ARE YOU IN THE TRUE CHURCH?

by: By Wayne Schatzle

      

       Are you in the True Church that was founded by Jesus Christ? That is an important question to ask when you consider that Jesus warned there were false brethren and false ministers. Paul had a chilling warning to the church at Corinth: ”There are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ’s. Marvel not! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light, therefore it is no great thing if HIS ministers also transforms themselves into ministers of righteousness”.  That scripture should be a wake up call to all of us. Consult any handbook on the various denominations and you will see literally hundreds of Christian sects and denominations. Strangely enough, few people seem to be concerned as long as they like the people and enjoy the service.

       Society is not without it’s watchdogs to sniff out cults. There are whole shelves devoted to books listing groups to be avoided. In fact once a person informed me I was attending a cult. I showed him a book I had that indeed listed my church as a cult. He was overjoyed that his suspicions were reinforced in that book, but quickly lost confidence when I showed him that his church was listed just a few chapters later in that same book! Foremost cult investigator, Ruth Tucker, defines a cult as “someone else’s religious group that does not agree with mine” {Strange Gospels p15}. Early books on the subject use culture differences as reasons to label groups, such as “Buchmanism” where ladies would wear colorful dresses with bare arms at religious meetings! {Heresies Exposed 1919, p58}. Another popular authority is the late Water Martin. His definition is: “A cult is a group of people polarized around someone’s interpretation of the Bible and is characterized by major deviations from orthodox Christianity…” {Martin Speaks Out On Cults p17}. That reasoning may appeal to most people, after all we all seem to agree that the majority can’t be wrong, yet Jesus’ words ring out that the “whole world is deceived”. The trouble with the cult watchers is that they fail to realize a false church will look like a real church.

       The Greek word, Ecclesia, translated church, is used to depict a collection of believers but never a building or organization. In fact, just two or three true Christians praying together on a street corner can be called a church.

A better question than “are you in the true church?” may be “are you a true Christian”? Biblically speaking, a Christian is one that has the Spirit of Christ {Rm 8:9}; keeps commandments of God and the testimony of Christ {Rev 12:17}; called out of the world {Jn. 17:16}; and of the seed of Abraham {Gal 3:29} among other things.                      

        This ministry, from its inception has urged people not to depend on any church organization nor any man to lead them into the promised land, but to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. There is a warning to “beware of men” throughout the New Testament. We are urged to “study to show yourself approved unto God” {2 Tim 2:15}and that the scriptures make one wise to salvation {2 Tim 3:15}.

Jesus described the way to eternal life as a narrow and difficult path- and amazingly FEW would find it! Conversely, the way to DEATH is a wide highway that many go therein {Mt 7:14}.  “…now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light. {Rm 13: 11-12}          03/10/03

        

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