By Doug Joseph
Could a church that just floats along in “mainstream” religion actually be in the wrong place?
Many churches follow the “mainstream” of religious thought, in spite of the fact that some mainstream doctrines contradict the Bible. This actually places a heavy burden on the members: Either they must go along with false doctrines as “OK”, or else reject their mainstream church as “not OK.” Wouldn’t it be better for the church to just obey the Bible, instead of floating along in the mainstream? Any old fish can float along in the current of the mainstream, but it takes a strong, lively fish to work against the wrong-way current of the mainstream and get home to truth.
For instance: Biblically, the proper formula for Christian water baptism is to baptize in the name of the one who was crucified for us (I Corinthians 1:11-13)—that is in Jesus name, since Jesus is the one who was crucified for us. Biblically, we’re to be baptized in the name of the Son (Matthew 28:19), and the Son’s name is Jesus (Matthew 1:21). Biblically, we’re to be baptized while calling upon Jesus name (See Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:48, Acts 19:5, and Acts 22:16). Biblically, being baptized in Jesus name is the proper way to obey Matthew 28:19. Speaking of Matthew 28:19, some people are confused regarding what the name of the Father is, and what the name of the Holy Ghost is. But the scriptures give guidance:
What is the name of the Father? Since Jesus came in His Father’s name (John 5:43), and since the Father and Son (Jesus) are one (John 10:30), and since it was prophesied that the Lord’s name is to be one (Zechariah 14:9), and since the Son’s name is Jesus (Matthew 1:21), and since God the Father is glorified when we worship Jesus by bowing to Him and confessing Jesus Christ as Lord (Philippians 2:11), then we should recognize that by calling upon the name of Jesus we have access to God the Father, and that, for those of us alive in the New Covenant, Jesus is the person and name by which God the Father desires to be addressed and accessed.
What is the name of the Holy Ghost? The terms Spirit and Ghost are synonymous. The Bible says, “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). There is every reason to hold that all the prior points, about the name of the Father, should apply. But there is more. Since there is only one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4), and since there is only one Lord (Ephesians 4:5), and since Jesus is the Lord (Philippians 2:11), and since the Word of the Lord says, “the Lord is that Spirit” (II Corinthians 3:17), and since, while He was describing the Holy Spirit’s arrival to dwell within believers, Jesus Christ said, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you” (John 14:18), then we should recognize that the Holy Spirit is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), and that Christ’s redemptive name for all New Covenant believers is Jesus.
Does this surprise? It should not. As believers who have the one Spirit dwelling in us, as long as we abide in the doctrine of Christ, we have both the Father and the Son (II John 1:9). The man Christ Jesus said Himself that the Holy Spirit would be sent in His name (John 14:26). His name isJesus. The Spirit is sent in Jesus name. No name other than Jesus could possibly be rightly attributed to the Holy Spirit within New Covenant believers. Thus, the Bible says of Jesus name, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
As recorded in Matthew 7:13-14, the Lord Jesus Christ taught that “few” (i.e., not the religious mainstream) enter into the narrow way that leads to life, but “many” (i.e., the religious mainstream) enter the wide path that leads to destruction. Was Jesus speaking of secular mainstream, or religious mainstream? Religious! Notice: In the very next verse, Matthew 7:15, Jesus revealed the source of trouble: false prophets (false teachers) who pass themselves off as teachers of religious truth: “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” To put it simply, the religious mainstream is the wrong stream to float down. It is not a good place. Yet “few” gain life in Jesus via true doctrine, i.e., correct teaching.
If you are tired of languishing in a church that is mainstream—one that refuses to obey the Bible; refuses to baptize in Jesus name—then come on over. Attend and find real belonging and true purpose, in a lively church that is willing to obey and practice the Bible’s teachings, even if it spites the mainstream. Come on over to the greatest church in town, where we baptize in Jesus name, the name of the one who was crucified for us! Enjoy truth in a church that preaches the whole counsel of God’s Word.
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