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Loyal
Thursday, May 11, 2017, 9:19 a.m.

Dear Church Member,

The reason I am writing you today is to ask you a few simple questions. Do you know what your church believes? Have you read their statement of faith, and their purpose and vision statements? Have you also checked these out against the Word of God to see if they are entirely biblical, in context? What I mean is, do these statements teach the gospel of our salvation in the context of scripture, as a whole, or do they pull scriptures out of context and build their doctrine around only a few select scriptures, while ignoring the rest? And, do you know what your preachers preach with regard to the gospel, which may differ from their official statements of faith? And, have you checked out what your preachers teach against the Word of God?

The reason I am asking these questions is that I am finding more and more churches across America who have diluted the gospel of Jesus Christ and who have reduced the message of salvation to a broad road that many can travel, rather than the narrow road that only a few travel (Matt. 7:13-14). They do this by building their doctrine of salvation around just a few select scriptures, the primary one being Romans 10:9-10, which says:

“…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

Now, to the Jew of that time this meant one thing, while to the average American today, this might mean something entirely different. For instance, if a Jew of that time acknowledged publicly that Jesus Christ is Lord, the promised Messiah of Israel, the Christ, the Son of the living God, it would most certainly mean persecution, rejection, and possibly death, much like it might mean for a Muslim today. The same was true if he believed, in his heart of hearts, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for our sins, and that God, the Father, resurrected him from the dead. For to believe something in our hearts is to believe it with the center of our entire being, and to believe this, for a Jew, would mean a transformation of heart, mind and lifestyle, for he would have crossed over to the other side, basically.

Yet, in America, the term “Lord” appears to be mainly just a title given to Jesus, much like Christ, or Son of God, but it doesn’t actually mean that he is the person’s owner-master, for that is clear by what is often prayed to receive Christ, and is even more clear by the lifestyles and the beliefs which follow a large percentage of these confessions, from all appearances. And, making a verbal confession of him appears to be a mere formality, and not an actual heart confession that Jesus Christ is now owner-master of their lives. As well, if we believe in Jesus in our hearts, i.e. in the core of our being, it should transform us in lifestyle, thought, word and deed, and not give us an excuse to continue sinning against God without guilt or remorse.

In Context

So, what is the context of Romans 10:9-10? Well, chapter 10 begins with these words:

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”

So, who is he talking about? He is talking about the Jews. They were seeking to establish their own righteousness by keeping the law, which they could not do with absolute perfection, anyway, which is why Jesus had to die for our sins. They had zeal for God, but it was not according to truth. But, notice what it says here. The problem was not only that they were trying to be righteous through human effort, but they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. So, what does that mean? If we are subject to someone or something, we are placed under the authority and control of whatever it is we are subject to. As well, God’s righteousness is his divine (judicial) approval, i.e. it refers to what is deemed right by the Lord (after His examination), i.e. what is approved in His eyes (biblehub.com).

Now, I understand here that we are only approved by God because of what Jesus did for us on a cross in dying for our sins, and via God-given faith in him, and that we cannot attain this righteousness by our own human effort. Yet, God-given faith is divinely persuaded of God as to his will for our lives, and if God-given, indeed, then it is in line (in agreement) with his holiness, and his righteousness, i.e. what meets God’s approval, i.e. what is right in his eyes, such as holiness, godliness, truth, uprightness, purity, etc. So, if we subject ourselves to his righteousness, this means that his godliness, holiness, truth, purity, and righteousness are in authority and in control over our lives, i.e. Jesus is truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and we are his bond-slaves, and no longer are we living to please our sinful flesh. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).

Going Back Further

Ok, so what actually takes place in the life of someone who believes in Jesus with God-given faith? We read in Romans 6 that we died to sin, so how can we still live in it any longer? It goes on to say, basically, that we died with Christ to sin, and that we were buried with him through baptism (immersion) into death, i.e. through participating with him in death to sin, so that we might walk (in lifestyle) in newness of life (spiritual rebirth). “Our old self was crucified with him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (vv. 6-7). So, believing in Jesus is not just escaping punishment in hell and having the promise of heaven when we die. When we believe with God-given faith, we die to our old lives of living for sin and self, so that we can now conduct our lives in newness of life, no longer enslaved to sin, but now as bond-servants of his righteousness.

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (vv. 20-23).

God, through sending Jesus to die on a cross as our offering for sin, “condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:3b-4). So, what is the requirement of the law? It demands full obedience to God’s moral laws, which no one could do, which is why Jesus died. Yet, it is not fulfilled in us who merely confess faith in Jesus Christ. It is fulfilled in us who conduct our lives, not according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with and empowered by) the Holy Spirit of God.

In other words, God-given faith in Jesus Christ results in lives transformed of the Spirit of God, which then results in us now living our lives under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and not under the control of the flesh. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (v. 14). So, “we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (vv. 12-13). Do you see what this is saying? A mere prayer is not enough to save us from our sins. If we are living (in lifestyle) by our flesh, we will die in our sins, yet if by the Spirit we are putting to death the acts of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. A saved life is a changed life.

And, this is the context leading up to Romans 10:9-10. If we believe in our hearts concerning what Jesus did for us in his death and resurrection, it means we die to sin that we might live to righteousness. It means we no longer live (walk in lifestyle) in sin. We don’t make a practice of sin, thinking God’s grace covers it all. Instead, by the Spirit we are putting sin to death in our lives daily. And, if we confess that Jesus is Lord of our lives, it means he is owner-master, and we are his bond-slaves, and that his righteousness and holiness now rule in our lives and we are under his and their control.

Zeal for Your House
An Original Work / August 1, 2016

Based off Jn. 2:17; Ps. 69:9

Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
Lord, I love my times with You.
I love to worship You and sing Your praises.
Time in Your Word brings me closer to You,
List’ning to You speaking to me,
Gently guiding me in truth.

Lord, You are my life’s example,
Showing me how I should live.
I love to walk with You where’er You lead me.
No greater joy have I when serving You.
Loving, giving, resting in Your strength,
I’m yielding to Your will.

Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
See the church turned upside down:
Marketing ventures taking place of worship,
Men of the gospel turning into clowns.
Gospel message made appealing,
So the world will feel at home.

Lord, we need a great revival.
Turn their hearts, Lord, back to You.
Open the blind eyes, turn them all from darkness,
Lord, to the light. May they return to You,
Turn from their sin, forsake idols,
Be restored to God again.

 
Loyal
I agree that God gives us faith. But I believe he gives the faith necessary to all men.

Rom 12:3; For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

This goes along with ....

2 Pet 3:9; The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

1 Tim 2:3; This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
1 Tim 2:4; who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Matt 18:14; So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

I don't think God witholds faith or the ability to receive Him from any man. I believe even though some have the faith
necessary, they still choose to reject Him.

Heb 11:6; And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
 
Loyal
I agree that God gives us faith. But I believe he gives the faith necessary to all men.

Rom 12:3; For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

This goes along with ....

2 Pet 3:9; The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

1 Tim 2:3; This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
1 Tim 2:4; who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Matt 18:14; So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

I don't think God witholds faith or the ability to receive Him from any man. I believe even though some have the faith
necessary, they still choose to reject Him.

Heb 11:6; And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
So, you think all people have the faith necessary to believe in Jesus Christ, but it is just a matter as to whether or not they choose to act on it?
 
Loyal
Rom 12:3; For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
It appears here that this is speaking to Christians, not to all people, as it says "to every man that is among you," i.e. that is part of the body of Christ. They have all been given faith, but apparently in different measurements, as God allotted, kind of like the Spirit gives different gifts to different people, and we don't all have the same gifts. The point of this, it would also appear, is that some, apparently, were comparing themselves to others, and/or that they were being prideful about what faith and/or gifts they had been given, so the caution here is that Jesus (God, the Spirit) is the giver of faith and of gifts and he apportions them to whom he will, and that we should not think better or less of ourselves if we have been given more or less. We should be humbled that God would even give us anything, and so we should never find pride in his gifts to us, for they are gifts, i.e. we did nothing to earn or to deserve them.
 
Loyal
So, you think all people have the faith necessary to believe in Jesus Christ, but it is just a matter as to whether or not they choose to act on it?
I absolutely do. There may be a few exceptions... Pharaoh, Esau, Judas who it seems were predestined to end up as they did.
But I suspect at least even Judas and Esau (if not Pharaoh) believed in God. The people in Matt 7:21; believed in Jesus also.
The Pharisees knew who Jesus was. They just just didn't want to accept it.

How about Satan? Jesus said He saw Satan cast out of heaven. Did He believe in God before He was cast out?
How about after He was cast out? Did His belief about God change? Or did his belief about himself change?

For those who believe in predestined salvation... how do you reconcile those verses about God wanting EVERYONE to be saved?

It appears here that this is speaking to Christians, not to all people, as it says
You may be right about that, but there are a few other verses that support the idea that the "un-saved" can recognize that there is a God.

Rom 1:20; For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Jas 2:19; You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
 
Loyal
I absolutely do. There may be a few exceptions... Pharaoh, Esau, Judas who it seems were predestined to end up as they did.
But I suspect at least even Judas and Esau (if not Pharaoh) believed in God. The people in Matt 7:21; believed in Jesus also.
The Pharisees knew who Jesus was. They just just didn't want to accept it.

How about Satan? Jesus said He saw Satan cast out of heaven. Did He believe in God before He was cast out?
How about after He was cast out? Did His belief about God change? Or did his belief about himself change?

For those who believe in predestined salvation... how do you reconcile those verses about God wanting EVERYONE to be saved?



You may be right about that, but there are a few other verses that support the idea that the "un-saved" can recognize that there is a God.

Rom 1:20; For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Jas 2:19; You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
Believing in the existence of God and having God-given faith to trust him as Lord and Savior of our lives are two different things, which is the point James was making in James 2:19.
 
Loyal
Believing in the existence of God and having God-given faith to trust him as Lord and Savior of our lives are two different things, which is the point James was making in James 2:19.
which brings us back to square one :smile:

We used to sing an old hymn...

Trust and obey, for there's no other way.. to be happy in Jesus....
Trust alone doesn't save you. Obedience is required. God doesn't do the obedience for you.
God created Satan, as he created all the angels. Satan was in heaven as all the angels were.
They saw God everyday. They were in heaven or a part of His creation everyday.

Adam and Eve were in the garden, they talked to God everyday, obviously they believed in Him.

That didn't stop them from disobeying Him. God may give us faith, but he doesn't force us to obey Him. That's our choice.
The whole point of the end of James chapter 2. Is Faith without works is dead. It even says Faith alone doesn't save you.

Jas 2:14; What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
Jas 2:20; But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
Jas 2:24; You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Both Abraham and Rahab the harlot had faith... but it was THEIR obedience to God that made the difference between them and the demons.

Jas 2:19; You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

Jas 2:21; Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
Jas 2:25; In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

The act of sacrificing Isaac in itself wasn't righteous, the act of Rahab hiding the spies didn't make her righteous either.
It was their willingness to obey God that made them righteous.

Jas 2:23; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God.
 
Loyal
we did nothing to earn or to deserve them.
And yet the Bible puts conditions on the Jesus of Jesus

John 15:10; "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

IF ... the start of a conditional statement here... IF you do this thing... THEN you will abide (remain) in my love.
IF you don't do this thing.... then the other side of "IF" comes into play.

1 Jn 2:3; By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
1 Jn 2:4; The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

1 Jn 3:24; The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Another conditional statement... the one who does THIS abides in Jesus.. and ... Jesus abides in Him.
The other side of that coin is... the one who doesn't do this .. doesn't have Jesus abiding in them.

Again, it's back to our obedience, not just faith. Faith itself requires proof.

1 Pet 1:6; In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
1 Pet 1:7; so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though test

How do we prove our faith? By being obedient.

Heb 11:4; By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
Heb 11:7; By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Heb 11:17; By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;
Heb 11:24; By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,

By Faith... we do this or we do that (build ark, sacrifice our son, hide the spies, etc... )
If we don't do the actions (works) that prove our faith (obedience).. then faith means nothing.

Jas 2:26; For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
 
Loyal
The faith to believe in Jesus Christ, if it is God-given, and not human faith, it is divinely persuaded of God as to his perfect will for our lives, and if persuaded, it is crucified with Christ in death to sin, and it is resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. It is the kind of faith that Abraham and the greats of old had (Heb. 11). They believed and then they did such and such. It was obedient faith. What James was describing was the difference between intellectual belief, i.e. belief in the existence of God, and even believing that Jesus died for our sins so that we could be forgiven, and God-given faith which puts action to the belief, i.e. which submits to Jesus and to the cross.

So, it isn't that the people James talked about had real faith, and that they didn't accompany that with obedience, but that their faith was human and intellectual faith, but not the kind of faith that is divinely persuaded of God as to his perfect will for our lives; not the kind of faith which submits to God and to his purposes. But, if the faith is genuine, i.e. if it is God-given faith, then it is divine, it is spiritual, and it does conform to God and to his will.

Yet, we still live in flesh bodies. And, we still have the propensity to sin against God. So, this does not mean that all those who have God-given faith will never disobey, or that they will never sin against God. Otherwise, we wouldn't have all the warnings in scripture to Christians about their spiritual walks, and about putting this off and putting this on. Daily we must die to sin and self (Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25). I believe your area of concern is for those who think that faith in Jesus Christ does not require obedience, and I agree with you. Yet, if they believe and teach that God requires no obedience, no repentance, and no submission to Christ, then that can't be God-given faith, because if it is divine faith, it will submit to Christ.
 
Active
I am troubled by the opening post as it invites us to step back from the church and judge it, but does not suggest a constructive response.

Findingredients fault with a church - any church - is the easiest thing in the world. In my work in have encountered many, in many different cultures, and in different Christian traditions. I have been inspired by them and have doubt that God is working among them. But I could reel off a list of the faults of each without hesitation.

Your church's failings are also your failings. You are part of the body. We must be accountable to each other for the whole body.

Of course there are roles within the church and the communication of good teaching is a responsibility of thone gifted and reconised as preachers and teachers. But even they ought to be accountable to the whole.

In summary, of course your church has a thousand faults and failings, the question is, what is our role within the fellowship to draw the community closer to the promised Kingdom of God? Aread we exercising those roles in faith, humility and with integrity.

Too many posts going around saying 'the problem with the church today...' let's be honest and accountable and say 'the problem with us today'.

Rant over
 
Loyal
I am troubled by the opening post as it invites us to step back from the church and judge it, but does not suggest a constructive response.

Findingredients fault with a church - any church - is the easiest thing in the world. In my work in have encountered many, in many different cultures, and in different Christian traditions. I have been inspired by them and have doubt that God is working among them. But I could reel off a list of the faults of each without hesitation.

Your church's failings are also your failings. You are part of the body. We must be accountable to each other for the whole body.

Of course there are roles within the church and the communication of good teaching is a responsibility of thone gifted and reconised as preachers and teachers. But even they ought to be accountable to the whole.

In summary, of course your church has a thousand faults and failings, the question is, what is our role within the fellowship to draw the community closer to the promised Kingdom of God? Aread we exercising those roles in faith, humility and with integrity.

Too many posts going around saying 'the problem with the church today...' let's be honest and accountable and say 'the problem with us today'.

Rant over
@Hekuran -

Thank you for your input. Yet, this is not about finding fault with your church in the sense of picking it apart and nitpicking over things that have no eternal consequence. This is asking you to test what you are hearing, and to examine what is being taught, and to know what is being taught, and whether or not it is biblical. And, this is perfectly in line with what Jesus taught, and with what his NT apostles taught. In fact, they even scolded the church, at times, because they put up too easily with false doctrine, a false gospel, and with the teaching of a false (unbiblical) Jesus. So, how would they know the doctrine was false, or that the Jesus being taught was not the Jesus of the Bible? They would have to test what they are hearing against the Word of God and in prayer to make certain they were not following after false teaching or a false gospel or a false christ. The problem with many today is that they are not checking out to see if what is being taught lines up with scripture, but too many are just accepting whatever they hear as long as it feels good, and this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

And, you are not correct when you say that the OP does not suggest a constructive response to the problem of false doctrine and false teaching within the church. It absolutely does! It teaches how to test what we are hearing against the Word of God, how to read scriptures in context, and how not to pull certain scriptures out of context to make them mean something they do not mean. It goes step-by-step in examining one particular passage in the context in which it is written to see what the real meaning is of the passage, yet it also demonstrates how taking scriptures out of context can sometimes be a problem, especially if we build an entire doctrine of salvation from sin around this one passage, and if we, thus, may be giving people a false hope of salvation based on faulty information, and that has serious eternal consequences for them.

You want to "draw the community closer to the promised Kingdom of God?" Then, we need to do that by knowing the truth, and by telling people the truth, for if we tell them half-truths (lies) which lead them to a false hope of salvation, then not only are we not leading them closer to the promised Kingdom of God, but we are actually leading them further away from it. So, this OP is not about nitpicking the church and seeing what faults we can find with it, but it is about knowing the truth, obeying the truth, teaching the truth, and rejecting the lies, which is what Jesus and his NT apostles taught us to do over and over again. This, too, is about not allowing ourselves to be duped by master manipulators who tell people what their itching ears want to hear, and it is about not putting up with false doctrine, a false gospel and a false Jesus. People's eternity depends on us knowing and sharing the truth. This is my role in drawing the community closer to the promised Kingdom of God, and I am exercising it in the power and wisdom of the Spirit of God within me in faith, humility and with integrity.

I ask that you read back through the OP prayerfully, asking God what he would want you to learn from it, and try to see it in the light which I just shared with you. So many churches which are knowingly teaching what is false also work hard to put people on a guilt trip if they do examine what is being taught against the Word of God, so they try to shame them into remaining silent by accusing them of being critical and judgmental. But, Jesus and his NT apostles called out false teaching and false teachers and they warned the church against wolves in sheep's clothing, and they exposed lies and taught people the truth, and how to know what is truth. And, that is what I am doing, too. Because I am obeying my Lord, and because I love people. And, I don't want anyone to hear one day, "I Never Knew You." All glory to God!
 
Loyal
I am troubled by the opening post as it invites us to step back from the church and judge it, but does not suggest a constructive response.

Findingredients fault with a church - any church - is the easiest thing in the world. In my work in have encountered many, in many different cultures, and in different Christian traditions. I have been inspired by them and have doubt that God is working among them. But I could reel off a list of the faults of each without hesitation.

Your church's failings are also your failings. You are part of the body. We must be accountable to each other for the whole body.

Of course there are roles within the church and the communication of good teaching is a responsibility of thone gifted and reconised as preachers and teachers. But even they ought to be accountable to the whole.

In summary, of course your church has a thousand faults and failings, the question is, what is our role within the fellowship to draw the community closer to the promised Kingdom of God? Aread we exercising those roles in faith, humility and with integrity.

Too many posts going around saying 'the problem with the church today...' let's be honest and accountable and say 'the problem with us today'.

Rant over
The Lord Jesus brought this scripture to mind:

2 Timothy 2:15 NASB: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."
 
Active
Thank you @Sue J Love for a gracious response. There's a lot that I agree with, and certainly the main thrust of the opening post - all of us must learn how to handle scripture well.

1 John 4:1

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God

John is clearly writing to a church that is being rocked by false teaching and false prophets. His instruction is to the whole church, instructing them to test the spirits. It's a task that the church must do together - to work out what is and what is not from God. (Of course they had the advantage of at least one of the apostles still alive and the disadvantage that the New Testament canon had not yet been agreed.)

How can every member play their part in keeping the church true to the Word of God in a fast-changing world?

It is not the task of the individual to judge the church
It is the task of the church to judge the spirits

Again, I cannot say: 'the problem with the church', without saying 'the problem with us'.
 
Loyal
It is not the task of the individual to judge the church
@Hekuran -

Thank you for your response. But, where in scripture does it say this? Where does it say that individuals, who are members of the body of Christ, are not to examine what is false and to teach what is true, unless they do it as a corporate body? The letters in the New Testament are nearly all written to the body, and yet the instructions are to be taken individually, as well, unless specifically specified, such as with church discipline. We each have a responsibility before God to make certain that we know the truth, that we are believing the truth, and that what we are sharing with others is, indeed, the truth, and that we are not following after what is false. We each individually have a responsibility to make certain we are not buying into a false gospel and putting up with it easily enough and that we are not following after clever enchanters who say what itching ears want to hear. God is going to one day hold us all individually responsible for what we believed, what we lived, and what we taught to others. We need to be men and women of integrity who follow after God with all our hearts, minds and souls, and who seek after him, and desire him above all else, and who will stand on the Word of Truth even if everyone else is following what is false, should that ever be the case.
 
Active
There's nowhere that prohibits examining truth outside the corporate body. I think the biblical model and better way is always to engage from the standpoint of a member of the Body of Christ, respecting authority and accountability within the church. Approaching this way can strengthen and unify the body (even if the debate is sharp).

Taking an outsider stance and criticising the church is far more likely to end up weakening the body and causing division.

There are dozens - maybe hundreds - of posts on this forum that boil down to 'the problem with the church today...' I don't think they are helpful or constructive. I find them discouraging and demoralising - self inflicted injuries.
 
Loyal
There's nowhere that prohibits examining truth outside the corporate body. I think the biblical model and better way is always to engage from the standpoint of a member of the Body of Christ, respecting authority and accountability within the church. Approaching this way can strengthen and unify the body (even if the debate is sharp).

Taking an outsider stance and criticising the church is far more likely to end up weakening the body and causing division.

There are dozens - maybe hundreds - of posts on this forum that boil down to 'the problem with the church today...' I don't think they are helpful or constructive. I find them discouraging and demoralising - self inflicted injuries.
If your pastor passed out "the Kool-Aid" for everyone to drink, would you drink it without question as to what was in it? And, would you pass it along to an unbeliever or another Christian for him to drink, too? If your pastor led your congregation to jump off a bridge, would you go along with it, and would you invite your unsaved friends to join with you? This is the point. This is about you, as an individual, taking personal responsibility to make certain of what you are being taught, and to examine it against the scriptures to make certain it is truth, and that there is not poison contained within. It is about you, as an individual, also making sure that you do not pass along error to other believers, to professing Christians, or to those outside the body of Christ so that you lead them to their deaths.

Again, many of today's churches are doing what I just stated, only maybe not as blatant and obvious as this may seem, and they are teaching their congregants to not question what they are being taught because, after all, that is judgmental, and so they silence the church and individuals from both examining what is being taught and from individually standing on what is truth, and so the sheep go along with whatever ,and they lead others to go along with whatever, and many are leading people to their deaths, because they are telling them lies.

We, as God's people, need to be people of truth, and we need to expose the lies so that others don't fall into the trap of the evil one and follow after what is false. So, yes, there will be posts about the church, because God is concerned about his church (see the letters to the seven churches in Revelation), and also see Revelation 18 or 19 where it says we are to come out of Babylon, so we don't share in her sins and in her punishment, because her sins are piled high to heaven. Jesus is calling out to his church, and he is calling them to examine what they are being taught, and to reject the lies and to follow the truth, and the lies have to be exposed and the truth has to be told so that people can be rescued from these liars and deceivers. This is the work of God in his church, not the work of some disgruntled parishioner who just wants to complain about the church. This is about rescuing people from death! And, the message is "Don't drink the Kool-Aid!" unless you know it is safe.
 
Active
I think I've stated my view as well as I can. Of course no church and no church leaders is beyond question or criticism. We all have responsibility for good doctrine and the way we live out the gospel. But we do best when it is a shared, community responsibility.

Do you see any value in that approach?
 
Loyal
I think I've stated my view as well as I can. Of course no church and no church leaders is beyond question or criticism. We all have responsibility for good doctrine and the way we live out the gospel. But we do best when it is a shared, community responsibility.

Do you see any value in that approach?
How would you approach such a shared responsibility?
 
Active
Sue are there issues with the church you belong to...?
If there are..take a step back. If you in a church that theres so many things that dont sit right with you..there is nothing wrong with asking God am I in the fellowship you want me to belong to?

Have a chat with your pastor about concerns, but also pray for the leaders...really pray. There was one time there was an issue with leaders in my church that didnt sit right with me and I just had to pray and pray. There will be time when you might have to rebuke someone but if they are elder to you treat them as dads or mums..with respect and honor. Continue to be salt and light and in your walk..its easy to point the finger and I admit I can do that too without seeing I might have the same or even worse faults.

You never know, you pastor might be open to hearing from you speak out and even invite you to preach about it! If theres a sharing time in your church or board meetings or anything like that, perhaps take the opportunity to encourage the church if God is leading you to say something.
 

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