Advice for Shopping for a Local Church (that you can attend in person):
This is here in order to help you find a ‘good quality’ local Church if you decided to attend one rather than attending online here. It’s important to ‘group up’ with believers in order to succeed spiritually whether it’s in person or online.
Let’s start with a parable in which we relate faith in God’s words (which we can learn about in Churches) to a car. I hope this parable will help people better understand how to ‘Church shop’…
A car will turn on and work when the important components (parts) have been installed in that car. What if a person were to come along who doesn’t know about cars and doesn’t know about the importance of making sure the right parts are in a car before trying to start it? That person might try to start the car, and when it doesn’t start he (or she) might say, ‘Ah, I don’t believe that cars work’. But that person would be missing some very important information. It’s obvious to us, but it would not be obvious to someone who has never seen a car work before. If he (or she) would have seen someone else driving a car or if he would have put the right parts in the car before he tried to start it, he would have said the opposite when he would have seen the car turn on and drive. He would likely have said something like, ‘Wow, what a great car!’ We can compare having faith in the most important words from God to putting the most important parts in a car. We will only experience what Jesus promised when we start putting our faith in the most important words that Jesus gave us (which are recorded in the Bible).
Therefore, for a Church to hope to be a ‘good quality Church’ it has to, at the very least, do a ‘decent job’ of teaching about the most important things that Jesus taught. Hopefully the Church you find will do a ‘good job’ of teaching these things so that you or others who attend can easily experience God and have everything that God promised-both during our lives now and forever in heaven. You should be able to hear a lot of testimonies from the people who attend a good quality Church about how they experienced God and how God helped them during the course of their lives.
God gave us basic instructions about how to have eternal life, how to open the way for our prayers to get answered, and how to experience Him so we can confirm that He’s real and we can know we have eternal life. Again, Churches need to at least teach accurately enough about the most important spiritual information that God gave us. We find this spiritual information in the Bible.
A car will still work (though not as well) without some minor components, but it won’t work at all without the most important components. Our faith will work (though not as well) without knowledge of some of the more minor points in the Bible, but it won’t work at all without spiritual knowledge of the most important points. In a way, a Church can be compared to a mechanic shop where components are put in cars so that the cars work when you turn them on and drive them. Churches share God’s words with people through preaching, teaching, discussion over lunch, ect. and they typically pray for those who attend to understand and experience God’s words by the Holy Spirit. This way, everyone in the specific Church can at least come to know God according to the most important words that God gave us through the Lord Jesus and the apostles. Hopefully, the specific Church you find will do a good job of explaining about the more minor points in the Bible as well because the more minor points do have some importance for our spiritual lives and our lives in this world.
Some Churches have set aside some of some of the most important things that Jesus taught us to believe and replaced them with human traditions and human ideas. During Jesus’ life on earth He rebuked some religious leaders, “You have a fine way or setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:9) Sometimes this is a small problem like taking minor components out of car, but sometimes this is a big problem-to the point that no one in the Church has ever truly experienced getting a prayer answered or experienced God in any way...in that case-how do they even know that they have eternal life? Everyone in the whole world will eventually die. Better make sure we are ready for that by experiencing God while we are still alive.
The best thing for people to do would be to not attend a Church like the kind I mentioned in the previous paragraph at all, and to seek out a better one like our Online Church on this website or the Churches that are listed below. However, if you think you might currently be in a Church where they may have set important words of God aside and asserted their human traditions instead, and you insist on staying in that Church, I would urge you to keep reading straight through the New Testament in the Bible as you do so. No matter what Church you attend-always prioritize what Jesus said and what the Holy Spirit said through the apostles over what you are taught in your Church. This way (no matter what Church you attend) you can get help from the Bible, to help make sure you have eternal life, that you can get your prayers answered, and so that you can experience God. I have occasionally met a Christian from a very religious/traditional Church whom I thought really had eternal life and had really experienced God. But whenever I did-they were always Bible readers. It’s not about the paper pages or ink, it’s about the fact that God spoke words through those He chose to speak through, that these words are powerful and contain eternal promises, that they were collected under God’s direction, kept accurate over the centuries with God’s help, and are in the Bible for us to read. That’s what’s important for our spiritual lives and our physical lives (lives in this world) as well.
I realize that some of you still want to make sure that the words in the Bible are trustworthy, true, and truly from God. I went through that myself so I understand. But during the process of figuring it out and confirming it, I urge you to trust me and find a Church that at least adheres to the basics of what Jesus taught us in the Bible about God and eternal life. This is an ideal environment for you to ‘prove it’ in.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jesus: John 8:32), but you if don’t try to find out what’s spiritually true, then you won’t know the truth and you won’t be spiritually free. Even if it may feel a bit uncomfortable for some at first (as many new things do) to go to Church, I hope you attend anyway for the sake of your souls, and I hope you end up enjoying it, making new friends, and having good experiences there.
Hopefully, the people you will meet at these Churches will be sincere, able to answer your questions about the Bible, able to help you experience God, will make you feel comfortable, will include you in what’s going on there, and will treat you well. However, if the first Church you try isn’t the right ‘fit’ for your soul, I hope you keep trying out different Churches until you find a ‘good quality’ local Church. It’s well worth the effort. There is a directory of Churches below and hopefully you can use this directory to find a good quality local Church. It does not include all the good quality Christian Churches out there, but it does include Churches that I am more familiar with myself-and where I hope you will find a good quality group of Christians based on what I know.
If you are already a Church leader (or attender) and you want your Church to be listed here, feel free to email me and I will try to get to know your Church so I can list it here. That is…if your Church makes the grade.
The list of Churches below is composed of two categories. The first category includes Churches where they are more likely to discuss and try to experience scriptures in the Bible that promise miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit (on this page I am calling them “Pentecostal/Charismatic” which is what they are commonly called).
The second category includes Churches where they believe the Bible and would say they believe all of it, and likely experience answered prayers and have some Biblical experiences with God, but they usually don’t spend much time talking about modern healing miracles or gifts of the Holy Spirit-as things that Christians experience regularly these days. But again, many of these Churches do talk about experiencing God in other ways such as getting prayers answered or how people’s hearts can be deeply touched when they first experienced God (I am calling Churches from the second category “Evangelical” Churches in this document in order to keep things simple, although some of these Churches may just call themselves "Christian" and not call themselves "Pentecostal" or "Charismatic").
The next paragraph may sound a bit complicated to some new people, but if you keep reading there will be more in-depth explanation.
I recommend searching for a Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian Church that encourages spiritual experiences that are promised by Biblical scriptures and also does a good job of discerning which experiences are authentically from God and which are not.
I recommend searching for an Evangelical Christian Church that is more open-minded than most about getting help from the Holy Spirit and experiencing God regularly during our spiritual lives.
I have respect for good quality Churches from either category. There is a more in-depth explanation of why there are different Churches and more about what to expect while attending them after the list below-further down the pages.
I plan to add more to this page soon for sake of people who live outside of the USA. For the time being (if you live outside the USA), you will find that many of the Church denominations listed below have Churches in various countries and also partner with local Churches (that have different names) in other countries. That being said, hopefully you can do a little research online and find out if the Churches that are listed below have locations near you in your country or if they have partner Churches near you in your country. In 2021, Christian faith is very active and strong in many parts of the world and is still spreading. If you need further help finding a Church, feel free to email me. email@example.com
Category 1 (no, I don’t mean a hurricane) Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian Churches:
Rhema Bible Church Locator (LINK should be here soon)
Church of God in Christ (COGIC; an excellent Church that is mostly attended by African Americans)
Open Bible Church Directory (LINK should be here soon)
Assemblies of God (LINK should be here soon)
New Hope International (LINK should be here soon)
Victory Outreach (Link should be here soon)
Time Square Church (LINK should be here soon)
Ki Alpha (College Student Club at many campuses) (LINK should be here soon)
In Nigeria: Winners Church
In the Philippines: Jesus is Lord Church (JIL)
In Singapore: New Creation Church
In Japan (Yoido Full Gospel Church in Tokyo)
(Plan add more later…if you want your Church to be added contact me so I can get to know you)
Category 2 Evangelical Christian Churches:
Southern Baptist Churches (LINK should be here soon)
American Baptist Churches (LINK should be here soon)
Covenant Churches (LINK should be here soon)
CRU (College student club at many campuses) (LINK should be here soon)
Saddleback Church (LINK should be here soon)
Elevation Church (LINK should be here soon)
In the Philippines: Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF)
(Plan add more later…if you want your Church to be added contact me so I can get to know you)
Added note**If there are no local Churches near you that have any connection to the Church denominations listed above…then you can email me and I can help you find one (unless I am getting swamped with emails) or you can find one by reading the rest of this this document to get more info and you can find a Christian Church that has a statement of faith on its website (or on paper) which says that they believe: There is One God, but in three persons, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit (the Trinity), that the words in the Bible are God’s words, that eternal life can be given to anyone through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and they teach about Baptism in water by immersion.
Sorry if that still kinda sounds dogmatic to some of you, but trust me it’s important. A doctor with real medical knowledge could perform a life saving procedure, but a person who says he’s a doctor, but doesn’t have accurate medical knowledge could really harm another person’s body. You want to make sure that you attend a Church where what they teach is good for your soul and won’t harm your soul. Even if you are not completely sure about my suggested statement of faith yet, I urge you to trust me and start by attending a Church that teaches the way I just told you in the previous paragraph. There may be a few more items on their statement of faith which you should eventually check out carefully, but at least the points I just mentioned must be on their statement of faith.
I tried to consider both accuracy and simplicity when made this document. I typed this up mostly for the sake of people who are not real familiar with what’s in the Bible and are not real familiar with different Churches. Technically, the term “Evangelical” can mean different things to different people. Both to secular people who classify religious groups and to different Christians who classify themselves and other Christian groups. I am not sure how else to make this document simple even though the way I used the term “Evangelical” doesn’t fit into everyone’s personal definition of the term. Therefore, again, in this document I am using the term “Evangelical” to refer to Christian Churches that usually teach pretty accurately about the most important words in the Bible, but usually don’t teach much about healing miracles or certain gifts of the Holy Spirit. The way I am using the term “Evangelical” in this document is mostly for the sake of the new people. So they can understand that there are broadly two categories of Churches that usually teach the most important words in the Bible pretty accurately (Pentecostal/Charismatic and ‘Evangelical’). Technically, some of the Churches that I am calling “Evangelical” for the sake of being simple in this document would not call themselves “Evangelical” (though many other denominations of Churches would), but they would call themselves “Christian” and they would not call themselves “Pentecostal” or “Charismatic”. If this seems a bit wearisome, keep in mind that it’s a big Christian world out there-and it’s been out there for a long time. Even so, whatever you call them, there are basically two categories in which you can find ‘good quality’ Churches.
And now…(no drum roll please) a more in-depth explanation of why there are different Churches and what they have in common and what’s different about them…
There are a lot of Churches that are “Christian” that have a lot of things in common in terms of what they believe and how they live out their faith. But, as Churches have spread out over the world throughout history, different denominations have been formed. Different Christian denominations may emphasize varying combinations of topics in scripture and have their own style of sharing God’s words somewhat like the way different chefs might cook and serve food in different ways. Food allows our bodies to live and God’s words allow our souls to live (Matthew 4:4). There are many Churches that 'serve' God’s eternal-life giving words and there are a few that serve (spiritual) poison. So…shop smart. I will talk about the ones that serve spiritual poison close to the end of this document.
Again, I will talk about two different types of Churches that both share God’s eternal-life giving words. I am basically dividing them into two groups which is what a lot people do these days. The first group (or category) I will call “Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian Churches” and the second group I will call “Evangelical Christian Churches”. The vast majority of Christian denominations would probably fit into either of these two categories. Christians from either category usually believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (the Trinity), believe in preparing people for heaven by making sure their sins are forgiven and making sure they have eternal life, and they believe in God’s words in the Bible. So…how are Pentecostal/Charismatic and Evangelical Churches different?
Well, Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian Churches tend to emphasize certain parts of the Bible that relate to miracles, experiencing God’s power, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit more than Evangelical Churches do. Though there is variation among Christians who attend Churches that belong to either category. For example, many Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches (like All Nations Online Church here) are not completely open to all Christians who claim that their spiritual experiences come from God. We seek to carefully discern these spiritual experiences in light of scripture to make sure they are from God whereas some Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches are not real careful about discerning. Among Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches you will find that they vary in terms of how carefully they discern the authenticity of spiritual experiences. You may also find that some Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches accept all the words in the Bible which are about spiritual experiences, but others ignore or oppose certain kinds of experiences. Bear in mind that modern culture which exists outside of the Church tends to discourage spiritual experiences and/or deny them so it’s no surprise that Churches deny them in varying degrees as well, even though the Bible promises that believers would have spiritual experiences. Sometimes individual Evangelical Churches are better places to experience God (but they probably won’t talk much about modern miraculous healings there) and sometimes Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches are better places to experience God.
A lot of Evangelical Christian Churches do a pretty good job of sharing God’s words and living according to God’s will even though they usually don’t try to help people experience certain parts of the Bible that mention miraculous healing, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, visions, ect. Some Evangelical Christian Churches are more accepting of the spiritual experiences I just mentioned than others and most of them pray and teach that God really answers prayer. Most of these kinds of Churches do believe that we need help from the Holy Spirit to truly believe, to understand scripture, and to live our Christian lives successfully. But some of them say this on the one hand, but have a negative attitude towards the Holy Spirit when someone actually tries to experience getting help from the Holy Spirit in some way. God is Almighty, but He lets us choose whether to be moved and helped by Him or not (no matter which kind of Church we attend). Most of these Churches do not completely deny Biblical spiritual experiences, they just tend to focus on some and not others or accept some and deny others. Which kinds of Biblical experiences they ignore (or deny) and how strongly they ignore (or deny) them will vary from one Evangelical Church to another. And, though not as many Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches ignore or deny certain Biblical spiritual experiences-some of them ignore or deny them as well. But it's not as common or widespread among Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches.
Because sins can now be forgiven because Jesus died for us all, the Almighty perfect God can now dwell in mere humans that are flawed. Part of the time-God shines through Christians so it's easy to see that God exists and is working in and through Christian believers, but at other times, the human flaws of those believers block God's glory so that He does not shine through them. God gives us perfect instructions which are so perfect that we as imperfect people have often resisted them at certain points because God doesn't force us-he just tells us. Many Christian believers failed to fully understand God's instructions or always walk in them. Yet, those Christian believers who are good examples, and have done a better job of understanding God's will and walking in it, will manifest God's presence so powerfully that even many who are not Christian see them and recognize 'God is truly among you'.
On another note...
Some people came to know Jesus without healing miracles or visions or things like that and have simply been living their Christian lives without much of that for years or even for generations. Of course as long as people truly believe, they can experience these things and none of them would be bad to experience-in fact God would be pleased as long as the experiences are authentic. And speaking of authentic, that’s one of the good things about Evangelical Christian Churches, that they are less likely to have Christians among them who claim to have had a spiritual experience with God, but are mistaken and the experience is not authentic.
In some ways, I think All Nations Online Church would be in agreement with some Evangelical Christian Churches in that we would also be more careful about rejecting ‘spiritual experiences’ that are not authentic and not really from God. We will have some things in common with Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches and some things in common with Evangelical Christian Churches. Even though I would technically classify All Nations Online Church as part of the “Pentecostal/Charismatic” group.
About miraculous healing. Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches usually believe that God can miraculously heal the sick. Though, it’s very rare for Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches to be against Christians using medicine or seeing doctors for medical treatment. God used a first century doctor named Luke to write two books in the Bible-Luke and Acts. Some say the gospel of Luke is more detailed because doctors tend to pay attention to details. It’s common for Christians to tell people to get medical treatment and then pray that God will help the doctors do a very good job and that the sick person will recover from the ailment miraculously fast so the doctors know that God worked (prayers that are similar to that are common these days). I have heard so many testimonies of how things went so well with the medical treatments of Christians who were prayed for that it was pretty clear that God helped a lot during the process. Of course some will doubt that, and try to explain it away, but not the ones who had faith and witnessed it with faith. I would say that this is a pretty common way for Christians to pray among both Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches and also among Evangelical Christian Churches. Especially in places where people tend to have more money for medical care and more access to good medical care.
However, what will people do if there is no medical treatment or no money or no access to medical care? And for another thing, what will they do if they have a different kind of problem and no matter how hard they work or how smart they are or how clever they are…no matter what-there is no humanly possible way to solve the problem? Some Christians have faced situations like that and others have not. And what if even a small answer to prayer or a small miracle won’t be enough? Lots of Christians have only experienced small miracles or small answers to prayers so what if someone comes into their Church who has a much bigger problem than any that they ever faced? A problem so big and difficult that only a big answer to prayer or a big miracle could solve it? If you or someone you love is in that kind of situation I recommend that you seek out Christians who have been through similar problems and overcame them by experiencing big miracles from God and big answers to prayers.
You will be more likely to find such people among Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches where the leaders there used to be poor. Poor Christians often have no way out of problems except through some kind of big miracle from God. Christians who grew up rich are more likely to have had ‘other ways’ of solving their problems, but many rich Christians serve God well too-they are just less likely to have experienced a big miracle because they are less likely to have needed one. Also, some rich Christians may have needed one, but they were never taught about big miracles in their Church.
*I think some Evangelical Churches pray for the sick and believe for miracles under certain circumstances (sometimes even big miracles). If you are a Church leader and meet someone with a bigger problem than you ever faced and it’s clear that only a big miracle from God can save/help them. I think you can just be honest and do your best. Many Church leaders have experienced much bigger miracles from God than I have and I am happy if you do too. We are not at war with other Christians we are at war with the devil.
Added Note** The few paragraphs above that are about healing is kinda more for believers who haven’t experienced miraculous healing yet. I think some might say something like, ‘how dare you give that poor suffering person false hope’. How do you know that it’s false? You can see the evidence in the first few videos I put on the “It’s Here” page which you can see after you first click on the home button of this site. Some might say, ‘What if you pray for her and God doesn’t heal her?’, but I would say, ‘What if God does heal her?’ ‘What if God would heal her (or him), but we were too afraid to pray for someone who needs healing.’ Even in the case of famous preachers that God worked through to heal so many sick people like Oral Roberts or Reinhard Bonnke, there were some different people in the meetings where they preached who were and were not miraculously healed. That’s true. The Bible contains explanations for this. Even if some didn’t get healed, I suggest you block that out of your mind and always believe at every moment that you will be one of the ones who gets healed in Jesus name. If you are going to pray for a sick person always believe that you will be one of the Christians that God works through to heal and not one of the one’s that God doesn’t work through in this way. Even Reinhard Bonnke said his Church in his early ministry was a “miracle free zone” until God started healing through him regularly. Jesus said, “everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23). And Jesus said, “…whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing” (John 14:12) and these works continue until Jesus returns (Mark 16:1-18, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17). Just believe that your faith is sufficient because God is far more than sufficient. Be stubborn in a good way. For those of you who are still figuring out what you believe about Jesus let me tell you that I absolutely do not mean ‘mind over matter’ here. I mean ‘God over matter’ according to God’s promise of healing in the Bible. It happens because God is there working when we believe and pray for the sick the way Jesus said to do it. People can’t do this without real faith in Jesus. They believe in Jesus (the real Jesus-as He is really described in the Bible) for healing and not someone or something else.**
Okay, back to the main point of this section of the website. I was talking about Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian Churches and Evangelical ones. You should probably know that the two groups typically acknowledge one another as Christian and there are a lot of instances where they are friends and work together. They do not get together for Christian UFC fighting matches. They do not typically try to pin each other with Bible verses until someone gives up and taps the ground. They do not get a “Pentecostal” or “Evangelical” stamp on their government photo ID’s or Bibles and then have the stamps checked every time they try to enter their Church or something. Haha.
There are lots of Christian radio stations and Christian singers that have listeners from both categories of Church. They often attend the same Christian schools or Christian Colleges. Sometimes the leaders of these different kind of Churches are friends, preach at each other’s Churches, and belong to the same Christian organizations like a Christian business club or Christian athletic club.
But, even among the generally open-mined ones, there may typically be a few, say, ‘awkward silences’ when Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians bring up certain Biblical topics like the gifts of the Holy Spirit with some Evangelical Christians that are ‘not real into’ that topic. By contrast, some Pentecostals may have a way of sometimes deliberately bringing up certain gifts of the Holy Spirit in the presence of Evangelical Christians and looking at them with a proud look as they do it.
No one’s perfect except God. Christian believers should get along with each other and be humble because there is only one body of Christ. The Bible talks about all the believers as one body that are all connected and of which Jesus is the head (the head of a human body controls the body just as Jesus-who is in heaven-is supposed to control the Church). The whole Church on earth is supposed to ultimately be controlled by Jesus, but Christians must voluntarily let Jesus control them and succeed in letting Jesus control them when they try. Jesus was raised from the dead, witnessed by over 500 people, and then he ascended to heaven from where He controls the Church as long as the Church lets Him.
God directed for there to be Church leaders to direct the affairs of Churches and those Church leaders are never supposed to think of the Church as their own to direct, but as a God designed institution that God is supposed to direct. God has given us everything and God laid out a design for the Church(es). It’s the responsibility of Church leaders to be aware of this design and keep the Church operating within that design.
However, God’s words in the Bible say that, just as there are different parts of the human body with different functions and these parts work together, so different Christian believers may have different functions, different positions, and different spiritual gifts to help them carry out those functions effectively. It’s God’s will for all the Churches to be roughly the same in some ways, but I think it’s also often God’s will for individual (or several) Christian leaders to start Churches that are meant to be different in other ways. There are different parts of the body of Christ and different individuals such as the different apostles that Jesus called (made his disciples) that we read about in the Bible. I think the Holy Spirit worked through the different apostles in many of the same ways, but also in some different ways.
For instance, Peter was better suited as an apostle to the Jews whereas Paul was better suited to be an apostle to non-Jewish people. So, Paul spent more time talking to non-Jewish people about God and Peter spent more time talking to Jewish people about God (and about Jesus with New Testament faith). The other apostles would likely also have been better at talking to certain individuals about God or to certain groups of people or at carrying out special ministries. In the Bible book of Acts, the Holy Spirit said to set apart Paul and Barnabas for certain work that involved talking to certain people about God and helping them. The Holy Spirit told Philip to talk to an Ethiopian man about Jesus and Philip Baptized him. After Stephen was stoned to death for his faith in Jesus, the believers were spread out and some of the believers talked to Jews about Jesus, but others went to talk to Greeks.
I believe that there are not just different Churches because of human imperfections, but also because it’s God’s will for there to be different Churches. One Church is good at ministering to youth gangs like David Wilkerson’s ministry and another ministry helps homeless children get into orphanages or foster homes in developing countries (and both should tell people about Jesus). There are so many problems in the world and so many people who need to hear about God, that I believe God raises up specialized people and specialized ministries of various kinds. So don’t be discouraged about the fact that there are so many different Churches, but see the good in it. God is working through them to do a tremendous amount of good in this world.
So many people around the world are fed, clothed, counseled, encouraged, loved, emotionally healed, able to go to school, able to find work, able to get medical care, miraculously healed, reconciled with loved ones, and the list of good works seems to be endless. I couldn’t mention it all, but God could. Jesus the head of the Church is still loving and helping people in various ways through believers in Churches. I hope you want to be a part of this and by being a part of a Church. Jesus said, “you are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14). Before I was a Christian I often heard about the bad things that some Christians did, but after I started to believe I was surprised to find out the tremendous amount of good that Christians are doing in this world as God directs them. I had really underestimated how much good Christians have been doing as God directs them.
Back to talking about Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians and Evangelical ones…
I think the famous Billy Graham would be regarded as Evangelical by most Christians, but it’s obvious that he preached powerfully by the Holy Spirit and lived by the Holy Spirit. He held large Christian meetings where Christians from all sorts of Evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic denominations attended along with those who were not Christians. People were so deeply moved by the preaching (which God surely helped him deliver) to people from so many Christian backgrounds and other kinds of backgrounds. God helped Billy Graham to unify Christians for these meetings. Kathryn Kuhlman did something similar to that-except with healing miracles. I think Billy Graham was better at peaching than Kathryn Kuhlman, but God didn’t work through him to heal the sick the way God worked through Kathryn Kuhlman to help so many suffering sick people. Different parts of the body of Christ can have different gifts of the Holy Spirit and God can work through them in different ways. I believe we only need to reject what is ‘not of God’ and we need accept what ‘is of God’ so that we as Christians can be unified. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Roman 15:7)
That’s why a lot of Churches say they are “Non-Denominational” or “Interdenominational”, but I find that each one of these Churches are usually more on the side of either a Pentecostal/Charismatic view of the Bible or an Evangelical view of the Bible. However, they typically emphasize ‘unity among Christians’ more than the average denomination. Most of the denominations emphasize unity among Bible believing Christians in varying degrees.
Christians typically see their Church denomination as part of a larger worldwide group of various Churches that would identify themselves as ‘Christian’. Most Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians and Evangelical Christians would acknowledge one another as part of this larger ‘Christian’ family.
There are however, some Evangelical Christian Churches that are pretty anti-Pentecostal/Charismatic and are even against some other Evangelical Churches (For example, I think Elevation Church isn't Pentecostal/Charismatic, but it is getting persecuted now. I think it's a good quality Church). If you find a little bit of antiPentecostal/Charismatic or antiEvangelical sentiment in a Church you visit-it might be tolerable, but if you find a lot this bad sentiment there-I would leave that Church and find a better one. I think they are either not well educated about the whole Bible or their character isn’t Biblical-or both. These Churches that are antiPentecostal/Charismatic (and sometimes against other Evangelical Churches) tend to say the word “Biblical” or “UnBiblical” a lot which can be very misleading to people who are not familiar with the New Testament as a whole. I typically find the understanding of the Bible in these Churches to be based a kind of ‘Bible cliff notes’ rather than the whole New Testament or the whole Bible.
They’ve often been studying the Bible in a very incomplete and sometimes partially inaccurate way for so long in their own little ‘Christian culture bubble’ that when they hear about the way some other Christians are teaching or experiencing parts of the Bible that aren’t included in their ‘Bible cliff notes’ or their ‘Christian culture bubble’, they tend to react without wisdom and strongly say that what those Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians are doing is against the Bible (or what that Evangelical Church is doing is against the Bible).
It’s usually not against the Bible, it’s just not included in their Churches ‘Bible cliff notes’. They are clinging to a partial understanding of the Bible and using it to oppose a more holistic understanding of the Bible. If they don’t have a view of more of “the whole truth” of the Bible and their faith is based on a view of “part of the truth” of the Bible and they think that part is the whole thing, they may wrongly condemn others.
Even outside of the Church, sometimes people get persecuted by their own families, their own friends, their own coworkers or others who should have supported them. We shouldn’t be too surprised if human imperfections sometimes get in the way of God’s will. Problems that go on outside of the Church, sometimes also go on inside of the Church as well even though it’s not God’s will. It doesn't mean God isn't in Churches. God is in flawed believers in Churches. How well these believers have adjusted themselves to God's instructions as individuals and as a group will vary. That's why the purpose of this document is to help you find good quality Christian believers and good quality Christian Churches-but you will never find a flawless person or a flawless Church.
Even the prophets in the Old Testament had flaws-though they were excellent men and women of God. Even the apostles in the New Testament had flaws and sinned, but God forgave them, called them, helped them and so many people were helped and connected to God through them. Only Jesus is perfect. Hebrews 1:3 "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being..." We don't need to be perfect to come to God, just honest, 'God I am imperfect. A sinner. Sometime I hurt others. Sometimes I was selfish." When Jesus met Peter who would become an apostle, and Peter realized how holy Jesus is, he said to Jesus, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" (Luke 5:8) But Jesus knew Peter inside and out, and through and through and Jesus said to Peter, "Don't be afraid..." and Jesus welcomed Peter in spite of his sins and flaws. Jesus loved Peter. God forgave Peter, God prepared Peter and improved him even though he made mistakes along the way. But Peter didn't permanently give up on following Jesus because of his sins or because of any other reasons. And God did so much good through Peter even though he was flawed. God can do so much good through us too if we just keep seeking God through His words, through prayer, and through attending the best Church we can find. Where the perfect Jesus dwells in imperfect people.
Some Churches made the mistake of being AntiPentecostal/Charismatic or even of being against some other Evangelical Churches. Even among some of these antiPentecostal/Charismatic Churches, they may still be doing some good in this world. They may be right about the parts of the Bible they are familiar with and they may be doing good things according to what God said to do in those parts of the Bible. There are a lot of imperfect Churches that are still doing some good. Only God can decide whether they (or other Churches with problems) are worthy of existence or not. There’s always the opportunity to change and improve, but in my experience, once Christians have been ignoring God for long enough about certain things-they seem to get hard of hearing toward those parts of the Bible and even if God shouts at them they don’t seem to hear. Sometimes though, God gets through to even people like that-praise God! His mercy, His love, His kindness is great, but we will only realize that once we get experience Him.
To those who are antiPentecostal/Charismatic and might be reading I’d like to say that I wish you well and I am glad if God works through you as much as He does, but I am not interested in working with you on this site and not the least bit concerned about ridiculous arguments against miracles in the Church. Their attempts at ‘anti-miracle’ arguments are a house of cards that easily falls down when in the presence of someone who’s faith is more based on the whole Bible, has experienced those words in the Bible, and who’s been enlightened by the Holy Spirit. But again, I think most Evangelical Churches are not like this and there are so many good quality Evangelical Churches that are very loving as God is loving. I know this might seem kinda wearisome to a person who is in the process of trying to find out if the Bible is true or not. I had mixed feelings about typing up some parts of the content of the last few pages.
I just want you to know that God is real, His words in the Bible are true, but when the perfect God starts dwelling in humans and working in them, human imperfections can get in the way. They block God’s glory, not because people are stronger than God, but because God doesn’t force us to believe every word He said or to do all the good things He said to do. When God shines through believers, it’s clear that He is real; when human imperfections shine through people might be mislead into thinking that God is not among, in, and working through Christians. But I assure you that He is. So don’t be discouraged. Please keep seeking God. I am so honest about what’s going on in Churches that I probably upset some Christians by now. Forgive me. Please do not fill my room with manure when I’m not home. Haha. God loves you. He loves us all.
If you want to know if the Church you are looking at is Pentecostal/Charismatic or Evangelical, check their “Statements of Faith” (which will probably be on their website somewhere) and if you see “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit” on there you can be pretty sure that it’s a Pentecostal/Charismatic Church and you can ask them if you want to be completely sure. If you don’t see it on there, it’s probably an Evangelical Church and again, you can ask them in order to be sure.
If you are still in the process of confirming that what the Bible says about Jesus is true, and that what the Bible says from cover to cover is completely trustworthy and true when understood by the Holy Spirit…the best way to know is to keep studying it, asking questions, and to find the best Church that you can.
I hope you keep reading the Bible for yourself so that you know what it really teaches and you don’t just trust the leaders in a Church. You can confirm whether or not what the Church leaders are saying is Biblically accurate for yourself. Churches are based on the Bible so you want to find a Church that matches what the Bible teaches, what the Bible says to do, and what kinds of experiences the Bible promises. The more a Church matches all that, the better quality the Church it is. God never meant for a Church to be a place where some human religious traditions were thought up by some people and forced on others. Human religious traditions have no power, but we have God’s power working among us as proof that we have really found (and understood) God's words.
Choosing a Church from the list of Christian denominations I provided in this webpage should help you find a better quality Church, but once you get there, you should also know that some Church leaders and Church congregations do a better of job of matching the Bible than others even within the same denominations. You have a much better chance of truly discovering for yourself that God is absolutely real and the Bible really contains real accounts of people who interacted with God if you find a better quality Church to attend as you figure this out. Very few people will figure this out on their own without anyone praying for them or trying to answer their questions. I didn’t. I had help, but I have been in so many different Churches over the years and I asked all kinds of questions and considered things rationally throughout the whole process. Nobody brainwashed me.
Even outside the Church. Kids get an education in school, and nobody rational says that Mathematics, English or Physical Education is brainwashing because it’s all true (as what it is) and it’s helpful for people’s lives in this world. What’s written in the Bible is true and it’s useful for our spiritual lives. We may need to confirm this, but learning what’s true is not brainwashing-it’s education. The education that we received in school is imperfect and temporary because when this world passes away, that kind of education will pass away with it. But, the education we receive from the Bible will not pass away and will stay with us forever (1 John 2:17).
God’s words are truly perfect when we understand them by the Holy Spirit. The more Christians adjust their minds, hearts, bodies, actions to the instructions that God gave us in the Bible, the less resistance there will be to the Holy Spirit, the more God will shine through us, and the more clear it will be to everyone in the world that Jesus is the way to God the Father and the words in the Bible are really from God.
What’s written below should add to helping you find a better quality Pastor, better quality Church leaders, and a better quality Church community. It’s wonderful to find a ‘good quality Church’ where you are loved, accepted, cared for, treated well, well fed spiritually...but it’s disappointing to go to a Church with high hopes and end up getting hurt, neglected, left out, mistreated or disappointed.
You find that the bad traits you sometimes find in Christians in Church are also found outside of the Church in society, but some Christians do a better job than others when it comes letting God improve their behavior and character so that it’s fit for service in the Kingdom of God (the Kingdom of God should dwell within them and manifest through them). Some Church leaders (and congregations) have also had better training to prepare them for the positions they currently hold in their Churches.
When secular workplaces hire new people, they try to look at the candidates who are applying and figure out who is likely to be the best for the position. They don’t actually know for sure until they hire a person and start working with that person and watch them for a while. That’s kinda how it can be how it is when it comes to finding a ‘good quality’ Church. You can both make the effort yourself AND pray that God guides you as you make that effort. You can start the process as you read this webpage and finish it as you spend time with them on a regular basis.
You didn’t get to choose the biological family that you were born into, but you do get to choose your ‘spiritual family’, that is the group of Christian brothers and sisters you are going to team up with for your spiritual life. Biblically, all Christians are adopted children of God and are part of the same larger spiritual family, but we get to choose who we will group up with and should keep praying to God in Jesus name and asking Him to help us find a ‘good quality’ Church.
Gonna reiterate for a moment, we know very well that outside of Churches (among people who are not Christian) some people tend to have a better heart toward others and some tend to be better behaved toward others (in various ways) whereas other people tend to have more of an evil-heart toward others and their behavior toward other people is worse than average. Well, people with all kinds of personal traits become Christians and fill Churches and its God’s will for their hearts, minds, and behavior to change so that it’s clear to the whole world that they are children of God and God is within them and among them. The more Christians get filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s spiritual words and allow the Holy Spirit’s characteristics to override their own bad characteristics, the more they will have good character (really better than just 'good character' God-influenced character).
However, God doesn’t force people to change. God wants Christians to choose to do what’s right, but He does not force them to do what’s right. Of course, when people’s hearts are really touched by God, they tend to change, but if their love for God starts to cool down and their hearts get more distant from God, they may start to manifest the same bad characteristics that they had before they knew God even though they still belong to God. (I can imagine how some Christians might read this and be upset at me for being too honest. Haha.) Still, I hope that for a lot of ‘new people’ that many of the things I said will make sense to them. It may help them to see that even if some Christians are doing a pretty good job of living according to God’s will, others are not, and most are somewhere in between. God is still absolutely real and still working in the lives of those who are willing to believe and adjust to His good will.
Don’t be discouraged. You can just think of it like the way you might think of finding a new group of friends when you move to a new town or finding the right team members to play sports with or dating several people in order to find a good spouse. You are not gonna give up on finding friends or finding team members or finding a spouse just because not every one has the kind of character you are looking for. You just keep searching. Billy Graham talked about people who don’t want to go to Church because some Christians don’t have good character and he said, “Are you gonna not see a doctor because you met a couple of quacks?!”. Nothing is more important than our spiritual lives which effects our souls. Because our bodies will get old and decay, but our souls can live on forever. So let's be diligent and brave and not be discouraged when it comes to finding a ‘good quality’ Church. You can find one!
When considering problems with people’s character and with the way they treat each other-both among nonChristian people and among Christians we should consider the devil’s role in all of it. We also have to remember that the Bible says that the devil and his fallen angels come up with clever schemes to exploit the human weaknesses of Christians, turn them against each other, draw them away from God, deceive some into opposing the very God they claim to serve (without realizing what’s going on), and cause a whole lot of other problems.
And yet, the gospel of Jesus Christ has spread to most of the world and so many Christians overcome the seductions and schemes of the devil and live in God’s will. God is unique and Almighty and there is no one else like Him. The devil is just an angel and even with all the other fallen angels he can never hope to fight against God and win. So what the devil tries to do is outwit human beings (who were made in the likeness of God’s image-perhaps it’s an act of spite against God) by influencing their thoughts to get them to use their free will in ways that are totally contrary to God’s good words (Matthew 4:1-11). The devil and his angels try to do this to people who are not Christians and they try even harder to do this to Christians. Spiritual Christians have much more to fight back with, but even though we become adopted children of God when we believe in Jesus Christ (the unique uncreated Son of God; yeah some Bible-knowledge is deep and takes time to understand), our flesh can still be tempted or influenced if we are not careful. With God there is forgiveness. If we make mistakes we can ask God to forgive us and He does. If we didn’t live according to God’s will, and repent and ask God to forgive us-He will. He will because Jesus Christ is our high priest forever who takes all our sins away when we confess them to Him. We should not sin, but if we sin again, we ask for forgiveness again and we believe He forgives us and Jesus does forgive us.
There are limits to what the devil can do so he tries to deceive and influence within the limits of what he can do against humanity. Some people trust in humanity these days and are humanists. Some would say they trust in science and not in God. Human scientists gave us nuclear weapons, pollution, and a lot of other horrible things that can be used against humanity. Science is fine if scientists are guided by God, but if not, some of them may be guided by the devil.
I urge you to trust in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit who enlightens us as to the meaning of scripture and enables us to defeat all the seductions of the devil and his angels. The Bible says that hell was made for the devil and his angels and in future they will all be there. They are not anywhere near strong enough to stop God from putting them there one day. But until then, they are lifeless evil spiritual beings here in the world with the Church and everyone else, and Christians have to resist them and fight them for the sake of all humanity-or at least all the people that we can help.
About nuclear weapons-I don’t want to get political. I not saying all governments that have nuclear weapons should immediately dismantle their nuclear weapons, what I am saying is that, if the devil had not helped to corrupt humanity and turn people against each other-nuclear weapons and other terrible things wouldn’t exist. Some people think Science is better than faith in God. Science might kill almost everyone in the world. But, Jesus willingly died for the sins of everyone in the world. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” And after dying for us, He was raised from the dead. Romans 1:4 “and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,” Israel has probably been ‘dug up’ by archeologists more than any other place in the world, but nobody found any evidence of Jesus’ body because He really was raised from the dead, really ascended to heaven, and really works through Churches that have succeeded in being in God’s will. Jesus was and is forever without sin and without flaw, but He has mercy on sinful and flawed people like us. He loves us. I hope you experience Jesus for yourself as you attend a good quality Church.
Feel free to scroll back up and look at my list of Churches again when you are done reading this.
Below is a briefer summary of step by step advice to help you find a good quality Church:
- Keep reading straight through the New Testament in the Bible. You can start at John if you want. As you read, try to understand it as it is and don’t try to make it into what you want it to be. Pray hard and pray regularly to God that you understand it accurately and that He will guide you to a Church where they teach the Bible very accurately and practice it very accurately and will treat you well. Then, compare what you hear in the Church with what you read in the Bible to make sure that the Church is teaching accurately according to the Bible, behaving accurately according to the Bible, and experiencing God accurately according to the Bible. The more accurately-the better. Acts 17:11 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica,for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
- I recommend searching for a Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian Church that encourages spiritual experiences that are promised by Biblical scriptures and also does a good job of discerning which experiences are authentically from God and which are not. Or I recommend searching for an Evangelical Christian Church that is more open-minded than most about getting help from the Holy Spirit and experiencing God regularly during our spiritual lives.
- All ‘good quality Churches’ (whether Pentecostal/Charismatic or Evangelical) will have the following in their Statements of Faith: A) eternal life/salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, they believe in One God in three Persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit-the Trinity), they believe in Baptism by immersion in water, they believe in God’s words in the Bible are greater than all human words and are really from God, and there may be other things on there too which you should check out carefully, but the ones I mentioned must be there for them to qualify as ‘good quality’ Churches. That might seem too dogmatic to some of you, but imagine that a doctor is about to perform a life-saving surgery. One is educated and performs it according to real medical knowledge so the person can have life, but another says ‘I have my own opinions and I want to perform the surgery another way’ so that patient will die. Is there eternal life in you right now? And which people in which Churches have eternal life? There’s no point in going to Church if your soul won’t have enteral life as a result of what you are taught there. God gave us the real and certain way to get eternal life. A way that can be confirmed over and over. You may still need to confirm that to be true, but why don’t you confirm it at a Church that teaches like this for your own sake and the sake of anyone you express your beliefs to for the rest of your life? If you are 20 years old, or 40 years old, or even 100, it's still so young compared to God who literally had no beginning and always existed. Let us turn to Him for understanding about spiritual things and not to ourselves. No matter where we are from or how old we are or what our backgrounds are-God is our creator. Our Father when our souls are born again through faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God. And though our bodies will break down and die, our souls can live forever. But we must take the time to seek out Jesus the Son and God the Father and the Holy Spirit as we study God's words and go to a good quality Church.
- Make friends with some people in the Church and spend some time with them even when you are not having Bible study or something. Especially the leaders and the more spiritual Church members. Hang out with them and get to know them better. As you do, see if their lives, character, actions, ect. are consistent with what you read in the Bible. The more (all) that is in line with God’s words in the Bible, the better quality of Church leader/Christians they are. It’s good to be around people like that as you seek God and live for God and get God’s help. If you are down spiritually they can help you, if they are down spiritually later you can help them. They are still going to have flaws because he/she/they are human beings. But the more their teaching, character, actions, heart, ect. matches the Bible the better.
- Maybe I could joke around and say, ‘Have your dog sniff the Church and the people there and make sure your dog likes them’ haha, but I won’t seriously say that I did just joke around. Dogs are not reliable in this matter, what if there were cats in the Church? haha The dog sniff test won't work. But I like dogs.
- Okay all the other points are serious and not a joke (only 5. is a joke). Keep attending at least some Church as you seek God. If you have a bad enough experience or if you just want to see another Church and you think it’s God’s will, than you can try to attend another one or more than one at the same time, but keep attending as you keep seeking to confirm that God is real and the Bible is true, and if you already know all that, you should still keep attending. We need each other. God uses us to strengthen each other spiritually and help each other in various ways we should be attending some Church. The better everyone in the Churches character is and the more capable they are, the better this works.
- Get to know more and more people in the Church. Especially the ones that attend a lot of meetings. Expand your list of friends in the Church. Just like the few Christians I suggested you get to know before, now you can keep meeting more and watching them, getting to know more and more about them as you read the Bible and compare their spiritual experiences with what you read in the Bible, and compare what they say about God with what you read in the Bible. You have the Bible to read, you have prayer to be guided by God, you have the Christians in the Church that you can watch carefully, and you can have your own spiritual experiences which you can also compare with the Bible.
- Avoid any pseudo-Christian Churches. These Churches pretty much always have the same bad traits in common because similar kinds of evil spirits deceived them into distorting Biblical scripture. 1. They usually teach that only members of their specific Church can go to heaven. 2. These are Churches that typically deny the Trinity (1 God; 3 persons-the Father-the Son-the Holy Spirit-they deny this). 3. They deny the Trinity and/or don’t believe that Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. They deny that He is God or that He is man. 4. They spend a great deal of time talking about how good their ‘denomination’ is and a great deal of time talking about how bad all the other denominations are. 5. They are usually regarded as bad sects by most Christians. 6. They pray, but God does not answer their prayers (this is because they have no connection to God because they deviated from God’s Biblical directions). Added note**Now you might feel frustrated and think why do we have to be so ‘nitpicky’ or why are there so many groups? I take the existence of these pseudo-Churches that spread false teaching like poison to be evidence that regular Christian Churches are teaching God’s truth. Because since God is real so the devil is also real. This would be an obvious way for the devil to pick off some Christians similar to the way a wolf would pick some sheep off from the group and eat them. It’s also a way to make some people who don’t believe in God scoff at Christians because of all their theological disagreements and maybe not want anything to do with them because of it. But the true gospel keeps advancing until Jesus returns. And those of us who have looked into it deeply know. If you watch the videos by clicking “home” above and then “It’s here” you will see small demonstrations of how powerful and good God really is when we know Him correctly. John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” The devil tries to distort people’s understanding of God in order to disrespect God and prevent people from having eternal life by knowing God as He is. The devil can never have eternal life, but he can try to stop others from having it.
Okay, that was a lot. Did you read all that? Wow!
God is our creator and He knows everything about us, and though some of us need to confirm that He is accurately represented in the Bible, He is willing to help us get that confirmation so we can know for sure. God bless us all. If you made it this far-I feel like you are really good at reading. God could be so pleased with you for reading about His words and for reading His words.