Question #377

I have many questions about your church’s doctrines and beliefs.

I've recently been searching very very hard for a Christian (protestant) church to attend. However, there are some fundamentally important beliefs that I have retained since childhood, and that I'm not willing to compromise. (Not even a little.) So I would like to ask some questions about your church's doctrine/beliefs, to see if they match mine:

  1. Does your church believe that Heavenly Father, his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are 3 different entities, but the same in purpose, or do you believe the 3 are one literally? My personal belief is that they are different entities, but the same in Their divine purpose.

  2. I see your church practices baptism!! That wasn’t a question. I was just giving you guys a free one. =)

  3. Does your church sing hymns, or do you jam out to a more "modern beat" just for the sake of attracting the rebellious youth? My personal preference is to sing hymns. Hymns make me feel (I know you may not like the "feel" word) humbled, reverent, broken hearted, and closer to God. Modern beats have the opposite effect on me. Hymns make me feel the Holy Spirit, and they soften my heart in preparation for the week ahead.

  4. Is there a preference in your church as to what version of the Holy Bible is used? King James Version as opposed to NKJV, for example.

  5. Does your church offer any kind of sacrament? For example, do you offer bread (or something like bread) in representation of the body of Christ, and water in representation to the blood of Christ so that we remember Him?

  6. I do not know exactly how to ask this question. Are women ordained as clergy in your church? I believe that the Holy Bible clearly dictates women's role in the church.

I may have more questions in the future, but I PRAY for your prompt answers to these. Thank you so much for your time, and God bless!

The Answer:

Thank you for your question. Although this question falls into the category that usually is not answered since each of the inquiries contained have already been answered, that nature of this question is such that it deserves if not demands a response. It is from one who is a sincere searcher for the truth and it is with delight and humility that the questions are answered.

First, by way of explanation and not criticism or complaint, it needs to be said that the expression “your church” does not describe the Lord’s church. The church of the New Testament is his church that he promised to establish first through prophecy throughout the Old Testament and then in person (Matt. 16:18). He established that church in Acts chapter 2 and on that day those who gladly heard the word were baptized and some three thousand souls are added by the Lord to his church (Acts 2:38-41). Some think that this is a small thing, but a church established by man is by definition not the church established by the Lord. For a fuller discussion of the New Testament church listen to the audio sermon, The Undenominational Nature of the Church. Look also at “Class: Lord’s Church.” Look especially at Lesson One -- The Origin and Nature of the Lord's Church, but you will find helpful material in all of the lessons. For example, in Lesson 7 on “Worship and Assembly” you will find a discussion of singing in worship that relates to another of your questions. Now to the specific questions submitted.

1) Does your church believe that Heavenly Father, his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are 3 different entities, but the same in purpose, or do you believe the 3 are one literally? My personal belief is that they are different entities, but the same in Their divine purpose.

The concept of the Trinity is a theological issue that has had much discussion. It is difficult to understand and almost impossible to discuss. That does not mean, however, that it is an issue that has no answer; it does mean that it has no simple answer. The fullest answer on this website is found in our answer to Question # 290. If you will “Search the Site” under “Trinity” you will find other comments, however, there are no other discussions fully devoted to the subject.

2) I see your church practices baptism!! That wasn’t a question. I was just giving you guys a free one.

Thanks for the “free one,” but it may not be as “free” as it first appears. The New Testament not only teaches the necessity of baptism for the remission of sins, it teaches that scriptural baptism is by immersion. Sprinkling and pouring do not qualify for New Testament baptism. Please see the lesson on Baptism at “Class: Questions, Lesson Three,” Questions on Baptism.

3) Does your church sing hymns, or do you jam out to a more "modern beat" just for the sake of attracting the rebellious youth? My personal preference is to sing hymns. Hymns make me feel (I know you may not like the "feel" word) humbled, reverent, broken hearted, and closer to God. Modern beats have the opposite effect on me. Hymns make me feel the Holy Spirit, and they soften my heart in preparation for the week ahead.

For information on worship in song please see “Class: Questions, Lesson 8,” Instrumental Music in Worship. You should also review “Class: The Lord’s Church, Lesson 7,” Worship and Assembly. You will also find a number of relevant comments in “Questions and Answers.” You can “Search the Site” to select those that mention “worship” or “music.” The general attitude related to the nature of songs can be derived from “Problem Songs.” While I certainly agree with you that much of the “new” worship songs provide little to no edification for the worship and little to no praise or adoration for our God, it is also true that some of the early Reformation hymns were ser to German beer jingles. That is not said to justify the modern practice of so-called “contemporary worship”; it is said to show that this generation is not the only generation that had this problem. As for the word “feel,” it is not a “bad” word in this context. Singing by nature is emotional. If one does not get “feeling” from songs about the Savior’s sacrifice he or she does not get the message. The problem with the “feeling” of contemporary worship is that it comes from being “whipped up” externally as opposed to coming from the heart internally. The external is all “feel good” about me; the internal from the heart is not artificially stimulated but is the product of a grateful heart to a loving God.

4) Is there a preference in your church as to what version of the Holy Bible is used? King James Version as opposed to NKJV, for example.

Each congregation of the Lord’s church is autonomous; therefore, there is no central body to impose a particular translation. If a congregation has a “preference,” it may be seen by the translation selected for Bibles placed in the pews for those who do not bring their own. However, I have never seen or heard of a congregation that tells its members to use only a particular translation. I personally have some preferences of translations – the American Standard of 1901 and the English Standard Version – both of which are “word for word” translations and not “thought for thought” renderings. The KJV is also a “word for word” translation but it has weaker textual support for its text than the ASV and ESV. The problem with many of the modern “thought for thought” Bibles is that by their very nature they are more commentaries and translations. The “translators” determine what they think the thought of the writer was and then, rather than translating the words, they provide the English for that which they think the writer thought instead of what the writer said. It is the function of the commentator to comment on that which he thought the writer mean by what he said. Thus, I repeat for sake of emphasis, a “thought for thought” translation is a commentary and should be used as such since they do not contain the words of God but the thought of the translator which may or may not be in harmony with God’s message.

5) Does your church offer any kind of sacrament? For example, do you offer bread (or something like bread) in representation of the body of Christ, and water in representation to the blood of Christ so that we remember Him?

The Lord’s church observes the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week according to Biblical example (Acts 20:7). For information on the Lord’s Supper see: “Class: the Lord’s Church,” Lesson 7, Worship and Assembly. Select the PDF format class notes. You can then either use “Find” under “Edit” in the menu and search on “Supper” for all references, or you can go to pages 10-11 for the main discussion. Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper during the Passover when there was no leaven in the house. Thus, the bread used in the Passover was unleavened and it is unleavened bread that is used by the Lord’s church in faithfulness to that used by the Lord in his institution of his commemorative supper. That used to represent his blood was, and to follow his example must be, the fruit of the vine (a Biblical phrase for the juice of the grape. Accordingly, the use of water would not be faithful to scriptural example.

6) I do not know exactly how to ask this question. Are women ordained as clergy in your church? I believe that the Holy Bible clearly dictates women's role in the church.

Scripture does in speak to the role of women in the church. You may find the teaching of scripture related to this subject at: “Class Questions, Lesson 4,” The Role of Women in the Church. While this is the fullest discussion, if you will “Search the Site” under “women” you will find many comments on the role of women in the church.

Please remember that the information provided to you here is not provided based upon what the church believes but upon what the Bible teaches. Truth is not determined by what the church believes. There were congregations in Bible days that believed and taught error. Some of scripture was written to correct it. Truth is determined by the word of God (John 17:17). No one is going to be judged by what the church teaches. All will be judged by the word of God (John 12:48). If that which a church believes and practices is true it is not because the church teaches and practices it, but because the church is teaching and practicing that which is in the word of God whose word is truth.

If you have more questions in the future we will be glad to address them. God bless you in your study and search for His will.


God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)