Not all churches are Bible-based. Some doctrines adopted and practiced by some Christian denominations contradict the clear teachings of the Bible. Apostle Paul said: ‘Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity”’ (1 Tim 2:19).
Doctrinal errors, harmful beliefs and practices abound in many Christian churches. The distinction between Christian cults and the occult must be understood. Occultism is Satan worship. A cult on the other hand is a religious organization that has traces of Biblical truth but practices what Apostle Paul calls “another gospel.”
Cults do not teach and adhere strictly to the full gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. To determine whether a religious organization is a full gospel church or a Christian cult, get an answer for the following questions.
- Who do they say God the Father is?
- Who do they say God the Son is?
- Who do they say God the Holy Spirit is?
- Do they believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible?
- Do they believe in the total depravity of man and the need for redemption?
- How does one become saved in their evangelistic thrust?
- What is their stand on the basic principles of the Doctrine of Christ (Heb 6:1-2), which includes Repentance, Faith, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Impartation, Holy Communion, Baptism by Immersion, Resurrection from the dead and Eternal Judgment
Many denominations with large following teach and practice damnable doctrines. What your church believes and teaches may be detrimental to your eternal destination.
Some mainstream Pentecostal churches teach the Doctrine of unconditional eternal security, which asserts that once saved always saved. It means once you are born again, regardless of what you do thereafter, you are sure of making it to heaven because this is the era of grace. This is a dangerous doctrine for Jesus said: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Lk 13:24). Also Apostle Paul said: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor 9:27).
Another error that is spreading fast in mega churches is the doctrine of sanctification. This doctrine states that once you are born again and baptised in the Holy Spirit, you should seek to be sanctified. Once you are sanctified, you can no longer sin. There is supposed to be a special grace that makes you immune to temptation and sin. The possibility of falling into sin is thus completely removed.
This doctrine is deceptive because Biblical doctrine of sanctification operates at three levels. Christian maturity is attained when a person is sanctified spirit, soul and body. Sanctification is the process of being set apart for God. It is synonymous with holiness. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in a yielded vessel. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:23).
Sanctification must encompass the spirit, soul and body of man. When you become born again, only your spirit is saved. You soul, which is composed of your Mind, Emotion and Will, requires renewal with the word of God. As for your physical body, it must be put under the control of your soul and spirit on daily basis until physical death or rapture, whichever comes first.
Personal sanctification, therefore, has a three-fold meaning that is comparable to the three stages of salvation: instantaneous with conversion. Believers are eternally set apart for God by redemption. Experientially, believers are being made holy through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, by the intake of Bible doctrines and by being doers of the Word. This is progressive sanctification. Finally, believers of the Militant Church will be completely sanctified during the rapture and the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ in the air to receive the saints. This is complete perfection.
To attain this level requires growth in the things of God. It requires daily cleansing. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. To grow involves the appropriate injection of divine inputs, proper conduct that results in the expected divine output. The starting point is regeneration. You never stop growing until the body is redeemed.
Total sanctification in life is not the absence of sin or temptation but a continuous process of working out one’s salvation with fear of God and trembling at His word. Total sanctification which is perfection in Christ Jesus cannot take place on this side of eternity. It will take place at the rapture of the Church. Many ministers of the Gospel who have been used mightily by God consider themselves ‘sanctified,’ that is, immune from falling. Unconsciously, they lower their guards, fall momentarily asleep and become easy targets for the deceiver.