I've been wanting to say this for sometime, because non-believers seem to think all Christians and all churches are alike.
Of course I am making this too simplistic, but this is what I've noticed since moving to the bible belt.
I grew up going to my grandmothers AOG church. Later around 9 or 10yrs. old, my mother started taking me to a non-denominational church. The very one that Joyce Meyers started her ministry from. So, I have grown up around the belief that despite all of the commandments I will only enter heaven because of the work of one man.
My wife on the other hand grew up in an AOG church that did not like outsiders. They were very legalistic and did not preach about GRACE. If you were a sinner you were going to hell.
When I met my wife she had never been taught about GRACE and didn't really want to step into another church because of how she got burnt.(no pun intended)
But after going to my church she had a revelation.(to her that is) There is such a thing called Grace.
So flash forward to 5 months ago. We move down south and are looking for a non-denominational church. Not many here with large congregations. Although we don't want the church to be too big, where we will just get lost in the crowd. We tried a few churches. One in particular looked just right. Nice building, daycare, music was good, people of all walks of life. Then the preacher started talking. Yelling I should say. Wagging his finger at us and saying if you have any hate or animosity in your heart you are going to hell.
Needless to say we left before he got done preaching.
One day I was talking to our neighbor and he suggested going to his Baptist church. Baptist? Would have never thought of trying a Baptist church. I had pictures of my wife's old preacher in my head when thinking about Baptist churches. Turns out they are a blended church. They joke that the Baptist convention calls them a cult(that's a joke). They refer to themselves as Bapticostal. The pastor doesn't preach about hellfire and damnation, and he certainly isn't going to call you a sinner every Sunday.
See, there are two types of churches. Ones that will guilt you into believing what they want you to believe and the other that says we don't care what kind of life you have led, you are welcome here.
I think the story of the woman about to be stoned says it best. John 8.
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
"Neither do I condemn you." Jesus said.
Why is it that our churches have so many accusers? This is why I believe so many people don't like Christians. They think we are all just a bunch of hypocrites. When in fact no one person is better than the next. No Christian is perfect. If he says he is then he is a liar. As Christians we are only trying to better ourselves and show the mercy and compassion of God through us.
34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."