With Christianity so full of doctrinal divisions, where even amongst each denomination there are differences of theological belief, what things are worth making “a hill to die on”?
It’s a question many people face, and of course we have all heard the saying about there being no perfect church. So, just what should you tolerate? How far removed from your beliefs should an establishment be, in order for it to be wrong for you to stay there?
Does the church preach the full gospel of Christ?
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
It is not merely heresy that is a problem, but also the current practice of preaching a gospel that is incomplete. A gospel that appeals to man’s flesh, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to convict his heart of sin and recognize his need for a saviour, is not the gospel.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Some how the church has been fooled into thinking that it’s purpose it to please men. While it is our mandate to declare the gospel, it is neither required, nor is it productive, to seek to please men. Where then is the offence of the gospel?
Is the church government in order? Are the elders of the church performing their duty as “watchmen at the gate” guarding the purity doctrines?
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
(verse 17 tells us that it was the “elders” of the church, to which he spoke)
What is the emphasis of the church meeting?
As can be seen from the passages below, the primary purpose of the gathering of the saints was for the edification of the saints. Evangelism is a vital function of the body of Christ, but is the personal responsibility of every believer, every day. It is not the role of the church to make an entertaining program to attract the unsaved, but to encourage and equip the saints to go out and preach the gospel.
1 Corinthians 14:26
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
When it comes to a point where the Word of God is not preached from the pulpit, where the focus of the church is on entertaining the unsaved, when the average person attending looks, acts, talks, and delights in the same things as the unsaved, where then is the advantage in attending?
Personally, after a period of wandering, we have chosen to attend a small church where there are some significant differences of doctrinal beliefs to our own. Within this assembly however, we have come to appreciate a group of people who are excited about the scriptures, eager for sound teaching, whose conversation is ever about the things of God; challenging, exhorting, encouraging.