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I posted this article in a MSN group that I visit. The “Church of Christ” is not the “one true church”! It is a Cult. By Damon Whitsell

I was asked this question,,, “Why does the CoC rate the label “cult” over “heretical”?”, then the questionnaire ask a series of questions voicing his concerns about me referring to the “Church of Christ” as a cult.

What follows is my response.

I would be happy to help out. You said,

QUESTION: “Usually these revelations are presented as truth by a leader who is proclaimed to be a prophet of some kind and whose teachings and writings are considered to be an addition to Scripture and of equal or near equal authority.”

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Responce: The COC claims that all individual congregations are autonomous but in reality they have many “Scholars” that write manuals for them. That is why no matter where you go you here the same arguments and rhetoric from the majority of them. They do not have any extra biblical books such as the Mormons book of Mormon, Doctrine and covenants and the Pearl of great price. They do not have a “prophetical figure“ dispensing “new revelation from God”. But these manuals by COC scholars are considered a “New way” of understanding biblical truth.

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QUESTION: Usually said groups practice one form or another of shunning.

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Responce: The COC is authoritarian in that they claim to be the “only true Christ of Jesus” and only they have the way of salvation. The claim is made that the NT church of Jesus and the apostles ceased to exist and had to be “restored”. They are a part of the restoration movement. You can read more HERE. http://www.how2becomeachristian.info/restorationism.htm

If your not of the COC your shunned as not a real Christian. If you are COC and leave to go to another denomination you are shunned as having left the one true church and forfeited your salvation. This is demonstrated in Sissy’s thread The Church and the doctrine of Christ and many other threads and a considerable number of her post in other thread topics. Can we count the number of threads that have been hijacked by Sissy and her claim to be sinless and her claims that we too must be sinless to be saved?

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QUESTION: Usually said groups reject that salvation is possible by any other means than a strict embracing and adherence of/to their extra-biblical doctrines.

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Responce: This is the case with the COC. Their doctrine of baptismal regeneration (salvation by baptism as opposed to Grace) is thoroughly non-biblical. And so is their claim to be the “one true” or restored church. Their denial of the divinity of the Holy Spirit rejects the biblical triune nature of God. I am glad you asked the next question.

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QUESTION: Usually said groups are legalistic and have strict codes of compliance.

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Responce; 2 COC members here have started at least a dozen threads promoting their doctrine of sinless perfection. According to them your not saved unless you sinless. The sinless perfection (or entire sanctification) is not exclusive to the COC. Many Christian pseudo-cults employ and advocate it. At the same time not many COC churches and believers adhere to it. But they do employ an overbearing attitude and practice of legalism. The practice of legalism is employed in all Christian cults. See my article CULT UNITY ? By Damon Whitsell

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Cult apologetics pioneer Walter Martin defined a cult as follows,, In his 1955 book The Rise of the Cults: An Introductory Guide to the Non-Christian Cults, Martin gave the following definition of a cult: “By cultism we mean the adherence to doctrines which are pointedly contradictory to orthodox Christianity and which yet claim the distinction of either tracing their origin to orthodox sources or of being in essential harmony with those sources. Cultism, in short, is any major deviation from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith.”

These “essential Christian doctrines” are alomost universally agreed among cult apologetics ministries to be 1. the Trinity 2. the full deity and humanity of Christ 3. the spiritual lostness (need for salvation) of the human race 4. the substitution atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ 5. salvation by faith alone in Christ alone

Link here— >>>>Watchman Fellowship’s 2001 Index of Cults and Religions (which list well over a hundred cult entries) states that a cult is Cult= “By its primary dictionary definition, the term cult just means a system of religious beliefs or rituals. It is based on a farming term in Latin meaning cultivation. Sociologists and anthropologists sometimes use the term cult to describe religious structure or belief patterns with meanings (usually non-pejorative) unique to their disciplines. In modern usage, the term cult is often used by the general public to describe any religious group they view as strange or dangerous. Thus, cult can describe religious leaders or organizations that employ abusive, manipulative, or illegal control over their followers’ lives. In addition to these usages, Christians generally have a doctrinal component to their use of the word. Cult in this sense, is a counterfeit or serious deviation from the doctrines of classical Christianity. Watchman Fellowship usually uses the term cult with a Christian or doctrinal definition in mind. In most cases the group claims to be Christian, but because of their aberrant beliefs on central doctrines of the faith (God, Jesus, and salvation), the organization is not considered by Watchman Fellowship to be part of orthodox, biblical Christianity. Research material and Profile are available.”
This is their entry for the COC.

“Churches of Christ: The independent Churches of Christ movement was one of several associations and denominations that developed from Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott and Barton W. Stone’s restoration movement of the early 19th century, which was designed to promote unity among Protestants. Many (but not all) Churches of Christ today, however, differ from traditional Protestant doctrine in two key areas. Many maintain that water baptism and/or other commandments (rather than salvation by grace through faith alone) are a requirement for salvation (see Baptismal regeneration, Salvation by works). Some also believe that today’s Churches of Christ are the only true churches on earth and that they can literally trace their history to the first century church in Jerusalem. “

Not all COC congregations and COC members are aberrant or heretical to the point of apostasy that they are labeled a cult or cult members. From my reading of (“members who have left the COC”) these figures are stated between 20% and 70%.

From my article,,, Unity Within Diversity UNITY IN ESSENTIALS link HERE

UNITY WITHIN DIVERSITY

A few months ago I was engaged in debates at factnet ( a cult watch ministry ) with followers of Arnold Murray and the Shepard’s Chapel. They can be called a Christian cult because they do not hold to essential doctrine. They cannot be called a denomination or a true church. They have nothing in common with others that call themselves Christian except for the name Christian. They hold an unorthodox view concerning the nature of God, man, sin and salvation. From non essentials such as the heresy of pre-existence to the heresy of anglo-Isrealism, to the essentials of God, man and salvation by grace not works or genetics, they are unorthodox to the core. They are not unified within diversity as real Christians are. They are isolated and don’t have unity with those who hold to essential doctrines. Let me explain what I mean by unity with in diversity.

My phone book list about 20 different local Christian churches. Among them are denominations and non denoms and Christian cults. I can go to most of those churches and have much unity in beliefs with them, especially concerning Jesus. In essentials unity, in non essentials liberty and in all things love. Some I could not attend at all because they are diametrically opposed to essential orthodox Christian beliefs, but we must remember that they are cults by virtue of their unorthodox teachings.

Christians churches and denominations enjoy a shared unity within diversity about beliefs concerning God, man, sin and salvation amongst all non cult denominations and non denominational churches. But a follower of Arnold Murray and the Shepard’s chapel cannot enjoy that same unity with other local churches. To fellowship they have to travel to Arkansas or do their fellowshipping online with other Shepard Chapelers. They are isolated, exclusive and authoritarianistic because of their beliefs.

There are beliefs that are essential to orthodox Christianity. There are beliefs that are important but not essential. And there are beliefs that have no relevance at all concerning orthodoxy such as eschatology. Because most of these churches hold to essential doctrines they could be called essentially Christian but some would have to be called Christian cults because they are not Christian by virtue of the essence of their beliefs about Jesus Christ yet still apply the term Christian to themselves.

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18 Comments

    • Abraham Olivera
    • Posted October 18, 2008 at 2:43 pm
    • Permalink

    Dear, scholar?
    Well, only thing to say, just be real and don´t get yourself inmersed in speculations. Just one example, The New Testament teaches about The Church, but we don´t preach or teach that our group is the only one saved. Please, be kind to yourself and do not show us your irresponsability of categorizing people despectevely.

  1. =================================

    Sometimes I get frustrated about answering the same old questions, accusations and twisting of logic, that I chose NOT to respond and then later when I see the comment and am not as frustrated, I want to give an answer or point a thing or two out.

    ABRAHAM said: “The New Testament teaches about The Church, but we don´t preach or teach that our group is the only one saved.”

    You sir, dear Scholar? Need to be kind to yourself and do not show us your irresponsibility of categorizing people respectively by using Christian terms in an exclusive sense. The bible teaches about “THE CHURCH“, and when it does so, it is NOT talking about the Church of Christ, as in the Church of Christ denomination/CULT, that hangs a sign on their door and think that makes them Christian. No it is talking about the whole body of believers. the entire body of Christians throughout the world, regardless of denomination or tradition

    Your statement is an oxymoron. You say you don’t teach that your group is the only one saved. BUT your loaded term “Church” and the way ya’ll use it,,, is meant to say,,,, you guys are not the church, not even a part of it,,,, JUST US, bible names for bible things ya know.

    BUT you guys will twist and wrench the scripture in one breath and accuse others of twisting and wrenching in the next.

    ANSWER ME THIS, why do you guys always try to deny your historical roots? AND show me a bible verse that says we are to name our churches bible names. Tell me where the bible says we are to use bible names for anything. Where is that commandment?

    AND TELL ME, on what bible verse does the restoration movement that the CoC is the biggest part of, use to say,,,,,,,,,, we are told that the church will fall away after Jesus’s assention and the Apostles death, AND WE ARE GIVEN A DIVINE MANDATE TO “RESTORE IT” Where is that verse. I got a few that says otherwise, where is yours Mr. CoC/ Scholar?

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    • Cullen
    • Posted August 14, 2009 at 8:47 am
    • Permalink

    What scriptures do you have that say one is saved by grace alone?

  2. By definition, Grace is alone. Scripture clearly says that grace is not works and works is not grace. Scripture is also clear that grace and salvation is NOT OF YOURSELVES. (Eph2:8-9 and Johna 2:9) It would be sad for you to miss out on the FREE GIFT OF GOD because you did not understand that FREE means FREE, GIFT means GIFT and grace does not have to use the qualifier ALONE to stand alone. If you could do anything to save yourself. You would not need a Savior.

    But then again all cults define grace alike. They all say as the Mormons do. You are saved by grace,, after all you can do. WHICH IS NOT GRACE AT ALL.

    HOW DO YOU DEFINE GRACE?

  3. Damon, I have copied the address for your article (above) and put it on my Marking and Exposing False Teachers website under the heading “The Church of Christ is a Cult.” Then I responded to it. You talk about having debated preachers from the church of Christ, well debate me.

    In Christ Jesus
    Jerry McDonald

  4. I apologize, let me send the link to my website:
    http://www.maeft.org/calvinism

    This will get to the page where both articles are published.
    jdm

  5. Hello Jerry,, I will read your response and let you know if I decide to offer a counter response. But I am not interested in doing the “CoC semantical circular shuffle” for any length of time.

    I read a little of the opening and the closing and if Non CoC churches constitute “christian churches”,, what does that make the CoC?

    To be honest chances are very thin that I will debate you because you have already started with the logical fallacy of placing me and my post under your heading of “Calvinism”. I am not a Calvinist and your guilt by association fallacy/tactic shows your not interested in genuine debate. Also it is a bad time in my life right now as My mom has been hospitalized for a month and my dog started treatment for heartworms today. And my efforts have been concentrating on the Word of Faith movement for the last year and I am caught up in work and daily debates in a WoF forum.

    If I do not respond back in a week,,, please give me a reminder.

    damon

  6. I apologize, I thought you believed in “grace only” which is a tenet of Calvinism. Do you believe that man is totally depraved? Do you believe in predestination? Do you believe in once saved, always saved? All of those are tenets of Calvinism. If you don’t believe in those things, let me know, and I will move your article to a different section.
    jdm

  7. Also you stand with Bob L. Ross, and he is a Calvinist.
    jdm

  8. Hi Jerry. I do not know if Bob Ross is Calvinist or not. Ross speaks against the CoC and I have spoken against the CoC. Just because I have Ross’s video and articles on my site does not infer that I “stand with him” or that we are from the same theological tradition.

    Faith alone and grace alone is not Calvanist. It is protestant and Christian. Grace plus works = A CULT.

    You know there are five points of Calvinism and five points of Arminianism,,, right?

    I am three parts Calvanist and 2 parts Arminian. Neither theological system is 100% correct and neither is 100% wrong. But pelagianism is 100% wrong.

    IF I WHERE 100% calvanist,,, what does that to do with CoC doctrine. It’s a strawman/gulit by association fallacy. I could very well say your Arminian/Pelagian so therefor the CoC is wrong on that basis. But that does not deal with the CoC directly.

    You muddied the water before I agreed to get into the water. So why would I want to get into muddy water anyway?

    • Leon Tuttle
    • Posted February 19, 2011 at 10:41 pm
    • Permalink

    I have defeated Jerry McDonald, Church of Christ cultist, and he runs away and hurls vile insults when defeated. He calls people fools, liars, frauds etc.

    He mocks the scriptures, ignores any and all scriptures given to him and just attacks people’s faith.He has even been marked as a “false teacher” by other Church of Christ preachers

    I suggest that a debate with McDonald would be a waste of time

  9. Hi Leon, thanks for the information!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I jumped over to Jerry’s youtube channel and offered him to debate via video but he did not accept. If I had time then or now I would hold him to his challenge but I know how things can get with CoC’ers,,, but I’d feel almost ungentlemanly to be whopping an old man that almost sick to death and can hardly function, much less hold any quality of dialogue or debate.

    THANKS FOR THE VISIT!!!!!!!

  10. Damon Whitsell: “Hi Leon, thanks for the information!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I jumped over to Jerry’s youtube channel and offered him to debate via video but he did not accept. If I had time then or now I would hold him to his challenge but I know how things can get with CoC’ers,,, but I’d feel almost ungentlemanly to be whopping an old man that almost sick to death and can hardly function, much less hold any quality of dialogue or debate.

    THANKS FOR THE VISIT!!!!!!!”

    I don’t recall your offering to debate me via video. When did you make this challenge, and also would you be willing to debate me via video, or in writing?
    jdm

  11. ” Leon Tuttle: “I have defeated Jerry McDonald, Church of Christ cultist, and he runs away and hurls vile insults when defeated. He calls people fools, liars, frauds etc.

    He mocks the scriptures, ignores any and all scriptures given to him and just attacks people’s faith.He has even been marked as a “false teacher” by other Church of Christ preachers

    I suggest that a debate with McDonald would be a waste of time.”

    The one debate that Leon Tuttle (aka Tinroad6g, aka David Goldsmith) and I did have (on the eternality of hell found at http://www.challenge2.org/mcdonaldtinroaddebateintroduction) he backed out of before it was over. I have tried to get him to agree to a written debate on the Holy Spirit, but all he is willing to accept are internet list discussions on his list so that when I start getting the best of him, he can delete my posts, place me on moderation and then claim victory. Other than that he is pretty much of a coward.
    jdm

  12. Damon Whitsell said: “but I’d feel almost ungentlemanly to be whopping an old man that almost sick to death and can hardly function, much less hold any quality of dialogue or debate.”

    “old man sick to death and can hardly function”? Okay, why don’t you debate me and see how sick to death and can hardly function I am. This sick old man will give you more than you can ever handle. Let’s debate coward.
    jdm

  13. Hi Jerry, I am not going to debate you for the reason I stated AND because I don’t have time and have since moved from focusing on the CoC, to the Word of Faith, to Islam.

    And the article your wrote about me is only worthy of ignoring because anyone that does some googeling will find I have never claimed to be a Calvinist as you have labeled me to try to use the guilt by association logical fallacy, and many other reasons.

    You go on thinking your a member of the “one true Church” until you die and I’ll go on being thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ I have not been deceived by the CoC Cult.

    See ya on Judgment day!

  14. Hi Jerry,,, Your recollection is just selective memory.

  15. Tis Tis, now,, everyone is a “coward” except Jerry McDonald. LOL

    How long has it been since Jerry was last here?


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