Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Adventism

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

 

 

 

A SECOND LOOK AT SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM

VISIT this very nice resource

VISIT this very nice resource

 

There are now two distinct camps in Adventism. The split became apparent in the late 1970s when pastors of many years’ standing began to question their prophetess, Ellen G. White. They began to question her peculiar doctrines which could not be supported fully by the Scriptures. Many were disillusioned by the revelation of her plagiarism, which was very extensive, and documented in the book, “The White Lie” by former SDA pastor, Walter Rea.

The hundreds of pastors who questioned Ellen White as an absolute authority and discovered the cover-up by the White Estate, soon found themselves on the outside, still trying to bring about reform from that disadvantaged position. Two camps quickly formed, those loyal to Ellen White, and those determined to be loyal to the Bible above all else.

Those loyal to Ellen White published such statements as those contained in the “Ministry” Magazine of October, 1981. Ron Graybill, who was then assistant secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate, made this statement on page 8, ”

“We believe the revelation and inspiration of both the Bible and Ellen White’s writings to be of equal quality. The superintendence of the Holy Spirit was just as careful and thorough in one case as in the other.” end quote.

Graybill, however, went on to state that…”we dare not use Ellen White as the final arbiter in matters of doctrine”. In later years, he resigned his position.

The Seventh-Day Adventist church “felt the heat”, and formed councils to look into Ellen White’s peculiar doctrines. They have spent months in discussion, published endless papers, but have not corrected Ellen White’s views. Therefore, since an adequate time period has passed for these issues to be corrected by the church, we must again take a look at Adventism as it stands today and decide, Christian or Cult?

SOME SDA DOCTRINES ARE ORTHODOX

Let us begin by saying that SDA’s quite orthodox on a number of doctrines. Each person baptized as a SDA receives a ” Certificate of Profession of Faith”. Each person being baptized must sign a thirteen-point statement entitled “My Commitment”. As we read the first five points, the document appears perfectly, fundamentally, Christian.

However, by point six, we find the deviations beginning. Point six reads, “I accept the Ten Commandments as still binding upon Christians, and it is my purpose by the power of the indwelling Christ, to keep this law, including the fourth commandment, which requires the observance of the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath of the Lord.” Point eight has the convert believing, “that the gift of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church”. Point thirteen identifies the Seventh-Day Adventist Church as the “remnant church of Bible Prophecy.”

These doctrines are the teachings of Ellen G. White. As the convert peruses his baptismal booklet under the heading “Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists”, the peculiarities of Adventism become apparent. Under heading 17, “The Gift of Prophecy”, we find this statement “This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church, comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.”

Under heading 19, “The Sabbath” we are told that (God)…”instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation”. The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day sabbath…It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God’s Kingdom. The Sabbath is God’s perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people.”

Heading 23 becomes even more of a deviation. Entitled, “Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary”, it contains this information, “He (Christ) was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of atonement.”

Other headings cover such subjects as diet, a view of death as an unconscious state, and foot-washing. We can see from this quick review just what it is that makes Adventism different from orthodox Christianity. How important are these deviations –important enough to call Seventh-Day Adventism a cult?

THE SEVENTH-DAY SABBATH

Seventh-Day Adventists strive to keep “THE LAW” of the Old Testament. They place emphasis on the ten commandments as “the Law”, when in fact the ten commandments form only a small part of the entire Law. Saturday Sabbath-keeping is greatly stressed as a requirement for salvation in this extremely legalistic group.

SDA’s have a habit of thinking “Ten Commandments” or “Sabbath” every time the Bible mentions “The Law”. This is not correct. The word “Law” occurs over 400 times in Scripture, and refers to the entire Law, comprising ceremonial feasts, special days, sacrifices, dietary restrictions, cleansings etc. The term never applies solely to either the ten commandments or the Sabbath alone.

Realistically speaking, no Seventh-Day Adventist REALLY keeps “The Law”. Where are their blood sacrifices? Do they heat their houses on Saturday? They are all Law-breakers if they carefully and honestly examine their lives in light of the entire Law. The Bible makes no distinction regarding the Law, that some parts are “ceremonial” as the SDA’s claim, a claim designed to avoid truly keeping the Law in its entirety.

THE LAW WAS FOR THE NATION OF ISRAEL ONLY

Regarding the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:2 states, “I am the Lord your God, who BROUGHT YOU OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, out of the house of slavery”.

The ten commandments were obviously given to those who had been brought out of the land of Egypt. This would limit the ten commandments to God’s chosen people, the Israelites, the Jews.

Deuteronomy 5:3 shows that the Law was binding on those Israelites or Jews alive in MOSES’ day. “The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today.” Therefore, no covenant was made to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc. as claimed by SDA’s.

SABBATH-KEEPING

Seventh-Day Adventists make the Saturday Sabbath of extreme importance in their plan of salvation. Yet it is not Christians, and Deuteronomy 5:15 applies it only to the Jews “And you shall remember that YOU WERE A SLAVE IN THE LAND OF EGYPT and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; THEREFORE the LORD your God commanded you to OBSERVE THE SABBATH DAY.

Notice that the Sabbath was a special covenant for those people delivered from bondage in Egypt. (see also Ezekiel 20:10-12; Exodus 31:12-18; Exodus 16:29; Nehemiah 9:13, 14.)

IS THE SABBATH A MEMORIAL OF CREATION?

It is true that Genesis 23 says God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, but there was no command to memorialize it in remembrance of creation. The command to keep the sabbath day went only to those who were slaves in Egypt. There is no biblical record of the sabbath being kept in the interim between creation and the days of Moses. Why? Obviously because it was not commanded to be kept.

I have carefully looked up every scripture reference given by the SDA’s regarding sabbath-keeping. (Gen. 21-2; Ex. 20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Isa. 56:5,6; 581:3,14; Matt. 12:1-12; Ex. 31:13-17; Eze.4:16 Eze. 20:12,20; Deut. 5:12-15; Heb. 4:1-11; Lev. 23:32; Mark 1:32). All commands to keep the Sabbath are Old Testament ones to the sons of Israel. The scripture from Isaiah 56:5,6, has no reference to the sabbath at all, but refers to a “memorial NAME”, not a DAY. The New Testament references are not commands to keep the sabbath.

IS THE SABBATH “CEREMONIAL” ?

Seventh-Day Adventists in particular get out of keeping all the points of the Law by claiming some are “ceremonial” and don’t require strict observance, but in their understanding the Sabbath does require strict observance. Leviticus, chapter 23 lists several “Holy Convocations”. The first-mentioned one is the seventh-day sabbath. The chapter goes on to list other “holy convocations”, namely the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened bread, the Wave offering, the Feast of Booths, etc. All are identified as “holy convocations”. Why then claim that the first one mentioned, namely the seventh-day sabbath, is NOT “ceremonial”, but ALL OTHERS listed are! Let’s interpret the Bible honestly, and in context!

ARE CHRISTIANS UNDER THE SABBATH LAW?

Seventh-Day Adventists judge Christians very harshly for not keeping “Sundown Friday to Sundown Saturday.” Christians, on the other hand, don’t condemn others for worshipping on Saturday if that is their preference. Christians recognize that we are under grace, and not under the Law.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or A SABBATH DAY–things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Col. 2:16,17).

No one calling himself a Christian should judge another respecting the Sabbath, and yet the SDA church would have Christians receive the “mark of the beast” for not keeping the Saturday sabbath. They have therefore made salvation dependent on which day of the week one keeps!

Hebrews, chapter four, shows that the fulfillment of the Jewish Sabbath was not the keeping of the same day by Christians, but the entering of Christians into God’s rest. The early Christians preached on the Jewish Sabbath because the Jews were gathered in the synagogue on that day. (See Acts 17:2-4). Their fellowship together was always the “first day” of the week, Sunday, the day of Christ’s resurrection. (See Acts 20:7)

CONCLUSIONS REGARDING THE SABBATH

There is NO scripture commanding Christians to keep the Saturday sabbath. Surely there would be a command if it was of such importance as to affect our salvation! Christians have always met for fellowship and the breaking of bread on the first day of the week, Sunday, and continue to do so until this day. They do not claim Sunday is the “sabbath” but rather , the “Lord’s Day”. Sunday worship was not introduced by the Roman Catholic Church, although they like to take credit for it. Catholics merely carried on where the Apostles left off. The claim by SDA’s that Christians are worshipping the sun by meeting on Sunday, is just as ridiculous as us accusing the SDA’s of worshipping Saturn, because they meet on Saturday!

WE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW!

The Law was our tutor, or teacher leading us to Christ. Galatians 3:25 concludes “we are no longer under a tutor”. The Law divided Jews from Gentiles, so Christ abolished it. (Ephesians 2:14-16).

Even the Jews knew the old Law Covenant would pass away Jeremiah 31:31 says, “Behold the days are coming”, declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”. God would write His new law on people’s hearts (vs. 33). Jesus Christ Himself instituted the new covenant. (See 1 Corinthians 11:25), fulfilling and abolishing the old Law covenant. Yes, the old Law Covenant, including the seventh-day sabbath observance is now over. The letter of the Law is finished. Christ Himself is described as the end (Greek, “telos” or “terminator”) of the Law. (Romans 10:4).

We will close this subject by quoting Romans 8:2-4, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did; sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin. He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

THE 1844 INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT DOCTRINE

The investigative judgment doctrine teaches that in fulfillment of Old Testament sanctuary typology, Christ entered into the second apartment of the sanctuary in heaven in 1844 in order to begin a work of “investigative judgment” to see who was worthy of eternal life, both of those still living and those dead.

A brief background for this teaching is called for. Ellen G. White, under the influence of William Miller, an early Adventist, agreed with his date for the visible return of Christ. October of 1844 was set for the second coming of Christ. Christ obviously did not return on that date, so in order to “save face” over a false prophecy, “investigative judgment” was born. 1844 came to be the date when a work of final atonement, which would blot out a believer’s sin would begin.

This teaching is the opposite of the full atonement taught by the Christian church, and also mocks at the words of our Savior from the Cross, “It is finished.” (John 19:30). Hebrews 10:12 also states “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, FOREVER, sat down on the right hand of God.” Christ paid fully for our sins, atoning for them fully. No scripture teaches otherwise.

SERIOUS RAMIFICATIONS OF THE 1844 INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT TEACHING

In 1877, Uriah Smith, an early Adventist, declared, “Christ did not make the atonement when he shed his blood upon the cross. Let this fact be fixed forever in the mind”. (The Sanctuary and the Twenty-Three Hundred Days of Daniel VIII, 14, p. 276, quoted in “Are the Gospel and the 1844 Theology Compatible?” by Robert D. Brinsmead, p.17).

Ellen White herself declared in “The Great Controversy” that “before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed, there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended.” (1844). We will not be citing page numbers for “The Great Controversy” since so many editions were printed, but by looking in the index for the subject, the quotes can be found. So, Ellen White places the time of Christ’s atonement after 1844.

While plagiarizing various evangelical writers of this time she did also copy statements teaching that redemption was finished at the cross, and some SDA’s like to quote only these references, but in all honesty, they must admit the SDA view was and is a denial of the atoning work of Christ at Calvary. There is even found in “The Great Controversy” this denial of Him as our absolute mediator. “Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above, are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort, they must be conquerors in the battle with evil.”

Later in the same book this statement is made, “In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor.”

What a terrible thought to have to stand before God without Christ as our mediator! Thank God for the assurance found in l John 2:1, “…And if any man sin, we have an advocate (intercessor) with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

WHO BEARS OUR SINS?

The answer to the above question comes quickly to the Christian because the scriptures plainly teach that Christ “bore our sins IN HIS OWN BODY on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that Christ was “made…to be sin for us”. The SDA go one step further, and say that Christ will in turn lay our sins on Satan, and he will bear them! Their strange interpretation of Leviticus 16, making Satan the Scapegoat, is unsupported from Scripture, and is further proof that by using “The Great Controversy” they would add to Christ’s finished work of atonement.

IS JESUS MICHAEL?

SDA’s persist in perpetrating Ellen White’s error that Jesus Christ is Michael. They are quick to point out that they do not believe Jesus is any kind of an angel. Since Michael is called an “Archangel”, they interpret this to mean that Jesus is “Chief over the angels”, while still being God. However, Daniel 10:13 says that Michael is “ONE OF the chief princes”. Jesus is not “one of” any group! Michael lacked the authority to rebuke Satan (Jude 9). Jesus, on the other hand, repeatedly rebuked Satan (Matthew 17:l8, Mark 9:25, etc.). Jesus is clearly not Michael.

THE DENIAL OF HELL AND THE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP

In the early 1800’s, groups began arising that taught that hell was not a place of eternal torment. “Soul sleep” or a state of unconsciousness replaced torment. Seventh-Day Adventists embraced this doctrine.

THREE WORDS FOR HELL

Most of the confusion surrounding the topic of hell, is because the King James Version of the Bible translated three distinct Greek words by the one word “hell”. The three Greek words are “tartaros, “hades”, and “Gehenna”. Only one of these three words refers to the place of eternal torment commonly called “hell”, and the other words are often given mistaken meanings. Let’s consider these three words and their meanings.

TARTAROS (HELL)

“Tataros” need not concern us too much since it is a special abode for angels who are confined to this special pit of darkness. The word, “Tartaros” occurs only once in the New Testament in 2 Peter 2:4.

HADES (HELL)

“Hades”, also translated “Hell” occurs ten times in the New Testament and is referred to by three writers, Matthew, Luke, and John. The most detailed information we can find about Hades is in Luke, Chapter 16, where we are told about a rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus died in a righteous condition and the angels took him into Abraham’s bosom, to a place of peace and security. The rich man, on the other hand, went to “hades” or “hell”, and was in great torment. He was obviously fully conscious of his surroundings and not in a condition of so-called “soul sleep”, for the account in Luke records, “The rich man also died and was buried; and in hell (or hades) he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.” (Luke 16:21,22). He pleaded for a drop of water to cool his tongue because of the torment of the flame. He could also see the happy condition of Lazarus, but could not leave his place of torment. He spoke about his worry over his five brothers who had yet to die. He wished to spare them his present agony. Yes, this pitiful rich man had all his faculties, and was indeed experiencing ongoing torment.

IS LUKE 16 ONLY A PARABLE?

Groups denying the reality of hellfire do indeed claim that the above account is “only a parable”, or is “figurative” or “spiritual”. However this account is not a parable, since proper names of recognizable Bible characters are used, whereas Jesus never used proper names in his parables, and generally indicated when He was teaching in a parable.

Even stretching the point and allowing that Luke 16 could be a parable, it teaches a spiritual truth, and Jesus taught truth, not falsehoods.

HADES IS NOT THE FINAL DESTINATION

“Hades” in the Greek, finds its parallel in the Hebrew word “Sheol”. Hades and Sheol (both translated “hell”), are often called the “holding tanks” by some Bible scholars, since souls in this “hell” are not in their final destination. According to Revelation, chapter 20, those in hades will yet stand before the Great White Throne Judgment. Hades will be terminated at this time. Those with condemnatory judgment will be cast into “Gehenna” (Hell), the Lake that burns with Fire and Sulphur”.

GEHENNA (HELL)–THE FINAL DESTINATION

The term “Gehenna”, also translated “hell” occurs twelve times in the New Testament, and every quote is by Jesus Christ. Six of the twelve references to Gehenna mention fire as one of its characteristics. Southeast of Jerusalem was the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. During Old Testament times, children were offered to the false god Moloch in this valley, and later Jews used this valley to dispose of their rubbish, as well as the bodies of dead animals and unburied criminals. To consume all this, a fire was kept burning continuously, and gnawing worms abounded. It was a vile place. The Jews of Jesus’ day certainly had a vivid picture of what being thrown alive into Gehenna would mean for them.

WHAT DID JESUS SAY ABOUT GEHENNA?

One has only to read the words of Jesus in Mark 9:42-48 to know the seriousness of a destination of Gehenna. “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if they hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into Gehenna (or hell), into the fire that never shall be quenched; where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

The same warning is issued regarding a foot or an eye that would hinder us, that “the fire would not be quenched”, and “the worm would not die”. Christ stressed that it would be better to lose the most precious things in this life and avoid hell, than to retain all that this life holds dear, and be cast into this dreadful place. Why all these warnings by the Lord Himself, if we are only going to be unconscious?

WHAT ABOUT “SOUL SLEEP”?

A condition of soul-sleep is obviously not taught by Christ. The inhabitants of hell are not unconscious or annihilated. When we really believe the word of God as it is written, and don’t try to “figurative” or “spiritualize” it away, it becomes evident that Hell is a very real destination, and its inhabitants are conscious.

Let’s compare Revelation 19:20 with Revelation 20:10. Notice that before the l,000-year reign of Christ, the beast and the false prophet were cast into the Lake of Fire. Were they annihilated in that Lake of Fire (Hell)? No, for 1,000 years later they are still alive, and the Devil joins them in their condition of torment. Scripture says plainly, “they shall be tormented day and night, for ever and ever.”

CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATION!

Let’s just believe the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 25:46, that there are two destinations, one for believers, and one for unbelievers. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.” The same exact word in the Greek describes both conditions. Both are “everlasting”, “eternal” and “ongoing”. We may choose eternal life or eternal punishment and torment. Denying the reality of Hell won’t prevent us from going there! Choose life and truth today.

TRUSTING IN ELLEN G. WHITE

Seventh-Day Adventism rises or falls on Ellen G. White. I do not need to elaborate on the excellent research already done by her (former) followers, proving that she plagiarized almost all of her writings, even while claiming “visions” from God.

Instead, I have chosen to answer her doctrinal deviations from the Bible. I could go on to list false prophecies, but I prefer to stick to the doctrinal issues. Some years ago, I was on a radio debate with three SDA pastors. They entrenched themselves behind Ellen G. White, while at the same time professing belief in the Bible as the final authority. They constantly attempted to somehow reconcile her statements with Scripture and explain away her deviations. One of them became outright abusive after we were off the air.

After a decade in the cults ministry we can state for a fact that our most angry, hateful mail comes from Seventh-Day Adventists, many of them anonymously, which does not afford us an opportunity to reply with the truth of the matter and give them references in their own publications

Nevertheless, we had hopes that following the shake-up caused by the expose of their prophetess and the White Estate, the Seventh-Day Adventist church would renounce her doctrines and move into the Evangelical Christian group. However, we have allowed ample time for this to happen. Instead, the SDA church has chosen their prophetess and her organization. Therefore we state that they are a cult for the following reasons

1. Misrepresentation of Jesus Christ as to His person, mediatorship, and atoning work.

2. They are a cult due to their claim to exclusivity. They believe they alone will receive salvation, avoiding the “mark of the beast” they believe they alone are the “remnant church”.

3. Salvation has been “boiled down” to which day of the week you keep. Grace has been contaminated with extreme legalism and works.

4. Seventh-Day Adventism is a cult because they chose to endorse a proven false prophetess and embrace her teachings, even after the truth was shown to the leaders.

Seventh-Day Adventists used to like to point out that cult expert, Dr. Walter Martin did not regard them as a cult in his book, “Kingdom of the Cults”. However, Dr. Martin has since altered his view, now that all the facts are in. On public television, during “The John Ankerberg Show”, he made this statement, “I fear that if they continue to progress at this rate, then the classification of a cult can’t possibly miss being reapplied to Seventh-Day Adventism, because once you have an interpreter of Scripture, a final court of appeal that tells you what Scripture means, as soon as you judge Scripture by that, as soon as you have someone who has made doctrinal errors in the past, even on the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the atonement and other things, and that person is raised to that position or authority, you have polarization around that person.”

Sadly, we must concur with Dr. Martin. Seventh-Day Adventism has placed itself in the category of a cult.

http://mmoutreach.org/sda/articles/pf_second_look.htm

=======================================================

CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

—————————————————————————-

Advertisements
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Seventh Day Adventist Documentary Plu…“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

 

Hidden Heresies of Seventh-Day Adventists

by David J. Stewart

Seventh Day Adventism (SDA) is a very deceitful false religion. SDAs, more than any other false religion, APPEAR as born again Christians. An Adventist gentleman sent me the following website, trying to defend the SDA religion…

http://www.adventistreview.org/2003-1539/wed.html

From looking at the above website, you’d never know they were unsaved heretics. They believe in Christ’s deity, the Virgin Birth, the Godhead, etc. They teach on their webpage that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, just as the Word of God teaches. But don’t be fooled. This deception has led MANY people, even Christians, to accept SDAs as “Christian.” What they’re NOT telling you about is their HIDDEN heresies which they would never put forth to the public. With the help of the beloved Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980), I would like to EXPOSE the truth about this Satanic cult that falsely claims to be “Christian.”

Here is a lengthy quote from Dr. John R. Rice’s excellent book, FALSE DOCTRINES (pg. 182), available from the Sword of the Lord (which I highly recommend)…

“A friend sent me a card, ‘What Seventh-Day Adventists Believe,’ and said, ‘The enclosed card seems orthodox and supported by Biblical references. I would not call them heresies. Wherein do they err?’

I am glad to give you a brief analysis of the position of Seventh-Day Adventists stated on the card.

Unfortunately, heresy always presents itself in deceitful form. False doctrine has always involved some moral guilt also. So in 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15 God warns us:

‘For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.’

So Satan makes sure that heresy always appears like orthodoxy. Wolves put on sheep’s clothing, as Jesus said about false prophets in Matthew 7:15. And the worst heresies in the world pretend that their doctrine is founded on Scripture and they give Scripture references, though the Scriptures themselves do not always teach what the false doctrines try to teach.

I call your attention to some things in this statement of faith of Seventh-Day Adventists which a good Christian should question.”

Seventh-Day Adventism began in the mid-nineteenth century, when a Baptist preacher, who later repented of his folly, predicted that Jesus Christ would return in 1844. Miller had over 10,000 followers, many of whom sold their homes, gave away all their earthly possessions, quit their jobs, and waited eagerly for the Lord’s return–But the Lord didn’t return in 1844! In came Ellen G. White to save the day, claiming that instead of returning to the earth, Jesus entered into the Holy of Holies in Heaven to finish His work of atonement. She termed this event the “Investigative Judgment,” a doctrine not found anywhere in the Word of God. We will expose this more later.

Adventists Teach Salvation by Works!

Dr. Rice goes on to say on page 183..

“In article 9 (of ‘What Seventh-Day Adventists Believe’), it says, ‘that those who are truly converted and love God will diligently study, and give heed to, His Word.’ And they give eight Scripture references and none of them say anything like that. The simple truth is that people who are converted do not always ‘diligently study’ the Bible and do not always obey it in many matters. This is a part of the doctrine of salvation by works which they teach, and that one may keep saved by keeping on working.”

Thank God for Dr. Rice’s wisdom and uncompromising stand for the truth! The Devil can’t deceive us if we shine the light of God’s Word upon the darkness. As with most false religions, SDAs talk out of both sides of their mouth. They say one thing here, and then another over there. SDAs will swear on their mother’s grave that they believe in salvation by grace through faith in Christ; BUT, then the writings of Ellen G. White, whom they ALL recognize as a prophet inspired by God, contradicts their claims. Here again are the words of Dr. John R. Rice, from his book FALSE DOCTRINES (Pg. 188)…

“Mrs. White, the ‘prophetess’ of Seventh-Day Adventists, is quoted in their book, Answers to Objections, by Francis D. Nichol (published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C.), page 402, as saying:

‘Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or to feel that they are saved. This is misleading. Every one should be taught to cherish hope and faith; but even when we give ourselves to Christ and know that He accepts us, we are not beyond the reach of temptation … Only he who endures the trial will receive the crown of life.”

“On page 409 (of Answers to Objections) Mr. Nichol says, speaking officially for Seventh-Day Adventists:

‘Thus we escape on the one hand, the false doctrine of Universalism; and on the other, the equally false doctrine of claiming full and final salvation for a man before he has endured ‘unto the end.’ ”

Clearly, SDAs teach that a person must “endure” to the end to be guaranteed salvation in Christ. In contrast 1st John 5:13 states, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” We read in Romans 4:3, 5 that Abraham simply BELIEVED God, and was saved WITHOUT any works, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness … But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” There is NO mention of enduring to the end to be saved. “Enduring” would be a work. Eternal life is a “FREE GIFT” (Romans 5:15; 6:23), paid for by the precious blood of Christ (1st Peter 1:18,19). SDAs teach salvation by works when they require a person to “endure unto the end” to be saved for certain.

Francis D. Nichol, in his book, Answers to Objections, states on page 243…

“Here is our position: Only those will be saved who, having been redeemed by the grace of Christ, walk in obedience to all the light that God sheds on their way.”

This is the official Adventist position! The above doctrine means that all SDA members must comply with ALL of the requirements of the SDA church to be saved. So, according to SDA doctrine, if you don’t tithe, you’re not saved. Jesus NEVER asked anyone to FOLLOW Him to be saved; BUT, rather, only to BELIEVE upon Him (John 3:16). Jesus never asked anyone to work for salvation, only believe.

Baptismal Regeneration

Here’s a website I found that teaches Baptismal Regeneration. The following LIE of Satan is taken from a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church website…

“Through baptism we are truly born again in Jesus.” -SOURCE (2nd paragraph from bottom)

What a lie of Satan! No where in the Word of God are we ever told that baptism saves. Lutherans and other Bible-corrupters like to manipulate 1st Peter 3:21, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Usually, the heretics will just take a few words out of this Scripture, failing to quote the entire Verse. If a person were only to consider the phrase, “…baptism doth also now save us,” then they might get the WRONG impression that baptism is essential to going to Heaven. If we read the rest of the Verse, then the truth is clearly seen, “…not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.” Being baptized cannot forgive our sins. In fact, getting baptized will just get you wet! 1st Peter 3:21 states that baptism is the “like figure.” Romans 6:5,6 plainly teaches that baptism is only the “likeness” of the Gospel, not the Gospel itself. Ironically, SDA’s state this on the the above webpage, which is extremely CONTRADICTORY. How can baptism be “symbolic” if it also has the POWER to save. Romans 1:16 declares that the Gospel is the “power” of God unto salvation. Baptism is not mentioned.

You can argue with me all you want, the SDA quote above, requiring baptism for salvation, speaks for itself.

Investigative Judgment Verses Biblical Redemption

There is some confusion on this matter. First, there is NO such thing as “Investigative Judgment,” it is an exclusive heresy of Seventh-Day Adventism.

Also, many preachers ignorantly teach that Christ’s work of redemption was completed at Calvary; BUT, the blood needed to be applied to the mercyseat in Heaven. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He hadn’t yet died, been buried, or rose again. How could the Gospel by finished if Christ hadn’t even died yet? So what did Jesus mean? In John 19:28-30, we read…

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished…”

What was finished? All of the prophecies concerning Christ up until that time. Jesus meticulously paid attention to every detail that had been prophesied concerning Him. Notice that Jesus said, “It is finished,” after He received the vinegar. So, Christ’s work of redemption wasn’t finished at the time He spoke those words.

Furthermore, atonement is an Old Testament word. The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin (Hebrews 10:4); BUT, only cover (atone) for those sins. Look up the Greek word for “atonement” and you will see that it means “to cover.” Interestingly, this is the same Hebrew word used for the “pitch” used to cover Noah’s ark. Thus, the blood of the Old Testament animal sacrifices only temporarily atoned for the sins of the people. In contrast, Jesus’ blood sacrifice didn’t atone for our sins; BUT, rather, TOOK OUR SINS AWAY (Hebrews 9:12). Hebrews 9:24 states, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Notice Jesus’ words in John 20:17, “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father…” Jesus needed to take His shed blood to Heaven, to APPLY to the heavenly mercyseat.

In the time of Moses, God required the people to apply the blood of a slain lamb to the lintel (top of the door) and door posts of each home, or else the firstborn would surely die. We read in Exodus 12:13, “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you…” If the family killed the lamb, but didn’t APPLY the blood, then the firstborn died! The blood had to be applied! Likewise, Jesus’ blood had to be applied to the mercyseat in Heaven. This is why I so zealously EXPOSE heretics like John MacArthur who claim that Jesus’ blood is only representative of Christ’s death, and that the blood by itself has no significance. The Word of God proclaims the blood of Jesus, from the blood sacrifice which Abel offered (Genesis 4:4; Hebrews 12:24), to the blood of the Lamb in Revelation (Revelation 7:14). We read these wonderful Words in 1st Peter 1:18,19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ…”

I only mentioned these Bible doctrines because some of the Christians exposing Seventh-Day Adventism claim that Jesus atoned for our sins at Calvary. As we have seen from the Bible, Jesus didn’t atone for our sins, He TOOK OUR SINS AWAY forever. The only mention of the Word “atonement” in the New Testament is in Romans 5:11, and is a mistranslation. It should be the word “reconciliation.” Also, Jesus didn’t finish His work at the cross, He still needed to ascend into Heaven with the blood that He had shed, to apply it to the mercyseat on our behalf. When Jesus returned from Heaven, He allowed Thomas to TOUCH His scars; whereas, He had told Mary not to touch Him at all. Once the blood had been applied to the mercyseat in Heaven, Christ’s work was FINISHED! What a Wonderful Savior!!!

The Lie of Investigative Judgment

Now, having laid the foundation, let’s look at the Seventh-Day Adventist teaching of “Investigative Judgment.” The following quote by Ellen G. White is from The Great Controversy…

“As in typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for redemption of men is completed, there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2,300 days ended (according to Mrs. White this was in the year 1844! Evidently the nineteenth century was more wonderful than we had imagined!-Ed.). At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our high priest entered the most holy to perform the last division, of his solemn work to cleanse the sanctuary . . . in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ, and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary . . . so the actual cleansing to cleanse the sanctuary. . . in the new covenant the sins of moval, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. But, before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation–a work of judgment. Those who followed in the light of the prophetic word saw that, instead of coming to earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844 (as Prophet William Miller had so dogmatically and widely proclaimed.—Ed.), Christ then entered in the most holy place of the heavenly, to perform the closing work of atonement preparatory to his coming.”

It is heresy for anyone to claim that Christ’s work of redemption wasn’t completed at the mercyseat. There is NOTHING in the Scriptures teaching otherwise. There is nothing even remotely indicative of an “investigative judgment” (as they term it), where Christ completes His work of redemption. Such a doctrine is damnable heresy! SDAs cannot KNOW they are saved, because of their faulty understanding of Christ’s work of redemption. SDAs believe that Jesus is still in the process of redeeming them. On the contrary, Hebrews 9:26 teaches, “…but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Jesus didn’t need to go into the Holy of Holies repeatedly as did the Old Testament high priests; BUT, only once (Hebrews 9:25)! The very concept of an “Investigative Judgment” would require Jesus to enter into the Holy of Holies AT LEAST TWICE, the second time being in 1844. Clearly this is extremely unbiblical. The heresy of “Investigative Judgment” denies Christ’s COMPLETED work of redemption.

Disturbing Questions for Seventh-Day Adventists

Furthermore … and this is PROOF that Seventh-Day Adventism is a big scam … why was there NO Seventh-Day Adventist religion before 1844? Why was there NO teaching of the “investigative judgment” before 1844? Why isn’t this doctrine found in the Word of God? Why do SDAs only recognize Ellen G. White as a prophetess? Do you mean to tell me that no other prophets have appeared in nearly 2,000 years? According to the Bible, in Hebrews 1:1 and 2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” According to God’s Word, there are NO prophets today, nor have there been since John completed the Book of revelation in A.D. 96; thus, completing the Bible. The Word of God is our Final and Only Authority! Jesus NEVER told us to look for another messenger or prophet. If what SDAs teach is true concerning Ellen G. White, then surely the Word of God would have foretold of the coming of such a great prophetess, who would reveal new doctrines. To the contrary, the Bible says nothing of the such. I find it utterly disturbing that the entire SDA religion was formed out of a major embarrassment, when a foolish Baptist preacher twisted the Bible around, set a date for Christ to return, and then Christ DIDN’T return. Not even a lightning bolt. And another thing, why did all those Baptists descent, suddenly starting a whole different religion? The entire matter is disturbing to say the least.

Logic with me here. If what SDAs teach is true, then what about all those Christian people who died between the cross of Christ, and the beginning of the investigative judgment of 1844? If Christ needed to complete His work of redemption, then why would He wait until 1844? And here’s something to really consider, the year 1844 wasn’t set by Ellen G. White–it was set by a Baptist preacher, Miller!!! If Ellen G. White was such an inspired prophetess, why didn’t God give her the revelation of the year 1844? Why would God give it to a Baptist preacher? The Seventh-Day Adventist religion was formed by a group of SINFULLY PROUD people, who couldn’t accept the FACT that they had been hoodwinked by a misguided Baptist preacher. Thankfully, most Baptist preachers would never be so foolish as to set a date for Christ’s return. The Bible plainly teaches in Mark 13:33, “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” The foolish people in 1844, who followed a man, instead of God’s Word, were greatly embarrassed when Miller’s prophecy failed to come true. Think about it … these people had sold their homes, quit there jobs, and given away all earthly possessions! Can you imagine how idiotic and desperate they felt? The embarrassment was so overwhelming that they couldn’t live with themselves, so they fabricated a new religion which would heal the wounds. Unfortunately, it was to their own destruction, “…in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2nd Peter 3:16).

Seventh-Day Adventism is a False Religion!

Here again is Dr. John R. Rice from his excellent book, FALSE DOCTRINES (pg. 181)…

“Try Seventh-Day Adventist teaching by the Bible. Do they teach salvation by works, or by grace alone? By works, of course, by Sabbath-keeping, by tithing, by law and commandments. But this is not the plan of John 3:16 or of Ephesians 2:8. It is the heresy Paul condemned so strongly in the Galatians, when he said they had fallen from grace in doctrine, and now taught salvation by the law. He said in Galatians 4:9,10:

“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.”

That is the sin of Seventh-Day Adventism.

The following information from http://www.wayoflife.org by David W. Cloud is very well explained…

“Seventh-day Adventism plays the same game in salvation as every other false movement of Christendom. They profess to teach salvation by grace through faith, but they redefine this in a way that is contrary to New Testament doctrine.

Though they often deny this, the Adventist denomination teaches that salvation is by grace plus law, faith plus works. Grace, according to Adventist theology, is the power and forgiveness God gives to enable a sinner to keep the law and to thereby build a holy character fit for Heaven. He who fails to build the right character by God’s grace will never see Heaven. Faith and works are the two oars by which the believer is propelled to glory.

The Adventist doctrine of salvation is a subtle mixture of grace and law that can never provide Bible security. Simply stated, this doctrine is as follows: The sinner is powerless to live up to God’s holy standards, the law. He does not and cannot possess in himself the character demanded of God. Thus God has come to his aid through the sacrifice of Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. God now offers, because of the atonement of His Son, enablement to the sinner by which he is empowered to keep the law. Christ’s blood covers all shortcomings, (only) as long as these are properly confessed and forsaken. God offers the grace and power; the sinner must take these and develop within himself the character demanded by the law, or at least, to put it as the cults would, to allow Jesus to do this work. The believing sinner who fails to properly walk with the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit shall ultimately be lost, in spite of his faith in Christ.

This doctrine of salvation cannot and does not offer any security for the adherent. There can never be assurance of eternal life for the cultist, because he does not, in practice, believe that eternal salvation is TOTALLY a gift of God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. The cultist, rather, is convinced that he, too, has a part in gaining eternal life. He must properly endure to the end in the law of God and the works of his church. If he fails to develop the proper character, he will never inherit eternal life. Thus, he can have no assurance of salvation until after the examinations of judgment day. The misled cultist cannot “stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2). Since works play a role in his salvation, he can never testify with joy, saying, “I am NOW justified by his blood … I SHALL BE saved from wrath through him” (Rom. 5:9). -SOURCE

Seventh-Day Adventists Condemn Themselves by Their Own Words!

WHAT ADVENTISM TEACHES: The SDA doctrine of salvation documented. Consider carefully the following Seventh-day Adventist statements relative to salvation. While professing to uphold salvation by grace alone through faith alone, they actually redefine this contrary to Apostolic revelation. The result is a false gospel that subtly mixes grace and law.

From a SDA tract -Deceptively titled Saved By Grace: “Christ says to every man in this world what He said to the rich young ruler: If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments, Matthew 19:17. In other words, THE STANDARD FOR ADMISSION INTO HEAVEN IS A CHARACTER BUILT ACCORDING TO THE TEN SPECIFICATIONS, OR COMMANDMENTS, OF GOD’S LAW. … He can lift you up to the place where the requirements of the law are met in you. … THE MASTER BUILDER WILL STAND RIGHT WITH YOU AND IN YOU, AND SEE TO IT PERSONALLY THAT YOUR LIFE COMES UP TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF GOD’S LAW” (Charles T. Everson, Saved By Grace, pp. 45-46).

From SDA correspondence courses. “It is not the work of the gospel to weaken the claims of God’s holy law, but to bring men up to where they can keep its precepts” (Prophetic Guidance Correspondence Course, Lesson 10, p. 36).

“Do you want to be a Christian? … The steps to Christ are few and plain and easy to understand, and we will turn to God’s Guidebook now for information. … Believe; that’s the first step toward becoming a Christian. … the second step is repentance … repentance is simply being sorry for our sins and putting them away … the next step in becoming a Christian is confession … real repentance and confession mean not only to stop sinning, but to do everything possible to make past wrongs right … The next step is baptism, and the proof for that is found in Acts 2:38-39 … Fifth, obedience through Christ in us … So we have clearly outlined the steps that we need to take in order to become a Christian: to believe in God, to repent of and to confess our sins, to be baptized, AND TO OBEY ALL THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD. … He may stumble and fall, but he gets up and presses forward again, determined to overcome by God’s enabling power. Such a fall is not counted against him when he repents and asks forgiveness and divine help to live the right life” (New Life Voice of Prophecy Guide, #12).

“Before Christ comes a second time to take us to His Father’s house in heaven above, we must allow Him to conquer sin in our lives. … Because in this life we have chosen to accept these lovely graces of Christ as our own, the sudden transformation at Jesus’ appearing will seal our characters. … ONLY THOSE WHO LIVE THE JESUS-LIFE CAN BE FREED FROM SIN. … Jesus counseled the rich man who was seeking eternal life, If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. … It is Jesus who delivers us from sin but not in sin. WE MUST ACCEPT HIM AND THROUGH HIS POWER IN US BE SEPARATED FROM THE IMPURE, THE UNHOLY, THE DEFILING ALL DISOBEDIENCE TO THE COMMANDMENTS” (New Life Guides, #10).

From a SDA catechism. ” … We were slaves to sin. Jesus came down and suffered with us, and for us, and delivered us. As we behold Him in His word, and in prayer and meditation, and serve Him in the person of others, WE MAY BE CHANGED MORE AND MORE INTO THE GLORY OF HIS LIKENESS; THEN, IF FAITHFUL, WE SHALL SOMEDAY SEE HIM FACE TO FACE” (Bible Footlights, 1960, p. 17).

From a SDA doctrinal study. “To whom will God impart immortality? To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality (Rom. 2:7). What shall be their reward? Eternal life (Rom. 2:7). Upon what conditions may men obtain this blessing? Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12). … Will a man’s final destiny be in accordance with the life he has lived? Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal. 6:7)” (C.B. Haynes, When A Man Dies, pp. 46-47).

From one of Ellen White’s major works. While discussing the doctrine of Investigative Judgment, Mrs. White presents the following teaching about salvation: “The righteous dead will not be raised until after the judgment at which they are counted worthy of the resurrection of life. … As the books of record are opened in the judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. … every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. Names are accepted, names rejected. When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life, and the record of their good deeds will be erased from the book of God’s remembrance. … all who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance … the work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another” (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 425, 431).

I plead with you to forsake the Seventh-Day Adventist false religion if you are a victim. Acts 16:31 is the only invitation which God ever gave for men to be saved … “Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Seventh-Day%20Adventist/hidden.htm

=======================================================

CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

—————————————————————————-

=======================================================

CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

—————————————————————————-

Question: “What is the Restoration movement?”

Answer: The Restoration Movement, part of the broader movement called “restorationism,” began in the early 19th Century when a conglomeration of members from different Christian groups and denominations decided they had gotten away from the basics of Christianity. Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and others abandoned their formal denominations with hopes of establishing a church based solely on the Christianity taught in the New Testament. With their belief in Jesus as the only model and the Bible as the only sacred book, they endeavored to re-establish Christ’s church as it had been during Jesus’ time. Because the different organized denominations had constructed rules and practices that did not come explicitly from the Bible, those with new ideas felt the divisions must be dissolved. Their goal was for everyone to abandon their dividing religions and become united as one church under God’s rule alone.

Among the most influential leaders of this movement were Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. Although the fundamental views remained, in 1906 this group split. The followers of Campbell and Stone divided into two sects, called the Church of Christ (Non-Instrumental) and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Over time many additional schisms have formed from these core groups as well. Currently there are three major and several minor groups who trace their roots back to the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement: the Christian Churches/Disciples of Christ, Churches of Christ, Independent Christian Churches, Churches of Christ in Australia, Associated Churches of Christ (New Zealand), United Reformed Church (UK), and others.

Among the key principles of the Restoration Movement are:

~Recognition of the New Testament pattern of the church. Overall, the people of this movement try to pattern their practices and rituals as closely as possible to those of the New Testament. Of particular importance to them is the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper, although there is nothing in Scripture to indicate this was a weekly function. In fact, Acts 2:46 indicates it might have been a daily ritual: “And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart” (emphasis added). In addition, Acts 2:44-45 states of the New Testament church that they also “sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” This is not a practice of the New Testament church that those in the Restoration Movement have felt led to adopt.

~Names, creeds, and ecclesiastical traditions divide believers from one another; therefore these things are renounced, doing away with creeds and human authority. While the desire for there to be nothing dividing believers is a noble one, there is no evidence that attending a Baptist or Presbyterian church divides its members from those of other churches any more than attending a Disciples of Christ church divides its members from those of other church within the Restoration Movement. The spirit of unity or disunity is a heart issue, not a matter of church affiliation. Although a key principle of the Restoration Movement is concern for Christian unity, the history of the movement is itself riddled with numerous splits, re-splits and schisms.

~Names of human origin divide, therefore they name only the name of Christ. They decry the use of denominational names, claiming to be “Christians only,” believing this approach to be the only true scriptural one. The adherents to the Restoration Movement are careful to have no other name but Christ in their church titles, believing this to be the true to the New Testament. They deny, for instance, that the name “Presbyterians” has any biblical validity, even though the name is derived from the Greek word for elder, presbytos. Thus, the name reflects its method of governance, completely in accordance with New Testament church structure. Using the name of Christ in a church title may or may not be an indication of a church’s doctrinal stand. As with any group or organization claiming to represent Christ and His church, what they believe, and how it lines up with the Bible, is of paramount importance.

When examining the Restoration Movement, of particular concern is their doctrine of salvation. According to a Christian Restoration Association publication, “What You Must Do to Become a Christian” involves four things: You must believe, repent of sin, confess Christ, and be baptized for the remission of sins. One must admit his or her sinfulness and need for forgiveness, then repent and accept Jesus as Lord of his or her life. One must then be baptized by full body immersion for the remission of sins. At this point, it is believed that one begins a new life, and is reborn. This directly contradicts the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone, without the added condition of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Baptism is not a requirement for salvation, but is rather evidence of it. The new believer is baptized in obedience to God’s command to do so, not as a prerequisite for salvation.

Equally disturbing is the Restoration Movement belief that in order to remain a Christian, one must do four things, again according to the Christian Reformation Association: Pray, study the Bible, worship and remain faithful. If these are requirements to maintain salvation, it stands to reason according to this line of thinking, that anyone who does not continue in these four disciplines is in danger of losing his/her salvation. The Bible, however, is clear that the true believer cannot lose his/her salvation because we are saved by God (Romans 8:30), sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14),and kept by God until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). Just as once we are born, we cannot be made unborn, we have been made new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we cannot be made old again by any means.

On the positive side, the Restoration Movement has maintained belief in the deity of Christ, unlike the rest of those in the restorationist movement. Great care must be taken, however, to avoid the exclusivist mindset which says “we alone have the right way.” Such thinking leads to pride, the ultimate cause of disunity in the church, the very thing those in the Movement seek to rectify.

http://www.gotquestions.org/Restoration-movement.html 

 

Question: “What is Restorationism?”

Answer: Restorationism refers to a group of unaffiliated 19th century movements from within Christianity based upon the premise that the true faith and practice of the church had been lost due to apostasy and that the church needed to be restored to its New Testament model. Restorationist organizations include Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Seventh-day Adventists, as well as the adherents to the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, which consists today in three main groups: Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), Churches of Christ, and Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ.

While all these groups teach widely divergent theologies, they have in common the notion that true Christianity had died out many years ago and it needed to be restored to its original New Testament form. Some of these groups believe they alone are the embodiment of true Christianity, some going so far as to teach that all other groups, including mainline Protestant denominations, are not really Christians at all, having lost their way over the centuries to complete apostasy. They are convinced that the drift from Christian principles is so extreme as to render the church irredeemable and therefore it must be completely rebuilt. Denying that past historical patterns have any validity at all, they are free to embrace what they understand to be pure biblical truth as revealed to the Apostles.

Certainly there have been abuses and misuses of the Word of God down through the years by churches claiming to speak for Christ. One has only to look at the Roman Catholic doctrines of purgatory, prayer to Mary, and the veneration of saints—all of which are completely unscriptural—to agree that in some cases at least, church tradition has superseded the Bible as authority. However, in the spirit of throwing the baby out with the bath water, some of the restorationists have also jettisoned such biblical doctrines as the Trinity, hell, and salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Of course parts of the church have apostatized, but there has always been a remnant of the faithful preserved by God for His purposes.

At least two disastrous consequences can be expected to result from a zealous embrace of restorationist philosophy. First, it easily leads to a spirit exclusivism and arrogance, not to mention error. The natural outcome of believing one’s own group has the corner on the truth is the despising of all others who claim the name of Christ, seeing them as apostates, or worse, tools of the devil. No spirit of Christian unity can survive such a mindset. One has only to look at the diverse beliefs that exist among the restorationists themselves, and the resulting animosity that accompanies them, to see the inevitable result of adopting such a belief system. Exclusivism leads to pride, a sin especially abhorred by God (Proverbs 16:5; James 4:6). In addition, exclusivism can provoke delusions of grandeur in its leaders, making possible all manner of erroneous interpretations, not to mention rewriting, of Scripture designed to fit it to the paradigm of the group, without regard for clear and concise biblical scholarship and exegesis.

The second, and far more destructive, result of restorationist philosophy is that it denies God’s ability, or willingness, to preserve the faith “once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), rejects His sovereignty over His people, and disavows His plan to bring to pass His will without fail, despite attempts by Satan and his minions to derail it. God did not send His Son to die on the cross for the sins of His people only to allow those same people to lapse into apostasy and languish there for 1800 years. Such a notion is not only absurd, but it defines God as a ruthless and capricious entity, not the loving and merciful Father God we know Him to be. Those who believe God abandoned mankind for centuries because of their unbelief and sin need only to read Romans 3, which makes it clear that even though men are unfaithful, this does not nullify God’s faithfulness. The Holy Spirit is, and always has been, active in the world “convict[ing] the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment” (John 16:8), drawing God’s people from every race, tribe, nation and language to the Savior. In every era, the redeemed of God have responded to His Spirit because that is God’s plan, and it will continue unabated to the day of Christ’s return. Until then, we have the assurance of Jesus Himself that He will be with us “always, even until the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

http://www.gotquestions.org/restorationism.html 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Mormonism and the “Great Apostasy”“, posted with vodpod

 

 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

 

 

Seventh-Day Adventism (SDA) arose from the aftermath of the Adventist movement of the mid-1800s. “Seventh-day” refers to the focus on sabbath, or Saturday worship. “Adventist” refers to the SDA belief that they are the fulfillment of prophecies pertaining to the latter days remnant and the coming of Christ. The world was predicted to end in 1844 with the Second Coming of Christ, by William Miller, a New England Baptist itinerant preacher. Miller’s followers condemned all the churches of the day as apostate and “Babylon,” and warned Christians to come out of them. A great many did, and the “adventist” movement was born and grew rapidly (Melton, J. Gordon, Encyclopedia of American Religions, Vol. 2, pp. 21–22). 

Christ did not appear in 1844. After this “Great Disappointment,” one “little flock” still insisted the date of their original predictions had been correct. They decided the event marked by 1844 was not the Second Coming, but the entrance of Christ into the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Sanctuary. There, they said, He began the “Investigative Judgment.” (See #6 below.) This doctrine was received and endorsed by Ellen G. White (Ibid., p. 680).

From 1844 to 1851, the group taught the “shut door” doctrine, based on Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins. Anyone who had not accepted the Adventist message by the time Jesus entered the Holy of Holies was to be shut out permanently, as were the five foolish virgins. Cut off from the Bridegroom, they could not join the Adventists or have any hope of eternal life. Ellen White not only approved and taught this doctrine, but her first vision experience (she claimed over 2,000 visions) was largely responsible for its being received by the Adventist group (Brinsmead, Robert, D., Judged by the Gospel: A Review of Adventism, pp. 130–133).

By 1846, the group had adopted the Seventh-Day Baptists’ view that the Saturday Sabbath must be observed by Christians. A highly elevated form of this doctrine, together with the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, became the hallmarks of Seventh-Day Adventism. In 1850, James and Ellen White began publishing a magazine, The Review & Herald, to disseminate Adventist and Sabbatarian doctrines. This helped many of the remaining “Millerites” to coalesce into a distinctive body, which adopted the name of Seventh-Day Adventist Church in 1860, and formally incorporated in 1863, with approximately 3,500 members in 125 congregations (Encyclopedia of American Religion, Vol. 2, p. 681).

Ellen G. White (1827-1915) never held official title as the head of the SDA church, but was one of its founders and acknowledged spiritual leader. She rather disingenuously declined to claim the title of “prophet,” calling herself a “messenger” instead (P.G. Damsteegt, et al., Seventh-day Adventists Believe … A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, 1988, p. 224). But she claimed to have the “spirit of prophecy,” and that her messages were direct from God for the guidance and instruction of the church. With her knowledge and consent, others called her a prophet and an inspired commentator of Scripture1, and even “the Spirit of Prophecy” (Maurice Barnett, Ellen G. White & Inspiration, pp. 5–17). Having only a third grade education, Ellen White said for years she was unable to read, bolstering the claim that her beautiful prose was inspired by God. However, it has been discovered that she not only read, but plagiarized other Christian authors throughout virtually all her writings. The sad facts of this matter have been thoroughly and indisputably established in several books. (e.g., see Walter Rea, The White Lie; and Judged by the Gospel, pp. 361–383). 

As of year-end 1999, the SDA church claimed more than 10.9 million members worldwide in 46,700 churches; there are more than 900,000 Adventists in the U.S. and Canada (making the SDA one of the fastest growing “churches” in the world — membership up over 10% in 1999). While headquartered in Washington, D.C., SDA employment worldwide totals nearly 166,000, not including 13,815 ordained ministers. (Contributions in 1999 totaled $1.6 billion.) SDAs claim to be working in 725 languages and over 1,000 dialects. They have a large investment in publishing and education — they operate 56 publishing houses and support 549 medical units (696 including 117 nursing homes and retirement centers and 30 orphanages); and 5,846 primary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities (with total enrollment of over a million students). They also broadcast over Adventist World Radio more than 1,000 hours per week of programming in more than 40 languages from 18 transmitters in seven international locations, and have almost 13  million students enrolled in its more than 110,000 “Sabbath Schools” (11/2001, SDA Internet web site). (The SDA church also publishes two of their own Bible “translations”: The Study Bible and The Clear Word Bible.)

SDA is organized as a representative democracy. Lower echelons elect representatives to higher units; determination and administration of policy and enforcement of doctrinal orthodoxy is imposed from the top down. President and Executive Committee of General Conference are standing chief administrative offices. Lower administrative units are the General Conference, Divisions (over continents), Union Conferences, local Conferences, and congregations.

In the late 1950s, cult expert Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute, in collaboration with neo-evangelical Donald Barnhouse, made an extensive investigation of the teachings (doctrines) of Seventh-Day Adventism. Their purpose was to determine whether to classify SDA as part of the evangelical community, or to go along with the majority of evangelicals and treat SDAs as cult members (thereby requiring evangelicals to exercise Biblical separation). (In the 1955 edition of The Kingdom of the Cults, Martin originally did classify SDA as cultic.) Martin and Barnhouse concluded that SDA was within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy. Walter Martin, in his article in the 12/19/60 Christianity Today, said: “That Adventists should be recognized as Christians and that fellowship should be extended to them we do not deny” (p. 15).

Among those adamantly opposing that conclusion was Biblical scholar Dr. John Whitcomb, Jr., then of Grace Theological Seminary. Detailed below is Whitcomb’s reasoning* for his classification of SDA as a [anti-assurance, Sabbath-keeping, Law-enslaving] cult:2

1. Source of Authority. Ellen G. White claimed to be, “a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” The official SDA Questions on Doctrine (Q.D.) states that, “the Holy Spirit opened to her mind important events and called her to give certain instructions for these last days, and inasmuch as these instructions, in our understanding, are in harmony with the Word of God, which Word alone is able to make us wise unto salvation, we as a denomination accept them as inspired counsels from the Lord” (Q.D., p. 93). (Emphasis added.) Mrs. White claimed to have received more than 3,000 “inspired counsels from the Lord” (i.e., visions) between 1844 and 1868. (From these “visions,” she produced over 100,000 handwritten manuscript pages from which were published 54 books!) Therefore, SDAs have a new source of authority in their lives — according to SDA’s dogma, if an SDA does not accept Mrs. White as infallible, they have no salvation! 

2. Mankind. Seventh-Day Adventists do not believe that the whole man or any part of him is inherently “immortal” (Q.D., p. 518). SDAs believe in “soul sleep” for the saved (i.e., no conscious existence from the time of death until the resurrection), and annihilation for the wicked (i.e., the body and soul are destroyed at death rather than experiencing everlasting torment). How, then, can one get to heaven?: SDAs believe that one can have immortality only on the condition that he comes to Christ through Ellen G. White; i.e., a works program, following salvation by grace with light of revelation through Ellen G. White as the infallible guide to Holy Scripture, apart from which one cannot have immortality.3 Then, at resurrection day, the body will be re-created (necessary because of soul sleep) for all those who believe in White’s guidance and teachings (while non-SDAs will remain in “soul sleep” forever; i.e., will cease to exist [annihilated] and will not suffer everlasting torment).

3. Christ.
Mrs. White: “Christ took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature … Christ took human nature and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He took our nature and its deteriorating condition” (Q.D., pp. 654-656) (cf. Jn. 14:30). According to SDA, then, Christ acquired a sinful nature! Of course, if this could have been so, there could have been no sinless sacrifice, no hope for sinners, and no Savior.

4. Atonement. “Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ” (E.G. White, The Great Controversy [TGC], 1911, p. 623; TGC has since been retitled and published as America in Prophecy, 1988). SDA teaches that, though saved by grace, we are kept by the Law (i.e., “partial atonement”). Therefore, one must keep Old Testament dietary and ceremonial laws, paying particular attention to keep the Saturday Sabbath and the Ten Commandments, and most importantly, making sure to faithfully pay the tithe. 

Even when speaking of being saved by the righteousness of Christ, Adventist writers refer to imparted righteousness, seldom to the Biblical concept of imputed righteousness. Calling it “Christ’s righteousness,” while insisting on the believer’s perfection of character as a prerequisite to salvation, is at worst a thinly veiled works salvation, or at best an attempt to mix grace and works, something the Bible says is impossible to do (Rom. 11:6). Mrs. White’s words are crystal clear — one will not be forgiven until all sins are eradicated from one’s life and one’s character is perfected. Precisely the same heresy is found (besides many others) in Mormonism. It is not the salvation by grace alone through faith alone offered in the Bible.

5. Baptism. “… Christ made it clear that He required baptism of those who wished to become part of His church, His spiritual kingdom”; “In baptism believers enter into the passion experience of our Lord”; “… [B]aptism also marks [a] person’s entrance into Christ’s spiritual kingdom. … it unites the new believer to Christ.… Through baptism the Lord adds the new disciples to the body of believers — His body, the church.… Then they are members of God’s family” (SDAs Believe …, pp. 182, 184, 187).

6. The Investigative Judgment. According to SDA theology, beginning on October 22, 1844, Christ entered upon the “judgment phase” of His ministry, whereby He blots out sin: [The SDA doctrine of the “Investigative Judgment” rests on Ellen G. White’s claimed revelation that Christ entered the heavenly Holy of Holies, not at His ascension, but in 1844, wherein He then began to investigate the records of human works (TGC, pp. 362-373) (cf. Heb. 9).] “When Christ, by virtue of His own blood, removes the sins of His people from the heavenly sanctuary at the close of His ministration, He will place them upon Satan, who, in the execution of the judgment, must bear the final penalty” (TGC, p. 422). Satan, thereby, becomes the scapegoat of Leviticus 16. This lack of clear distinction between the forgiveness of sins and the blotting out of sins, makes it impossible for anyone to know, even in the hour of his death, whether he is saved or not. (SDAs are not “allowed” to experience assurance of salvation, because then there would be no pressure on them to keep the Old Testament law, as interpreted by Ellen G. White, and especially no pressure to pay the tithe.) Moreover, the concept that the sins of all men are to be laid on Satan, assigns to Satan an indispensable role in the blotting out of sin, thus nullifying the all-sufficiency of the finished work of Christ. [When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” i.e. completed, paid in full, it cannot be that there is yet another salvation event more than 1,800 years later, just as essential to salvation as Christ’s death on the cross, in which one must believe in order to be saved. This is clearly “another gospel” (Gal. 1:6–9).]4

The “Investigative Judgment” and the “Scapegoat Theory of the Atonement” are, by themselves, so non-Biblical as to contradict Galatians 1:8-9. It is “another gospel,” about which the Apostle Paul wrote, “let such be anathema” (i.e., cursed/condemned). Yet according to Ellen White, one must believe this doctrine to be saved:

 “Those who would share the benefits of the Savior’s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God … The subject of the sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position [in the Holy of Holies] and work [Investigative Judgment] of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs for them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God … All who have received the light on these subjects are to bear testimony of the great truths which God has committed to them. The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men … It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects … The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon a cross. By His death He began that work which after his resurrection He ascended to complete in Heaven” (TGC, pp. 488–89; emphasis added).

7. The Sabbath. “In the last days, the Sabbath test will be made plain. When this time comes, anyone who does not keep the Sabbath will receive the mark of the beast and will be kept from heaven” (TGC, p. 449); “… [T]he divine institution of the Sabbath is to be restored … The delivering of this message will precipitate a conflict that will involve the whole world. The central issue will be obedience to God’s law and the observance of the Sabbath. … Those who reject it will eventually receive the mark of the beast” (TGC, pp. 262–63). In one of her most revered works, Ellen White wrote that Sabbath observance would be the “line of distinction” in the “final test” that will separate God’s end-time people who “receive the seal of God” and are saved, from those who “receive the mark of the beast” (The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, p. 605). Describing a supposed vision direct from God, Ellen White wrote, “I saw that the Holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers” (Early Writings, p. 33; emphasis added). She also wrote of some Adventists failing to understand that “Sabbath … observance was of sufficient importance to draw a line between the people of God and unbelievers” (Ibid., p. 85).

SDAs have, thereby, made Sabbath-keeping a criterion for a personal relationship with the Lord — even to the extent of one’s salvation! Why? Because, according to SDAs, we are all to be under strict adherence to Old Testament Law, including the Ten Commandments, of which the fourth one says, “keep the Sabbath.” (This Sabbath-keeping requirement was supposedly confirmed in a vision received by Ellen G. White, rather than by study of the Bible.) SDAs believe that “Sunday-keeping” will be the mark of the beast in the future.

8. Ellen G. White, the Prophet. Many rank-and-file SDA members deny that their organization any longer decrees Ellen G. White a God-inspired prophet. Yet in SDA official publications, the SDA church continues to defend Ellen White legends, and maintain there was no difference in the degree of inspiration she received from that received by Bible writers (Review & Herald, 4 October 1928, p. 11; “Source of Final Appeal,” Adventist Review, 3 June 1971, pp. 4–6; G. A. Irwin, Mark of the Beast, p. 1; “The Inspiration and Authority of the Ellen G. White Writings,” Adventist Review, 15 July 1982, p. 3; Ministry, October 1981, p. 8 (5); see also, Judged by the Gospel, pp. 125–130). And in the SDA June 2000, General Conference, the church voted to more aggressively affirm and support the “Spirit of Prophecy through the ministry of Ellen White” (Adventist Today, [online: July 2000]).


* Besides relying heavily on the work of Dr. Whitcomb (1988  Syllabus notes), some of the material in this report has also been excerpted and or adapted from: “Seventh-day Adventist Church Profile,” Timothy Oliver (Watchman Fellowship Profile, 1996).


Endnotes

1 The Bible lists six identifying marks of false prophets, any one of which is sufficient for identification: (1) through signs and wonders they lead astray after false gods (Dt. 13:1-4); (2) their prophecies don’t come to pass (Dt. 18:20-22); (3) they contradict God’s Word (Isa. 8:20); (4) they bear bad fruit (Mt. 7:18-20); (5) men speak well of them (Lk. 6:26); and (6) they deny that Jesus, the one and only Christ, has come once and for all in the flesh (1 Jn. 4:3), thereby denying His sufficiency in all matters of life and godliness (2 Pe. 1:3). Most cults are founded upon false prophecies, which, if pointed out, offer an effective way to open blind eyes and rescue cultists. SDA originated with similar false prophesies about Christ’s coming. It began with William Miller’s prediction that Christ would return in 1843 (revised to October 22, 1844). Miller admitted his error. However, SDA prophetess Ellen G. White (EGW), who had repeatedly endorsed Miller’s prophecy, insisted that Christ had indeed come, but not to earth. Instead, He had entered “the holy of holies” in heaven “to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits” (The Great Controversy, p. 480).

Number 17 of the “Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists” states: “The Gift of Prophecy: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.” Yet EGW made numerous false prophecies: that “Old Jerusalem never would be built up” (Early Writings, p. 75), that she would be alive at the Rapture (Early Writings, pp. 15-16), that Christ would return before slavery was abolished (Early Writings, pp. 35, 276), that Adventists living in 1856 would be alive at the Rapture (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 131-132), and many more. Nevertheless, SDAs revere this false prophet’s writings as if they were Scripture.

2 Nevertheless, SDAs are continuing their efforts to be identified as “evangelical Christians.” As an illustration of this effort, SDAs were very prominent at the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) held in San Francisco, November 19-21, 1992. They presented themselves in the printed program as the Adventist Theological Society (ATS). During the meetings, they conducted at least eight workshops/seminars open to all the members of the ETS, as well as a general meeting of their own ATS on Saturday morning, November 21st. Likewise, at the 1/97 National Religious Broadcasters Convention, the SDA’s “Voice of Prophecy” booth provided books and tapes of their programs, but there was no indication that this was an SDA organization. Christians need to be aware that cult groups like SDA often use the same Christian-sounding terminology, but the meanings of the words have been redefined.

3 Many quotes could be given to prove that EGW taught salvation by works. Here are a few:

(a) “Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny … though … forgotten by us, they [our works] will bear their testimony to justify or condemn” (TGC, pp. 486-490).

(b) “When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life …” (TGC, p. 483).

(c) “Each one of you needs to … [be] working with your might to redeem the failures of your past life. God has placed you in a world of suffering to prove you, to see if you will be found worthy of the gift of eternal life” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 530).

4 This teaching of the “Investigative Judgment” is the foundational doctrine and major heresy of Seventh-Day Adventism: that the atonement was not complete on the cross, but was begun in heaven in 1844 and depends upon our works. According to Ellen G. White (EGW), the blood of Christ, instead of making “an atonement for the soul” (Lv. 17:11) and “cleans[ing] us from all sin” (l Jn. 1:7), brought sin into heaven: “[O]ur sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ” (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 266). Thus, Christ had to begin the work of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary (of sins His blood had brought there!) through the “Investigative Judgment.” EGW declared that “Ministers who would not accept this saving message” were hindering God’s work and “The blood of souls is upon them” (Early Writings, p. 234). Millerites who adopted this delusion became Seventh-Day Adventists. The whole concept of the Investigative Judgment is antithetical to the Gospel. Jesus did not wait until 1844 to enter the Holy of Holies in heaven (Heb. 1:3; 6:19–20; 8:1; 9:6–12, 24; 12:2). Neither is He still making an atonement in heaven (Heb. 9:25–26; 10:11–14). The Investigative Judgment proposes to “vindicate the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus,” by showing they were “loyal,” “penitent,” and “faithful” commandment keepers. This is an outrage. God’s justice in saving sinners is vindicated by Christ’s death on the cross, period (Rom. 3:24–26).

5 The SDA Church made this statement in their Ministry magazine of October 1981, and have never retracted it — We believe the revelation and inspiration of both the Bible and Ellen White’s writings to be of equal quality. The superintendence of the Holy Spirit was just as careful and thorough in one case as in the other” (June 1997, The Baptist Challenge). (Bold added.) This sounds like SDAs also believe that Mrs. White is inerrant.

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/sda/adventi.htm

=======================================================

CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

—————————————————————————-

more about “seventh day adventist the spririt of …“, posted with vodpod

Happy Labor Day to you.,

Things went slow for a couple of weeks at How2BecomeAChristiani.nfo

The ministry has went from 1 website, 3 blogs and a forum…. to 3webistes, 5 blogs, 5 video VodPods, a BLOGTALKRADIO (BTR) account, Myspace page, and a forum

How2BecomeAchristian.info. Will be doing two radio shows at BTR by Jan1-09. Damon has about 12 months internet radio experience, both running a network and hosting at Revereradio.net so the shows will be of good quality and will be entitled “How2BecomeAChristian.info RADIO” and “Occult Agenda EXPOSURE RADIO”.You can leant about BTR at any of the sites as they all have WHAT IS BTR? and BTR Help/FAQ links. Each Radio Show will have a BLOG and Information portal website to support it. A site was created to be the main site, from which will be easy access to all the related sites, therefore a couple of domain names will be changing. One new domain was bought and two more will be purchased soon.

With these new sites, the whole ministry model has changed, and it was time for one ministry name and site to be the main one. Therefore, the name “How2BecomeAChristian.info (with a numeral two) ministries” was chosen (for radio recognition purposes) and the main site domain will be How2BecomeAChristian.info

Traffic has slowed at the site where that domain is now but the main blog received 1200+views in 3 weeks. It took 2 months to get 100 at the first site. Blogs are keyword tag capable, the site is not.

Here are some stats from the other sites.

Last 30 days FIRST SITE

Visitors 278 −8%
Actions 2,228 −5%
Average actions/visit 8.0 +3%
Total time spent 2d 11h −18%
Average time/visit 12m 49.3s −11%

 

The new sites have no stats yet. A most pleasant surprise has been the VODPODS. With 6600+ video views. And the widgets at widget box.com are being down loaded and installed somewhere. And the main blog has had around 30 RSS feed subscriptions.

I pray that Jesus will use this ministry to touch as many people as He sees fit for his glory and Honor.

HERE ARE SOME NEW PAGES MAIN SITE PSEUDO/CHRIST. CULTS H2bac.info RADIO Occult Agenda Exposure Occult EXPOSURE BLOG Occult EXPOSURE RADIO Damon’s Writings MSN Discussions

Even with the addition of these new pages, there are less links in the link bar. This was achieved by consolidating and applying hierarchies in the site construction. So while there is less links to chose from, those links lead to much more content that has been added in the last week and a half.

Thanks for everything,

Ministry Manager,  Damon Whitsell

How2BecomeAChristian.info  (with a numeral 2)  Ministries.

=======================================================

CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

—————————————————————————-

NOTICE: This post is rather long, But this chapter in the book is the most important. It is worth the time to read. This copyrighted material is posted for research and teaching purposes provided under “fair use” laws.

The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity

The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity

Handbook of Today’s Religions by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart

The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity

For the last two thousand years, the Christian Church has held certain beliefs to be vital to one’s faith. While there is some doctrinal disagreement within the three branches of Christendom -Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant- there is a general agreement among them as to the essentials of the faith. Whatever disagreement the church may have among its branches, it is insignificant compared to the heretical non-Christian beliefs of the cults. We offer this section as a yardstick to compare the errant beliefs of the cults.

The Doctrine of Authority

When it comes to the matter of final authority there is agreement among the major branches of Christianity with regard to the divine inspiration of the Old and New Testaments. However, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox branches of the church go somewhat beyond the Bible as to their source of authority.

Roman Catholic The historic Roman Catholic Church accepts the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God. They also accept the Apocrypha as being inspired of God. Further, they consider church tradition just as authoritative as the Scriptures. (In a previous work, we have dealt with reasons why we do not accept the Apocrypha as sacred Scripture Answers, Here’s Life Publishers, 1980, pp. 36-38.)

Eastern Orthodox The historic Eastern Orthodox church also accepts the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments as God’s inspired revelation. To this they add their church tradition as equally authoritative.

Protestant The historic Protestant church holds that Scripture alone is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice. The Lutheran formula of Concord put it this way: “We believe, confess, and teach that the only rule and norm, according to which all dogmas and doctrines ought to be esteemed and judged, is no other whatever than the prophetic and apostolic writings both of the Old and of the New Testaments.”

Scripture itself testifies that it is complete in what it reveals and the standard and final authority on all matters of doctrine, faith and practice. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 NASB).

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will. But men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20, 21 NASB).

“You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2 NASB).

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18, 19 NASB).

The Doctrine of God

The Doctrine of God is the same in all three branches of Christianity The Westminster Shorter Catechism (Question 6) reads, “There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory”.

The Athanasian Creed elaborates on the doctrine of the ‘Trinity:
… we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance [Essence]. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate … The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal… So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God … the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

In a previous work, Answers to Tough Questions, (Here’s Life Publishers, 1980), we explained in a simple way the biblical doctrine of the Unity. We are reprinting it here as an attempt to clarify what Orthodox Christianity believes regarding the nature of God.

One of the most misunderstood ideas in the Bible concerns the teaching about the Trinity. Although Christians say that they believe in one God, they are constantly accused of polytheism (worshipping at least three gods).

The Scriptures do not teach that there are three Gods; neither do they teach that God wears three different masks while acting out the drama of history. What the Bible does teach is stated in the doctrine of the Trinity as: there is one God who has revealed Himself in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and these three persons are the one God.

Although this is difficult to comprehend, it is nevertheless what the Bible tells us, and is the closest the finite mind can come to explaining the infinite mystery of the infinite God, when considering the biblical statements about God’s being.

The Bible teaches that there is one God and only one God: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4 NASB). “There is one God” (1 Timothy 2:5 KJV). “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me'” (Isaiah 44:6 NASB).

However, even though God is one in His essential being or nature, He is also three persons. “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26 KJV). “God said, Behold, the man has become like one of us” (Genesis 3:22 RSV).

God’s plural personality is alluded to here, for He could not be talking to angels in these instances, because angels could not and did not help God create. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, not the angels, created all things (John 13; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:2).

In addition to speaking of God as one, and alluding to a plurality of God’s being, the Scriptures are quite specific as to naming God in terms of three persons. There is a person whom the Bible calls the Father, and the Father is designated as God the Father (Galatians 1:1).

The Bible talks about a person named Jesus, or the Son, or the Word, also called God. “The Word was God”. (John 1: 1 KJV). Jesus was “also calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18 NASB).

There is a third person mentioned in the Scriptures called the Holy Spirit, and this person – different from the Father and the Son – is also called God (“Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? … You have not lied to men, but to God,” Acts 5:3,4 RSV).

The facts of the biblical teaching are these: There is one God. This one God has a plural personality. This one God is called the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, all distinct personalities, all designated God. We are therefore led to the conclusion that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God, the doctrine of the Trinity.

Dr. John Warwick Montgomery offers this analogy to help us understand this doctrine better:

“The doctrine of the Trinity is not ‘irrational’; what is irrational is to suppress the biblical evidence for Trinity in favor of unity, or the evidence for unity in favor of Trinity.
“Our data must take precedence over our models or, stating it better, our models must sensitively reflect the full range of data.

“A close analogy to the theologian’s procedure here lies in the work of the theoretical physicist: Subatomic light entities are found, on examination, to possess wave properties (W), particle properties (P), and quantum properties (h).

“Though these characteristics are in many respects incompatible (particles don’t diffract, while waves do, etc.), physicists ‘explain’ or ‘model’ an electron as PWh. They have to do this in order to give proper weight to all the relevant data.

“Likewise the theologian who speaks of God as ‘three in one.’ Neither the scientist nor the theologian expects you to get a ‘picture’ by way of his model; the purpose of the model is to help you take into account all of the facts, instead of perverting reality through super-imposing an apparent ‘consistency’ on it.

“The choice is clear: either the Trinity or a ‘God’ who is only a pale imitation of the Lord of biblical and confessional Christianity” (How Do We Know There is a God, pp. 14, 15).

The Person of Jesus Christ

Two thousand years ago, Jesus asked His disciples the ultimate question: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Central to the Christian faith is the identity of its founder, Jesus Christ, and it is of monumental importance to have a proper view of who He is.

Jesus Was Human

The Christian Church has always affirmed that, although He was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, God in human flesh, Jesus Christ was also fully man. The teaching of the Scriptures is clear with regard to His humanity.

 He grew intellectually and physically.
“Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52 KJV).
 He desired food.
“And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry” (Matthew 4:2 NASB).
 He became tired.
“. . . Jesus therefore, being wearied from his journey…” (John 4:6
NASB).
 He needed sleep.
“And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep” (Matthew 8:24 NASB).
 He cried.
“Jesus wept” (John 11:35).
 He died.
“. . . but coming to Jesus, when they saw He was already dead, they did not break His legs.” (John 11:33 NASB).
Therefore, it is made plain by Scripture that Jesus was genuinely human. He possessed all the attributes of humanity.

Jesus Was God

Jesus of Nazareth was a man but He was more than just a man. He was God in human flesh. While the Scriptures clearly teach He was a man, they likewise make it clear that he was God.

Jesus Made Divine Claims

There are many references by Jesus and His disciples concerning who He was.

 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
 “Jesus said to him,. . He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
 “For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18 NASB).
 “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our Great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13 NASB).
 “From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He” (John 13:19 NASB).

Jesus Exercised Divine Works

Jesus’ friends and enemies were constantly amazed at the works He performed. In John 10, Jesus claims, “I and the Father are one! ” Then when the Jews again attempted to stone Him, “Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’ The Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God… (John 10: 30-33 NASB).

Some of the works attributed to Christ as well as to God are:

1. Christ created all things (John 1:3, Colossians 1:6, Hebrews 1:10).
2. Christ upholds all things (Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3).
3. Christ directs and guides the course of history (I Corinthians 10:1-11).
4. Christ forgives sin (Mark 2:5-12, Colossians 3:13).
5. Christ bestows eternal life (John 10:28, 1 John 5:10).
6. Christ will raise the dead at the resurrection (John 11:25, John 5:21, 28, 29).
7. Christ will be the judge of all men in final judgment (John 5:22, 27, Matthew 25:31-46, 2 Corinthians 5:10).

One of these works drew an especially strong reaction from Jesus’ critics, the religious leaders. This is number four: Christ forgives sin. Mark 2:5-12 reads:

“And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘My son, your sins are forgiven'”.

But there were some of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?’

And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven;” or to say, “Arise, and take up your pallet and walk”? But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins! He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home’.

And he rose and immediately took up the pallet and went out in the sight of all; so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.”‘

Now, it’s true that I can forgive the sins you commit against me, but that doesn’t prove I’m God. So why does the fact that Christ forgives sin help prove He’s God? Only God can forgive sins committed against Himself. Yet Christ claimed to forgive sins committed against God. Thus by forgiving the paralytic his sins, Jesus makes one of His boldest claims to deity.

There are many other references to Jesus making divine claims which establish without a doubt that He believed Himself to be God.

Jesus Possessed Divine Attributes

By Demonstration

Jesus not only claimed to be God; He also demonstrated that He had the ability to do things that only God could do.

 Jesus exercised authority over nature.

“And on that day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side’ And leaving the multitude, they took Him along with them, just as He was, in the boat; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’
And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still’, And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, ‘Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?’
And they became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?… (Mark 4:35-41 NASB).

 Jesus reported events which occurred when He was far away from the scene.

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, ‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile. ” Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do You know me?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’ Nathanael answered Him, ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel! Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these”‘ (John 1: 47-50).

 Jesus knew the very thoughts of people. “But He knew what they were thinking..” (Luke 6:8 NASB).

 Jesus had authority over life and death.

“And it came about soon afterwards, that He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large multitude.
Now as He approached the gate of the city, behold a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was widow; and a sizable crowd from the city was with her.

And when the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’
And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise!’ And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.And fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, A great prophet has arisen among us’ and, ‘God has visited His people”‘.And this report concerning Him went out all over Judea, and in all the surrounding district” (Luke 7: 11-17 NASB).

By Association

Not only did Christ demonstrate the ability to do the things only God could do, but the attributes which were attributed to God were also attributed to Jesus Christ. These attributes are found both in the Old Testament prophecies attributed to the Messiah, the Christ, and in the New Testament as direct references to Jesus. Old Testament prophecies which refer to Jesus Christ and His attributes can be examined in Chapter 9, in Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Here the direct New Testament references will be considered.

The customary division of the attributes of God into metaphysical and moral is assumed here.
As regards metaphysical attributes we may affirm firstly that God is self-existent; secondly that He is immense (or infinite). In regard to immensity or infinity He is eternal, unchangeable, omnipresent, omnipotent, perfect, incomprehensible, omniscient.

As regards moral attributes God is holy, true, loving, righteous, faithful and merciful. In these respects man differs from the ideal of manhood in the sense that He is the Author of these qualities. They are un-derived in Him. It will not be deemed necessary here to go beyond mere proof that all these attributes of God existed in Him. If the metaphysical attributes of God exist in Christ, then the moral attributes are un-derived and infinite in degree. Emphasis therefore will be laid on the metaphysical attributes.

Jesus’ several statements of His oneness with the Father bear upon this subject, especially John 16:15, ‘All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine. ” This is a marvelous claim. This explains why in the previous verse

(John 16:14) He could say that the work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ: “He shall glorify me for he shall take of mine and shall declare it unto you.” Beyond Christ there is nothing to know about the character of God (John 14:9).
Christ possesses the metaphysical attributes of God. These attributes involve what might be called the essence of God. (The following is not an exhaustive list.)

1. Self-existence.
Christ has the quality that He is not dependent on anyone oranything for His existence, and all other life is dependent onHim. John 1:4 reads, “In Him was life.” Jesus states in John 14:6, “I am the life. ” He does not say “I have” but “I am.” There is nolife from amoeba to archangel apart from Christ. These versesmust be explained against the background of the name Jehovah (Yahweh) as explained in Exodus 3:13-15 and 6:2-9 (also see Col-ossians 1:15-23).

2. Eternal
When used of created things this adjective means without end. As used of God, of course, it means without beginning or end. Some clear evidence is found in 1 John 5:11, 20 -!And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”
“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
Also see John 8:35, 1 John 1:2, Micah 5:2 and Isaiah 8:6.

3. All-knowing.
This attribute, also known as omniscience, is the quality of having all knowledge. Biblical evidence for omniscience attributed to Christ is found in three areas.
First is the opinion of the disciples. “Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God” (John 16:30 NASB). Also compare John 21:17.

Second, the testimony of Scripture. “But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him” (John 6:64 NASB). Also see John 2:23-25.

Third, from examples in Scripture. “But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?” (Luke 5:22 NASB) Also see John 4:16-19, John 21:6 and Matthew 17:24-27.

Often people refer to Matthew 24:36 as an exception, to illustrate that Christ was not all-knowing. However, many scholars, including Augustine, understand the word “know” here to mean “to make known or declare.” This is a proper meaning of the text. Thus Jesus is stating that it is not among his instructions from the Father to make this known at this time (Shedd, Dogmatic Theology 11, 276).

4. All-powerful.
This means God can do anything not forbidden by His divine nature. For example, God cannot sin, for He is holy and righteous. Allowing for this exception, God can do anything (Mark 10:27). Another name for this attribute is omnipotence.

Christ claimed equality with God in this area. “Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, “truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner”‘ (John 5:19 NASB).

Jesus is called the Almighty. “I am the Alpha and the Omega;’ says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8 NASB). Compare this with Revelation 1:17, 18; 22:12, 13 and Isaiah 41:4.

5. Present everywhere.
This is commonly called omnipresence. This means God is everywhere, there is no place where He is not present. What is important here is to note this does not mean God is everything. Rather, He is everywhere. God is separate from His creation. “. . teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NASV).

 Christ possesses the moral attributes of God. These are attributes which deal with the character of God. Again, this list is not complete.

1. Holy.
This means that God is pure, He cannot sin, and is unspoiled by evil or sin either by act or nature. Christ also possesses this attribute. “And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God… (Luke 1:35 NASV).

2. Truth.
Truth is the quality of being consistent with your words and actions and having those words and actions correspond to the real world. Thus it means you never lie. Christ’s claims were strong here. He not only claimed to know the truth, He claimed He was the truth. The truth can never lie.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me”‘ (John 14:6 NASV). ‘And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this. . (Revelation 3:7 NASV).

3. Love.
This means that love, unconditional in its nature, is an attribute of God. Here again bold statements are made with regard to Christ’s love. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NASV).

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34,35 NASV).

4. Righteous.
God is a righteous or just God. Righteousness means a standard. God’s standard of love, justice, holiness is what He expects of us. Only God’s righteous standard is acceptable to Him. If God is righteous and God can only accept righteous people before Him, yet He alone can be perfectly righteous, but Christ was accepted as our righteousness, as a perfect substitute …
“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:9 NASV).

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

“So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men; even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
“For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

“And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:1 7-21 NASV).
“My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1 NASV).

“. . in the future there is laid up for me the crown i of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8 NASV).-Then Christ’s righteous sacrifice demonstrates His deity by His acceptance by God.

Now, concerning the moral attributes, some say, “I love unconditionally” or “I tell the truth, but that doesn’t make me God.” So why does it make Christ God? This question is answered by understanding two concepts, one having to do with God’s nature, the other with our nature. God’s attributes are qualities that are all true of God and do not exist in isolation. In other words God’s justice exists with God’s love. One does not exclude the other. Thus, the attributes which represent the character of God are affected by those qualities which are true of His essence. So if God is love and God is infinite (another attribute not touched on here) then God’s love is infinite. This is in contrast to man. Man may love, but his love is not infinite. Second, man’s basic nature is sinful and has the tendency to continue to sin. Thus although man may act righteously at times, on his own, or may love unconditionally, ultimately he is bounded by and infected with his sin nature which results in disobedience to God’s standard.

Jesus Received Worship as God

Jesus allowed Himself to be worshipped, something that is reserved for God alone.

• “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him, and swear by His name” (Deuteronomy 6:13 NASB).
• “Then Jesus said to Him, ‘Begone, Satan for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only”‘ (Matthew 4:10 NASB).
• “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the East, and have come to worship Him … And they came into the house and saw the child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshipped Him!’ (Matthew 2:2,11 NASB).
• “And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him” (Matthew 28:9)
• “And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him” (Matthew 28:17)
• “And he said, ‘Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him” (John 9:38).

James Bjornstad, director of the Institute for Contemporary Christianity, makes an important observation:

To worship any other God, whether angel, man or manmade image is idolatry. In Colossians 2 we are warned, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in… the worship of the angels” (Colossians 2:18).

We are not to worship angels and this is consistently demonstrated throughout the Bible. In Revelation 19:10 an angel (see 18:1) refuses worship from John. In Revelation 22:8,9, an angel refuses John’s worship a second time, saying, “Do not do that … worship God.”

Furthermore, Romans 1 explains that fools “exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man” (Romans 1:23). Obviously, we are not to worship man either. This, too, is consistently demonstrated throughout the Bible. In Acts 10:25,26, Peter refuses worship from Cornelius. In Acts 14:11-15, Paul and Barnabas refuse worship at Lystra.

From this evidence we can conclude that neither angels nor men are to be worshiped. Yet Jesus is worshiped, as we shall see, because He is God. He is not an angel or mere man. He is God, and God alone is to be worshiped. (James Bjornstad, Counterfeits At Your Door, d/L Publications, 1979, pp. 21, 22.)

Jesus Is God Yahweh

Attributes ascribed to Yahweh in the Old Testament are also used in reference to Jesus in the New Testament, demonstrating that Jesus is Yahweh.
“THERE IS ONE GOD” 1 Corinthians 8:6

 
The teaching on the person of Jesus Christ from the Scripture is very clear. He was fully God and at the same time fully man. Any deviation from this position is not only unscriptural, it is also heretical. Those who attempt to make Jesus something less than God cannot go to the Bible for their justification. Therefore, if one takes the Bible seriously, one must conclude that Jesus of Nazareth was God in human flesh.
For further material and sources see More Than a Carpenter, chapter 1 and Evidence That Demands a Verdict, chapter 6.

The Doctrine of the Church

The Westminster Confession of Faith contains a statement about the church that is accepted by all branches of Christendom.

The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole umber of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof, and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those, throughout the world, that profess the true religion, and of their children, and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

The true church is made up of all those individuals who have put their trust in Christ as their Savior. It is not merely the attending of church or having a name on the membership list that makes on a member of Christ’s true church. Only the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the repentant sinner qualifies one for membership in the true body of Christ.

The Atonement

Within all branches of Christianity there is agreement that the deity of Christ was a perfect satisfaction to God as just and substitutionary punishment for the sins of the world:

Therefore as in Adam we had fallen under sin, the curse, and death, so we are delivered from sin, the curse, and death in Jesus Christ. His voluntary suffering and death on the cross for us, being of infinite value and merit, as the death of one sinless, God and man in one person, is both a perfect satisfaction to the justice of God, which had condemned us for sin to death, and a fund of infinite merit, which has obtained him the right, without prejudice to justice, to give us sinners pardon of our sins, and grace to have victory over sin and death (The longer catechism of the Eastern Orthodox Church, answer to question 208).

Doctrine of Salvation

The doctrine of salvation is linked with the atoning death of Christ on the cross. While all major branches of Christianity agree that Christ’s death was satisfactory to God as a sacrifice for the world’s sins, there is a disagreement on how that sacrifice is appropriated. We believe the Bible teaches that salvation is by grace, a free gift of God to all those who believe in Christ. Those who receive Christ by faith have their sins forgiven and become children of God, a new creation in Christ Jesus:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9 NASB).
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5 NASB).

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12 NASB).
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NASB).
“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB).

Since salvation is a free gift from God, no one can add anything to the completed work of Christ to receive it. It is received by faith and faith alone.

The Doctrine of Man

The Doctrine of Man is succinctly expressed in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, that “God created man, male and female, after his own im-age, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.” Francis Schaeffer, contemporary Christian philosopher, elaborates on what it means for modern man to be created in the image of God:

What is it that differentiates Adam and Eve from the rest of creation? We find the answer in Genesis 1:26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image “. What differentiates Adam and Eve from the rest of creation is that they were created in the image of God. For twentieth-century man this phrase, the image of God, is as important as anything in Scripture, because men today can no longer answer this crucial question, “Who am I?” In his own naturalistic theories, with the uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system, with an evolutionary concept of a mechanical, chance parade from the atom to man, man has lost his unique identity. As he looks out upon the world, as he faces the machine, he cannot tell himself from what he faces. He cannot distinguish himself from other things.

Quite in contrast, a Christian does not have this problem. He knows who he is. If anything is a gift of God, this is it – knowing who you are. As a Christian, I know my differentiation. I can look at the most complicated machine that men have made so far or ever will make and realize that, though the machine may do some things that I cannot do, I am different from it. If I see a machine that is stronger than I am, it doesn’t matter. If it can lift a house, I am not disturbed. If it can run faster than I can, its speed doesn’t threaten me. If I am faced with a giant computer which can never be beaten when it plays checkers -even when I realize that never in history will I or any man be able to beat it-I am not crushed. Others may be overwhelmed intellectually and psychologically by the fact that a man can make a machine that can beat him at his own games, but not the Christian” (Francis Schaeffer, Genesis in Space and Time, InterVarsity Press, 1972, pp. 46-47).

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

Central to the Christian faith is the teaching that the Holy Spirit is personal and is God, the third person of the Holy Trinity. The doctrine that the Holy Spirit is a person is clearly taught in Scripture. Notice the following examples of personal attributes displayed by the Holy Spirit. He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), resisted (Acts 7:51) and lied to (Acts 5:3). Moreover, the Holy Spirit can speak (Acts 21:11), think (Acts 15:28) and teach (Luke 12:12). Thus, the Holy Spirit is personal.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is spoken of in the Bible as a divine person. The Holy Spirit has the attributes of God, for He is all-powerful (Luke 1:35-37), eternal (Hebrews 9:14), and all-knowing (1 Corinthians 2:10,11). The Scriptures teach that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God (Acts 5:3,4).

The Holy Spirit also was involved in divine works, including creation (Genesis 1:2, job 33:4), the new birth (John 3:5), the resurrection of Christ (Romans 8:11) and the inspiration of the Bible (2 Peter 1:20,21). Finally, to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin (Matthew 12:31,32). The conclusion is that the Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Holy Trinity.

Conclusion

As Bible-believing Christians, we know that God is personal, eternal and triune. However, the cults each deny one or more of the essential Bible doctrines we have discussed. Beware of any group or individual that changes essential doctrines. The Bible’s teachings cannot be exploited at the whim of any group or individual. It contains “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and one who changes its divine pronouncements acts like those condemned in 2 Peter 3:16: “The untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

http://www.greatcom.org/resources/handbook_of_todays_religions/01chap03/default.htm

 

 

 

 

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CULT?

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CULT?

 

Handbook of Today’s Religions by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart.

The Characteristics of Cults

 

 

Extensive travel throughout the United States and abroad, has made us aware of certain features that characterize the cults. These include:

New Truth

 

Many cults promote the false idea that God has revealed something special to them. This is usually truth that has never before been reveal­ed and supersedes and contradicts all previous revelations. Sun Myung Moon’s claim is that the mission of Christ was left unfinished and the world is now ready for the completion of Christ’s work on earth.

The Unification Church teaches that the Rev. Moon is bringing truth previously unrevealed. Moon has said, “We are the only people who tru­ly understand the heart of Jesus, the anguish of Jesus, and the hope of Jesus” (Rev. Moon, The Way of the World, Holy Spirit Ass’n for the Unification of World Christianity, Vol. VIII, No. 4, April, 1976).

The Mormon Church teaches that Christianity was in apostasy for some 18 centuries until God revealed new “truth” to Joseph Smith, Jr., restoring the true gospel that had been lost. Today the Mormon church has its living prophets who receive divine revelation from God, continual­ly bringing new “truth” to the world.

These and other cults justify their existence by claiming they have something more than just the Bible and its “inadequate message.”

The cults have no objective, independent way to test their teachings and practices. It’s almost as though they feel just a firm assertion of their own exclusivity is sufficient proof of their anointing by God. However, as members of the universal Christian church, we can and should test all of our teachings and practices objectively and independently by God’s

Some cults make no claim to new truth or extra-biblical revelation, but believe they alone have the key to interpreting the mysteries in the Bible. The Scriptures are their only acknowledged source of authority, but they are interpreted unreasonably and in a way different from that of orthodox Christianity.

They testify that the historic beliefs and inter­pretations of Scripture are based upon a misunderstanding of the Bible or were pagan in origin. An example of this is found in the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong: … I found that the popular church teachings and practices were not based on the Bible. They had originated… in paganism. The amazing, unbelievable TRUTH was, the sources of these popular beliefs and practices of professing Christianity was quite largely, paganism and human reasoning and custom, not the Bible! (Herbert W. Armstrong, The Autobiography of Herbert W Arm­strong, Pasadena: Ambassador College Press, 1967, p. 298, 294).The Bible is then reinterpreted, usually out of context, to justify the peculiar doctrines of the cult. Without an objective and reasonable way to understand what the Bible teaches, the cult member is at the mercy of the theological whims of the cult leader.

A Non-biblical Source

of Authority

Some cults have sacred writings or a source of authority that supersedes the Bible. The Mormon Church says, “We believe the Bible to be the Word of God in so far as it is translated correctly. . .” (Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Article 8). Although this sounds like the Mormons trust the Bible, they, in fact, believe it has been changed and corrupted. Listen to what the Mormon apostle Talmage has said:

There will be, there can be no absolutely reliable translation of these or other Scriptures unless it is effected through the gift of translation, as one of the endowments of the Holy Ghost … Let the Bible then be read reverently and with prayerful care, the reader ever seeking the light of the Spirit that he may discern between the truth and the errors of men (James E. Talmage, The Ar­ticles of Faith, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1968, p. 237).

 

Such a statement opens the door for their additional sacred books, i.e., The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price and Doctrines and Covenants, as greater authoritative sources. Thus, the Bible is not truly their final source of authority.

In Christian Science, the Bible is characterized as being mistaken and corrupt and inferior to the writings of Mary Baker Eddy.

The Unification Church believes the Bible to be incomplete, while Rev. Moon’s Divine Principle is the true authoritative source.

Other groups such as The Way International and the Worldwide Church of God claim the Bible to be their final authority when in actuality their authority is the Bible as interpreted by the cult leader. Regardless of whether the Bible is superseded by other works or reinterpreted by a cult leader, a sure mark of a cult is that the final authority on spiritual mat­ters rests on something other than the plain teaching of Holy Scripture.

Another Jesus

 

One characteristic that is found in all cults is false teaching about the person of Jesus Christ in the light of historical biblical Christianity. The Apostle Paul warned about following after “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4) who is not the same Jesus who is revealed in Scripture. The “Jesus” of the cults is always someone less than the Bible’s eternal God who became flesh, lived here on earth, and died for our sins.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was God in human flesh, second person of the Holy Trinity, who lived a sinless life on earth and died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Three days after His crucifixion, Jesus rose bodily from the dead. Fifty days afterward He ascended into heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding on behalf of believers. He will, one day, return bodily to planet earth and judge the living and the dead while setting up His eternal Kingdom.

The Jesus of the cults is not the Jesus of the Bible.

 

 

According to the theology of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus did not ex­ist as God from all eternity but was rather the first creation of Jehovah God. Before coming to earth, He was Michael the Archangel, the head of all the angels. He is not God.

The Mormon Church does not accept the unique deity of Jesus Christ. He is, to them, one of many gods, the “firstborn spirit child,” spiritually conceived by a sexual union between the heavenly Father and a heaven­ly mother. He was also the spirit-brother of Lucifer in His preexistent state. His incarnation was accomplished by the physical union of the heavenly Father and the human Mary.

No matter what the particular beliefs of any cult may be, the one com­mon denominator they all possess is a denial of the biblical teaching on the deity of Jesus Christ.

Rejection of Orthodox Christianity

 

Characteristic of many cultic groups is a frontal attack on orthodox Christianity They argue that the church has departed from the true faith. Helena P. Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy, had this to say of orthodox Christianity:

The name has been used in a manner so intolerant and dogmatic, especially in our day, that Christianity is now the religion of arrogance, par excellence, a stepping stone for ambition, a sinecure for wealth, shame, and power; a con­venient screen for hypocrisy (H. P. Blavatsky, Studies in Occultism, Theosophical University Press, n.d., p. 138).

 

Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, said he was given this assessment of the Christian Church when he inquired of the Lord as to which church to join:

… I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong;

and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomina­tion in His sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that “they draw near to Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me, they teach for doc­trines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof” (Joseph Smith, Jr., The Pearl of Great Price, 2:18-19).

DoubleTalk

 

A feature of some cultic groups is that they say one thing publicly but internally believe something totally different. Many organizations call themselves Christians when in fact they deny the fundamentals of the faith.

The Mormon Church is an example of this kind of double-talk. The first article of faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints reads, “We believe … in His Son, Jesus Christ.” This gives the impres­sion Mormons are Christians since they believe in Jesus Christ. However, when we understand the semantics of what they mean by Jesus Christ, we discover they are far removed from orthodox Christianity. Never­theless, the impression the Mormon Church gives from their advertis­ing is that they are another denomination or sect of Christianity. One, therefore, must be on the alert for organizations that advertise themselves as “Christians” but whose internal teachings disagree with Scripture.

Nonbiblical Teaching on the Nature of God (Trinity)

 

Another characteristic of all non-Christian cults is either an inadequate view or outright denial of the Holy Trinity. The biblical doctrine of the Trinity, one God in three Persons, is usually attacked as being pagan or satanic in origin.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are an example of this. They say, “There is no authority in the Word of God for the doctrine of the trinity of the Godhead” (Charles Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, V, Brooklyn: In­ternational Bible Students, 1912, p. 54). “The plain truth is that this is another of Satan’s attempts to keep the God fearing person from learn­ing the truth of Jehovah and His Son Christ Jesus” (Let God Be True, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1946, p. 93).

The Way International takes a similar position.,” Long before the foun­ding of Christianity, the idea of a triune god or a god in three-persons was a common belief in ancient religions. Although many of these religions had many minor deities, they distinctly acknowledged that there was one supreme god who consisted of three persons or essences. The Babylonians used an equilateral triangle to represent this three-in-one god, now the symbol of the modern three in one believers” (Jesus Christ Is Not God, Victor Paul Wierville, New Knoxville, Ohio: American Chris­tian Press, 1975, p. 11).

Cults, therefore, are marked by their deviation on the doctrine of the Trinity and the nature of God.

Changing Theology

 

Cult doctrines are continually in a state of flux and have no sure foun­dation on which to anchor their hope. Adherents of a particular cult will learn a doctrine only to find that doctrine later changed or contradicted by further revelation. Most cults will deny this, with the possible excep­tion of the Unification Church. Recently they admitted their theology was in a state of flux.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, used to believe vaccinations were sinful. Anyone who allowed himself to be vaccinated would lose his good standing in the organization. Today this is no longer taught.

 

Christianity Today,

in an article interviewing William Cetnar (a former high official in the Jehovah’s Witnesses), says:

The controversial ban on receiving blood transfusions will probably be lifted after Franz’s death, [Frederick Franz, 87, is the president of the Jehovah’s Witnesses] Cetnar thinks.

A new date for the end of the world (JWs have previously predicted Christ’s return seven times) is likely to be announced, possibly 1988.

By sheer mathematical necessity, some change will have to be made in the JW doctrine that Christ will return before an elect 144,000 Witnesses have died. The 144,000 places were filled by those living in 1914 and few remain alive today. But Christ is supposed to return before the entire generation has died (Christianity Today, Nov. 20, 1981, p. 70).

 

The Mormon Church is equally guilty of changing doctrine. The most famous is its belief and practice, later prohibited, of polygamy.

Strong Leadership

 

Cults are usually characterized by central leader figures who consider themselves messengers of God with unique access to the Almighty. Since the leader has such a special relationship with God, he can dictate the theology and behavior of the cult. Consequently, he exercises enormous influence over the group. This is true, for example, in the Unification Church, The Way International and the Worldwide Church of God.

This strong leadership leads the cult follower into total dependence upon the cult for belief, behavior and lifestyle. When this falls into the hands of a particularly corrupt leader, the results can be tragic, as with Jim Jones and the People’s Temple tragedy. The more dramatic the claims of a cult leader, the more the possibility of a tragic conclusion.

Salvation by Works

 

One teaching that is totally absent from all the cults is the gospel of the grace of God. No one is taught in the cults that he can be saved from eternal damnation by simply placing his faith in Jesus Christ. It is always belief in Jesus Christ and “do this” or “follow that.” All cults attach something to the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. It might be baptism, obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, or something else, but it is never taught that faith in Christ alone will save anyone.

Herbert W. Armstrong, founder and leader of the Worldwide Church of God, exemplifies this:

Salvation, then, is a process! But how the God of this world would blind your eyes to that! He tries to deceive you into thinking all there is to it is just “accepting Christ” with “no works” and prestochango, you are pronounced “saved.” But the Bible reveals that none is yet saved (Herbert W. Armstrong, Why Were You Born? p.11).

False Prophecy

 

Another feature of the cults is they often promulgate false prophecy. Cult leaders, who believe they have been divinely called by God, have made bold predictions of future events, supposedly revealed by the inspiration of God. Unfortunately, for the cult leaders, these predictions of future events do not come to pass. The one who prophesied is exposed as a false prophet.

Writing in 1967, Herbert W. Armstrong, (leader of the Worldwide Church of God), said, “Now other prophecies reveal we are to soon have (probably in about four years) such drought and famine, that disease epidemics will follow, taking millions of lives… Well, we have been get­ting foretastes of them! That condition is coming! And I do not mean in 400 years nor in 40 years but in the very next four or five! ” (Herbert W. Armstrong, The United States and British Commonwealth in Proph­ecy. Pasadena: Ambassador College Press, 1967, p. 184).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have a well established record of making false prophecies. This pattern was established by their founder and first presi­dent, Charles T. Russell, who conclusively prophesied the end of the world for 1914. judge for yourself (I John 4:1).

The Founder Speaks

1. “ALL PRESENT GOVERNMENTS WILL BE OVERTHROWN AND DISSOLVED” IN 1914- The Time Is At Hand, pp. 98-99 (1889)

2.1914 “THE FARTHEST LIMIT OF THE RULE OF IMPERFECT

MAN.” The Time Is At Hand, p. 77 (1906 ed) *

3. “THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF ISRAEL IN THE LAND OF

PALESTINE Thy Kingdom Come, p. 244, EARTHLY JERUSALEM TO BE RESTORED TO DIVINE FAVOR. -The Time Is At Hand, p.77

4. “THE FULL ESTABLISHMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THE EARTH AT A.D. 1914.” Thy Kingdom Come, p. 126 (1891) * “ON THE RUINS OF PRESENT INSTITUTIONS.”- The Time Is At Hand, p. 77 (1912 ed)*

5. CHRIST WAS SPIRITUALLY PRESENT IN 1874. -Thy Kingdom127-129, “AND WILL BE PRESENT AS EARTH’S NEW RULER” IN 1914;– The Time Is At Hand, p. 77

Come, pp.

6. “BEFORE THE END OF A.D. 1914, THE LAST MEMBER OF THE ‘BODY OF CHRIST’ WILL BE GLORIFIED WITH THE HEAD.” The Time Is At Hand, p. 77, (1906 ed)*

*The Watchtower Society in later editions made changes in what Russell stated here in an attempt to cover up his erroneous predictions.

Conclusion:

 

 

While not every group that possesses these characteristics can be label­ed a cult, beware of a group that embraces some of these features. The sure mark of a cult is what it does with the person of Jesus Christ. All cults ultimately deny the fact that Jesus Christ is God the Son, second Person of the Holy Trinity, and mankind’s only hope.

http://www.greatcom.org/resources/handbook_of_todays_religions/01chap02/default.htm

=======================================================

CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

—————————————————————————-

WHAT IS A CULT?

WHAT IS A CULT?

Handbook of Today’s Religions by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart.

What is a Cult?
 

 

 A cult is a perversion, a distortion of biblical Christianity and/or a rejection of the historic teachings of the Christian church. The Apostle Paul warned there would be false Christs and a false gospel that would attempt to deceive the true church and the world.

For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. . . for such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ and no wonder for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds (2 Corinthians 11: 13-15 NASB).

Walter Martin gives us a good definition of a cult when he says:

A cult, then, is a group of people polarized around someone’s interpretation of the Bible and is characterized by major deviations from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, particularly the fact that God became man in Jesus Christ (Walter Martin, The Rise of the Cults, p. 12).

Why Do Cults Prosper?

 

We live in a day in which the cults show rapid growth. For example:
The Mormon Church has grown from 30 members in 1830 to more than 4,000,000 as of April, 1978, and its growth rate is a religious phenomenon. In 1900 the church numbered 268,331; in 1910, 393,437; in 1920, 526,032; in 1930, 672,488; in 1940,862,664; in 1950,1,111,314; in 1960,1,693,180; in 1962, 1,965,786; in 1964, over 2,000,000 members, and in 1976 their projection for the year 2000 was for more than 8,000,000 members (Walter Martin, The Maze of Mormonism, p. 16).

 

 

We believe there are several basic reasons people join cults and why they prosper.

The Cults Provide Answers
 

 

A major reason the cults are flourishing is that in an unsure world they provide authoritative answers to man’s basic questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?Max Gunther, the writer, describes the plight of a young woman, common to many in our generation. “I thought I wanted to become a nurse but I wasn’t sure. I thought Christianity meant a lot to me but I wasn’t sure of that either. I guess I was kind of desperately looking for somebody who had firm yes-and-no answers, somebody who was sure about things and could make me sure” (Today’s Health, February, 1976, p. 16).

Unfortunately, this young lady eventually joined a cult which willingly supplied her with answers. She put it this way, “I kept going back and asking them questions and they always knew the answers –I mean, really knew them.” Thus the cults offer certainty and easy answers to those who are unsatisfied with the present state of their lives.
The Cults Meet Human Needs

Cults also flourish because they appeal to man’s basic human need. All of us need to be loved, to feel needed, to sense our lives have direc­tion and meaning. Individuals who experience an identity crisis or have emotional problems are particularly susceptible to cults. During such difficult moments, many cults give the unsuspecting a feeling of accept­ance and direction.

Furthermore, within all of us there is a basic desire to know and serve God. The cults take advantage of this and offer ready-made, but ultimately unsatisfying, solutions. Most cults tell their followers what to believe, how to behave and what to think, and emphasize dependence upon the group or leader for their emotional stability. The Passantinos give an example of this:

A person does not usually join a cult because he has done an exhaustive analysis of world religions and has decided that a particular cult presents the best theology available. Instead, a person usually joins a cult because he has prob­lems that he is having trouble solving, and the cult promises to solve these problems. Often these problems are emotional.

We talked to a young man who had just left the army, hadn’t been discharged a week, and had already joined the Children of God (the Family of Love) and had given them 100 dollars. He said that he was lonely, wanted to serve God, and didn’t know where to go or what to do. The Family of Love seized on his loneliness, smothered him with love and attention, and almost secured his permanent allegiance.

Fortunately his mother called us and we talked to him, and within an hour he saw how wrong the cult was and decided not to join. We urged him to join a good small Bible study and to become involved in a strong church. Without a good Christian foundation and close relationships with other Christians, he would still be a candidate for the cults (Robert and Gretchen Passantino, Answers to the Cultist at Your Door, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1981, pp. 22, 23).

The Cults Make a Favorable ImpressionThe cults prosper because Christians have sometimes failed to be a vital influence in the world. Pierre Berton astutely noted:

 

The virus that has been weakening the church for more than a generation is not the virus of anti-religious passion but the very lack of it …. The Church to its opponents has become as a straw man, scarcely worth a bullet …. Most ministers are scarcely distinguishable by their words, opinions, actions, or way of life from the nominal Christians and non-Christians who form the whole of the community (Pierre Berton, The Comfortable Pew, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1965, pp. 15-16).
 

 

If the church fails to carefully and seriously provide spiritual warmth and a true exposition of the Word of God, those with spiritual needs will find other avenues of fulfillment. Many cults prey on ignorance, and try to impress the uninformed with pseudo-scholarship.

An example is The Way International’s leader, Victor Paul Wierwille, who quotes profusely from Hebrew and Greek sources in an attempt to give the impression of scholarship.

Representatives of Jehovah’s Witnesses who go door to door give a similar impression of great learning. To combat this, the believer must know what he believes and why he believes it and thus be able to expose the cult’s teachings.

Many people involved in the cults were raised in Christian churches but were untaught in basic Christian doctrine, making them prey for the cultists. Chris Elkins, a former Unification Church “Moonie” member, points this out:

In most cults, a majority of the members left a mainline, denominational church. Perhaps in the church’s attempt to explain why its members are leav­ing and joining cults, brainwashing is seen as an easy out.

My contention is that brainwashing is really not the issue. In most cases we would be hard-pressed to isolate any element in the methodology of a cult that is not present in some form in mainstream churches. For Christians, the main issue with cults should of us accepted Christ at an early age. We had a child’s understanding of Jesus, the Bible and salvation.

That is okay for children and new Christians. But many of us older Chris­tians are still babies spiritually. We have not learned to feed ourselves, much less anyone else (Christian Life, August 1980).

http://www.greatcom.org/resources/handbook_of_todays_religions/01chap01/default.htm

=======================================================

CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

—————————————————————————-