I am a Lutheran (LCMS to be exact, not the ones who get in the news all the time). I have been a Lutheran for 4 months and 16 days. I did spend a lot of time in the Lutheran church before I changed from my previous state of non-denominational to my current, more liturgical one.
I purpose to organize some thoughts by writing this out on my blog. First off, I do not think denominations matter all that much. I am a political scientist of sorts, and being a political scientist of the United States I strongly believe in freedom of religion. Thus, I do not have problems with differences of opinion and all that kind of thing. I am not going to sit here and tell anyone what denomination they should join, or what non-denomination. I am not going to say that any one denomination is more right than any other. I think that is silly.
Sometimes, though, people do talk about their own denomination as if it is somehow better than the others around it. I completely respect people's opinions. I also respect the natural human desire to like best that which we choose to like best. There is nothing wrong with preferring one denomination of Christianity above another. That's how we got all these different types in the first place. Personally, I think that denominations allow us to see Christian principles from slightly different perspectives. No one person can have a complete picture of what God intended with the body of Christ. But many different ideas can come together and weed out the terribly wrong ideas by working through the truth that is in God's word. Evenutally something resembling a more complete picture can come of this. Without freedom of religion and the liberty to debate different ideas this cannot happen. That is my political notion of the church. Then again, that is me, that is how I think. I am only a humble wannabe politician and what I know best is politics. I do not pretend to know more. Frankly, when it comes to issues of the church I am the most ordinary layperson you could find. In fact, one might say that my views are hampered by my political ideas. You can forgive me, I am sure, we are all human after all, and that's why we need God.
Ealier today, I listened to some music by my favorite artist eLi. I decided to go read up on his website since I had not checked it in a while. I would not mind another eLi concert, dontcha know. eLi's writings reminded me of a verse in John 13:34-35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
It does not matter what denomination you are a part of. People are not going to recognize you for being a Lutheran or a Catholic or a Baptist or a non-denominational or anything else. They are going to recognize that you are a disciple of Christ by whether or not you love other disciples of Christ and whether you show that love. The fact is, we can sit and say as much as we want that our particular denomination is better. That may not show any love for other disciples of Christ. But most of all, it is not the way people will recognize whether or not we are followers of Christ.
As a disclaimer of sorts I would like to add a note on the subject of truth. I believe that if a person confesses that Jesus Christ is their risen savior, that he died and took the punishment for their sins, then rose again so that said person could have eternal life then they are a Christian. Yes, there are other important beliefs, for an outline you might read the Apostles or the Nicene Creed. I am not arguing about denominations that do not confess at least that which I wrote above (meaning that Jesus died for their sins and rose again portion). I make no point about things that are completely outside of God's word (i.e. the Pope, or the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). Minor differences of doctrine, so long as they do not affect the main point, do not matter in this argument. In fact, that's the point of the whole thing.
And that's all this embarrassed, little layperson with no understanding has to say on that matter.