If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
You might have heard the story about the Word of Life Church in New York. If not, the following paragraph from a New York Daily News story may refresh your memory:
Determined to get two brothers to “confess their sins,” members of a secretive upstate New York church beat one of the teenagers to death and badly brutalized the other, police said Wednesday.
The teenagers are 19 and 17 years old. Their parents have been charged with first-degree manslaughter. A sister and three other church members have been charged with second-degree assault.
There are many “secretive” churches around the country. Some may be right down the street in an old office building or meeting in a home on your block.
Some members break away from an organized church because they don’t believe their current church is fulfilling their spiritual needs. Members of one church may get angry and go off on their own and take a few others members with them.
If you are searching for a church, be careful if you attend a church where members badmouth their former church or churches. Ask members why they decided to attend this church. Make sure you understand the organizational structure or “chain of command” in the church you are planning on becoming a member. Is there a group of people or a board that comes together to make major decisions or just one person and/or his or her close friends and relatives making the decisions?
We have freedom of religion in the United States. With that comes enormous responsibility.