The name of the show is What You’ve Been Searching For, where we take the topics and questions from the internet that our research tells us that you, the Christian podcast listener, have been searching for. Today’s topic is something I’m going to tell you maybe you shouldn’t be searching for, or at least give you another way of thinking about it. Intrigued? Interested? Stay tuned.
The question we have today is one that you’ve probably heard a lot of and maybe thought about yourself. What’s better for me, a mega church, a small church, a house church, maybe digital church? We talked about digital churches in our last episode, and as for the other options, I was thinking about this earlier this week and how I was going to talk about this, and I realized that that question, or this topic, is seen through the framework that church has always been seen in this country.
In our history, church has always been more or less the same thing. It presented us with the same choices, just different generations had different expressions of those choices. Earlier on it was which denomination, Presbyterian, baptist Catholic? Then became emergent church versus traditional church. These days there’s all kinds of choices, but they’ve all been in the framework of freedom of choice in America and an assumption that most churches are generally the same, or at least have certain basic principles we can count on.
Well today I think all of those presuppositions, and that framework, is being thrown out the window. So in thinking about this, I was a little bit stumped on what to talk about and how to go into this topic. And in a totally unrelated thought, my wife asked me what book am I reading right now? And I didn’t have a book. And I thought, maybe I should reread a book I’ve read in the past that had an impact on me. And the first book that came to mind was Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. It’s one of the first books I read as a young Christian, this is the actual copy I read as a young Christian.
I haven’t even gotten into the book yet, because last night I was reading the preface, and something hit me in the preface that I think applies to what I was thinking about the issue of, what is the right church for you, the individual Christian, or me. So little side note, my wife and I are going through this now, we’re trying to find a new church, and so we’re dealing with these same questions.
So instead of giving you my thoughts on the old framework on what’s the best style of church for us, should we go to a big church, a small church, should we stay at home watch church online? Should we start a church in our house? I mean, all those are good questions, and they’re relevant questions. But C.S. Lewis said something in this preface that I think is a new framework that we might think about looking at when we think about what kind of church we want to go to. And I want to read you a passage, the passage that struck me the most, and that I think is the most relevant.
He didn’t want to go into a deep theological study of the differences in Christianity, he just wanted to present basic Christianity, or a fundamental Christianity, so he called it Mere Christianity. And what he was explaining in the preface is, his goal for the book was not to tell his readers which church to go to. He just wanted to introduce them to Christianity, and he used the analogy of a house. And the analogy was, “I’m just bringing you into the house and walking you into the hallway.” He goes, “You’re inside the house, you are a Christian, and there are many doors with which you can enter and be in the house.”
You don’t live in the hallway when you’re in a house, you have several different options for you. So he just wanted to put the Christian in the hallway, he wasn’t going to recommend which door to go through. So that was his way of saying, I just want to introduce you to the basics of Christianity, you decide which expression of that you want to choose. And this is how he told them, this is what the important thing he told them was about choosing which door to knock on, and then I’m reading from the preface here, “And above all you must be asking which door is the true one, not which pleases you best by it’s paint and paneling. In plain language the question should never be, do I like that kind of service? But, are these doctrines true? Is holiness here? Does my conscious move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door keeper?”
This is the new paradigm which is actually an old paradigm, or an old framework to which we need to be looking at the church. All the pressures that are coming at the church today, all the lies, all the falsehoods, all the pressures from our government to not meet and to change our doctrines, to change our beliefs, these have changed the framework. Our framework now needs to be, when we look at a church, is this a true church? Are they holding true to the word of God? Is their worship true? Are their acts of service true? Is truth here? Not do I like the doorkeeper, which probably means the pastor. Not do I like the pain and paneling, which probably means, do I like the look of the church or not, or the type of music they play ,or the show they give. That’s going to be the new framework with which we choose a church in the days and years to come.
So those are my thoughts, that’s just what occurred to me. Again, as always on this podcast, I just want to open up a conversation. What do you think? We have the great C.S. Lewis giving us some insight into how to choose a church, and I think it applies as much or more so today than it did back then. So let me know what you think in the comments, and as always, look for us on YouTube and Rumble and Gab, and maybe some other ones coming up, some alternative sites that we can get on. Look for us on Spotify, Apple, all your other podcast platforms. Most of all, go to ChristianPodcastCentral.com for more great content like this. Thanks for listening, we’ll see you next week.