“I grew up Catholic but have since joined the Baptist Church. Does it truly matter what Christian denomination I belong to as long as I love Jesus? If it does matter, how do I know what church is the true church Jesus started?”
You are correct in saying that loving Jesus is a vital part of living your life according to Christ’s Will. However we wouldn’t know how Christ wants us to live out our love for Him through our actions and words without guidance from the Church, the Church that Jesus started himself. In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus tells Peter, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Jesus is passing His authority onto Peter to lead His Church, now called the Catholic Church, as the first Pope. When Jesus says, “The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it,” he is promising that He will be with and guide the Catholic Church forever. We can still see Jesus’ guidance in the Catholic Church throughout the years (even to this day) by following the unbroken succession of Popes all the way back to Peter. You can see proof of the true church by reading documents of the early Christian Fathers and seeing how they match with the Catholic teachings of today. Also, evidence is found through historical records showing the Catholic Church is the only Christian church that has existed since Christ with Protestantism not starting until 1,500 years after Christ’s Ascension. Yes, you can still love Jesus outside the Catholic Church, but if you truly want to love Him with all your heart, don’t you want to be as close to Him as you can, within His church?
Note: This just scratches the surface of the depth the answer to this question can reach. There is much more that could be said, but this Apologetic Tidbit Series is meant to give you just that- small tidbits of knowledge of the Catholic Faith. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.
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