Can Your Church Save You?

27 Mar

I once exchanged emails with a young Muslim woman from Iran that I had met  in a christian chat room.  She believes that Christians are all phonies and so are their conversions. She feels Islam is holy because of all the rules and laws they must obey and the hours spent each day on bended knee, face pressed to the ground, all for Allah. Yet none of them are free, none of them have ever dealt with their sin problem. Those who are not spiritually born-again do not have the privilege nor the access to boldly come before the throne of God.  They are outside of grace. Their sins have not been forgiven because they do not see themselves as sinners deserving death and have denied the very deity of Jesus Christ.  People in a cult or false religion always believe that we must “do” something. Never realizing that it has already been done for us at Calvary. This is nonsense to adherents of Islam because they deny that Jesus Christ was ever crucified

  One way to recognize a cult is that hey try to buy God’s love and approval through their own works and efforts. They try to earn righteousness. I was talking to a Mormon Missionary once and he said God commands us to be perfect. He is so preoccupied with being totally obedient to a myriad of commandments that his church has set up that he doesn’t even know that salvation is a free gift. Mormons frown upon having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ because they are taught that this is a dangerous thing! The Mormon gospel is an impossible gospel. No matter what they do, they can never be good enough. Jesus told a certain ruler who wanted to do something to inherit eternal life, that there’s is no one good but God.

 

I was raised in the Catholic church and used to believe it was so holy because of all the stained glass, the candles, incense, statues and holy water font. Priests in robes, mumbling, sometimes even chanting in Latin. But it’s all a facade. A white washed tomb with dead things inside. Dead souls.

I have a friend who was sent to a convent by her mother at age 16. She stayed there until she was 30. Never knowing  that she could have walked out and left anytime. I met her a few years ago. She’s in her 60’s and  never been married. Although she hasn’t been to church in years she is fiercely loyal to Roman Catholicism in order to respect the wishes of  her mother who died many years ago. Every time she sees a Catholic church, whether walking or riding in a car, she makes the sign of the cross with her hands. She believes, as do many Catholics, that Jesus lives inside the church. That he is present in the Eucharist. She was never taught that Jesus is everywhere, not entombed in a church altar.

I invited her to my home for bible study and she came a few times. At the end of each study we would take a test where we had to answer multiple choice questions, Sadly, my friend scored very low each time. My wife and I prayed for her and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This former nun was saddened and shocked to learn that the church she had grown to love and believed in teaches many unscriptural things. When it came time to for the group to pray and we went around the room and it was her turn, she prayed that she was confused, having learned that her church had lied to her. Yet she wasn’t ready to leave it behind and trust Christ alone for her salvation. With cults it’s always Jesus PLUS something. Jesus PLUS our “good works.”  She said that she believes in Jesus and that should be enough. But we Christians know that even the devil believes in Jesus. My friend could not give up what had become so familiar to her. Familiarity sometimes feels safe. It’s like an old friend and many people would rather stay in a rut then be set free. Satan was still holding her in bondage. He used her great fear of water to keep her from getting baptized. I am somewhat afraid of the water too after having nearly drowned when I was a kid. I waited years before getting baptized.

One Sunday, I gave my bible class an assignment; to pass out 5 gospel tracts during the week. When we all met again the following Sunday, my friend hadn’t given out a single tract. All those years in a convent and she knew nothing about witnessing to the lost, about the need to be born again or we cannot see the kingdom of God. She believed she was eternally safe by belonging to the “right” church. Eventually my friend stopped coming to the bible study. She was feeling overwhelmed and  conflicted by the fact that her beliefs do not line up with what the Bible actually teaches. I believe this is a sign that the Holy Spirit was working on her heart. I still pray for her. Sometimes it’s all we can do. My wife and I planted some seeds. Now it’s up to the Holy Spirit to bring on the harvest .

 


 


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