Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Answering an email: searching for salvation in the wrong place

I usually don't publish my email conversations here, but this one is so common that I feel obligated to share it. Many Jehovah's Witnesses are confused about salvation and where it is to be found. I do not deny that the concept of church is extremely important to any professing Christian. And I would never suggest that it is not important to find a good, solid church to be a part of. This does not mean that one should just attend. Any believer should be integrated in ministry where they can use their gifts to serve the church as well as to be under the authority of the local elders. But these issues are only secondary to the main issue: am I going to be condemned because I wasn't a part of the right church? This is a crucial issue for us to understand, especially if you are to encounter Jehovah's Witnesses. You can be sure that they will ask you something along the lines of, "Do you believe that God has a true organization on earth today that He is using to dispense His truth to mankind?" I hope my response to this email will provide you with some direction in how to answer this question with the truth of the gospel.

The questioner asks:

Could you comment on one bible V's that has stumped me
at Mathew 7:20-23;

how do i identify the one.... when there are so Manny professing Christianity... just among baptist for example there are over 400
divisions. how can i make sure I'm not one of those working lawlessness. i would hate to miss the new heavenly rewards just because i could not find the one.

thank you.

My response:

Thank you for your question!

Let me start by making a correction. By saying "I'm going to get judged by God because I didn't find the right church" is to miss the entirety of the gospel message. That is, if the Bible says, "In order to have eternal life, you must have X," but you say, "In order to have eternal life, you must have Y," then you already have it wrong by framing the question in the way that you have.

Nowhere in the Christian Scriptures does it say that one must find the right church in order to have eternal life. And as long as you hold to the view that salvation is found in a church or organization, even if you found the most biblically based church, you still won't find eternal life. The reason being: you are placing your faith, hope and trust in an organization. To put it more bluntly; you are trusting in men.

The biblical message is this: salvation and eternal life is found in a person, not in an organization. Consider a very well-known passage of Scripture to Jehovah's Witnesses, who believe that salvation is found only in being associated with their organization:

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).

According to this verse, where is eternal life found? Is Jesus pointing us to an organization? Or is He pointing to a person(s) for salvation? And furthermore, what is He saying one must do to have this eternal life? Just taking in knowledge (as the New World Translation would wrongly put it) about Christ and the Father (which even the demons would have!)? Or having a personal and intimate relationship with them?

Consider further, only a few chapters previous:

I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6).

If Jehovah's Witnesses are correct, the "way, the truth, and the life" is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, or more specifically, the governing body. And if Christ were going to point one to an organization as the way to salvation, it should have been here. But He doesn't. Instead, what or who does Christ point us to for both truth and salvation? A person or an organization?

Until you have understood this, it is jumping the gun to get caught up in which church to attend. Again, even if I could point you to the most perfect church on planet earth, you would still be searching for the truth in the wrong place.

So, let's get this issue down and then i'd be happy to discuss the issue of finding a good, solid, bible-based church.

I hope this answers your question. Feel free to write me back with any follow ups, or any other issue that you'd like to get my feedback on. Also, feel free to call me at the number below if you'd like to speak to me directly.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done Mike.