Choosing a church is not about which church your friends attend, or which church has the best music, but it is about what the church believes, how it stands on certain doctrines. As Lutherans we stand strong on the Lutheran Confessions as our guide to the only rule of norm we can use on the faith, the Bible. Many churches have no guide, no set doctrine in which they believe. This is dangerous. This leaves people to let human reason dictate over scripture, and make decisions that have not been guided by the Holy Spirit. The Lutheran Confessions are a tried and true doctrine that has withstood it's ground against heresy for over 500 years!
When you are searching for a church you should ask the minister questions about how they stand on certain issues, and then observe, see if they really to hold true to their answers. There are 11 primary questions you should ask. These 11 questions will tell you what the church really believes, if the answers to these questions aren't simply yes, your faith is in jeopardy, your looking at a heretical heterodox church. Continue searching until you find a church that can answer yes to all of these.
The questions below have a topic title followed by the actual question. They are derived from a book entitled "What's Going on Among Lutherans?"
Inspiration and Inerrancy
Do you personally believe that the writers of the Bible were so controlled by the Holy Spirit that they wrote exactly what God wanted them to write?
Do you personally believe that the Bible contains no errors or contradictions?
Do you personally believe that God created everything in six 24-hour days as recorded in Scripture?
Adam and Eve
Do you personally believe that Adam and Eve were real, historical people? What about Jonah, Noah, and Jacob?
The Words of Jesus
Do you personally believe that the Word of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament, were all actually spoken by him?
Do you personally believe that every Miracle done by Jesus, as recorded in the Bible was a real, historical event?
The Virgin Birth
Do you personally believe that Jesus did not have a human father?
Do you believe that the Bible and therefore the Apostles Creed contains no myth?
Deity of Christ
Do you personally believe that Jesus is 100% true God and 100% true man?
Do you believe that the Bible teaches of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit-three Persons in one God?
Do you personally believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit-three in one-as it is stated in the Athanasian Creed, one of the three great ecumenical creeds of the Christian Church?
Do you personally believe that God took his anger for our sins out on Christ-that he was the final blood sacrifice that appeased God's wrath and bought the forgiveness of our sins?
Do you personally believe that Christ was physically raised from the dead...that these our physical bodies will be raised from the dead?
Immortality of the Soul
Do you personally believe that man has a soul that survives after the death of the physical body?
Do you personally believe that in Holy Baptism when the water is attached to the Word one's sins are miraculously washed away and we become justified before God the Father?
Do you personally believe that in the Lord's Supper the elements of the bread and wine are the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that this is a mystery which cannot be explained, but is accepted and received in faith?
Do you personally believe that when you confess your sins God, for Christ's sake through faith, forgives all of them and that the power of forgiving sins has been given to the church? And God through the church calls faithful men as Pastors and when these Pastors forgive sins it as if Christ Himself forgives them?
What are the correct answers? The correct answers should all be yes, there should be no argument; it should be plain and clear. There are of course more questions that should be asked when searching for a church, but these are primary ones that sometime people neglects and then become surprised later on. You will also be surprised of some minister's answers to these questions.
If even one of these questions are responded in a no, or you receive an unsure answer, turn from that church immediately, it is in no way shape or form and orthodox Christian church, and consider your salvation in jeopardy.