Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at Church Splits.
One of the tragedies in Christianity is church splits. I’ve heard of churches splitting over where the organ sits, the color of the carpet, personal reasons, and more. But there is only one Biblical reason for a church split: doctrine.
We are to be true to the Bible. It is the Word of God. The Bible is the authority upon which a church exists and ministers. When a church departs from doctrine it loses its authenticity.
What Should We Do When Our Church Leaves Biblical Doctrine?
The first thing to do is to try to stop the church from going that way. If you wait until after the church has already moved, then you’ve probably waited too long. The time to correct a church’s slide from the Bible is before it slides.
If the church has already moved then it is time for you to look for a church that still upholds the Bible as the Word of God.
How Do I Know If The Church is Leaving Bible Doctrine?
First of all you need to learn Bible doctrine. Your pastor should be teaching and preaching doctrine. But there are reliable resources outside your church. Then you compare what the preacher is preaching to what the Bible says.
What Reliable Resources Are There?
One is the Sword of the Lord which is a reliable resource. This is a publication founded by the late Dr. John R. Rice and it still upholds the Bible after decades of existing. There are others but this is one of the best. Solid, fundamental doctrine is important. So be sure of your resource. There are outfits that claim that they teach correct doctrine but when you examine them you discover that they don’t.
Here are some critical doctrines:
- Divinity of Jesus Christ
- Christ the foundation of the church
- Salvation by Grace alone
- Baptism by immersion
- Church government
- Rapture before Tribulation
- Security of the Believer
- and more
Another Sign of Leaving Good Doctrine
One of the interesting things I’ve seen over the years is a pastor leaves the KJV Bible yet continues to preach the doctrines he learned from the KJV. Now everyone has the right to use the “Bible” of their choice. But Bibles that are not translated from the Texus Receptus are corrupted right from the start. You could call them commentaries rather than Bibles because they only contain portions of the Word of God. The KJV Bible can trace its heritage all the way back to the 1st Century, while the other versions that claim to be older don’t have a continuous record for their text. Instead they compare copies to copies (there are no originals today) to prove their claims and ignore history.
While the history of the Bible can be an exhausting study there are books that detail both the history of the Textus Receptus and the other texts (such as the Alexandrian and the Westcott and Hort). But the primary point I’m making here is that doctrine is based on the Word of God. When you start substituting inaccurate versions, which omit portions of Scripture, for the true version you end up with error. We see this play out frequently.
So if your church moves to a modern version of the Bible you should be alarmed.
Does That Mean They’ve Left Good Doctrine Already?
In one sense, yes they have. Because these newer versions leave out key words and verses they are considered in “Error.” The Bible used in the pulpit is itself a doctrinal issue. That said, other doctrines may remain true for some time. I know of one church (unnamed) where the pastor no longer uses the KJV and uses a different version, yet he still preaches the same solid doctrines that he learned from the KJV. The problem there is that it is a step in the wrong direction. It may take a short time or a long time before the next step is taken, but the way has been paved. And when that pastor leaves he will leave a church that no longer has the whole Word of God and is therefore vulnerable to error.
What if All My Friends Remain?
That is their choice. Each of us is responsible for our own lives. I was in a church that departed from the tenets of the Bible. In their case they were getting rid of a pastor who preached the Word of God faithfully and led a strong moral, Christian life. They had no Biblical basis for this (although they claimed to have Biblical backing, yet never revealed it). I fought it and lost. I not only had friends in the church but I had positions within the church. Some of my friends stayed though they agreed with me. But I left it all and God gave it all, and more, back to me!
It Will Hurt
Yes it will. When the church split first began I didn’t know what to do. It bothered me so much it affected me at work. I finally broke and told God that if He wanted me to leave I would do so. The moment I told Him that I felt the Peace of God upon me! That lessened the hurt and enabled me to leave, but it still hurt. Especially when they called me names. By the way, that church is no longer an independent Baptist church.
Church splits are harmful not only to our testimony to the world but to the individuals involved. In the end you must choose what you believe is the right thing for you to do. That is between you and God. So pray hard about it.
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.