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I use this newsletter to send Bible studies as much as once per week, sometimes less, but never more. See back issues.

Which Christian Denomination Is Correct?

An Answer in Light of the Final Judgment

Someone asked me which Christian denominations are biblically sound. I wrote the following answer.

My books, and those I have published for others, consistently maintain 4-star and better ratings despite the occasional 1- and 2-star ratings from people angry about my kicking over sacred cows.

I don't think "denomination" is biblically sound.

I believe that, biblically, the church is all the Christians in my town. It would be awesome if we had one bishop in our town who met with all the elders of each local congregation to serve and shepherd and teach the Christians of our town in both homes and meeting houses. That, of course, is not happening anywhere.

Therefore, I recommend that you find a church, and other Christians on a personal level, who do what the Bible says:

Consider one another to provoke to love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, but exhorting, and so much the more as you see The Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

On a personal basis, the Bible says the same thing: "Exhort one another day by day, while it is called 'today,' lest any of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13).

On the last day, we will be judged by our works, not by our Christian denomination, nor by our theology. We will be judged by what we do, not what we say, nor where we go on Sunday. This is said so often I can't list all the places, but here are some: Matthew 7:21; 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Rom. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Pet. 1:17.

Thus, what you and I need is not a Christian denomination. We need ...

  • ... the Scriptures to equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
  • ... grace to deliver us from the power of sin (Rom. 6:14) and teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (Tit. 2:11-12).
  • ... to be created in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10).
  • ... the Holy Spirit so that we may fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law (Rom. 8:3-4) and not grow weary in doing good (Gal. 6:8-9).
  • ... our brothers and sisters to exhort us day by day and to do the same for them, so that none of us are deceived by sin (Heb. 3:13).
  • ... to "consider one another" before we attend assemblies so that we know how to "provoke to love and good works" (Heb. 10:24) This must be done by more than the pastor/elders/leaders/clergy. This must be done by "one another" even when we gather on Sunday mornings.

With that in mind, you have to pursue individual Christians every bit as much as finding a Sunday morning place to meet. Many people nowadays meet in homes so that they can do these things.

Spiritual Warfare

Don't be deceived, though. This will not be easy. We have a war to fight. We do not put on spiritual armor for no reason. There are principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places that do not want you to continue to the end (Eph. 6:10-18). As Justin Martyr wrote, "The evil demons subdue all those who do not make a strong opposing effort for their own salvation" (First Apology, ch. 14).

You may be surprised how powerfully the devil and his demons resist your attempts to follow the biblical pattern for our assemblies and our life. Be prepared for surprising opposition, and battle that opposition in your spiritual armor, especially praying always, which is an often neglected part of our armor (Eph. 6:18).

Do Not Forget the Foundation of Your Power

Finally, our effort to build one another up must be based in walking by the Spirit, hearing or reading the Scriptures, receiving God's grace, trusting Jesus, and helping one another in love.

Christian Leadership

I have left out any discussion of Christian leaders. Here are some guidelines.

  • Christian leaders are to be examples to the flock, not rulers (1 Pet. 5:3).
  • If you want a leader, it must be someone whose faith you can follow, and whom you trust to speak into your life (Heb. 13:7).
  • There are those who are not necessarily appointed but who "labor among you, lead you in the Lord, and admonish you" (1 Thess. 5:12). These are subject to the same qualifications as my first two points. Do not follow those whose life you do not want to imitate! (Acts 20:28-32).
  • The work does not belong to the leaders alone. There are those who "labor among you, lead you in the Lord, and admonish you (1 Thess. 5:12), but we all are to "warn the unruly, comfort the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone" (1 Thess. 5:14).
  • You will be judged for your deeds by Jesus some day, and he will not let you use your pastor, elder, bishop, or mentor as an excuse for not doing his will (Matt. 7:21), helping the needy (Matt. 25:31-46), forsaking the widow and orphan (Jas. 1:27), or being defiled by the world (Jas. 1:27; Rev. 3:4)

I pray that what I have written here can help set a path for you among the confusing myriads of Christian denominations and churches.

Where to Go from Here