Questions for Church Leadership
Updated: Dec 28, 2022
Are you a born again Christian seeking to join a true Bible-believing Bible-preaching independent Baptist or similar type of church, that holds to the King James Bible, that embraces the whole counsel of God, as delineated in this Doctrinal Statement? If so, then consider these questions to ask. Dear Pastor_______________, Thank you for your willingness to answer my pastoral questions on your personal and ecclesiastical beliefs, doctrines and practices in accordance to Scripture. Here they are. ON THE GOSPEL/SALVATION AND EVANGELISM
Do you believe that justification is through faith in Jesus Christ alone by the grace of God?
Do you believe that salvation can be lost?
Do you believe a born again believer can fall away from the faith?
Do you preach repentance as necessary for salvation and require evidence thereof before considering someone saved and baptizing them?
How would you define repentance and apply it to salvation? And, what does a sinner need to repent of, to turn from, to place their faith in Christ?
Do you believe repentance is only a change of the mind?
Would you agree that repentance involves all three faculties of man: the intellect, the volition (will) and the emotion?
Do you believe repentance and faith are the same thing? If not, what makes them different?
Do you believe that repentance involves turning wilfully from all known sin, from self, from ones stuff and ones people, all of which are idols before God?
If you believe that repentance is necessary for salvation, do you preach on it and its principles consistently when preaching salvation and the gospel, or when evangelizing?
Would you agree with the statement that repentance is an element of the gospel?
Do you believe that as part of repentance that a person must surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ before they can be converted?
Do you believe that a sinner can be saved if he has no intention of surrendering to God's rule and authority?
Do you believe that the fear of the Lord is necessary for any sinner to come to the point of repentance and conversion?
When evangelizing do you deal with sin thoroughly using the law and man’s rebellious state against the Authority of God?
Would you believe it sufficient for a lost sinner to "ask Jesus into the heart" or to simply repeat a "sinners prayer" for true conversion to occur?
Do you believe that people have always been saved in the same manner from Adam and Eve, including in the future Great Tribulation?
Do you oppose easy believism and quick prayerism? If so, what measures –if any– do you take to keep it out of the church?
As the pastor of ___________________, do you follow the evangelistic methodology of the book of Acts and the Lord Jesus Christ, and seek to boldly preach the gospel to everyone, rather than following the evangelistic methodology of the “seeker-sensitive” or “purpose-driven” or “neo-evangelical” movements by asking sinners to pray a prayer or ask Jesus into their heart or employ promotion and marketing techniques or worldliness to attract the lost?
Do you believe that it is necessary for professing Christians to examine themselves as to whether they are truly saved (which includes personal evaluation of God's chastisement), if their lives don't measure up to God's Word, in light of living in willful sin and/or worldliness or wilfully believing in serious doctrinal error?
Are you very careful in accepting people into the church membership, ensuring to your best ability through Scripture and Spirit-guidance that their testimony and evidence/fruit aligns with what the Word of God teaches on the new birth?
If you were going to count converts, would you count only people who are truly saved with fruit of repentance and evidence of salvation, baptized by immersion, and faithfully serving as members of a local Bible believing church (if they are able to, where they reside)?
Is the new birth/conversion immediately evident at salvation, by fruit and evidence, evidence such as obedience to God’s Word depicting love for God, love for His Word, love for His people (1 John)?
Would you agree that Lk. 15:11-32 is teaching repentance unto salvation, and that the younger son (like his elder brother) was lost, exemplifying the “publicans and sinners” who “drew near unto him … to hear him” while the elder son outside his Father’s house exemplified “the Pharisees and scribes” (vv. 1-2)?
Would you agree that the passages Mk. 8:34-38, Lk. 9:23-27; 14:26-35, Mt. 10:34-39, and Jn 12:24-25 (all similar Scripture) where Jesus is preaching to the multitudes to deny self, take up the cross, lose their life (die to self) and follow Him, is a message primarily to lost people to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation?
What is your view on what Jesus meant when He answered “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” to the question “Lord, are there few that be saved?” (Lk 13:23-24)?
Would you agree that Christ’s call to the rich young religious ruler in Mk. 10:21 to “go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me” was a call to repentance and salvation?
Do you believe that the stony and thorny soils in the parable of the sower (Matt 13; Mk 4; Lk 8) are truly saved or false professing believers?
Is God’s call in 2 Ch. 7:14 to Israel to seek His face and repent of their wicked ways and His resultant forgiveness and healing of their land, a call to saved Israel or lost Israel? Can we apply this passage to Gentile nations?
Do you believe that Simon Magi in Acts 8 was saved?
What do you believe Heb 6:4-6 is teaching?
Do you believe that the Jews in the wilderness whom the Hebrews writer is contrasting in Heb 3:6–4:1, were saved people, based upon the language used to describe them in these passages and others?
The enemies of God in James 4:4 (“echthros,” meaning to hate, actively hostile, an adversary especially the devil) who are friends with the world but not with God, are they saved or lost people?
Would you agree that the “foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (Matt 7:26-27) is a lost person while the “wise man, which built his house upon [the] rock” (Matt 7:24-25) is a saved person?
Those that don’t have the love of God in them and do not obey the will of the Father in 1 Jn 2:15-17 but follow after their lusts and love for the world, are they saved or false professing believers?
Do you believe the “dead faith” mentioned in James 2 is ever applicable to a truly saved person?
Would you agree that the language of inheriting the kingdom of God, is used in Scripture to describe salvation, e.g. “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21; 1 Cor 6:9-10)?
Do you believe and teach that Jn. 15:1-6 is contrasting two types of Christians (abiding and non-abiding) or contrasting saved (abiding) and unsaved (non-abiding) people?
Do you teach that Phil 3:3-11 is Paul reiterating his salvation testimony or referring to something after salvation?
Would you agree that in Rom 8:1-9 there is a division stated but its not between carnal and spiritual Christians but rather a division between those who walk after the flesh (the unregenerate, “the carnally minded”) and those who walk after the Spirit (the regenerate, “the spiritually minded”)?
Would you agree that the Bible teaches only two positions or categories of man, saved and lost, or do you believe in three positions, lost and then two types or levels of Christians?
Jesus was always preaching His gospel throughout His ministry right from very beginning as we read in Mk 1:14-15 and Matt 4:17, and within the context of these passages He encounters the two sets of brothers (whom he would later call to be His apostles) and calls them to “follow Him” (Mk 1:16-20; Matt 4:18-22) — was this a call to salvation or a call to discipleship and a deeper walk with the Lord?
Do you believe today we have many professing Christians in churches, that may have never been truly born again?
Would you agree that the Bible clearly differentiates between the saved and lost throughout all its Books, also as noted throughout the OT with the nation of Israel being lost throughout her history (e.g. Ps 78; 2 Cor. 3:13-16)?
Do you believe that every Christian should be involved in aggressively seeking to reach every single person in his community with the gospel through practices such as house to house evangelism and literature distribution, while also supporting evangelists (i.e. missionaries) to reach the rest of the world?
Would you agree that Christ’s literal blood-shedding was as necessary as His death for man’s salvation?
Would you agree that the lake of fire is a place where all the lost will suffer literal and conscious torment in fire and brimstone for all eternity?
ON THE BIBLE Is _____________ King James Version (KJV)—only? Do you believe that the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words of the OT Hebrew Masoretic Text and NT Textus Receptus that underlie the English Authorized KJV constitute the perfectly preserved Word of God according to God’s promises of perfect preservation of the words He gave, and that they are available to us today as promised? Do you criticize or uphold the KJV as a translation and as God’s Word intact in the English language? Do you reject all the modern English Bible versions such as the NKJV, NIV, NASV, ESV, etc? If you were to preach/teach in a non-English speaking country, what English translation would you use? Do you or would you allow any other translation besides the KJV to be used in any aspect of your ministry and would you support missionaries that use other versions? Do you reject Peter Ruckman's peculiar doctrines such as the 1611 KJV was given by inspiration and contains advanced revelation and salvation is different in different dispensations? Do you reject the notion of the KJV being improved over the original texts of Scripture that God inspired? Do you reject the Critical Greek Text produced by Westcott and Hort and found today in the Nestle-Aland? Do you reject the unbiblical interpretation methodology of allegoricalism/ spiritualizing Scripture? Do you reject the error of numerology (e.g. The King James Code by Mike Hoggard), that allegedly certain numbers have special meanings in the KJV (besides the obvious, like 3, 7, 12, 666), where mathematical gymnastics through multiplication, addition, subtraction and division of chapter or verse numbers and other numbers in the Bible results in some kind of special and advanced revelation of numerics and meaning in the KJV? Would you warn against the use of a study Bible if it is known to hold doctrinal error (e.g. Scofield)? Do you believe that the Bible has been perfectly preserved in: 1. The abundance of all the manuscripts, the hand copies from copies of the original manuscripts, or 2. In the underlying Hebrew and Greek text behind the KJV, or 3. In the English translation of the KJV? When studying the KJV, you would primarily study the words by 1. Finding what the underlying Greek or Hebrew word is and means, or 2. Looking up the English word in a dictionary? Do you reject all unbelieving higher criticism and textual criticism of the Bible? ON THEOLOGY, PRACTICAL SANCTIFICATION AND THE HOLY SPIRIT Do you believe that a truly saved person lacks anything that he didn’t receive at salvation? Do you believe that practical sanctification requires both faith and good works? Do you believe that all that profess to be disciples of Christ are actually true Christians? Do you believe that all true Christians are disciples from the very moment of conversion, so that the call to being a disciple of Christ (“follow me”) is in fact a call to salvation in the Bible? Do you believe that a born again believer is delivered from both the penalty and the power of sin at salvation? Would you agree that all believers are not progressively sanctified to the exact same extent, nor is sanctification automatic, but it is nonetheless certain, as is glorification? Would you preach against sins that you know are present in members of the church, including tattoos? What is your view on revivalism? Do you believe that a truly saved person needs to be brought back from the dead (revival) or is revival a need for lost people as noted in the OT (since its found nowhere in the NT)? Do you believe that a believer may be baptized (or anointed, or similar lingual) by the Holy Spirit at some point in their Christian life after salvation? Do you believe that the Spirit baptism on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 could be repeated today or that it was a first century phenomenon synonymous with Christ’s sending of the Spirit as Comforter? Do you believe that the higher life, deeper life, victorious life, second blessing views of sanctification, which produce two-tiered Christians, are Biblical? Do you believe that a truly regenerate saint needs to pursue after these things to live godly and obedient Biblical lives? Do you believe that there is such a third category of Christian as a carnal Christian (i.e. the spiritual man, the natural man, and the carnal man)? Do you believe that the abundant life of Jn 10:10 is something different to be added to the Christian than the life received at salvation? Do you believe that a true believer can be possessed by the devil? How does ___________________ practice discipleship and is this taken serious in the church? Would you read and recommend material by the likes of Charles Finney, Hannah Whittal Smith, Watchman Nee, F. B. Meyer, Andrew Murray, Evan Roberts? Do you believe Jesus is teaching two rests in Matt. 11:28-30? Do you believe that Gal. 2:20 is teaching that Christ lives out the believers life? Do you believe that Jn. 15:1-6 is teaching two types of Christians, ones that abide and ones that abide not? Would you are agree that the sign gifts ceased in the first century, and the allegedly restored charismatic and Pentecostal “gifts” are not of God? ON MOVEMENTS, ERROR AND SEPARATION Do you reject evolution in all its forms including the gap theory and “theistic” evolution? Would you agree that the earth was created recently, not millions of years ago, the days of creation were literal, 24-hour periods with no gaps between them, there was no death before the Fall, and the Flood in Noah’s day was universal, not local? Are you serious about separating from doctrinal error, and breaking from fellowship with churches that wilfully embrace error such as undermining or neglecting repentance for salvation, or teaching false repentance (e.g. repentance is just a change of mind, is not turning from sin, is synonymous with faith, is only turning from dead religion, etc)? Do you exercise disciplinary action upon those members that are unrepentant of sin/worldliness or error, following Matt. 18:15-17? Do you practice serious separation from the world and zealous and whole-hearted separation unto God, as well as a consistent and clear separation from all false teachers, disobedient brethren, and ecclesiastical compromise, so that a separatist stance, rather than a neo-evangelical position, is maintained? Do you separate yourself both personally and ecclesiastically from the likes and teachings of deeply compromised IFB men (some of which are heretical) such as Sword of the Lord, Paul Chappell (Lancaster Baptist Church/West Coast Baptist College), Clarence Sexton (Temple Baptist Church/College), Robert Bakss (Lighthouse Baptist Church), Steve Anderson, the late Jack Hyles and Curtis Hutson? Do you separate both personally and ecclesiastically from man-centred IFB churches that run in collusion as a boys club of sorts that orientates to personalities and unscriptural philosophies instead of sound doctrine? Would you attend the National Baptist Fellowship (NBF)? Do you separate yourself as both an individual believer and pastor from the likes of popular but heretical evangelical men (or their material) such as Rick Warren, David Jeremiah, Chuck Swindol, Chuck Colson, Ravi Zacharias, James Dobson, Billy Graham, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Hagee, Peter Wagner, Louie Giglio, Hank Hanegraaff, Wayne Grudem, James Dobson, Beth Moore, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Larry Crabb, Bruce Wilkinson, Francis Chan, YWAM, Max Lucado, RBC Ministries and Our Daily Bread, CS Lewis, Ken Blanchard, Philip Yancey, Bill Bright, Lee Stroubel, John Eldredge, Bill Hybels (Willowcreek), Charles Stanley, etc? Do you separate yourself as both an individual believer and pastor from the likes of popular but heretical “conservative” evangelicals (who are mostly of the reformed/calvinist ilk) such as John MacArthur, Wayne Grudum, Jerry Bridges, Steve Lawson, J.D. Greear, Al Mohler, John Piper? In what kind of circumstances would you apply 2 Th. 3:6, separation from a brother? Would you warn of and separate from other churches that purport to be of likeminded faith and could influence your church, when made aware of their false teachings and promotion of error? Would you attend a community prayer group with other churches from the community? Do you reject the charismatic movement and the things it is known for (e.g. sign gifts, tongues, emotionalism, etc)? Do you reject the neo-evangelical movement and the things it is known for (e.g. judge-not, love for positivism, exalting love and unity above doctrine, pragmatism, dialogue, essentials and non-essentials, social-justice, ecumenicalism, modern Bible perversions, ungodly CCM music, etc)? Do you reject the doctrines of Calvinism, specifically the TULIP? Would you agree that election is based upon Divine foreknowledge and that foreknowledge is not pre-determination? Do you reject the doctrines of Arminianism? Would you name names of well known individuals involved in any of the above movements, even if you knew members at your church were listening to their sermons or reading their books? Do you reject Christian psychology and psychology ministries such as James Dobson, Larry Crabb, Emerson Eggerichs (i.e. Love & Respect book), Gary Chapman (i.e. Five Love Languages book)? Would you be in agreement with any type of counselling ministries? Would you "mark . . . and avoid" (Rom. 16:17) a teacher that wilfully and publicly teaches false doctrine, including naming their name in warning others and separating from them, even those among the independent baptists? Do you agree with David Clouds warning ministry Way of Life (i.e. Friday Church News Notes, O Timothy)? What is your view on Rom 16:17-18 and how would you apply it? Do you agree with the importance and necessity of all saints to be engaged in earnestly contending for the faith (Ju 1:3)? Do you encourage the members of the congregation to discern, test, examine and judge all preaching and teaching including your own? Do you cease from reading and studying commentaries that are written by protestants, especially ones that are written from an allegorical perspective, and contain false doctrine? Do you read and study reformers such as John Calvin and Martin Luther who embraced a lot of very serious and dangerous error including a false gospel of works? ON MUSIC What are your views on Contemporary Worship Music (CCM)? Do you believe CCM can be safely adapted by toning down the rhythm or even in using the lyrics? Do you use any of this sort of music in any aspect of your church life (youth meetings, worship services, etc.) or personal life? Would you separate from a church or ministry or individual that is using this music, even if they have adapted its lyric and toned down the rhythms? Would you reject a hymnal that has CCM songs in it? Do you reject southern gospel music, its music, melody, and also its emotional appeal? Are you totally committed to traditional sacred Biblical-based hymns and/or the Psalter? Does your church educate their people, especially the children and youth, over the issue of music?
ON PROPHECY Do you believe in a pre-millennial return of Jesus Christ to judge the world and establish a millennial Kingdom where He reigns as King upon the earth from Jerusalem? Do you believe in the 70th week of Daniel, also known as the seven year Great Tribulation period? Do you think it matters whether a person believes in a pre, mid or post-tribulational Rapture? Would you consider yourself a dispensationalist? Would you agree with the Biblical position that those who embrace amillennialism are likely unconverted? Do you reject Replacement Theology? Would you agree that prophecy is to be interpreted only literally, not allegorically? ON CHURCH, MISSIONS, PREACHING AND ORDINANCES Do you reject the notion of a "universal church” (that all believers on earth are a universal, invisible church), and embrace the church as the local, visible assembly of immersed born again believers? What is the practice of ___________________ in accepting people into its membership? Do you practice only closed communion of the Lord's Supper (only for members)? Do you use only grape juice, not alcoholic wine, in your keeping of the Lord’s Table? Do you believe and teach total abstinence from alcohol is to be practiced by all Christians? Do you only believe in and practice baptism by immersion only (dipping, submersion) for born again believer’s or tolerate other forms of “baptism” such as sprinkling or pouring? Do you believe and teach that all members of the local congregation are responsible to reprove, rebuke, admonish and exhort one another; or is that something only a pastor is responsible for? Do you believe that a pastor is above reproach and rebuke, or correction? As a pastor, do you require unquestioning obedience and loyalty? Do you accept the biblical qualifications for church leadership (pastors, deacons) as spelled out in 1 Tim. 3 and Ti. 1 and do you adhere to this teaching in practice? What are your views and teachings on tithing and giving? Do you believe that the tithe is applicable to the NT church, in light of what Hebrews 7 says about it? Do you believe in and practice passing around a plate or bag for collecting money in church? What are your views and teachings on faith promise giving and can you support it from Scripture? Is ___________________ affiliated with any “denomination” such as the Bible Baptist Fellowship International or Baptist Friends, etc, and if not, have you intended to keep it like that? Do you believe that unity in the local church is confined to only the “essentials" of the Bible (versus the “non-essentials")? What is your view on the office of the evangelist? Who they are, and what it’s for? Do you believe that your church aligns and derives from a Baptist/Anabaptist lineage or from Protestant? Are the members of ___________________ encouraged to dress modestly and gender distinctively on the Lord's day and in their daily lives, and would you preach this from the pulpit? Do you diligently study the Scriptures as a pastor and teacher, including the underlying Greek and Hebrew if need be, helping the saints understand God’s Word better by referring to the original languages? In preaching and teaching, do you practice careful exegesis of Scripture, verse by verse, line by line, precept upon precept, comparing Scripture with Scripture and rightly dividing the word of truth? Do you believe that churches should practice congregational government underneath the leadership of a pastor or pastors, rather than rule by a deacon board or board of ruling and teaching elders? Do you believe that the local, visible church which is the pillar and ground of the truth requires conventions, associations, boards, or parachurch institutions?
ON THE BIBLICAL FAMILY AND YOUR PERSONAL LIFE Do you believe the Bible allows for divorce and remarriage in any circumstance? Do you encourage and teach the rod (spanking) as a major form of discipline for children? Would you agree that gender roles such as male headship in family, church, and society, are part of the created order, not a societal construct, so women are not to rule over their husbands at home nor lead the church as pastors or deacons, or rule over men in the workplace, but are to be in submission to their husbands and husbands are to love their wives? Do you believe that men should have short hair and women should have long hair? Would you agree that courtship under parental authority rather than dating is the Scriptural pattern for obtaining one’s life’s partner? Are your children in subjection to you and serving the Lord (in accordance to their age)? Who would you listen to, if listening to sermons? What kinds of music do you listen to in your personal time? What are your favourite books to read? What are the main commentaries you use, if you use any?
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