“Requirements” for Church Membership?

“Over the course of the last three years, I have been to 30 “Christian” churches. Only one of these would I consider joining. Even that church which had the essential doctrines of salvation and sanctification correct–required formal church membership and water baptism in order for a person to be fully accepted into the life of the church. Jesus accepted anyone who believed in Him. Shouldn’t we do the same? I see these requirements as the first step in trying to control people, to lord it over others’ faith, when God did not give these requirements for local church membership. I already am a member of the church based on my belief in Jesus. As a believer, I am already baptized in to the death and resurrection of Christ (the only spiritually efficacious baptism). I am a new creation in Christ, holy and righteous in Him. As believers, our activity is to believe in Jesus and who we are in Him, and love God and people and ourselves, and be led by the Spirit of God in our spirits, and spread the Gospel and be salt and light in this dark world. I think making formal local church membership and a water baptism ritual a condition of full acceptance into church life leads to legalism, and leads to the death of true spirituality. A few years ago, when I felt far from God in both faith and morality, I went to the church and felt uplifted and cleansed. Now I go to church and I feel like I am with people who give God one hour a week, instead of the entire week. What do you all think?”

–Curtis Smale

The Six Biggest Lies of Satan

There are six main areas that I believe Satan is working in to cause tremendous hindrances in the Christian church today. These include everything from blocking the true biblical Gospel of Salvation, to almost completely stopping Christian spiritual growth in individuals. Here they are the six areas, and the lies Satan is telling concerning them:

Eternal Security: Salvation is ~permanent~ for those who once have believed in Jesus as Savior. Salvation ~cannot~ be lost or returned or renounced. Heaven is the permanent destiny of all those who have once believed in Jesus as Savior. God’s “not guilty” declaration of believers is ~irrevocable~. (Romans 11:29; Ephesians 1:13,14)

Satan’s Lie: “your salvation can be lost.”

God’s Truth from His Word: a believer’s salvation is “sealed” and “irrevocable.”

Baptism: There are at least 9 different baptisms in the Bible, and all of them are without water, except for one. The baptism that ~saves~ is the non-water, spiritual, baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ, which the Holy Spirit does at the moment of a person’s belief in Christ. (1st Corinthians 12:13) Being baptized into water is ~not~ a condition of salvation.

Satan’s Lie: “you need to be baptized in water to be saved.”

God’s Truth from His Word: whosoever believes in Jesus ~has~ everlasting life. (John 6:47)

Repentance: The Greek words translated “repentance” are “metanoia,” a noun; and “metanoeo,” a verb. They carry the idea, “change of mind.” Change your mind about a sin you are committing, would be one usage of these words.

However, when these words are used in connection with salvation, they mean “change of mind” about Jesus–change your mind from unbelief, and believe that He is your Savior from your sins.

“Repenting of your sins,” or changing your life from sinful behavior, is ~not~ a condition of salvation.

Satan’s Lie: “You need to stop sinning to be saved.”

God’s Truth from His Word: “he who believes in Me (Jesus), ~has~ everlasting life.” (John 6:47)

Faith: The Greek word is “pistis.” In connection with salvation, this word means to ~believe~ the Gospel, to believe in Jesus as Savior, or to trust in Jesus as Savior. The worst error in Christianity is to add human good works to what it takes to save us. This spiritually deadly false doctrine is called, “Lordship Salvation.” Everyone and anyone is saved who trusts in Jesus as Savior, ~without~ any good works. Even our ~good~ works are as useless “as filthy rags,” as the Bible says in Isaiah 64:6.

Satan’s Lie: “You need to be a faithful disciple in order to earn your salvation.”

God’s Truth from His Word: whosoever believes in Jesus ~has~ everlasting life. (John 6:47)

Sanctification: In this area of doctrine, many saved believers are under the false impression that God simply works in them automatically, without their active obedience to His Spirit and to His Word. This is not true. God works in us, “to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

Satan’s Lie: “God works in you automatically. You don’t need to do anything to grow in grace.”

God’s Truth from His Word: give every effort to grow in godliness. (2nd Peter 1:5-8)

Church Membership: Anyone who believes in Jesus as Savior is immediately a member of God’s family, which is the church, which is also called, “the body of Christ. There is no need to condition an approved or saved status upon local church members who have believed in Jesus as Savior. They are already approved and saved by God because they are believers. (Romans 12:4,5)

Satan’s Lie: “You need to belong to a local church and be a member of a local church to be saved.”

God’s Truth from His Word: He or she who believes in Me ~has~ everlasting life. (John 6:47)

–Curtis Smale

P.S. I have rarely felt such spiritual opposition and struggle as I did while writing what is above. Satan absolutely hates what I have written here. Which is good, because what I have written above reflects the truth from God’s Word in the areas where I believe that Satan is being most successful and destructive in the Christian church.

The Number One False Doctrine in the American “Christian” Church

The number one doctrinal menace in the American “Christian” church is… Lordship “Salvation.”

The reason that Lordship Salvation (L.S.) is the worst thing ever to happen to the church is that it is a False Gospel. (See Paul the apostle’s double damnation curse on those who preach a False Gospel in Galatians 1:8,9)

L.S. teaches that, in order to be saved, you need to do more than simply believe in the God-man Jesus as your Savior from sin, crucified and resurrected. L.S. says that you need to repent of your sins (stop doing them–which is a good work) and also that you need to commit yourself to a life of discipleship good works. Wrong! Damnably wrong! Double damnably wrong!

Billy Graham teaches this message, and Billy Graham is wrong, because Billy Graham disagrees with The New Testament, with Jesus’ own words, and with over 150 Bible verses that say that salvation is received simply by BELIEVING IN JESUS.

Jesus said in John 6:47: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who ~believes~ in Me ~has~ everlasting life.”

If people are trusting in their own good works to save them, which is what Lordship salvation teaches, then they are not saved.

Jesus is the only Savior.

MOST Christian teachers today preach repentance from sins and commitment to lifelong discipleship as conditions for salvation.

But the Bible says that salvation is a FREE GIFT.(Ephesians 2:8,9)

Some prominent false teachers today and an organization that teaches the Lordship False salvation are: JOHN MACARTHUR, JOHN PIPER, CHUCK MISSLER (deceased, but currently still on Christian radio), and CALVARY CHAPEL (founded by Missler).

Jesus said to beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing.

Jesus was right, of course.

–Curtis Smale

“Why Are American Churches So Anemic?”

Two of the great deficiencies in modern American churches are: a lack of the sense of the holiness and majesty of God; and also, a lack of the sense of sin and confession of sin, which is essential in practical progression toward holiness and sanctification. The modern American church is interested in money, and therefore large numbers of people, customer-pleasing doctrine, and entertainment. But that is not the biblical purpose of the church and this is why some of the most spiritual people are turning from the circus of the modern American church to draw nearer to God personally and in small groupings, to pursue spiritual growth in Christ.

–Curtis Smale