Do Not Be Fooled by a Clever Counterfeit of a Church
by Stuart DiNenno
A church can be pure in its outward form of corporate worship and its administration of the sacraments.
A church can preach through the entire Bible chapter-by-chapter and give an accurate exposition of every verse.
A church can zealously profess and thoroughly teach all of the doctrine in the most faithful Reformed catechisms and confessions.
A church can provide its people with an accurate worldview, that is, a complete education about history, social issues, movements opposing Christianity, and all the other knowledge of the world that Christians need in order to properly apply their religion.
A church can be free from scandal, all of its members can appear to be obeying the commandments of God, and they can seem to be sincere, warm, and loving people.
But if a church preaches a gospel message that does not present its hearers with the strict requirements of the law of God, does not confront them in an accusative way with their transgressions of the law so that they are thoroughly convicted of the guilt of their sins, does not impress upon them the frightening reality of their own innate depravity and their natural enmity against God, does not demand repentance and cause them to be of a “broken and contrite heart”, does not empty them of self-righteousness, does not cause them to see that they are in a helpless condition so that they despair of themselves, does not make them realize that they can do nothing but cry out to God for mercy, and therefore never truly makes them see their desperate need for the Savior, then it is not preaching the message that God uses to bring life from the dead, it is not making true Christian converts, it is not a genuine Christian church, and it is only a skillfully fashioned counterfeit.