Arguing spiritual truths with non-believers is foolishness.
It’s not long after you become a believer that you discover the world is divided into two distinct groups of people—those who trust and apply the Bible and those who simply don’t get it. The reason for the two groups is simple. A true believer has God’s Spirit living in him, teaching and convicting, serving as an “interpreter” for the Word of God.
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. —1 Corinthians 2:10
But a non-believer doesn’t have the Spirit of God and therefore has no spiritual discernment.
. . . we have received . . . the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God. —1 Corinthians 2:12
But a natural (non-believer) does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them . . . —1 Corinthians 2:14
Therefore, you can’t expect non-believers to understand those things only revealed to us by God’s Spirit. They will only make sense to them if/when they become believers.
Recently you advised someone to find a biblically sound pastor. Just exactly how do you find a biblically sound church and pastor? What questions do you ask to assure biblical soundness?
A church is more than a place to “attend.” You are choosing a place
- to share gifts
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith —Romans 12:6
- be willing to bear burdens
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. —Galatians 6:2
- be willing to be taught under authority
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed —Titus 3:1
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness —2 Timothy 3:16
A good first clue of a scripturally sound church is whether or not everyone coming in the front door has a well-worn Bible in hand and during the sermon you hear the sound of pages being turned as they study God’s Word. We think the “BEST” churches tend to preach “verse by verse” through the Bible, as opposed to a pastor picking and choosing his “topics” to teach each week. The Bible gives us other specific traits that should also be present in a good local church.
The Church Age outline of a church (as found in the Epistles—given to Believers living in the Church Age) is run by an Elder Board, and these Elders are to meet certain guidelines.
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. —Titus 1:5-9
(See also 1 Timothy 3:1-7.)
One of these Elders would have the office of “pastor-teacher.” The Greek word “poimen,” which we translate “pastor” in Ephesians 4:11, is rooted in the meaning of “protector,” much like a shepherd protects his sheep. But most of the time this man is referred to as teacher, overseer, or elder. Also, ALL the Elders are instructed to “teach” and “pastor,” not just the Elder who is pastor-teacher. Therefore ALL the Elders must have the traits of a shepherd.
So the key to a good church is the Elder Board. Do the men meet God’s standard as laid out in Titus and 1 Timothy? Do the Elders believe God’s Word is without error? Do the Elders exhibit the characteristics of a shepherd in everything they do, including their lives outside the church? Do they teach biblical principles and only biblical principles? Do all the Elders defend and teach the Bible?
To protect you and/or your family from getting under the authority of misguided men, you’ll need to spend a lot of quality time with the Elders prior to making your decision. This may take a while, so don’t be in a hurry.
Compass’ doctrinal statement. Click here to access it.
Compass International, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit ministry. Our mission is to be used by the Holy Spirit to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and to provide resources for maturing Christians. For more information on Compass, over 200 eye-opening Bible studies on tape and DVD, future Bible conferences and awesome Israel mission trips, please visit our web site at www.compass.org. or call 800-977-2177 for a catalog.Misc. Information
Good Morning Lord! is sent out every Monday-Friday and is copyrighted by Compass International, Inc. There are approximately 300 studies that rotate each year. Any portion of GML e-mails may be forwarded without permission as long as the contact/subscription information is included.
To subscribe or un-subscribe to Good Morning Lord!, go to www.compass.org homepage and click on the “GOOD MORNING LORD!” logo at the bottom.
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.
Answers to questions in GML are intended to be supplementary and in the spirit of Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, and 26:26, which calls for believers to seek counsel from more than one person. Therefore, it is not recommended that any decision be based solely on GML’s answer, but rather it be considered one of several counselors when determining a course of action.Compass International, Inc. www.compass.org