One of the questions I like to ask folks is, “Why do you go to your church?” The answers vary, but the least frequently mentioned reason is Biblical accuracy.
Even when someone does mention sound Biblical teaching, it usually falls under one of 2 categories, chief of which is, “I really like the Pastor.” Second to this is, “he uses the bible.”
This is my cue to ask another set of questions. It usually goes like this…
ME: “That’s cool, what does your pastor teach about salvation?”
THEM: “It’s about a relationship not a religion. If you ask Jesus into your heart you will be saved.”
ME: “Oh? What is that bible passage for that belief?”
THEM: blank stare “I don’t know the bible as well as I should, but I know it’s in there. Besides, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”” [John 3:16]
ME: “I was reading 1Peter 3:21 and I saw this. Maybe you can help me understand what it means, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” What do you think that means?”
THEM: “I have to go.”
The above was just an abbreviated version of several conversations I have every week. People are very happy to tell me of their feelings of faith. When asked for biblical clarity, many no longer want to talk.
I KNOW WHY…
There are only a few reasons why a person won’t talk to me or another who asks for clarity of their beliefs.
- EMBARRASSED: They can’t defend them & are a little embarrassed, so they must go before I discover their ignorance. Sometimes embarrassment becomes anger.
- MISTRUST: Connected to the first, since they know they don’t know, they must run away from any who has a different gospel. Maybe they heard Gal 1:8-9 in reverse?
- HOOKED ON A FEELING: This is exemplified by phrases like, “You can’t tell me that God isn’t speaking to me.” “I had an overwhelming feeling of peace…” (I’ve heard these lines from just about every denomination which begs the question, how do we know their feelings are accurate?)
There is a way to KNOW for certain. It’s in God’s word. We can read it in context and COMPARE it to what we are doing. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” [Matt 7:24]
The sayings of Jesus are recorded in the Gospels and His commands are in the rest of the New Testament, [1Cor 14:37]. “These are written that ye might believe…” [John 20:30-31].
The beauty of the written word is that we can all look at the same material and know the truth and be set free. [John 8:32]
In short, WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
BAPTISM = IMMERSE in WATER
ACTS 22:16; 1Pet 3:21
EPH 4:4, 1:22-23
Heb 7:12-14; 2Sam 7:7
LOCAL CHURCH AUTONOMY
FAITH through the WORD
ASSURANCE through OBEDIENCE
NOT BY FAITH ALONE
Eph 5:19; Col 3:16
BAPTISM, Sprinkling / Holy Spirit, Not ESSENTIAL
A CHURCH WORLD HEADQUARTERS
FAITH through A FEELING
ASSURANCE through A FEELING
SING, PLAY INSTRUMENTS, BANDS, CHOIRS, SOLOS etc.