eucharist, but they don’t see the irony), if you’re not “being fed”, you find another church.

For me, my parents’ “church hopping” actually help bring me into the Catholic Church but not until some 17 years later when I finally got “fed” UP with all the differing teachings.

We went from a “Jesus only” church to a Trinity believing church without the slightest trouble when I was only 14 and even at that age I thought someone would have at least blinked an eye at the huge difference in WHO GOD IS!!! but my parents didn’t seem to have any trouble at all with this and it always confused me and still does since they really can’t answer me why after all these years. They left the “Jesus only” church because of the hypocrasy of many of the members there mainly due to the fact that they were very legalistic. (this was a UPC church.)

Cat- Don’t take it too hard anymore about your experience with a Protestant church. You are not alone. My parents were removed as Sunday school teachers, choir members and even NURSERY care in the church because they started to allow their daughters (me included) to wear pants. Then they were ostracized by all but ONE lady!!! So keep going and remember that inspite of other people’s weaknesses and prejudices God still loves us!!! :smiley: :thumbsup:

Thanks all for your replies. I guess Truth doesn’t seem to occur to most people or it figures low on the scale when finding a church. This doensn’t include those Protestants who actually DO seek to find and remain in a church that teaches the Bible to the best way they understand and believe it.

I’m starting to get to know a lot of protestants and learning about what they believe. It’s kind of like this: most protestant churches accept anyone to the communion altar. So they see it more as a ‘where is a community i want’ rather than a ‘what is a religion i want.’ So, with this mindset, a person who has predominantly, say, baptist beliefs may go to a methodist church (or another) becaue they feel like the community is better for them.
For me, I don’t know if this is ‘church hopping’ like you mean it, but sometimes i like going around to different catholic churches and meeting new people and just seeing all the different ways God works in them. It also helps me realize that I have so many brothers and sisters in Christ out there, and we are all part of the same family.

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