Question: Are there false forms of Christianity? Is every group calling itself a church still part of the Christian religion?
Answer: True Christianity, or faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ as prescribed in the Bible, is a major issue today! Church denominations are dividing over adherence to the truths recorded in the Bible. This is no surprise, though, because the Bible warns that the falling away from God’s truths will increase. It’s not a new issue, for it has been going on for a very long time. Today, some congregations of so-called “believers” actually don’t believe and teach the truths of the Bible, which is God’s supernaturally inspired and empowered guidebook! Jesus, who the Bible describes as the only Son of God, is downplayed by them as just another prophet and doer of good deeds. God has revealed that Jesus is part of Himself, the one who became a man to live on the earth for a time. He is who we will see in heaven!
“Whoever does not live in the doctrine of Christ does not have God, for whoever abides in the doctrine
of Jesus Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this
doctrine, do not receive him into your house or count him as a friend.” II John 9-10
Christians are called by the Name of the one we follow, Jesus the Christ (meaning Messiah or anointed one). We follow His teachings and those of the men He inspired to write down His guidance for mankind. Some apostate church leaders discount Bible teachings and tell others not to consider the Bible their moral standard – a very dangerous practice! Not only does God hold leaders especially accountable to Him for teaching His truths but expects them to call out others who are teaching lies.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who but bitter for sweet and sweet for better!” Isaiah 5:20
“Jesus said to His disciples, ‘It is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.’” Luke 17:1-2
“Beware of false prophets who pretend to be believers… You will know them by their fruits…a good tree bears good fruit…” Matthew 7:15-20
“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16
…God’s truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:5, 117:2
God’s attributes NEVER change. His will for the people He created NEVER changes. His Word endures across the generations, and His promises last FOREVER!
“’I am the Lord; I do not change…Yet from the days of your fathers, you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘But you said, in what way shall we return?’” Malachi 3:6-7
“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.” Psalm 33:11
“God is not a man that he should lie, or a son of man, that He should change his mind. Has he said He would do something and then not done it? Or has he spoken of the future, and will He not fulfill it?” Isaiah 40:8
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Psalm 102:25-27
Some church teachers today would rather take what they think is the easy way out and tell people to live the way they think is best, according to what seems to be appealing and acceptable in society. This is quite popular and draws many people in because there are no requirements for righteous living. Their so-called pastors tell them the Bible is outdated, and God will love them anyway, no matter what they do or how they choose to live. There are megachurches that have been built up by men and women teaching the opposite of what God has commanded for His standards of behavior. They want to make church entertaining by teaching life lessons centered on self-improvement; their goal is not to offend anyone who is living immorally. To ensure continued financial support, these same leaders say that everyone will go to heaven regardless of whether they accept Jesus as their Savior! Jesus called this false teaching that leads many astray, resulting in hell’s punishment (Matthew 23). He inspired Paul to write:
“And so, I solemnly urge you before God and before Christ Jesus—who will someday judge the living and the dead when He appears to set up his Kingdom—to preach the Word of God urgently at all times, whenever you get the chance, in season and out, when it is convenient and when it is not. Correct and rebuke your people when they need it, encourage them to do right, and all the time be feeding them patiently with God’s Word. For there is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas. Stand steady, and don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Bring others to Christ. Leave nothing undone that you ought to do.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5
One such false teaching is that the Bible contains errors and inconsistencies which they’ve discovered. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John contain accounts with different details from each man’s perspective, which is expected when different people write about what they saw and experienced. Detractors also accuse the scriptures of inconsistencies and a loss of its original meaning from being translated numerous times. What they don’t understand, since they haven’t studied the Bible, is the assurance that God’s Holy Spirit has been charged with guiding the preservation of His truth for all generations. In addition, the exciting discoveries in 1946 of scrolls from the first centuries in Israel, along with other archaeological excavations, confirmed the accuracy of the scriptures we have today.
The apostle Paul warned often about false teachers who make up their own rules as they go, usually for their own benefit.
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naive people.Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” Romans 16:17-19
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” I Timothy 6:3-5
Most importantly, JESUS CHRIST is truly the key element in the Christian faith. No other person, belief, or message is the way to connect with God for eternity. Here are strategic standards to follow for examining your church’s teachings to see whether they align with Biblical truths.
- Is the Bible your only source for God’s truth?
- Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, co-eternal with God?
- Do you know that salvation from God is through faith in and acceptance of Jesus Christ, that there is nothing a person can do to earn his own way into heaven?
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
We can always trust the Bible for the ultimate truth. Jesus quoted the scriptures and urged His hearers to put their trust in God’s Word. Even though He referred to the details He gave John about the future of our world, Jesus’ warning applies to all direction God gave us through the men He chose. From Jesus:
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written here; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22: 18-19
Have you ever told Jesus you want to follow Him and inherit eternal life with Him in heaven? Say or pray this to Him:
Jesus, I know I have lived every single way that it opposite of your ideal. I confess my selfishness and ask you to forgive me. I read in the Bible that once I confess my sins, you are always faithful to forgive and cleanse me of my terrible past. Thank you for wiping my slate clean and allowing me to begin again, and I will follow your guidance every day. I thank you for dying on a cross and shedding your own blood to pay the debt that was owed for my sins. What a loving God you are, to take the punishment for me! Thank you very much, and I now rely on you to show me a better way through life – YOUR WAY. Amen!
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes for righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made for salvation. For the scripture says that whosoever believes on Him will be saved. For there is no difference in the requirement for the Jew or the Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For any person who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13