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The Litmus Test For Churches

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litmus test for true churches with correct gospel

The Litmus Test For Churches

Does YOUR Church Pass It?

Does YOUR Gospel Pass It?


Many Christians use all kinds of tests (criteria) to determine if a church or ministry is OK (safe to be a part of) or if instead, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing (and should be avoided).  Some Christians check to see if the ministry adheres to the Apostle’s Creed.  Some folks just see if the church or ministry claims to “believe in Jesus”, whatever that may mean.  Other’s check to see if the church is evangelistic or active in the community in some way.   Other’s look for a statement of faith that says the ministry believes in the trinity, the virgin birth, etc. 

As a blood-bought child of God who has been in and around all sorts of churches and ministries and who has searched the scriptures for years and has been confronted by those who had more wisdom from God than myself, I have finally learned the TRUE LITMUS TEST to see if a ministry, a church, a missionary, preacher, teacher, pastor, or evangelist is OK.   And that test is simply this: 


Do they know the TRUE Gospel of salvation by grace alone
through the completed work of Christ alone?


Do they have the gospel of Paul, of Calvin, of John Gill, of Matthew Henry, of Charles Spurgeon? Or do they instead have the POPULAR gospel of today which is the man-centered, “get-yourself-saved-anytime-you-want” FREE-WILL gospel which can save no one but sure sounds so appealing since you can get yourself saved at the last minute on your deathbed after living your whole life as an ungodly sinner.*[see note below]


Are YOU in a church that never studies Romans chapter 9 or never studies it in entirety or makes excuses for difficult verses like “Jacob I loved but Esau I hated” rather than letting God be God and letting the King of all Creation have mercy on whom He will have mercy? Friend, if you have never even heard of Calvinism (also known as “The Doctrines Of Grace”), then it is very likely that you are in a church that preaches a false “free-will” gospel.  If your church or ministry uses mass psychology or psychological devices like altar calls to coax sinners into making “a decision”, then your church is preaching a false plan of salvation that puts the sinner in the driver seat and puts God at the mercy of the sinner.  If your church tells every one to bow their heads and close their eyes so sinners are not embarrassed to “come forward and accept Christ”, then YOU are in a church that does not HAVE God’s true, one and only plan of salvation.  When Christ walked the earth and commanded men to repent He never told people to bow their heads and close their eyes while certain shy sinners decided whether or not they should walk down an aisle.  What an absurd gospel as compared to the real Gospel:


“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”! [Luke 13:3] … “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? [Matthew 23:33]


The TRUE Gospel of Christ makes no apologies to sinners and does not seek to make them comfortable.  It seeks to shake them up to the very core of their souls!!!

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” [Rev. 20:15]

“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night” [Rev. 14:11]

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” [Psa. 2:1-5]


Sinners are saved by hearing the word of God, and not necessarily a scripted set of verses like those that make up the popular tracts of today such as “4 Spiritual Laws”, “The Roman’s Road”, “God’s Bridge To Eternal Life”, or “Steps To Peace With God”.  All those tracts put the cart before the horse because they tell the unsaved, unregenerated, spiritually dead sinner to DO something to get themselves saved.   The writers of those tracts apparently don’t realize that the Bible verses they are quoting can only apply to people who already have the spirit of God in them and so those verses are referring to FRUITS or EVIDENCES of salvation, not CAUSES of or PRECURSORS to salvation.


God desires that his preachers use the law of God (Romans 3:20) to inform sinners that they are indeed violators of His law. Then, if it is God’s will to save a particular individual at a particular time, the Holy Spirit will bring conviction upon that sinner and God will remove the sinner’s heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh, at which point the sinner will become a new creation, born-again, without needing to say a sinner’s prayer and without having to walk down an aisle or sign a decision card.  It will all have been the work of God’s grace and mercy alone. PERIOD!  And that sinner, once he or she becomes a new creature in Christ, will want to repent (turn away from sin and seek God’s kind of holiness) and will be able to really repent and will be able to believe in Christ, the REAL Jesus Christ who saves sinners without having to wait for the sinner to accept Him.   Once a sinner is Born Again, they will want to accept Christ and His Lordship in their lives.  But prior to that point they are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and completely unable to turn to God (Romans 3:11, 8:7-8).


Dear Sinner, have YOU passed God’s litmus test?  Do YOU have true salvation that depends on Christ alone and not on what you accepted or did not accept or prayed or did not pray?  Has God convicted you of the depth of your sin? Has he shown you His hatred for sin and His love of righteousness?  Has He shown you your complete inability to save yourself or even contribute towards your salvation. Has the thrice-holy God of the Bible shown you just how lost and undone you are and your complete dependency upon His grace and mercy alone?


“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” [Romans 10:3]


Do not fall for the lies of the free-will gospel.  Search the scriptures and not just the ones the free-willers quote!  Your pastor may think that spiritually dead unsaved sinners have the power to come to Christ of their “own free-will” but the God of the Bible says they are lost and undone and slaves to sin until and unless God grants them repentance (see Acts 11:18).  And that kind of repentance (turning from sin) is only the work of a regenerated soul for which only God can take credit.  The unsaved have no will and no power to worship God in spirit and in truth.  Their will is bent towards sin and self-righteousness.  The unregenerated may be able to worship God in self-righteousness but not with Christ’s righteousness.  The spiritually dead may have the will and the power to choose between false Gods (Joshua 24:15) but they have no ability to come to Christ for eternal life (John 6:44).


Final note: Too many professing Christians are allowing error – very serious error regarding the Gospel – to creep into the Church today.  This tolerance of error is often done in the name of unity.  God’s people should avoid any unity that undermines the Gospel and other Biblical truths.  Jesus told Pilate “I have come to bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37).  He did not say “I have come to bring unity”.  He said in fact “I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:24). We live in a day and age when hardly anybody, even in the body of Christ, wants to say anything confrontational, even to correct gross error.   We think being non-confrontational is always a virtue, when in fact it is often the opposite.  It is a sin that allows error to go on unchecked.


If you wish to learn more about the TRUE God-centered plan of salvation and how it differs from the FALSE man-centered “free-will” gospel, then please examine the articles listed on these pages:

Make sure that YOU pass the “Litmus test” for salvation.  Make sure that YOU have the TRUE gospel!

* God (without the sinner’s help or cooperation) can save a sinner on their deathbed, but most likely that happens a lot less often than people wish to believe.  Even on a deathbed, a truly saved person would probably exhibit some kind of fruit (changed heart) if they are still able to communicate, just as the thief on the cross [Luke 23:43] who stopped mocking Christ as soon as God changed his heart.  And isn’t that indeed an amazing act of God… that a man nailed to a cross, in agony and about to die for his crimes, who just a short while earlier was lashing out at Christ, would have a change of heart!  Dare we give the sinner any credit for that transformation?  “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” [Jeremiah 13:23]



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Featured Gospel Message

Christ Died For The Ungodly

by Horatius Bonar

The divine testimony concerning man is, that he is a sinner. God bears witness against him, not for him; and testifies that "there is none righteous, no, not one"; that there is "none that doeth good"; none "that understandeth"; none that even seeks after God, and, still more, none that loves Him (Psa. 14:1-3; Rom. 3:10-12). God speaks of man kindly, but severely; as one yearning over a lost child, yet as one who will make no terms with sin, and will "by no means clear the guilty." <continued>

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