Facts & Feelings
This is a self-grading course. Read the lesson, and then click on the Quiz link below. No record of your answers is kept or reported to anyone. Enjoy!
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– Rudd lesson 1 –
Are your feelings of salvation based upon the facts of the Bible?
- Could you be lost even though you feel saved?
- Is the church you attend the same one Christ died for?
- Why are all the churches divided over doctrine?
- Does it matter which church you attend with?
- If Jesus were on earth today, where would He attend?
- Where did all the churches come from today, if Jesus established only one church in the first century?
The 20th Century Church
Originally, there was only one church. Today we have over 2,000 different churches, each teaching its own distinct set of doctrines. We have come to accept this division as normal. It may escape our notice that in the first century that these vast doctrinal differences were not tolerated. In Bible times, there was only one church. Today, religious division is not only tolerated, but is considered healthy by some. Today, most people’s attitude toward religion is summed up in, “You don’t have to attend church every week. And if you do attend, it certainly doesn’t matter which one.” This idea is entirely false. Not only is it essential to attend with the church every Sunday (Hebrews 10:25), but it also matters which one you attend. While some people attend merely for “food, friends and fun,” others have rejected organized religion altogether because it has become highly commercialized, even corrupt. They have, however, thrown the baby out with the dirty bath water. Modern church corruption doesn’t change the fact that the church which Jesus established in 33 A.D. was “organized religion”. It is this original which we must seek.
|One Bible||One Bible|
|One Church||2,000+ Denominations|
|One set of unified Bible doctrines||2,000+ different sets of doctrines|
|Jesus condemned religious division||Division considered normal & healthy|
Does this prophecy describe you?
The Bible made this prophecy in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “Preach the word… For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth…” Today this prophesy is fulfilled when believers go “church shopping” in order to find “the church of their choice.” They are not searching for Bible truth. They are merely shopping for a church that preaches what they want to hear. But when they shop, they look for all the wrong things. These regular churchgoers then claim to be true Christians, unaware they practice and support false doctrine.
Bible truth VS false doctrine
If we asked, “What does 2+2 =?” and got many different answers, we would know something was wrong. The same is true with the Bible. There is only one truth on any one Bible subject. If we asked a simple question like, “What is Bible baptism,” we would not expect to get more than one answer. But we do. Some churches say Bible baptism is performed by sprinkling, others say by pouring, others say you must be completely immersed in water. Some churches baptize infants, while others refuse to baptize infants. Are all these different teachings from the Bible? Obviously not! Only one is true. Yet, each church will assure you they are strictly following the Bible. It should be obvious that someone is teaching man-made doctrine. In Mark 7:7, Jesus said, “In vain do they worship me teaching as their doctrines the commandments of men.”
What does Jesus think about religious division?
While churchgoers say, “one church is as good as another,” Jesus prayed, “Father, I pray that they may be one… that the world may believe that you did send me” (John 17:21). Jesus hates religious division. He said it would be a barrier to men believing in Him. Today, unbelievers and skeptics charge, “If there is a God, why are there 2,000 different churches all fighting against each other?” While church leaders say, “attend the church of your choice,” Jesus said that division hinders men from believing in God. Souls are being lost because of division. Religious division is a deadly cancer.
The Holy Spirit warns us
The Holy Spirit actually prophesied that men would fall away from the faith and teach false doctrine, “The spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). The Holy Spirit Himself warned that a time would come when men would fall away from the one true faith. Notice that these people did not stop practicing their religion or believing in Christ. Instead, they started to practice false doctrine. The Holy Spirit Himself condemns division as a direct sign of the Devil’s work. Jesus warned, “Many false teachers will arise and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:11). Not only will there be many false teachers, but many believers will be misled by them. Could you have been misled?
Which faith are you?
If someone asks, “What faith are you?” your reply might be, “I’m Pentecostal,” or “I’m Alliance” for example. Today there are 2,000 different faiths, each having their own unique “official statement of faith.” No two statements of faith are the same, but differ dramatically with each other and the Bible. Many churchgoers blindly accept their church’s doctrines without ever checking to see if they are actually taught in the Bible.
Is your faith, Bible faith?
The Bible says, “there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). Just as there is only one Lord and one baptism, there is only one faith. Yet we see 2,000 different faiths, each claiming to be accurately teaching the Bible. Many people have not realized the meaning of a simple Bible statement like, “there is one faith.” It means that a lot of false doctrine is being taught in a lot of churches. How can denominations teach and practice different things while claiming to follow the same Bible exactly? If they actually did, there would only be one church like there was in the first century, not 2,000!
What is the source of your faith?
Your faith is the things you believe. Faith can come from many sources, but saving faith comes only from the Bible, “Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Many today have faith, but few have Bible faith because their faith did not have its origin in the Bible. First century Christians had saving faith because they were dedicated to Bible study, “These were more noble minded… in that they searched the scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). There are many different sources of faith other than the Bible. It is not enough just to have faith, you must have Bible faith! Are you sure that your faith is Bible faith? Let’s look at 4 sources of faith other than the Bible.
Source # 1 “But, my church teaches…”
Almost every denomination has a catechism, creed or statement of faith. Many have all three! Before you are accepted into full membership, you are usually required to learn the teachings of that particular church. Some churches do this through confirmation or “catechism classes.” Others require you to sign an “application of membership” wherein you agree to accept their particular set of doctrines. Your preacher will tell you that the church catechism or statement of faith is merely a condensed summary of Bible teaching. But every denomination makes the same claim for their statement of faith! Remember, no two are identical. Unfortunately, most people blindly accept their church’s doctrinal teachings. They accept their church’s statement of faith as pure Bible teaching and have never actually checked to make sure for themselves. This is called blind faith!
Source # 2, “But, my pastor says…”
Most people blindly accept everything their priest or pastor teaches without ever checking to see if that teaching came from the Bible. Most denominations have a world headquarters that governs what doctrine will be taught in every local church worldwide. This central government invents its own distinct set of doctrines and drafts a “statement of faith” only that denomination uses. Your pastor was likely required to study and learn this set of doctrines prior to his ordination by world headquarters. Most ordained ministers are bound by a legal contract to teach exactly what their statement of faith, catechism or creed says, even if it contradicts the Bible! Jesus gave serious warnings about being deceived by false teachers. Jesus warns us, “beware of false teachers who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). What is scariest is, that if you are deceived, you won’t know it unless you compare the doctrinal teachings of your church with the Bible for yourself. Are you sure the doctrines of your pastor had their origin in the Bible, or is he merely teaching you from his creed book or catechism?
Creeds VS the Bible
If a Creed teaches more than the Bible we should discard it, for it says too much. If a Statement of Faith teaches less than the Bible we should discard it, for it doesn’t say enough. If a Catechism teaches exactly what the Bible says, again we should discard it, for we have the Bible!
Many churchgoers will accept what their minister says because he is an “ordained” minister. Did you know that “ordination” is the mechanism through which each denomination controls their doctrinal teachings worldwide? Pastors and priests are ordained by one denomination to preach that church’s statement of faith. Each denomination ordains its own preachers. If an ordained minister wants to preach for a different denomination, his new church will not accept him until they “re-ordain” him for their denomination. They cannot accept his old ordination because they know he was bound to preach a different set of doctrines from their own. Ordained ministers show more loyalty to human creeds than they do to the Bible itself. It is this loyalty to man-made doctrine over the Bible that perpetuates religious division. Would you still be loyal to your denomination if you knew the commandments of men were being taught?
Source # 3, “But, my parents taught…”
Although there are exceptions, most people attend the same denomination as their parents. Studies have proven that your parents are the single most important factor that will influence your own denominational affiliation. A few churchgoers do make a careful study of Bible doctrine and then choose a church accordingly. But the vast majority of churchgoers were merely born into their church. And it is there they will stay, regardless of what doctrine is taught. People tend to blindly adopt the religious beliefs of their parents. If their parents were Catholic, then they are Catholic. If they attended a Baptist church as children, they are Baptist when adults. If born a Mormon, then they will die a Mormon. This is true of every denomination. Powerful social forces bind entire families to one denomination. Family members get quite upset if one starts to attend a different denomination. For this reason, most churchgoers simply carry on the religious tradition of their parents, even if they learn that false doctrine is taught and practised. They know “rocking the boat” will cause family tension. Jesus attacked this problem when he charged, “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8). Now we ask you, Bible student: have you blindly adopted your parent’s denominational tradition without checking it out in God’s word?
Source # 4, “But, I feel saved”
The assurance of salvation is the way one feels when he expects to go to heaven. Some people mistake their inward feelings of assurance as outside confirmation from the Holy Spirit that they are saved. No scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit will do this through a “better felt than told” process. If so, then why do cult groups and the adherents of non-Christian religions get exactly the same feelings of assurance? Is the Holy Spirit confirming to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists that they will go to heaven without believing in the divine saviour, Jesus Christ? All these feel just as strongly that they are saved as those in “mainstream Christianity”! It should be obvious that these feelings of assurance of salvation do not originate with the Holy Spirit at all, but from the human mind of flesh.
|Bible Doctrine||Accept as true||Feel saved||Actually saved|
|False Doctrine||Accept as true||Feel saved||Actually lost|
All feelings of assurance are based upon what we have been taught is true, not necessarily what actually is true. Many churchgoers today have a false sense of eternal security. Their hope rests upon the false doctrine of men, rather than the true word of God. Your feelings are not a reliable indicator of your eternal destiny. Just because you feel saved does not mean you really are saved. Put your faith in God’s facts and let your feelings come as they will. You can be sure of your salvation only if the things you believe are true Bible doctrine. Could you have a false sense of security?
“But Lord, I thought I was saved!”
Jesus taught that there would be many who would feel saved but would be cast into hell. “Many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to” (Luke 13:23). Not everyone who calls me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness'” (Matthew 7:21). Who are these people Jesus is talking about? Are they mystics, fortune tellers, sorcerers, atheists and unbelievers? Look again! They are zealous believers and committed churchgoers who name Jesus as Lord. If you had asked them prior to judgment, they would have assured you they were saved by the blood of Jesus. They felt as confident as the man looks in the picture. But come judgment day, you can almost see their mouth drop open in utter shock and horror when Jesus told them they were going to hell instead. They were completely surprised because they had a false sense of assurance. Their assurance was false because their hoe was based upon false doctrine. Jesus said to them, “I never knew you. Depart, you who practice lawlessness.” Jesus condemned them for actively practicing false doctrine. The point for us is simple. Jesus warned that many of His followers would be cast into hell, some of whom would even claim to have performed miracles as proof that they were saved.
Do you seek truth?
When many churchgoers are confronted about their doctrinal error, they will not change their beliefs. In fact they don’t even care. Instead they say, “Doctrine doesn’t matter because people from all churches will be saved.” It is obvious that they are not truth seekers. They have never really studied the Bible for themselves because they don’t care what the Bible teaches. Instead, they blindly accept everything their church teaches every week and feel sure they will go to heaven. These are the ones who are in for the shock of their lives on judgment day. Jesus makes this promise to you, “seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). Do you actively seek the truth of the Bible?
The Devil is a counterfeiter
Did you know that the Devil is in the counterfeiting business? He doesn’t counterfeit money, but religion. In Matthew 13:24-30, the parable of the tares warns us of Satan’s deception. A man was sowing good wheat seed in his field. But while he was sleeping, the devil came and sowed “tares” in the field also. Tares are a weed which closely resembles wheat until harvest time. The Devil sowed counterfeit wheat! Only under close examination can you tell the difference. Many churchgoers today are “asleep” to the fact that the devil has many counterfeit churches which closely resemble God’s true church. Whether tares or churches, the Devil has tried his hardest to make his imitations to appear just like the real thing. Jesus warns, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant will be rooted up” (Matthew 15:13). The only way you can know for sure if a church is counterfeit or genuine, is to compare its teachings to the Bible. Are you sure that you have the real thing?
Doctrine is important
Nadab and Abihu were two Jewish priests who didn’t think that doctrine was important. In this respect they are like many religious leaders today. Nadab and Abihu made a minor change in worship and God struck them dead! (Read Leviticus 10:1-5). What did they do to deserve such a severe punishment? God had commanded that fire from the altar was to be used to light their incense pans (Leviticus 16:12). They “offered strange fire to the Lord.” The Bible doesn’t tell us where they got the fire, for that is not important. All we need to know is that they got the fire from some place other than where God had commanded. God killed them, not just because they had made a minor change in worship procedure, but because their actions demonstrated al overall lack of respect for God’s directions in the Bible! This story proves that doctrine is important. The Bible contains specific instructions on how the church is to live morally and worship God. Yet church leaders today have made many changes for which they will have to answer directly to God. Does your church worship God exactly the way God instructs us in the New Testament?
Zeal more important than doctrine?
It should be obvious to those who have insight, that it can make a big difference which church you choose to attend. This conclusion is reinforced by Jesus’ own words in John 4:24, “true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.” Many committed churchgoers worship the Father in spirit only. They worship zealously, but with false doctrine. For someone to be a true worshipper, they must worship in spirit and in truth. Many churchgoers say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe or which church you attend, as long as you worship God with a sincere heart.” But Romans 10:1-2 says otherwise, “Brethren, my hearts desire and my prayer to God for them, is for their salvation. For I bear them witness, that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” Here were people who zealously worshiped God with their whole heart, but were caught up in a system of false religion. They were zealous and committed to God, but they were lost. Do you zealously worship God every week in spirit, but with man-made rules?
The Bible Blueprint
When an architect takes the time and trouble to design a house, the builder knows he must not tamper with, or change the blueprint. His job is to build the house, not design it. Think of the Bible as a blueprint for the church. God has designed the church exactly the way He wants it and has given us very specific details about doctrine and how we are to worship. But church leaders today have the nerve to actually change God’s blueprint. The “house” they build looks very different from the one in the Bible blueprint. In fact there are over 2,000 different “churches” today. Can you imagine a contractor building 2,000 different houses, from one blueprint and then claiming to always follow the blueprint? Would you trust him to build your dream house from your blueprint? How can we get 2,000 different denominations from only one Bible? Is it because the Bible blueprint is unclear? Surely not! The teachings of the Bible are crystal clear to all who will merely read. (Read Ephesians 3:2-5 for yourself!) The reason we have 2,000 denominations is because church leaders are not using God’s blueprint. Instead they “draft” their own blueprints called church catechisms, statements of faith and creeds. They think they can improve upon God’s blueprint, but they are mistaken. Churchgoers, on the other hand, have been taught that one denomination is as good as another and that doctrine doesn’t matter. Are you sure the “house” your church leaders have built is the same as the one in the Bible blueprint?
|Matthew 15:9||“Doctrines of men”||“Vain worship”|
|John 4:24||“Spirit and truth”||“True worship”|
|2 John 9||“Abide not in doctrine”||“Doesn’t have God”|
|1 Timothy 4:16||“Watch life and doctrine”||“Save self and hearers”|
|John 8:32||“Know the truth”||“Set free”|
|2 Thessalonians 2:9-12||“Did not love truth”||“Perish”|
|Galatians 1:8-9||“Preach different gospel”||“Accursed”|
“Any one who goes too far and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. The one who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9)
False doctrine is strongly condemned in the Bible. Have you ever sat down and compared your church’s doctrines with the Bible blueprint? Are you sure the church you attend is the same one Christ died for? If not, then your assurance of salvation might be based upon false and man-made doctrine. You might be one of those who Jesus said will “seek to enter into heaven, but will not be able.” You might get the shock of your life on Judgment Day! The only way you can be sure of your eternal salvation is if you have studied what the Bible teaches for yourself. You must then be willing to stand up for what you believe.
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