3 Basic Doctrines to Look for in a Church

Justin Johnson

The following question was received through the website recently:

“What type of church should I look for in order to join with other like believers?”

Finding a church is not hard in America. There are over 200 churches in our small rural county. It is finding a certain type of church that is a problem.

So, what are the basic doctrines that you should look for when identifying a new church fellowship?

I would not recommend any recognized denominational church. Surely, there are brothers and sisters in Christ who attend denominational churches, but the mission and beliefs of every denomination in the handbook is off the mark when it comes to the ministry of the mystery of Christ.

The mystery of Christ is the most important doctrine in the church today. Find out quickly if the leadership of the church understands the difference between the prophecy and the mystery. If they do not, then kindly thank them for their time and move on.

Also, the tithe can act as a very clear filter of doctrinal integrity. Isn’t it strange that those in leadership positions fail to practice the most obvious mystery truth: you are not under the law (of tithing). Tithing is a deliberate subjugation of the free members of Christ’s body back under the law system.

If you see this practice of law or covenant tithing in a church, then you may want to make sure they have workable emergency exits. Even if the leadership teaches a salvation by grace, if they must compromise sound doctrine to balance their budget, then their doctrinal foundation is shaky at best and hypocritical at worst.

Meanwhile, more dangerous than fleecing the sheep by our leaders is when the Bible is traded in for a shiny new Ph.D in language training. Apparently since everyone understands the English bible it is time to move forward to studying the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.

What’s that? You say, we are not moving forward but moving back ward to study the Greek and Hebrew? I find neither choice edifying to the church. Rather we ground ourselves with faith from the word of God, not faith in an institution of higher learning and Biblical studies. My suggestion: quit doubting the proven text of inspired scripture and start studying the preserved word of God for profit: not financial profit, the spiritual kind.

It looks like we have started to compile some minimum requirements for finding the “right” church. I would not consider any group like minded without these traits.

  1. Correctly understands the mystery of Christ. Without this you would end up teaching your church group more than you learn from them. 98% of churches are eliminated right here.
  2. Does not teach tithing. This is for proof of integrity. Be careful in our environment of petty thieves dressed up as pastors who would rob you of the riches you have in Christ. Also, if a group does not tithe and is performing ministry, then you know you have mature saints who find pleasure in investing in the truth.
  3. Trusts the Bible instead of doubting it. Without a foundation your growth will go nowhere. Either spend your life in trying to discover the missing translation; or grow by faith in the Bible on your lap. Believe every word of it.

There are many other issues that we should discuss, but I am confident that these will get you started

What type of church should you look for? One that will not compromise the truth to put you in the pew. That means it loves truth more than handshakes.

If you cannot find any group within two days walk from you then start your own. Invite friends over for dinner and Bible study. Listen to mp3s, stream lessons online, or have topical discussions. Need resources? We have some. They are free. Use them.

If you have more to teach than to learn from your current church, then leave and start your own. Churches are not democracies. You don’t need to be elected to office. You are an ambassador positioned by the Lord to perform a ministry (2 Cor 5:19-21). Get busy and do it.

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Published: February 1, 2011
Last Modified: October 22, 2016
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