The Dangers of Going to Church
By David J. Stewart
I could write a book on this topic. It has come to the point in America where people are having to leave church to find God and truth. The average pastor has been caught up into the apostate new evangelical movement, i.e., the wishy-washy, compromising, weak-kneed, milquetoast, head-in-the-sand, bible-corrupting, cotton-candy religion of our time. There are many inherent dangers of going to church today, and I would like to share a few of them with you:
False Churches — Biblically, a church is not a genuine church unless it's members are born-again believers. This eliminates the Unitarian Universalist Church, whose members are 18% atheist. This eliminates the Jehovah's Witnesses, because they deny the deity of Christ, i.e., that Jesus is Almighty God. In effect, Jehovah's Witnesses are atheists, because they deny that the Godhead became incarnate in the man Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:9). Whatever false god Jehovah's Witnesses believe in, he is not the God of the Bible. To deny the deity of Jesus Christ is to deny the Christian faith.
Likewise, the Catholic Church is not a genuine church, because they are not genuine Christians. I say this kindly. A false religion is not a church. Catholicism is a manmade religion which hardly resembles the New Testament Church in Acts. Catholics base their hope of salvation upon self-righteousness and the sacraments of their religion. Sacraments aren't even taught in the Bible. So there is a great danger today in going to church, because you might be in some cult instead.
Beware of any so-called church or religion that bases their beliefs on a person's writings, or the beliefs of an organization. For example: The Seventh-Day Adventist cult bases their religion upon the writings of false prophetess—Ellen G. White—who denied the deity of Jesus. The cult of Scientology bases their beliefs upon the writings of Ron Hubbard, who referred to Satanist Aleister Crowley as "My good friend." Catholics base their beliefs upon manmade traditions fabricated by pope after pope down through the centuries. The Word of God should be the ONLY source of truth in all matters of faith. Please make sure that the church you are attending is a real church.
Apostate Churches — Churches today are rapidly abandoning the fundamentals of the Christian faith, replacing them with Modernistic teachings from the latest New York Times Best Seller. America's churches are saturated today with the unbiblical, ecumenical and compromised teachings of such false teachers as: Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Max Lucado and John F. MacArthur. John MacArthur has publicly endorsed the ministry of Max Lucado, a Church of Christ minister, who teaches that a person who knowingly and willingly refuses water baptism cannot go to Heaven. Of course, the Church of Christ is a cult, who wrongly teach that water baptism is essential to salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God, which requires no self-righteousness or human effort to obtain. We simply need to believe on Jesus Christ, because of the precious blood which He shed to pay for our sins. This is how Abraham was saved in Genesis 15:6, "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
John MacArthur is a Modernist, who denies the efficacy of the literal physical blood of Jesus Christ. As false prophets often do, MacArthur greatly contradicts himself—professing to "believe in the precious blood" while simultaneously denying its redemptive power. Hebrews 9:12 puts MacArthur to shame by exposing him as a liar. Our sins are washed away by Jesus' literal physical blood (1st John 1:7; Revelation 1:5).
Joel Osteen avoids the topics of sin, Hell and judgment like the Bubonic Plague. As a result, his church averages 44,000 attendees every Sunday. It is not surprising in this apostate generation in which we live that people refuse to listen to the truth. 2nd Timothy 4:3 warns: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." Joel Osteen is a professional ear-tickler, who is nothing more than a motivational speaker who exploits the name of Jesus to make tens-of-millions of dollars. Phooey on credit card Christianity. Osteen speaks of health, wealth and prosperity without requiring people to get right with God. You can't expect God's blessing if you're living in unrepentant sin. Why doesn't Mr. Osteen preach against abortion, homosexuality and the immorality of Hollywood? God deliver us from sissified, pretty-boy, girlish type preachers. Where are the Billy Sundays?
Many pastors today wrongly preach a message of forgiveness without repentance. Now I certainly don't believe in Lordship Salvation, i.e., the false doctrine that a person must literally forsake their sins to be saved; however, the Bible does teach that a lost sinner must "repent" to be saved (Acts 20:21). So what is repentance? Biblically, repentance is "a change of mind" which causes a person to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith for forgiveness of sins (Acts 20:21). Repentance and faith are NOT two separate events in time; but rather, occur simultaneously. We repent OF our sins to be saved; and not FROM our sins. Jesus saves us from our sins. True repentance involves one's realization of guilt of sin, and that sinners are under the condemnation of God's Law, deserving of Hellfire. Romans 3:19 states, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." It's not enough to just turn over a new leaf, or make a commitment to Christ. The sin question must be dealt with. Salvation is when a hell-deserving sinner, who realizes his or her guilt and justly deserved condemnation under God's Law, believes on the Savior with childlike faith for forgiveness, thus receiving God's free gift of eternal life through Jesus' precious blood.
Turning by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, to be forgiven and saved from one's sins, is Biblical repentance. Repentance is not just a turning away from sin (i.e., the guilt and condemnation of sin), but is also a turning to the Savior for forgiveness. Repentance involves both. The turning away from sin begins in the mind, and then should follow afterwards as that believer grows in the Lord (1st Peter 2:2; Romans 12:1). A person does not have to cease from committing sin to be saved; but there certainly should be a drastic attitude change towards those sins if genuine repentance has occurred.
If your pastor or favorite televangelist never warns sinners of Hellfire and God's judgment, then you're in the wrong church or watching the wrong station! All we hear nowadays from The 700 Club, Paul Crouch and other false prophets is to "give your heart to Jesus" or "open your life to Jesus"; but this is not the Gospel message of the Bible. God's Word condemns us all as GUILTY sinners, deserving of Hellfire. Jesus said in John 3:3, "Ye MUST be born-again!" There can be no salvation without the Law of God which condemns mankind to Hell. The Law reveals our sinfulness, and thus shows us our need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:24 states, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." "Opening your heart to Jesus" won't get you into Heaven. You'd better come as a dirty, rotten, good-for-nothin' sinner to the cross of Jesus Christ, so the precious blood of Jesus can wash your sins away.
False Bibles — There is no perfect church; but we have a Perfect Word from a Perfect God preserved in the precious King James Bible. It is of the utmost importance that you only attend a church that uses the King James Bible. Ignorant pastors all across the world are being deceived by the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, which brutally attacks the deity of Jesus Christ, the Godhead and many other fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. If the only church you can find uses the NIV, you'd be much better off not going to church at all, because you're going to be woefully deceived. It is extremely dangerous for you to attend a church that bases its beliefs upon a corrupt version of God's Word, because you're going to be led into damnable heresies; such as, Lordship Salvation and the Perseverance of the Saints. If your church doesn't use the King James Bible, leave.
Unbiblical Authority — Many churches forget that the Word of God is supposed to be the Authority in a church. Too many pastors take it upon themselves to control people's lives, when they ought to be counseling people to make their own decisions using Biblical principles. Jesus told us in John 5:39 to... SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES. Far too many people rely completely upon what their pastor or priest tell them, without ever considering if the advice is Biblical.
For example: No pastor should ever recommend or encourage someone to get a divorce. Divorce is always an unacceptable alternative to marriage problems. Divorce is a sin. All too often, pastors (and pastor's wives) get personally involved in marriage disputes and only make matters worse. I once heard a pastor say that he "never recommended a divorce, but jumped up and down with gladness on a couple occasions when there was a divorce." Shame on that pastor! Marriage is a lifetime commitment. Hebrews 13:5 promises that God will never leave nor forsake the believer. This is our divine example to follow. No pastor has the right or authority to interfere in anyone's marriage. To do so is to tread upon holy ground and desecrate the divine institution of marriage.
Ladies, don't ever place your pastor above your husband. I don't care how much of a heathen your husband may be, he's still your husband. Your pastor should have no authority over you—none! The only power that a pastor should have is the power of Scriptural influence upon his church members; but this is not his own personal authority. A pastor is to be the greatest servant in the church... Matthew 23:11, "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." How does this compare to the average fancy-pants pastor today who lives high-on-the-hog, drives a new car, goes on vacation regularly under the pretense of "speaking engagements," and lives in a ritzy neighborhood? And yet they continually hound their congregation for more money. Sad!
Beware of a church whose leading men act more like a group of secret-service agents than they do servants of Christ. Churches of Christ are known for their autocratic style of leadership. The leadership of a church should continually uplift the Word of God, i.e., the Bible, as their Final Authority in all matters of doctrine, faith and living. If your so-called "church" is not trying to follow the teachings of the Word of God, then you need to leave immediately. The Authority of the New Testament Church is the Word of God; not the clergy.
For example: The United Methodist Church of Christ accepts homosexuals as respectable members, and nothing negative is ever said about the sin of homosexuality (to avoid offending them). This is a blatant denial of the Christian faith, which requires believers to refute all works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11), and to separate from the ungodly (2nd Corinthians 6:14-17; 1st Corinthians 5:11). Tragically, the authority of most churches today is sinful men and not the Bible—which is why the world's churches are so messed up.
I have met so many people who have been misled by a pastor, Bible teacher or minister. Even the best of preachers are still sinful human beings. Jesus commanded in John 5:39... SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES! How tragic that so many people blindly follow a man (or men) without comparing their doctrines to the Truth of God's Word. Guaranteed, you can find an apostate minister or other professed "Christian" who will tell you anything you want to hear. Regardless, the Word of God is the Final Authority.
Playing the Church Game — So many believers today sing Standing On The Promises, when all they're really doing is Sitting On The Premises! God didn't intend for us to go to church and merely fill up 18" of pew every Sunday. The world is going to Hell in a wheelbarrow and we have been given The Great Commission by Jesus to go soulwinning (Matthew 28:19,20). Wise believers go soulwinning! (Proverb 11:30). The average church today has no soulwinning program, which is why the church is mostly composed of old-codgers, and only a handful of young people. Sadly, other so-called "churches" have resorted to using the Devil's Rock 'N' Roll music to lure young people into a worldly church. Thus, as the church become more worldly, so is the world becoming more churchy. You can't hardly tell the difference anymore between the two.
Most believers have fallen into the same old rut of sitting through a church service, singing a few songs, laughing at a few corny jokes from the pastor, passing the offering plate, and then hearing a sugar-stick sermonette which has been carefully curtailed as to not to offend the wealthy people in the church. Yet, the world goes to Hell. Babies continue to be murdered by abortion. Drunkards continue to drive and kill the innocent. Homosexuals continue to parade their wickedness up and down the streets of America. Politicians continue to steal and commit blatant crimes in front of our faces. Our government still hides the truth about the 911 attacks. Our borders remain wide open. Our young people continue to be exploited, fighting a war overseas that has absolutely nothing to do with America's freedom. Ignorant pastors blame Islam. But you'll never hear most pastor's cry aloud against these evils, because they don't care. The truth is so frightening that even America's preachers, the one's who ought to be preaching THE TRUTH, don't want the truth! Apostasy!
It's time for America's Christians to get busy for God and start proclaiming the truth! If we, as true believers, don't stand for truth and justice, then who will? The heathen? I wouldn't give you a dime for ANY church that doesn't take a strong stand against abortion, booze, homosexuality, adultery, immodest dress on women, et cetera. Brother, it's time for America's Christians to awake to righteousness, because the Devil's crowd hasn't just come-out-of-the-closet—they're eating with us at the kitchen table! Every church ought to take the truth outside the church walls, into their community through flyers, signs, street preaching, and door-to-door soulwinning.
One of the grave dangers of going to church is that it becomes an end in itself. The New Testament Church didn't just meet to pray, rearrange the furniture, and then have a spaghetti dinner. No, rather, they took the truth into the streets, where the people were. As a result, people either repented towards God, or else became very angry and hostile. Few believers today are willing to suffer for the cause of Christ... "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2nd Timothy 3:12). I don't see too many believers suffering persecution today in America, because they're all just playing the church game. It's a mere social event for them.
Using the Church as a Crutch — Many people make the grave mistake of riding on their pastor's spirituality. The problem is that when your pastor stumbles spiritually, you'll end up quitting church and going into sin yourself. Realistically, this is what usually happens, because a congregation rarely rises above the spirituality of the pastor. People are very impressionable. This is why Americans have been duped by lying, thieving politicians for the last 232 years of U.S. history. You ought to have your own strong personal relationship with God. If your pastor falls-by-the-wayside, you can always find another pastor. I've seen countless individuals and families quit church when their pastor quit and skipped town. This is one of the dangers of going to church. Don't fall in love with a pastor, fall in love with God's Word, because your pastor may hurt you deeply one day when you find out he committed some horrible sin. It happens all the time. Even the best of God's men are still dirty, rotten sinners (and so are you).
James 4:8 directs us to "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you..." The Bible doesn't say to draw nigh to our pastor, or to a church denomination. Scripturally, the only way for a person to walk with God is for that individual to personally draw closer to God. We do this through searching the Word of God (John 5:39), and through prayer (1st Thessalonians 5:17). Carefully notice the last part of James 4:8, "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." A person can't merely read their Bible and pray, expecting to be close to God if they're living in unrepentant sin. To clarify, there is no way any believer can live above sin (Romans 7:14-24). Realistically, we sin every day. It is in our fleshly, carnal nature. However, we should have a strong desire to live a holy life pleasing to God. A good Christian is a struggling Christian. A good Christian is a believer who makes an attempt with the Holy Spirit's help to stay out of trouble. God knows our hearts, and will judge us accordingly.
In other words, one of the dangers of going to church is that people think they are "spiritual" just because they went to church. Joel Osteen's church is filled with hypocrites who live in unrepentant sin, because he never preaches against sin. You can go to his church, live in horrible sin, and never have to worry about getting-your-toes-stepped-on at church. Thus, his church is no better than the Roman Catholic Cult, whose members commit debauchery at Catholic Mardi Gras festivals around the world. Walking with God as a believer requires a sincere effort to live a holy life with God's help, even though we will fall, and fall again, in our attempt to do so... "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief" (Proverb 24:16). There is no such thing as a righteous man who doesn't fall at times. At best, all we can do is strive with God's help to live above reproach.
So many people today are seeking for a "magic pill" that doesn't exist. There are no secrets to the Christian life. Either you want to obey God's Word or you don't, but don't use the church as a crutch. You need to walk with God personally.
Failing to Love the Truth — As strange as it may seem, most churches today no longer love the truth. The average church preaches some truth, but doesn't care about all the truth. My website covers everything from A to Z. Do you know why? It's because I love the truth. Few believers today love the truth. Most believers exist in a small world of predetermined truths, dictated by whatever church or organization they belong to. This is sad.
In other words, most Christians won't go outside of the mental boundaries set for them by their pastor. But you need to learn to think for yourself, because your pastor may be wrong. I'm not attacking pastors—I'm simply saying that America is increasingly becoming apostate because it's pastors have stopped loving the truth. America is in woeful spiritual condition today because of a lack of hellfire, brimstone and damnation preaching! The average preacher couldn't preach his way out of a paper bag. If you want to hear some real preaching, listen to Dr. Tom Malone.
We read an amazing Scripture in 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10 concerning the last days: "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." The masses of this world will be utterly deceived by Satan BECAUSE they did not receive THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH. In other words, if you don't desire and crave the truth, then you will be susceptible to all sorts of Satanic deceptions. The average believer today could care less about what's going on in this sin-cursed world. Every Christian who voted for George W. Bush is a blind as blind can be about the evils at work in Washington D.C.
It's time for believers to stop playing church. It's a dangerous game. It's time for people to start following the Word of God instead of men. It's time for wives to stop giving more authority to their pastor than their husband. It's time for people to start asking questions of the clergy, and holding them financially accountable for every dime spent. It's time for us to rid our churches of false and corrupted bibles. It's time for people to abandon their false churches and join a local New Testament Church that preaches from the King James Bible, takes a stand against evils like abortion and homosexuality, and goes door-to-door soulwinning.
I sometimes think it would be a wonderful thing if everyone just stopped tithing and giving money to religious organizations. Honestly, it wouldn't make much spiritual difference in the United States, because churches today aren't doing much more than helping themselves anyway. The sad fact is that a churches' income is proportionally related to the same degree it compromises and tolerates wickedness. It is a woeful evil. Once a pastor and his staff get a taste of the "good life" it is next to impossible to recover spiritually from the sin of covetousness.
America is infested with dime-a-dozen churches that do nothing for God, most of whom don't even know God. If America is to see revival in these dark times, it will be through the effort of individual Christians, because our churches have tragically sold out to THE LOVE OF MONEY (1st Timothy 6:10). America is crying out today for Christians who love the truth enough to proclaim it. I am amazed how so many Christians, including Independent Fundamental Baptists within my own camp, are woefully blind or complacent to the evils threatening America today. The truth has few friends these days. If anyone ought to be exposing the evils in America today, it is born-again Christians!
"He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit." —Proverb 12:17
Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!