When searching for truth about God and our eternal destiny; should we put our trust in our church or the Bible?

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Answers to Bible Questions

(Q)   When searching for truth about God and our eternal destiny; should we put our trust in our church or the Bible?

 

(A)   There are thousands of different Denominations in our world all claiming to teach the truth. Can they all be right? Let’s look at some Facts:

 
The Facts and Stats on “33,000 Denominations”Now for a few facts and stats from the actual source: World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett, Kurian, Johnson (Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001). The source does refer to 33000+ total “Christian” denominations, but it defines the word “denomination” as an organized Christian group within a specific country:

Denominations. A denomination is defined in this Encyclopedia as an organized aggregate of worship centers or congregations of similar ecclesiastical tradition within a specific country; i.e. as an organized Christian church or tradition or religious group or community of believers, within a specific country, whose component congregations and members are called by the same denominational name in different areas, regarding themselves as one autonomous Christian church distinct from other denominations, churches and traditions. As defined here, world Christianity consists of 6 major ecclesiastico-cultural blocs, divided into 300 major ecclesiastical traditions, composed of over 33,000 distinct denominations in 238 countries, these denominations themselves being composed of over 3,400,000 worship centers, churches or congregations

So we have, according to Barrett’s Encyclopedia:

  • a denomination is defined as existing within a specific country
  • there are 33,000+ total of these “Christian denominations” in 238 total countries

As you can see from the above stats there are lots and lots of different Churches on our Planet. So can all these churches being composed of 33,000 distinct denominations all teaching a little different from the other ones, be teaching truth? I know I would have a problem if they were all telling me something a little different. How would you know who to believe? Most churches seem to be in a state of confusion as to what the Truth really is. In I Corinthians 14: 33 God says he is not the author of confusion:

33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

So who do you think the author of confusion is if it’s not God? Well I think you know it’s man who is confused. When you realize that none of the Denominations were started by God, but man, you can begin to see why we have confusion in our churches. Men have a hard time agreeing on anything. One good example of this comes from a local mainline church where the pastor wrote an article in our newspaper saying that they take the Bible seriously, but NOT literally. I wonder what God would say about that because the whole Bible was written by God the Holy Spirit and was to be taken literally. Let’s have a look at II Timothy 3: 14-17 which says:

14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.                                                                               

The statement made by that pastor about taking the Bible seriously, but not literally shows why there is so much confusion today in our churches. Any good Bible student knows if you take the Bible seriously you need to also take it literally. If God did not mean what He said then how can any human tell me what God meant to say. That is foolishness! Now don’t get me wrong there are scriptures that were not meant to be taken literal, but most of them are easy to pick out. We know the Bible contains Allegories, Metaphors, Similes, Figures of speech, Analogies and other forms of speech as well. The Bible does take a lot of study to get to the truth that lies within its pages. II Timothy 2: 15 tells us how to do that:

15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The above verse is talking to us as individuals. We are all responsible for studying the Bible for ourselves. When a Pastor, or a teacher is expounding the word of God we need to check it out in the scriptures to see if they are telling us the truth. Acts 17: 11 points this out:

11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Here at Grace Bible Times I believe that we need to look at the Bible for instructions in truth as the Bible is the only true source about God and our eternal destiny. Let’s look at some scriptures in the Bible about truth and we shall see what they have to say:

Matthew 22: 16  16And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

Mark 12: 14  14And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?

Mark 12: 32  32And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

 John 1: 14, 17  14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.   17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

John 14: 6  6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 17: 17  17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

All of the 7 verses above are talking about Jesus Christ teaching the truth of God and He ( Christ ) is the truth. Why is Christ the truth? Because He is God the second part of the Trinity. Christ is Deity, the Father is Deity and the Holy Spirit is Deity. All are One God in Three Divine Persons.

What I have been trying to show in this article is that if we put our trust in our churches, over and above what God says in His Word the Bible, we will be very sorry someday. Am I saying that we can’t trust any of our churches? No, some are teaching the truth, but you need to be very careful, check what they are teaching according to God’s Word the Bible.

We need To take the Bible literaly whenever possible. As stated above about Rightly Divide the truth as it says in II Timothy 2: 15 you also need to understand Dispensationalism to Rightly Divide, (See my question about the different Dispensations). One other very important thing you need to know about understanding the Bible so you can put your total trust in it as God’s Word is the following information found in I Corinthians 2: 9-16:                                                                         

1 Corinthians 2: 9-16  9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The above verses tell us that ONLY a True Believer can understand the Bible because the Bible is a Spiritual book and it takes the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELLING IN US TO BE ABLE TO DISCERN GOD’S WORD. Without the Holy Spirit of God you will never understand the Bible. So the only way to receive the Holy Spirit is by Believing in the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ Jesus who shed His Holy Blood for the forgiveness of all of your sins. This is not just head knowledge, but a true sincere  heart felt Belief in Christ as the One and only way to Eternal Life. It’s all about BELIEF in CHRIST alone, with NO WORKS on our part. If you think you need works to help you for Salvation, you will be Eternally lost.

Men have created all of the different denominations we have today and not one of them can make the claim to be the one true church because the true church is Christ Himself ( a spiritual church ) and He resides in Heaven. There are True Believers in these different denominations and are part of the true church today called “The Body of Christ”, and some may not even know that they are part of the true church.

In conclusion I will leave you with the following verses from Isaiah 12: 2-5: 2Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

3Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

4And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

5Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.

Revelation 1: 8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Be always searching for TRUTH!

 John

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