Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
The New Testament does not directly address the subject of attending two or more different churches. Paul's letter to the Corinthians begins, "To the church of God in Corinth" (1 Corinthians 1:2), ...
It is wrong to attend two different churches (faiths), such as Christianity and Islam. There is only one church (body of believers) under Christ. It is not wrong to attend more than one 'church building'. Any building that tells you you must become a member to be a good Christian is practicing a form of judiazing - in fact, it is worse than judiazing as it is not even a return to God's perfect law, but it is binding you to erroneous laws of man. Furthermore, such 'churches' are well on their way to error, as they are trying to cut themselves off from the body and become their own entities of authority, instead of subjecting themselves to Christ. This cannot be done, however (1 Cor 12:12-26), no matter how much a group seeks to isolate. However, let us examine how the early church (the assembly of believers) met. The assembly at Jerusalem met "every day" (that is, there was no restriction on day and there were daily gatherings happening). They met in the temple courts - and they met from 'house to house'. (Acts 2:42-47) Most gatherings were hosted at home churches, often financed by widows, and a lot of preaching was done at the temple or on street corners. Believers also met at Solomon's Colonnade, amd publically healed the sick in the streets. (Acts 5:12-15). Notice that rather than 'inviting the unbelievers to church' - the unbelievers didn't dare come join them, despite that they were respected! They did not join in until they were baptized and believers as well, which is the biblical model. The assembly of believers is only for believers. (Which isn't to say a building cannot host an event, such as they once oreached at the temple - but the mentality that church buildings need to be about inviting unbelievers in is incorrect. We go out into the world and preach, we do not invite corruption to be part of the body). Again, this was the 'church of God at Jerusalem'. They continued to meet day by day in the temple courts and from house to house (Acts 5:41). "Local church" just meant a regional tag for the assembly of believers, ie "That part of the body of Christ which meets in Jerusalem". 'To the assembly in Galatia' referenced at least four cities and a fairly wide region. Expanding outward from this, Paul references the saints of "Ceasar's household" (Phil 4:22). These were not the saints of 'the church of Ceasar', but people who worked for Ceasar who had become believers. They may well have met somewhere near Ceasar's palace, or even in the place Paul was under home arrest at. Paul, at this time, was restricted to one location. [Which brings up a side tangent - if Christ the cornerstone, and the apostles were not restricted, and neither were the first of the believers, why do some feel it is the mark of a good or stable Christian to restrict themselves in a manner Christ never bound them?]. The Bible never says "The church of Chloe". Chloe probably was a widow who hosted/financed people meeting in her home. Yet, it is clear from the letter to the Corinthians that the entire assembly at Corinth could not have met exclusively at her house! (1 Cor 1:10-17) Rather, as the body of believers met, they also met at the household of Chloe among other locations. Chloe, or some of her family, then alerted Paul to the divisiveness of the Corinthian believers. If only exclusively 20 people out of a bustling city had met at her house, would Paul have written Corinthians? Rather, the community of believers acted as one. This is why punishments such as a believer being 'kicked out' of the fellowship were so powerful. He could not just go down the street to 'a different church', he had to take a hard look at his faith. Prior to Paul's conversion, it was to these houses where believers gathered that he went (Acts 8:3-4) and to the synagogues (Acts 9:2). There actually was a bit of an order to how the church took root and disseminated throughout a city. An apostle, usually, would preach at the local synagogue on the Sabbath (such as Acts 13:14, Acts 13:44, Acts 14:1, Acts 17:1-2). As those in the city were converted, they would appoint them elders as needed ((Acts 14:22, Acts 14:23) These elders were tied in to cities, not households (Acts 16:4), and were in communication with the elders in Jerusalem such as James. Households were often saved together (Acts 18:7-8, Acts 20:17), but they were not restricted to stay at their own houses. Jesus also met with believers in their houses (Matt 9:10) or on hillsides, etc. [It seems we are enamored with the jewish method of a single formal place of discipleship and learning, when Jesus Himself eschewed that method, and chose to go out into the world instead]. Why is it important? The old tabernacle was a temporary structure, carried around from place to place in the desert, and eventually replaced by a more permanent (but still destructible) temple. The temple was a building, made with human hands. There were countless laws and rituals to follow to be 'joined' to this building, especially if you were a gentile! And this is the freedom that we have in Christ: we are the temple of the Lord (1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19). The Spirit of God dwells within us, not within the foyer of the local 'church'! One day, our earthly tabernacles will perish and we will be raised as spiritual temples. Christ is our High priest, through Him we may see God! Though we are mostly gentiles, we need no ritual or membership save the atonement of Christ! Why would we seek to return to join a temporary and earthly building, when we are members of the perfect, holy, and eternal? “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?’" (Acts 7:48-49) Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Eph 2:19-20)
When the Church lost its "first love," it had a form of godliness but no power. The backslidden Church went into total apostasy and that was the "dark ages" of its history. Lest the Church would have become like Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord had left a "very small remnant" of true believers (Isa 1:8,9). The Reformation of the 15th century set the stage for the restoration of the lost truths and power to the Church. With Martin Luther (1483-1546) came the restoration of the truth of Justification by Faith. God used John Wesley (1703-1791), Charles Finney (1792-1875) and several others to restore the truths of Sancti-fication by the Spirit, and the Gifts of the Spirit. Refor-mation is not complete yet. As such no single Church or denomination has it all. Each has its strengths and weak-nesses. When Christians are not satisfied with one Church, they join the other. Some Churches are strong in structure but not fervent enough in Spirit, whereas others are aflame in the Spirit but weak in structure. Therefore several believers tend to hold dual membership, one in a well-structured Church and the other in a live spiritual one. Is it right? It is difficult to find a direct Biblical answer to this question, because in the New Testament times there was only one Church in each town (1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1; Rev 2:1,8,12, etc.). If it was a province like Galatia, there was more than one Church (Gal 1:2). Today even in a single street or locality we have so many Churches. We cannot say whether this is God's perfect will or simply His permissive will. As such an answer to our question cannot be dogmatic but has to be just pragmatic. A good percentage of members in the Pentecostal and other free Churches is from mainline and orthodox Churches. Some of these Christians have left their "mother" Churches for good, whereas others would like to take advantage of the plus points of both the old and the new Churches. When children, because of their education in English medium, prefer English services to vernaculars, parents have to strike a compromise. Some Churches may be very spiritual but they don't have systematic and specialised ministries to children and youth. Young people would prefer an enthusiastic youth pastor who addresses their issues openly and practically. They will suffocate in a Church dominated by older people who resist change. There's another situation where dual membership is thought about. Suppose a Pentecostal man goes on job transfer to a place where there is only a Baptist Church. As long as he is there, he must happily function as a member of that Church. Marriage is another factor. Should a bride be forced to give up her Methodist membership when she marries a Lutheran groom? Some believers who join new Churches for their spiritual growth would like to retain their membership in the old Churches for the blessing of the members of the latter. Paul and the other apostles did not sever their links totally with the Jewish congregations, even though they started house Churches (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 13:14-16; 14:1; 17:1-3; 18:4). They worked in the existing structures to reach the masses. Under ideal conditions, believers should devote themselves to one local Church, and maintain cordial relationship with the members of other Churches. But in today's context, if there are legitimate reasons like the ones mentioned above, it is not wrong to hold dual membership if that's permissible. Single membership or dual membership does not affect or alter our position as members of "One Body" and as sheep under "One Shepherd" (1 Cor 12:12,13,20,27; 1 Pet 2:25; Heb 13:20,21; Jn 10:16). However, what I have written here should not be used as a cloak for indiscipline and unaccountability.
It just so happened that the topic was church membership at our church last Sunday. Several points stuck with me. 1- Church is not a volunteer organization. If you treat it as such, the church will never get enough of you. You will treat church as another thing like PTA, or soccer. You can quit whenever you like because it isn't a requirement. 2- Church is not a service provider. People have the attitude "if you do this for me, I'll do this for you." If church doesn't have the right programs, I'll go elsewhere. 3- WE are the church. I am not the church. If I think I am the church, I begin to think I can do this without anyone else. 4- The bible does tell us to submit to and admonish others. How can you get the support of the church unless you are in each others lives (belong)? 5- Most of the NT is written to the local church. Galatia, Ephesus, Rome,etc. 6- 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter, is sandwiched between chapters regarding unity and building up the church. Often read at weddings, that passage is about marriage, just not your marriage. "We" are one church, but you should belong to one local church body.
If I got the question right, this is asking if a person can attend different churches, not different branches of the same church. As always, we let the bible speak. God has ONE Church on earth. With many branches. Paul's letters were addressed to such, and so were Peter's letters and all letters from the disciples. And Revelation 12:1-2 will show that there's one Church (see also Revelation 12:17). And there's ONE false church, with many variant doctrines, but with roots from this same 'church'. Revelation 17:1-8. Verse 5 will show that she has 'daughters', which people call 'churches', but whose doctrine originates with the prostitute. Strange enough, they still want to be called Christians. But Isaiah the prophet had been shown this. Isaiah 4:1 KJV "And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach". Let's decode the symbols: Woman = the church (if that woman is a prostitute, then that's false religion). See Revelation quoted above. Husband = Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2 (Please read also Ephesians 5:22-33, and your key is verse 32.) Seven = Perfect. Symbolising all that can be there. Complete. See Genesis 2:1-3. Bread = Doctrine, church doctrine. What you feed your spirituality on. Deuteronomy 8:3; John 6:35-51. Apparel = Righteousness. Revelation 19:8. So, by simple substitution, the verse is saying that in the end time, the multitude of 'churches' will abandon the Torah and adopt their 'homemade' doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 4:3-4), they will craft their own standard of Christianity apart from that which was handed down by the apostles (how many times have you heard people say, "Christianity is all about your heart"? When the bible sets a condition: John 14:15; John 14:21; John 15:10). In other words, righteousness is no longer an absolute phenomenon, but, rather, will now depend on a 'moving' standard. Finally, let it be known that while there may be many 'churches', in reality there's only ONE, the rest are hostile to God. And they groom 'christians' who are hostile to God. Romans 8:7. Once we see things from this perspective, then we ask ourselves, "what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" 2 Corinthians 6:16. While you're searching for the truth, yes - by all means - visit as many as you have to. "Test everything, hold to the good". Once you identify "the" Church, stick there! Don't sell that truth. Maybe the next pertinent question would be, how to identify God's true Church. Bless.
If we re-phrase this question to match biblical reality, it becomes obvious. "Is it OK to attend two different meetings of the Church?" The problem is that we have every variety of "organization"--EXCEPT the one we see in the New Testament. Which is: 1. Bishop, Pastor, and Elder are NOT three different offices--they are three descriptions of the SAME office (Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7, 1 Peter 5:1-2). 2. The bishops are a GROUP of MEN over an AREA or CITY, not a particular meeting place.(Acts 20:17, Titus 1:5, Philippians 1:1). 3. Nowhere in the New Testament do we see anything even remotely like the weird mutations of God's will lying around the landscape--and I am not talking about the cults! So, since the situation is what it is, until God gives revival to re-unite us in all the the truth (pray for this, God is so great, He can do it!!)--you will have to go to your heavenly Father for guidance. Personally, I do attend two different meetings. One on Sundays, one on Wednesdays. The Sunday brethren have no other meetings during the week. I consider both pastors as in authority over me, and they know each other. We are involved in different ways in the two places. However, one is a true denomination, with at least one distinctive doctrine you have to agree with in order to "teach", so I cannot be a full-blown "member". Doesn't matter. I do what the Father guides me to do--stay in fellowship, do what He guides me to do each meeting, take my frustrations to Him and find out what He wants me to do. Without His strength and guidance, I would just fold up! But He is sOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! good!!! It has to do with what God is calling you to. You may be a strong, mature believer, whom God is sending in to two different meetings for a purpose. You may be a young, hungry believer who is panting and thirsting for truth and for fellowship, and the two groups of brethren are provisions from the Lord to satisfy. Or maybe you are acting out of a wrong motive--you don't really like one pastor, and you are trying a sneaky way of avoiding the direct relationship by sliding into another fewllowship. In which case, don't. This one comes down to, "What is God calling you to do?" Just check it with the Scriptures to make sure you are not violating anything in the New Covenant. If you regularly attend two meetings, the presiding elder of each one should be considered as an authority in your life. You might also ask the bishop of your first meeting to bless you going to the second. Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord!
I attend 3 churches, two every other fortnight and one occasionally when i am called upon to preach there. I am not a member of any denomination rather I am a member of the body of Christ, the one and only true church. I attend one church because I have many friends there that I wish to see, communion is provided each Sunday and this church sponsors me as a Religious Education teacher. I attend the other church regularly for the teaching as they have a great preacher. I also have many friends in this church. And this denomination only takes communion every fortnight. I believe in taking communion every time we meet in His name according to the book of Acts. So I have many reasons to attend 3 churches, I don't believe it is wrong, in my case i believe it is necessary for my spiritual growth, fellowship, and my ministry to others.
I am a member of an EOC church. My wife is a Baptist. We worship the same God, both are Reformed churches, and both have great qualities. We periodically attend each other's churches together. The fellowship is excellent and the benefits of both help me understand another denomination. I see nobly benefits.
Christians are all members of ONE body, the Church. We are to be ONE, Eph 4:4,5,6 Where ever we go we should feel that we belong and we should feel welcomed. We should share our love with everyone!
Thanks for all the answers from brethren in regard to the question as mentioned above (Is it wrong to attend two (or more) different churches?) I hereby pontificate this for the benefit of all us, first they are choices we can't make for ourselves. Eg, where to be born, parents, country, it is God who choose for us, Deuteronomy 18:18, I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Everyone born into this world has Prophet sent to him or her by God, the most important thing is to identify who is your prophet. Until you identify your prophet life remains stagnate. Your prophet is the one God give to oversea your life and bring to pass all that he has for you. Today we have so many churches in the world, some are send by God and some send themselves, with my own personal understanding everybody have whom God have sent to him or her for the purpose of making Heaven at last. In conclusion until we discover we can't recover, therefore attending two churches can't help us the only thing we must do is to personal ask God which Church shall i attend? So many time God instructed Abraham first Genesis 12:1,Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee,Genesis 22:1-3. In 2 Kings 5:1-15, Elisha was sent for captain of the host of the king of Syria Naaman, and until Naaman discover and obey that is when he recover back, you will only recover when you discover the church God sent for you, is never possible for God to send us two churches. Stay where you are sent. My advice is locate one church God have shown you stay therein and all you need will come to you Amen Jesus is Lord.
"It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles you, rather what comes out of the mouth". It does not matter whether you attend one Church or twenty, it is more important what you do while you are there. Are you contributing to the body of Christ? I no longer attend a Church that I taught Sunday School in, because there was a man there who loved our class and was always there. He also was the first to arrive at any event we scheduled in the Church to work at members homes or at the church. Because his wife attended a different Church, he would leave after Sunday school and attend Church with her. Our Pastor asked him to leave our Sunday School class unless he stayed for the service. He was contributing to the body of Christ, and I felt we as a Church were forgetting what the great commission was. I chose not to be a part of that Church as I felt pride outweighed love. I hope all who take part in this ministry or any other remember that we are all a part of the body of Christ, and our number one goal should be that that body grow.
I don't know of anything in the bible that states clearly a right or wrong answer to this question, however I will tell you that it can create what I call a "spiritual identity crisis" if you attempt to be part of two churches with any difference in doctrine whatsoever. It can leave a person confused and wondering who they are and what they actually believe. As a result, it tends to make things difficult, particularly if you have any significant part in services at either place, and it can leave a person wondering where they truly belong or if they really belong anywhere even if their name is on the membership roster at one church. Also, if you try that, it can stretch you pretty thin as far as being able to do anything effectively at either place. In some circumstances, it can also hinder spiritual growth. If a person is considering attending more than one church, I personally would not advise it, but I've not found anything in the bible where God himself has expressly forbidden it.
Different christian communities have different theologies. If they disagree on the interpretation of scripture, they cannot be both correct - one would be guided by the Holy spirit, while the other is misinterpreting scripture, or worse, both of them are misguided. At first, it is acceptable to attend more than one church, if one is searching for the truth. But once truth is found, a Church that teaches the fullness of Truth, the reasonable response is to stay put and stop searching elsewhere. I submit to you to take a look at the teachings of the Catholic Church. I sincerely believe you will find in her the fullness of Truth.
In my humble opinion, I don't see nothing wrong with going to different churches, and making more contacts for ministry. We, true followers of Christ, are the church, not a building made with hands. We go to church to gather together with other believers to Praise and Worship God. But we must be "the church" and take it outside of those four walls. We have too many divisions and people hold that against us. I think we need to unite as one, for one common purpose, to spread The Gospel, with love, for the Glory of God. True Bible Believing Churches, are becoming rare, so I seek them out and try to unite them to work as one body. May God bless all my brothers and sisters in the faith, and bind us together with The Spirit of Truth.
Amen brother Joshua. For me in response to the above asked question (Is it wrong to attend 2 churches or more?) I believe it is not advisable at all. As the Holy Spirit Himself will give you guidance on where to worship just listen to His voice, settle in there, this shows faithfulness and humility as well. If one will be here and there it shows some kind of confusion, even when the LORD visits with your answer to your prayers which is your address? One needs to be under a covering, under authority, under a man/woman of God for spiritual guidance. Therefore I believe in settling in one church where you are led and serve there. God bless
I think it's good to belong and be rooted in one church because of the danger of confusion because these days there are a lot of different doctrines. Paul made mention of being tossed to and fro in Ephesians 4:14 he wrote that we should not be children tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine but we must be truthful and grow up into Christ who is the head. We are likened to trees, psalms 1 for a tree to grow well it must be planted in one location a good one were it receives all it needs. If one day you take from that location to another and there just when it wants to start growing you uproot and transport it another that tree will not grow but it will wither. Same with us, you attend this church this day the next you go somewhere else were they teach against what the previous church you attended were teaching, like this confusion sets in. The best is to ask God which Church He wants you to attend and thereafter commit yourself to that church being royal and be submissive to the leaders because if God puts you somewhere He knows that what you need is there. Concerning visitations and conference attendance from other Churches, the best is to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance, which can either be inward witness or asking your Pastor concerning the place and preacher of that church if they teach what is in line with the truth.
The location where you worship is not the church. If you are going to a worship service it's not the church till the members get there. Jesus said where their are three or more gathered in my name I will be in the mist. I feel as a Christian your faith can grow stronger meeting with fellow Christians anywhere the lords church meets. But with that said you are more likely to become more active in the work of the church if your meeting with a regular constant group of Christians. For example your reason for being at worship is to glorify God in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Prayer and to remember the death burial and resurrection of our lord through the body and blood shed of Christ by partaking of the lords supper. You must be their for that reason or your their for the wrong reason. Where you do that is not what's important. We worship when we travel right, or do we skip The Lord when were on a trip. The term different churches is an incorrect statement there is only one.and it gathers at different locations all over the world. The most important thing is to be able to recognize the lords church that is in the bible. That's where the error will come in when your not in the right one. It would be good if the bible must be read before you attend worship so you could identify the lords church when you jumping from one to the other. I've been shocked a few times after I got there.
This question is less clear. If the issue is whether one can occasionally visit or attend a service in a church beside his own local assembly, my answer is yes. However if the question addresses the circumstances under which one purports to hold membership in two or more assemblies for reasons of personal convenience, I have some strong reservations for this practice. I have read the views of some commentators who argue that the Bible does not expressly forbid a believer from being a member of more than one church. That is partly correct but a close reading of scriptures refutes this stand. Remember also that Scripture does not have to contain 1000 laws for us to see the value of maintaining important church traditions. My view is that even if scripture does not contain an express prohibition it is nonetheless implied in scripture that believers should belong to local assembly where they serve God and are held accountable by the church. This was the practice in the early church where believers belonged to cells that met in homes of believers. Some may argue that the cells were rotating or moving around but we must realize that the circumstances of the early church settings were far different from ours today. There were times of open hostility against the Christian faith and later persecutions led the church to meet in discreet places where they prayed for each other. Notice the assembly that met in Acts 12:2-16. The basis of communion under a local assembly is certainly implied in 1 Cor. 11:32 where believers are commanded to wait for one another before celebrating the Lord's Table. If this was not a justifiable context, then who did Paul have in mind as being waited for? These were certainly members of a local assembly who knew each other and who identified with one another in fellowship. Besides, it is difficult for a one to effectively serve in two or more churches without prefering one to the other. Those who are "nomadic" or move from one church to another because each of the churches have a special blend that they consider essential for their spiritual wellbeing should consider that in identifying with a community of believers, we have a platform which we can use to bring our ideas on board on how best we can do things better in terms of improving the worship, and fellowships. The third problem I have identified with nomadic believers is the confusion that comes with mixing several doctrines and eventually getting confused by the different standpoints that each ministry holds on certain areas of doctrine. There are also believers who run away to another church to escape legitimate discipline imposed by another. This is unbiblical. In moving between two or more churches, we shall also fail to have a consistent method by which we can identify with a ministry service where we could have provide effective support within the context of a local church community. However I recognize that some believers, for no fault of their own, find themselves traveling in their duties between towns and regions and accordingly identify with two or three assemblies. Even in these circumstances I believe that there is a dominant assembly to which the believer is accountable and where he pays his tithes and offerings in a regular and consistent manner and where he is affirmed. There is a growing danger brought by neo-modernism thought that tries to rationalize church practices to dangerous proportions. If this trend is left unchecked we shall soon have "private believers" who belong to no church and who do not accept any accountability! Let every believer belong to a local assembly where they will be edified and supported and where they can faithfully minister to others.
My daughter used to attend 6 church groups in a week, all different Christian churches of different kinds on different days. This young woman wore out a bible by her 21st birthday and wore out another one by her 24th birthday. I pray she will keep being the delightful person she is and may I always be willing to buy her a new bible whenever she asks. If that is seen as a sin then, then these overseers need to ask by what authority they judge her! Not the by the authority of Jesus, so it is not a Christian judgement.
Heather has stated it quite well. If one attended services in a word-faith church, where tongues are spoken and demonic deliverance is commonplace, along with prophecy, and then go across the street to a Southern Baptist Church where none of that is permitted, it could get pretty confusing. Trust God to lead you to the place He wants you to be. http://www.booksie.com/don_watson
There is an aspect of this question that I have not seen addressed. That is, how can a local assembly have Biblical leadership (elders & deacons) if there are a lot of people who just come and go on occasions and really have no roots - and therefore not well known enough to be selected to such leadership positions? Read 1 Tim. 3:1-13, 5:3-25, and other pertinent passages in 2 Tim., Titus, and James. I understand that in our culture, some people have to travel because of their jobs - and that sometimes includes Saturdays, Sundays, etc. Such people, depending on the frequency of away-from-home weekends, perhaps should not be in leadership positions. There is a 'business' side of any congregation - and that requires godly leadership from people who have a commitment to that congregation.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.