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Thoughts and ministry set forth here about the Bible and Christian life. Questions are welcome to Bible Counsel for help. All letters are held confidential. One can use initals or a nickname if they wish. Readers should also see ministry on other pages of the Bible Counsel site. Send e-mail to R. DeWitt at email@example.com.
- Bible Counsel - Feature Page 3
For those undecided ones who wonder, wander, and worry….
When a religious soul turns from the Bible or changes it to suit self, he/she forms a personal religion;
When one forms a personal religion he/she changes God's ways to man's ways;
When one changes God's ways he/she serves self and pleases Satan;
When one serves self and pleases Satan he/she falls into a trap;
Don't fall into Satan's trap ---hold to the Bible and learn God's ways.
DETERMINING A SOUND CHRISTIAN TESTIMONY
[Letter adapted here for ministry and to avoid names and references]
You stated some things that help you determine if one is sound in the Christian faith. Those are good to determine salvation, but to determine if one is sound in their Christian life and the ministry they hold or teach, I have come to also see a need to look for their appreciation of "all the counsel of God" - Acts 20:27, and their thoughts about submission to our Redeemer rather than religious works. I really believe that in this day of so many religious ideas, one needs to also add church truth to the list of factors for soundness, as well as our spiritual life. The New Testament shows three basic truths to understand, beside Bible general: Redemption Way; Church Truth; Spiritual Life.
Most real believers have an appreciation of the gospel, and may speak of growing in their faith, but apart from love for the Lord and a careful study of His Word and understanding of church truth, they will be unbalanced in their faith. Would you agree? I often say that profession of Christianity and belief about God and Christ is little evidence of a real "child of God". Many might agree to those things, but with their own interpretations of it (see James 2:19). They must "...be born again" (John 3), which many professers do not know. After one has expressed they know and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and are sure of heaven (not just believing in God, or believing that Christ lived, etc.), that one needs to also come to appreciate the full Word of God.
Beside salvation, one might teach erroneous things about the return of Christ, our security, judgments, heaven and hell, the church; and fail to exalt and honor the Lord Jesus, and misunderstand the spiritual life of faithfulness. That is more than the gospel message, and if one is wrong in these things his ministry is going to be tainted and mislead many souls, beside dishonoring the Lord. If one spends any time absorbing such ministry they will imbibe error without realizing it and be led astray. One can have conscience, but essential truth is needed.
It is not profitable to the soul, I see, to listen to every grand and elequent voice, and try to judge if there is some hidden error therein; but stay clear of boastful men and a one-sided message. We cannot say all professers of Christ are sound in what they minister. When I see what they are associated with and are promoting, I can fairly well see the foundation on which they stand. The "wiles" of Satan are often not easily recognized as he goes about to divide and scatter the saints and cause us to dishonor the Lord. The safeguard for sincere seekers is to be associated with a sound church fellowship that values unity and "all the counsel of God" --which is Bible-only , and is "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" worldwide, as God tells us.
Well, these are just some things to consider. Thanks for sharing the thoughts. - Robert DeWitt -SL04: rev. 11/14
ADDENDUM: It seems reasonable to expect a faithful believer in Christ to speak of Him, show devotion to Him, encourage it for others, and support ministry by the Word of God. If one does not speak of the Lord Jesus Christ by name, and show thankfulness for being saved, there is probably no life in him. A gifted oration is not sufficient to show ministry in truth. We surely must not embrace all preachers who claim to be Christian. The burden of proof is on them to show they come in the Spirit of God. One might think we should not judge others, but judgment (discernment) is committed to the saints. Certainly we don't want to judge the motives of one who speaks of God, but we must surely discern what is true by "their fruits" (Matt.7:16-20). When one comes to our attention either for reception into the assembly of saints, or as to teaching in a public way we need to know if they are real and sound. There are many false teachers going about in these latter days, which the Apostles warned about. - RLD