PART 18 CHURCH TEACHINGS
CHURCH TEACHINGS - FINAL THOUGHTS
The Truths That Will Set Us Free
I don’t know what this means, but this study was written during the Covid Virus quarantine. Initially, I had no idea that I would be writing on the subject of Church Teachings. At the time, I was attempting to rewrite a study I had written years earlier called, Why Should We Go to Church? One thing led to another and wallah.
I can’t stress how important it is for an unbeliever to find a place where one of the Foundational Teachings of the Christian Faith, i.e., the Gospel of Christ (of repentance and belief) is presented, so that if they respond to it, they will receive the indwelling Spirit along with additional benefits. Furthermore, once this person is saved, I can’t stress how important it is for them to learn about the various classifications of doctrine that will ground them in foundational teachings, intellectualize them to become more knowledgeable, mature them to spiritual adulthood, help them in being able to discern the difference between lawful teachings and grace teachings, and protect them from deception that would bring about spiritual bankruptcy.
You might be newly converted or maybe you have been a Christian for a long time and yet something is missing in your walk with God. You have received the indwelling Spirit, but His co-laboring with you is essentially non-existent. So, forgive me when I ask you this question, what are the teachings that you are hearing when you attend church? If you say, I’m not sure. Well, let me help you find out some of what the content of these teachings should be about.
What I would like to provide for you is a summary of the five classifications of doctrine that have been brought forth in this study and should be taught at various times from those in leadership, when you attend worship services. This presentation will be in the form of a checklist so that you can make a copy and take it with you, when you assemble together with other believers. You can use this in one of two ways. Check a box when the teaching in the list matches up with the expressed content of the teaching from the pulpit or check a box when the teaching from the pulpit is different from the content in the list.
I’m sure when someone reads about this idea of a checklist, they might say something like, well this author thinks he knows it all. Honestly, I don’t profess this to be the case. My response to this insinuation is, test what I am about to present in the checklist according to Scripture. Pray to God the Father about the information contained therein. Ask Him to provide you with assistance as you undertake checking for Biblical accuracy by means of personal study and the discerning ministry of the Holy Spirit. If there is something in this checklist that doesn’t line up with Scripture, then don’t support it.
Are you ready to read about the various classifications of the doctrines of the Christian faith that should be presented to you in the teachings from the various leaders in the church you might attend or are attending.
Church Teachings That Will Set You Free
- Foundational Teachings
One God exists as three persons – coequal, coinfinite, and coeternal – all three possessing the essential nature.264Each member possesses the same divine attributes (sovereign, righteous, just, love, eternal life, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotence, immutable, and truth). However, they do not have the same roles. God the Father is the originator of the plan, God the Son is the executor of the plan, and God the Holy Spirit is the revealer of the plan. And just as a reminder, we’re not talking about three distinct Gods, but one God as a triune being. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:8; John 4:24
□The deity of Christ
Jesus existed before creation with God the Father meaning that He was uncreated. John 1:1
Jesus is called God. Hebrews 1:8
Jesus is deity, who was with God the Father and was God meaning that He has the same essence and nature as the Father. John 1:1
□The deity of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a person. John 15:26
He is called God. Acts 5:1-4
He is deity. Acts 5:1-4
□The deity of God the Father
God the Father is a person. John 4:34
He is one of the members of the trinity. John 5:16-18
He is deity. John 5:16-18
□The gospel of Christ
The gospel is the good news that Christ, who is the God-man, paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world and cancelled their debt (providing forgiveness) thus satisfying the justice of God.
This gospel could also be called the gospel of repentance and faith. Whosoever repents of their sins to God the Father and believes in His Son as to who He is and what He has accomplished will be saved. Romans 1:16; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Acts 17:30; John 3:16
Salvation refers to the receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit along with a bundle of other spiritual benefits, when an unbeliever responds to the gospel of repentance and faith. John 7:37-39; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 1:3
Parents or the head of a household are not able to make a free will decision to repent and believe for their child or entire family for salvation. Salvation is an individual personal decision. Acts 8:36-37; 1 Samuel 12:15-23
If a child dies before he/she reaches the age of accountability (reason), they will automatically go to heaven. 1 Samuel 12:15-23; Acts 8:27; Acts 8:35-37
Sprinkling or immersion in water does not bring about salvation or cause someone to become a child of God. Salvation is by repentance and faith. John 3:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13
Water baptism does not forgive sins. All sin was forgiven at the cross. Sins that are committed in time are forgiven, when we confess them to God the Father. Colossians 2:13
Jesus is the atonement, the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world that removed the penalty, the punishment (the suffering) upon the entire human race due to satisfying the justice of God. God the Father made Christ to be sin for us, a sin offering, meaning that He bore the punishment due to them in our stead. 1 John 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:21
This word means deliverance, liberation from, or to let one go free from the judgment of all our sins. Ephesians 1:7
The blood is the payment (the price paid to divine justice) that provided redemption (deliverance from divine judgment for the sins of the whole world). The blood can also be referred to as the ransom required; of Christ’s death on the cross; or of the giving of His life. Ephesians 1:7
□Forgiveness of sin
Forgiveness of sin means to blot out; not to remember any longer; to throw a person’s sins behind one’s back; or to carry away our sins so that they might never again be seen. Forgiveness of sin took place on the cross.
This is not the same as the forgiveness a believer receives from God the Father, when he/she confesses their known sin to Him. The purpose of confession is that it provides restoration of fellowship in time with God the Father, recovers the filling of the Spirit, and removes divine discipline.
This forgiveness has nothing to do with the penalty of sin owed due to Adam and Eve’s transgression in the Garden of Eden. Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13
□The resurrection of Christ
After Jesus suffered and died on the cross on our behalf satisfying God’s justice, His spirit went to hell, where he resided. After remaining there for three full days, His human spirit re-entered His physical body and thus He was raised again (bodily resurrection) by means of the quickening (to make alive) of the Holy Spirit for our justification (in order to reconcile mankind to God). This reconciliation meant that the barrier between God and mankind which was sin had been removed. The reconciliation appropriated between mankind and God the Father does not mean that all mankind is saved or will go to heaven at death. Salvation is by repentance and faith. And by the way, the resurrection was validation that the redemption paid by Christ on the cross was accepted265 by God the Father.
□There is only one way to get to heaven
There is only one way to get to heaven. And there is only one person to believe in whom God the Father has accepted as to His nature (undiminished deity and true humanity), His sinless life, and atonement for sin. Repent of your sins and believe in the one and only one, Jesus and your eternal destiny will be secure. Acts 4:12; John 14:6
Eternal salvation, the receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit along with a bundle of other spiritual benefits, cannot be lost/removed because of sins that are committed in time. The sin issue and the record of it were address by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. Sins committed in time are addressed by confession and recovery. If a believer chooses not to confess their sins, then they will be out of fellowship with God the Father and will no longer be operating under the rule of the Spirit. 1 John 2:2; John 10:27-28; Romans 8:38-39; Hebrews 12:1-11; 1 John 2:2; John 10:27-28; Romans 8:38-39; Hebrews 12:1-11
- Intellectual Doctrines
□These doctrines help us learn more about our faith such as: the doctrine of Spiritual Blessings; the doctrine of Baptisms; the doctrine of the Seven Crowns; the doctrine of a Godly Mouth; the doctrine of Divine Guidance; the doctrine of Defense Mechanisms; the doctrine of Complaining; the doctrine of Spiritual Growth; the doctrine of the Virgin Birth; the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper; the doctrine of Bitterness; the doctrine of Creation; the doctrine of Dispensations; the doctrine of Angelic Observation; the doctrine of Divine Discipline; the doctrine of Rebound; The doctrine of Sanctification; the doctrine of the Faith Rest Technique; the doctrine of Inspiration; the doctrine of Satan; the doctrine of the Millennium; the doctrine of Foreknowledge; the doctrine of the Old Sin Nature; the doctrine of the Gifts of the Spirit; the doctrine of Ambassadorship; the doctrine of Death; the doctrine of Divorce; the doctrine of the Fruit of the Spirit; etc. just to name a few.
The main question I would have regarding these doctrines is, are these teachings being presented to you by those in leadership?
- Spiritual Growth Doctrines
These could also be called personal sanctification doctrines, i.e., learning how to address areas of human weakness or human strength.
□Confession of known sin
Confession of known sin whether mental, verbal, or overt restores fellowship with God the Father; recovers the filling (control; rule) of the Holy Spirit; and removes divine discipline (chastisement) from God the Father. 1 John 1:9
Confession of sin is to be made directly to God the Father, unless we have sinned against someone personally. In this case, we should go to the offended person and confess to them what we have said or done. Matthew 18:15-17; 1 John 1:9
Some believers contend that confession of sin is unnecessary, because the penalty for all sin was taken care of at the cross. This is simply a misunderstanding of the forgiveness provided for on the cross and the forgiveness provided for in time due to confession.
□Recovery from sin
Recovery from sin means the believer chooses to reflect upon in their thoughts God’s perspective derived from the Word as it relates to a particular area of human weakness or human strength. This is otherwise known as renewing one’s mind. This causes the thoughts of the mind to keep on being made anew by reflection or meditation on God’s Word. Romans 12:2; Proverbs 23:7; Isaiah 26:3
□Being under the Spirit’s rule
When we confess known sin and recover, this activates the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our life. This doesn’t mean that He hasn’t been there for us all along but He is now co-active or co-laboring with us experientially. As we serve God in a new energy and control, we are set free from the persistent oppression of the sin nature. 1 John 1:9; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 5:18
- Disputable Doctrines
These are doctrines that are manipulative. They impose an unreasonable exercise of power.
The main reasons for such are misinterpretation of Scripture as pertaining to Jewish culture and dispensations (emphasizes aspects of the covenants between God and various peoples at various times266). Some might think what is the harm if only one of these mandates is imposed. The harm is that this will probably lead to another area of control, and another, and another.
□A believer is not allowed to drink alcohol.
Scripture tells us that a believer is allowed to drink alcohol, albeit in moderation. John 2:1-11; 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:7
□A man must not have long hair. A woman must wear certain clothing. And she is not allowed to wear jewelry.
These restrictions were based on cultural practices at the time and they had specific connotations. They no longer apply to us today. 1 Corinthians 11:4-12; 1 Timothy 2:9-10
□A believer must tithe, i.e., give 10% of what one receives for their labor.
A believer is no longer under obligation to obey any of the tenets of the Mosaic Law for salvation or sanctification. Financial giving is based on giving as one chooses with a cheerful heart while operating under the rule of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22; 2 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; Acts 15:1-32
When a believer learns and appropriates the Word and is led by the Spirit, they will give graciously whatever the amount is; they will help their fellow believer in need; and they will be responsible to pay their bills. Likewise, a Spirit filled leader will let the assembly know about the financial needs of the church, will teach them how to rely on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and will trust God for what is needed without pressure, condemnation, or ridicule placed upon the assembly of the saints.
This doesn’t mean that the Old Testament Scriptures have no benefit for us today. They evidence their authenticity by means of the fulfillment of the prophecies of the coming Messiah. They evidence by the illustration of stories, God’s faithfulness. They evidence those Old Testament saints who followed God’s instructions and because of such how He came through for them with examples for us of deliverance and victory. They also evidence the resulting detrimental effects upon those believers who didn’t follow God or obey Him.
□Good works evidences and secures our salvation.
Our salvation, the receiving of the Holy Spirit and additional benefits is not based on any merit on our part but on the finished work of Christ on the cross. There is nothing we can do to earn it and there is nothing we can do to lose it. Obedience to Christ in this regard refers to our response to the gospel of repentance and faith. The receiving of the Holy Spirit secures our salvation, while the manifestation of His fruit operating in our life evidences our salvation. Ephesians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13
Good Godly works are produced if we are operating under the rule of the Spirit. A Christians’ works will be judged and rewarded as for their quality, whether they were performed under the power of the Spirit or under the power of the flesh. Hebrew 5:9; 1 John 3:24; Galatians 5:22-25; 1 Corinthians 3:12-14
- Doctrines of destruction relating to salvation
These are doctrines that will not cause someone to receive the indwelling Spirit along with additional benefits and have assurance of eternal life. I can’t stress enough the importance of recognizing them, and removing yourself from the environment that promulgates them.
□Sprinkling or immersion in water causes a baby or adult to become a child of God.
Salvation is by a person’s response to the gospel of Christ (repentance and faith). A person enters into the kingdom of God by water (figurative of the gospel) and the (indwelling) Holy Spirit. The baptism that now saves us is the Baptism (indwelling) of the Holy Spirit. If someone says that there is a Scripture which indicates that if someone believes and is baptized in water is saved, let them know that this verse from the book of Mark is not in the original manuscripts. Acts 17:30; John 3:16; John 3:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:20-21
□Someone else other than Jesus proclaims to be the Messiah
The Messiah/Savior of both Jews and Gentiles has already come, whose name is Jesus, who fulfilled the Father’s plan having died on the cross for all mankind paying the debt owed to Him for sin by His blood along with providing forgiveness (to wipe away the record) for them. Whomever else proclaims to be the Messiah, albeit a false one will probably ask you to observe the tenets of the Mosaic Law. And if you are a female, he will probably ask you to be his 2nd, 3rd, 4th … wife. Matthew 24:4-5
□Christ is not deity, God come in the flesh.
Christ is deity. He pre-existed time and came to earth being born of a virgin.
He has the same attributes that make up the divine nature (deity) of each person of the trinity i.e., sovereignty; righteousness; justice; love; eternal life; omniscience; omnipresence; omnipotence; immutability; and veracity. John 1:1
He is referred to as the Son of God, which refers to His divinity. Luke 22:52, 54, 70-71
He is also referred to as the Son of man, which was a title of the Messiah, the anointed one of God who the Jews thought would free them from Roman oppression and set up an earthly kingdom. 2 Samuel 7:12–13
He is God’s Son in His role as one of the members of the trinity. However, He is not the literal offspring of God the Father. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20
He has two natures, each of which has their own attributes, the attributes of deity and the attributes of humanity with no sin nature. Philippians 2:6
He provided redemption (the setting free; separation) from the judgment (the consequences due) of the wrath of God concerning the penalty of sin and the forgiveness of sins. 1 John 2:2
Three complete days after His death, His human spirit re-entered his physical body which was quickened (made alive; bodily resurrection) by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
- Doctrines of destruction relating to spiritual growth.
These doctrines will severely hinder a believer’s walk with God. Unfortunately, they cause clicks in the church and bring about power struggles.
□The teachings and decisions from leadership cannot be questioned.
This is not the way a church leader should operate. A church leaders’ authority should be by influence of reason, persuasion, and example.267
Moses received direct revelation from God and was a type/mediator for the Jewish people and their God (Jehovah). Exodus 4:12; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
In the early church, the apostles and prophets received direct revelation from God, but it is Christ and not them who is the mediator between the church and God the Father. 1 Timothy 2:4-5
Once the New Testament canon was completed, those in leadership no longer receive direct revelation from God. They are no longer the sole means of infallible instruction. 1 John 2:27
If someone in leadership receives from the Spirit a verse to convey or divine insight about a Word or Words in a verse or section of Scripture this could be termed as receiving a rhema or illumination. 1 Corinthians 2:15
It is by means of the anointing (the person of the Holy Spirit) that the believer is provided with judgment and discernment to test what the leader says. 1 John 2:27
Each believer is responsible to make a careful and exact research against the Scriptures concerning what has been taught by those in leadership. Acts 17:10-14
The leader should not use verses from the Old Testament to support a doctrinal position for a New Testament saint to follow concerning salvation or sanctification. The protocols for salvation and sanctification are delineated for the believer in the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation. Acts 15:1-30
In this dispensation, God wants to put his laws, the perfect law of liberty, [or, teaching] that sets us free from sin and death268 into our minds and write them in our heart (soul). Hebrews 8:10
□The end justifies the means.
The end result of promoting the kingdom of God is not justified by using sin as the means for such. The means for promoting God’s kingdom is developing and evidencing the fruit of the Spirit while operating in His power and guidance.
Daniel remained faithful in praying to Jehovah (Yahweh) three times a day, even though this was against a proclamation that anyone who prayed to someone else other than the king for 30 days would be thrown into the lions’ den. Daniel 6:1-28
The harlot Rahab hid the two Jewish men who came to spy out the city of Jericho on her roof and lied to the king’s messengers in response to the question as to whether she knew where they might be. She was probably an unbeliever; however, this response should not be that which characterizes a believer. Under the circumstances, a believer would be praying to God for direction in this matter. Sinful thoughts, words, and actions should not be an alternative approach or solution when addressing tribulations (trials). Joshua 2:1-24
□There is new revelation.
Revelation is the transmission of truth [particular knowledge and information] from the heart of God [by means of the Holy Spirit] to the heart of the believer269, which could not be found by means of scientific investigation or human reason. In the early church, new direct revelation was given to the apostles and prophets, some of whom wrote it down and others whom communicated it to the churches. Once the canon of Scripture was completed, there is no new revelation but rather illumination. Illumination is the work of the Holy Spirit who provides the believer with insight or understanding of the Scriptures. These mental truth discernments, if they are from the Spirit will be substantiated, when comparing Scripture with Scripture.
Your response to those leaders who claim they have received new revelations from God should be to confront them or leave the premises a.s.a.p. The following new revelations that they might proclaim are actually false teachings.
~Saying that something needs to be observed or obeyed from tradition that is not found in Scripture. Matthew 15:1-9
~Taking the Word of God and using it inappropriately for personal reasons (e.g. not helping others who need financial assistance; getting back at others; using it for dishonest gain) while giving the appearance that what was done was for God’s glory. Matthew 15:1-9
~Adding information from the dispensation under the Mosaic Law to the dispensation of grace pertaining to salvation and sanctification. Galatians 3:3
~Replacing divine wisdom with human wisdom. Colossians 2:8
~Adding to the revelation of Christian teachings with various beliefs and rituals from Jewish or pagan origin and other faiths. Colossians 2:8
□God’s love condones all sexual relationships.
Some church leaders believe that God’s love condones and encourages various kinds of sexual relationships (e.g. polygamy, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, etc.). This indicates that there is a misunderstanding of Scriptural exegesis (hermeneutics). This has to do with Scriptural interpretation based on an analysis of grammatical features of the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and the Koine Greek along with the historical background (context; cultural).
In the Old Testament, believers, whether kings, prophets, etc. were only to have one wife. Polygamy was not condoned. Genesis 2:7, 18, 22-24; Deuteronomy 17:14-17a
Adultery, incest, homosexuality, and fornication were also considered as sinful actions. Deuteronomy 22:22-24; Leviticus 18:6-22
In the New Testament, the word love has been used by some churches to condone sexual relationships between believers with believers or believers with unbelievers on the basis of societal norms and not on the basis of the norms of Scripture.
In many cases, there is an unawareness that the word love in Scripture can have four different meanings. Depending on what Greek word was used from which the word love was pertaining to, will determine its meaning and give us a clearer understanding as to whether it reflects Godly qualities and actions or whether it does not.
God’s Love – Divine Love: Agape is the noun form, and agapao is the verb form. Some of its characteristics are that it:
~ Lays down its life (by giving our time, care, prayers, substance270) for the brethren. 1 John 3:16
~ Does not operate in the sin nature and continue in corrupt passions. Galatians 5:13
~ Does not love the sensual and impure desires of the depraved nature. 1 John 2:15-16
~ Is not kindled by the merit or worth of its object, but it originates in its own God-given nature.271 Galatians 5:22-23
Philadelphia Love – Love of the brethren – Love of friends: Philia, a noun, is the transliteration of the Greek word. The verb form is phileo.
This love is a deep friendship kind of love, where we love the brethren or family because that person is like himself [herself] in the sense that this person reflects in his [her] own personality the same characteristics, the same likes and dislikes that he [she] himself [herself] has.272
Titus 2:4; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 4:9
Family Love – Love of husbands and wives – Family affection for the brethren: Sterge is the noun form, and stergo is the verb form.
This love is natural family affection for husband, wife, child, and fellow believers. Romans 12:9-10
Sexual Love or Romantic Love: Eros is the noun form, and eros is the verb form.
This kind of love is a passionate love. It’s comprised of pleasure. It is a sensual type love that could seek its pleasure in such sexual avenues as marriage, fornication (having sex outside of marriage), lesbianism or homosexuality (sex with someone of the same gender), incest (sex with someone of the immediate or extended family), adultery (sex with someone other than one’s husband or wife), prostitution (sex with someone who sells their body for pleasure), rape (forcible sexual assault), pedophilia (sex with a child), and polygamy (having more than one wife).
The question is, what are those sexual behaviors that God condones and what are those that He doesn’t?
God condones marriage between a man and a woman. He does not condone fornication. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2
Homosexuality and lesbianism are considered as sinful actions. Romans 1:18-33; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Someone who is seeking a leadership office should be as one who is considered as having been married to one spouse. If divorce has occurred, then the conditions for what is considered a Scriptural valid divorce would need to be met. 1 Timothy 3:1-7
Incest is not an approved sexual relationship. Leviticus 18:1-16; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Adultery is another sexual practice that God does not approve of. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Prostitution is not a sexual avenue that a Christian should be participating in. 1 Corinthians 6:15
The sexual practice of pedophilia which could also refer to the predatory sexual abuse known as rape is condemned. 1 Corinthians 6:9
This concludes the checklist. I think this condenses the large amount of information that has been presented to you on the five doctrinal classifications. I hope that you copy this checklist and take it with you to church and do your due diligence as to whether what has been presented in it concerning foundational teachings and teachings on salvation and spiritual growth is being conveyed to you by those who are in the leadership positions of conveying doctrinal truth.
Will everything you hear from the pulpit line up with what is contained in the checklist, probably not?
If I were in your shoes, then I would make sure that at least three of the five classifications of doctrine are followed. The first are the foundational teachings of the faith. If these are disputed, then you are probably not attending a Christian church. Second, would be the Spiritual Growth Doctrines. Are you being taught that spiritual growth is based on your performance (on what you do for the church or God) or is it based on learning about who you are in Christ and addressing areas of human weakness by means of confession and recovery? Lastly, I would pay close attention to the doctrines of destruction.
While no church is perfect, the teachings that are being espoused should ground us in the Christian faith, should set us free from the strongholds of our sin nature, and should help us to recognize and protect us from deceitful destructive teachings and practices.
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
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262David Peach, “7 Signs of Abusive Leadership”, What Christians Want To Know 26 May 2020 <https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/7-signs-of-abusive-leadership/>.
263Joe Navarro M.A., “Dangerous Cult Leaders”, Psychology Today 26 May 2020 <https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/spycatcher/201208/dangerous-cult-leaders>.
264R.B. Thieme Jr.
265Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.
268UBS New Testament.
269Wuest's Word Studies.
270Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown Commentary.
271 “Four Greek Words for “Love”,” <https://www.mcleanbible.org/sites/default/files/Multiply-Resources/Chap3/GreekWordsforLoveWS_Chapter3.pdf>.
272 Weust Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.