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A Scriptural church-selection guide and checklist


How to identify a good church


With all the different churches, how can you tell which is a good, Biblical church?  You should pray and search the scriptures (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15) in seeking God’s will about which one to at­tend.  Below is a brief checklist of questions; their answers will help you avoid unbiblical churches and find one in line with the Bible:

     “These (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

     Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

1. Are the preacher’s lessons and sermons from the Bible of Christianity, the King James Bible?  If not, it indicates that the preacher is listening to some authority other than God about which Bible He has divinely preserved.  If the leadership is using a doctored bible, one altered and smoothed out for this Laodicean Age, stay away from that church.  In order to attract more people they use bibles with words missing or added or changed in order to bend God’s doctrines into ones more acceptable to man.  This is their way of talking back to God.  You will not want to trust the eternal destiny of your soul with bibles they have tampered with.

     If a preacher is not preach­ing from God’s preserved Bible he is interested in preaching his own opinion, which the world can better accept.  But this is not at all doing what God re­quires a preacher to do.

     This versional problem is a principal and pressing problem today.  When compared with all other serious challenges in our day that face Christians who are peacefully serving God in faith and practice and in the fear of the Lord, the growing version problem, or the widespread new alterations, omissions and corruptions found in the new unholy versions, has surely become the single most crucial issue in our time.

     “Correcting” God's words is, and always has been, the heart and channel of all apostasy.  Bible correction was Satan's very first recorded activity (Gen. 3:1-5), and he has continued it down to this very day.  Modern damning evidence of his continued evil Bible-changing activity is the recent perpetual proliferation of end–time Laodicean versions, all with confusing variants and differences.  Note: confusion is a sure telltale mark of our arch Enemy.

     Fruit that has sprung from these unreliable texts built upon wood, hay and stubble includes lukewarmness in the fear of the Lord, in personal devotions, in love for one another, and in care and passion for lost souls.  These hardenings of the heart, due to falling away from the truth, often further result not only in self-doubts about personal salvation and in spawning broken marriages, but also in welcoming intemperate music, disobedient and worldly youth, fad dressing, sodomy, and other unrighteous lifestyles.  As is too painfully clear, these new altered versions are the fountainhead of worldliness in the church, and also are feeding our sheep to the wolves (Jer. 23:1, 30-32,36, 40).

     The following verses are only a small portion of the many which define the bible’s doctrine on the preservation of His Scriptures.

      6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Psalm 12:6-7)

     [Since God said He would preserve His words perfectly, forever, where are they?  In the NIV? (Not even NIV'ers believe the HIV is perfect!)  Is it the NASB?  Is it the NWT?  Or the LB, ERV, ASV, NAB, ad nauseam?  There have been well over 250 Laodicean versions that have rolled off the presses in the last 135 years (about 2 each year)!  Is that God's idea of a perfectly preserved Bible?  I trow not!  All new versions are from the land of Ham (Psa 105:23; et al.) in Africa.  Now if God told His people to not go down to Egypt to get horses (Dt 17:16; Isa 31:1), why should we go down there to get our Bible?  Furthermore, God calls Egypt a type of hell (an "iron furnace" Jer 11:4; et al.) and associates Egypt with Sodom (Rev 11:8), so men ought to drop those Hamite Bibles like a handful of fiery molten steel and hightail it out of a church using mongrelized versions!

     Ask your preacher if he believes every word of his Bible is true.  If he does not, start looking for a church with a preacher that does.

     “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18)

     “Thy word is very pure…” (Psalm 119:40)

     “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)

       my heart standeth in awe of thy word.” (Psalm 119:161)

     “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.” (Jeremiah 23:30)

     18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22)

     “He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.” (Psalm 105:8)

     [One generation equals 20 to 40 or more years; so 1000 generations times the minimum of 20 years each equals 20,000 years.  But hermeneutically speaking, it is very probable that the phrase “a thousand generations” is symbolic and signifies eternity.  Nevertheless, according to the literal interpretation of Psalm 105:8, since David wrote the Psalms about 3000 years ago (c. 1000 BC), God’s covenant needs to be present with us for a minimum of 17,000 more years (!) for it to continue to be “commanded.”] 

     “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

     “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2.8)

     “For verily I say to you, Till heaven and earth shall pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18)

     Related to the above: Does  the preacher believe in nonscientific fairy tales for grown-ups such as: evolution, that abortion should be allowed, that worldly science is the highest truth we have, that sodomy is OK, that Jews are not special people to God or that our job is not to protect them (Gen 12:2-3), that Platonism and Aristotelianism are equal to the Bible, that atheism (belief of fools or no-godders) is a harmless alternative philosophy, that there are many ways to God, American feminism (there are no real differences between men and women), that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is not God, and other such deviltry.

2. Does the main ministry of the church preach the Bible’s doctrine about trusting Christ’s finished work for salvation as the only way to heaven?  If a church adds anything to salvation like good works, sacraments, or baptism, or teaches that in order to keep salvation you must participate in a program of those good works, then it is not preaching Biblical salvation.

     “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

     “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

     “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

3. Is there an invitation to be saved at most services?

     “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5.42)

     “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverb 11.30)

     24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:  25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)

4. Is there solid evidence the church has a burden to preach the Word of God to all, to reach the lost?  Are there outreach ministries providing people the opportunity to hear Bible-preaching such as a bus ministry, a door-to-door soulwinning ministry, ministries for youth, singles, Spanish, the deaf, the blind, etc.?  The number of ministries depends on the size and resources of a church, but it should have some no matter how small.  Outreaches show someone cares enough for the souls of others to spend their money to reach them.

     “And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus ‘feet, and he healed them:” (Matthew 15:30)

5. Is the Pastor a man?  If not, then the woman in the pulpit is violating what the scriptures say about women not taking the leadership of a local church.

     “A bishop [Pastor] then must be blameless, the husband of one wife [that means he is a man], vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” (1 Tim. 3:2, Titus 1:6)  [That means, if a Pastor were a woman, she would have to be a butch lesbian to be "the husband of one wife," and that just does not "fly" in the Bible!] 

     “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permit­ted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedi­ence, as also saith the law.” (1 Corinthians 14:34)

     The Bible requires the same thing for deacons, that "the deacons be the husbands of one wife.” (1 Timothy 3:12)

     Nowhere in the Bible does God ever say to have pastorinas or preacherinas, pastorettes or preacherettes, pastoresses or preacheresses, she-pastors or she-preachers, woman pastors or women preachers; OR deaconarinas, deaconettes or deaconesses, she-deacons or woman deacons.

6. Is a girlieboy the Pastor?  Does he have pretty earrings a' dangling as he prances to entertainment music? Does he give a sermonette then drive around in a Corvette smoking a cigarette?

     "Doth not nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" (1Cor 11:14)

     "...quit ye like men, be strong." (1Cor 16:13).

7. Is the music glorifying God or appealing to the flesh?  If you find yourself or others bebopping to the music’s beat, or find most of the audience gyrating or swaying to the music’s rhythm then the music is not glorifying God.  If you listen to the whole song and are not sure if they’re singing about their girlfriend or God, it is not glorifying God.  Music’s main purpose is to bring honor and glory to God alone.  It is the world’s music that stimulates the flesh and has no business in the house of God.

     "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;" (Ephesians 5:19)

     "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3:16)

     "Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings." (Psalm 9:11)

     "I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people." (Psalm 35:18)

     "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

8. When the preacher is finished preaching, did the message edify you?  Did the message glorify God?  Were you encouraged to serve God better?  Were you convicted about your sin or lack of not doing more to serve God?  If not, then it sounds like God isn’t doing anything in your life.  Either you need to be saved, get things right between you and the Lord, or you may not be where God wants you to be.

     “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the king­dom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)

9. Is there a place for you to serve God in the ministry?  We are saved to serve, not just to sit and soak.  If there are no ministries, and you cannot start one there, you should seek God’s will in a church where you can serve Him.

     “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Galatians 5.13)

     “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness in­structing those that oppose themselves; if God peradven­ture will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may re­cover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)


In summary, at the minimum:

1) If the Pastor does NOT believe every word of the Bible is preserved as God does,

2) If the Bible’s salvation by faith alone is NOT preached,

3) If it does NOT have a public (door-to-door, etc.) soulwinning ministry (like Jesus had),

4) If the Pastor and deacons are NOT men,

5) If sensual music IS allowed,

6) If there is NOT a place to serve in the church,

then do not go to that church, but rather just keep looking for a church until you find one that lines up with the Bible on all of these things.




     A practical outworking of the above is this: Those who fall away from the TRUTH necessarily head toward ecumenism, currently the favorite heresy in America and which is growing by leaps and bounds.  (In other words, if you do not love the truth then you must love lies; if not Jesus Christ, then Satan; what other choice is there?  None!) The sad fact is that most churches have already been swept off their feet by this unholy unity.  They have forgotten to their own hurt that God's TRUTH is not sacrificed for human love.  Ecumenism is mean-spirited toward God's TRUTH because of its implacable hatred of the Bible's doctrinal TRUTH—those who have made a personal choice of wanting themselves to damned "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2Thess 2:10), but rather they chose to love unbiblical doctrine which guarantees for themselves a home in the Lake of Fire (Jn 12:47-48).  They rally around non-biblical traditions and unbiblical men (Mk 7:13) instead of around Jesus Christ's words.  Therefore, mean-spirited ecumenism's intrinsic and constitutional makeup, which is unity around unscriptural doctrine, CANNOT and is fundamentally UNABLE to get along with Bible believing churches.  That mean-spirited crowd is one of the worst problems—a direct and main offshoot from its root, the versional problem—which is now wreaking havoc in God's church; it persecutes Bible churches in some of the most slanderous, intractable, and uncharitable ways known to man.  In the end they will be "like the chaff which the wind driveth away" (Psa 1:4) and be cast "into the great winepress of the wrath of God." (Rev 14:19)

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Open Bible Baptist Church, Elkhart, Indiana. International copyright 2005. All rights reserved.