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Examining Churches and Religions
Bible study examining churches and religions.

Jesus tells us we'll know false prophets by their fruits (Matt. 7:15-20).

This is a principle we're taught to use when examining everything (Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:6-10; Ja. 1:26-27; 3:13-18).

So, to examine churches and religions we need to look at their fruits. In this article, we examine churches and religions by asking questions, eliminating those built on the doctrines of men and identifying the Lord's church.

Does the church believe Jesus is the divine Son of God?
There are about 4,200 world religions of which Christianity counts as only one. The largest world religion is Christianity with about two billion adherents. The second largest is Islam, and the third is Hinduism (

By testing a religion as to whether it believes Jesus is the divine Son of God, we can eliminate all world religions but Christianity. If a religion is not "Christian", it can't be the Lord's church since it rejects Christ.

This is true because:

  • God bore witness that Jesus is His Son through the miracles He performed (Heb. 2:4).
  • Therefore we must obey Jesus to be saved (Matt. 28:18; Jn. 12:48; 14:6; Col. 3:17; Heb. 5:9).
  • If we don't, we'll die in our sins (Jn. 8:24).

Does the church believe Jesus is the only way to God?
Some religions believe Jesus is the divine Son of God, but don't believe He is the only way to God.

Religions such as Gnostic and New Age believe Jesus was one of many sent to earth to bring people to God. Other religions believe Jesus was one of many prophets, equal to someone like Mohamad. And some religions believe people can be saved, even if they've never heard of Jesus.

As Christians, we confess that Jesus is the only way to God.

  • "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me'" (Jn. 14:6).

In John 14:6, Jesus uses the definite article three times. He is the one and only way, the one and only truth, and the one and only life. There is no possible way to the Father except through Jesus.

We must obey Jesus to be saved (Heb. 5:9). If we don't, we're eternally lost in our sins.

Does the church teach anything different from the doctrine of Christ?
Most churches claiming to be Christian teach things that are different from the doctrine of Christ. Many of them condone immoral behaviors, such as adultery, unlawful marriage, and homosexuality. And many have added things to the worship God commands, such as mechanical instruments of music.

Some have embraced latter-day prophets who are dead, such as Joseph Smith and Ellen White.

And some have present-day prophets and apostles, giving instructions to their churches that contradict the word of God.

But from the Bible we learn that anyone teaching a doctrine that's different from the doctrine of Christ, even in the slightest way, is damned to hell. His church is not the Lord's church.

  • "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8-9).

And everyone following the false doctrines of these accursed preachers is lost in sin.

  • "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4).

Is the church a denomination?
A church can be a denomination in two ways.

First, the word "denomination" comes from the word "denominate", and means to call a thing by anything other than its proper name. So, when Christians divide and call themselves by a name not authorized by God, they have denominated themselves. Thus, they've become a denomination.

This is one of the sinful conditions Paul addressed in First Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:10-13; 3:1-4).

And this is a sin Jesus addressed regarding the Nicolaitans. Christians holding to their doctrines had to repent, or they'd be condemned in hell (Rev. 2:6, 15-16).

Second, the word denomination is used of a church with congregations organized under a single administrative head, such as the Roman Catholic Church whose head is the Pope. This is the apostasy foretold by Paul which began in the second century, when elders began ruling over multiple congregations (Acts 20:28-30).

The Lord's church is not a denomination. It doesn't have a head or administrative body upon the earth. The head of God's church is Jesus, who is in heaven (Eph. 5:23; Heb. 1:3; 1 Pet. 3:22).

With this information, we must conclude that none of the nearly 34,000 Christian denominations are the Lord's church.

Is the church organized as authorized in God's word?
Congregations of the Lord's church are organized with qualified elders and deacons, along with evangelists, and Jesus as its head (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:11; 5:22-24; 1 Tim. 3:1-13). In the event that the congregation doesn't have qualified men to serve as elders and deacons, the men of the congregation lead (Acts 14:21-23; 1 Cor. 14:34-35).

  • Congregations of the Lord's church are overseen by a plurality of elders, not just one. The elders overseeing the congregation must be members of the congregation, and only oversee that local group of Christians (Acts 11:30; 14:23;15:2-6; 20:17, 28; Tit. 1:5; 1 Pet. 5:1-5).
  • Other names ascribed to elders are "pastor" (shepherd) and "bishop" (overseer) (1 Tim. 5:17; Acts 20:29-31; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-2).

Today, we no longer have the offices of apostle and prophet in the church. These offices passed away with the death of the apostles.

  • Paul was the last man qualified to be an apostle (Acts 1:21-22; 26:16; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:5-8).
  • Christians could only receive supernatural power by the laying on of an apostle's hands, so no one can prophesy or perform miracles today (Acts 8:17-19; 19:6-7).

As a result, we can tell that a church is not the Lord's church if one of these situations exists:

  • If Jesus isn't the head of the church, it's not the Lord's church.
  • If there is an earthly office other than elder, deacon, or evangelist, it's not the Lord's church.
  • If a church has an apostle or prophet, it's not the Lord's church.
  • If there is only one elder (pastor, bishop), it's not the Lord's church.
  • If the congregation is overseen by one or more elders (pastors, bishops) who are not members of the congregation, it's not the Lord's church.
  • If the church is a denomination (churches organized under a single administrative head, composed of humans and based upon earth), it's not the Lord's church.

Does the church wear a name authorized in God's word?
Since Jesus is the head of the church, and we are subject to Him in everything, we must wear a name He has authorized (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:11; 5:22-24; Col. 3:17).

Names authorized in God's word include:

  • My (i.e., Christ's) church (Matt. 16:18).
  • My (i.e., Christ's) kingdom (Lk. 22:29-30; Jn. 18:36).
  • Kingdom of God (Lk. 22:16; Jn. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).
  • Kingdom of Christ (Eph. 5:5; Col. 1:13).
  • Church of the Lord, church of God (Acts 20:28).
  • Church of Christ (Rom. 16:16).
  • Church of God (1 Cor. 1:2).
  • Household of God (Eph. 2:19).
  • The body, the church (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23).
  • The church (1 Th. 1:1; Eph. 5:23).
    • Sometimes a particular congregation is distinguished from other congregations by including information regarding its location (e.g., the church of the Thessalonians).
  • House of God, church of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15).
  • Household of the faith (Gal. 6:10).
  • Church of the firstborn (Heb. 12:23).
  • God's field, God's building (1 Cor. 3:9).
  • The flock (1 Pet. 5:3; Acts 20:28).

A church not wearing a name authorized in God's word isn't the Lord's church.

Therefore, denominations (churches wearing names not authorized by God) are not the Lord's church.

Does the church exclusively teach and practice salvation as God commands?
Few churches teach and practice salvation as commanded in God's word.

Some teach you're saved by faith only. Others teach you have to say a prayer of faith receiving Jesus into your heart. Some christen babies, then confirm them when they're older. Some teach you have to confess to a priest and do whatever he commands. Some pray to dead people they've ordained as saints. One church in particular bestows indulgences, claiming the receiver is forgiven before he sins. Other churches let people do whatever they feel they should do to be saved. And one group believes you have to speak in tongues as a sign of your salvation.

God, on the other hand, commands us to believe based on His word, repent of our sins, confess Jesus to be God's son, and be baptized in order to be saved (Rom. 10:17; Lk. 13:3; Matt. 10:32-33; 28:18-19).

  • Babies can't believe, repent, and confess Jesus. Therefore, they can't be baptized with the Lord's baptism (Acts 8:12).

Most churches teach faith, repentance, and confession in some form, but few teach and practice the truth regarding baptism. As a result, members of these man-made churches remain lost in their sins, because they've not been baptized with the baptism of Christ.

  • Some churches baptize people to join their congregation.
  • Some churches baptize people as a matter of obedience, but not to be saved.
  • Some churches baptize people as an outward sign of what they claim is an inner grace.
  • Some churches don't baptize people, claiming they're saved without baptism.

Baptism is immersion in water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:18-29).

  • "Baptize" is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo, meaning to dip, to immerse. It is a process of immersion in water and emergence out of water.
  • Sprinkling and pouring are not baptism.

What happens when we are baptized as God commands?

  • We are born again of water and Spirit (Jn. 3:3-5; Acts 2:38).
  • Our sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38).
  • We are added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:13).
  • Our sins are washed away in the blood of Jesus (Acts 22:16; Rev. 7:14).
  • We are baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3-7).
    • We receive all spiritual blessings in Christ: adopted by God, redeemed through His blood, forgiven all trespasses, obtain an inheritance, sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, made alive together with Christ, seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, become fellow citizen with the saints and members of the household of God (Eph. 1-2).
  • We are spiritually circumcised, buried with Christ, raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, made alive together with Christ, forgiven all transgressions (Col. 2:11-13).
  • We are saved (1 Pet. 3:21).
    • We call on the name of the Lord (appeal) to be saved by obediently submitting to baptism (Acts 2:21, 38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

In the Bible, every person obeying the gospel and becoming a Christian was baptized to be saved.

  • Over three thousand people in Jerusalem on Pentecost, baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
  • People in Samaria, baptized (Acts 8:4-13).
  • Ethiopian eunuch, baptized (Acts 8:26-40).
  • Paul, baptized to wash away His sins (Acts 9:1-20; 22:16).
  • Cornelius and people with him, baptized (Acts 10:34-48).
  • Lydia and her household, baptized (Acts 16:13-15).
  • Philippian jailer and his household, baptized (Acts 16:25-34).
  • Crispus and many other people in Corinth, baptized (Acts 18:8).
  • Men of Ephesus, baptized (Acts 19:1-7).

If a church sprinkles or pours rather than baptizing (immersing), it's not the Lord's church.

And if a church doesn't baptize in order to be saved (1 Pet. 3:21), it's not the Lord's church.

Does the church take up a collection and observe the Lord's Supper exclusively on Sunday?
Most churches do not worship according to the New Testament pattern.

In the Lord's church, we partake of the Lord's Supper and take up a collection every Sunday.

  • We learn from the Old Testament that when God commands something to be done on a specific day without giving any exceptions, we are obligated to do it every time the day occurs.
  • For example, God commanded Israel to observe the Sabbath without exception; therefore, they were obligated to observe every Sabbath.

Correspondingly, we don't observe the Lord's Supper or take up a collection at other times, other than when we assembly on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2).

  • For example, we aren't authorized to observe the Lord's Supper on Saturdays or at weddings, as do some churches.
  • For example, we aren't authorized to take up a collection during midweek Bible studies.

Many man-made churches take up a collection every Sunday, but only observe the Lord's Supper occasionally, though both are commanded to be done on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2).

This reflects the hearts of men who created religions for financial gain. They are more concerned about enriching themselves than serving Jesus, as Paul teaches regarding false teachers (1 Tim. 6:5, 9-10; 2 Tim. 3:1-2).

If a church doesn't take up a collection and observe the Lord's Supper every Sunday, it's not the Lord's church.

And if a church takes up a collection or observes the Lord's Supper any other day, or in any other assembly other than the first day of the week assembly of the saints, it's not the Lord's church.

Does the church observe the Lord's Supper as God commands?
As already discussed, the Lord's church partakes of the Lord's Supper every Sunday, but there are other issues to consider regarding the Lord's Supper when examining churches and religions.

Some churches observe the Lord's Supper as a celebration or a sign, which is not authorized in the Scriptures.

  • Some celebrate God's grace with the Lord's Supper.
  • Some observe the Lord's Supper as a sign of a covenant relationship with God.
  • Some celebrate the advent of Christ with the Lord's Supper.
  • Some observe the peace they supposedly have with God, in conjunction with the Lord's Supper, by passing the peace (a greeting from clergy, such as, "The peace of God be with you," after which the congregation responds, "And also with you.").

Some churches also encourage children who are not Christians to partake of the Lord's Supper, for which there is no authority.

And different churches have different methods of partaking of the Lord's Supper.

  • Some only serve members one of the emblems, while church leaders partake of both emblems.
  • Some churches serve the emblems together, and others serve them separately.
  • Some practice tincture (dipping the bread in the fruit of the vine before partaking).

Observance of the Lord's Supper by the Lord's church is very different from secular churches noted above:

  • In the Lord's church, we observe the Lord's Supper as a remembrance (memorial) of Jesus, proclaiming His death (1 Cor. 11:23-26).
  • In the Lord's church, Christians partake of the Lord's Supper, not children who aren't Christians (Acts 2:40-42).
  • In the Lord's church, we partake of the emblems in the order designated by the Lord, not together (Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:23-25).

Examining a church's practice regarding the Lord's Supper, to see whether it observes the supper as God commands, helps us identify whether the church is of man or of the Lord.

Does the church finance its work exclusively through the collection on Sunday?
As mentioned above, most churches take up collections on various days of the week, for which they have no authority.

Besides this, many churches finance their work through all types of fundraising efforts.

  • Some teach their members to tithe, which is part of the Mosaic Law and not the law of Christ.
  • Some teach their members to give goodwill offerings in addition to tithes.
  • Some buy and sell property for the express purpose of making a profit.
  • Some rent out their property and facilities.
  • Some own and operate businesses.
  • Some take contributions from secular organizations such as charities and governments.
  • Some have secular fundraising projects such as car washes and bake sales.

As a result, churches based on human doctrines are entangled in greedy pursuits, rather than in serving God as He commands. They seek to please men for the sake of gaining money, rather than pleasing God.

The Lord's church is different. Governed by Christ's law, we raise funds for the church by no other means than the collection on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 9:21; 16:2).

We only take up a collection on the first day of the week, and don't solicit funds from non-members. We don't take money from secular organizations like governments or charities, we don't have church owned businesses, and we don't have fundraising projects. As a church, our focus is on serving God and doing His will, not on raising money.

If a church is taking up money on a day other than Sunday, or if it's raising funds other than by the first day of the week collection for the saints, it's not the Lord's church.

Does the church only spend money from the treasury for work God has authorized?
Many churches have divided over money.

Brethren in the Lord's church split over the spending of funds from the treasury in the mid 1900's, which was necessary, so those who were approved could become evident (1 Cor. 11:19).

The Lord's church is bound by the law of Christ to use funds collected as God authorizes (Col. 3:17).

We can use these funds to do the work God instructs us to do as a church.

  • Assembly of the saints (Heb. 10:23-25; Eph. 4:11-16).
  • Evangelism and teaching (Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 4:11-16).
  • Support of elders (1 Tim. 5:17-18).
  • Support of preachers, given direct to the man from the supporting congregation; the money is not sent through an administrative body such as a denomination, missionary society, or sponsoring church (2 Cor. 11:8-9; Phil. 1:3-5; 4:15-16; 3 Jn. 1:5-8).
  • Benevolence to Christians (2 Cor. 8:1-4; 9:1, 12). Individual Christians are benevolent to all men, as they have opportunity, but the church is only benevolent to Christians (Gal. 6:8-10).
  • A congregation is benevolent to its needy members (Acts 6:1-6).
  • Widows who do not have family to support them can be supported by the church on a permanent basis (put on the list), if they meet specific qualifications (1 Tim. 5:3-16).
  • A congregation can send benevolence to another congregation for benevolence; the money is not sent through an administrative body such as a denomination, society, or sponsoring church (Acts 11:27-30; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:19-23).

In contrast, the churches of men use money they collect for many works not authorized by God.

  • They pay salaries and support church offices God hasn't authorized, such as priests, directors, and denominational representatives.
  • They pay for observances of holidays which are not authorized by God, such as Christmas and Easter.
  • They pay for church sponsored social fellowship, such as kitchens, fellowship halls, gymnasiums, and camps.
  • They make contributions to administrative bodies such as denominations, societies, and conventions.
  • They fund and support human organizations such as hospitals and colleges.
  • They fund and operate businesses.
  • They are benevolent to people other than Christians, and support widows who do not meet the Bible qualifications.

If a church is spending money from its treasury for work God has not authorized, it isn't the Lord's church. It's doing the work of man, rather than the work of God.

Does the church sing as God commands?
As mentioned earlier, most churches don't worship according to the New Testament pattern.

One of the most common errors among churches concerns music, because of the addition of mechanical instruments.

Man-made instruments in worship were authorized by the Mosaic Law and the Prophets (2 Ch. 29:25f). But God changed the law, and we live under the law of Christ today (Heb. 7:12-14; 1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2; Heb. 5:9; 2 Jn. 1:9).

Today, we are commanded to sing, accompanied with our hearts. Therefore, no other type of music is authorized (Eph. 5:18-20; Col. 3:16-17).

  • "Making melody" means to play strings, pluck strings (Eph. 5:19).
  • God specifically commands us to make melody with our hearts (Eph. 5:19). We are to pluck the strings of our hearts as we sing, accompanying our singing with our hearts.
  • Therefore, to go beyond God's command and accompany our singing with anything other than our hearts is sinful (1 Cor. 4:6; Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 4:11; 2 Jn. 1:9; Rev. 22:18-19).

From a historical point of view, early Christians believed mechanical instruments in worship were sinful. Then during the Reformation, prominent church leaders again taught that worship with instrumental music was sinful.

  • Pagans (in contrast to Christians) used mechanical instruments during the early centuries to drown out the noises made by animals they sacrificed (Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity; Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1993; p. 181-2).
  • Justin Martyr (2nd century) records that Christians sang during worship without mechanical instruments, without dancing, and without clapping (Justin's Questions and Answer to the Orthodox, Ques. 107, pg. 462).
  • Clement of Alexandria (2nd century) taught that the use of instrumental music was sinful, not only in the church but in everyday activities because it aroused carnal passions (Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson; Revised and arranged with notes A. Clevland Cox, Ante-Nicene Fathers; Volume 1; The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus; Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishing, Inc., 1994; p. 248-9).
  • The Roman Catholic Church strongly objected to mechanical instruments of music in worship until the twelfth century ("Organ," The Catholic Encyclopedia).
  • John Calvin, architect of the Presbyterian church, objected to mechanical instruments of music in church, and said, "Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostle is far more pleasing to him" (Calvin's Commentary on Psalm 33:2).
  • John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church, said he had "no objection to instruments of music in our chapels provided they are neither heard nor seen" (Adam Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 686).
  • Adam Clarke, Methodist, said of mechanical instruments of music in worship, "I here declare that I never knew them productive of any good in the worship of God . . . and I register my protest against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of Christianity" (Adam Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 686).
  • Martin Luther, Lutheran, "called the organ an 'ensign of Baal'" (McClintock & Strong's Encyclopedia).
  • Charles Spurgeon, Baptist, said, "We might as well pray by machinery as praise by it" (The Treasury of David, comment on Ps. 42:4).

The music of the Lord's church (singing accompanied with the heart, without man-made instruments) sets it apart from most religions and churches. So much so, a new word was created to identify this style of music -- a cappella.

If a church is using man-made instruments of music such as a piano or organ, it's not the Lord's church. Its worship is according to the traditions or men, not according to the commandments of God.

Does the church use titles for people in leadership positions?
Many churches and religions use religious titles such as Reverend, Teacher, Master, Rabbi, Pope, Father, Pastor, Elder, Deacon, Brother, Sister, Your Eminence, Your Holiness, and Pope.

When men take these titles, especially those ascribed to God and Christ, they display their contempt for God, and arrogant attitude toward spiritual matters (Matt. 23:8-12).

  • "Reverend" and "Father" are used of God (Matt. 23:9; Ps. 111:9, KJV).
  • "Rabbi" and "Teacher" and "Master" are used of Christ (Matt. 23:8).
  • "Pope" is from a Latin term denoting affection for one's father, a term which is reserved only for God in a religious sense (Matt. 23:9; Rom. 8:15).

In the Lord's church, through, we don't use titles in regard to men, because they're not authorized in God's word (Col. 3:17).

  • When we use "brother" and "sister" to refer to one another, we don't use the terms as formal titles as they're used by some churches (1 Cor. 16:12; 2 Jn. 1:13).

Besides the fact that God hasn't authorized titles in His church, Jesus expressly forbids them.

  • "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted" (Matt. 23:8-12).

As God's children, we are humble toward one another as brethren.

We are all priests of God, and offer spiritual service to Him (1 Pet. 2:4-9).

So not even elders, who exercise oversight in the congregations of which they are members, act as lords (1 Pet. 5:2-3).

If a church is using religious titles, it's not the Lord's church. Men are sinfully elevating themselves, some in the place of God. As a result those who are elevated will be humbled by God.

Do women teach or exercise authority over men in the church?
Women have an important role in the church (Tit. 2:3-5; 1 Pet. 3:1-6). A woman who is fulfilling her God-given role in the church glorifies God, and is more precious than material wealth (Pr. 31:10-31).

But, women are not permitted to teach or have authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 14:34-35).

They aren't permitted to be preachers or teachers except in the capacity of teaching women and children. They're not permitted to have authority over a man; therefore, they can't be in leadership roles during the assembly when men are present, such as leading prayer, reading Scripture, and speaking publicly before the congregation (1 Cor. 14:34-35).

And women can't serve as elders or deacons, because these offices can only be held by men (1 Tim. 3:2, 12). But wives are very important to their husbands, who couldn't be qualified without them (1 Tim. 3:2, 4-5, 12; Tit. 1:6).

If a church has women teaching and exercising authority over men, it's not the Lord's church.

Does the church sponsor social fellowship and recreation?
In the 20th century, churches of Christ began embracing denominational practices, one of which is church-sponsored recreation. As a result, many brethren divided over this issue, in addition to institutionalism and instrumental music.

Today, churches build and maintain swimming pools, campgrounds, family life centers, gymnasiums, kitchens, and fellowship halls to entertain members.

Out of a desire to please the world, some churches also promote sinful recreational activities, such as mixed swimming while improperly clothed, lewd dancing, and drunkenness. Some churches even supply their members with liquor at church-sponsored parties.

The Lord's church is not for recreation, and certainly not for lascivious behavior.

There is no authority from Christ, the head of the church, for church-sponsored recreation.

As a matter of fact, recreation and social fellowship is a work God has given to individual Christians, not the church.

  • "Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people" (Acts 2:46-47).
  • "Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you" (1 Cor. 11:20-22).
  • "Be hospitable to one another without complaint" (1 Pet. 4:9).

A church that provides recreation and social fellowship to its members is not the Lord's church. It's gone beyond what God has authorized in His word.

  • "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus . . ." (Col. 3:17).
  • "Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other" (1 Cor. 4:6).
  • "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son" (2 Jn. 1:9).

Does the church approve of immoral behavior?
Besides the sinful behaviors just discussed (immodest swimming, lewd dancing, and drunkenness), many churches approve of some of the most depraved behaviors known to the human race.

As society's view of morality has changed over the last fifty years or so, churches have changed their theology to align with the world.

Not long ago, divorce for a reason other than fornication was condemned by most churches, but now it is not. As a matter of fact, some churches condone adultery, with its leaders joking about it and overlooking it.

Just a few years ago homosexuality was considered to be a sin, but now through a reconciling movement among denominations, it's no longer considered sinful. Now, homosexuals are ordained as clergy in many churches.

And today, homosexual sexual abuse of children is condoned by one denomination in particular that turns a blind eye, covering up scandals and moving priests from parish to parish while paying victims to remain silent, allowing priests to continue abusing children and scar them for life.

Jesus says we'll know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:16).

A church condoning or winking at immorality is not the Lord's church.

Jesus commended brethren in Ephesus for not tolerating evil men, testing those who called themselves apostles, and finding them to be false (Rev. 2:2).

In this series, we studied fifteen questions we can use to test religions and churches.

In the end, only the Lord's church passes the test.

It's the only church you can be a member of, and be saved from your sins (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23).

How do you become a member of this church? You must obey Jesus, and the Lord will add you to His church (Heb. 5:9; Acts 2:38, 40-41, 47).