The Confusion Of Churches
By Gospel Tract And Bible Society
Whether it is by hearing or reading the Word of God, or through circumstances, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, reveals Himself to every responsible person on earth. This is that “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9).
Surely an untold number of people follow these gentle promptings, and by so doing are led into a newness of life. Often, though, they do not understand His leading. As they meet an inner judgment (in their conscience) and acknowledge their sinfulness, no confession is too humiliating. They are ready and eager to apologize and offer restitution for the offenses they have committed. As they yield to the Lord in the anguish of their souls and minds, they find forgiveness of their sins. The guilt and fear of the judgments of God are taken away. Instead, they find peace and joy, with confidence and assurance. They experience a complete personal transformation.
Though possibly unknown to them, they have found a new life-a rebirth within, and with it a determination to remain true to their newly found Lord and God. They are now newborn children of God (2 Corinthians 5:17) and have become babes in Christ (I Peter 2:2-3).
It is only through this born again experience that one becomes a true christian. Anything else is counterfeit. Without this the Kingdom of God cannot be seen or envisioned (John 3:3).
How fortunate if this is your experience! On the other hand, if you desire to find this way, may you seek until you find it in Christ and also in the fellowship of His believers on earth.
This experience of salvation, however, does not yet bring you into the visible Chruch of God, which is the body of Christ on earth. The new birth is the door into the sheepfold-the fold of God. Christ said: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved . . ” (John 10:1-18). Lone Christians here and there, though having had the new birth experience, do not constitute the visible Church of God on earth, the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:1-16; Colossians 1:18-24; 2:2).
Many, to their sad disappointment, after having been born to a new life, rarely find another in their community or congregation who has had a similar experience. Though they find a renewed blessing in telling it to their fellow church members and the pastor, they are told that it is just a mental or emotional experience and are advised to not dwell on it too much. Some prefer not to hear it a second time. Others, not having experienced it themselves, are not willing to allow that this is a requirement for salvation or that it exists.
The souls who have tasted the love and redeeming grace of God now have a deep desire for, and also deserve, a fellowship where all are children in the Kingdom of God. God has prepared a haven for just such seeking souls. This is the New Testament Church, the Church of the redeemed, the body of Christ on earth, the fold of God. There is only one of its kind. Here is found a true oneness. Here believers rejoice in each other’s experiences. Here is a love and concern for one another, and a burden for such as are lost. Here the pastor and the members join in a common effort to keep sin out of their hearts, homes, and out of their congregations. Parents have the confidence of their children and the children are openhearted to their parents. Here is where young and old find that inner fortitude and quiet strength of heart, soul, and will for self-discipline and self-denial. Chastity is a requirement in the life of everyone. The young people, as well as the old, must be morally pure. Marriage is sacred and the homes are solid-a place of peace and tranquility. Selfish indulgence, lust, sensuality, and the fashions of the world are counted as sin upon which
the judgments of God are resting. Sports and amusements are counted of no value. Game playing and some types of recreation are considered appropriate only for children and the immature.
Though the congregation of earthly saints is mocked or scoffed at, she is not drawn into the popular fads and movements of the times. She does not take part in strikes or sit-ins; neither in riots nor protest marches. Nor is violence or crime condoned in her ranks. Higher education, fame, riches, power, and honor are not sought. Politics are shunned. Strife, force, and war are avoided. Providing an honest living through manual labor is respectable for all. Class distinction is nonexistent. The pastor and evangelist are with, and of, the common people and are not salaried. They, too, work with their hands to provide for their households. The rich are not honored and the poor are not despised. The high have been brought down and the lowly have
been lifted up.
Enemies have become reconciled to where they have a deep appreciation for each other. According to Acts 5:13 it is clearly seen that the unconverted and those who continue in sin, cannot remain or be a part of the Church (see also Psalm 1:5).
Since there are other scattered “sheep” (saved people) besides those who are of the Church of God, Jesus said in John 10:16: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring . . . and there shall be one fold (church), and one shepherd.” (Read also John 11:52). It is our heavenly Father’s perfect will that His children should all be members of His Kingdom. They are His special, purchased people. They are separate from all other affiliations (I Peter 2:9; Deuteronomy 14:2; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). It is God’s plan that the scattered Christians should not remain alone in the world. He wants them all to be brought into His body of believers. Conversely, there should not be the stray sinner in His Church. The separation that is to continue through all eternity has, in face, begun already in this world.
There have always been, and always will be (to the end of time), a people and Church of this spirit and nature, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). However, Christ also says: “. . . narrow is the way . . . and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14).
But alas, what confusion of churches there is in our day with the thousands of denominations and splinter groups! Each one claims his to be the right church. At the same time there is also a mass transferral from church to church, denomination to denomination. Not only does this happen to lay members but to pastors as well. Some of these members were considered as backsliders or even wicked in the church they came from, but are accepted as members in good standing in the next. To add to the deception, a member that is a generous giver or contributor, is of necessity a member held in high esteem by the local administration. All this causes so much confusion and loss of direction that most people are encouraged to be faithful to the church of their own choice. They are advised that as the spokes of a wheel point inward, so also all churches lead to Heaven, indicating that all doctrines and all faiths are acceptable to God.
Among many churches the Holy Scriptures are not considered the inspired word of God, but as a “theory.” Some theologians, who are employed to train pastors, openly teach their doubt of the Genesis account of the creation. They disbelieve that the prophet Jonah was swallowed by a large fish. They consider the Book of Job as fictitious; the virgin birth of Christ as impossible; and the redemption of the soul through the shed blood of Christ as irrelevant.
The clergy, to a great extent, love pleasure, gaiety, entertainment, games, and recreation. Many, whether openly or in secret, engage in the use of tobacco and liquor. Even immorality, laziness, and covetousness are all too common. The clergy, by indulging in sin themselves, are a comfort to others who are also living in sin.
Their position serves to enhance their pride. Their degrees and diplomas are on display and highly esteemed. By the use of sociology and psychology they win friends to themselves, but the sin-burdened soul is not helped by such means. They advise that the guilt complex is something to be reckoned with in the mind, and for the sake of mental health it is better to forget the past and not to burden the conscience. Repentance and confession of sins, with restitution, are thought of as too humiliating. Though mixed with truth, the well prepared sermons and prayers are intended to appeal to the mind-more so than to stir and convict the heart and soul. Such leaders have become Satan’s most powerful tool to promote and continue deception in the Christian religion.
The major responsibility for the confusion of churches rests with none other more than with such as love to be addressed as “reverend” or “doctor of divinity,” theologians, priests, pastors, evangelists, and catechists, etc.
All too frequently, when the Holy Spirit of God is troubling a sinner to bring him or her to repentance and newness of life, the pastors stand ready to speak a false comfort to their client, thus hindering God’s plan and method of cleansing the conscience and soul. From Matthew 23, especially verse 15, it is clearly understood that erroneous advice from the religious leaders can make one “twofold more the child of hell” than he was before. Men are made to believe that they are saved when in fact, they have not repented of their sins.
Isaiah the prophet was very bold in his day when he addressed the leaders and teachers. In chapter 56:9-11, he says thus: “All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts of the forest. His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping’, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter” (congregation).
What a fitting message to the clergy even in the twentieth century! Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the majority have become the masters of deception-the anti-Christ-in the name of Christ.
Quoting again from Matthew 7:13…… and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).
The Word says: “And the Spirit and the bride (the Church of God) say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Do not hide your sins and do not harden your heart, but seek the true peace of God by remorse and repentance, that you may be led into the true Fold, which is the Church of God in this world.
The Above Material Was Published By Gospel Tract And Bible Society, Moundridge, Kansas, Pages 1-8. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.