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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Is Your Church the Right Church? Part I

Is your church the right church?

OK- before anyone jumps to conclusions about what I am saying, let me state EMPHATICALLY that I do not believe there is one right denomination. Because of that, I do not claim a specific denomination when people ask me. Denominations won't save you. There are differences between congregations under the same name, too, so saying I attend this church does not mean we practice or believe the same thing as a church with the same name in another town. What I mean by the right church/faith is the basic foundational beliefs. There are specifics and they are absolute, because that is what the Bible calls for.

I have been increasingly concerned lately for people I care about who are in churches they believe are leading them in the right path, but when I dig a little deeper, I find that they are doing things that are not found in the Bible. My desire is not to attack anyone or to hurt feelings. I am beggin you, PLEASE, read this and consider it honestly. Many times in my life I felt that prick in my heart that was a question arising as to whether what I believed was true, and I would push those questions down and ignore them. That doesn't make them go away. That doesn't make me unaccountable to answer them to God one day. Ignorance will not cover me.

And some of you may read this and think I am pointing to one church in particular. I am not. I am referrring to many different church, some of which I used to be a member. There are churches masquerading as one thing, and in practice are another. NO CHURCH is exempt form this examination.

You may realize that yout church is in fact doing things that aren't 'kosher' and think it really doesn't matter. But God will be the one to judge, not man. You can appease your conscious by using your own yard stick, but in the end your measurement will be wrong if it is not the same as the Original.

Because there is so much information included in this, I am going to split it into parts, and then put it in a link on the right to allow others to find it later.

Questions to ask (honestly! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE be honest) about the church/beliefs to which you hold:

1. Who holds the authority?

In other words, who has the final say on matters? Is it God through His inspired word? Is it man through his application and interpretation? If a matter arose where the leadership of the church was in disagreement with the Bible, what would the answer be? This is the number one question because the answer should come from the Bible. Write me off if you like, but you cannot claim to be a Christian church if you do not see the Bible as God's word. Not a synopsis of His words to men of old, not the closest thing we have, and not part of the foundation (the rest being made up of church tradition and men's ideas). If you were to take The Bible out into the wilderness, place someone who has never read it and has no affiliation to a religion there with the book and left them alone, when they were finished they would have all the instruction they would need to live according to the call of Christ. Any advice we give one another should be based on the Bible.

So if your church/faith does not believe The Bible is God's perfect, everlasting, complete word, you are in the wrong place. Here is my backing for this assertion:

God's word doesn't need 'help' from men- "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." Deuteronomy 4:2

God made his word understandable to all, not just a chosen elect who then explain it to others. "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 29:29

Man has found no fault in the word of God, other than his disagreement with it. "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Psalm 12:6

Those who teach something other than what Christ taught are not of him. YOU CANNOT DISAGREE WITH JESUS AND STILL BE RIGHT. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." ! Timothy 6:3-5

The Bible is alive, and is the foundation for the ONLY way to salvation. "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." 1 Peter 1:25

The Word leaves no room for believing in our own power, for it convicts us not only of our deeds, but also our thoughts. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Go to Part II

3 comments:

Rob of the Angels said...

Have you ever thought about how the Bible was put together? Who chose which books to include? Do you know when it was compiled? What does the Bible say about the authority of the Church (see I Timothy 3:15)? What does the Bible say about the oral tradition of the Apostles (see 2 Thess. 2:15)?
You quoted a verse from Deuteronomy which forbids additions to the book. This verse must refer to the book of Deuteronomy only and not to the entire Bible. According to your understanding of the verse, the writings of the Prophets and the Wisdom literature must be seen as additions to God's Word (being written later than Deuteronomy) and must therefore be condemned (This was the understanding of the Samaritans who rejected all of the Old Testament except the five books of Moses). The revelation of Jesus in the Gospels would also have to be rejected.
Sacred Tradition is a good thing. It is supported by the Bible. The Bible itself is the primary part of Sacred Tradition.
If you would like to learn more about this from a born-again, Bible-believing Christian, please feel free to e-mail me at
marco00@myway.com.
Hopefully we can learn from one another.
God Bless,
-Rob.

motherofmany said...

I addressed your questions about the verses in 1 Timothy and 2 Thessalonians in the Q&A post close to the top of the current page. Rather than state that no other scriptures can be written, I think the verse in Deuteronomy is actually warning against what the Catholic church does with tradition and determining practices. Here we have God giving the instructions and a very sharp warning not to add tot hem or take away from them. There is no room for church application in these words.

I have never read a verse form the Bible that supports sacred tradition without being twisted, misinterpreted, or just plain misunderstood. I’m sure this sounds very harsh, but I am not a novice to the study of these things by any means. I welcome the debate and love the challenge of searching the scriptures for answers, but did not want you to be under the impression that I am not well prepared for these matters! 

Yes, I have studied a great deal about he history of the Bible. I do not agree that the Catholic church put it together. The Old Testament cannon was closed 400 years before the birth of Christ. The New Testament letters were sent to churches, copied, shared, and sent further. Even within the scriptures the letters of Paul were called scripture even as they were being passed around. These letters were written by Jewish men as well, so if any church or religion should get credit for putting the Bible together, it should be the Jews, the Chosen people. God, not the Pope, put the Bible together by preserving the letters that were His message. I also do not believe the Alexandrian texts to be the inspired texts, either, but a deception of the devil which was promised to come. From the very beginning he made a job of causing people to doubt the word of God, asking Eve, “Has God truly said?...”

mel said...

Yes, and amen. The Bible is the final authority. Period.

LOVE the hope chest ideas. We also wanted to do something for ours (4 sons, 1 daughter) but weren't sure where to start.

I love it how God has connected the various parts of His Body through the blogging world.

Melinda