“Church or Cult, Which is Yours?”

By Akin Ojumu

For far too long, many have mistaken dens of demons for the Dwelling of the Divine. Tragically, the world confuses horror houses with God’s House. As we said last time, just because a group of people gather together and call itself a Church doesn’t mean it’s a Church. A Church isn’t a Church simply by the name by which it’s known.

Before proceeding to discuss the next broad category of Churches in Nigeria, I think we should first clear the air and erase the confusion about what a Church truly is.

Simply speaking, the Church is an assembly of dead sinners whom it has pleased the LORD to call out of damnable sinful existence into a union with Christ and into communion with each other. This is a living Church and a holy Household of those who have received the Spirit of adoption as sons and to whom God is, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).

Members of this Household of Adopted Sons are “beloved of God and called out to be saints” (Romans 1:7). They are “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”  (1 Corinthians 1:2).

God’s Church is the assembly of those who have been “set apart as holy” (2 Timothy 2:21). They are chosen to be holy (Ephesians 1:4). The Church are “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved” (Colossians. 3:12), “a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5), “a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9), and “a holy temple” (1 Corinthians 3:17).

Christ’s Church is a koinonia of those who are bought by Christ’s precious Blood shed on Calvary’s tree. Both the visible and the invisible Church comprise of those who, by grace, are brought to “Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrew 12:22–24).

Because God’s Spirit dwells within His Church, a true Church has a high view of God. This adulation of God is demonstrated in a high regard of Scripture. A Church that has a high view of Scripture makes expository teaching of Scripture its primary method of preaching. For such a Church, the Bible text is the topic, and support materials are mere tools used to explain and clarify the text. 

In this Church, the goal is simply to expose the meaning of the Bible, verse by verse, one verse at a time. And the objective is to uncover the original meaning and intent of the writer of the Bible text. Bible twisting and making Bible passages all about oneself and one’s temporal problems are not a common feature in a Church with a high view of God demonstrated in a high regard of Scripture. 

Furthermore, a true Church is never a one-man show where the high and mighty big man of God reigns supreme and is accountable to no one. Rather, a biblically qualified Church is one led by a plurality of elders comprised of biblically qualified men who hold each other accountable. These elders are individuals who esteem God’s sovereignty and are known for their expositional preaching.

None of the elders of a true Church thinks of himself more highly than he ought to think. Instead, they all think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has given him. The elders see themselves as ordinary men and are humble enough to admit their weakness. These are not the type of men who make themselves the hero of their own sermon.

A biblically qualified pastor of a biblically sound Church would never regale you with vainglorious boasting about his supernatural prowess, just so you’d think he is the fourth person of the Trinity. You would never hear him brag about his spiritual exploits in order to make you regard him more highly than he really is. 

A God honoring Pastor of a Scripture exalting Church always makes Jesus the center of his sermon and not himself. The true shepherd of God’s flock will not spin cock and bull stories about drinking tea with God, giving counsel to God, or putting his arm around the shoulders of a heartbroken God to console Him. 

It is worth repeating that a true Church is where God is reverenced, and God’s Word is revered. Such a Church is led by biblically qualified plurality of elders who are accountable to one another. These elders are spiritual eunuchs who can be trusted with the bride of Christ and they are not predators who molest the elect of God.

In a true Church, the goal of the elders is to connect the bride with the bridegroom through the expositional teaching of Scripture. Such a Church is not ruled by spiritual superstars seeking fame or fortune. The shepherds are certainly not religious celebrities who have turned themselves into demigods to be worshiped by the flock of God redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God.

If the Church you belong doesnt meet the requirements of a biblically sound Church mentioned above, you belong in a cult and not a Church. If you care at all about your soul, you’ll up and leave and find yourself a true Church.

Next time, well take on the next category of Churches in Nigeria. And fasten your seatbelt, its not going to be pretty.


Popular posts from this blog