What Am I Looking For In a Church?
What am I looking for in a church?
It is important to me that I teach truth to my wife and children. I hold to certain doctrinal interpretations that are the result of many years of painstaking study and I would not be moved from them easily, but by no means do I claim theological infallibility. I can fellowship with Christians that interpret the scriptures differently than I do in certain areas, but I will not compromise when it comes to the following principles, for if these principles are ignored, I see no basis for fellowship.
1. The people must be trinitarians whose focus is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There must be an emphasis on forsaking sin to follow Christ, not as a mere “good idea”, but as a requirement of being a Christian. While it is true that we are to “perfect holiness in the fear of God”, and that Christian living is based on Christian learning, I also believe that an “easy-believism”, “antinomian” gospel is not the gospel of Christ. Lest one accuse me of being a legalist, I offer the following two points – 1) Holiness is not legalism, and 2) mere adherence to manmade rules, or even God’s rules, apart from a heart of obedience is legalism. Obedience to Christ is not optional, yet many men (ancient Pharisees, as well as modern-day Pharisees) have concocted their own rules for the church and approve of or reject others based on their adherence or lack of adherence to these rules. Those who make their own convictions the rule for other Christians, when these matters are not specifically stated in the scriptures, show a lack of understanding when it comes to matters of obedience and liberty.
2. The people must adhere to the distinctions between men and women in the home and the church. The husband/father is to provide for and protect his wife and children. He is to keep himself pure and set no wicked thing before his eyes. He is to bring all of his thoughts into subjection to Christ and he is love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife/mother is to be a keeper at home and modest in appearance and behavior. She is to be a helpmeet to her husband, submitting to him as the head of the home, and she is to nurture her children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
As the husband/father is the natural head of the home, so men are to be the elders of the church. Women are not to teach men, nor are they to usurp authority over the men in the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for ordination by the church for preaching and teaching purposes.
3. The people must reject statolatry. They must not be apologists for the welfare, warfare, authoritarian state. Americanism is idolatry in the lives of many professing Christians. God’s agent for good is the Body of Christ, comprised of the many Christians across the world. God’s project is not centered on nation-states or who is in political office. His mission pertains to the churches who operate in submission to Christ. The kingdoms of men will come to naught, and Christians are to serve no King but Christ. The two-kingdom theology is a concoction of men – men who wish to carry out antichrist deeds and justify them by claiming they are “for country.” “For God and country” is not a biblical teaching, it is the mantra of statists. America is not the Kingdom of God, the president is not Christ, the U.S. military is not God’s army, and Christ is not an American patriot.
4. The people must hold to the scriptures as the rule for faith and practice, rather than denominational creeds, extra-biblical writings, and religious “experiences.” Personally and publicly, I will only support the reading and study of the King James Version of the Bible for English speaking people. I am not “King James Only” in the sense that other versions do not contain truth, or that the KJV is uniquely inspired, or that another translation of the Hebrew and Greek into English might never be needed, but knowing what I know about modern English versions, I state without hesitation that they lack the consistency and reliability of the KJV. I reject other religious writings as erroneous. As for the religious experiences that many tout today, I say they are to be tested by the Word of God and are not to be used to interpret the Word of God. As for the events that are recorded in the Book of Acts, for example - the ability to manifest certain miraculous sign gifts – it seems clear that they are descriptive of a unique and transitional time in history and not prescriptive for Christians. Modern-day claims of “speaking in tongues” or “the gift of healing” have led to confusion in many churches.