Church Splits

FeaturedChurch Splits

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.
VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Me and My Pastor

FeaturedMe and My Pastor

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 Me and My Pastor.
What is a Pastor?
There are several names for Pastor in the Bible. They are:

  1. Pastor
    • The word pastor only occurs once in Bible (Jer:17:16)
    • This is considered the equivalent to under shepherd
    • Depending on church government can be elected or appointed
    • Elected in Baptist churches
    • Runs the church
    • Most churches have Deacons who serve as his extension
  2. Bishop (I Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:7; I Peter 2:25)
    • In the Bible this is same as Pastor or Under Shepherd
    • Some churches make this a separate office but no Biblical authority
    • Husband of one wife (rules out women)
  3. Elder (Titus 1:5-9; I Peter 5:1-2; 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1)
    • Same as Pastor
    • Some churches make this a separate office but no Biblical authority
    • Elder and Bishop mentioned in same passage (Titus 1:5-9)
  4. Priest (Book of Hebrews)
    • Generally Old Testament
    • Equivalent to Pastor
    • Jesus is the Great High Priest
  5. Under Shepherd (I Peter 2:25, 5:4)
    • Term Under Shepherd not in Bible; references  Great or Chief Shepherd
    • Same as Pastor
    • Jesus is the Shepherd, the pastor is the under shepherd

Different denominations treat these names in different ways. Bible believing Baptist churches identify Pastor, Bishop, Elder, and Under Shepherd as the same office.  The primary reason for this is that the Scriptural definitions of the office and the requirements for the office are very similar or the same.
You’d have to do an in-depth study of the subject to truly understand the differing titles, but the above is how I understand it. In general, the titles depict differing aspects of the same office.
But How Do I Interact with the Pastor?
Your view of the office will affect your interactions with the Pastor. The following is with pastor viewed as the Under Shepherd.

  • Highest officer of the local church
  • Called by God
  • Voted in by congregation
  • Equivalent to CEO

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)
As a member of a local church I serve under the pastor at his direction. There may be others between him and me but he is the boss. There is one more aspect that we Christians have a problem with: namely that his rule appears to extend to our personal lives. Considering that each of us are also subject to God’s will and direction for our lives, our subjection to the pastor must be tempered by the knowledge that both he and I are subject to God.
I am not a theologian, but I think this means that as regarding our personal lives we must at the very least listen to the man of God. Does his advice, warning, etc. align with God’s Word? Is his advice, warnings, etc. Biblical or based simply on experience?
I say this because the pastor doesn’t always know all the circumstances of your life. I had one pastor advise me on secular work. I followed it and later regretted it.
I think the key is the phrase: “they must give account” for our souls. This implies moral and spiritual responsibility.
You may differ with me on this, but I conclude with this final statement:
A Christian is subject to the moral and spiritual leadership of his pastor. As such a Christian should submit to that leadership. Outside the church the personal lives are still to be governed by the moral and spiritual leadership of the pastor. It is also advisable to listen to the pastor’s advice about secular work or plans, but does not require submission. Sometimes the pastor’s advice is based on countless dealings with people and seeing wrong decisions and the results. His advice can at least provide you guidance in your decision making.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

The Gates of Hell

FeaturedThe Gates of Hell

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 The Gates of Hell.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Mt. 16:18
The usual application that one hears about this church is as follows: Satan goes about the world like a lion seeking whom he may devour. He is attacking the church, which consists of believers. But praise God his attack will fail!
But that, I believe, is an incorrect reading. The verse talks about the church being founded upon the rock (gospel of Christ) and the gates of hell not prevailing against it. Let’s take a look.
Upon this Rock
I could spend an entire blog upon the Rock, but suffice it to say the Rock is not Peter, a good man but still a man. It is “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mt. 16:16). The church is founded upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Gates of Hell
But the real solution to the wrong application is the term gates of Hell. What are gates? They are barred entrances into a city, building, etc. The only person to ever use a gate as a weapon was Samson (Judges 16:3). Gates are defensive, not aggressive.
So the implication is that the “gates of Hell” is a defensive term. Now consider the following:
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” Ephesians 6:11-18. Emphasis added.
This describes a soldier going to war. And what kind of armor is he wearing? For the most part offensive weapons! Notice there is no protection for the back, it is all forward looking and, dare I say it, aggressive!
Satan controls this world, we Christians belong to the army of God which is attacking the stronghold of the Devil. Taken in this light, Matthew 16:18 is saying that we, the attacking force, will prevail over Satan’s forces. The very gates of Hell cannot stop us.
So What Are Our Weapons?
Well, Ephesians 6:17 gives us a good idea: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Elsewhere we are called ambassadors, ministers of light. God has given to us the Word of God (Sword of the Spirit) and a Salvation message. In fact in Ephesians 6:15 we are to be shod with the gospel of peace, which is the gospel of salvation by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
How Do I Do That?
There are differing ways of communicating the gospel. Writing is one way. As an author I often include the gospel in my novels. I also write my blogs from a Christian perspective. There is also door to door witnessing that fundamental Baptist churches are known for. You simply visit people and if they are open to the gospel present it to them verbally or at least a written tract.
I Can’t Go Door to Door or Write Well Enough
That’s fine. You can carry a tract in your suit pocket or shirt pocket (men) or in your purse (women). Hand them out. My wife is a good example of this. She will engage people in the store and hand them a tract at the very least. She also will talk to them. I often leave a tract on the restaurant table after eating. I leave it with a tip.
I’m Housebound and Can’t Get Out?
Sorry to hear that, but you can still be a witness. You can witness to visitors by simply telling your story. Most people like to hear about somebody else’s conversion. It gives you an opportunity to share the gospel. And you can also give visitors tracts.
What Else?
The ‘what else’ is simply prayer. In Ephesians 6:18 prayer is right next to the armor. Why? Well look at the modern soldier. Along with all their armor they have the ability to communicate to their leaders directly. In the not so distant past military units had a radioman who could communicate with their commanders. Going all the way back to Paul’s day soldiers had a means of communicating (archaic by our standards), but the point is that they could get directions from their commanding officers. And, as Christian soldiers, so can we! Our means of communicating is prayer.
So you can always pray. Pray for your family, pray for your friends, pray for your neighbors, and don’t stop praying! Prayer, when based on the Word of God, works!
The church is not fort to protect us from the evil outside, but an attacking force that the gates of Hell cannot withstand. In Ephesians 6:13 we read, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Satan is not going to sit back and just allow you to attack at will. He will counterattack and when that happens God will give you the strength to stand immovable. Then you move forward.
Conclusion
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Mt. 16:18
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:57.
We are on the winning side. In Christ we already have the victory. Yes there are many battles to be fought and we may lose some of them, but the war is already won!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

The Church and the Family of God

The Church and the Family of God

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 The Church and the Family of God.
Is the Church and the Family of God the same?
There are some differences depending on your view of the church. The Family of God consists only of born-again Christians, whereas the church is an assembly of like-minded worshippers.
The Spiritual Church
The Spiritual Church refers to all believers down through the ages. It definitely is the same as the Family of God. When you receive Christ as your Savior, you immediately become a part of the family of God and are part of the church of God.
The Local Church
This is an organized church made up of professing Christians. Only God knows if they are all saved. It is possible that some are not saved and therefore not a part of the family of God.
What’s the Bride of Christ?
Actually this is another name for the Church and for the Family of God. The Bible speaks of us (all born-again believers) as the Bride of Christ.
What about the Body of Christ?
That’s another descriptive phrase pertaining to the Church.
Look at it this way, All born-again believers, despite denomination, are members of the Family of God which is called the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ. The Local Church is the visible manifestation of the Church, but it often has both the tares (unbelievers) and the wheat (believers) within it which won’t necessarily be revealed until the Rapture.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.