As a Christian apologist one of the things I deal with is false doctrines within the Christian church. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of them, and they are spreading. Following is a list of topics that relate to some of the areas that the visible church1 is compromising on. There's a little bit of commentary on each one.
First of all, I want to make it clear that there are many godly men leading healthy, born-again Christians who are committed to the truth of God's word and spreading the gospel. Likewise, there are many Christians who take the word of God seriously, affirm the essentials of the faith, and seek to spread the Gospel. The problem is that there are too few of them as is evidenced by the lack of serious Christian influence in our culture. The church is supposed to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20) and prevail against the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18). That means we're supposed to be very active in making a difference in the world. Instead, too much of the Christian church has been invaded by liberalism, self-centered theology, humanism, and other forms of apostasy.
Here is a list of some of the problems that are gaining acceptance within the visible church.
- Abortion is an alternative life choice of the mother instead of condemning it and defending the life of the unborn.
- Baptism is necessary for salvation. Essentially this is saying that salvation is obtained by faith and a ceremony.
- Bible is a suggestion book and not the revealed and absolute word of God which needs to be studied and followed.
- Bible is intended to be a self help book from which are derived principles for a more prosperous life.
- Catholicism is considered to be another Christian denomination and Protestant groups are joining with Catholics.
- Church discipline is decreasing within the church.
- Christians can be demon possessed.
- Contemplative prayer is encouraged where a person empties his mind, focuses on an object or a phrase, and tries to get in tune with God.
- Gospel messages are watered down and don't include or don't focus on our sinfulness, the judgment of God upon us for our sins, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, and the need for repentance from sin.
- Homosexuality is considered an alternative lifestyle and open, practicing homosexuals are being ordained as clergy.
- Humanism is creeping into the church where man is the standard of what is good and bad, God and his Majesty are lessened and man is exalted. Some groups even teach we are little gods.
- Jesus is a blonde hair, blue eyed, Caucasian surfer dude who was dressed in a woman's nightgown and is standing at the door of the sinners heart asking permission to come in.
- Jesus is only one of many ways to God
- Justification is not a proper legal standing before God received by grace alone through, faith alone, in Christ alone, but as a process.
- Materialism in the church here Christians are encouraged to be wealthy, have lots of money, and lots of possessions. (These are not bad in themselves, but they should not be the reason we follow Christ.)
- Salvation is maintained by keeping various rules and not doing bad things.
- Secularization where the church appears more like the ungodly world then people set apart for Christ.
- Traditions and rituals that are more important than Scripture
- Women pastors and elders where they are in spiritual authority over men in the church.
The above list is representative of some of the problems that exist within the visible church and are, unfortunately, on the increase. But as Christians we are to study the word of God, be dedicated to what it says, and promote his truths not only outside the Christian church but also inside of it. We need to be aware of the problems. But, we also need to know what the truth is so that we can recognize the lies and apostasy and stand firm in the faith that has been delivered to us.
"Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints," (Jude 3).
- 1. The visible church is the outward expression of Christianity and consists of the buildings, denominations, clergy, and congregation members. Not all in the visible church are really Christians. The invisible church is comprised of those who are truly born again and indwelt by God.