Facts and the Truth
Laying aside emotions and feelings, let's consider facts and truths!
Please detach yourself from anger, defensive tendencies, religious traditions or accepted practices and consider facts and the Truth!
First and foremost let us acknowledge that it is Jesus that saves and that he is the only one that can save anyone. Salvation is all of God's Grace toward us and accomplished by God through his son Jesus Christ. God only saves, not works, or the law, or a church membership or any combination of such. God chooses and calls us as individuals, saves us as individuals and as individuals we are part of the body of Christ. Our heavenly Father brings us to heaven as individuals. And the same with the judgement seat of Christ, we all stand before our God as individuals. So what church you belong to has really nothing to do with your salvation as such, but it can be and should be a great help in encouraging us to continue in our journey toward heaven and in our getting closer to our heavenly Father now and in our knowing who our God really is and how he wants us to live. (I'm sure there are unsaved people, pretenders in very good churches and there are saved people in very bad churches....)
Ok, some facts and truths concerning churches and specifically the church of bible understanding; The leader of any church or group of believers must be God the Father and Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. If it is a rather small group, it is my belief that there should be no leader, only brothers and sisters. But if there are 25, 50, 100, or more, there will be an organisational structure needed, ideally of rotating leaders,pastors who have been tested and appointed according to scripture and the church. No pastor appoints himself or is "pastor for life". Also if a pastor/leader is not in fellowship with other pastors/leaders, that could definitely be a warning signal that this organization/group is not led by the Holy Spirit. Also it must be the Holy Spirit leading with a structure/organisation based on scripture, so that the church doesn't depend on individuals or that individuals become "too important" or that the church is "we can't do without them". It is a great honor to be called to the office of pastor, deacon or bishop or any position God sees fit for us. Even a treasurer is important or an usher or the person cleaning up after service. We each do our part and so build up the body of Christ to God's Glory.
And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom! (2 Corinthians 3:17)
For Freedom Christ has set us free... (Galatians 5:1)
You were called to freedom, brothers, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)
Of course a body of believers must be Bible based and that means all of the scriptures not just bits and pieces...you should be able to trace back what your church/group believes throughout history all the way to the early church and the apostles. If your group doesn't value our early brothers and sisters or claims to have some special Knowledge or insight that others don't have.....BEWARE...
A body of believers must show at least some of the fruits of the spirit as shown in Galatians 5:22+23
But the fruit of the spirit is; LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS,FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL; against such there is no law.
Of course there are no perfect churches or groups of believers, we are all beset with many weaknesses and faults. But here we are trying to point out some warning signs that something other than the Holy Spirit could be leading your church or group.
A good example of a real church is in the beginning of acts. Also when Barnabas came to Antioch;
Acts 11: 21-23
And the hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church at Jerusalem and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the Grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.
to be continued...
For anyone who is or was in an abusive church or is/was part of the church of bible understanding.