By James Jester
It is depressing to live in an age where Christianity is so corrupt that it makes those who know the whole truth of the Bible feel like Elijah. To Elijah, it appeared that he was alone in preaching the whole counsel of God. Today it is the same – most churches do not preach all that is found in the Bible. How can a Christian identify a false church? Surely, any real Christian attempting to serve God would not want to be in a false church. There are some signs that can indicate if an alleged church is fake. I will start with the least sign to the most sure sign that can help us identify a false church. Sadly, most churches today have all of these problems. But for the sake of study, let us examine each of these characteristics separately.
The Assimilated Church
If that church has been absorbed by the world. If it spends more time during ministry in entertaining the crowd rather than edifying the saints. Does the church service resemble a sporting event or a Madonna concert? Does it constantly preach about a “hippie Jesus” who loves everybody, rather than God’s hatred for sin and wicked people. Is it a congregation of party time and feel-good-ism? Is it assimilated with the world?
The ancient Greek philosophers believed that good music made a person good and that bad music made a person bad. Plato thought that using music to amuse by arousing the emotions was as bad as taking stimulants to offset boredom; a man could become addicted to both. Many Christian rockers point to scriptures that refer to making a joyful “noise”, or singing a “new” song, or the use of “cymbals” in the Bible. However, when these terms are examined we find that they do not imply using the world’s system of popular music. Is “noise” a justification for the loud amplification of rock, jazz, country or gospel music? No; a careful look at the Hebrew text of Psalms 66:1, 81:1, 95:1-2, 98:4&6, and 100:1 reveals that the word noise does not appear, only a word which has been translated “joy.” We should make joy unto God, not noise. “Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs” (Amos 5:23). “Noise” in this verse is a different word (so also in Ex. 32:18; at Mt. Sinai).
Just what is a “new” song according to Scripture? “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God” (Ps. 40:2-3). The “new song” is praise to God. The concept of New Song must necessarily include a turning away from the old song. Christians have left the old life behind. Furthermore, the Hebrew word for “new” is “chadash” which means to rebuild, renew, or repair. In the New Testament, the Greek word referencing “New Song” is “kainos”, which means “new or differing in character,” which should not be confused with “neos”, which signifies “new in respect to time; that which is recent” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary, p. 109). From the study of these words we can draw a few conclusions. First, the New Song should always give praise to God; second, it should be different in character than the music of the world or the person’s old song of the former sinful life; and third, it should be of a more excellent quality than popular music. God deserves the best and highest level within our capability as a musician.
Biblically, we find that music was not based upon rhythm, which is what drums and cymbals are used for today. Drums were not found in the temple worship and the cymbals mentioned were never used as continuous rhythmic accompaniment; rather, they were used much as a conductor uses the baton, as a starting or stopping device. Drums and tambourines were used for secular purposes, such as celebrations with dancing, and usually by women; but were not used in the temple.
Chrysostom warned Christians against the influence of secular music. He regarded the music of his day as symbolic of everything lewd and degrading. He was writing towards the end of the fourth century when the Roman Empire was within a decade or two of its final dissolution. He saw the focus of all the degeneracy in music – a monstrous power both of reflecting and of acting upon a whole civilization; and said, “It is at the root of acts of violence and dishonor, wars and daily death. Life for those addicted to these things is dishonorable, amusements become less and less desirable, and everything at home is turned upside down.” I am not saying that the church, and Christians in general, should only chant psalms and dress like the Amish society, but I am saying that Christians should use what is biblically appropriate for the solemn public worship of God.
If the church has a pastor, associate pastor, or minister of music, who is a female, it is out of God’s order of authority. The Bible reveals to us that the priesthood, musicians, prophets, and disciples of Jesus were all men. Does this mean anything to the assimilated church? No.
If the church accepts and celebrates the holidays of the world, such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween. While some of these are considered “Christian,” they historically have been proven to be pagan. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:15). When the Bible speaks of loving the “world” it is not always referring to things such as I have mentioned, but it is speaking of the world system, such as its legal, political and economic systems; its social systems such as public education, art, music, and special days of the calendar. The Bible tells us more than once to, “Learn not the way of the heathen…. for the customs of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:2).
Everyone follows the ways and customs of the world system, including the allegedly Christian holidays. If such holidays as Christmas were truly Christian, do you think that unbelievers, media, and government alike would universally promote them? I do not think so; just look how they treat one truly Christian holiday – Thanksgiving – it is skipped over in lieu of Christmas and called “Turkey Day.” “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). Beware of churches that are assimilated by the world. Many of these churches have good people in them but they are ignorant of the direction they are going. There is yet hope for these churches.
The Infiltrated Church
If such a church has doctrines that were founded by a man or woman who had visions, special revelations, or has ties to secret societies or clubs. If that church does not have the sound, time-tested, biblical doctrines of historic Christianity, then it is likely a false church. These are churches of a “mystical Jesus.”
One prime example is that of Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church that started what became known as the Restoration Movement in the 1820’s. Joseph Smith supposedly had a vision and the angel told him there were no true churches in existence, nor were there any real Christians since the time of Christ. It was Smith’s mission to “restore” Christianity. Out of that movement came the Adventist church, the Christian church, the Disciples of Christ, and many other such offshoots resembling Christianity. Today there are thousands of denominations that do not reflect the time honored Bible doctrines of the past held by the Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopal churches. Before this “restoration” movement, these were (for the most part) the only churches in existence.
Additionally, most of today’s churches have many members who are also members of secret societies such as the free Masons; and some of these false churches have direct connections to the Masons since their founding (a prime example is the Mormons). True Christianity is always transparent and in the open, not secret. Nothing involved with vows of secrecy is of God. One cannot be a Christian and a Mason at the same time. One is part of the kingdom of God and the other is part of the kingdom of Satan.
“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9). “Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth” (Titus 1:13-14). Beware of churches that are infiltrated by evil men and organizations. Jesus said, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” (Matt. 16:6).
The Hyphenated Church
If such a church is mixed with an unbiblical philosophy, boasts as being all-inclusive, or a part of the “Judeo-Christian” tradition; this is a very serious sign of a false church. True Christianity needs no association with unbiblical philosophies. Pastors who promote these unscriptural doctrines are Baal priests. How often does one hear in any of these false churches a scripture about the covenant? Never! A hyphenated church is actually just another form of the Assimilated Church; only in this case, instead of just following the world’s customs it has been assimilated by the world’s philosophy as well. This too is a church of the “hippie Jesus” and is very dangerous.
The Bible leaves no room for the philosophy of universalism. “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (Gen. 17:19). “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people”
(Ex. 19:5). Universalism is a philosophy of Babylon, originating in India, and has encircled the globe’s religions for many centuries. Only true Christianity stands opposed to this belief system.
Does this alleged church send money from its missions department all over the world to races not descended from Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob? And, does it go so far as to send money to Esau (the Jews), the enemy of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Throughout the Bible, God refers to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – never does He say “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau,” but rather, God says He hates Esau. Many scriptures speak of the everlasting Covenant made with the people of Israel. There is no covenant with any other race. The Bible was never intended to take on a universal meaning of all the races of the world. One example of a universal “God loves everybody” church is the Roman Catholic Church. The word “catholic” means universal. And, isn’t this exactly what we hear from the alleged protestant churches too?
The hyphenated Judeo-Christian churches believe that the word Israel refers to the Jews. They are foolish and do not know what they are talking about. Just because they see the word Israel in the Bible does not mean it is a country in the Middle East. If they were to put themselves back in time before 1948 and see the word Israel in the Bible they would realize it cannot be an Israeli state because it did not exist. Israel is the new name for Jacob and refers to the ancient Israelites not a political nation. They also think that Semite, Hebrew, Israelite, and Jew are synonymous. This is absurd for these words have specific meanings.
Judeo-Christian churches believe that the “Jews” of today are the people of biblical Israel. However, not even Rabbis can agree on who is a Jew. “There is no general agreement today concerning the use of the term. The question of who is a Jew is being hotly debated in the context of the modern state of Israel.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1982, vol.2, p. 1056) The “Jews” cannot be biblical Israel, because they are actually separated from the Israel of the Bible by at least 700 years.
Let us take a look at what the Jews say about themselves:
“And are not they [today’s Jews] the inventors of the Chosen People myth?” Dr. Oscar Levy, preface to, The World Significance of the Russian Revolution, George Pitt Rivers (Oxford, 1920) p. vi.
“Strictly speaking, it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a ‘Jew’ or to call a contemporary Jew an ‘Israelite’ or a ‘Hebrew’ The first Hebrews may not have been Jews at all….” The Jewish Almanac, Compiled and Edited by Richard Siegel and Carl Rheims (Bantam Books, 1980) p.3.
“Here’s a paradox… an anthropological fact, many Christians may have much more Hebrew-Israelite blood in their veins than most of their Jewish neighbors.” Alfred M. Lilienthal, Jr., What Price Israel (Chicago, 1953) p. 223.
Judeo-Christians also believe that Abraham was a Jew, yet the word Jew does not appear in the Bible until the book of 2 Kings (16:6); and there, we find that the ‘Jews’ are at war with the Israelites! Furthermore, the word Jew does not appear in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, or 1 Kings! Thus, Abraham is never called a ‘Jew.’ Likewise, Moses was not a ‘Jew’ and neither were the Israelites that came out of Egypt called ‘Jews.’ The word Jew came into use after the return of the Babylonian captivity (this point is never made to Bible students). The term does not appear until after that period.
It is important to remember that down through history there have been those who claimed to be descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel, yet were not; and the New Testament confirms this is true. “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews [better rendered Judahites], and are not, but do lie, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9). Therefore, the Bible confirms the fact that the Jews are liars.
The Judeo-Christian church is a false church: they support the enemies of Christ and are all-inclusive (or catholic) – anyone can be “saved.” To them, there is no covenant with a particular race of people. These false churches have rejected the covenant to walk hand in hand with an extra-biblical philosophy. The philosophy of universal salvation is just another commandment of men, for it is certainly not found in the Bible. True Christianity is opposed to universalism and opposed to the Jews, just as the apostle Paul was, who said: “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men” (1 Thess. 2:14-15). I urge you to flee the assimilated, hyphenated Judeo-Christian church. There is no doubt that it is false.
The Incorporated Church
This too is a most serious sign of a false church. If such church is registered with the state by Corporation or the IRS as a 501c3 tax exempt organization, then its authority comes from the state, not Jesus Christ. Many will say that this is a “conspiracy theory” but all one has to do is examine the law. They will find that it is true. It is a state church. It preaches a “Caesar Jesus,” who tells us to obey the political rulers placed over us, no matter what. However, Jesus Christ does not share authority with the government. Biblically speaking, it is the other way around – the state gets its authority from the Law of God, and if it violates God’s precepts, it is an illegitimate power.
“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power”
(Col. 2:10). When a local church feels it must register or incorporate to be complete it is denying Scripture. If the church is complete in Christ, it does not need incorporation or registration with the state. “All power (Jesus said) is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). There can be no doubt that this too is a false church.
The Bible tells us to seek the old paths.
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” What does the false church say to this? Jeremiah continues, “But they said, we will not walk therein”
(Jer. 6:16). Many of those of the false church hearing this message will say the same thing. Their excuse is “we can’t reach people with outdated methods.” However, it is not the mission of the church to “reach people” alone. The church’s responsibility is to maintain the precepts found in the Word of God, which will lead us toward God’s kingdom, not Satan’s kingdom.
Is your church assimilated, infiltrated, hyphenated or incorporated? Most churches today are all of the above. When a church is in partnership with the authorities, philosophies, and likenesses of the world system, it is a false church. Some of these churches may just be in ignorance (so there may be hope for them), such as the first two: the Assimilated with the World Church and the Infiltrated by Secret Societies Church; but the last two are the most dangerous of all. The Hyphenated, judeo-Christian, Assimilated Church denies the covenant; and, the Incorporated State Church denies Christ’s authority (all for the sake of money from its tax-exempt status). The practices and errors of these false churches originate from ancient Babylon. Our God tells us, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins” (Rev. 18:4). A sincere Christian should leave these false churches as soon as possible. Run as fast as you can.