One of the biggest lies being perpetrated on the public is the idea we all worship the same God. So it’s okay to join any religious group. Even denominations are blurring the lines of Biblical truths to draw the masses. Americans are even becoming less attached to a particular denomination or any denomination. People have forgotten that sound doctrine matters. It’s important to understand what Christian Doctrine is all about. If you aren’t sure what it means, there is a good chance you could be fooled by “denominations” that claim to be Christian in orientation, but are not.
Why should doctrine be important?
Doctrine defines what we know and believe about God. Sound doctrine comes from the Bible. It is the sole authority by which Christians are ruled. The Bible guides our lives and gives us insight, wisdom, and understanding of our LORD. Christians believe the Bible is the only Word of God. The author of the Bible is God, who divinely inspired men to write it. It is without error.
Sound doctrine identifies the purpose and work of Christianity.
The Christian’s purpose is to bring honor and glory to our LORD by loving Him and others according to Jesus’ commandment:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40, KJV
Our lifelong work is defined in the great commission Jesus gave to the Apostles:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20
This is not referring to a “social gospel” where ministry supersedes and/or substitutes for a personal relationship with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit and the atoning work of the cross.
Why isn’t doctrine important anymore?
Churches are competing for members. Attending church is not appealing to many people as the poll by Pew Forum indicates. They prefer to follow personal pursuits on Sunday. Consequently churches need a compelling reason to get people out of the house and into the church.
Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Church) taught if you want to grow your church, make church more appealing to the target group of people you want to reach. Of course, the easiest way to draw people is to remove obstacles that keep them from coming and provide something they want.
Unfortunately, this tactic can be misused for man’s benefit. Personal interests and preferences can become the focal point upon which the church is focused, rather than the message of Christ.
A sure sign of trouble is when the message of the blood of Christ is minimized, and when the Bible teaching is dumbed down or replaced by self-help books. Nothing is sacred. Every aspect of church life is then up for grabs. From personal experience, I know the trend is to remove anything that would deter people from attending church. That can include dogmatic doctrine.
Intolerance of righteous teaching is another reason for diminished and missing sound doctrine from the church. The unrepentant do not wish to be confronted with sin. It is uncomfortable and embarrassing, a real put-off to people. Some have the mistaken idea that sin will be tolerated and even ignored. When a church follows the teachings of the Bible, those who are uncomfortable will leave, rather than repent and turn away from sin.
When those in leadership are afraid of losing members, they can choose to trust God to lead new people to the church or they can back down on preaching sound doctrine. Too often a compromise is made. Where once there was a message rooted in sound doctrine, now people will hear a feel good, self-improvement message that ignores the message of the cross.
Sound doctrine is convicting, but it also shows the way of forgiveness for those willing to hear.
Why are there differences between denominations?
When it comes down to it, people are not in agreement about what the Bible means. Hence, doctrinal differences have arisen. Each thinks they have the answer, claiming insight and understanding the others do not possess.
Some argue that the Church rules, taking precedence over the Bible. Yet I find there are many churches which do not follow the teachings of the Bible. Instead they seek to follow those tenets they agree with, rather than submit themselves to all the truths of the Word. An example of this would be the tolerance by some churches of homosexuality.
What are the differences between denominations?
Yes, there are differences between Christian denominations. What kind of denominational differences are we talking about? We’re talking about differences about what the Bible says and how it is interpreted.
Some differences include:
- the means of salvation
- immersion versus sprinkling
- Bible only or Apocrypha or other works added
- Mary: with or without original sin
- free will to choose Christ as savior or predestinated to be saved
- pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation rapture
People have forgotten the differences that fostered denominations. There is much to divide Christians. The illusion of unity between denominations is often accomplished by simply pushing the differences aside and ignoring them. It is easy to assimilate into a church when sound doctrine is no longer important.
It is becoming more common to find churches with no denominational affiliation. These have become autonomous, without accountability. Let us beware of the mindset that says in Proverbs 16:25 (KJV): “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Non-Christian Churches Calling Themselves Christians
Then we have the problem of non-Christian churches trying to define themselves as Christians. That would be the Mormons, aka The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Scientists. Each says they are “Christian” but their doctrine does not line up with the Bible.
They call themselves Christians, but they do not follow the Bible. They even use Christian terminology. These groups by their very beliefs more readily fit into the designation of cult. They have a measure of “Christian” belief, but again, they do not follow the Bible.
A more comprehensive study reveals distinct differences between these and mainstream Christian denominations. Following are short snippets of information about them that automatically disqualify them from being Christian.
Mormons believe eternity is spent populating other worlds and they put much more emphasis on the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price than the Holy Bible. This is unbiblical.
Jehovah Witnesses believe the soul is not immortal and they do not believe in the Trinity. This too is unbiblical.
Christian Science members are not affiliated with Scientology. Christian Science members read the Bible and a book by founder, Mary Baker Eddy, called “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” Christian Science churches look like Protestant churches, but in fact they are not the same in doctrinal belief. They do not believe Jesus is God. This is unbiblical.
Check out their statements on whether they are Christians….
Are all religions the same?
Clearly there are multitudes of religious beliefs, but all are not Bible based. These false religions include Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, among others. They are not even remotely related to Christianity. There are other religious groups people assume must be Christian. One that is quite popular today is Scientology.
I call this a false faith. Scientologists do not follow Judeo-Christian practices, but they do call themselves a church. They do not believe man is sinful. Scientologists worship man, who they describe as a spiritual being. They believe everyone is to follow their own truth as it has been personally observed. Scientologists believe in past lives; meaning a person lived before in another body. To them, being “born again” means being born into another body.
What is the point of blurring the lines?
I believe it’s a ploy of our enemy, Satan to establish a one world religion. We understand in the end times, an antichrist will rule the world for a time. All will worship this individual, excluding the Christians of course. The worship of this antichrist will become a world wide religion.
The Bible in Revelation 13 says the antichrist will be given power. Here’s what the Book of Revelation says:
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him…” Revelation 13:8
This is also not the first time we read in the Bible of a universal religion. We read in the Book of Daniel how King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon commanded everyone to fall down and worship an image of gold he had made. Three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, friends of Daniel, refused. They were cast into a fiery furnace as punishment, but God delivered them alive and untouched out of the flames. Nebuchadnezzar commanded the people to not speak against their God. Then he promoted these three young men to important positions. (Daniel 3)
How can a world wide religion become accepted and embraced all over the world? First, all other religious beliefs must be discredited. They must believe they have followed a lie. How will this be accomplished? Revelation provides the answer…
“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of me, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast;” Revelation 13:13-14a
The “he” is the antichrist.
If sound doctrine is ignored, then the warnings of the Bible will not be heard. People will believe the lies and they will be judged and condemned accordingly. The great lie of Eden where Satan in speaking to Eve casts doubt on what God says with these words:
“And the serpent said unto the woman, “Ye shall not surely die” Genesis 3:4
Those who are deceived will be cast away, for they will have rejected the one true God.
“The Lord is not slack concern His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Let us not be deceived into thinking doctrine doesn’t matter. It does. Choose your denomination wisely, and make sure the teachings of the Bible are upheld. If you are in a church where the Bible is not revered and taught, find a new one so you can learn sound Biblical doctrine. If you aren’t sure if what you are being taught in your church is correct, then you must read your Bible and seek wise counsel from the LORD through prayer. Your eternal salvation is at stake.
Warren, Rick. Purpose Driven Church. Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, 1995.
What is Scientology? Scientology. Website @ http://www.scientology.org/
What is Christian Science? Christian Science Board of Directors. Website @ http://christianscience.com/what-is-christian-science
Zavada, Jack. Christian Science Beliefs and Practices – Distinctive Beliefs of the Christian Science Church. http://christianity.about.com/od/christianscience/a/christsciencebeliefs.htm