There are many religions and denominations in the world. How is a person supposed to know which one truly leads to God?
It is certainly understandable that even a very earnest and sincere seeker after truth would be confused over the religious situation today, with hundreds of denominations, sects, and cults in Christendom alone, as well as hundreds more in other countries and cultures, and with new religious movements arising almost every day. Nevertheless, God has provided adequate instruction for us to separate real churches from a false churches
There are three areas which are especially helpful in determining whether a church is true or false.
1. The teachings concerning the Bible.
2. The teachings concerning Jesus Christ.
3. The teachings concerning the way of salvation.
1. Teachings concerning the Bible:
The Bible claims, many hundreds of time, to be the written Word of God. The Old Testament Scriptures were accepted by Christ and the apostles as divinely inspired and completely infallible. Jesus said: “The scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35). With respect to the New Testament, He promised His apostles that “the Holy Ghost shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26), and that “the Spirit of truth will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
Therefore, during the first century, the apostles who had been with Christ, had witnessed His resurrection and had received these promises, gradually wrote down the Gospels and Epistles which now comprise the New Testament. These were readily received and recognized by the early Christians as inspired Scriptures. The apostles claimed that these writings were divinely inspired and authoritative, and true Christians have always accepted them as such.
Finally, the last of the apostles, John the Beloved, near the end of the first century, was enabled to look prophetically into the future ages and to write down the last of the true Scriptures, the book of Revelation. This completed God’s written words,
These last words of Christ’s apostles give us a most important rule. The Scriptures are fully inspired, even to the very words, and those who would add to them or take away from them are false teachers.
In general, cultists have been guilty of “adding to” the Scriptures, claiming either that the writings of their own founders were divinely inspired or that the interpretations of their leaders were uniquely necessary and authoritative. Modern christianity and liberals, on the other hand, have been guilty of the even more serious error of “taking away from” Scripture, cutting out or allegorizing portions which they decide are inconvenient, outdated, and unpopular.
. A true Preacher or Pastor will preach and teach all Scripture, no matter how unpopular or inconvenient it is.
Modern Christianity has watered down the Gospel in an effort to grow their churches with as many “members” as they can gather. This has resulted in mega churches that do not preach the real gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Teachings concerning Jesus Christ:
A true Christian teacher will gladly accept and proclaim Jesus Christ as He is, truly God and truly man.
Error concerning the person of Christ can take either the form of the ancient Gnostic heresy, which denied His true humanity, or that of the modern Agnostic heresy, which denies His true deity. The latter considers Him to be a great man and great religious teacher and leader, but rejects His virgin birth, His sinless life, His substitutionary atonement, and His bodily resurrection and ascension.
Any cult or denomination or religious movement which does not clearly and forcefully proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ both as the perfect Son of man and the only begotten Son of God, “the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8), is false, and should be rejected.
3. Teachings concerning the way of salvation:
The gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth” (Romans 1:16). The word “gospel” means “good news,” not “good advice.” It tells us what we must do to be saved. Jesus made this very clear and simple, He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
A true church will teach that you MUST BE born again.
Every false religion under the sun, whether supposed Christian or non-Christian teaches there is some other way to be saved than being born again of the Water (baptism) and of the Spirit.
True Biblical teaching recognizes man as he really is, lost in sin and destined for eternal separation from God unless we repent and believe the gospel. The Gospel is the glorious news that “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:1,3), and that we can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Any religion or church which teaches otherwise than this is false.
Apostle Paul wrote:
One who is truly saved by God will seek to follow Christ and His Word in all things, any group or church that does not follow his Word is false.