The Church Must Unite under Biblical Standards

Cathy Wentz

Contributing Writer
Published: Aug 31, 2022
The Church Must Unite under Biblical Standards Plus

So let’s do what we can, as individuals, to awaken a sleeping church so that the church can awaken the rest of society by being what Jesus wants us to be—“the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14, NIV)

In a recent devotion by Pastor Greg Laurie, he stated that the U.S. needs a spiritual awakening. With all that has been happening in the last couple of years, many people are hungry for the truth, and born-again Christians know the most basic truth that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can come to the Father except through him” (John 14:6). With that said, the responsibility of the American church is to share that knowledge with those in need of it.

There is one major problem that is blocking the church from conveying that simple message of God’s salvation—the Christian church has become so divided that too many of those who consider themselves believers do not adhere to the most basic precepts of the Bible. How did we get here? It may be that in wanting to appear merciful, we have watered down biblical truth.

The Demise of the Biblical Worldview 

A 2020 report by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University observed an alarming trend. It stated, “American Christianity is undergoing a ‘post-Christian Reformation’—with the nation’s major Christian groups rapidly replacing traditional theological beliefs with the culture’s secular values.”

The report pointed out an alarming trend among people who consider themselves part of American evangelical churches. It found that 52% of those evangelicals “contend that there is no absolute moral truth; in their view, truth is uniquely determined by each individual according to their preferences and circumstances.”

Here are just a few examples of beliefs expressed by professed evangelicals:

  • 48% say that a person who is good enough or does enough good works can earn their salvation

  • 43% claim that Jesus sinned while He was on earth.

  • 40% do not value life as a sacred gift of God

  • 34% do not accept the principle that marriage is only legitimate between a man and a woman.

Meanwhile, here are the scriptural verses countering those attitudes:

  • Faith versus goodness: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV)

  • Did Jesus sin while on earth? The book of Hebrews makes this statement about Jesus in reference to the temptations the devil threw at Him in the wilderness. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, NKJV)

  • Is life a valuable gift from God our Creator? Psalm 139:15 speaks of God’s special attention in forming each individual. “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” (NKJV)

  • Is marriage only legitimate between a man and a woman? Genesis says that very definitively. “And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23-24, NKJV)

As you can see, the Bible has an unmistakable answer for these false assertions expressed by those claiming the Christian faith. One has to ask what is driving self-professed Christians away from their faith. Biblical scholar Bill Isley attempts an explanation for these departures from Christian convictions in one of his blogs.

Concerns about Being Persecuted

In current U.S. lingo, we call being persecuted “canceled.” It is primarily a relational fear in the U.S., at this time anyway. We fear being ostracized if we stand firmly on God’s Word and maybe even losing our livelihoods. It has happened or come close to happening for a few people that many Christians are probably aware of. 

For instance, a florist in Washington state, Barronelle Stutzman, was sued for refusing to provide flowers for a gay wedding. According to a report by Fox News, Stutzman stated that she had sold flowers to the gay couple in the past. However, she had to draw the line at providing flowers for the couple’s wedding “because same-sex marriage was incompatible with her Christian beliefs.”

According to the Christian Post, the legal battle began for Stutzman in 2013, and after years of taxing litigation over the issue, 77-year old Stutzman decided on settling with a payment of $5,000 in 2021 to the couple who sued her rather than being forced to pay “crippling fines and legal fees.” After that battle, she decided to retire, selling her florist business to her employees. Although Stutzman was certainly at an age where she could retire, it is clear that the draining litigation led her to retire sooner than she had planned.

Many Christians have heard of the case of Jack Phillips, a baker in Colorado who has faced countless complaints and been forced to take at least one case (beginning in 2012) all the way to the United States Supreme Court because he would not bake and decorate a cake for a gay wedding. Fortunately, he won that case in the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 7-2. Additionally, Phillips was also approached by an attorney demanding that he create a custom cake to celebrate “her” gender transition from male to female. The result of a trial in November 2021 stemming from a lawsuit by the attorney was that the court in Colorado decided against Phillips, refusing to acknowledge his objection on the grounds of his religious faith. He is appealing that decision.

One can see why Christians might want to just say whatever the powers that be want them to say to avoid being targeted and attacked the same way these two and other brave souls have been. After all, no one wakes up in the morning saying, “Gee, I just can’t wait to get persecuted.” Probably, many of us can live “under the radar” regarding our biblical beliefs, but the day may come when each of us must stand up for biblical values. It’s happening when public schools demand that teachers use pronouns for their students that do not coincide with their biological sex. If they don’t, they could be fired.

False Teaching — Perfectionism and the Prosperity Gospel

According to Isley, perfectionism and the prosperity gospel can have a detrimental effect on a person’s biblical worldview and cut into his or her faith. 

For instance, the false doctrine of perfectionism teaches that an individual can achieve sinless perfection on earth. The fact is, since the fall of Adam and Eve, no human can achieve this. We are, by nature and inheritance, flawed and sinful people. The prophet Isaiah states this fact very succinctly: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way.” (53:6, NKJV). However, the verse doesn’t end there. The last line of that verse states, “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” So that is a prophetic verse about Jesus, the Messiah, being the solution to mankind’s sin problem. No sincere Christian wants to “step in it,” but we can be sure we will while on earth. Everyone struggling to achieve perfection on earth could soon become disheartened and walk away from their faith because they just can’t do it. Our hope is to be made perfect in heaven.

Then there is the false teaching of the prosperity gospel that can twist God’s Word to make people believe Christians can enjoy financial success (often by donating to a particular teacher’s ministry) and physical health. This teaching totally ignores the ample Bible teaching about suffering. When a Christian has been enthralled with that false teaching but continues to struggle financially or is not cured of a disease, they may be told that their faith is not strong enough. Isley writes, “Finally, in disappointment and bitterness many turn their backs on the Christian faith, not realizing that they have been sold a bill of goods.”

False teachings are nothing new. They were a problem with which Paul the apostle contended often and warned the recipients of his letters about. Paul wrote a very definitive statement that can be applied by all who follow Christ: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NKJV)

So where does the Church go from here?

Those of us who strongly desire to be a light in a very dark world must have a strategy to be that light. That strategy should be individual and congregational. Each Christian is responsible for her or his spiritual health. That health can only be achieved and maintained by nurturing a relationship with God. That relationship can only be nurtured through a commitment to daily time in God’s Word and prayer.

We must also be alert to any departure from scriptural truth in the churches we attend. If we see those departures happening, we must talk to the leadership about our concerns, and if we do not receive a Bible-based response, it's time to find a church that does adhere to Scriptural truth.

Dr. George Barna, the author of the research concerning current Christian attitudes about the Bible, made a very strong statement about the state of the Christian church today: “While the survey cannot determine if churches are failing to teach Biblical truth or whether congregants are exposed to such teaching but rejecting it, the bottom line is that we are a society that has strayed far from the path of Biblical truth. It certainly seems as if the culture is influencing the Church more than the Church is influencing the culture.”

So let’s do what we can, as individuals, to awaken a sleeping church so that the church can awaken the rest of society by being what Jesus wants us to be—“the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14, NIV)

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/dbvirago

Cathy Wentz lives with her husband, Brian, in Cedar City, UT, and has been a believer in Jesus Christ for more than 30 years. She has two grown children and four grandchildren, all who live in Cedar City. Her writing experience includes working as a newspaper reporter for eight years, and she currently serves as a public relations assistant for a local orthopaedic surgeon, which involves writing blogs, social media posts and other web content.