Seven years ago, if you asked me to visit your church for the purpose of sitting down and listening to the preaching being done there, I would. Seven years later I have completely changed. I now choose carefully the churches I go to. There are many reasons for this but I will give you two which I believe are critical.
The doctrinal stand point of your church is critical. If your church stands on unstable grounds with regards to basic biblical doctrines, then I won’t be coming there again to listen to the preaching because it would be poisonous to my spiritual life. If a church does not hold to the sound doctrine, then it is clear the same is a carrier of false doctrine. A false doctrine is not the word of God at all and the men who are preaching false doctrine are not men of God but they are the servants of the entity whose doctrine they teach and in most cases that entity is the devil. We often hear people say, “Love unites, Doctrine divides” whenever we speak of doctrinal issues. Love won’t overlook false teaching. If we throw away sound doctrine in favour of love then it would not be the love of God we would be favouring. We would be embracing an emergent poison that shall see millions of people to hell.
Example 1: The Doctrine of Hell
The truth is, false doctrine is blasphemous against God. If one believed that hell will be empty and everyone will go to heaven irrespective of their religion and lifestyle, as this is the message propagated by the “Love and Acceptance Movement,” the same person would be contradicting Jesus Christ, as He said :
“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:48-50
Jesus made it clear, not only in this passage but in many others, that there are people who shall go to hell. In His sermon on the mount, He told those who were listening to Him that many people shall go into destruction but few shall find the way to life (see Mat 7:13-14). There is not a single human being who knows better than Jesus Christ. If Jesus says that there is hell, then there is hell and there is no amount of argument anyone can raise to do away with that fact. No amount of “love and acceptance theology” can do away with the factuality of the doctrine of hell.
Example 2: World religions
Another doctrinal problem that we witness is that of different religions. Hundreds of people believe that “all religions lead to the same God.” This statement is a lie, in fact nothing could be this further from the truth. The bible is very clear, Jesus Christ made this bold statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). When Jesus the Head of the church has thus spoken and we choose, under the false gazebo of love, to ignore His word and embrace the heresies of Islam, Roman Catholicism and many more, we become prostitutes and blasphemous breed in the sight of the Holy God. Those who teach that Allah is the same God which the Christians worship but under a different name, they teach a lie. Allah has no son but our God has a Son, and His Son is Jesus Christ. It is no rocket science to notice that one God has a Son and the other god is totally incapable of having a son no matter how much he wanted to.
Another critical element that would determine whether I would come and listen to the preaching in your church, is the preacher. There are preachers I know for sure that they would speak nonsense because I have listened to them over and over again and they haven’t changed. Just to give an example of this, I would not waste my time and hard earned money going to a stadium to listen to Benny Hinn or Joel Osteen or even that crook from Malawi who goes by the name of Shepherd Bushiri. There are hundreds of wolves who come to steal people’s money under the guise of ministry. I am very careful and very selective as to whom I listen to. I don’t wish to spend 90 minutes listening to a sermon that tells me how powerless is Satan and what I should do to him. My aim is to hear about Jesus and be told how I should please Him. I don’t wish to be told how great I am or I could be, I wish to be reminded how great God is. I wish to be told how powerful Jesus is. If I am to believe on God then preach on God and glorify Him.
I had a very unfortunate experience in 2011 where I was invited by one friend to visit their church on a Sunday. I was very uncomfortable when a preacher took Psalm 23 and narrowed and centered its application upon the pastor. Without any shame whatsoever, he proclaimed that the pastor as a shepherd will lead the people to green pastures and to the still waters. This man deliberatly dethroned God and put his pastor friend on the throne instead. Jesus was not glorified in that preaching but the pastor received every last once of glory there was to be offered.
Friends, Psalm 23 is very clear as to who it refers to. The very first line says, “The Lord is my shepherd.” There is therefore no way whatsoever that one can accredit the verses that follow to a pastor and still be exonerated from being a heretic. It was at that moment that I decided never again to just go to any church and sit through a poisonous sermon.
“Is there a perfect Church?” You may ask. Of course there is no perfect church but there are worse churches out there and what makes them worse is the preaching that goes on in them and the lifestyle of their preachers. I would prefer to go to a church that has preachers who love Jesus and who seek to honour Him in their preaching and through their lifestyle. The bible tells us to take note of those who cause divisions among the brethren and this is what Paul says,
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
You see that Paul points out, that the trouble makers came with a false doctrine and Paul says, “avoid them.” In other words they should exclude and shut out false teachers because their “new doctrine” will cause division among the brethren. He continues to say that these false teachers are servants to their bellies and not of the Lord Jesus. These preachers are only in ministry as a means of getting a quick buck. They preach what men want to hear and not what God commands. He also points out that the false teachers are talented with words, they are eloquent oraters and they aim to deceive those who are gullible and stupid. So be watchful and be on your guard lest you be deceived also. I choose not listen to any garbage no matter who dishes it out.
I stand with conviction that there are people who are to be avoided at all possible costs due to their false doctrines and that I should not be under any obligation to continue listening to a preacher who has stopped proclaiming the pure and unadulterated word of God. The key factors that would determine if I would come to your Sunday church meeting are the doctrinal stand point of your congregation and the preachers. There are other factors that may influence my decision not to honour any invitation to any church but such shall be discussed when I find convenient time.