Apostasy and Church Belief Statements :: by Joe Southerland

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23).

Years ago my work demanded that I move frequently when I was raising my family and one of the first things I prayed and looked for in our community was a church with a solid belief statement. If a church could not produce one, we did not go back. My thought was if a church could not tell me what they believed, as the spiritual head of my family I sure did not want them experimenting with the souls of the ones God entrusted to me.

If a church, preacher, teacher, deacon, elder or anyone claiming to be a “Christian” cannot readily provide the foundational basis from which they are presenting God’s guidance, messages, or thoughts my Spiritual discernment radar goes into high alert. I don’t care how many ivory towered college degrees or hump-de-frump titles anyone holds if they do not readily proclaim a solid spiritual, foundational underpinning their information is no better than the worthless opinions, blather and musings comings from the fallen world.

Because of this, whenever I teach the first thing I do is present my belief statement. [1] That way anyone knows upfront what my foundational beliefs are built upon, and accordingly you can place everything I say in the context of those beliefs. Without that context a statement like, “I believe in God” means absolutely nothing (James 2:19).

False Doctrines Abound

A little over a generation ago the main line Protestant Religions professed the basic Christian beliefs but that has rapidly changed. Many churches have thrown tradition and the Bible aside and have altered their core beliefs in order to align themselves with the changing societal norms. Entire denominations and churches that were once doctrinally solid are now inundated by false, worldly doctrine.

Today finding or staying in a church with a doctrinally solid belief statement is becoming more and more difficult. In many modern seeker-friendly, many-paths-to-god churches you will not even find a belief statement as it may be considered offensive to some new potential members. A modern mainline church pastor of 40 years actually said to me, “What is a belief statement?”

Any “Christian” church or organization, unwilling to readily provide a tight and concise belief statement in my experience is negligent, apostate or cultish. One word of advice to you if you are in this situation, “Leave!”

The time that the apostle Paul warned us about has come, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The apostle Paul further warned us, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Now more than ever all born-again believers must be solid on what we stand for, so we will be able to withstand this evil day (Ephesians 6:13). We must arm ourselves with solid biblical doctrinal truth against the ever apostate, pagan world.

So how do we evaluate a church’s belief statement?

A Simple Two Step Process

Here is a simple two step process to ensure a church’s belief statement is solid. Now, whether they practice what they publish is an entirely different issue.

Step One – The Bible’s Source

Paramount in a church’s belief statement is its stance on the Bible’s origin. Is the Bible the Word of God, or the words of inspired men about God? A little over a two centuries it could be taken for granted that Christian churches believed the Bible was the Word of God. No more.

Over the decades Satan has attacked the Bible through liberal application of textural criticism in the vast majority of seminaries, which have filtered down into the many mainline churches. Now leadership’s common belief is that the Bible contains the words of inspired men about God.

At that decision point doctrine becomes a slippery slope as modern “inspired believers” opinions carry just as much doctrinal weight as the old and new testament writers who after all are just “inspired believers” of another era. The end result of this line of thinking is the creation of a God of your own making; able to conform to anything you want, which is readily evident today.

Here is what I am look for in a belief statement on the Bible: We believe that the Bible is inspired by God in its entirety, and is without error in the original writings, a complete and final written revelation from God in the sixty six books of the OT and NT. The Bible is the sole external truth created apart and above the thoughts of man, and is God’s measuring rod of life, by which all things are to be tested against. Our other beliefs hinge upon the foundational spiritual truths found within the Bible.

With the Bible being God’s Word we have a rock solid foundation to understand God’s will for us, and a basis from which to discuss God. Without establishing the sole moral authority and truth of the Bible, everything is but a rudderless, cacophony of clashing worldly opinion where one man’s opinion is a good as the next.

Step Two – Agreement with the Early Church Creeds

If a church passes the first step then compare their belief statement against the well established doctrinal truths of our early church fathers. Our early church fathers realized they needed a uniform, concise statement of belief to combat the heresies of their day (sounds familiar). Additionally, the large majority of their congregations could not read, and they needed to routinely, communally affirm what they believed. Despite what some modern apostate church goers think God’s opinions do not evolve, and these biblically derived truths penned by our Christian predecessors are just as valid today because they are built on eternal truths.

There Are No Guarantees…But God’s Truth

As they say, individual results may vary. There are no guarantees, but if a church passes these two hurdles, it stands a good chance of being doctrinally solid.

In this day of false doctrines we must put on a daily coating of Ephesians chapter six, so we can stand. We need to ensure our churches, preachers and teachers beliefs align with the Word of God. If not, we need to leave. We need to find another church, and if the apostate trend continues the only true-believers may have to meet in their homes, just like the early church.

God bless. Come Lord Jesus, come!

J&J Ranch Ministries
“But as for me and my [ranch], we will serve the LORD” (Dueteronomy10:12).



[1] I will readily send my belief statement if requested. However, like anything related to faith check it against the Scriptures. My belief statement is a living document I have tweaked over the years.