“Biblically Sound” Denominations in Light of the Judgment

Someone asked me which denominations are biblically sound. I wrote this answer.

I don’t think a “denomination” is biblically sound. I believe that, biblically, the church is all the Christians in my town. It would be awesome if we had one bishop in our town who met with all the elders of each local congregation to serve and shepherd and teach the Christians of our town in both homes and meeting houses. That, of course, is not happening anywhere. Therefore, my opinion, for whatever use it is, is that the best thing you can do is find a church, and other Christians on a personal level, who do what the Bible says: “Consider one another to provoke to love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, but exhorting, and so much the more as you see The Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). On a personal basis, the Bible says the same thing: “Exhort one another day by day, while it is called ‘today,’ lest any of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). On the last day, we will be judged by our works, not by our denomination, nor by our theology. We will be judged by what we do, not what we say, nor where we go on Sunday. This is said so often I can’t list all the places, but here are some: Matthew 7:21; 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Rom. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Pet. 1:17.

Thus, what you and I need is not a denomination. We need the Scriptures to equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17); we need grace to deliver us from the power of sin (Rom. 6:14) and teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (Tit. 2:11-12); we need to be created in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10); and we need the Holy Spirit to fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law (Rom. 8:3-4) and not grow weary in doing good (Gal. 6:8-9). And, as already said, we need our brothers and sisters to exhort us day by day, and we need to do that for them, so that none of us are deceived by sin. In our gatherings, we need to “consider one another” so that we know how to “provoke to love and good works.” This cannot only be done by clergy. This must be done by “one another” even when we gather on Sunday mornings.

With that in mind, you have to pursue individual Christians every bit as much as finding a Sunday morning place to meet. Many people nowadays meet in homes so that they can do these things. Don’t be deceived, though. We have a war to fight. We do not put on spiritual armor for nothing. There are principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places that do not want you to continue to the end (Eph. 6:10-18). As Justin Martyr wrote, “The evil demons subdue all those who do not make a strong opposing effort for their own salvation” (First Apology, ch. 14). That effort must be based in walking by the Spirit, hearing or reading the Scriptures, receiving God’s grace, trusting Jesus, and helping one another in love.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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