No matter what type of local Church you are looking for these days you can probably find it. All you have to do is Google “churches near me.” Even within Christendom, increasingly more divergent teachings exist among us.
That does not mean that the place of worship we choose does not matter. Rather, it underscores the importance of finding and belonging to a Bible-based church.
So what does it mean to belong to a Bible-based church? It means the local church you attend believes the Word of God found in the Bible is inerrant and its Author is God. Furthermore, that very belief about the Bible under girds the teachings, preaching and ministries within that local church.
That definition seems rather straightforward but actually it’s not. Why? Because when we talk about belonging to a Bible-based church, the Bible itself becomes front and center.
The problem is that biblical authority is on the decline in the Christian church today. Local churches continue to stray from adherence to sound biblical doctrine.
Some believers may argue that we make too big a deal about doctrine. But I don’t think we can exaggerate the importance of sound doctrine. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine,” Paul writes (2 Timothy 4:3a). “But after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears ( v. 3b)”
I believe we are currently living in the times characterized by the verse above. One, many churchgoers today cannot or will not stomach sound doctrine. And two, consequently; many churchgoers today are seeking teachers who will scratch their itchy ears. Their criterion for choosing a local church is that the leader preaches and teaches what they want to hear.
Furthermore, perhaps—I say perhaps–the growing decrease in Bible-based preaching today and the mounting increase in liberal translations of the Bible in today’s churches are reflections of the Christian church’s willingness to give people what they want as opposed to what they need.
Consequently, “finding the right church” does not necessarily mean finding a Bible-based church these days.
Four Reasons to Seek a Bible-based Church for Church Membership
- “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” Jesus warns (Matthew 15:9). When the teachings in a local church are not Bible-based, they are the teachings of men, falsely called “the prophetic” or “a move of the Holy Spirit.” It does matter how good these false teachings sound to the ear, those who engage in the same are promoting vain worship.
- Faith comes by hearing but hearing comes by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). As a preacher, I can stand in the pulpit on a Sunday and share a heart-warming story from a popular magazine. What I share might be engaging. It may even bring the congregation to tears or cheers. But it won’t minister to the people’s faith in God. My God-given objective is to preach so the people can hear so by hearing they might believe and by believing the lost may call on Christ and be saved. The only thing I can proclaim to accomplish that end is the Word of God.
- The truth, the Word of God, is the only hope for the world and for the church. We are not to be conformed to this world. To do so would be a disservice to the church and the lost. Sad but true, we live in a world that does not know what the truth is. One of the world’s greatest needs is for the church to speak truth to power and to speak the truth in love to the lost.
- The more Bible-based our message is, the healthier our faith will be. The unbiblical teachings, manipulation and worldly doctrines embraced by churches today pervert faith in God. Bible-based preaching and teaching, on the other hand, safeguard us against a shipwrecked or unbiblical faith.
A growing number of people today downplay the importance of church membership. In fact, most denominations are currently seeing a drop in attendance. Also, see my post One Out of Every Five American Adults Have No Religious Affiliation.
But the four bullets above undergird the importance of church membership. And the idea that finding the right church should mean finding a Bible-based church. What say you?
Copyright © 2019 by Frank King. All rights reserved.