When my daughter was younger and was asking all kinds of questions about what other denominations believed, I got the idea to take a "church tour". What we did was visit various denominations in chronological order of their founding. We did this not to see which one we wanted to join or which one we liked best, but rather simply to understand the transition of denominations. As a matter of fact, some questions that were supposed to be in our minds as we visited these various denominations were:
- What makes this denomination distinct from other denominations?
- What commonalities does this denomination have with others?
- What practices/emphases with this denomination should be part of other denominations?
In this way, it is less about what we "like" and more about understanding why the denomination exists in the first place. Of course, the most important thing is whether the denomination adheres to the Bible or not but if we spent the entire service critiquing this aspect we could miss the point. We certainly spent time as a family afterward analyzing the denomination's doctrines.
Perhaps as you are reading this, you are thinking that the mere fact there are so many denominations points to the sheer failure of Christianity to be a cohesive Faith. Or maybe you are thinking why bother understanding all the different major denominations. Why not just be a "Christian" and go to a non-denominational church.
Well, first God understood there would be denominations or "factions" and that these factions serve a purpose as it says in 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 --
"For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you."
Secondly, there really is no such thing as a "non-denominational" church since every congregation has its specific doctrinal emphasis. Some may emphasize baptism by immersion whereas others may simply sprinkle or pour the water over the initiate. This is just one example of distinctions that may be seen even in so-called non-denominational congregations. In fact, as soon as a group of Christians begin to gather together, there will be distinctions that cause them to want to study and worship together. This will essentially define their "faction".