2 Corinthians 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Our friend and frequent commenter at ExPreacherMan, Bryan Roach, posted the following comment that I thought would provide a good springboard for an article on “playing church.”
Wow, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought both of y’all were visiting churches in my area. I have dealt with the exact same situation with several preachers seeing no problem with preaching grace, yet distributing LS material and associating with other preachers and organizations that promote the LS gospel. I’ve had meetings with several who have told me that “I’m being too picky, or over thinking it.” They don’t want to start a debate between LS members and the grace members, because unity is their top priority. One pastor said, “My church will have some Arminians, some 5 point Calvinists, and some 0 point Calvinists, but what I love about our church is that we are all here in unity and we take pride in that.” It’s sad and frustrating to say the least.
“Playing church” refers to people gathering under the mistaken belief that they are gathering in Christ’s name.
Matthew 18:20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Unlike the many false substitutes that go by the name “church”, the true universal church is comprised of those who have believed in Jesus alone as Savior.
John 1: 12-13:
 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
In a sense, only those that believe on His name (believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone) can be truly gathered in his name.
Anything else is just playing church.
If your “church” teaches, or tolerates, any of the following things (note that this is not an all-inclusive list), particularly after you have tried to teach them the truth, they are simply playing church.
- You have to be willing to turn from your sins to be saved
- You must repent of your sins to be saved
- You must want to follow Christ to be saved
- You must want to have a relationship with Christ to be saved
- It’s not faith and works. It’s faith that works
- God will never take away your salvation, but you can walk away from it
- You can lose your salvation through serious, habitual sin
- If you die with serious, unconfessed sin, you won’t go to heaven
- You have to be water baptized to have eternal life
- You have to make a public confession of Christ to have eternal life
- You will not be sinless, but you will sin less
- A true Christian will bear the fruit of a changed life
- Intellectual assent is not saving faith
- Jesus didn’t save us in our sins, He saved us from our sins
- Faith is the gift of God
- A true Christian wants to obey Christ
- He can’t be your Savior if he’s not your Lord
- A true Christian may stumble every once in a while, but he won’t live in persistent willful sin
- A true Christian will…
There are all kinds of “churches,” ministries, books, DVDs, youtube videos, and so on run by people who insist that they believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Sadly, most of them that I have encountered do not really believe or teach that.
Below is an example from an internet ministry that I recently came across. They claim to believe in salvation by grace through faith, but their further statements belie that.
Saving Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, for your Salvation…
Are you willing to repent of your sins right now, and become a responsible member of God’s forever family, following Him and serving Him as a member of His forever family, following Him and serving Him as a member of His body, the Church? If your heartfelt answer is, “Yes”, then we can go to Him now in prayer, and we can tell Him that you want to cease trusting in anything else for Eternal Salvation, especially in what you can do for yourself.
This so-called ministry is teaching that one receives eternal life by TRADING willingness to repent from sins and follow Christ. This is a false gospel of works that will not save anyone. The Bible teaches that eternal life is a gift, not a trade.
Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If you have understood and believed the gospel, please don’t continue to yoke yourself with those who teach, or tolerate false gospel substitutes.
And, if playing church has kept you confused about how to receive eternal life, click here: THE GOSPEL