By: Steve Hanna
I recently retired after about 40 years of working (6 years in the military and 34 years in the oil and gas industry) and moved to Florida. We have been here for about three years and finally found a church that is biblical for the most part. Prior to finding a church, we investigated and visited a dozen or more churches within 20 miles of our home and only found one that was somewhat acceptable.
Over the years we have moved many times, and we noticed with each relocation that it became more and more difficult to find a church that taught the Bible. When we moved to Houston in 2006, a city with over 20,000 churches in the greater metro area, there were probably 8-10 churches with acceptable doctrinal statements that were true to traditional dispensationalism and proper ecclesiology concerning leadership, teaching, and worship methodology. We were unable to find a suitable church near where we lived (for access to my job location) and drove 25 miles each way on Sundays to a Bible church in another metro-area suburb.
We have found that most churches have succumbed to the apostate church growth and emergent church movements and to the unbiblical teaching of people like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Andy Stanley, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, and Bob Buford. These churches have brought the world into the church and primarily cater to the felt needs of the unsaved. They fill the pews and keep people feeling happy, but there is little, if any, Bible doctrine taught and no edification of the saints taking place. These churches have compromised God’s word in order to be more “culturally relevant” and to meet people’s felt needs. Instead, they should focus on being “biblically relevant” to meet people’s real needs.
In addition to our difficulty finding suitable churches over the years, I have had many friends ask me for assistance in locating a biblical church when they have moved to a new location. I have looked for and evaluated churches in several areas of the country for a number of folks, and the story is the same in each case. It has become ever-increasingly difficult to find a doctrinally sound church that teaches the Bible. Many in this situation have experienced considerable frustration and disappointment. In quite a few areas, there are no suitable churches to attend.
So, what is the solution to this dilemma? I recommend the following: first, try to vet the churches within 20 miles of where you live and find one that teaches the Bible; if this fails, increase your search radius out to 50-60 miles and see if that helps. If this does not resolve the issue, consider starting your own home Bible study, worship, and fellowship group and supplement with the teaching of doctrinally sound teachers who have internet ministries.
With the ever-increasing apostasy in the church, I believe the remnant of biblical believers may soon be meeting primarily in home groups. But, take heart, God is good and will meet your needs as you look to Him and seek wisdom from His Word. Lastly, here are some excellent, traditional dispensational teachers and their websites that we frequently use in our home Bible study group and with our family.
|Andy Woods Ministries||Online theology courses, videos, books, blogs, etc. Dr. Woods is currently President of Chafer Seminary.||Dr. Andy Woods|
|Dean Bible Ministries||Site for Dr. Robert Dean, Pastor of West Houston Bible Church. Lots of good stuff. Works a lot with Chafer Seminary.||Dr. Robert Dean|
|Dispensational Publishing House||Publisher of dispensational books, pamphlets, and blog articles by various authors. Dispensational church finder.||Managed by Dr. Randy White|
|Drcone.com||Podcasts, videos, articles, and Bible study resources.||Dr. Christopher Cone – President of Calvary University|
|Duluth Bible Church||Excellent website for teaching pastor Dennis Rokser. Also, the location for Grace Institute of Biblical Studies and Grace Gospel Press.||Dennis Rokser|
|Middletown Bible Church||Excellent site for Bible studies, Sunday School Lessons, and Doctrine.||George Zeller|
|Pre-Trib Research Center||Excellent site with articles and teaching by top Bible scholars.||Various Scholars and Teachers|
|Randy White Ministries||
Online Bible study tools, blog articles, and video broadcasts
|Dr. Randy White|
|Spirit and Truth||Website with Bible study courses and resources.||Andy Woods, Tony Garland, Paul Henebury, Steve Lewis, and Charles Ray|
|Sugar Land Bible Church||Website for Sugar Land Bible Church (near Houston, TX)||Dr. Andy Woods; Dr. Jim McGowan|
|Theology is for Everyone||Access to great books, blogs, and other materials that aid in theological studies.||Daniel Geopfrich|
|Westcliff Bible Church||Westcliff Bible church website with access to book downloads and other resources.||Dr. Steve Waterhouse|
*For additional information, email Steve Hanna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Hanna graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1974 with a BS in Engineering and then spent 6 years on active duty as an officer in the US Army. Following that, he studied theology at Dallas Theological Seminary for one year and later took a job as a project engineer in the oil and gas industry. He recently retired after serving 34 years in the oil and gas industry as a capital project manager and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Bible & Theology with a NT Greek concentration through Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute. Steve enjoys teaching and writing about theology and is hoping to use his degree from Tyndale to improve his skills in those areas.