What Gospel Does My Church Teach?
The practices of the church, today, are very different to those of the church of the New Testament. But are they consistent with the teaching of the Gospel? Because even if the pure unadulterated biblical Gospel is preached, it is the practices of the church that show what it really believes.
As a consequence, this chart deals with a number of issues that are relevant to many (if not most) of our churches today. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but it is designed to show that there is a large gulf between what is preached and what is taught by practice.
It uses the formula: What is preached + what is practiced = what is actually taught.
WHAT IS PREACHED
+ WHAT IS PRACTICED
= WHAT IS TAUGHT
That faith in Jesus is the only way to salvation
+ The general acceptance of people of other faiths, multi-faith services, and the adoption of practices associated with other religions
= Other beliefs and practices are equally valid, and that there are many and various ways of having a relationship with God
The need to distinguish between the sacred and the profane
+ The use of consecrated buildings for concerts, fairs, etc.
= There is no difference between the ordinary and the things of God, and that church buildings can be effectively used as public halls
That we all sin and fall short of the glory of God
+ Acceptance of community standards, an unwillingness to discipline members, and a reluctance to discuss the church’s faults and failings
= Sin is not serious, that all sorts of behaviour should be tolerated within the church, and that the activities of the church are beyond question
The importance of teaching the faith
+ The establishment of church schools, where the curricula and standards are controlled outside the church, and where non-Christian are employed as teachers
= It is more important for the church to provide a quality education, than to teach the Gospel
Teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit
+ A strong emphasis on the traditions of the church, and a resistance to the leading of the Holy Spirit
= Tradition is far more important than a relationship with God
That the community of faith consists of all who have a saving faith in Jesus Christ
+ Requests for help and support from people outside the church, and the employment of non-believers for the work of the church
= The community of faith is anyone who has some sort of connection (no matter how tenuous) with the church
That the community of faith should meet regularly to worship God
+ The irregular scheduling of meeting times (and even at various locations)
= The church is not a community, and that a lack of attendance at worship services is acceptable
That the members of the church are to give generously to the work of God’s church
+ Fund raising, raffles, etc., targeted to people both within and outside the church
= Commitment to God and sacrificial giving is not important, and that people outside the church have a legitimate share in the ownership of the church
The importance of caring for one another within the faith community
= The church is a not-for-profit welfare agency, run on government guidelines, and where faith is an optional extra
Marriage as a gift from God to all mankind
+ Adoption of the cultural definition of marriage, and involvement in ceremonies performed under the terms of the Marriage Act
= Man’s rules are more important than God’s. And that marriage relationships which are contrary to the biblical idea of what is required for a healthy community are acceptable
That being a member of the wider community is important (and with little or no mention of God, Christ, or salvation)
+ A focus on issues relating to the community, i.e. minorities, same-sex relationships, and the provision of welfare to the general community
= The beliefs of the church are the same as the cultural beliefs and practices of society, and that faith in Christ is not necessary