by Shawn Brasseaux
When Christians first come to understand dispensational Bible study, they go through a transition period. I know this first-hand, having come to an understanding of right division about five years ago. Just as my family and I, and countless other believers have experienced, these Christians also come to a crossroads in their Christian life when they understand right division:
- Should I abandon my current local denominational church that neither understands nor teaches the special ministry of the Apostle Paul, and thus find and attend a local grace church that is “Pauline?”
- Should I continue in my local denominational church because it has nice programs, since I have friends and family there, and given that I may be able to “convert” them to become “Pauline?”
What would God want them to do—stay in the local denominational church, or leave it and find and attend a grace church? This seems like a dilemma, but the best choice becomes clear once we consider God’s perspective. In this Bible study, we want to provide sound doctrine regarding the question—Do I stay in my denominational church, or do I pursue a grace church? Let us see what the Bible says. After all, God’s Word is the final authority.
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The Christian church in Corinth had several problems that the Apostle Paul addressed. Notice 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 KJV:
“1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
Paul explains that all these problems in Corinth are due to spiritual immaturity—these believers were unable to think like mature Christians. For 18 months, the Apostle taught the Corinthians sound doctrine (Acts 18:1,11), but these Corinthians never believed that sound doctrine with their heart. Thus, they remained “babes in Christ.” Sadly, they had the spiritual capacity of someone who trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour just yesterday!
The writer of the book of Hebrews addressed similar Bible ignorance among Jews. Read Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV:
“11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
The writer of the book of Hebrews declares that these Jewish believers should be teachers of God’s Word. Why are they not teachers? Like the Corinthian believers, these Jews are spiritually immature. They cannot tolerate spiritual meat, only spiritual milk. In fact, they do not know even the most basic Bible doctrines, so they are unable to teach anyone else!!!!! What a sad, sad, commentary!!
In the physical world, adults are wiser and stronger than children. This is also true in the spiritual world. Immature Christians do not know what God expects them to believe and what He expects them to do; thus, these “babes in Christ” are not as useful to God as mature believers. This is why God does not want immature Christians. God wants adult (mature) Christians. The method by which God spiritually matures us is to use proper Bible study in a local church setting. Notice Ephesians 4:11-15 KJV:
“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
Notice, God wants “perfected” saints, Christians who “grow up into him [Christ] in all things.” This spiritual growth comes by “edification,” building up (strengthening), and edification comes by proper Bible study. Notice, we are studying the Bible, not catechisms, papal encyclicals, church history books, and patristic writings. In 2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV we read: “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 PERFECT, throughly furnished untoall good works.”
The Bible alone will bring about “perfect” (mature) Christians, individuals who know and understand God’s will for them. Mature Christians are “no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). Mature Christians—that is, those that know God’s truth for this the Dispensation of Grace—will not be deceived by religious tradition/satanic deception (just as in the physical world, adults are less likely to be deceived than children, so it is in the spiritual world).
The Lord Jesus Christ said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; cf. Luke 4:4). Just as physical food provides our physical bodies with nourishment, so “every word of God” provides our spiritual bodies with nourishment. A local church should be an environment where God’s Word is taught correctly, a church were “rightly dividing the word of truth” is seen as the only method of Bible study (2 Timothy 2:15). This is critical because those in attendance need to hear God’s Word to them, so they can then believe God’s Word to them, and finally they can then allow that Word to work in them for God’s glory.
But, exactly how will God grow our inner man, and produce spiritual maturity in our Christian lives?
WHO IS OUR PATTERN?
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16 KJV). Paul also wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:37 KJV: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1 KJV: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (cf. Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). Paul is the only Bible author that declares, “Follow me.” Why? Paul writes in Ephesians 3:2,3a: “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he [Jesus Christ] made known unto me the mystery;”
Today, we live in the Dispensation of Grace, a time period separate from Israel’s prophetic program. In 1 Timothy 1:15,16 we read that God made Paul “a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him [Jesus Christ] to life everlasting.” In order to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in this the Dispensation of Grace, we must follow Him according to the doctrine He committed unto the Apostle Paul’s trust.
We do not follow Christ after His earthly ministry because that was God’s message to Israel (Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8; 2 Corinthians 5:16). God’s message to us Gentiles living outside of Israel’s program is Paul’s 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. God sent Paul to us: Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11).
Just as Israel followed Moses, we follow Paul. To follow Paul today is to follow Christ; conversely, to reject Paul is to reject Christ (John 13:20). Even the Apostle Peter admitted that the details of the Dispensation of Grace are only found in Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon (2 Peter 3:15,16).
God wants to “stablish” (stabilize) your Christian life and inner man by using a three-fold process. He wants you to understand the life that He has given to you in Christ Jesus, so that you can better understand what He is doing today, and then you can, by faith, follow Him and do the same. The Bible says in Romans 16:25,26 KJV:
“25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”
Notice the three-fold process of Christian edification:
- “my gospel”—Paul’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, is the foundation of the Christian life
- “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery”—this is Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, the sound doctrine (building materials) which we use to build on that foundation
- “the scriptures of the prophets”—this is all of the Holy Scriptures, in light of the doctrine revealed to Paul
This is why studying the Bible rightly divided is so important. We study all of the Bible, Genesis through Revelation, but we follow the design of Christian edification as laid out in Romans 16:25,26. If we refuse to follow the dispensational layout of Scripture, as most people refuse it, then we will be going against what God is doing today, and our Christian lives will be in shambles (which is why Christendom is in such pitiful shape!).
If you want to be spiritually “edified” (“strengthened”) and spiritually “perfected” (“matured”), you need to study the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon. “Rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)—understanding that God’s Word to us is Paul’s epistles—is the key to understanding and enjoying the Bible. But, here is the problem….
“FULL WELL YE REJECT THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD, THAT YE MAY KEEP YOUR OWN TRADITION”
Most churches—even professing “Christian,” “evangelical” churches—are not studying God’s Word, God’s way (using dispensational Bible study). These local churches (denominational churches) are not conducive to learning God’s will for you. Why? These denominational churches encourage you to follow them in their vain religious tradition (which action the Lord Jesus Christ Himself rebuked in Matthew 15:1-9 and Mark 7:1-13).
Today, most “Christian” churches are anything but. They teach you to follow Israel’s system of worship—Israel’s water baptism, Israel’s tithing, Israel’s tongues, Israel’s Sabbath day, Israel’s prayers, Israel’s laws, Israel’s diets, Israel’s healing miracles, and so on. Again, what God is doing with Israel is not what He is doing with us the Church the Body of Christ. Nevertheless, most churches refuse to teach this because they want to keep their tradition.
These churches do not follow the doctrines in the Apostle Paul’s epistles; they teach us to mimic Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matthew through John), which is God’s Word to Israel, not to us (Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8). If we are doing what God told Israel to do, that is not faith and that is not what God is doing today—thus, when we follow Israel’s program, we are literally fighting against God’s work today!
COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM
Because God wants to teach us sound doctrine, He also wants us to avoid places (religious settings) where sound Bible doctrine is not taught. Notice 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV:
“14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
The goal of the “ecumenical movement” is to have all “Christians” of every denomination ignore their doctrinal differences, and fellowship! This passage screams against such nonsense. (Actually, the ecumenical movement is preparing society for the one-world religion of Revelation chapter 17.)
Opposed to the ecumenical slogan, “Come as ye are, we accommodate all faiths!,” Scripture declares: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” This is actually quoting the Old Testament passages that God directed to the nation Israel! (Refer to Exodus 25:8, Exodus 29:45-46, Leviticus 26:12, Isaiah 52:10-11, and Ezekiel 37:27.) God told Israel not to mingle with the world’s (satanic) religious system.
As the psalmist declared: “For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens” (Psalm 96:4-5). The Thessalonians abandoned their former religious life, idolatry and false teaching in religion, and they embraced the sound doctrine of “the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), the God of the Bible, and the doctrine Jesus Christ committed unto the trust of the Apostle Paul. These pagans who came to know Christ Jesus discarded their heathen practices and assembling around false gods, and we should do the same.
The denominational church that you attend hid the marvelous truths of God’s Word rightly divided from you, so why do you want to continue going there, bringing about bondage and spiritual darkness? Why prefer Satan’s trap of religious tradition (2 Timothy 2:24-26)? There is no sensible reason.
- But the denominational church I attend professes that “Jesus is Lord!” So, in Matthew 7:21-23, people say “Jesus is Lord,” and they claim to have done many “good” deeds in the name of “Jesus.” Jesus declares to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
- But the denominational church I attend preaches “the Gospel” and talks about “being filled with the Spirit.” So, 2 Corinthians 11:3,4 and Galatians 1:6-9 speak of damnable gospels, another (or false) Jesus, and false spirits. Be careful friend. It may not be the Holy Spirit working in that church.
- We cannot find the “perfect church.” Of course not, but we are seeking a SOUND CHURCH.
As King James Bible-believing Pauline dispensationalists, we cannot unite with religionists and denominationalists because they deny the clear teachings of the Holy Bible. We refuse to embrace man’s “wisdom” and church tradition. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:15: “What concord [agreement] hath Christ with Belial [Satan]? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel [unbeliever]?” We have no fellowship with any religion—and that includes any “Christian” group that does not follow the rightly divided Word of God. There is no seven-fold unity of the Spirit between them and us (Ephesians 4:1-6). Go to 1 Timothy 6:3-5 KJV and read:
“3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”
Notice the word “wholesome” in verse 3; it means “promoting health.” If we want to be productive and mature ambassadors for the risen Christ, we need sound doctrine that will strengthen our inner man. We need “wholesome words…the words of the Lord Jesus Christ…the doctrine which is according to godliness.” This is a reference to doctrine in Paul’s epistles, not the doctrine in the Four Gospels, because the Four Gospels belong to Israel, not us.
The Bible says those who prefer religious tradition instead of God’s Word “rightly divided” do not know what they are talking about. They are arrogant and ignorant (unlearned/untaught). Foolishness and arguing are their ways. They have “corrupt minds” and are “destitute of the truth.” Paul warned us to avoid these types of people because they will only tear us down spiritually.
Look at what Romans 16:17,18 KJV says about false teachers: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” The Bible says time and time again to refuse any preacher who does not agree with sound, Pauline doctrine. God’s Word says that these false teachers “serve not our Lord Jesus Christ.” Satan has his people promoting his doctrine; his goal is to keep you from hearing God’s Word to you, and to keep you from knowing what God wants you to know. There are false Bibles, false teachers, and false brethren. The Pauline epistles scream: AVOID ALL THREE!
God does not want us fellowshipping in any religion or any denomination. Religion is satanic and anti-grace. If you compromise God’s truth and unite in error, your Christian life will be polluted and destroyed. If your pastor or church follows Jesus according to His earthly ministry, then flee from that assembly, friend. That is not what God is doing today. The Bible says that God made Paul our pattern. If ye are to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, ye must be followers of Paul!
The goal of anti-Pauline preachers is to deceive the simple-minded to make a profit and to perpetuate their own church tradition (denomination). When you hear or see a false teacher, flee, because your spiritual health depends on it! If he does not follow Paul, find a preacher who does. If you cannot find a local grace church, contact me, and I can help you with finding one through the internet.
We have unashamedly chosen to separate unto truth, and we unapologetically refuse to unite in error. Be ye separate!