Which Church is the True Church of Jesus Christ?
By Author Eli Kittim
The Decline of Christianity
Christianity has become a speculative art. It has created over 38,000 denominations as well as thousands of seminaries and Christian universities all over the world in an effort to promote its speculative and largely anthropomorphic doctrines. What’s more, academic faculties have hitherto bestowed higher degrees to qualified graduates who are deemed “knowledgeable” in doctrinal and pastoral matters. And so the theological baton has been passed from teacher to student seemingly ad infinitum.
In the seminary or the academy everyone has an opinion, and so there are, naturally, a wide variety of viewpoints and many different schools of thought. However, there can only be one truth, if it exists at all. So, which view is correct in any given case? Well, we’re living in the post-modern era of relativism, so take your pick. Both Christian methodology and epistemology are equally informed by currents in academia (i.e. interdisciplinary studies), so much so that doctrinal issues are beginning to reflect the modern culture more and more, from liberation theology and feminist theology, to even queer theology and trans-gendered theology.
What ever happened to the concept of one church, one body, one Lord, one spirit, one faith? (Eph. 4.4-6). Whatever happened to Paul’s appeal “that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose”? (1 Cor. 1.10 NRSV).
A State of Theological Confusion
This state of affairs is primarily due to the fact that we have lost sight of who is a true Christian, and who is not. We can no longer differentiate between a nominal Christian and an authentic one. We don’t even know what constitutes a real Christian and what is the criteria for meeting that requirement. And we certainly don’t know who’s telling the truth. Fake news, false narratives, and the spread of misinformation have affected every aspect of Christianity. So, because we can’t tell the difference between what is true and what is false, we generally classify Christian doctrines into various levels based on their popularity. We decide which pastor to listen to according to their social status, academic degrees, reputation, experience, popularity, book sales, and the like. Or, we walk into a particular church simply because of how it makes us feel. These are not valid reasons for attending church, for following a particular denomination or pastor, or for assenting to their doctrines and believing in their creeds. That’s why modern Christianity has lost its direction and has gone so far astray that it no longer represents the teachings of Jesus Christ. It only represents human inventions, speculations, and secular academic endeavours. Sadly, modern Christianity doesn’t have a clue about the revelation of the New Testament (NT) or about its main object of study: Jesus Christ. Second Timothy 4.3-4 reads:
For the time is coming when people will not
put up with sound doctrine, but having
itching ears, they will accumulate for
themselves teachers to suit their own
desires, and will turn away from listening to
the truth and wander away to myths.
True Christians Get their Information Directly from God
There are only a few regenerated people in this world who know the *truths* of the NT, and this is due to their intimate knowledge of, and personal relationship with, Jesus! These all share the exact same knowledge of Christ! For them, the truth does not vary. Their knowledge is identical without the slightest variation as to the basic truths of the faith. They are all one, united in one faith, under one spirit and one lord. How is that possible, you may ask? The information they receive does not come from seminaries or academic universities, or from books or distinguished scholars. No. It comes straight from the mouth of God (Deut. 8.3; cf. Mt. 4.4). How can that be, you ask?
In the Old Testament (OT), there is obviously a divine communication that is revealed between God and humankind, particularly when the prophets declare categorically what “the LORD says” (cf. Jer. 23.38; 1 Kgs 12.24; Ezek. 20.5; Amos 5.16). This OT divine communication is also promised to the NT believers who will be regenerated in the Spirit (Jn 16.13):
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will
guide you into all the truth; for he will not
speak on his own, but will speak whatever
he hears, and he will declare to you the
things that are to come [ερχόμενα].
So, the process of salvation, or regeneration, has everything to do with knowledge and truth! It is the dividing line or the threshold between authentic and false Christianity. And that makes all the difference in the world. People are confused about what salvation is. For instance, there are all sorts of scholarly debates between those who hold to “easy-believism” and those who adhere to lordship salvation. There are those who think they are saved, when they’re not. For example, pastors often tell people, who answer altar calls, that they have been reborn simply because they made a profession of faith. Joel Osteen is a case in point. Other folk think they can go on sinning because all they are required to do is to believe, according to their interpretation of Scripture. Steven Anderson, the pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, is such an example. But God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14.33). And, unfortunately, most people don’t know what authentic salvation in Christ really is. If people have believed lies, then the truth will necessarily seem false to them. So they react negatively by portraying true salvation as if it were evil, unbiblical, untraditional, or even revolting. However, if you reject true salvation, your Christianity is as fake as you are. Your pseudo-religion is nothing more than a bad caricature of Christianity. Just listen to one of Paul Washer’s sermons. There is only one way for you to know the truth and become a part of the one true church of Jesus. And that is by understanding the *process* by which you can be saved!
Every church and every ministry teaches something different, and most of their teachings are completely foreign to the NT. It’s reminiscent of Paul’s stern warning to the church of Corinth (1 Cor. 1.12, 13) that began to split into various divisions or denominations:
each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I
belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’
or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been
divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or
were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Paul explicitly condemns this fragmentation of church doctrine and says it is not of God. Accordingly, 1 Timothy 4.1-3 is prophesying of what is to come:
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later
times some will renounce the faith by
paying attention to deceitful spirits and
teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy
of liars whose consciences are seared with
a hot iron. They forbid marriage and
demand abstinence from foods, which God
created to be received with thanksgiving by
those who believe and know the truth.
A Soteriological Crisis
Why all the splinter groups and all the contradictory doctrines? Because we lost touch with spirituality. In other words, we lost touch with God. We can no longer hear him. We can no longer communicate with him. Why? Because we’re suffering from bibliolatry! The Bible is not an end in itself. It’s supposed to lead us to Christ. Yet we have become idolaters, Bible-worshipping Christians with no spirituality whatsoever, as if the Bible alone had the capacity to transform us into Christ. As if the Bible has replaced Christ. Hence the reason for Jesus’ caveat in Jn 5.39:
You search the scriptures because you think
that in them you have eternal life; and it is
they that testify on my behalf.
We’ve also created new doctrines and man-made traditions. The various doctrines became officially mandated during the successive councils of the church. Thus, all the denominations are in error. They exist without NT authority. Consider what Christ will say to the fake Christians on Judgment day (Mt. 7.21-23):
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,'
will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only
the one who does the will of my Father in
heaven. On that day many will say to me,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your
name, and cast out demons in your name,
and do many deeds of power in your
name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never
knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.'
But what exactly does it mean to do the will of Christ’s father? Does it depend on us, forcing our will to conform to his, through repetitive behavioural acts? No. It means to surrender your will to God so that you can say with Paul, “it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2.20). Then, divine obedience becomes natural and automatic. But, unfortunately, that’s not what we’ve been told by the religious authorities. We’ve been taught to think that we’re Christians on our way to heaven. In other words, there’ll be upright people——people who even claim to believe in Jesus——that will be lost on the day of judgment! But what is the soteriological standard against which all other theories are measured? Notice the criterion that God uses: “I never knew you.” So, we must try to explain, then, how it is that God “knows us.” Answer: if we surrender our life to him, he will know us personally and intimately in a deep, unitive, and mystical sense. In short, he will permanently become an integral part of our lives (Jn 14.23):
Those who love me will keep my word, and
my Father will love them, and we will come
to them and make our home with them.
But how can you make this happen? How can you become a part of the true church? Some say by “obedience,” while others claim you only need to “believe.” But they are both wrong because both of these Pelagian premises are based on you saving yourself through personal works. In this scenario, Jesus becomes utterly irrelevant. So, that’s not it. The answer is, you have to be transformed! Notice in the undermentioned passage that Jesus inflicts “vengeance on those who do not know God” and who, therefore, disobey him. The text prophesies the final consummation (2 Thess. 1.7, 8),
when the Lord Jesus is revealed from
heaven with his mighty angels in flaming
fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do
not know God and on those who do not
obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Most churches claim that all you have to do to be saved involves rote learning and habitual religious exercises. For example, the Church of Christ says that you have to obey the Gospel by hearing, Believing, Repenting, Confessing, and being baptised. And then you’ll be saved. How wonderful. How convenient. How painless. All man-made, all based on one’s own efforts, and the greatest thing of all, no spirituality is necessary, and there’s no need for a change of heart or a radical renewing of the mind (Rom. 12.2). By the way, when Paul speaks of baptism, he’s not referring to the immersion in water but to a painful baptism into Christ’s death that regenerates the believer “in newness of life” during the dark night of the soul (cf. Acts 19.5-6). He says in Rom. 6.3, 4:
Do you not know that all of us who have
been baptized into Christ Jesus were
baptized into his death? Therefore we have
been buried with him by baptism into death,
so that, . . . we too might walk in newness of
So, congregants are being deceived into thinking that they are saved, when they are not! Church leaders will typically quote a few out-of-context verses about belief in Christ and his resurrection, and, if you meet these criteria, they’ll tell you that you’re good to go. You’re saved. This is downright nonsense! How pathetic has been the fall of so many people who were not properly trained or educated on the nature of salvation within the Christian faith. No wonder so many of them have left the faith and have turned to atheism, profoundly disillusioned with the form of Christianity that could neither solve their problems nor offer any meaning in the face of today’s postmodern world.
You Will Know the Truth, and the Truth Will Make You Free (John 8.32)
As Paul reminds us, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom. 8.9). So, how do we do our part in order to allow this transformation to take place and to invite the Spirit into our lives? There are many methods. However, one of the most effective means of doing so is by way of “stillness,” which is traditionally known as a prayer of silence! From a phenomenological perspective, this Kierkegaardian “leap of faith” requires a transcendent existential experience. This involves a deep meditation in which the mind leaves all knowledge behind and passes into a state of transcendent *unknowing* where the “intuition of naked truths” is “conveyed to the understanding” (John of the Cross. “Ascent of Mount Carmel.” Trans. E. Allison Peers. [Liguori: Triumph, 1991], p. 182). The point is that we’re not going to get there by discursive thinking but rather by “being,” in the existential sense!
Thus, being obedient is not enough. Being morally upright or having good intentions is not enough. Being a descendant of Abraham is not enough. Salvation is not based on a biological birth, but on a birth from above. In short, we must be born again (Jn 3.3):
Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the
kingdom of God without being born from
See my article: How Are We Saved? https://eli-kittim.tumblr.com/post/624396009262415872/how-are-we-saved-is-it-simply-by-belief-alone-or
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Deeds or Creeds
Deeds or Creeds? Works or Words? Behave or believe? How do they all come together?
A popular Jewish writer, whom I would agree with on many social and political issues, has written that the difference between his faith and Christianity lies not in the place one might expect. But it is found in the distinction between “deeds and creeds.” I will quote his own words:
“Whether or not Jesus was the messiah or not is not the most important question that divides Judaism and Christianity. The major difference between Judaism and Christianity lies in the importance that each religion attaches to faith and actions. In Judaism, God considers people’s actions to be more important than their faith; acting in accordance with biblical and rabbinic law is the Jews’ central obligation. As Christianity developed, however, it did away with most of these laws. And faith became its central demand.”
So, he agrees and admits that his faith, or Judaism, fosters performance-based acceptance with God. And that Christianity does not. Essentially, then he would agree and therefore his faith would also, that they are antagonistic towards “pure grace.” Now James is supposed to be a part of the “works” crowd calling for the return to Biblical law in the New Testament. But listen to what he says about this in his epistle:
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
But many times, people neglect to tell the truth about James. For he was there in Jerusalem and spoke to the entire assembly there just as Peter and Paul did:
After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.
He agreed with Peter’s previously spoken words:
And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
James and Peter agreed with Paul in declaring that: “We believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” Which literally translated from the Greek is: “But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved in the same manner as they also.” The important thing to see is: ‘we believe to be saved.” This is the track of grace and true salvation.
But what can be missed often is that such an act of faith is not in words or an expression of thoughts. It is more. It is in the embracing of a person or a personality. This means more than just to believe a set of objective words. More than merely mentally agreeing with doctrines and/or having a satisfaction in the form of truth. John said it in his 1st epistle:
1 John 5:12
Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Paul said pertinent things in this regard:
1 Timothy 1:12–15
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
2 Timothy 1:12–14
….. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
Creeds can be empty and hollow shells without substance. Deeds or works can wearisome and futile as well. It is only as we fully embrace the one who gives strength, who cleanses the innermost wounds, who forgives and forgets every transgression that we discover the unbridled potential and joy that comes from heaven’s king alone.
Lord Jesus, we marvel that our salvation lies first in a coming to you. You hold the keys to death and life. You alone heal the wounds, remove the guilt, and save our souls. Without you, it is just vanity and vainglory. We choose you. Creeds and deeds will flow in our lives, when we truly embrace you. As you came into the world to save, come into our lives and save all who call upon you. Amen!!!
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