I heard it again recently. A phrase used often, but rarely understood. As one individual was discussing with another what was necessary to please God the comment offered was: “You just need to find and worship with a good Bible believing church.” Unfortunately, I was not permitted to intervene in that conversation, but will you study this idea with me in this article?
Should people seek to find, worship, and belong to a church that believes the Bible? Absolutely! The Bible is the inspired Word of God and supplies mankind with the exclusive source of the will of God, and it further equips or supplies all that is necessary to serve the Creator (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Jesus, our Savior, stated that rejecting His Word would be foolish since it would serve as the judge, that is the basis of our judgment on that last great day (John 12:48). All people concerned with their eternal welfare should desire nothing more than to find like-minded people who are interested in doing nothing more and nothing less than believing and implementing what the Bible teaches.
Unfortunately, it has been my experience that those who give the counsel offered above are not seriously concerned with adhering to the logical conclusions such an instruction entails, or else they are ignorant (willfully or innocently) of what is necessary to have a Bible believing church. Let me offer a few examples to illustrate.
A good Bible believing church will have a leadership structure like the one you read about in the New Testament. Elders, mature Christian men who meet qualifications of character and conduct outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, were appointed to provide oversight in every autonomous congregation (Acts 14:23). These men were also called pastors or shepherds and help feed/teach and protect the church from enemies without or within (Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 5:1-4). A plurality of men always serve in this role in each congregation, and never just one man. A good Bible believing church rejects the one-man pastor system, because it is not the pattern God gave in the New Testament. Sadly, the “find a good Bible believing church” advice is often offered by a man who is considered ‘the pastor’ of a group that is not, contrary to his belief, a Bible believing church.
Second, a good Bible believing church will offer worship to the Lord in the way He prescribes. Jesus stated simply: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). It is possible to offer vain or futile worship that conforms to the commandments or whims of men, but that falls short of divine approval according to Matthew 15:9. In our age of individuality, many clamor for feelings or experiences that make them feel good, and this mentality is carried over into the religious realm. Yet, a good Bible believing church will exalt the desires of God above all else and encourage people to submit to the instructions the Lord provides in the New Testament, as Colossians 3:17 admonishes: “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” The New Testament specifies remembering the death of Christ each Sunday through the emblems given in the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7); giving joyfully of financial resources to assist with the work of the church (1 Corinthians 16:2); offering fervent prayer to God for guidance and blessing (Acts 2:42); studying and listening to true doctrine given in Scripture (2 Timothy 4:2); and singing psalms and hymns of praise using only the lips, voice, and heart of the worshippers (Ephesians 5:19).
Third, and the last point we will consider in this article although many more could be explored, a good Bible believing church will teach what the New Testament teaches concerning what is necessary for people to do to acquire a saved relationship with Jesus Christ. Tragically, I have most often heard the recommendation to “find a good Bible believing church” following an occurrence in which an individual led one or more persons in “accepting Christ as Lord and Savior into your heart and praying a sinner’s prayer.” This procedure, according to the pastor/preacher/person leading, assures those who complied that they are now saved and have eternal life to anticipate when life on earth is over. Now, they can find a good Bible believing church to with which to worship. There is just one big problem. Nowhere, not even one time, can you read about such a procedure in the New Testament. A good Bible believing church will reject this contrived and invented formula of men and instead will proclaim the true Gospel as found in the New Testament. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is the foundational truth of the Good News. Those who are able to understand must hear the Gospel and understand they are sinners (Romans 10:17), they must believe and have faith that Jesus is the Savior capable to save them (Hebrews 11:6), they must decide to give up a life of sin and repent (Luke 13:3), they must confess their faith in the Lord (Romans 10:10), and they must be baptized or immersed in water for the remission of their sins to have them washed away (Acts 2:38, 22:16). This is the plan of salvation found in the New Testament and the method that every conversion in the New Testament explicitly or implicitly followed. A good Bible believing church will teach and practice this and nothing else, because if you believe the Bible this is what the Bible teaches!
Just a few additional items to consider–a good Bible believing church will wear a Biblical name, and the members will wear only the name of Christ (Acts 11:26, Romans 16:16). A good Bible believing church will have no earthly headquarters or head (Colossians 1:18). We could add more, but I will stop for now and beg you to consider what has already been presented.
Are you in a good Bible believing church? How do you know or determine? Let the Bible and the Bible alone be your guide. If you discover that your group is not following and believing what the Bible teaches, leave that group and join those who do. Please contact us if you would like to talk or study about this more (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we will gladly assist you in your search for truth and in finding a good Bible believing, teaching, and living church!