from a lecture series by Derren Liang—Irvine, California, USA
Editor’s note: This
series provides insights on how we can share the doctrines of the True Jesus Church.
The author offers tips on how to approach familiar topics, and to avoid certain
pitfalls. It is hoped that our readers will be inspired to apply their
knowledge to reach out to friends and relatives.
The Holy Spirit has revealed five basic doctrines to our church
that are different from what other churches believe. A good way to share the beliefs
of the True Jesus Church (TJC) is to further elaborate on these doctrines. Once
our audience understands and believes, the next step can be to introduce the concept
of the one true church. This is because, before someone understands the truth,
it can be difficult for them to accept the teaching of the one true church. Once
they have grasped the biblical truths, however, it is much easier for them to reach
a natural conclusion about the necessity and identity of the one true church.
Importance of the Basic Doctrines
Out of the many churches today, TJC is one of the few that
remains insistent on placing emphasis on the significance of the basic
doctrines of the Bible. For this reason, many denominations regard us as legalistic,
preferring instead to emphasize the teaching of love over the other tenets of
Why do we need to learn and uphold these basic doctrines? We
need to place emphasis on biblical doctrines because Ephesians 1 says the
church is the body of Christ which is filled with the fullness of God: “which
is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph 1:23). Who
is God? Undoubtedly, God is love, and it is not wrong for the church to teach and
practice love because without it, God will not abide with us. However, as
crucial as love is in Christianity, truth must equally be upheld.
When Jesus gave His final commission to the disciples, He told
them to preach the gospel, telling them to “[Teach] them to observe all
things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt
28:20). In light of this commandment, how can we ensure that God abides with the
church? It is by teaching the believers to observe the teachings of Jesus and
the apostles in the Bible.
Since God is truth, Spirit and love, His true
church—the body of Christ—must likewise embrace all aspects of the gospel. When
the teachings of the church are the same as the teachings of Jesus, God will be
with us. God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit, and the truth are interconnected. When
we preach the truth according to the Bible, the Holy Spirit will move together
with us, helping us in our ministry and personal lives.
This is the reason why the TJC believes it is
imperative to seriously study and practice biblical doctrines. The true church
must practice a holistic Christianity that does not prefer one aspect of the
teaching to another.
Benefits of Knowing the Doctrines
There are two important
benefits of knowing the biblical doctrines: one is so that we can be rooted in
faith, and the other is to enable us to be equipped for evangelism.
To Develop a Rooted Faith
We need to have a deeply rooted
faith, fully knowing whom we believe. Only then can we stand firm and not waver
when our faith is challenged. For instance, one perplexing challenge to our
legitimacy is the question: if TJC is the only true church that will be saved,
why is her membership so small? Here, it is important for us to know that attempting
to ascertain whether a church has the truth on the basis of membership size is
flawed. Especially since Jesus had already characterized the way to salvation
as a narrow gate.
Today, there are “mega”
churches that have thousands of members. But their approach to salvation is deliberately
simplistic: they argue that all you need to do is to believe in your heart and
confess with your lips to be saved. Furthermore, they offer little guidance
with regards to Christian living. You rarely hear them teaching about the need
to take up one’s cross in order to follow Christ. Rather, their message is often
about how Christ is a never-ending source of material blessings. This is
perhaps the quickest way to attract large masses of people.
Many churches are also hesitant
to articulate a firm standpoint with regards to sin and doctrine. For example,
they do not teach their believers to pray for the Holy Spirit, to be baptized, or
to observe the Sabbath. If they teach such things, they will most likely lose
members; likewise, if they take a stand against common, socially-accepted sins.
For this reason, they will not talk about abortion, homosexuality, or divorce.
Hence, when assessing the
legitimacy of a church, we should not use membership volume as a measure. Whilst
we certainly want more people to receive salvation, we cannot forfeit the “harder”
truths of Christianity and speak only of the more pleasant parts of Christ’s
We need to be familiar with the
basic doctrines so that we can be steadfast in our faith. The greater the depth
of our understanding, the more we will cherish the truth of God’s true church.
We have seen that there are members
who feel the need to modify the truth, most likely because they find it hard to
preach the complete gospel in the face of opposition, and think that by changing
the Bible’s message, it will be more palatable. However, if we preach a
modified doctrine, will God abide with the church?
To Be Equipped for Evangelism
It is important to know the basic
doctrines because they are essential for evangelism. When some believers
preach, they spend a lot of time sharing their testimonies. There is nothing
wrong with this per se; indeed,
testimonies are powerful instruments to highlight the grace of God. However, we
should not rely on using testimonies alone.
If we look at the approach of
the disciples, we see that they preached the doctrine they had received from
Christ while God affirmed their message with signs and miracles. We need to do likewise
so that people can develop firm roots in their faith. If they come to understand
the truth, they will quite naturally experience God for themselves. On the
other hand, if they only know about the experiences of others without understanding
the truth, the substance of their faith, they could quite easily fall away.
Therefore, we must pair our
powerful testimonies of Christ’s grace in our lives with the doctrines that He
has handed down to us through the Holy Spirit. The truth is the path to
salvation and this is why the basic doctrines are important.
Preaching the Doctrines
Case Study on Romans
For with the
heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto
Many Christians, quoting Romans 10:10, claim that as long as we believe in our heart and confess with our
mouth, we can be saved. The scene of Christian evangelists who rouse
their audiences at evangelistic rallies to raise their hands if they believe in
Jesus is a common sight. These mass conversions and affirmations of faith are
certainly inspiring and moving to many who witness them. However, is their
approach adequate? What is missing from the messages given out at such evangelistic events?
They simply lack any
regard for the concrete directives of Jesus to do certain things in order
to participate in the salvation of Christ. To take one such doctrine as an
example, Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to
you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of
God" (Jn 3:5).
We do not deny Paul’s words in Romans
10:10. Indeed, it is an area of common ground we have with our Christian
we need to use the rest of the Bible to explain that believing in one’s heart
and acknowledging Jesus with our lips is but the beginning of a person’s faith journey.
From Jesus' words in John 3:5, we can show that one also needs to be born
of water and the Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God.
Many such clear and direct instructions given by Jesus are rarely
mentioned by many churches. It would be a gross error to miss out on the
commands of Jesus just because we prefer to only live according to some portions of the Bible.
To continue with this particular doctrine, our approach could be
to ask our Christian friends to look at John 3:5 and to share what their
understanding is. We should be prepared for various responses; for example,
some Christians interpret being "born of water" to mean the physical
birthing process (i.e., emergence from the mother’s womb and the surrounding amniotic
fluid). At this point, we can point out the need to explain this verse using other
parts of the Bible; otherwise everyone will interpret the Bible according to
their personal understanding.
We can then signpost them to Titus 3:5, which explains the
meaning of John 3:5:
Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. (Tit 3:5)
We can then explain that this Bible verse states that God
saved us not because of our own righteousness; indeed, man is sinful by nature,
and there is not one person who is righteous and able to attain to the standard
of God. However, we can receive salvation because of God’s mercy. He has paved the
way through the washing of
regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. These are the two steps
that Jesus speaks of in John 3:5.
Of the five basic doctrines, the two key teachings relate to the
“washing of regeneration and renewing
of the Holy Spirit.” The reason why TJC emphasizes these is because they
are essential for salvation. For this reason, we must never compromise on these
aspects of the truth but instead uphold them steadfastly.
To be continued.