“Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, But Lord, what about this man? Jesus said to him, If I intend for him to remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” John 21:21-22
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2nd Corinthians 5:10
About a year ago my family and I were attending a conservative “bible-believing” KJV-Only Baptist church several miles from our home. We would faithfully pack in our car and head out early in the morning to be able to attend both Sunday School and the regular church service. We joined about 8-10 others who also came on a regular basis, some also having traveled some distance.
Overall there were many things about the church that were noteworthy, there was no offering plate passed around, simply a box on the wall where one could offer a free-will offering. The church believed in repentance, often a foundational doctrine that is missing from most of America’s churches. The hymns and music was biblical, the demeanor of the pastor was one who took a stand towards Truth. Missing from the church were a podium for the pastor to stand on, decorations for the holiday season and other things that one would expect to see in regular Baptist churches, these were all benefits of someone who had looked into and sought out the Truth.
Yet one Sunday morning, as we are still in a slight daze from having gotten up so early, my ears perked up to the pastor preach about how there were two floods, not one. SEE THIS ARTICLE FOR FURTHER DETAILS.
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: The kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced fruit, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares? He said to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Do you want us then to go and gather them up? But he said, No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:24-30
The doctrine of the two floods was clearly wrong and to my family the Word of God, the entirety of it, is the basis of our foundation. We believe God and in doing so take Him at His Word for how the earth was Created, that it was Created in six days and see no reason to add a ‘gap theory’ to explain away supposed modern science. I contacted the pastor regarding this and for awhile he refused to comment. When the deacon of the church finally mentioned again to the pastor that I was waiting for a response, his reply was simply that he ‘had heard those arguments before and knew he was right.’ So in situations like this what is a Christian to do?
Quite simply I was not going to determine that the pastor was/is not a Christian, certainly there are different levels of maturity in Christ and furthermore there are also things that even true pastors get wrong. A basis for this is often not studying the Holy Scriptures to verify the teachings that one receives at a trusted seminary school. Often the students at these schools believe that the men who are teaching them are wise and they trust that those things are correct, yet that is often not the case, even with the more conservative schools that are left.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things are so.” Acts 17:11
Yet that is exactly what should be expected out of a Christian. A Believer should open up the Word of God and carefully study what they are taught to ensure that it is correct doctrine. After all, we follow Jesus, shouldn’t we make sure that our ways are pleasing to Him and that the teachings that we are taught are lined up with the teachings of the Bible?
While there are often smaller issues in churches, some of which I wouldn’t necessary seek to attend elsewhere, there are MANY issues in most churches. The Believer needs to follow Christ, even if following Him means that we seem to go on alone, walking down the narrow path.
If a person attended a Roman Catholic church and became Saved, wouldn’t they eventually realize that the doctrine that is taught from their pulpits are the doctrines of demons and not the true doctrine of the Church? Upon realizing that, they would need to forsake the idolatrized pagan temple and seek out a Church that’s foundation is Jesus Christ.
“Preach the Word. Be ready in season and out of season. Convict, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own lusts, desiring to hear pleasant things, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to myths. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2nd Timothy 4:2-5
You follow Christ.
As a Believer grows in Christ there are oftentimes that a decision must be made to follow Him or to follow the mainstream. Jesus always chose to do those things that pleased the Father.
“Then Peter began to say to Him, Behold, we have left everything and followed You. So Jesus answered and said, Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, on account of Me and the gospel, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” Mark 10:28-30
“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” John 8:29
As Christians, understand that following Jesus often causes persecution and separation.
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the Word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My Word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” John 15:18-21
“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty in battle, turned to flight the armies of foreigners. Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and floggings, yes, and of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tried, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, oppressed; of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.” Hebrews 11:32-38
Dear reader, we are to become like Christ, we are to purify ourselves and become holy in our conduct. When the world’s ways, yes even those that call themselves the church, are contrary to what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ taught, then we are to follow Him.
“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1st John 2:6
“And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1st John 3:3
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also become holy in all conduct, because it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.” 1st Peter 1:13-16