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The Only Church I could Belong to
By Brian Pepper
There are quite a number of people who from time to time ask me this question, "What does your church believe about this, or what does your church teach about that? I find that many individuals like to know what we believe in general - a general resume of Faith. I myself feel that it is important that I have at my finger tips this understanding of the church's teaching or position on various subjects.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 says, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath that believeth with an infidel?
Mixing Truth and Error
Mixing Truth and ErrorThe Apostle Paul says that you cannot mix truth and error. My church and your church must be very careful that it does not teach things that are not in harmony with the Bible. There are some individuals that think "Well, if the major part is truth, add a little bit of error, and never mind." But no! The truth and error must be entirely distinct and separate.
Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. The disciples were turning this over in their minds. "Leaven, leaven, what did He mean? Then Jesus said, "I am talking about doctrine. Most of what the Pharisees teach is true, it is right; but beware of the leaven, that little bit of error that does not conform entirely to the Scriptures. Beware of that little bit that spoils the lump.
So in seeking for truth the first thing I would consider is this: Does the church that I belong to go all the way and accept all the Word of God as the Light of Truth, and does not throw away part of God’s sacred Word? I would not care if the church is popular or large, that would not matter. Jesus said that my church or your church must preach Truth without Error. That is to be the standard.
Now I would like to make this very clear. There are good people and bad people in all churches. I am sure you will agree with that! Regardless of what church one may belong to: it may be Catholic, it may be Baptist, Christian Science, or Adventist, there are good people in all churches and unfortunately there are bad people as well. But this is very important: there should not be bad doctrines in a good church. Do you see the difference? The True church should include the doctrine of Jesus Christ and there should be no error. So if my church taught some doctrines that are contrary to the Word of God then I would have to leave it, for individuals may blame me for that false teaching and rightfully so.
Jesus said in John 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth." The Bible is our creed - not some book a man wrote or some church several hundred years ago. There are hundreds of different churches and denominations. All have their own creed. So we could spend hours on end sorting out truth and error. Let us go to the Bible, forget those musty old creeds and accept Truth from the Sacred Page.
Church Teaching on Moral StandardsNow first of all what does our church teach on moral standards? Well I am pleased that we belong to a church which sets a high standard on this one, for our church upholds the 10 Commandments; believing that when God says in Exodus 20:14, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," He really means just that. There are some churches that allow immorality in their ranks but God demands a high standard in His church.
Church Teaches us to Prayer to GodIt is very important that the church we belong to teaches us to pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. John 14:13 says, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." It seems very clear that unless our prayers are directed to God through Jesus Christ they are not answered.
It is rather sad that there are some good Christian folk who do not follow the divine direction; for there are some who pray through the name of some dead saint or through the Virgin Mary or some other person. There is only one way our prayers can be acceptable to God and that is praying to God through the name of Jesus Christ.
Church Believes in the Whole BibleWe should be very careful that our church does not do what so many others have done; that is, to throw away the Bible that Jesus preached from. For I find that the New Testament puts a stamp of approval upon the only Bible that they had in that day; that was the Old Testament.
2 Peter 1:19, 21 says, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scriptures is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Inspiration of Old Testament WritersWhen Isaiah wrote, who was operating behind the scenes? Why the Holy Spirit. When Daniel wrote, who was backing his message? Why the Holy Spirit. So when one of the modern preachers comes along and says "I do not accept this, I do not accept that, I cannot believe in the Old Testament”: do you see what he is doing? He is throwing away a sacred part of the Word of God dictated by the Holy Spirit.
St John warned in Revelation 22:19, "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." I am glad that this church of ours believes in the complete inspiration of the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Dislike of Moses WritingsThere are a lot of folk who are very keen on throwing out Moses. They do not like Moses for he reminds them of the 10 Commandments. Seeing that they are not keeping the 10 they look around for a loophole. So what do they do? They say "Let us get rid of Moses, never mind about all those restrictions you find in his books." Did you know what Jesus said? Well you will find it in John 5:46, 47. "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings how shall ye believe my words? " Why Jesus says, preachers saying they do not accept Moses writings; people saying the Old Testament is done away with. If they will not accept Moses writings they will not believe in Me. I am glad that our church believes in the whole Bible and accepts it all as inspired.
Churches Teaching on Creation vs EvolutionIt is good to know that our church believes in Creation and does not believe in evolution. I never realized that monkeys could have such a strong hold on the thinking of so called ministers of Religion. That men should come to the place where they would lift up animals in place of God their Creator and yet that is prophesied exactly so in Romans 1:22, 23, 25. "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."
What a warning! I would be afraid to sit at the feet of a clergyman that took up the animals, the ameba and the monkeys and all the rest and said "these are my fathers, or my cousins." What a tragedy that this theory is taught in almost all of the Government tax supported schools of the world today.
Ministers of Church Supported by God's MoneyIt definitely is a great relief to know that the ministers of this church are supported with God’s money and not man’s. It is tragic that they have to have carnivals, church carnivals, trying to raise money to pay the preacher. And if that is not bad enough they run lotteries of some kind trying to sell tickets to give away some motor car. It is a blessing that our church uses God’s plan of the tithe.
1 Corinthians 9:13, 14 says, "Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."
Some people say, "Oh tithe, why that went out with Israel." Have you ever noticed what it has to say right at the end of the Old Testament in a book written after the Jewish regime had broken down and yet the tithe still stands? Malachi 3:8 says, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me, But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings."
Will a man rob God? Here God asks a pertinent question. Then the people respond "in what way have we robbed thee?” The King of Heaven comes back with the answer, "in tithes and offerings ... ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” I believe the tithing plan is the most wonderful plan ever given to man to carry on God’s work. It is an awful thing to realize that when the Judgment Day comes a lot of Christians will find that they have robbed God. How? In tithes and offerings.
Ministers Should not Profit from the WorkI am so glad that my salary does not run into $60,000 a year like some of the big preachers. I would be wondering if I were working for God or in big business. One thing is very sure. The One who died on Calvary did not make any money out of it. And to think that men would come along in His Name and capitalize on the Glory of Jesus Christ is hard to believe.
False Doctrines about DeathYou must be glad that you belong to a church that does not teach false doctrines about death and what happens to a man after he dies. Some people say, “it is a lovely thought to think that the departed dead are basking in the sunlight of heaven.” Whether it is a lovely thought or otherwise the thing is not true. If it is contrary to the Word of God it is a lie.
I do not suppose that there was any doctrine that came into the church direct from Paganism, Heathenism, and heathen philosophy, that invaded the church during the Dark Ages that became so popular as the teaching of the Immortality of the Soul. And unfortunately accepted by a great number of Christians.
The apostle Paul came out boldly and said in 1 Timothy 6:15,16. “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality.... " Only God is immortal; and yet how many times we hear about individuals now dead. "No, he really is not dead; he has just flitted off to heaven and is one of the angels of glory."
And yet the Bible very clearly says in Ecclesiastes 9:5, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing…” How much do the dead know? "Not any thing.” Who says so? That is what God says and I would rather accept what God says than man. Wouldn’t you? I must admit that I do not know what it is like to be dead. But David writing under inspiration tells us in Psalm 146:4. "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Now I ask you could anything be clearer than that. No the Bible is very clear that the dead do not know anything.
Eternal Punishment of the LostIf there is anything that we should not tolerate in the teaching of a church and that is the terrible doctrine of the Eternal Punishing of the Lost. If there is any thing that drives people from religion, it is the teaching that a God of Love would take individuals who have been in sin and burn them in hell on and on, ages after ages and billions of years. Roasting and suffering in fire never to escape. All this in spite of the plain Bible teaching to the contrary. You ask them why they teach it and do you know what they say, "Well it helps to fill the Churches and if you do away with Eternal Hell Fire, people will not come to Church; they will not be afraid."
God never gave heaven as a fire escape from hell. God never said that heaven should be merely an escape from eternal destruction. We are saved in heaven because we love Jesus and not because we are afraid we cannot stand the heat.
Now it is true that God says the wicked will be destroyed by fire in the last days. But thank God that the Bible says of the wicked in Malachi 4:1, "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts that it shall leave them neither root nor branch..” However in the third verse of this same chapter it goes on to say "And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts." I cannot imagine anything more final than that. All that is left is ashes.
Defiling the Temple of GodIt is certainly a pleasure to belong to a clean church. It says in 1 Corinthians 3:17, "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." So if I have the occasion to visit another preacher and he says, "Here Mr Pepper would you like a cigar or cigarette?" I say "No thank you." Then he offers me a glass of whiskey but I say "I do not drink liquor." Why, for the Bible says “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” Some people think, "Eat, smoke, drink as you like, and if you get sick, call for the preacher and he will say a special prayer for you and God will heal you." But God does not say that. God says that He will destroy you.
Eating Unclean FoodsI am very pleased that I belong to a church that insists that its members do not eat those things that God says are unclean. Some people think it very queer that the Jews and the Mohammedans do not eat pork. However they got that from God.
A few years ago the Country Gentlemen came out with an amazing article that shocked the American people. It angered many of the farmers to have it publicised telling of the fact that 10,000,000 of the people of America were suffering from dangerous diseases directly traceable to the eating of swine’s flesh.
Long ago God gave His prophet instruction which told His people how to live. Is it just a coincidence that generally speaking Jews and Mohammedans do not suffer from cancer? This matter of eating pork is more than just a matter of diet.
Some people say, "I would like to become a member of your church but there is one thing (the devil does not care whether it is ten things that keep you out or just one, so long as you stay out). You ask, “What is that one thing?” "Why" they say, I do not want to give up eating pork." There are a lot of people who would allow a pig to stand between them and the Cross of Jesus Christ. So many seem to think that the pig was unclean on Friday when Jesus died then He cleaned them all up and on Sunday it was quite alright to eat ham sandwiches. There is nothing in all the Bible that says a thing like that. Instead it tells us that when Jesus comes in all His glory that He will destroy all those that are eating swine’s flesh.
You can read this in Isaiah 66:15-17. "For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.”
I am glad that our church teaches us that we should put aside the unclean thing. I would not like to be in the church that allows its members to eat ham sandwiches, then when Jesus comes to be destroyed. It is what the Bible says that really counts.