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8 Characteristics of a Counterfeit Christian Church
By Eric Johnson

With the leaders of thousands of different religions and churches attempting to make their beliefs appear authentic, it behooves a person to carefully ascertain truth from error. In fact, many leaders of these faiths may call themselves “Christian” and even attempt to convert Christians into their churches.

After all, Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” This is why John warned the believers in 1 John 4:1 to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:21 adds, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23:27 that they were “like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” How can we tell whether or not a particular religious leader (like the Pharisees) ought to be believed, especially when such a person may appear authentic and even claim to be Christian? Let’s then consider eight basic doctrinal characteristics of counterfeit groups.

1. Denial in the true nature of God
The rejection of fundamental Christian tenets such as the historical definition of God should be a major warning sign to any perceptive believer. Groups that deny the Christian viewpoint of the deity of Christ and the Trinity typically follow in point-by-point succession each of the other characteristics in this article. One example is The Way International, a group founded by Victor Paul Wierwille, (He once served as a former evangelical pastor. In fact, several cult leaders had their start in authentic Christian denominations and churches.) Wierwille’s view of God is Unitarian rather than Trinitarian as he denies that there are three persons in the Godhead. He also claims that Jesus was not God, teaching that the deity of Christ was not a Christian teaching for the Christian church’s first 300 years. This is a common (though false) assertion of many cult leaders. Because Wierwille and his church deny the very essence of what makes God who He is, this is a group to avoid.

2. Works-emphasis salvation
Although a counterfeit’s doctrine may include the idea that God’s grace is important in the role of salvation, the leader normally emphasizes the idea that “salvation” ultimately comes through one’s own efforts. Take the Hare Krishna devotees, for instance. These dedicated followers believe that they are in the middle stage of their reincarnation cycle. The way for a dedicated devotee to be born into the next level of existence is to deny himself on this earth while performing good works, including the repetition of the Hare Krishna mantra a total of 1,728 times a day. It may take a devotee who wakes up at 4 A.M. several hours a day to maintain this goal. Those who belong to such work-oriented groups are normally told that they can never know if their works are good enough to please God; instead, they are told to keep trying even harder.

3. The true church
Counterfeit Christian churches often make it a point to cast doubt and suspicion on other churches or denominations, with the leader oftentimes claiming that only his church is true. While many groups hold that the Christian churches do have partial truth, it is taught that full truth has somehow been lost and can now only be found in the “one true church.” This may involve utilizing Christian terminology while having a different meaning behind those particular words. An example is the Watchtower Society, also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This group, founded by Charles Taze Russell in the 19th century, teaches that those who belong to any church outside of “Jehovah’s” church are doomed to annihilation. Only those who belong to the Watchtower organization have a chance to attain “Paradise Earth.” This is why Jehovah’s Witnesses are adamant in sharing their faith door to door, even attempting to convert those who already attend Christian churches. The Jehovah’s Witnesses will often use words that sound reasonable to a nominal Christian (i.e. “Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses,” “salvation,” “Jesus Christ,” etc), but they are usually reluctant to tell potential converts that the meanings behind these words are completely different than what has been historically meant.

4. Authoritative leadership
A group where the leader(s) has an authoritative role, even to the extent that they say they speak for God, is another cause for concern. Such leaders claim to have special revelation with God, and their words hold special precedence over their followers. A classic example is Jim Jones, who led almost 1,000 followers to their deaths in the jungle of Guyana in 1978. When men in his charge killed Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA), a congressman who was visiting “Jonestown” in response to complaints from the relatives of church members, Jones called for his followers to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. The majority of the people willingly followed his commands because they had come to accept his words as truthful and from God. Those who refused were shot. Trusting someone so much that you listen to any command, even to the point of moving to another country and then taking your own life, is something that God never intended.

5. Regimented giving requirement
Another heretical trait is when a church regulates the giving of its people or requires a certain amount of financial giving in order to receive certain privileges related to salvation. For example, the Church of Scientology teaches that people need to discover their true nature through a process called “auditing.” This is accomplished by “clearing Engrams” from one’s life. One Los Angeles Times article on Scientology religion estimated that it would cost a full “Operating Thetan 8” participant between $200,000 to $400,000 from the beginning of the lessons to the completion. Without these courses, the adherent is unable to clear himself of these unwanted “Engrams.” Using finances as a requirement to reach salvation goals is much different than what Jesus, Paul, and Peter preached.

6. Loss of salvation for leaving
Many counterfeit Christian churches insist that if a member decides to leave the group, for whatever reason, they jeopardize their salvation before God. One group with such a belief is the Boston Church of Christ, also known as the International Churches of Christ. The leaders of the ICC teach that there should only be one church in any particular city, which they say is the New Testament model. Members who decide to leave are considered spiritually lost and their salvation is considered negated. This is true even for those who leave because they decide to attend a Christian church outside the ICC network. Since the ICC does not recognize the baptisms of other denominations, and since the doctrine of baptism is considered a necessity in order to receive salvation, leaving the ICC negates the baptism that was given when the person joined the church. Holding a person’s salvation hostage in such a way is certainly not biblical.

7. Authority beyond the Bible
Although the Bible is sometimes utilized and even considered beneficial by a number of counterfeit groups, it is not considered as a completely authoritative scripture. Therefore, extrabiblical writings are necessary. Normally these scriptures are considered to have more authority than the dated Bible. The Christian Science religion is one example. Those who inquire into this religion are told that Mary Baker Eddy’s 1875 pantheistic book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is a “reference book for life,” which is needed by a person who hopes to discover “practical, spiritual answers for health and healing, security, and lasting relationships.” This book must be studied in order to ascertain full truth. When the Bible contradicts Eddy’s book, then the Bible is considered to be wrong or misunderstood.

8. Unique truths never before revealed
The idea that a hidden mystery or new truth is available through a particular church should be taken as a strong sign that this group is a counterfeit Christian religion. In addition, many such groups may change their doctrines over time. Christians believe that God has very clearly shown His truth through the pages of the Bible; therefore, new or fluctuating doctrine—especially that which contradicts the Bible—ought to be taken with a great deal of caution. The Unification Church (numerous front names include “Association of Families for Unification and World Peace” or “Family Federation for World Peace and Unification”) was founded by Korean “Rev.” Sun Myung Moon. He teaches that Jesus never fulfilled his mission. Therefore, Moon says that he was commissioned to finish the job that Jesus never finished. Moon’s followers (often known as “Moonies”) accept Moon as a Christ-like representative on earth whose teachings supersede the Bible. The Unification Church theology has evolved over time, and there may be some drastic changes once he dies in the very near future.

Conclusion
Not all counterfeits may be characterized by every one of these traits. However, a person should be cautious when considering a church that is marked by one or two of these characteristics, especially any of the first three in the list. Churches with three or more of the above characteristics ought to be avoided at all cost. In addition, there are some Christian churches that may not have doctrinal problems but are rather sociological abusers. For instance, some churches have controlling “discipleship” programs or church memberships with high levels of guilt or feelings of inadequacy. These types of groups also ought to be avoided. If you believe that your church has problems in either doctrinal or sociological areas, you would be wise not to get involved. If you are already a member, you need to consider leaving. As John 8:32-33 says, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

http://www.mrm.org/topics/introductory-issues/8-characteristics-a-counterfeit-christian-church

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The Dangers of “Sinless Perfection” Doctrine

By Reese Currie, Compass Distributors

I’ve been receiving an increased volume of e-mail lately from proponents of “sinless perfection” doctrine in response to my article, “Can We Live Sin Free?” None of these supposedly sinless folks offer any argumentation from the Bible, since the doctrine they espouse can’t be found there, but yet they seem quite concerned that I’m doing terrible things to peoples’ Christian walk in maintaining that humans never attain sinless perfection. I am, according to one writer, “an agent of Satan” holding back the true believers in Christ, and should “seek God and be taught of Him.”

Obviously, another article on this is required, since the first, although quite laden with Biblical facts on the matter, does not dissuade these people from e-mailing me to label me a heretic, unknowledgeable, and “Satan’s agent.” So, I offer these facts about people who advocate “sinless perfection.”

Advocates of Sinless Perfection Do Not Believe the Bible.

James writes, “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). So, is James not saying here that a man can indeed be perfect? No, because only a few verses later, he comments, “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).

There are two things about sinless perfection to be drawn from James’ comments. First off, James is stating that no man can tame even the tongue to the point of perfection, let alone his whole body. Advocates of sinless perfection are calling James a liar and are calling the Scripture a lie in this instance.

The second thing to note is that James is using the example of a man being perfect as a ridiculous impossibility in his writing. He is stating that all men stumble in their words, and he says anyone who claims otherwise is claiming something as ridiculous as personal sinless perfection. Advocates of sinless perfection actually believe the very thing that James cites as a ridiculous, impossible example.

Certainly we should strive to tame the tongue. We should do the best we possibly can in all areas of life. But it is unrealistic to expect perfection when the Bible itself plainly says such perfection is impossible.

Advocates of Sinless Perfection Do Not Have the Same Religion as the Early Church

Look carefully at the first part of James 3:2. It says, “For we all stumble in many things.” The “we” here refers to Christians. James is identifying himself with “all” the Christians he writes to, stating directly that neither he, nor they, are perfect. “We all stumble in many things.” Since advocates of sinless perfection do not believe they stumble in anything, they disassociate themselves from James—and they are therefore not a part of the Christian religion. James was inarguably a part of the Christian religion, but advocates of sinless perfection refuse to be included in James’ comments toward all Christians, including himself.

Advocates of Sinless Perfection Are Spiritually Dead.

People who think they are sinless are obviously experiencing no conviction for sin whatsoever. They believe themselves to be perfect in every way and incapable of sinning. Scripture has already demonstrated that people who do not believe they are sinning are mistaken. In fact, Scripture paints a bleak picture for anyone who is under the delusion that they are without sin.

1John 1:8 states simply, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” People who are oblivious to the fact that they still have sin do not have the Spirit of truth within them. There is no light shining to expose the darkness of their souls.

There is sin in everyone, but how can we explain that a subculture within Christendom, the “sinless perfection” crowd, feels no conviction for the sin they have whatsoever? It is easily explained. Hebrews 12:7-8 says, “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”

The Holy Spirit convicts the real children of God for their sins. But fakes, even if they do not realize they are fakes, receive no conviction because, since they are not God’s sons, God does not discipline them.

Two points here point definitively to a condition of spiritual death for people who believe in sinless perfection. First, the truth does not reside in people who say they have no sin. Second, people who never feel conviction for their sins have never been adopted by the Father; they may think they are sons, but they are not.

Advocates of Sinless Perfection Refuse to Repent of Present Sin.

1John 1:8-10 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

The very act of claiming to be sinless is a sin in itself, as this Scripture so ably demonstrates. A person claiming not to have sin deceives himself or herself, and in effect calls Christ a liar.

Being cleared of sin is so simple! All we have to do is confess that we have sinned, and our sin is forgiven and we are cleansed of our unrighteousness. The problem is, a person who considers himself or herself to be sinless cannot confess sin. To confess sinning would run contrary to their belief that they have sinless perfection. So, because they will not admit that they are indeed sinners, they cannot have the forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is for Sinners, Not for the Sinless.

Jesus said it so well: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:32). And yet, the Bible says no one is righteous: “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one;’” (Romans 3:10). So what did Jesus mean? He meant He did not come for people who claimed to be righteous, He came for those who knew they were sinners. He did not come for the self-righteous; He came for those who would repent, knowing that they needed Him.

Some correspondents have accused me of encouraging Christians to keep on sinning since they cannot be “perfect” and “sinless.” It isn’t my aim to make people sin, but it is my aim to make people recognize reality: they will never be perfect as long as they have a “flesh” component. Unless people will confess this, they have no need of Jesus—and will not get to have Him.

The Struggle is the Proof of Salvation.

When we are saved, a battle begins between our saved soul and our unsaved body. Paul writes of this battle that continues within us even after our salvation, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:18-25).

As long as any person has flesh, that flesh will be serving sin. It will always be warring against the spiritual mind. We will be delivered from this sin completely only when we are delivered from “this body of death.” It is only at that point that the Christian is “completely sanctified.”

The absence of this struggle between body and soul means that the body has won and the soul is actually given over to sinfulness. The flesh does not become justified! So if the struggle between body and soul ends, it can only be because the flesh has won.

Closing Words.

Those who think they have attained “sinless perfection” are the most unfortunate of us all. Not only do they remain sinners, contrary to their claim, but because they refuse to admit their sinfulness, they cannot avail themselves of Jesus Christ through repentance, to forgive them and to help them do better.

The Dangers of “Sinless Perfection” Doctrine is Copyright © 2001 by Compass Distributors.

All Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc.), 1982

http://www.compassdistributors.ca/topics/sinless.htm

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Critique of The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop

by Pastor Gary J. Hall


Alexander Hislop arrives at his conclusions after carefully comparing and examining the background and teachings of the two systems, that is of ancient Babylon and the religion of the Roman Catholic Church. He actually follows three lines of investigation which includes that stated above alongside the prophesies contained in the book of Revelation.

When the comparison is made the author shows the remarkable fact that Roman Catholicism, far from being founded upon Biblical truth, is deeply rooted in and derived from pagan practices in line with Babylonian religion. Almost every part of Roman Catholic practice, worship (of Mary, saints), ritual, teachings and leadership finds its counterpart in the mystery religions of Babylon or paganism.

The influence of Babylon is traced until it reaches its climax in the Roman Empire (which adopted many of the pagan gods and worship of the nations it conquered). Roman mythology is proven to be exactly the same as that seen with Babylonian mythology (though with names and titles changed). The Holy Roman Empire under the power of the papacy continued the same mythology but disguised it with Christian terminology and symbolism. This brought into being a paganised mythical Christianity that had little semblance to Biblical Christianity.

The pope of Rome, as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, can be traced back via Roman paganism to Babylon rather than to some supposed apostolic succession. Therefore revealing that right across the board Roman Catholicism cannot be considered as a Christian Church.

He also proves beyond doubt, through the evidence presented point by point, in The Two Babylons that the Roman Catholic Church is as pagan as all the pagan religions of the past and present. Not only, on comparison, does the papacy practice almost the same things as non-Christian religions, but it fulfils exactly the prophecies relating to the Great Whore and Mother of Harlots in the book of Revelation.

As Babylon was the chief seat of idolatry and paganism in the ancient world, Imperial Rome in the New Testament world, so too is the Roman Catholic religion in the modern world before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alexander Hislop further shows that this false church is the religion of Satan.

Infant Baptism (commonly called christening) is taught in the Roman Catholic Church as the sacrament that brings a child into church and so receives salvation. The Catholic system sees infant baptism as the point where a person is regenerated – born again, thus becoming a child of God. Without this the unbaptised infant would never be able to go to Heaven if it died.

Alexander Hislop attacks both infant baptism and baptismal regeneration since in reality they are linked together within Catholic theology. Yet his main aim is to prove that baptismal regeneration, even the version practised by some Protestant denominations, cannot be substantiated by the Word of God. He states on page 131, “The word of God knows nothing of it”. He reveals that baptism does not communicate salvation (to either infant or adult) but is a sealing of what already exists in the believer’s heart. It is by saving faith in Christ that a person is redeemed which cuts right across both infant baptism and baptismal regeneration. He is correct when he shows that the Bible only presents believers (adult) baptism.

From pages 132 onward the author proves that neither infant baptism or regenerational baptism originates with Scripture but is a product of pagan religion. The rite of baptism with its “salt, spittle, anointing oil, and sign of the cross “are all equally pagan” (page 138). Both doctrines can be found with Babylonian mythology and relate with child sacrifice to the various gods, infant baptism being simply a bloodless re-enactment of this. Rev. Hislop makes it very clear that both these teachings are absolutely pagan in nature and have no bearing on the Bible or true Christian practice. He see them as an offence to Christ and a corruption of Biblical water baptism.

http://www.lwbc.co.uk/two_babylons.htm

THE TWO BABYLONS
by Alexander Hislop
Chapter IV
Baptismal Regeneration

It is well known that regeneration by baptism is a fundamental article of Rome, yea, that it stands at the very threshold of the Roman system. So important, according to Rome, is baptism for this purpose, that, on the one hand, it is pronounced of “absolute necessity for salvation,” * insomuch that infants dying without it cannot be admitted to glory; and on the other, its virtues are so great, that it is declared in all cases infallibly to “regenerate us by a new spiritual birth, making us children of God”:–it is pronounced to be “the first door by which we enter into the fold of Jesus Christ, the first means by which we receive the grace of reconciliation with God; therefore the merits of His death are by baptism applied to our souls in so superabundant a manner, as fully to satisfy Divine justice for all demands against us, whether for original or actual sin.”

* Bishop HAY’S Sincere Christian. There are two exceptions to this statement; the case of an infidel converted in a heathen land, where it is impossible to get baptism, and the case of a martyr “baptised,” as it is called, “in his own blood”; but in all other cases, whether of young or old, the necessity is “absolute.”

Now, in both respects this doctrine is absolutely anti-Scriptural; in both it is purely Pagan. It is anti-Scriptural, for the Lord Jesus Christ has expressly declared that infants, without the slightest respect to baptism or any external ordinance whatever, are capable of admission into all the glory of the heavenly world: “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” John the Baptist, while yet in his mother’s womb was so filled with joy at the advent of the Saviour, that, as soon as Mary’s salutation sounded in the ears of his own mother, the unborn babe “leaped in the womb for joy.” Had that child died at the birth, what could have excluded it from “the inheritance of the saints in light” for which it was so certainly “made meet”? Yet the Roman Catholic Bishop Hay, in defiance of very principle of God’s Word, does not hesitate to pen the following: “Question: What becomes of young children who die without baptism? Answer: If a young child were put to death for the sake of Christ, this would be to it the baptism of blood, and carry it to heaven; but except in this case, as such infants are incapable of having the desire of baptism, with the other necessary dispositions, if they are not actually baptised with water, THEY CANNOT GO TO HEAVEN.” As this doctrine never came from the Bible, whence came it? It came from heathenism. The classic reader cannot fail to remember where, and in what melancholy plight, Aeneas, when he visited the infernal regions, found the souls of unhappy infants who had died before receiving, so to speak, “the rites of the Church”:

“Before the gates the cries of babes new-born,
Whom fate had from their tender mothers torn,
Assault his ears.”

These wretched babes, to glorify the virtue and efficacy of the mystic rites of Paganism, are excluded from the Elysian Fields, the paradise of the heathen, and have among their nearest associates no better company than that of guilty suicides:

“The next in place and punishment are they
Who prodigally threw their souls away,
Fools, who, repining at their wretched state,
And loathing anxious life, suborned their fate.” *

* Virgil, DRYDEN’S translation. Between the infants and the suicides one other class is interposed, that is, those who on earth have been unjustly condemned to die. Hope is held out for these, but no hope is held out for the babes.

So much for the lack of baptism. Then as to its positive efficacy when obtained, the Papal doctrine is equally anti-Scriptural. There are professed Protestants who hold the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration; but the Word of God knows nothing of it. The Scriptural account of baptism is, not that it communicates the new birth, but that it is the appointed means of signifying and sealing that new birth where it already exists. In this respect baptism stands on the very same ground as circumcision. Now, what says God’s Word of the efficacy of circumcision? This it says, speaking of Abraham: “He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised” (Rom 4:11). Circumcision was not intended to make Abraham righteous; he was righteous already before he was circumcised. But it was intended to declare him righteous, to give him the more abundant evidence in his own consciousness of his being so. Had Abraham not been righteous before his circumcision, his circumcision could not have been a seal, could not have given confirmation to that which did not exist. So with baptism, it is “a seal of the righteousness of the faith” which the man “has before he is baptised”; for it is said, “He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Where faith exists, if it be genuine, it is the evidence of a new heart, of a regenerated nature; and it is only on the profession of that faith and regeneration in the case of an adult, that he is admitted to baptism. Even in the case of infants, who can make no profession of faith or holiness, the administration of baptism is not for the purpose of regenerating them, or making them holy, but of declaring them “holy,” in the sense of being fit for being consecrated, even in infancy, to the service of Christ, just as the whole nation of Israel, in consequence of their relation to Abraham, according to the flesh, were “holy unto the Lord.” If they were not, in that figurative sense, “holy,” they would not be fit subjects for baptism, which is the “seal” of a holy state. But the Bible pronounces them, in consequence of their descent from believing parents, to be “holy,” and that even where only one of the parents is a believer: “The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now they are HOLY” (1 Cor 7:14). It is in consequence of, and solemnly to declare, that “holiness,” with all the responsibilities attaching to it, that they are baptised. That “holiness,” however, is very different from the “holiness” of the new nature; and although the very fact of baptism, if Scripturally viewed and duly improved, is, in the hand of the good Spirit of God, an important means of making that “holiness” a glorious reality, in the highest sense of the term, yet it does not in all cases necessarily secure their spiritual regeneration. God may, or may not, as He sees fit, give the new heart, before, or at, or after baptism; but manifest it is, that thousands who have been duly baptised are still unregenerate, are still in precisely the same position as Simon Magus, who, after being canonically baptised by Philip, was declared to be “in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity” (Acts 7:23). The doctrine of Rome, however, is, that all who are canonically baptised, however ignorant, however immoral, if they only give implicit faith to the Church, and surrender their consciences to the priests, are as much regenerated as ever they can be, and that children coming from the waters of baptism are entirely purged from the stain of original sin. Hence we find the Jesuit missionaries in India boasting of making converts by thousands, by the mere fact of baptising them, without the least previous instruction, in the most complete ignorance of the truths of Christianity, on their mere profession of submission to Rome. This doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration also is essentially Babylonian. Some may perhaps stumble at the idea of regeneration at all having been known in the Pagan world; but if they only go to India, they will find at this day, the bigoted Hindoos, who have never opened their ears to Christian instruction, as familiar with the term and the idea as ourselves. The Brahmins make it their distinguishing boast that they are “twice-born” men, and that, as such, they are sure of eternal happiness. Now, the same was the case in Babylon, and there the new birth was conferred by baptism. In the Chaldean mysteries, before any instruction could be received, it was required first of all, that the person to be initiated submit to baptism in token of blind and implicit obedience. We find different ancient authors bearing direct testimony both to the fact of this baptism and the intention of it. “In certain sacred rites of the heathen,” says Tertullian, especially referring to the worship of Isis and Mithra, “the mode of initiation is by baptism.” The term “initiation” clearly shows that it was to the Mysteries of these divinities he referred. This baptism was by immersion, and seems to have been rather a rough and formidable process; for we find that he who passed through the purifying waters, and other necessary penances, “if he survived, was then admitted to the knowledge of the Mysteries.” (Elliae Comment. in S. GREG. NAZ.) To face this ordeal required no little courage on the part of those who were initiated. There was this grand inducement, however, to submit, that they who were thus baptised were, as Tertullian assures us, promised, as the consequence, “REGENERATION, and the pardon of all their perjuries.” Our own Pagan ancestors, the worshippers of Odin, are known to have practised baptismal rites, which, taken in connection with their avowed object in practising them, show that, originally, at least, they must have believed that the natural guilt and corruption of their new-born children could be washed away by sprinkling them with water, or by plunging them, as soon as born, into lakes or rivers. Yea, on the other side of the Atlantic, in Mexico, the same doctrine of baptismal regeneration was found in full vigour among the natives, when Cortez and his warriors landed on their shores. The ceremony of Mexican baptism, which was beheld with astonishment by the Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries, is thus strikingly described in Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico: “When everything necessary for the baptism had been made ready, all the relations of the child were assembled, and the midwife, who was the person that performed the rite of baptism, * was summoned. At early dawn, they met together in the courtyard of the house. When the sun had risen, the midwife, taking the child in her arms, called for a little earthen vessel of water, while those about her placed the ornaments, which had been prepared for baptism, in the midst of the court. To perform the rite of baptism, she placed herself with her face toward the west, and immediately began to go through certain ceremonies…After this she sprinkled water on the head of the infant, saying, ‘O my child, take and receive the water of the Lord of the world, which is our life, which is given for the increasing and renewing of our body. It is to wash and to purify. I pray that these heavenly drops may enter into your body, and dwell there; that they may destroy and remove from you all the evil and sin which was given you before the beginning of the world, since all of us are under its power’…She then washed the body of the child with water, and spoke in this manner: ‘Whencesoever thou comest, thou that art hurtful to this child, leave him and depart from him, for he now liveth anew, and is BORN ANEW; now he is purified and cleansed afresh, and our mother Chalchivitylcue [the goddess of water] bringeth him into the world.’ Having thus prayed, the midwife took the child in both hands, and, lifting him towards heaven, said, ‘O Lord, thou seest here thy creature, whom thou hast sent into the world, this place of sorrow, suffering, and penitence. Grant him, O Lord, thy gifts and inspiration, for thou art the Great God, and with thee is the great goddess.'”

* As baptism is absolutely necessary to salvation, Rome also authorises midwives to administer baptism. In Mexico the midwife seems to have been a “priestess.”

Here is the opus operatum without mistake. Here is baptismal regeneration and exorcism too, * as thorough and complete as any Romish priest or lover of Tractarianism could desire.

* In the Romish ceremony of baptism, the first thing the priest does is to exorcise the devil out of the child to be baptised in these words, “Depart from him, thou unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Ghost the Comforter.” (Sincere Christian) In the New Testament there is not the slightest hint of any such exorcism accompanying Christian Baptism. It is purely Pagan.

Does the reader ask what evidence is there that Mexico had derived this doctrine from Chaldea? The evidence is decisive. From the researches of Humboldt we find that the Mexicans celebrated Wodan as the founder of their race, just as our own ancestors did. The Wodan or Odin of Scandinavia can be proved to be the Adon of Babylon. (see note below) The Wodan of Mexico, from the following quotation, will be seen to be the very same: “According to the ancient traditions collected by the Bishop Francis Nunez de la Vega,” says Humboldt, “the Wodan of the Chiapanese [of Mexico] was grandson of that illustrious old man, who at the time of the great deluge, in which the greater part of the human race perished, was saved on a raft, together with his family. Wodan co-operated in the construction of the great edifice which had been undertaken by men to reach the skies; the execution of this rash project was interrupted; each family received from that time a different language; and the great spirit Teotl ordered Wodan to go and people the country of Anahuac.” This surely proves to demonstration whence originally came the Mexican mythology and whence also that doctrine of baptismal regeneration which the Mexicans held in common with Egyptian and Persian worshippers of the Chaldean Queen of Heaven. Prestcott, indeed, has cast doubts on the genuiness of this tradition, as being too exactly coincident with the Scriptural history to be easily believed. But the distinguished Humboldt, who had carefully examined the matter, and who had no prejudice to warp him, expresses his full belief in its correctness; and even from Prestcott’s own interesting pages, it may be proved in every essential particular, with the single exception of the name of Wodan, to which he makes no reference. But, happily, the fact that that name had been borne by some illustrious hero among the supposed ancestors of the Mexican race, is put beyond all doubt by the singular circumstance that the Mexicans had one of their days called Wodansday, exactly as we ourselves have. This, taken in connection with all the circumstances, is a very striking proof, at once of the unity of the human race, and of the wide-spread diffusion of the system that began at Babel.

If the question arise, How came it that the Bayblonians themselves adopted such a doctrine as regeneration by baptism, we have light also on that. In the Babylonian Mysteries, the commemoration of the flood, of the ark, and the grand events in the life of Noah, was mingled with the worship of the Queen of Heaven and her son. Noah, as having lived in two worlds, both before the flood and after it, was called “Dipheus,” or “twice-born,” and was represented as a god with two heads looking in opposite directions, the one old, and the other young (Fig. 34). Though we have seen that the two-headed Janus in one aspect had reference to Cush and his son, Nimrod, viewed as one god, in a two-fold capacity, as the Supreme, and Father of all the deified “mighty ones,” yet, in order to gain for him the very authority and respect essential to constitute him properly the head of the great system of idolatry that the apostates inaugurated, it was necessary to represent him as in some way or other identified with the great patriarch, who was the Father of all, and who had so miraculous a history. Therefore in the legends of Janus, we find mixed up with other things derived from an entirely different source, statements not only in regard to his being the “Father of the world,” but also his being “the inventor of ships,” which plainly have been borrowed from the history of Noah; and therefore, the remarkable way in which he is represented in the figure here presented to the reader may confidently be concluded to have been primarily suggested by the history of the great Diluvian patriarch, whose integrity in his two-fold life is so particularly referred to in the Scripture, where it is said (Gen 6:9), “Noah was just a man, and perfect in his generations,” that is, in his life before the flood, and in his life after it. The whole mythology of Greece and Rome, as well as Asia, is full of the history and deeds of Noah, which it is impossible to misunderstand. In India, the god Vishnu, “the Preserver,” who is celebrated as having miraculously preserved one righteous family at the time when the world was drowned, not only has the story of Noah wrought up with his legend, but is called by his very name. Vishnu is just the Sanscrit form of the Chaldee “Ish-nuh,” “the man Noah,” or the “Man of rest.” In the case of Indra, the “king of the gods,” and god of rain, which is evidently only another form of the same god, the name is found in the precise form of Ishnu. Now, the very legend of Vishnu, that pretends to make him no mere creature, but the supreme and “eternal god,” shows that this interpretation of the name is no mere unfounded imagination. Thus is he celebrated in the “Matsya Puran”: “The sun, the wind, the ether, all things incorporeal, were absorbed into his Divine essence; and the universe being consumed, the eternal and omnipotent god, having assumed an ancient form, REPOSED mysteriously upon the surface of that (universal) ocean. But no one is capable of knowing whether that being was then visible or invisible, or what the holy name of that person was, or what the cause of his mysterious SLUMBER. Nor can any one tell how long he thus REPOSED until he conceived the thought of acting; for no one saw him, no one approached him, and none can penetrate the mystery of his real essence.” (Col. KENNEDY’S Hindoo Mythology) In conformity with this ancient legend, Vishnu is still represented as sleeping four months every year. Now, connect this story with the name of Noah, the man of “Rest,” and with his personal history during the period of the flood, when the world was destroyed, when for forty days and forty nights all was chaos, when neither sun nor moon nor twinkling star appeared, when sea and sky were mingled, and all was one wide universal “ocean,” on the bosom of which the patriarch floated, when there was no human being to “approach” him but those who were with him in the ark, and “the mystery of his real essence is penetrated” at once, “the holy name of that person” is ascertained, and his “mysterious slumber” fully accounted for. Now, wherever Noah is celebrated, whether by the name of Saturn, “the hidden one,”–for that name was applied to him as well as to Nimrod, on account of his having been “hidden” in the ark, in the “day of the Lord’s fierce anger,”–or, “Oannes,” or “Janus,” the “Man of the Sea,” he is generally described in such a way as shows that he was looked upon as Diphues, “twice-born,” or “regenerate.” The “twice-born” Brahmins, who are all so many gods upon earth, by the very title they take to themselves, show that the god whom they represent, and to whose prerogatives they lay claim, had been known as the “twice-born” god. The connection of “regeneration” with the history of Noah, comes out with special evidence in the accounts handed down to us of the Mysteries as celebrated in Egypt. The most learned explorers of Egyptian antiquities, including Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, admit that the story of Noah was mixed up with the story of Osiris. The ship of Isis, and the coffin of Osiris, floating on the waters, point distinctly to that remarkable event. There were different periods, in different places in Egypt, when the fate of Osiris was lamented; and at one time there was more special reference to the personal history of “the mighty hunter before the Lord,” and at another to the awful catastrophe through which Noah passed. In the great and solemn festival called “The Disappearance of Osiris,” it is evident that it is Noah himself who was then supposed to have been lost. The time when Osiris was “shut up in his coffin,” and when that coffin was set afloat on the waters, as stated by Plutarch, agrees exactly with the period when Noah entered the ark. That time was “the 17th day of the month Athyr, when the overflowing of the Nile had ceased, when the nights were growing long and the days decreasing.” The month Athyr was the second month after the autumnal equinox, at which time the civil year of the Jews and the patriarchs began. According to this statement, then, Osiris was “shut up in his coffin” on the 17th day of the second month of the patriarchal year. Compare this with the Scriptural account of Noah’s entering into the ark, and it will be seen how remarkably they agree (Gen 7:11), “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the SECOND MONTH, in the SEVENTEENTH DAY of the month, were all the fountains of the great deep broken up; in the self-same day entered Noah into the ark.” The period, too, that Osiris (otherwise Adonis) was believed to have been shut up in his coffin, was precisely the same as Noah was confined in the ark, a whole year. *

* APOLLODORUS. THEOCRITUS, Idyll. Theocritus is speaking of Adonis as delivered by Venus from Acheron, or the infernal regions, after being there for a year; but as the scene is laid in Egypt, it is evident that it is Osiris he refers to, as he was the Adonis of the Egyptians.

Now, the statements of Plutarch demonstrate that, as Osiris at this festival was looked upon as dead and buried when put into his ark or coffin, and committed to the deep, so, when at length he came out of it again, that new state was regarded as a state of “new life,” or “REGENERATION.” *

* PLUTARCH, De Iside et Osiride. It was in the character of Pthah-Sokari-Osiris that he was represented as having been thus “buried” in the waters. In his own character, simply as Osiris, he had another burial altogether.

There seems every reason to believe that by the ark and the flood God actually gave to the patriarchal saints, and especially to righteous Noah, a vivid typical representation of the power of the blood and Spirit of Christ, at once in saving from wrath, and cleansing from all sin–a representation which was a most cheering “seal” and confirmation to the faith of those who really believed. To this Peter seems distinctly to allude, when he says, speaking of this very event, “The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us.” Whatever primitive truth the Chaldean priests held, they utterly perverted and corrupted it. They willingly overlooked the fact, that it was “the righteousness of the faith” which Noah “had before” the flood, that carried him safely through the avenging waters of that dread catastrophe, and ushered him, as it were, from the womb of the ark, by a new birth, into a new world, when on the ark resting on Mount Ararat, he was released from his long confinement. They led their votaries to believe that, if they only passed through the baptismal waters, and the penances therewith connected, that of itself would make them like the second father of mankind, “Diphueis,” “twice-born,” or “regenerate,” would entitle them to all the privileges of “righteous” Noah, and give them that “new birth” (palingenesia) which their consciences told them they so much needed. The Papacy acts on precisely the same principle; and from this very source has its doctrine of baptismal regeneration been derived, about which so much has been written and so many controversies been waged. Let men contend as they may, this, and this only, will be found to be the real origin of the anti-Scriptural dogma. *

* There have been considerable speculations about the meaning of the name Shinar, as applied to the region of which Babylon was the capital. Do not the facts above stated cast light on it? What so likely a derivation of this name as to derive it from “shene,” “to repeat,” and “naar,” “childhood.” The land of “Shinar,” then, according to this view, is just the land of the “Regenerator.”

The reader has seen already how faithfully Rome has copied the Pagan exorcism in connection with baptism. All the other peculiarities attending the Romish baptism, such as the use of salt, spittle, chrism, or anointing with oil, and marking the forehead with the sign of the cross, are equally Pagan. Some of the continental advocates of Rome have admitted that some of these at least have not been derived from Scripture. Thus Jodocus Tiletanus of Louvaine, defending the doctrine of “Unwritten Tradition,” does not hesitate to say, “We are not satisfied with that which the apostles or the Gospel do declare, but we say that, as well before as after, there are divers matters of importance and weight accepted and received out of a doctrine which is nowhere set forth in writing. For we do blesse the water wherewith we baptize, and the oyle wherewith we annoynt; yea, and besides that, him that is christened. And (I pray you) out of what Scripture have we learned the same? Have we it not of a secret and unwritten ordinance? And further, what Scripture hath taught us to grease with oyle? Yea, I pray you, whence cometh it, that we do dype the childe three times in the water? Doth it not come out of this hidden and undisclosed doctrine, which our forefathers have received closely without any curiosity, and do observe it still.” This learned divine of Louvaine, of course, maintains that “the hidden and undisclosed doctrine” of which he speaks, was the “unwritten word” handed down through the channel of infallibility, from the Apostles of Christ to his own time. But, after what we have already seen, the reader will probably entertain a different opinion of the source from which the hidden and undisclosed doctrine must have come. And, indeed, Father Newman himself admits, in regard to “holy water” (that is, water impregnated with “salt,” and consecrated), and many other things that were, as he says, “the very instruments and appendages of demon-worship”–that they were all of “Pagan” origin, and “sanctified by adoption into the Church.” What plea, then, what palliation can he offer, for so extraordinary an adoption? Why, this: that the Church had “confidence in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil,” and to transmute them to “an evangelical use.” What right had the Church to entertain any such “confidence”? What fellowship could light have with darkness? what concord between Christ and Belial? Let the history of the Church bear testimony to the vanity, yea, impiety of such a hope. Let the progress of our inquiries shed light upon the same. At the present stage, there is only one of the concomitant rites of baptism to which I will refer–viz., the use of “spittle” in that ordinance; and an examination of the very words of the Roman ritual, in applying it, will prove that its use in baptism must have come from the Mysteries. The following is the account of its application, as given by Bishop Hay: “The priest recites another exorcism, and at the end of it touches the ear and nostrils of the person to be baptised with a little spittle, saying, ‘Ephpheta, that is, Be thou opened into an odour of sweetness; but be thou put to flight, O Devil, for the judgment of God will be at hand.'” Now, surely the reader will at once ask, what possible, what conceivable connection can there be between spittle, and an “odour of sweetness”? If the secret doctrine of the Chaldean mysteries be set side by side with this statement, it will be seen that, absurd and nonsensical as this collocation of terms may appear, it was not at random that “spittle” and an “odour of sweetness” were brought together. We have seen already how thoroughly Paganism was acquainted with the attributes and work of the promised Messiah, though all that acquaintance with these grand themes was used for the purpose of corrupting the minds of mankind, and keeping them in spiritual bondage. We have now to see that, as they were well aware of the existence of the Holy Spirit, so, intellectually, they were just as well acquainted with His work, though their knowledge on that subject was equally debased and degraded. Servius, in his comments upon Virgil’s First Georgic, after quoting the well known expression, “Mystica vannus Iacchi,” “the mystic fan of Bacchus,” says that that “mystic fan” symbolised the “purifying of souls.” Now, how could the fan be a symbol of the purification of souls? The answer is, The fan is an instrument for producing “wind”; * and in Chaldee, as has been already observed, it is one and the same word which signifies “wind” and the “Holy Spirit.”

* There is an evident allusion to the “mystic fan” of the Babylonian god, in the doom of Babylon, as pronounced by Jeremiah 51:1, 2: “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind; and will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land.”

There can be no doubt, that, from the very beginning, the “wind” was one of the Divine patriarchal emblems by which the power of the Holy Ghost was shadowed forth, even as our Lord Jesus Christ said to Nicodemus, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Hence, when Bacchus was represented with “the mystic fan,” that was to declare him to be the mighty One with whom was “the residue of the Spirit.” Hence came the idea of purifying the soul by means of the wind, according to the description of Virgil, who represents the stain and pollution of sin as being removed in this very way:

“For this are various penances enjoined,
And some are hung to bleach upon the WIND.”

Hence the priests of Jupiter (who was originally just another form of Bacchus), (see Fig. 35), were called Flamens, * — that is Breathers, or bestowers of the Holy Ghost, by breathing upon their votaries.

* From “Flo,” “I breathe.”

Now, in the Mysteries, the “spittle” was just another symbol for the same thing. In Egypt, through which the Babylonian system passed to Western Europe, the name of the “Pure or Purifying Spirit” was “Rekh” (BUNSEN). But “Rekh” also signified “spittle” (PARKHURST’S Lexicon); so that to anoint the nose and ears of the initiated with “spittle,” according to the mystic system, was held to be anointing them with the “Purifying Spirit.” That Rome in adopting the “spittle” actually copied from some Chaldean ritual in which “spittle” was the appointed emblem of the “Spirit,” is plain from the account which she gives in her own recognised formularies of the reason for anointing the ears with it. The reason for anointing the ears with “spittle” says Bishop Hay, is because “by the grace of baptism, the ears of our soul are opened to hear the Word of God, and the inspirations of His Holy Spirit.” But what, it may be asked, has the “spittle” to do with the “odour of sweetness”? I answer, The very word “Rekh,” which signified the “Holy Spirit,” and was visibly represented by the “spittle,” was intimately connected with “Rikh,” which signifies a “fragrant smell,” or “odour of sweetness.” Thus, a knowledge of the Mysteries gives sense and a consistent meaning to the cabalistic saying addressed by the Papal baptiser to the person about to be baptised, when the “spittle” is daubed on his nose and ears, which otherwise would have no meaning at all–“Ephpheta, Be thou opened into an odour of sweetness.” While this was the primitive truth concealed under the “spittle,” yet the whole spirit of Paganism was so opposed to the spirituality of the patriarchal religion, and indeed intended to make it void, and to draw men utterly away from it, while pretending to do homage to it, that among the multitude in general the magic use of “spittle” became the symbol of the grossest superstition. Theocritus shows with what debasing rites it was mixed up in Sicily and Greece; and Persius thus holds up to scorn the people of Rome in his day for their reliance on it to avert the influence of the “evil eye”:

“Our superstitions with our life begin;
The obscene old grandam, or the next of kin,
The new-born infant from the cradle takes,
And first of spittle a lustration makes;
Then in the spawl her middle finger dips,
Anoints the temples, forehead, and the lips,
Pretending force of magic to prevent
By virtue of her nasty excrement.”–DRYDEN

While thus far we have seen how the Papal baptism is just a reproduction of the Chaldean, there is still one other point to be noticed, which makes the demonstration complete. That point is contained in the following tremendous curse fulminated against a man who committed the unpardonable offence of leaving the Church of Rome, and published grave and weighty reasons for so doing: “May the Father, who creates man, curse him! May the Son, who suffered for us, curse him! May the Holy Ghost who suffered for us in baptism, curse him!” I do not stop to show how absolutely and utterly opposed such a curse as this is to the whole spirit of the Gospel. But what I call the reader’s attention to is the astounding statement that “the Holy Ghost suffered for us in baptism.” Where in the whole compass of Scripture could warrant be found for such an assertion as this, or anything that could even suggest it? But let the reader revert to the Babylonian account of the personality of the Holy Ghost, and the amount of blasphemy contained in this language will be apparent. According to the Chaldean doctrine, Semiramis, the wife of Ninus or Nimrod, when exalted to divinity under the name of the Queen of Heaven, came, as we have seen, to be worshipped as Juno, the “Dove”–in other words, the Holy Spirit incarnate. Now, when her husband, for his blasphemous rebellion against the majesty of heaven, was cut off, for a season it was a time of tribulation also for her. The fragments of ancient history that have come down to us give an account of her trepidation and flight, to save herself from her adversaries. In the fables of the mythology, this flight was mystically represented in accordance with what was attributed to her husband. The bards of Greece represented Bacchus, when overcome by his enemies, as taking refuge in the depths of the ocean (see Fig. 36). Thus, Homer:

“In a mad mood, while Bacchus blindly raged,
Lycurgus drove his trembling bands, confused,
O’er the vast plains of Nusa. They in haste
Threw down their sacred implements, and fled
In fearful dissipation. Bacchus saw
Rout upon rout, and, lost in wild dismay,
Plunged in the deep. Here Thetis in her arms
Received him shuddering at the dire event.”

In Egypt, as we have seen, Osiris, as identified with Noah, was represented, when overcome by his grand enemy Typhon, or the “Evil One,” as passing through the waters. The poets represented Semiramis as sharing in his distress, and likewise seeking safety in the same way. We have seen already, that, under the name of Astarte, she was said to have come forth from the wondrous egg that was found floating on the waters of the Euphrates. Now Manilius tells, in his Astronomical Poetics, what induced her to take refuge in these waters. “Venus plunged into the Babylonia waters,” says he, “to shun the fury of the snake-footed Typhon.” When Venus Urania, or Dione, the “Heavenly Dove,” plunged in deep distress into these waters of Babylon, be it observed what, according to the Chaldean doctrine, this amounted to. It was neither more nor less than saying that the Holy Ghost incarnate in deep tribulation entered these waters, and that on purpose that these waters might be fit, not only by the temporary abode of the Messiah in the midst of them, but by the Spirit’s efficacy thus imparted to them, for giving new life and regeneration, by baptism, to the worshippers of the Chaldean Madonna. We have evidence that the purifying virtue of the waters, which in Pagan esteem had such efficacy in cleansing from guilt and regenerating the soul, was derived in part from the passing of the Mediatorial god, the sun-god and god of fire, through these waters during his humiliation and sojourn in the midst of them; and that the Papacy at this day retains the very custom which had sprung up from that persuasion. So far as heathenism is concerned, the following extracts from Potter and Athenaeus speak distinctly enough: “Every person,” says the former, “who came to the solemn sacrifices [of the Greeks] was purified by water. To which end, at the entrance of the temples there was commonly placed a vessel full of holy water.” How did this water get its holiness? This water “was consecrated,” says Athenaeus, “by putting into it a BURNING TORCH taken from the altar.” The burning torch was the express symbol of the god of fire; and by the light of this torch, so indispensable for consecrating “the holy water,” we may easily see whence came one great part of the purifying virtue of “the water of the loud resounding sea,” which was held to be so efficacious in purging away the guilt and stain of sin, *–even from the sun-god having taken refuge in its waters.

* “All human ills,” says Euripides, in a well known passage, “are washed away by the sea.”

Now this very same method is used in the Romish Church for consecrating the water for baptism. The unsuspicious testimony of Bishop Hay leaves no doubt on this point: “It” [the water kept in the baptismal font], says he, “is blessed on the eve of Pentecost, because it is the Holy Ghost who gives to the waters of baptism the power and efficacy of sanctifying our souls, and because the baptism of Christ is ‘with the Holy Ghost, and with fire’ (Matt 3:11). In blessing the waters a LIGHTED TORCH is put into the font.” Here, then, it is manifest that the baptismal regenerating water of Rome is consecrated just as the regenerating and purifying water of the Pagans was. Of what avail is it for Bishop Hay to say, with the view of sanctifying superstition and “making apostacy plausible,” that this is done “to represent the fire of Divine love, which is communicated to the soul by baptism, and the light of good example, which all who are baptised ought to give.” This is the fair face put on the matter; but the fact still remains that while the Romish doctrine in regard to baptism is purely Pagan, in the ceremonies connected with the Papal baptism one of the essential rites of the ancient fire-worship is still practised at this day, just as it was practised by the worshippers of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah. As Rome keeps up the remembrance of the fire-god passing through the waters and giving virtue to them, so when it speaks of the “Holy Ghost suffering for us in baptism,” it in like manner commemorates the part which Paganism assigned to the Babylonian goddess when she plunged into the waters. The sorrows of Nimrod, or Bacchus, when in the waters were meritorious sorrows. The sorrows of his wife, in whom the Holy Ghost miraculously dwelt, were the same. The sorrows of the Madonna, then, when in these waters, fleeing from Typhon’s rage, were the birth-throes by which children were born to God. And thus, even in the Far West, Chalchivitlycue, the Mexican “goddess of the waters,” and “mother” of all the regenerate, was represented as purging the new-born infant from original sin, and “bringing it anew into the world.” Now, the Holy Ghost was idolatrously worshipped in Babylon under the form of a “Dove.” Under the same form, and with equal idolatry, the Holy Ghost is worshipped in Rome. When, therefore, we read, in opposition to every Scripture principle, that “the Holy Ghost suffered for us in baptism,” surely it must now be manifest who is that Holy Ghost that is really intended. It is no other than Semiramis, the very incarnation of lust and all uncleanness.

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Church of Christ Cult

by David J. Stewart

The Church of Christ is a false religion because it is wrong on the essential Biblical plan of salvation. In fact, many Church of Christ ministers have taught that the Church of Christ group is the true church of Christ, and no one else is. They even go as far as to claim that people who haven’t been baptized by a Church of Christ preacher will go to Hell. I distinctly recall a discussion I once had with a Church of Christ minister. He was arrogant, doctrinally corrupt, and unsaved. He believed that for a person to be saved, they had to have faith, repent of sins, and be baptized. Well, that’s two items too many! The only thing that God requires of men to be saved is faith alone in Christ.

“Repent” in the Bible, concerning salvation, simply means “a change of mind,” not the forsaking of one’s sins. The forsaking of one’s sins is a result of growing in grace, which often takes many years, as a believer grows in the Lord. One does not have to surrender anything to the Lord to be saved, BUT, simply believe upon the Lord (Acts 16:31). The only thing that a person needs to repent of to be saved is their unbelief. Salvation is a free gift (Romans 5:15). A “gift” has no strings attached. Many preachers have developed the bad habit of requiring people to walk down to the front of the church to be saved; BUT, that is a work not required by God. Why does a person need to walk down to the front of the church? Can’t they be saved in their pew? Of course they can! If you’ll simply believe upon Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and save you, then you will go to Heaven when you die (John 14:6; Romans 10:13).

2nd Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Carefully notice the phrase, “if any man be in Christ…” The change comes AFTER a person is saved, not as a requirement to be saved. Salvation is like picking an old soda can out of the garbage. You’ve saved it, but it hasn’t been recycled (converted) yet. Likewise, God pulls us out of the garbage when He saves us; BUT, now He must recycle us into His image. Christian growth in grace is not required to go to Heaven. I know this shocks many self-righteous religious people; but it’s Biblical (John 3:3; Romans 4:3-5; Ephesians 2:8,9). If you trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you’re going to Heaven, whether you grow in the Lord or not while on earth. There are some lousy Christians in this world, but that doesn’t mean they’re not saved. King David was an adulterer, murderer, and crook; BUT, he only lost the joy of salvation, not salvation itself. Such rebellious believers will give account at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

‘Baptismal Regeneration’ is Unbiblical

Church of Christ members teach that baptism is required for salvation, but it is not. They believe that obedience is a part of salvation. However, the only thing which we must obey to be saved is the Gospel, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” There is nothing in the Bible which requires a person to be baptized in order to be saved. On the contrary, we read in John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” One who has trusted in Christ is saved, not condemned, whether he has been baptized or not. John 11:25, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” There is no mention in this verse concerning baptism. Or what about John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Again, there is no mention of being baptized to be saved. There are hundreds of New Testament references which mention faith in Christ, without baptism being mentioned. Clearly, it is faith alone in Christ which saves a person, without baptism. The Church of Christ cult teaches damnable heresies by ADDING requirements which God didn’t add.

A careful study of the Scriptures with an honest heart makes it quite clear that works CANNOT save a person, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified IN HIS SIGHT: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” One cannot be justified in the sight of God by WORKS. When James spoke of being justified by works, he clearly stated…

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: SHEW ME thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

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James was speaking about being justified in the SIGHT OF MEN. 1st Samuel 16:7 tells us why, “…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” Man cannot see our heart’s faith, so he looks at our works instead. However, God can see our heart, and it is all that He looks at. It is true that faith without works is dead; BUT, it is equally true that salvation (justification in the sight of God), comes by faith, without works. Romans 4:6 states, “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” Baptism is a work, that if added to faith in Christ, will send a man to Hell forever.

Faith + any work = NO faith at all

“Baptismal regeneration” is simply the heretical teaching that one must be baptised in order to be saved. It is a Satanic doctrine, which is responsible for sending billions to Hell. The Catholic Church REQUIRES it’s members to be baptized in order to go to Heaven. So does the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox, etc. Jesus NEVER told anyone to get baptized to be saved. No one in the Old Testament was ever baptized; yet, we read that Abraham was justified by faith, without works (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3-5).

Conclusion

Please leave the Church of Christ cult if you’ve been entangled in their doctrinal trap. They also deny the existence of a literal Heaven, the millennial reign of Christ, the Rapture, and many other fundamental Bible teachings. The Church of Christ is bad news!!! They focus on baptism so much that the plain Biblical plan of salvation is obscured; thus, they have churchianity without Christianity. So many people go through the rituals and ceremonies of religion, but they never become born-again believers. They join a church, get baptized, sing in a choir, tithe, go through the motions; BUT, they don’t know Jesus Christ as Saviour. They go through the outward form of religion, thinking that they are obeying God’s plan of salvation; BUT, they do not have the change of heart, because they are trusting the church and the form and the ceremony and holding out faithful and many other works of men, instead of depending solely on Jesus Christ. Psalm 118:8 declares, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” I say to the Church of Christ the same thing which the Apostle Paul said to the church at Galatia, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth”? (Galatians 3:1). O foolish Church of Christ, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? You have erred after another Gospel (Galatians 1:6). The Biblical Gospel does NOT require baptism to be saved, nor does it require a person to forsake their sins. Such actions are “works,” and then God would owe us salvation, which is unbiblical (Romans 4:4-5). Salvation is of God, paid for by the precious blood of Jesus. Our responsibility is to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31)–and that’s it!

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Acts 2:38   Satan’s Favorite Bible Verse!  By James L. Melton

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

The above verse of scripture is a favorite among many religious groups. One can hear it several times on Sunday morning radio programs, as well as from the pulpits of numerous groups, and it can be found in much religious literature. The verse is a favorite because, on the surface, it seemingly states that one must be baptized in order to be saved, and without baptism one is not saved. So, those who believe that water baptism is essential for salvation make it a regular habit of using Acts 2:38 as scriptural support.

The problem is that Acts 2:38 isn’t the only verse in the Bible which deals with salvation. While many claim to “speak where the scriptures speak and remain silent where the scriptures are silent,” they practically ignore most of the New Testament teaching on salvation. The only verses that such false teachers quote and reference are the ones they feel they can use to promote their “water gospel.” The fact is that most of what the New Testament says about salvation doesn’t include baptism at all! (John 5:24, John 11:25-26, John 14:6, Romans 4:5, Romans 10:9-13, Eph. 2:8-9, etc.), and the few places that do mention water baptism do not include it as part of one’s salvation. Water baptism follows salvation as one of the first steps of obedience for the new believer.

In spite of this obvious truth, the cultists remain steadfast in their heresy, insisting that Acts 2:38 sets forth water baptism as a requirement for salvation. Thus, this verse of scripture has become Satan’s favorite Bible verse. In fact, many are trusting water baptism alone for the salvation of their souls! Indeed, Satan has deceived multitudes by his perversion of Acts 2:38.

Rather than ignore Acts 2:38 by quoting “our favorite verses” instead, it is more appropriate to face this popular verse of scripture and see if the cultists are right in what they claim it teaches.

The Truth about Acts 2:38

First, please notice that verse 38 isn’t the only verse in Acts 2. In Peter’s message, a great deal was said before verse 38 came out of his mouth. In fact, he even told his listeners how to be saved before verse 38! In Acts 2:21, Peter quotes from Joel 2 and says, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” His words preceding verse 38 were so convicting that his listeners were “pricked in their heart” in verse 37. So, to use verse 38 out of its context causes a misrepresentation of God’s word. The verse does not stand alone, and, in fact, a totally different meaning is conveyed when one makes it stand alone.

Another error that many make with Acts 2:38 is the error of assumption. It is assumed that the word “for” must mean “in order to get.” That is, being baptized “for” the remission of sins supposedly means to be baptized “in order to get” remission of sins. However, a closer look at the scriptures will reveal that this isn’t the case at all.

Notice Luke 5:12-14: “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Jesus made this man clean in verse 13, yet in the next verse, verse 14, Jesus tells him to go offer a sacrifice “for thy cleansing” as a “testimony.” Here the word “for” cannot mean “in order to get” because he had already gotten his cleansing in verse 13! It obviously meant “because of” his cleansing. If a man goes to jail “for stealing,” then he goes there “because of” the stealing that he’s already done, not “in order to get” a chance to steal again.

Some like to argue that the Greek word “eis” means “in order to,” but this isn’t always the case. Jesus said in Matthew 12:41, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at (eis) the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” The Greek word for “at” is “eis.” Does this mean that the men of Nineveh repented “in order to get” the preaching of Jonah? No, they repented “because of” the preaching of Jonah. So, even “the Greek” doesn’t demand the popular interpretation of Acts 2:38. The word “for” can be used different ways, not just one, so it is wrong to assume that it must mean “in order to get” in Acts 2:38.

Another factor which is commonly ignored is the JEWISH factor. Every person in Acts 2 is a Mosaic law observing Old Testament Jew. In fact, they are all gathered together to observe a JEWISH FEAST called Pentecost (verse 1). A fair reading of the whole chapter (especially verses 4, 14, and 36) will clearly reveal that no Gentiles (non Jews) are present. Since this involves Jews, it involves a NATION (verse 36!!), not individuals. No one asked, “What must I do to be saved?” The question asked concerned the NATION of Israel: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (verse 37) Not, “What shall I do,” but rather, “What shall WE do?” Acts 2 presents a NATION of people who come to realize that they have murdered their blessed Messiah and they’re asking what THEY must do. It’s a question concerning NATIONAL salvation. Isaiah 66:8 says, “. . . shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” The “nation” is Israel! Romans 11:26 says, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Acts 2:38 is dealing with NATIONAL salvation. The Messianic Kingdom is still available to the Jews (until Acts 7:60 when they kill Stephen), so national salvation remains an issue until then.

This is clear from what follows Acts 7. In Acts 8, an individual from Africa is saved (before baptism). In Acts 9, an individual from Asia is saved (before baptism). In Acts 10, an individual from Europe is saved (before baptism). Why didn’t these individual conversions occur before Acts 7? Because the first seven chapter of Acts deal with Israel (1:6-8; 2:36; 3:12; 4:8-10; 5:31; 6:7-14; 7:1-60). The question of INDIVIDUAL salvation is asked and answered in Acts 16:30-31: “. . . Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Those who fail to make this distinction are guilty of violating II Timothy 2:15 where we are told to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the word of truth.

The Bible says the gospel is to go to the Jew FIRST (Rom. 1:16), so they are the FIRST to receive the gospel in the book of Acts (chapter 2), but they are not the last to receive it. Acts doesn’t end with chapter 2, so we should be cautious of anyone who develops their doctrine in Acts 2 while practically ignoring the next 26 chapters! If God didn’t stop in Acts 2, then why does anyone else? Could it be that the later chapters in Acts contain information which the cultists want hidden from us? Could it be that there are other scriptures in Acts which do not agree with the wording of Acts 2:38? Could it be that Peter himself, the one preaching in Acts 2:38, says something different when speaking to individual Gentiles like you and me? One only has to read Acts chapter 10 to get the answer. Peter is preaching again in Acts 10, except only to individual Gentiles, and something very interesting occurs. In Acts 2:38, the Holy Ghost was promised to be given to the converts AFTER they were baptized, yet in Acts 10:44 the Holy Ghost falls upon the Gentiles BEFORE they are baptized! Now, Paul tells us in Romans 8:9, ” . . .if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Having God’s Spirit is synonymous with belonging to God or being saved (John 3:6-8), so the Gentiles in Acts 10 were saved BEFORE they were baptized in water. Why don’t the Acts 2:38 cultists ever point this out? Answer: It destroys their perverted doctrine that water baptism is essential for salvation.

The fact is that Acts 2:38 is NOT the “model” plan of salvation, nor are any of the other “water verses” which the cultists use. Only by taking such verses out of their context can one teach such heresy. All of the Bible is true, not just the favorite “proof texts” of the cults. Baptism saves no one. It only serves as a testimonial picture of the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ AFTER one has believed on Christ (Acts 8:36-38). Paul said in I Corinthians 1:17 that “. . . Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” This “gospel” is defined by Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and it does NOT include water baptism. The dying thief was not baptized, yet Jesus saved him (Luke 23:42-43), and John wrote that we are washed in the BLOOD of Christ (Rev. 1:5), not in the water. In fact, the saints in Heaven claim to have gotten there by the blood of Jesus (Rev. 5:9), not by water. By faith in the blood of Jesus Christ one is saved (Rom. 3:25). Water baptism only follows this faith as an outward step of obedience.

Friend, if you have fallen for the water gospel, why not repent of your sin and trust Jesus Christ alone? Acts 10:43 says, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Why not believe on Christ 100% right now and quit trusting something you DO for salvation? “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Why not right now?

Copyright © 2000 James L. Melton

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Church of Christ Heresies! DANGER: Wolves in the Sheep Pen!

by David J. Stewart

Baptismal Regeneration?

Church of God followers do NOT believe in simple FAITH in Jesus Christ to be saved; on the contrary, they most definitely demand that BAPTISM be added for one to be saved. I spoke at length recently with a Church of God minister who earned his degree from the Dallas Christian College. Dallas Christian College DOESN’T make it clear at all that they are indeed a Church of Christ college. Why are they deceptive about who they really are? What are they afraid to tell people? Click on their “Our Mission” link and see if Church of Christ is mentioned. It is NOT! By all indications, many Christian people would ignorantly think this was a great college to attend, but it certainly is NOT! It looks innocent enough on the surface doesn’t it? That’s the disguise they want you to see. I went to visit their website to read their statement of faith; as I suspected, it was vague. But as clever as the person tried to be who devised this statement of faith, it couldn’t escape the discernment of a spirit-filled believer, knowledgeable in the Word of God. The following quote is taken from their statement of faith:

“…the Church of the New Testament ought everywhere to be restored with its divine plan of admission: faith, repentance, and baptism…”

Did you read that? Did you see the heresy? Is baptism necessary for admission into the Church? No sir! The very moment you trust Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, asking Him to forgive your sins and come into your heart, you have been born-again and are a member of the body of Christ. Any fool who tells you that you have to be baptized to become a member of the church is LYING to you! Isn’t it something how misguided ministers will force you to get baptized to join THEIR church, but God accepts ANY repentant sinner into heaven. You do NOT have to be affiliated with any church, religious group or denomination to go to heaven -You just need Jesus! Jesus Himself proclaimed in John 14:6 that He was the ONLY way to the Father. John 10:9 clearly declares that Jesus Christ is the DOOR by which men and women enter into heaven. John 6:40 teaches that the will of God is to believe upon Christ.

As I spoke with this sincerely misguided minister, he explained the following order to me as being necessary for salvation:

HEAR

BELIEVE

REPENT

CONFESS

BAPTISM (uh oh! This is damnable heresy!)

I would agree with him up to the confession part, but not baptism!

“Repentance” is a turnaround (a change of mind about sin and God), not necessarily the departing from one’s sins. You DON’T have to give up your sins to be saved, you need to give up your unbelief. If we did have to give up our sins to be saved, then NO one could ever be saved because we are all sinners. Howbeit, the “godly sorrow” which brings repentance should result in a sincere desire to clean up our life with God’s help (2nd Corinthians 7:10).

“Confess” simply means “to admit the same thing as God.” God says we are sinners, and we must agree with that to be saved. God says we deserve to go to hell, and we must agree with that to be saved. God says that He sent His only begotten Son (Jesus Christ) into the world to pay for our sins, and we must agree with this to be saved.

But the baptism issue was an insurmountable barrier in our conversation, a Pandora’s box. He was adamant that Baptism was essential for a person to enter heaven. This of course is a lie of the devil, pure heresy! Though he condemns the Catholic religion for their teaching of “works” salvation through the keeping of the Seven Sacraments, he is utterly blinded to his own foolish perceptions about baptism. I flat out asked him what would happen to a person who made it to step 4, but didn’t get baptized at step 5? He honestly replied that he did NOT know! He stressed the fact that he felt SAFER by ADDING that extra step of baptism to his faith. Unfortunately, that is a sure road to hell-fire and destruction.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” -Proverb 14:12

Faith in Christ ALONE equals salvation!

Faith in Christ PLUS anything equals hell!

If I said that I believed I could trust you with my money, that would NOT be faith (that would be optimism). If I entrust you with my money and ask someone to follow you (to keep an eye on you), that is NOT faith either. If I entrust you with my money and don’t take ANY precautions whatsoever, that is 100% faith. To add baptism to faith is to add a “work” to faith; consequently, it is NO faith at all. You don’t need much faith to be saved, you need “just enough” faith. You need JUST ENOUGH faith to obey Romans 10:13 and “call upon the name of the Lord.” If you have faith even as small as a grain of mustard seed (a VERY small seed indeed), that is all the faith you need. The AMOUNT of one’s faith is not of importance for salvation, what is important is that you simply HAVE FAITH. Either you have 100% faith or you do not. The Church of Christ minister I was speaking with told me that he felt much safer by adding that extra step of baptism to his faith and repentance. How stupid! How foolish! How woefully ignorant is he of the Word of God. The Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 1:17 declared…

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…” -1st Corinthians 1:17

According to the Church of Christ minister, Paul was sent by Christ to TEACH the gospel, but not to actually do any of the REQUIRED baptism to be saved. He claims this was done to prevent division in the church. True, Paul didn’t want to baptize any of them because of their immature quarreling; however, this had absolutely nothing to do with their salvation. Some of the believers in the Corinthian church were actually fighting over who baptized them. They were making an issue of a non-issue. Paul lays the issue to rest by proclaiming that CHRIST did NOT send him to baptize, but to preach the gospel. It is our FAITH in the gospel of Jesus that saves us, NOT baptism.

I could go on and on about why baptism is NOT necessary for salvation. No one in the Old Testament was ever baptized. These people who claim that the Old Testament is invalid are idiots. Of course, the law which was against us was indeed nailed to the cross. Yes, the Jewish ceremonial laws are gone. However, we are still expected by God to obey the Nine Commandments (NOT to be saved, but because we are saved and love Jesus). People in the Old Testament (old contract) were saved the SAME way people are saved today, BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS (Ephesians 2:8, 9). There is NO other way to be saved! It’s Jesus or hell, turn or burn friend!

Don’t let some misguided individual trick you into believing that baptism is essential for salvation. The Church of Christ minister claimed that since the New Testament didn’t actually begin until Jesus died, that the thief on the cross didn’t have to be baptized. He is trying to say that there are TWO different plans of salvation (one for the OT and one for the NT). He believes that baptism was NOT required for Old Testament saints, but IS required for all New Testament saints. This is ludicrous and preposterous!!!! There is NO such teaching in the Bible. There has always been ONE and only one plan of salvation, and that is through the precious shed blood of our Dear Lord Jesus Christ! Do you want to be saved? Then look upon Jesus ye ends of the earth and be ye saved (Isaiah 45:22).

I asked the minister what would happen if an astronaut placed his faith in Christ while in outer space? Obviously he couldn’t get baptized in space! His answer was another mere, “I don’t know.” How pathetic!!! How can a man go to a supposed Bible college for four years and earn a degree in theology, just to tell me that he doesn’t know how a person in outer space could be saved! I’ll tell you why! Because the whole doctrine of baptismal regeneration is flawed and makes no Biblical sense. He might as well become a Lutheran or a Catholic to believe that garbage. Baptismal regeneration is of the devil. Jesus didn’t baptize (John 4:2). In the book of Romans, baptism is only mentioned briefly in chapter six. Paul NEVER makes any direct command to be baptized! Yet, Paul expresses in Romans 10:1 that it is his “HEARTS DESIRE” for the people to be saved. Paul wanted people to be saved, that is why he went publicly from house-to-house in Acts 20:20 to witness to people. We soul-winners call this the “Acts 20/20 vision.” In other words, if your consumed about winning souls to Christ, then your seeing 20/20 as a Christian. Most believers are wearing blinders.

No Rapture or Millennium?

The Church of Christ minister also said he DIDN’T believe in any type of rapture, but that the Lord would simply return and part the righteous from the wicked. We are clearly taught in God’s Word that there will be a “departure” of the saints from this world; hence, the word rapture (which is not itself found in the Bible). The words of the Apostle Paul in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 are as clear as can be. In the twinkling of an eye, the Lord WILL return. Read it for yourself. Why can’t people just take the Bible at face value? Why do they persist to read in-between the lines? Why do they seek for things that God has NOT placed in the Bible? Luke 17:36 is still in the King James Bible folks! Matthew 24:41 is still in the Bible! Two shall be, and one shall remain! This foolish minister also said he didn’t believe there would be a Millennial reign of Christ. Revelation 20:1-6 speaks of the 1,000 year millennium. The purpose of this article is NOT to get into depth of these individual Bible doctrines, but rather to expose the heretical teachings of the Church of Christ. A study of Biblical prophecy is beyond the scope of this article. The Bible is very clear concerning the departure of the saints from this world (the rapture) and of the Millennial reign of Christ from Jerusalem over the earth. Satan will be bound and imprisoned in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:3).

No Eternal Security?

The Church of Christ minister also said that he believed a saved person COULD lose their salvation if they got away from fellowship with the Lord. I asked him if all Church of Christ followers believed the same doctrines he did and he affirmed, YES. He laughed in my face when I told him that the Bible was clear that a saved person could NEVER lose their salvation. I mean, Jesus told Nicodemus to be “born again,” NOT born again and again and again and again! Revelation 3:20 is an invitation for us to open the door of our heart to allow the Lord Jesus to come in (John 14:23). Church of Christ folks evidently have a problem with Christians who are less than perfect. The minister was perplexed when I told him that a Christian could commit murder and still be saved. He almost became angry. His problem is that he has a WRONG view of salvation (which is why I believe he is NOT really saved). The Church of Christ has a wrong view of salvation! The truth is that we DO NOTHING to earn salvation! If we can’t do any good works to get saved, then why would doing any bad works make us unsaved? I like that statement so I’ll say it again…

If we can’t do any good works to get saved, then why would doing any bad works make us unsaved?

I did nothing to get saved of my own merit. All I did was place my faith in the Lord’s work of atonement. It is Jesus Christ and what He did to pay for my sins that gets me into heaven, I had nothing to do with that. Salvation is OF GOD, not man! So then why in the world would anyone conclude that a person has to maintain a certain level of fellowship or righteousness with God to keep one’s salvation? It is no less than a WORKS religion! The Church of Christ is ADDING works to simple faith in Christ! They teach that you MUST be baptized to be saved! They teach that you MUST keep coming back to the Lord (to get your salvation back) every time you get away from the Lord. Listen folks, there is NOTHING in the Bible which teaches that we can fall from grace as believers. When the Bible speaks of “falling from grace” it is simply talking about unsaved people who have rejected Christ. Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven! If you reject Jesus, then you have missed your ONLY buss ticket to heaven. This is the only way to fall from God’s grace.

You CANNOT lose your salvation!!! If someone is not saved now, then they never were to begin with. As a perfect analogy, I cannot change the relationship between my and my own child. I could disown my child (which I think is a horrible thing for ANY parent to do), but they would still be my child. Even if my child killed someone, the relationship doesn’t change one bit -that is still my child and I am still their parent. Such is this case with God! No matter what we do, we are God’s children. If you would like to KNOW your saved, Click Here.

No Tears in Heaven?

More heresy! This Church of Christ minister said there will be no tears in heaven. Well, he is wrong! Over and over we are warned in the Bible to be careful how we live as believers because we each shall give account to God. We are commanded to defraud not thy brother. There will be tears in heaven for those believers who lived for SELF and hurt other people while upon the earth. The blood of our loved ones will be upon our hands if we have failed to witness to them. We can’t force them to accept the truth, but we CAN love them and tell them the good news of Jesus Christ. There will be tears throughout the Millennium, but all tears shall be wiped away at the end, after the Great White Throne of Judgment. All former things will be passed away (Revelation 21:4). Being a Christian DOESN’T give us a license to sin. Though our sins are under the blood and all is well between us and God as far as our sin debt, we must still make things right with those we have wronged. Salvation balances the scale of justice between us and God, but the scales of justice must also be balanced between us and those we have victimized or hurt in ant way (Romans 12:19). The Judgment Seat of Christ is going to be a JUDGMENT only for believers, it is not going to be a joyous time for most believers. There WILL be many tears.

Heaven is Not a Physical Place?

I was really surprised when the Church of Christ minister told me that he didn’t believe in heaven as a place. He believed that heaven was only a spiritual existence, NOT a literal place. I asked him about the streets of gold and the gates of pearl, he didn’t believe they were literal. I asked him about the mansions which Jesus spoke of in John 14:1-2, he denied those also as being physical homes. I don’t know what he’s been smoking, but he sure needs to get with the program. He has been blinded by a false religion, sad but true.

In conclusion, I firmly DOUBT anyone’s salvation who ADDS baptism to a childlike faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! I also sincerely doubt the salvation of any person who feels they have to live a certain way to keep their salvation (which is a big lie). The entire MINDSET is very different when you believe you are not eternally secure. Just as the Muslims have no assurance of salvation, neither does the Church of Christ. I KNOW I am saved and NOTHING can take that from me. I CANNOT lose my salvation. So do I have a license to sin? Of course not! I don’t want to sin because I still have to give account to God someday and I already have enough to answer for. I love God and want to please Him, but I fear Him equally so. I became a new creature when I was born-again. I don’t live right to get saved, I live right because I am saved and God’s Holy Spirit lives in my heart. My Bible says that I am saved and sure! Your not just being safe by adding baptism to faith, your being stupid! I can say this because we are clearly warned throughout the Bible against adding anything to faith. Baptism is useless to get anyone saved. See Romans 11:6, Titus 3:5, and Romans 4:2. The bottom line is that Jesus Christ Himself did not make an issue of baptism! Read through the book of John and you’ll discover that Jesus is the door, the way, the truth, the life, the resurrection, the light, the Good Shepherd…but not one mention is made of baptism! Not one! The Church of Christ is a false religion, just as are the Lutherans and the Seventh-Day Adventists! ONLY through simple faith in the precious blood of Jesus Christ can any person go to heaven. It’s Jesus or hell, turn or burn! God loves you, and so do I. I welcome any further information or comments.

Kindest regards, Dave

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Church%20of%20Christ/church_of_christ_heresies.htm

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The following are some of the major false doctrines that are a particular danger to Bible-believing churches in our day and a concise biblical refutation of them. We use the following to train our church members.

SOME BIBLE FACTS ABOUT FALSE TEACHERS

1. Jesus warned about false teachers (Matt. 7:15-17).

2. Paul warned about false teachers (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Tim. 3:13; 2 Tim. 4:3-4).

3. Peter warned about false teachers and said that many will follow them (2 Pet. 2:1-2).

4. John warned about false teachers (1 John 2:18-20).

5. Jude warned about false teachers (Jude 3-4).

SOME BIBLE FACTS ABOUT DOCTRINE

1. The Bible is given for doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

2. We are to continue in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).

3. Preachers are to give themselves to doctrine (1 Tim. 4:13).

4. No false doctrine is to be allowed (1 Tim. 1:3).

5. Our doctrine is to be uncorrupt (Titus 2:10).

6. We are to separate from false doctrine (Rom. 16:17).

SOME OF THE FALSE DOCTRINES THAT CHURCHES MUST CONFRONT TODAY

1. The false teaching that salvation is by grace plus works (Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Church of Christ, Roman Catholic Church)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says salvation is by grace without works and that works follows after salvation (Rom. 4:1-6; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-8).

b. The Bible says that grace and works cannot be mixed together (Rom. 11:6).

c. Grace means a free gift. Salvation is called a gift 16 times in the New Testament. If salvation requires some works, then it is not a true gift. The gift of God is free for the sinner because Jesus Christ purchased it at great price with His blood and death on the cross.

2. The false teaching that Jesus is not God (Jehovah’s Witnesses)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible plainly says that Jesus is God

(1) Isaiah called Jesus God (Is. 7:14; 9:6).

(2) Matthew called Jesus God (Matt. 1:23).

(3) Jesus called Himself God (Jn. 5:17-18; 8:58-59; 10:30-33; Rev. 1:8).

(4) John called Jesus God (Jn. 1:1; 1 John 3:16; 5:20).

(5) Thomas called Jesus God (Jn. 20:28).

(6) Paul called Jesus God (Acts 20:28; Phil. 2:5-6; 1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:13).

(7) God the Father called Jesus God (Heb. 1:8-10).

b. In His incarnation the Lord Jesus Christ “made himself of no reputation” and became a lowly servant to God and man (Phil. 2:7). The Greek word for “made himself of no reputation” is “kenoo,” meaning “to empty, to abase, to make of none effect” (Strong). Jesus did not cease to be God. Phil. 2:6 plainly states that He is God, but the Son of God willingly laid aside His glory for the purpose of redeeming man by the cross.

c. There is an order to the Trinity. God the Son submits to God the Father, even though they are equal.

3. The false teaching that God is not a Trinity (Jehovah’s Witnesses)

Bible Answer:

a. The term “trinity” is not in the Bible, but the doctrine is (Mt. 28:19; Jn. 14:16,26; 16:7-15; 2 Co. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Jn. 5:7).

b. The O.T. teaches that God is one in a plurality. Though the Old Testament does not fully reveal the doctrine of the Trinity, it does teach us that God is a plurality. It is left for the New Testament to open up this revelation fully.

Genesis 1:1. The Hebrew word for God here is elohim. This is a plural noun, but the verb is singular, teaching that there is one God in a plurality.

Genesis 11:6-7. Here again God is spoken of in the plural and in the singular at the same time.

Deuteronomy 6:4. This verse could be translated, “Jehovah our elohim is a united Jehovah.” The word “one” refers to a unity. The same word for one is used in Gen. 2:24, speaking of the oneness of a husband and wife. This verse summarizes the Bible’s teaching about God. He is one but exists in three Persons.

Psalm 45:6-7. According to Heb. 1:8-9, God the Father is speaking in Psalm 45, and He is referring to the Son as God. Sometimes people ask, “If Jesus Himself was God, why did He address the Father as God?” The answer is that Jesus addressed the Father as God for the same reason that the Father addressed the Son as God—because they are both God!

4. The false teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation (Church of Christ)

Bible Answer:

a. Paul taught that baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3-4). It is the blood and death of Christ that takes away our sins, not water or religious rituals.

b. Paul says that baptism is not the gospel (1 Cor. 1:17). The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Baptism only symbolizes the gospel.

c. The book of Acts teaches us that baptism follows salvation (Acts 8:36-38; 16:30-33; 18:8).

d. Acts 2:38 does not teach that baptism is a part of salvation, because Peter later taught that baptism is a symbol (1 Pet. 3:21). Acts 2:38 teaches that we are baptized because we have been forgiven of our sins not in order to be forgiven.

5. The false teaching that infants should be baptized (Church of Christ)

Bible Answer:

a. Baptism is only for those who believe (Mk. 16:15; Acts 8:36-38). When a child is old enough to believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, then he can be baptized. But an infant cannot do this.

b. No infants were baptized in the New Testament.

Some say that there must have been infants baptized in the case of Cornelius since his kinsmen and friends were present (Acts 10:24, 47). Contrariwise, Acts 11:17 says that those who were saved and baptized with Cornelius were those “who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Obviously these were not infants.

What about the case of Lydia and her household (Acts 16:14-15). Nothing is said about infants in this passage, and it is highly unlikely that this busy merchant woman would have had babies. There is no evidence here whatsoever for the practice of infant baptism.

What about the Philippian jailer and his household (Acts 16:30-34). This passage clearly says that Paul spoke the Word of God to the entire household (v. 32) and that the entire household “believed” (vv. 32-33). This could not be said of infants.

What about the household of Crispus (Acts 18:8)? Those who were saved and baptized in this family were all believers, for we are told, “Crispus … believed on the Lord with all his house…” Obviously they were not infants.

What about the household of Stephanas (1 Cor. 1:16)? Again nothing is actually said about infants being present or baptized. In 1 Cor. 16:15 we are told that this household addicted themselves to the ministry. This could not be said of infants.

6. The false teachings of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement (Assemblies of God, etc.)

6a. The false doctrine that tongues speaking is for today

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says tongues were a real language (Acts 2:3-11).

b. The Bible says tongues were a sign to the unbelieving Jews (1 Cor. 14:21-22). After Israel rejected God’s sign of tongues and Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Jews were scattered to the ends of the earth, the need for tongues as a sign was finished.

c. Biblical tongues had to be used according to the teaching of the apostles, yet the Pentecostals and Charismatics do not submit to these restrictions:

(1) Women are not allowed to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 14:34)

(2) Tongues were to be spoken only by course (1 Cor. 14:27)

(3) Tongues must be interpreted (1 Cor. 14:27)

(4) There is to be no confusion (1 Cor. 14:33)

(5) Everything is to be decent (1 Cor. 14:40)

(6) Everything is to be orderly (1 Cor. 14:40)

d. Tongues were not spoken by every believer even in the days of the apostles (1 Cor. 12:28-30).

e. Biblical tongues were not sought after but were sovereignly given by God (1 Cor. 12:11).

f. There is no instruction in the Bible about HOW to speak in tongues. Those who believe in tongues speaking today claim that they can teach people who to do it.

g. The Bible says tongues speaking, prophesying, and words of knowing will pass away (1 Cor. 13:8). When the New Testament was completed, there was no further need for these particular gifts.

6b.The false doctrine that healing is promised in the atonement

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says that not all sicknesses are healed (2 Cor. 12:97-10; 1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Tim. 4:20).

b. The Bible says that the physical part of our salvation is for the future (Rom. 8:17-25.

c. Peter says that Isaiah 53:5 refers to spiritual healing of the soul (1 Pet. 2:24-25).

6c. The false doctrine that miracles should be sought

Bible Answer:

a. Jesus warned that it is not good to seek miracles (Mat. 12:39).

b. The miracles performed by the apostles were special (2 Cor. 12:12). Not every Christian could perform miracles.

c. Faith does not come from miracles but from God’s Word (Rom. 10:17). Multitudes witnessed Jesus’ great miracles, but most did not believe.

6d. The false doctrine that the Holy Spirit baptism follows salvation

Bible Answer:

a. Jesus promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) and this was fulfilled in Acts 2 for the Jews and in Acts 10:44-47 for the Gentiles.

b. Since then, every believer receives the Holy Spirit when he believes (Eph. 1:12-14).

c. The book of Acts is a transitional book. Not everything that happened then is the pattern for the rest of the church age.

d. In the epistles, the reception of the Holy Spirit is always mentioned in the past tense (Rom. 8:9-10; 1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13).

6e. The false doctrine that we should exalt the Holy Spirit

Bible Answer:

a. The Lord Jesus Christ foretold what role the Holy Spirit would have in the church age (John 16:13-15). In this passage we learn that the Holy Spirit does not exalt Himself and the Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself.

b. There is no example in the N.T. of praying to the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray to the Father, not to the Holy Spirit (Matt. 6:6,9; Jn. 16:23). The Apostle Paul taught us to pray to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:8; 7:25).

c. There is no example in the New Testament of inviting the Holy Spirit to work. Neither Jesus nor the apostles did that.

6f. The false doctrine that we should not test the Holy Spirit with the Bible

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible warns that there are false spirits and that the devil tries to deceive (2 Cor. 11:4; 1 Jn. 4:1). Therefore we must test everything carefully or we will be deceived.

b. The Bible commands us to prove all things (1 Thess. 5:21).

c. The Bible commended the Bereans because they tested everything by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11)

6g. The false doctrine that the believer can be rid of his sin nature

Bible Answer:

a. Paul taught that the believer still has the struggle with sin (Rom. 7:14-21; Gal. 5:16-17).

b. John teaches that the believer still has sin (1 John 1:8, 10).

6h. The false doctrine that victory in the Christian life comes through unusual baptisms and experiences

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible does not exhort us to make spiritual leaps through unusual experiences. Rather, it exhorts us to GROW in Christ (1 Pet. 2:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:18).

b. The apostles wrote many epistles instructing the believers about how to deal with sin an spiritual problems, but they never instructed the believers to seek a second baptism or other such special experiences.

6i. The false doctrine that visions and prophecies are for today

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says the faith was completed in the days of the apostles (Jude 3).

b. The Bible says that the Scriptures are sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

c. The Bible says that Scripture is more sure than visions (2 Pet. 1:16-21).

d. The Bible says that prophecies will pass away (1 Cor. 13:8).

7. The false teaching that death is a sleep and not a journey (Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The Old Testament plainly says that death is a journey (Gen. 25:8; 35:18; Nu. 27:13; 2 Sa. 12:23; 1 Ki. 17:21-22).

b. The New Testament plainly says that death is a journey:

(1) Jesus said death is a journey (Lk. 16:19-23; 23:42-43). That Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable is evident by the fact that Jesus named the names of Abraham and Lazarus. He never named names when He was giving parables. Further, even if it were a parable, it would still teach literal truth.

(2) Paul said death is a journey (2 Cor. 5;6-7; Phil. 1:23; 2 Tim. 4:6).

(3) Peter said death is a journey (2 Pet. 1:13-15).

(4) The fact that the dead saints return with Christ from heaven at the time of the rapture shows that dead saints go to Heaven at death (1 Th. 4:14).

(5) John’s heavenly visions show that dead saints are conscience in heaven prior to the resurrection and during the Great Tribulation on earth (Re. 6:9-11).

(6) Moses’ and Elijah’s appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration proves that the dead have conscious existence between death and resurrection. Moses and Elijah, though dead, were allowed by God to appear in time on that mountain and to converse about events which were soon to take place in Jerusalem (Mt. 17:1-3; Lk. 9:30-31).

c. The Bible sometimes speaks of death as a “sleep,” but it is the body that sleeps not the spirit (Jam. 2:26).

d. Ecclesiastes sometimes speaks of death as nothingness (i.e., Ecc. 9:5), but this is because Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of the man “under the sun” (Ecc. 1:3, 9, 14, etc), the perspective of man looking at life the way it appears apart from divine revelation. To the natural man who does not have the revelation of the Scriptures, death appears to be the end of things. But other portions of the Bible tell us that this is not the case. Even the book of Ecclesiastes itself, in its conclusion, says that death is a journey (Ecc. 12:7).

e. The Old Testament speaks of the “spirit” as the breath once or twice, but usually the “spirit” of man is that non-material part which is separate from the body and which lives on after death (1 Thess. 5:23). False teachers make the mistake of refusing to allow the context to define Bible words and instead they put their own preferred definition on the word and force that definition into every context.

8. The false teaching that Hell is not eternal torment (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The doctrine of death and hell were not fully revealed in the Old Testament; these were brought to light with the coming of Christ (2 Tim. 1:10).

b. The New Testament plainly teaches that hell and the lake of fire are places of eternal torment:

(1) Jesus said hell is a place where the worm does not die (Mark 9:43-44).

(2) Jesus said the rich man was in torment in hell (Lk. 16:24). This is not a parable, because Jesus named the names of Lazarus and Abraham.

(3) Revelation says those who receive the mark of the antichrist will be tormented forever (Rev. 14:10).

(4) Revelation says Satan, the Antichrist, and false prophet will be tormented forever (Rev. 20:10).

(5) Revelation says all the unsaved will be cast into the same lake of fire (Rev. 20:15), and since the antichrist and false prophet are not burned up but are tormented forever in the lake of fire, it is obvious that other sinners cast there will have the same experience.

c. The Bible says the punishment of the unsaved will be worse than violent death (Mk. 9:42). This proves the punishment is not annihilation, but is eternal torment. 3. Jesus said it would have been better if Judas had never been born (Mt. 26:24). Jesus’ words make no sense if Judas was only going to be annihilated.

9. The false teaching that Sabbath worship is for the churches today (Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The sabbath, though mentioned in Gen. 2:2-3, was not delivered to man until it was given to Israel in the wilderness (Neh. 9:13-14).

b. The sabbath was given, not to mankind in general, but to Israel alone as a special covenant sign between her and God (Ex. 31:13,17).

c. Jesus kept the sabbath because He was born under the law to fulfill the demands of the law (Gal. 4:4-5).

d. The apostles and early churches met on Sunday.

(1) On the first day Jesus rose from the dead and first appeared to His disciples (Mk. 16:9). The sabbath is associated with the old creation; the first day is associated with the new creation.

(2) On the first day Jesus met with the disciples at different places and repeatedly (Mk. 16:9-11; Mt. 28:8-10; Lk. 24:34; Mk. 16:12-13; Jn. 20:19-23).

(3) On the first day Jesus ascended to Heaven, was seated at the right hand of the Father and was made Head of all (Jn. 20:17; Eph. 1:20).

(4) On the first day the Holy Spirit descended (Acts 2:1). Pentecost was on the 50th day after the sabbath following the wave offering (Lev. 23:15,16). Thus Pentecost was always on a Sunday.

(5) The Christians met to worship on the first day (Acts 20:6,7; 1 Cor. 16:2).

e. The New Testament plainly teaches that the Christian is not bound to the sabbath law (Col. 2:16-17).

10. The false teaching that the Prophecies of Matthew 24 and Revelation 6-22 are not for the future but are being fulfilled today (Roman Catholic, most Protestant denominations such as Presbyterian and Lutheran, etc.)

Bible Answer:

a. The timing of the events of Matthew 24 are plainly given:

(1) Jesus said that the prophecy of Matthew 24 pertains to the end of the age and to the time of His return (Matt. 24:3-4). This includes the rule of the antichrist (v. 15) and the Great Tribulation (v. 21).

(2) Jesus said the events of Matthew 24 will occur just prior to His return (Matt. 24:29-30).

b. Paul also taught that the antichrist is a real man who will rule the world just prior to Christ’s return (2 Thess. 2:2-9).

c. The judgments of Revelation are the wrath of God (Rev. 6:16; 15:1), whereas Paul said the church-age believers are not appointed to wrath (1 Thess. 5:9-10).

11. The false teaching that God is finished with the nation Israel; that the church has replaced Israel (Roman Catholic, most Protestant denominations such as Presbyterian and Lutheran, etc.)

Bible Answer:

a. God’s covenants with Israel are eternal (Jer. 31:31-37).

b. Paul said that Israel has been set aside temporarily, and that God will fulfill His promises to Israel after He completes His plan for the church (Rom. 11:25-29).

12. The false teaching that God chooses who will be saved and that only those who are chosen can be saved (Calvinism)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says that God wants all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-5; 2 Pet. 3:9).

b. Jesus died for the sins of all men, not just some who are pre-chosen (1 John 2:1-2).

c. God has ordained that every person who believes on Christ will be saved (Jn. 6:40).

d. God has commanded that the gospel be preached to every person (Mark 16:15).

e. The Holy Spirit convicts every sinner and Jesus draws and gives light to every sinner (Jn. 1:9; 12:32; 16:7-8).

f. Believers are the elect of God, but that does not mean that God chooses some to be saved and the others not to be saved. Election is based on God’s foreknowledge (1 Pet. 1:2).

13. The false teaching that the believer can only eat certain things (Seventh-day Adventist)

Bible Answer:

a. Dietary laws in the New Testament are a mark of false teachers (1 Tim. 4:1-5).

b. The New Testament believer has liberty in such things (Rom. 14:1-4; Col. 2:16).

14. The false teaching that there should only be one church in each village and city

Bible Answer:

a. This idea has no support in the Bible. There is no such commandment in the New Testament.

b. This idea is contrary to Christ’s Great Commission. Jesus commanded all believers to preach the gospel and baptize every nation and individual (Matt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15). This commandment was not given just to one church in each area. Believers do not have to ask other churches for permission to preach the gospel and baptize and establish churches. We have authority from Jesus Christ.

c. If this idea is true, how can it be accomplished? Such an principle would mean that one church would be able to forbid other churches to preach, but Jesus said we are not to forbid others (Lk. 9:49-50).

d. If there is only one church in each city, what church would it be? Who will have control to say which church it should be? This is what the Roman Catholic Church claims for itself and what the cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim for themselves.

November 3, 2005 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) –

http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/major-falsedoctrines.html

 

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The Counterfeit Christianity 2 Timothy 4:1-8

By P. G. Mathew, M.A., M. Div., Th.M.

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown 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 longed for his appearing. Timothy 4:1-8

We have been speaking about counterfeit religion. This counterfeit religion appears on television and in churches all over the world today. It is a false religion that preaches a gospel that is different than the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In our previous study we spoke about the false church and the false ministers of this counterfeit Christianity. In this study we want to consider the Satanic doctrines of the counterfeit religion, which are described in 1 Timothy 4:1 as “doctrines of demons.”

What Are Doctrines of Demons?


The Bible speaks about sound doctrines, healthy doctrines. They are summarized in the term “apostolic doctrines.” Before he ascended into heaven, Jesus commissioned his disciples to teach these doctrines, saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). In Acts 2:42 we read that the first believers in Jerusalem devoted themselves to these doctrines of the apostles.

But there are also doctrines of demons, as we read in 1 Timothy 4:1, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times, some will abandon the faith,” meaning the apostolic doctrines, “and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” The apostle Paul speaks about such doctrines in Galatians 1:8-9, saying, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” Of course, demons are not corporeal beings, but spirit-beings; therefore, demons come on human beings. When pastors and teachers are directed by demons, they will begin to teach these lies, or what we call the doctrines of demons.

So in the church today we find doctrines that give life and cause spiritual growth as well as doctrines that destroy. The latter are described as having a form of godliness but denying the very heart of it. That is why we should consider carefully which church we want to join. The idea that one church is as good as another church, that one preacher is as good as another preacher, and that one teaching is as good as another, is false.

When we read Genesis 3, we encounter Satan and his doctrines. Satan, according to Jesus Christ, is the father of all lies. He always contradicts God’s word. Thus, he told Eve, “You will not surely die.” Any teaching that contradicts God’s word is a doctrine of demons, and any preacher who contradicts God’s word is a false minister.

Satan denies that there will be a judgment. By the words, “You will not surely die,” he meant that Adam and Eve could live any way they wanted; there is no judgment or punishment. But this is not true. Additionally, rather than encouraging people to believe in the word of God, Satan encourages people to sit in judgment of it. We see that illustrated in the history of higher criticism, which began in the seventeenth century and whose influence continues today. Higher critics like Rudolf Bultmann have sat in judgment on the word of God, rather than trusting in it.

Satan encourages man to defy God and give in to his own evil desires. Satan says, “Don’t worry about what the Bible says. Do what you want to do. Give full expression to your lusts.” Satan inspires man to become proud, autonomous, and unsubmissive to God. He tempts man with the idea of absolute freedom and tells him not to tolerate any limitation. God told Adam that he could eat of all the trees of the garden but one. But Satan said, “No, don’t tolerate that prohibition of even one tree. It is a serious limitation upon your freedom. You must always look for absolute freedom.”

What Satan loves to do is to dangle before man the intoxicating possibility of becoming God; in other words, he tempts us with self-deification. But Jesus said the devil can only steal, kill, and destroy. When we read Genesis 3, we see that Adam and Eve, having eaten of the forbidden tree, naked, afraid, and hiding from God. Eventually, they were judged by God and died.

Doctrines of demons are inspired by lying, evil spirits, as we read in 1 Kings 22:22-23. When such spirits come upon false prophets, they are inspired to lie. This is in direct contrast to what we find in Acts 2. When the Holy Spirit came upon one hundred and twenty disciples, they spoke about the deeds of God as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance. So there are two kinds of speech: evil-spirit inspired and Holy-Spirit inspired.

Doctrines of demons always promote sinful human lusts and contradict God’s moral law. Doctrines of demons promise man total freedom but deliver absolute slavery. Doctrines of demons promise eternal life but deliver eternal damnation. Thus, we want to look at some of these doctrines of demons as we discover them in the Holy Scriptures.

Doctrines of Demons

1. The Standard of Subjectivism

The first doctrine of demons is subjectivism. Both unbelievers and believers have standards by which they live and make judgments. For believers, the standard is the Holy Scriptures. It is an objective standard. But the doctrines of demons teach we should never submit to that standard. Instead, the standard for our lives should be our subjectivity, lusts, and desires. According to the doctrines of demons, subjectivity is truth, and whatever lust we have, we must fulfill.

So in 2 Timothy 4:3 we read, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers who will teach what their itching ears want to hear.” Doctrines of demons teach that the standard by which people should live is not the standard of God, but the standard of their own lusts.

In Philippians 3:19 Paul spoke about so-called Christians who came under doctrines of demons during his time: “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” Their god is their belly! These people do not worship the Creator of the ends of the earth; they worship their lusts and appetites. Such people are led around by their belly.

In 2 Peter 2:18 we read, “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.” These teachers know what people like. They appeal to that lust to entice them and turn them away from God’s objective truth.

In Jude 16 we read, “These men are grumblers and faultfinders.” They are grumbling against God, his teachings, and his ministers.

In 1 John 2:15 we read, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.” Just listen to some of these preachers on television. All they preach about is, “This world. . . this world. . . this world.” They seem to have forgotten about the world to come. They have fallen in love with this world. For them life consists of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boasting of things.

So the first doctrine of demons is that the standard for life is our own lusts. Those who live by this standard negate any influence God and his word might have in their lives. They would say, “We have nothing to do with the things of God. I am interested in my own lusts, and I want to seek and fulfill them. Whenever I lust, I will do what my lust tells me. I live by my lust.”

2. Rejection of God’s Authority

The second doctrine of demons is rejection of God’s authority. Because the standard of these people is their lust, they also reject God’s authority. In Jude 8 we read, “In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.” The Greek word for “reject” is atheteô, which means to veto or nullify. The Pharisees also nullified the word of God by their own traditions.

Such people reject the lordship of Jesus Christ. They will confess “Jesus is Savior” but they will never say “Jesus is Lord.” They set aside any objective authority, accepting only the authority of their own subjectivity.

Not only do these people reject Christ’s authority, but they also reject Christ’s delegated authorities. The Bible says, “Children, obey your parents.” But these people say, “No, I am not going to obey my parents. I want to follow my own desires.” They also reject the authority of pastors and elders. The Bible says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them.” But they would say, “I refuse to come under the spiritual authority of another person. I submit only to the authority of my lusts.”

In Luke 10:16 Jesus Christ said, “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you, rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” The word atheteô, “reject,” is used here also. So the second doctrine of demons is rejection of the objective authority of God and his delegated authorities.

3. Rejection of Truth and the Acceptance of Myths

The third doctrine of demons is a rejection of truth and an acceptance of myths. In 2 Timothy 4:4 we read, “They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” These people cannot stomach hearing the word of God. They will deliberately turn away from it and turn to fiction, speculation, and falsehood. Such people accumulate teachers around them who will tell lies, as we read in Jeremiah 5:31, where God says, “[M]y people love it so.” They will tell the minister, “Preacher, don’t preach truth to me; entertain me with uplifting stories.”

In Isaiah 30:9 we read, “These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.” Unwilling! These people are allergic to truth. In verse 10 we read, “They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right!’”

Suppose a person is fornicating, but the pastor preaches that fornication is wrong. Do you think that person will like the minister? Oh, not at all. Instead, he will find a preacher who says, “Fornication is all right. Aren’t we all sexual beings? In fact, fornication is a sign of health. Dogs do it, bees do it, birds do it, and man does it. So fornication shows that you are a normal, healthy human being! Who is that preacher who told you that is not the right way to go?” Notice, Isaiah said, “They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right!’” They turn away from the truth and turn aside to lies, speculation, philosophy, and psychology.

What else do the people say to their false ministers? “Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.” They say, “We love lies. We love pleasant things. Don’t preach the word of God to us!” They will tell the minister, “Pastor, I want to give you some counsel. You should take a poll, find out what people want to hear, and preach that. It should be need-based, in other words, something that makes people happy. You should only tell them pleasant things. Don’t ever speak about sin, repentance, and holiness.”

For such people truth is myth and myth is truth. Rudolf Bultmann said, “The central message. . . of [the Bible] is incredible to modern man” because it speaks about miracles. Though he was a great student of the Bible, Bultmann rejected the truth of God’s word and believed in his own hollow philosophy instead. He looked at the Bible and “accordingly [found] it necessary to discard such obviously mythical elements as Christ’s preexistence and virgin birth, his deity and sinlessness, the substitutionary nature of his death as meeting the demands of a righteous God, his resurrection and ascension, and his future return in glory, also the final judgment of the world, the existence of spirit-beings, the personality and power of the Holy Spirit, the doctrines of the Trinity, of original sin, and of death as a consequence of sin, and every explanation of events as miraculous.” According to Bultmann, the wonder is not that God became man, but that God chose “an ordinary, mortal individual, no different from every other man.” (Hughes, Philip Edgcumbe, “Myth,” Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, ed. by Everett F. Harrison, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Carl F. H. Henry, [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1960] 368-369).

4. Hollow and Deceptive Philosophies

The fourth doctrine of demons is the turning away from the truth and turning to hollow and deceptive philosophies. Paul dealt with this tendency in his letter to the church of Colossae. In Colossians 2:8 he wrote, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

In 2 Peter 2:18 the apostle Peter writes, “they mouth empty, boastful words.” If you are students, I urge you to be careful when you go to the university. Many professors will try to turn you away from the truth and turn you to the falsehood of the phony philosophy, phony psychology, and scientism.

The problem with hollow human philosophies is that they refuse to acknowledge the true God. In a recent booklet by John Blanchard this view is expressed by George Wald, a biochemist and professor of biology at Harvard who received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1967. Although Wald was a top scientist, he chose to believe scientific impossibilities rather than admit there could be a Creator God:

When it comes to the origin of life on this earth, there are only two possibilities, creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago. But that leads us to only one other conclusion of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible, that life arose spontaneously by chance. (John Blanchard, Evolution—Fact or Fiction? [Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2002], 29).

5. Private Revelation

The fifth doctrine of demons is the idea of private revelation. If you turn on “Christian” television programs, most of what you see will be based on this doctrine of the devil called private revelation.

In Colossians 2:18 we read, “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.” This subjectivism was as prevalent among false prophets in the Old Testament as it is among false prophets today. How many of these people will claim, “I had a dream,” or “I had a vision,” or “The Lord told me. . . .” This is private revelation. Jude calls those who say such things “dreamers.” They are inspired by demons.

Private revelation was found also in New Testament times. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Paul wrote, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us.” These false prophecies did not come from the apostle Paul. They were not true prophecy; they were private revelations, designed to unsettle God’s people.

What is the inspiration of such private revelation? Evil, lying spirits, such as the one we read about in 1 Kings 22. When a lying spirit came upon all four hundred prophets of Ahab, they all spoke lies in unison. So when someone tells you, “I had a dream,” or “I had a vision,” or “The Lord told me. . . ,” please run, because that person just wants to put his hand into your pocket. Oh, he may prophesy a few things to you, but if you want to have a good mind, keep away from such people. Their prophecies are prompted by demons who only want to unsettle you, manipulate you, and make you captive to them. It is all demon activity. You must be careful.

6. Denial of Jesus Christ

The sixth doctrine of demons is the denial of the person of Jesus Christ. In 2 Peter 2:1 we read, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be a false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” In Jude 4, the brother of Jesus Christ wrote, “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ, our only Sovereign and Lord.”

Denial of Christ’s person and work is denial of the very heart of the biblical revelation. It is a denial that Jesus Christ is eternal God. It is denial of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. In 1 John 4:2-3 we read, “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

Denial of the incarnation is to say that Jesus Christ is not the eternal Son of God who took upon himself a human body. It implies that he did not die for our sins as God/man and that he is not God/man forever. Thus, denial of incarnation means denial of atonement and therefore denial of our salvation.

It is also denial of the cross of Jesus Christ. In Philippians 3:18 we read, “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” Those who deny the cross are enemies of the cross. In 1 Corinthians 2:2 the apostle Paul said he resolved to know nothing while he was with the Corinthians “except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Crucifixion demonstrates that God takes sin very seriously. He sent his own Son to die in our place for our sins. But the doctrine of demons denies the cross; therefore, it denies the atonement and the reality of sin. It tells us, “Live as you please; there is no judgment.” No wonder Paul said their god is their appetite! A person must deny the cross in order to sin. But we know that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins. We are justified only through the cross of Christ.

7. Denial of the Second Coming

The seventh doctrine of demons is denial of the second coming of Jesus Christ. In 2 Peter 3:3 we read, “First of all, you must understand in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” They scoff at the apostolic doctrine. They are characterized by a mocking spirit that manifests itself especially when the word of God is preached. That is demon activity.

In verse 4 we read, “They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised?’” Not only did Jesus Christ speak about his second coming, but the apostles also did. The Bible says Jesus Christ is going to come personally, physically, visibly, powerfully, and gloriously. But here the mockers come, questioning the authority of Scripture and say, “No, Jesus Christ is not going to come again. Where is this coming he promised?”

The doctrine of the second coming is biblical doctrine. Jesus told his disciples they are to celebrate the Lord’s Supper until he comes again. In 1 John 3:3 we read, “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” This is the blessed hope of the church which causes us to want to prepare ourselves to meet the Lord. Because of this hope we repent, confess, and forsake our sins.

But false teachers are not preaching that Jesus Christ is coming again. Look at television preachers. Are they saying Jesus Christ is coming? Not at all. They have fallen in love with this world. They have big rings on their fingers and wear designer clothes. They want a good life and they have it. Their only desire is this world, not the world to come.

8. Denial of the Final Judgment

The eighth doctrine of demons is denial of the final judgment. When people deny the reality of the second coming, they also are denying a final judgment.

In John 5:28-29 Jesus declared, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” So when the reality of the second coming is negated, the final judgment is also denied. If Jesus Christ is not coming again, there is no eternal judgment, no heaven, hell, no new earth.

9. Denial of the Resurrection of the Body

The ninth doctrine of demons is a denial of bodily resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15:12 we read, “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?”

“There is no bodily resurrection.” By this the false teachers were saying that Jesus did not rise from the dead bodily. As we already said, Bultmann completely denied that Jesus ever rose from the dead, calling such an idea myth.

When people say there is no resurrection from the dead, they are saying that Jesus did not rise from the dead bodily, and therefore we also will not rise from the dead bodily. Perhaps people said this because of the Greek idea that matter is evil: if there is no resurrection of the material body, that is a good thing. In other words, why should matter be resurrected if it is evil to begin with?

But notice the subtlety of this doctrine of demons: If there is no resurrection and final judgment, then what we do with our bodies doesn’t matter. Thus, this doctrine of demons is really declaring, “Go ahead, sin all you want. There is no final moral accountability.”

10. Antinomianism

The tenth doctrine of demons we want to examine is antinomianism. Remember, these are doctrines that are taught in the church by those who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. This demonic doctrine of antinomianism is a serious problem in the church today.

Antinomianism goes against God’s moral law. In Jude 4 we read, “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” You see, these people believe in grace. Oh, they glory in it! They will say they are saved by grace, but then they add that this grace is what gives them license to sin. This is the essence of antinomianism.

There are people today in the church of Jesus Christ who believe that Christians do not have to follow God’s moral law. They say, “We are not under law; we are under grace.” They say, “Jesus is our Savior but he needs not be our Lord.” They say, “What we do with our body does not have any eternal consequence.” They use grace as a license for immorality.

Paul spoke about this issue of antinomianism in the book of Galatians. In Galatians 5:13 we read, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

In Romans 5:20 Paul makes this profound statement: “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. . . .” This is the glorious truth of the gospel. But in Romans 6:1 Paul asks, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” What is the resounding answer? “By no means!”

In 1 John 1:6 the apostle writes, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” In verse 8 he adds, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” In verse 10 he says, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” All these scriptures point to the demonic doctrine of antinomianism. In other words, antinomianism says, “Ethics do not matter; do whatever you want. Aren’t you already saved?”

11. Legalism

The eleventh doctrine of demons is legalism, which says that salvation is not by grace alone by faith alone, but by grace plus the human keeping of God’s law. Legalists say that we cannot be saved by believing in Jesus Christ alone; we must also keep the law.

Does this mean saved people should not be guided in their conduct by God’s moral law? No. But legalism says to be saved, a person must keep the law. PGM That is the doctrine of demons.

Paul addressed this problem in his letter to the Galatian Christians. In those days there was a teaching that one could not be saved simply by believing in Jesus Christ; he had to be circumcised also. So in Galatians 5:2-4 Paul wrote, “Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”

Legalism denies the full and perfect efficacy of Christ’s atonement and says that we have to add something to what Christ has already done. The Roman Catholic church teaches that people have to take care of the temporal punishment of their post-baptismal sins. That means that if you are baptized as an infant, you somehow have to deal with all your subsequent sin. That is a denial of the perfect atonement of Jesus Christ our Lord. We are saved by grace alone.

12. Asceticism

The twelfth and final doctrine of demons we want to speak about is asceticism. In 1 Timothy 4:3 we read that these hypocritical liars, these false teachers, also forbade people to marry. That prohibition is against God’s order. God himself ordained marriage, so this doctrine of demons denies the very appointment and ordaining of God.

In the Roman Catholic church, celibate priests are seen as living higher, holier lives than married people. That is absolute falsehood according to the Scriptures. That does not mean that marriage will solve all problems, but to say that the celibate state is a holier state than the married state is false.

Not only did these false teachers forbid people to marry, but they also ordered them “to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.” “You should only eat vegetables,” these people said.

In Colossians 2:20-23 we read, “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belong to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

The Great Apostasy


How many in the visible church will abandon the true gospel and follow after the doctrines of demons? The Bible says many will fall away. In other words, a true church, true believers, true ministers, and true teachings are few. As Americans we have a tendency to say that if vast numbers of people are believing in something, it must be right. That is because in America we like everything big. We glory in numbers. But what is popular in the world is an abomination to the Lord. When large numbers of people are flocking after something, we must begin to wonder what it is they are going after.

The Bible speaks about a time of falling away. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 we read in reference to the day of the coming of the Lord, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs. . . .” meaning until apostasy takes place. Where does apostasy take place? In the church. In other words, many people will abandon the faith before Christ returns. In fact, we are living at a time when we see vast numbers of people abandoning the true gospel in favor of a lust-promoting autonomous form of Christianity.

In Luke 18:8 Jesus Christ said, “I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” Then he added, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” What is the expected answer? No. No matter how many people are in the church, only few will be true.

In Matthew 24:4-8 Jesus warned against demonized teachers and pastors, saying, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” Where will the many be deceived? In the church! The people in the world are already deceived and under the power of Satan. This is speaking about people in the church. Then Jesus said, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. But see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All of these are the beginning of birth pains.”

Then in verses 9-13 we read something interesting. First Jesus says, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time, many will turn away from the faith . . .’” Jesus Christ himself, the head of the church, is saying that many will turn away from the faith, which is the gospel, “and will betray and hate each other.” In other words, false professors will betray and hate the true people of God. Then, in verse 11 Jesus says, “[A]nd many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” Notice, not a few, but many false prophets will deceive many people. Then Jesus concludes, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Those who are God’s elect, who are effectually called and justified, will persevere to the very end because God will help them.

In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few will find it.” Notice, only a few find the road to life.

In Matthew 7:22 Jesus said, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them very plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” These are people who are demonized and follow the teachings of false preachers.

The Doctrine of God


In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we read, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We are not here to judge, critique, or demythologize the word. We are here to believe and preach the word.

Why do we preach God’s word? Because the word alone points to Jesus Christ. Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification, and salvation is found in no other name under heaven given among men whereby we may be saved. He alone is the Savior of the world. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. We find him in the Holy Scriptures, and that is why we must declare the word of God. In 1 John 5:11 we read, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in the Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Why do we preach the gospel? Because the whole Scripture reveals to us Jesus Christ. Therefore we say that all religions and philosophies, except that which preaches Jesus Christ and him crucified and risen, are of human origin and impotent to save sinners. This is why we preach the gospel, because it alone is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greeks.

True churches and ministers are few. Thus, whenever you find a church that preaches the gospel, pray for it and its ministers and pay close attention to its teaching. To see if a church is true or not, you should examine what it believes. See whether it fundamentally agrees with the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Baptist Confession of 1689, and so on. Many people say, “We believe in the Bible,” so you must make sure they do not reinterpret it to suit their own ideas. Ask questions such as, “Do you believe in the miracles of the Scripture? Do you believe that God out of nothing created the whole universe? Do you believe in the virgin birth?” and so on.

Above all, I urge you to think and commit yourself to the word of God. If you don’t, you will be unstable and soon duped by itinerant phonies whose only interest is to serve their own appetites.

May God help us to not only endure sound doctrine, but to delight in it. God’s word is life and spirit. May we study the objective word of God so that we know clearly who God is, who we are, and how we can be reconciled to God through the mediatorship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. May the Spirit of the living God fall afresh upon us and draw us to himself. May we know that true happiness is found, not in indulging our lusts, but in doing the will of God. May we therefore resist the devil and the doctrines of demons, and may we love God and his word. Amen.

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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society.

“NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark office by International Bible Society.

 

http://www.gracevalley.org/sermon_trans/2003/Counterfeit_Christianity.html

 

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Exposing Error: Is It Worthwhile?
by Dr. Harry Ironside (1875-1951) 

Objection is often raised even by some sound in the faith-regarding the exposure of error as being entirely negative and of no real edification. Of late, the hue and cry has been against any and all negative teaching. But the brethren who assume this attitude forget that a large part of the New Testament, both of the teaching of our blessed Lord Himself and the writings of the apostles, is made up of this very character of ministry-namely, showing the Satanic origin and, therefore, the unsettling results of the propagation of erroneous systems which Peter, in his second epistle, so definitely refers to as “damnable heresies.”

 
Our Lord prophesied, “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Within our own day, how many false prophets have risen; and oh, how many are the deceived! Paul predicted, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch.” My own observation is that these “grievous wolves,” alone and in packs, are not sparing even the most favoured flocks. Undershepherds in these “perilous times” will do well to note the apostle’s warning: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.” It is as important in these days as in Paul’s-in fact, it is increasingly important-to expose the many types of false teaching that, on every hand, abound more and more.

 
We are called upon to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” while we hold the truth in love. The faith means the whole body of revealed truth, and to contend for all of God’s truth necessitates some negative teaching. The choice is not left with us. Jude said he preferred a different, a pleasanter theme-”Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordainedto this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3, 4). Paul likewise admonishes us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11).

 
This does not imply harsh treatment of those entrapped by error-quite the opposite. If it be objected that exposure to error necessitates unkind reflection upon others who do not see as we do, our answer is: it has always been the duty of every loyal servant of Christ to warn against any teaching that would make Him less precious or cast reflection upon His finished redemptive work and the all-sufficiency of His present service as our great High Priest and Advocate.

 
Every system of teaching can be judged by what it sets forth as to these fundamental truths of the faith. “What think ye of Christ?” is still the true test of every creed. The Christ of the Bible is certainly not the Christ of any false “-ism.” Each of the cults has its hideous caricature of our lovely Lord.

 
Let us who have been redeemed at the cost of His precious blood be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” As the battle against the forces of evil waxes ever more hot, we have need for God-given valour.

 
There is constant temptation to compromise. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” It is always right to stand firmly for what God has revealed concerning His blessed Son’s person and work. The “father of lies” deals in half-truths and specializes in most subtle fallacies concerning the Lord Jesus, our sole and sufficient Savior.

 
Error is like leaven of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.

 
Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to souls “caught in the snare of the fowler”-how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting.

 
(Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly author and teacher for many years, served as pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948) 

http://www.sliceoflaodicea.com/great-sermons/dr-harry-ironside-the-value-of-exposing-error/

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As this blog reaches 100 post, I decided to repost the TOP 3 post.

DANGER: The Church of Christ By David J. 218

DNA proves the Book of Mormon to be fals 142

So Joel Osteen says Mormons are Christia 127

The Church of Christ is a false church. They require good works for salvation. The Church of Christ is just as dangerous as Catholicism, Jehovah’s Witness, or the Mormons, because they claim to be “Christian”; BUT they are not! Whereas religions like Islam and Black Muslim openly deny the Christian faith; the Church of Christ claims to be Christian, and so Satan uses them to seduce people into Hellfire.

The following doctrinal statement is taken directly from the Church of Christ website:

How does one become a member of the church of Christ?

In the salvation of man’s soul there are 2 necessary parts: God’s part and man’s part. God’s part is the big part, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift if God; not of works, that no man should glory” (Ephesians 2:8-9). The love which God felt for man led him to send Christ into the world to redeem man. The life and teaching of Jesus, the sacrifice on the cross, and the proclaiming of the gospel to men constitute God’s part in salvation.

Though God’s part is the big part, man’s part is also necessary if man is to reach heaven. Man must comply with the conditions of pardon which the Lord has announced. Man’s part can clearly set forth in the following steps:

Hear the Gospel. “How shall they call on him whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).

Believe. “And without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Repent of past sins. “The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent” (Acts 17:30).

Confess Jesus as Lord. “Behold here is water; What doth hinder me to be baptized ? And Philip said, if thou believeth with all thy heart thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:36-37).

Be baptized for the remission of sins. “And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Live a Christian life. “Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

SOURCE: Who are the churches of Christ?

There is much heresy in the preceding statement.

First, salvation is of God alone, and not men. This is plainly stated in John1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Man has no part in God’s salvation.

In Philippians 2:12 the Apostle Paul states, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Carefully notice that the Bible says “work out YOUR OWN salvation”; it does not say anything about God’s salvation. When God saves a man, it is then up to that man whether or not he is going to obey God or not. God saves us by faith, but then it is up to us to allow the Lord to live the Christian life through us. This has nothing to do with salvation. So many heretics today are trying to add holy living to faith for salvation. No sir! As we see in 1st Corinthians 5:5, some believers live in unrepentant sin; yet, they are still saved. How can this be? It’s because eternal life is a “free gift” (Romans 5:15) not conditioned upon our lifestyle. I don’t know why so many people can’t seem to grasp the concept of a GIFT.

The only part that man has in God’s salvation is to BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). In Psalm 51:12, after David had sinned horribly, we find David asking God for forgiveness… “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” David knew that salvation was of God alone… THY SALVATION!

Second, there is NOT one Scripture in the entire Bible that tells us to “repent FROM sin” to be saved. You can’t find it. The word repent in the Greek simply means “to change one’s mind.” So a person need only repent OF their sins to be sins; and NOT FROM their sins. A lost sinner only needs to realize their GUILT of sin, and condemnation under the Law of God, and their justly deserved penalty of Hellfire to be saved. The change should come LATER, after a person is saved and the Holy Spirit convicts them (2nd Corinthians 5:17).

Repentance in the Bible is always towards God… “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” According to Granville Sharp’s Rule of Greek Exegesis these events are one and the same, i.e., repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. To place your faith in the Lord to forgive your sins is repentance. You have realized your guilt of sin, and have TURNED to the Lord for salvation. This is the simplicity of God’s salvation (2nd Corinthians 11:3).

Third, confessing Jesus as Lord is very different than confessing that He is the Son of God. Yes, we must recognize Jesus as the Son of God to be saved; BUT, we certainly do not need to make Him the Lord (Master) of our life to be saved. This truth is evidenced by the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Paul calls them “brethren,” and yet they haven’t presented their bodies as a living sacrifice for the Lord yet. That is to say, they haven’t surrender their lives to God yet in Christian living. The Bible is filled with examples of Christian who ran from God, such as Jonah, Samson, Lot, and many others. Making Jesus the Lord of one’s life has nothing to do with being saved. Again, God’s salvation is a free gift, paid for by Jesus’ precious literal blood.

Fourth, Baptismal Regeneration is a lie of the Devil. The very notion that a person is required to be water baptized to go to Heaven is absurd. The Apostle John tells us in 1st John 5:13 that he wrote his Epistle “so that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life”; YET, he never mentions baptism even once in the Epistles of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd John. The Apostle Paul plainly stated that Christ did NOT send him to baptize; but rather, to preach the Gospel (1st Corinthians 1:17). No one in the Old Testament was water baptized; yet we read in Genesis 15:6 that Abraham believed God and it was COUNTED unto him for righteousness. You see friend, you need HIS Righteousness to go to Heaven.

Fifth, living a Christian life is not a prerequisite for being saved. If it were, then God would be a liar and eternal life certainly not a “free gift” as Romans 5:15 calls it. To say that a lost sinner must persevere in holy living to be saved is to spit upon the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, to insult God, and to negate Christ’s work of redemption. Let me quote to you Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Salvation is so simple. God simply asks us to believe on Jesus, i.e., He that justifieth the ungodly. Our faith by itself is counted for (or is equivalent to) a life of righteousness. This is because Jesus imputes (or places) HIS righteousness upon our eternal record the very moment that we place our sole faith in Him. The Word of God is clear… TO HIM THAT WORKETH NOT.

Conclusion

Where does the Church of Christ come up with all their heresies? They surely didn’t find them in the Bible. God said what He meant, and meant what He said. Jesus said in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” There is NO controversy if you believe the Bible. The Church of Christ is straight from the pits of Hell. I plead with you not to become a victim of their damnable religion.

The Word of God teaches that eternal life is a FREE GIFT (Romans 5:15; 6:23). If you keep that in mind at all times, then you’ll see right through the lying words of such false prophets as Church of Christ ministers. Eternal life is a “gift” that cannot be earned, merited, or deserved. We all deserve to burn in Hellfire for our sins; but God in His wondrous love sent Jesus Christ into the world, to pay for our sins with His own literal precious blood (1st Peter 1:18,19).

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” —2nd Thessalonians 1:8

Ye Must Be Born Again!

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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 

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Grace and Works by Craig Branch

A common question is “what makes a group a cult?” Of course one must consider deceptive, destructive practices and other deviations from orthodoxy, but the fundamental and fatal departure defining a cult is to err on the Person and work of Christ.

Paul defined it best when he warned about false teachers coming with “a different Jesus” and “another gospel” (II Corin. 11:3-4, 13-15; Gal. 1:6-9).

Peter defined “damnable heresies” as “denying the Lord that bought them,” which is denying the Person and work of Christ (II Peter 2:1-3).

How do most cults distort the gospel? They add works or obedience to commandments (law) as the prerequisite for justification or salvation.

The Bible is clear that eternal life is a pure gift, by grace, and man’s works or obedience cannot in any way satisfy God’s righteousness.

Grace plus works for salvation is like trying to mix oil and water; “and if, by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace,” (Romans 11:6).

“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight,” (Romans 3:20).

In the epistle which directly responds to this issue, Paul clearly explains, “Even we have believed in Jesus Christ that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law, for by works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” (Galatians 2:16; see also Ephesians 2:4-9; Titus 3:5-7).

God’s law, a reflection of His justice and righteousness, requires perfect obedience. One sin, whether by commission or omission, whether done with or without knowledge, separates man from God eternally (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Matthew 5:48; James 2:10; Galatians 3:10).

That is why Christ obeyed the law perfectly, meeting the requirement – so that His perfect record could be imputed to us when we trust only in Him – faith in Christ (I Corinthians 1:30; II Corinthians 5:21; Romans 10:1-4; 4:4-6).

How do the cults pervert the gospel? How do they fatally mix works with grace and in fact end up rejecting Christ? Most of them deny the full deity and humanity of Christ always resulting in a deficient “different gospel.”

For instance, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that there are four basic requirements needed to gain eternal life (Watchtower, February 15, 1983, pp.12-13).

The first is to be “taking in knowledge” which means that you must be participating in their “Bible studies” (actually Watchtower publication studies).

The second requirement is “to obey God’s laws, yes, to conform one’s life to the moral requirements set out in the Bible.”

The third is to “be associated with God’s channel, his organization” which in fact means that theirs, “the one true church,” is actually the co-savior.

The fourth is to “support his government by loyally advocating his kingdom rule to others.” This means one must go door to door witnessing and without ever balking or questioning a Watchtower edict.

Another blatant example is found in the Mormon basic textbook Gospel Principles.

The Mormon leaders state that the final judgment will be on the basis of works according to “those things which the Lord has commanded us to keep,” (pp. 283-284).

Then all will “be assigned to the kingdom we have earned” (p. 285; emphasis mine).

The Mormon leaders go on to teach that for eternal life one must be “obedient to all the commandments of the Lord,” (p. 290, emphasis mine).

They then list 22 of those requirements which include celestial marriage, total repentance of all wrong doings, speaking the truth always, baptisms for the dead, full tithe paying, and “keeping all the Lord’s commandments until the end of this life on earth,” (pp.291-292, emphasis mine).

Herbert W. Armstrong founder of the Worldwide Church of God claimed to be God’s apostle and like most cults claimed to restore the true Christian church.

He wrote in his major doctrinal work, Mystery of the Ages that in order to achieve salvation and progress to Godhood is to “do his commandments,” (p. 191).

Armstrong goes on to state that the “one test commandment is the fourth-keeping God’s Sabbath” which of course he insists must be Saturday.

He also reveals the “necessity of observing his annual Sabbaths and festivals,” (p. l9l).

He mocks those of “traditional Christianity” who claim that they are “already saved” by “receiving Christ,” (p. l97).

He teaches that one must grow in grace. . . must overcome, must develop in spiritual character during this life in order to be born into the “Kingdom of God,” (p. 2l6).

The many new age groups teach the law of Karma on the endless wheel of reincarnation which is based on good deeds.

Christians must help cult members see that they must consider what the Bible says on the subject and not the cult literature. Help the cult member understand God’s requirement of perfection and their total inability to ever measure up to God’s righteous requirement.

Works are a result of being saved, never a cause. Point them to Christ alone who is the only One who can reconcile man to God, totally, by His doing.

Ed. Note: It recently has been brought to the attention of the WFI offices that Herbert W. Armstrong’s book Mystery of the Ages has been withdrawn from publication.

The Worldwide Church of God headquarter’s staff states that the book has doctrinal problems.

This admission seems interesting in light of the fact that this book was the crowning achievement of Armstrong’s life.

However, despite the fact that this book has been questioned by the WWCOG, the same doctrines quoted in Craig Branch’s article are reiterated in the WWCOG publication The Good News (Jan/Feb 1990, pp. 6-8).

Apparently the doctrinal problems contained in Armstrong’s Mystery of the Ages do not include the “salvation by works” doctrine.)

http://www.watchman.org/cults/gracewks.htm

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The Jesus of the Cults and religions, Another Jesus by LetUsReason.org

Today’s new spirituality does include Jesus, but he is not the Jesus of Scripture. He is another Jesus who is appreciated by mystics and Gnostics alike. He is accepted by the other religions as a great teacher, an enlightened spiritual master, but not the Son of God, God in the flesh, the only Savior from our sins, and only way to the Father. He needs to be something other than the bibles Jesus to be accepted by the masses.

The primary guru of the New Age Movement, Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, taught that the “Christ archetype” could be activated and encountered via active imagination or visualization. People today choose Jesus to be their spirit-guide. As they visualize him, he speaks to them and gives them wisdom and guidance. They claim, “I follow the words of Jesus.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses also have another Jesus, one who is an angel who became a man

The Mormons Jesus is similar in that he is also an angel. A Spirit child of Elohim who is in the class of Spirit. He is the Spirit brother of the Lucifer who became the Devil. That we all were the same in spirit in our preexistence on earth before we embodied. Mormonism (Joseph Smith): “Christ is the firstborn spirit Son in the eternal family, and while yet in pre-existence he advanced and progressed and became like the Father in power and intelligence; that is, he became a God.”“

It has become increasingly important to see that those who claim to be Christian or represent God are presenting to their followers another Jesus. These are only a few references as a guideline of what the Bible teaches.

What the Scripture (the bible) says He will be- “And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). Jer.23:5-6: “.. I will raise to David a branch of righteousness; … His name by which He will be called THE LORD (Yahweh) OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Isa.63:8 God speaking, “so He became their Savior.”

What did Jesus say of himself-John 8:23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I AM from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” “Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM”( John 8:58). Jn.5:18, “He said God was his Father, making himself equal with God. “And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28. John 10:14-16: “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep”, David said in Ps.23 The Lord (God/ Yahweh) is my shepherd. Later in jn.10 Jesus states of His sheep “they follow Me and I give them eternal life.”

What did the disciples teach that he said- ”and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us. John 1:2-3 He was in the beginning with God 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

1 Pt.1:1 “ our God and savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13 Jesus is called “our great God and Savior.” Col 1:16-17: “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”1 Tim.3:16 “God was manifested in the flesh.”

No other person has been opinionated by the religious community, not Buddha, nor Mohammed nor Krishna. Why the various opinions? It’s a life or death matter when it comes to the one called the Son of God. Everyone will need to make a decision on who he is. Unfortunately many deny what He said and the apostles taught of Him.

A.R.E Association for Research and Enlightenment (Edgar Cayce): “He is an ensample [example] for man, and only as a man, for He lived only as a man, He died as man.”( Association for Research and Enlightenment Edgar Cayce, reading no. 900-10 from Circulating file: Jesus the Pattern and You, p. 53.) Edgar Cayce-”Q. `When did the knowledge come to Jesus that he was to be the savior of the world? “A. `When he fell in Eden… In Adam, he brought sin,’“ (Psychic Healing, p. 75).

The Bahai Faith (The Bab; Baha’u’llah): “Jesus was not the only-begotten Son of God come down from Heaven, crucified and resurrected, nor the unique Saviour. Firuz Kazemzeden World Order summer 1978 p.39 the national spiritual assembly of the bahai’s of the United states) Was Christ within god, or God within Christ ? No in the name of God. “ (Abdul Baha Questions p. 97) Many Christians are surprised to find that a new messenger from God has already come, saying that he is the return of Christ.” (The Return of Christ p. 4 1978 Bahai publishing trust)

Islam- Sura 43:59 “Jesus was no more than a mortal whom Allah favored and made an example to the Israelites. They are unbelievers who say God is Messiah, Mary’s son.” Surat al Nisa 4:157-158 “And because of their saying: we slew the messiah Jesus son of Mary. Allahs messenger-they slew him not nor crucified- Sura 43:59

Church Universal and Triumphant-Mark and Elizabeth Prophet “The Christ Self, then, has communication with the Father who in both Principle and Person is the Presence of God, the 1 AM THAT 1 AM, or the 1 AM Presence.” (Mysteries of the Holy Grail Arch angel Gabriel p.217) the Prophets explain, “Jesus was both the actual and symbolical representative of this Christ Self. Jesus was the example. the one who self-realized the Christ Mind and was at one with It at all times. Jesus himself was not the only begotten Son of the Father. The Christ of him was and is the only begotten Son of the Father “ (The Lost Teachings of Jesus p. 241).

Eckankar (Paul Twitchell): “do not put Him [Jesus] in a special category, for all saviours and prophets who came to earth to help mankind did their part arid passed on to the glory of the heavenly kingdom ..

The Foundation of Human understanding The Foundation of Human understanding (Roy Masters): -you must not have any concepts of what Christ is like or God is like. it all must be an inward revelation process-” (Roy Masters (tape), -The Mystery of Golgotha.

The Gurdjieff Foundation (Gurdfieff): -[In a conversation] … Gurdjieff said: ‘I hate your Jesus, poor Jewish boy’-the emphasis being on’ your.’“’ (C S. Nott Teachings of Gurdjieff. A Pupil’s Journal 1978, p. 103

Course in miracles- (Helen Schucman) “Jesus is a man, who is like all other men, and the Christ idea, which all men possess and must eventually demonstrated. He becomes the pattern for all of us. Jesus the man was used by the Christ to demonstrate the illusion of the world.”…Jesus became what all of you must be. …Is he the Christ? O yes, along with you. …Is he God’s only Helper? No, indeed. For Christ takes many forms with different names…” (pp. 83-84).”The Son of God … is not Jesus but our combined Christ consciousness. . .”The name Jesus refers to one who was a man but who saw the face of Christ in all his brothers…. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer at one with God.”

The Masons- Manly Hall who started the Masons refers to Jesus as “The Solar Diety’ Jesus of Nazareth had attained a level of consciousness, of perfection, that has been called by various names: cosmic consciousness, soul regeneration, philosophic initiation, spiritual illumination, Brahmic Splendor, Christ-consciousness. (Lynn F Perkins, The Meaning of Masonry, CSA Press, 1971, 53)

Gurus

Agne Yoga Fellowship Agne Yoga Fellowship (Swami Kriyananda): ‘What is Christ? St. Simeon the new theologian wrote, ‘I move my hand, and Christ moves, who is my hand.” Swami Kriyananda, Eastern Thoughts, Western Thoughts (Nevada City, CA: Ananda Publications, 1975), pp. 67-68.

Self-Realization Fellowship Self-Realization Fellowship (Paramahansa Yogananda): “in Christian Scriptures it [Christ] is called the ‘only begotten son’. . .. It is the universal consciousness, oneness with God, manifested by Jesus, Krishna, and other avatars.” Paramahansa Yogananda, Man’s Eternal Quest (Los Angeles, CA- Self Realization Fellowship, 1975), pp. 470-71; cf., Self Realization (Los Angeles, CA-Self Realization Fellowship), Winter 1979, pp, 340,

Sri Chinmoy Centers (Sri Chinmoy): “To say that Christ is the Savior and the only way to salvation is a mistake. … He laughs when His followers say He is the only savior.- Sri Chininoy, A Hundred Years from Now (Jamaica, NY. Agni press, 1974), pp, 39-43.

YoganandaYogananda “man reincarnates on earth until he has consciously regained his status as a son of God.”

The Divine Life Society Integral Yoga Institute (Sivananda/ Satchidananda): “Remember that Christ is not a person, It’s an experience-Christhood. Like Nirvana or Buddha. It’s an experience.. . “ (Satchinananda speaks p.47-48 June 17, 1975)

Sri Yukteswar said: Theologians have interpreted Christ’s words in such passages as “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6). Jesus meant, never that he was the sole Son of God, but that no man can attain the unqualified Absolute, the transcendent Father beyond creation, until he has first manifested the ‘Son’ or activating Christ Consciousness within creation. Jesus, who had achieved entire onenness with that Christ consciousness, identified himself with it inasmuch as his own ego had long since been dissolved.’ (Paramahansa Yogananda Autobiography of a Yogi Self Realization fellowship p.178)

3 HO Sikhism 3 HO Sikhism (Yogi Bhajan): Jesus was a man of God only who had to become qualified for hiknow if Joseph was his father and his mother created “her son to really be a Christ,” but not a savior. Heads of Truth, Winter, March 1978, p. 20; Spring 1975, p. 13; Spring 1978, pp. 32, 39, Beds of Truth no. 31, p. 15.)

Vedanta: Swami Probhavananda alleges we “cannot accept Christ as the only Son of God, Those who insist on regarding the life and teachings of Jesus as unique are bound to have great difficulty in understanding them.” Swami Prabhavananda, The Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta 1963, p. 47.

Sai Baba Society (Sathya Sai Baba): “The inner mystery of the incarnation [is] God incarnating in all. All are One; the One is All.

Anthroposophy (Rudolph Steiner): “[Jesus] … must be designated in the truest sense of the word as a ‘mere man’.. ( Rudolf Steiner, From Jesus to Christ 1973, pp. 51-52.

Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism Diasaku Ikeda): “The doctrines of the divinity and the resurrection Of Christ are outside the province of rational thought …. Christians are schizophrenic.” Noah S. Brannen, Soka Gakkai, Japan’s Militant Buddhists (Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1968), pp. 98-99.

The Masonic Lodge: A former Mason reports ‘Freemasonry carefully excludes’ the Lord Jesus Christ from the lodge and chapter, repudiates His mediatorship, rejects His atonement, denies and disowns His Gospel, frowns upon His religion and His church, ignores the Holy Spirit…” Edmond Ronayne, The Masters Carpet (Ezra Cook Company of Chicago, 1879), p. 87.) “Christ, teaching the Religion of Love, was crucified, that it might become a Religion of Hate;” (Morals and Dogma P.294) “But the Chief of the Empire of Darkness caused Him to be crucified by the Jews. Still He suffered in appearance only…” (ibid. p. 567, p. 1)

Those who claim Christianity

Iglesia Ni Cristo (Felix Manalo) “If there is any verse which people claim proves the alleged deity of Christ, this verse has been wrongly interpreted by the people.” (Pasugo 1984 May/june p.14) “Col.1:15 states very clearly, Christ is ‘the firstborn of every creature,’ and is therefore not the creator.”(Pasugo Jan/.Feb 1980 p.37) “The scriptures do not teach that Christ is the creator of all things.” (PASUGO, March/April 1982, p. 26.)”We now affirm that Jn.1:1 does not call Jesus Christ God…’It does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity.” (God’s message July/Sept 1995 p.14)

Jehovah’s Witnesses- Charles Taze Russell- “There is Scriptural evidence for concluding that Michael was the name of Jesus Christ before he left heaven and after his return.” (WT 5/15/1969, p. 307) …”Michael the great prince is none other than Jesus Christ himself.” (WT 12/15/1984 p29) Michael the archangel is no other than the only begotten son of God, now Jesus Christ..”(New Heavens and New Earth pg.30-31)- Charles Taze Russell-”There is Scriptural evidence for concluding that Michael was the name of Jesus Christ before he left heaven and after his return.” (WT 5/15/1969, p. 307) …”Michael the great prince is none other than Jesus Christ himself.” (WT 12/15/1984 p29) Michael the archangel is no other than the only begotten son of God, now Jesus Christ.”(New Heavens and New Earth pg.30-31)

The Moonies- “He can by no means be God Himself.”—Divine Principle, pp. 210-211

Christian Science Christian Science (Mary Baker Eddy): “Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus Himself declared, but is the Son of God.” (Science and Health Key to the Scriptures p.361). Jesus is the name of the man who, more than all other men, has presented Christ, the true idea of God. . . . Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ. (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health and Key to the Scriptures The First Church of Christ Scientist 1934, p. 361.) “ he was the first human to understand the Divine Mind.” “ Jesus means “the highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea. . .” (ibid. p. 589).

Christian Spiritual Alliance The Christian Spiritual Alliance (Roy Eugene Davis): “Jesus was not the only begotten.” (Roy Eugene Davis, the Hidden teachings of Jesus Revealed 1968, p. 9, emphasis added.

Christadelphians (John Thomas). “Jesus Christ did not exist as a person from eternity as one of the triune Godhead…. He did not actually come into being until He was begotten of the Holy Spirit and born in Bethlehem” (Christadelphian messenger no.46 the word made flesh p.3)

Oneness Pentecostals “The Son of God existed from all eternity only as a plan in the mind of God.” (The Oneness of God, D. Bernard p.295) “the role of the son is temporary and not eternal” (p.105, 108)”“The Son of God refers to the humanity of Jesus.” (Oneness of God, p.98)

Way International Paul Wierwille taught “We, as well as Jesus Christ, were with God in His foreknowledge, but not in existence, before the world began. Neither did Jesus Christ” (Jesus Christ Is Not God pp. 31-32). that Jesus did not exist except in the mind of God before conception in Mary’s womb, and “Jesus Christ the Son of God, was made by God” (Ibid, pp. 103-04).

Unity School of Christianity (Charles Fillmore), “Most of our religious beliefs are based on the [erroneous] idea that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God.” Unity (periodical), October, 1976, pp. 59-60.)

Unitarian Universalism: Unitarian Universalist minister Waldemar Argow states: “They [Unitarian/Universalists] do not regard him as a supernatural creature, the literal son of God who was miraculously sent to earth as part of an involved plan for the salvation of human souls.’, (Waldemar Argow, Unitarian Universalism-Some Questions Answered (pamphlet) (Boston, MA. Unitarian Universalism Assoc., nd.), p. 6.)

Mormonism- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints- “..That Lucifer, the son of the morning, is our elder brother and the brother of Jesus Christ.” (Apostle B. McConkie Mormon doctrine p.163-164) “…Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven,” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, pp. 50-51). Jesus got married at Cana and had many wives Martha, Mary and others he also had many children,” (J & D vol.1 345-346 vol.2 79-82 vol.4:259-260 the seer p.172)

The Unification Church (Sun Myung Moon): “It is a great error to think Jesus was God Himself. Jesus is no different from other men.”( Young Oon Kin, Divine Principle and its Application (HSA-UWC, 1968), p. 75.) “We must understand that this (John 8.58) also does not signify that Jesus was God Himself .Jesus on earth was a man no different from us except for the fact that He was born without original sin.” (Divine Principle p. 212).

Word faith movement

John Avanzini “Jesus had a nice house, a big house.” (Believer’s Voice of Victory, (TBN) 1/20/91) “Jesus was handling big money.” (Praise the Lord (TBN), 9/15/88)

Kenneth Copeland “The image being that he was a copy, looked just like, if you stood Adam upside God they look just exactly alike….” (The Authority of the Believer IV, Tape #01-0304) “Jesus has a beginning and an end.” (What Happened From the Cross to the Throne, Tape #00-0303) God is a “spirit-being with a body, complete with eyes, and eyelids, ears, nostrils, a mouth, hands and fingers, and feet.” (Kenneth Copeland ministry letter, 21 July 1977.) “Satan conquered Jesus on the Cross and took His spirit to the dark regions of hell” (Kenneth Copeland, Holy Bible: Kenneth Copeland Reference Edition (Kenneth Copeland, Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1991), 129.)

Benny Hinn ‘“What was the appearance of God the Father? Like that of a man…God has the likeness of fingers and hands and a face.” (Good Morning Holy Spirit, (Benny Hinn, Word, 1991) p. 82) “Have you been begotten? So was He. Don’t let anyone deceive you. Jesus was reborn. “ (Benny Hinn, Our Position ‘In Christ,’ Part 1 1991), videotape #TV-254. “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost – three separate individuals, one in essence, one in work – and, may I add, each one of them possesses His own spirit-body. “ (“Praise the Lord”, 10/23/92)

Hagin speaking of Jesus “his spirit and inner man went to hell in my place. Can’t you see that? PHYSICAL DEATH WOULDN’T REMOVE YOUR SINS. He tasted death for every man. He’s talking about spiritual death.” (how Jesus obtained his name tape # 44HO1 side 1)

New Age writers-

Lola Davis the New Age “Christ” resides on a different plane of consciousness from that which we experience. There he directs the Masters, “a group of advanced souls, most of them discarnate … known variously as the White Brotherhood, The Great White Lodge, the Masters of Wisdom, the Hierarchy, and the Angels around the Throne.” (Lola Davis toward a world religion for a new age p.186)

Matthew Fox- The Cosmic Christ is the divine pattern that connects in the person of Jesus Christ (but by no means is limited to that person). (The Coming of the Cosmic Christ p.135) Divinity is found in all creatures. The divine name from Exod. 3:14, “1 Am who I Am,” is appropriated by Jesus who shows us how to embrace our own divinity. The Cosmic Christ is the “I am” in every creature. (P154)

Babara Marx Hubbard- “Who is this child? This child is the Christ-child within who has emerged victorious, fully born, incarnated as every member of the human race who evolves.” “This UNITY OF THE ELECT is the key to the transformation from Adam to Christ, from Homo sapiens to HOMO UNIVERSALIS, from creature to co-creator, from self-centered to whole centered beings.”

David and Naomi Rice…. The Christ is within each and everyone of God’s creatures. …. . .the Christ is the spark of pure energy of God that has always existed within the individual manifestation of God in in many forms, but has been forgotten. (Messiah and the 2nd coming John David and Naomi Rice 1982 Coptic press Wyoming MI)

David Spangler stated: Christ is the same force as Lucifer…… Lucifer works within each of us to bring us to wholeness, and as we move into a New Age … each of us in some way is brought to that point which I term the Luciferic Initiation … for it is an invitation into the New Age. (David Spangler reflections on the Christ p.44-45)

Tara Center- THE CHRIST IS IN THE WORLD. A great World Teacher for people of every religion and no religion. A practical man with solutions to our problems. He loves ALL humanity… Christ is here, my friends. Your Brother walks among you. (Tara Center, full-page ad in USA Today, January 12, 1987) stated: Christ is the same force as Lucifer…… Lucifer works within each of us to bring us to wholeness, and as we move into a New Age … each of us in some way is brought to that point which I term the Luciferic Initiation … for it is an invitation into the New Age.(David Spangler reflections on the Christ p.44-45)

Tara Center- THE CHRIST IS IN THE WORLD. A great World Teacher for people of every religion and no religion. A practical man with solutions to our problems. He loves ALL humanity… Christ is here, my friends. Your Brother walks among you. (Tara Center, full-page ad in USA Today, January 12, 1987) Benjamen Creme’s opinion, -given to him by his master, Lord Maitreya, you and I are not God and Jesus did not claim to be God.”The Christ is the Master ‘Of all the Masters , but He is not God, and never claimed to be God”

Rosicrucianism (AMORO (H. Spencer Lewis): “Nowhere in the teachings and practices of Jesus can we find the least intimation that His great system was intended to bring salvation to the physical body of man. Even the salvation of the soul was not taught by Jesus, and all references in the Christian Bible to the salvation of the soul constitute a misinterpretation, a misunderstanding, of the secret (Rosicrucianism] principle that Jesus taught.( K Spencer Lewis, The secret Doctrine of Jesus (San Jose, CA– Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC), pp. 186-87,189-91.The Son is the highest initiate of the Sun”( The Rosicrucian Cosmo Conception). “The Christ spirit which entered the body of Jesus when Jesus Himself vacated it, was a ray from the cosmic Christ. We may follow Jesus back in His previous incarnations and can trace his growth to the present day.” (The Rosicrucian Philosophy p. 181)

Science of Mind (Ernest Holmes): “Jesus is the name of a man. Christ means the Universal Principle of Divine Sonship.'(N. Kasturt Sathya Sai Speaks, vol. 8, Ist ed. 1975, p.144.)

Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard): “Neither Lord Buddha nor Jesus Christ were OTs [that is, Operation Thetans, enlightened beings] according to the evidence. They were just a shade above clear [that is, relatively low on the Scientology scale of spiritual advancement.” (Ability magazine no. 81 [c. 1959 p. 31.)

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin- If a Christ is to be completely acceptable as an object of worship, he must be presented as the saviour of the Idea and reality of evolution. (P. 78) I believe that the Messiah whom we await, whom we all without any doubt await the universal Christ; that is to say, the Christ of evolution. (P. 96)Christianity and Evolution by

Theosophy (Helena. P Blavatsky): “Nowhere throughout the New Testament is Jesus found calling himself God, or anything higher than ‘a son of God,’ the son of a ‘Father,’ common to all.” Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. The Secret Doctrine (India: Theosophical Publishing House 1971), vol. 5, p. 369n.

Transcendental Meditation (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi): “[When] Christ said, Be still and know that I am God.'[He also meant) ‘Be still and know that you are God.”’ And, “I don’t think Christ ever suffered [on the cross]…. Those who count upon the suffering, it is a wrong interpretation of the life of Christ and the message of Christ. It is wrong.”105

Lucis Trust (Alice Bailey): -The Incarnation, which is for popular Christianity synonymous with the historical birth and earthly life of Christ, is for the mystic not only this but also a Perpetual cosmic and personal process.- (Alice Bailey, From Bethlehem to Calvary Lucis Trust, 1976, P. 7

Matthew Fox- The Cosmic Christ is the divine pattern that connects in the person of Jesus Christ (but by no means is limited to that person). (The Coming of the Cosmic Christ p.135) Divinity is found in all creatures. The divine name from Exod. 3:14, “1 Am who I Am, “is appropriated by Jesus who shows us how to embrace our own divinity. The Cosmic Christ is the “I am” in every creature. (P154)

Urantia book- Jesus Christ is not identified as being uniquely God the Son, second Person of the Holy Trinity. Instead he is Michael, one of many God the Sons. The Michael of Nebadon is the `only-begotten Son’ personalizing this 611,121st universal concept of divinity and infinity,” P. 53 In other words, Jesus (Michael) is the Son of the Son of God and the Father in the sense that when these two beings had a simultaneous original thought for the 611,121st time, Jesus (Michael) was begotten. (p.366).

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I posted this article in a MSN group that I visit. The “Church of Christ” is not the “one true church”! It is a Cult. By Damon WhitsellI was asked this question,,, “Why does the CoC rate the label “cult” over “heretical”?”, then the questionnaire ask a series of questions voicing his concerns about me referring to the “Church of Christ” as a cult.

What follows is my response.

I would be happy to help out. You said,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNITY WITHIN DIVERSITY

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

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

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

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

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cults, Apologetics and Christian Discernment
by Rev. Rafael Martinez, Co-Director, Spiritwatch Ministries

  • Questions We’ve Been Asked
    What Do You Mean By Christian “Apologetics?”
    What Does Christianity Need Defending Against?
    So what is “Christian orthodoxy” and “heresy”? Why is this such a big deal?
    Why do Christians label others who don’t believe as they do “heretics”?
    What is Christian “discernment”?
    But we are not to judge anyone! Jesus said “judge not”, didn’t he?
    What are cultic groups? What do they have to do with this?
    How does a cult’s control of one’s thoughts psychologically harm anyone?
    What is “countercult ministry”?
    How did countercult work begin?
    Does the Bible say anything about cults?
    Shouldn’t defending the faith be left only to “the experts”?

 

What Do You Mean By Christian “Apologetics?”


The term “apologetics” is drawn from a Biblical Greek word “apologia”, and doesn’t mean one’s “apology” for being a Christian! The world literally means to give a reasoned defense, a verbal speech in defense of oneself. Paul the apostle had to resort frequently to this when facing down the rebellious Corinthian Christians who challenged his authority (1 Cor. 9:3): “Mine answer (or apologia) to them that do examine me is this ..” An apologetic is a verbal defense, an explanation for one’s beliefs and practices. Therefore, Christian “apologetics” is the process of defending the claims and teachings of Christianity.

As Edward John Carnell once put it “Apologetics is that branch of Christian theology which answers the question, Is Christianity rationally defensible?” (emphasis author). Christian apologetics goes beyond simple proclamation of Biblical truths, whether in traditional preaching or systematic theology: it not only seeks to proclaim these truths but provide the answers to whoever might raise critical objections to the Christian faith. Carnell also goes on to explain the two fold purpose of apologetics: “First, to bring glory to God. Just as we would defend the words of our earthly father, so we defend the words of our Father in heaven. Secondly, to remove from critics any excuse for not repenting before God. Men who refuse Christ because of presumed ‘logical errors’ in Christianity are men with a self-righteousness in the area of knowledge. They are resting on props which must be pulled away.”

Christian apologetics, then, is a balanced and reasoned defense of the truth claims of orthodox and historically Biblical Christian faith and practices, with the aim of glorifying God and bringing those objecting to or distorting the faith to see not only their error but their need of a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

What Does Christianity Need Defending Against?


More than most Christians scarcely are aware of. There are innumerable challenges to Christianity today that too many Christians fail to recognize as such, from both philosophical and spiritual perspectives of every persuasion. From the pop philosophical front, certainly the most aggressive of these is the cultural conflict instigated by secular humanism, active in virtually every social institution around. This challenger makes the unstable value system of man “the measure of all things,” rejecting belief in divinely revealed moral absolutes as mythology. Another age-old challenge is the popular stepchild to secular humanism, that of relativism, where it is said that one belief system is no better than another, and that absolute truth is a fluid concept that isn’t necessarily universally binding. Still another one of the offspring of purely human reasoning is syncretism, which advances a “pick and choose” approach allowing one to create their own belief system, based entirely upon their own preferences to “follow their own path” (no matter how contradictory and flawed).

From the spiritual dimension, the emergence of thousands of cultic organizations with belief systems directly attacking the Christian faith has sharply risen over the past hundred years. Once found only in their Third World homelands, the allure and attraction of “world religions” such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism have found many disciples in the West, let alone the multiple billions they have traditionally had in the past. A full scale revival of ancient pagan spiritualities from across the globe is seen in the networking of New Age and occultic movements. And along with these phenomena there has also been a simultaneous rise of heretical and divisive movements within the Christian Church itself that have helped to contribute to the general doctrinal and practical erosion of Christian orthodoxy and the revival of heresy.

Despite their sheer diversity, however, there is one common element found among them all: they all boldly set forth truth claims which oppose the exclusive claims of the Christian Gospel. These ideologies all reject at one level or another the Christian faith by establishing rival belief systems that, from Atheism to Zorastrianism, stake their own claims to absolute truth, their own divine revelation of lost knowledge. Ultimately, these spiritual and philosophical perspectives all defy and deny the historical Jesus, the Biblical Good News, and the genuine work of the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 11:4). These counterfeits through “good words and fair speeches” (Romans 16:18) have overthrown the Christian faith among many for centuries “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8). Throughout the Christian New Testament, Jesus and the apostles constantly warned that a time of great spiritual deceptive season prior to His return would come (Matthew 24:4, Acts 20:28-31, 2 Peter 2:1-3, Jude 3-4). These closing hours of the twentieth century certainly, in our opinion, seem to be the fulfillment of these sobering admonitions.

So what is “Christian orthodoxy” and “heresy”? Why is this such a big deal?


We cannot overemphasize the supreme and critical need for understanding the Difference between what is called Christian orthodoxy and that which is called heresy. Our understanding of what is spiritually and morally “right” and what is spiritually and morally “wrong” will obviously affect how we live and relate to this world – as well as the next. Christian orthodoxy (the word literally means “right teaching” or “right doctrine”) provides for us those established and historical principles that define the central truths of the Christian faith. Robert Bowman concisely defines orthodoxy as “that body of essential teachings which must be held by all those who would be accepted as Christians.” Such foundational beliefs are the basis of a consistent, balanced and Biblically authenticated spirituality that can be truly called “Christian”. Without them, it would be impossible to recognize what Christianity is and what it stands for. The Christian faith – as taught by Christ and preserved by the Spirit of God through apostolic teaching found in the Word of God – has in fact been preserved through the centuries, by the grace of God despite the diversity and regrettable division that has occurred in the Church since the time of Christ.

Heresy, on the other hand, in the clearest sense of the word when contrasted against Christian orthodoxy, is a description of a body of teaching (and the group or movement that follows it) that contradicts these Christian essentials. “‘Heresy’ came to be used to mean a separation or split resulting from a false faith (1 Cor. 11:19; Gala. 5:20),” wrote Harold O.J. Brown. It “designate(s) either a doctrine or the party holding the doctrine, a doctrine that was sufficiently intolerable to destroy the unity of the Christian church .. something that seemed to undercut the very basis of Christian existence.” A heretic is one who believes and advocates a heresy, which is a teaching “which directly opposes the essentials of the Christian faith, so that true Christians must divide themselves from those who hold it,” as Bowman himself describes it.

So the fruit of heresy is not the secondary issues that Christians have often disagreed upon. It is the establishment of doctrinal positions that deny the orthodox Christian teachings that have been preserved since the time of the apostles. It almost always creates factions within the church itself that aggressively embrace the position in an objectionable and divisive fashion. Heresy destroys and disrupts the legitimate Christian unity of the faith that orthodoxy has established. For this reason, Christians do not have an option to simply sit on the fence with a “live and let live” attitude, as the apostle Jude made it soberingly clear:
“.. When I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation (the salvation we share – NIV, a reference to the orthodox understanding of Christian teaching), it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men slipped in unawares .. ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Why do Christians label others who don’t believe as they do “heretics”?


Christians are rightly justified in identifying heretics when necessary, but sadly, throughout church history, there have been far too many instances in which they did so far too rashly, quickly, and wrongfully. Most of the time when the latter occurred it was because they completely misunderstand the Biblical definition of what heresy is as we have just seen. While doctrinal disagreement among Christians has gone on for centuries, and perhaps always will, these disagreements have, for the most part, been disputes over non-essential matters such as the mode of baptism and the form of church government. Such disagreements are not genuine examples of “heresy”, despite the regrettable instances in which the same disputing parties often called one another “heretics.” Indeed, the underlying unity of the Faith has always provided for them true fellowship as fellow believers and disciples of Jesus Christ (whether they chose to accept and act upon this has been a reproach on those naming themselves Christians), despite their spiritual diversity.
Such a wondrous unity as forged by the Word and Spirit of God does exist, even if it not as universally accepted or recognized as it should be by disputing Christians. Calvinists and Armenians are in agreement over the revelation of God’s nature in Christ by the Spirit as a Holy Trinity, Baptists and Pentecostals universally agree that Jesus physically resurrected after His death for our sins, and despite the serious differences between them, even Roman Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants would agree that Jesus Christ – in the fulfillment of ancient prophecies – was born of a virgin, died for the sins of the world, rose again and will someday return to judge the living and the dead.

On the other hand, however, when Christians do correctly identify (as this article and web site has) certain beliefs and teachers as heretical and say as such in full view of the pluralistic age we live in, trouble usually begins. There comes a secular demand for “tolerance” at the expense of the exclusive distinctives that Christianity has always upheld and – shockingly – equally strident cries for respecting “diversity” from those within the “Church” itself. Our American value of toleration, as vital as it has been, has been too long misapplied in the defense of destructive doctrines and the dismissal of Christians committed to an orthodox and Biblically-based Christian spirituality as witch-hunting “fundies” and heresy-hunting “critics”. This perspective on “toleration” has widely and adversely affected the Western Christian church and the unchurched world and has done much to advance the cause of deceptive and antichristian spirituality and philosophy today. Despite the politically incorrect position that absolute truth does exist, Christian apologists will continue to say as such, and identify it by contrasting Christian orthodoxy to ungodly heresy. If this involves identifying by name the offending parties, it still must be done, as the first-century apostles often did themselves, to preserve truth and expose error that it might be corrected. (1 Timothy 1:3, Titus 1:10-14, 3 John 9, 2 Timothy 1:15, 2:17-18, 4:14-16).

What is Christian “discernment”?


Christian discernment is the careful process of sorting through truth claims to arrive at the clearest possible decision concerning their trustworthiness and value as it relates to Christian orthodoxy. Such discernment reveals, clarifies and proclaims truth and exposes, examines and rejects error. This involves the Christian fully, as it is a personal commitment to the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 as a necessary part of Christian growth in grace (or as verse 23 points out sanctification). The word “discern” appears in Matthew 16:3 (diakrino, in the Greek – denoting “to separate thoroughly”), Hebrews 5:14 (diakrisis, again in the original Greek – meaning “an estimation; a decision”) and in Ezekiel 44:23 (yada, this time in the Old Testament Hebrew – describing “to know, comprehend; to make known”). The clear sense of the three terms is that discernment necessarily involves making value judgments between claim (a) and claim (b) as needed so as to reveal by examination which is right or wrong, or somwhere in the middle. To make such judgments involves the process of examining the claims by an objective standard, and for the orthodox Christian, such a standard exists only in the Word of God ( 2 Timothy 3:16).

Discernment is a Bible mandate that cannot be ignored by Christians claiming to walk in the light of the Faith. Hebrews 5:14 points out that spiritually mature believers will regularly and routinely “make decisions” or value judgments between the principles of good and evil. Ezekiel 44:23 shows us that spiritually mature leaders will teach others how to accurately recognize the difference between the holy and the unholy. And Malachi 3:18 clearly reveals that spiritually mature people will be actively involved in the process of discernment on a continual basis. Discernment, according to the Bible is a critical part of Christian life.

But we are not to judge anyone! Jesus said “judge not”, didn’t he?


Again, we would have to point out that this is a misinterpretation of what Jesus meant regarding judgment. The verse this is often cited from is found in Luke 6:37: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned.” What did Jesus mean here? Was he outright forbidding anyone to practice the Biblically based kind of discernment as we have just described it?
Look at John 7:24 for the answer: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Here, Jesus commands His followers to not make snap judgments based solely upon a shallow acceptance of what one sees “on the surface” or the image being projected by the subject being considered! This is the very mistake that virtually all those who criticize discernment as “heresy hunting” commit when demanding that we “not judge”. Indeed, this is a direct command byJesus Christ Himself phrased as a nonnegotiable imperative that would be an actual sin to disobey! What Jesus is demanding here is that we don’t do the sloppy and superficial “checking out” of questionable things that we have for too many years done; rather, he goes on to command that godly judgment be actually done in a holy and sober manner. Christian apologists strive to base their ministry on that principle and that one alone, although admittedly, that has not been the case in many instances.

In Revelation 2:2, we actually find Jesus commending the Ephesian church for trying impostors who posed as apostles and were found to be “liars.” Such an examination coudn’t take place without a) a Scriptural mandate to “test all things”, b) moral courage, and c) just plain obedience for the sake of the truth. Righteous judgment was done, and the Ephesian church was preserved from one deadly aspect of error, if not all. In this case, Jesus showed how “questioning authority” was a right thing to do. This was a church that “judged” but “judged” correctly, to the glory of God. So it is superficial judgment based upon shallow decision making that is actually forbidden by Christ, not the process of sound judgment itself!

What are cultic groups? What do they have to do with this?


Debate continues over this question, especially when the contemporary sentiment that “one man’s religion is another man’s cult” is continually circulated by many (not without some merit, but with a great deal of intentional lack of discernment). From an orthodox Christian viewpoint that many, if not all Christian apologists would agree with, a cult is a group of people who follow one man or the group’s collective wisdom, teachings and practices that, when compared with orthodox Christian doctrine always contradict it. In one way or another, cultic groups also exalt their particular belief system as the only exclusive way to fulfillment, knowledge of the divine and one’s salvation – which no one else can offer. Many cults claim that their authority is derived directly from God or Bible and are the only group anywhere who really know God or are interpreting Scripture correctly (hence the rationale for some countercult workers calling some groups “Bible based”). Yet ultimately, once examined, a questionable group’s doctrines will always deny orthodox Biblical truth in one way, shape or form.

There are deeper issues that go beyond the religious belief systems many cultic groups hold. Cultism – relationship to cults themselves is – a very much a way of life, a way of being that is far more profoundly part of what it means to be human and humanly vulnerable to those we interact with. In his book Cult Proofing Your Kids, Dr. Paul Martin, who directs a recovery center for ex-cultists, observes that the definition of a cult involves more than simply theological definition: he observes that a cult is

“a group that uses methods that deprive individuals of their ability to make a free choice. They use deceitful recruitment techniques, they deceptively and destructively use the devotees’ energies, and they capture the devotee’s minds .. to advance the goals of the group leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community. .. Cults can include groups and organizations that are not typically viewed as cults”

Michael Langone defines cults in the following terms:
“A cult is a group or movement that, to a significant degree, (a) exhibits great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing, (b) uses a thought-reform program to persuade, controland socialize members (i.e. to integrate them into the group’s unique pattern of relationships, beliefs, values, and practices), (c) systematically induces states of psychological dependency in members, (d) exploits members to advance the leadership’s goals, and (e) causes psychological harm to members, their families and the community.”

Note that these definitions of cults are focus more closely on the systematic and intentional abuse of power and authority that members must submit to, and not necessarily upon their doctrinal teaching or practice. The key issue lies in the deliberate control of members’ lives through manipulative patterns of group behavior. Most people will not immediately recognize any of the inherent dangers of heretical and false teachings of cultic groups, yet one thing that never fails to escape the notice of any observer is how radically someone recruited by a cult (even if it is not seen as such) will be affected by the group’s influence and social circles. Designed to indoctrinate members and force a relative or absolute submission to the group’s leaders, cultic circles of influence use them to literally transform people through psychologically abusive means that the propective member is completely unaware of.

We contend that the dogmatic false teachings and practices that cult groups in conjunction with this powerful social aspect of cultic influence provide a potent and destructive influence in the lives of those submitting to it. Groups providing both of these are what we would describe as cultic groups, no matter their respectability, influence and social presence.

How does a cult’s control of one’s thoughts psychologically harm anyone


As we can see, cults involve themselves with more than just a novel spirituality or philosophical speculation. They cunningly utilize observable and predictable practices that attempt to manipulate their members by control of behavior and thought. This is what is known as cultic mind control, a term used to describe the socially applied pressures placed upon members by their cult leaders to achieve their total submission and conformity to the group’s purposes. And because such blatantly authoritarian pressures have been exerted by those in positions of authority both within and without purely religious groups (such as political leaders, radical terrorists, business executives, therapists, dysfunctional families and relationships, and others), we can see that cultism and cults are far more widespread in society than we care to believe.

We must make an important qualification here: cult mind control doesn’t imply that the controlled cult member has no ability to think for themselves, but it does assert that this capacity for independent thought is largely, if not entirely, suspended through their time of indoctrination and socialization into the group. The choices to submit to the authority of the group are indeed their own, but the choices are usually based upon their ignorance of the group’s agenda of misinformation and their seriously impaired ability to objectively examine it . The process is gradual, yet relentless. Once having made the decision to relinquish their faculties of independent and critical thinking, step by step, the member will effectivly lose their ability to make their own decisions relevant to the spirituality and/or philosophy they believe is beneficial to them. Steve Hassan, a cult recovery specialist, observes helpfully that cultic mind control seeks “to undermine an individual’s integrity in making his own decisions. The esssence of mind control is that it encourages dependence and conformity, and discourages autonomy and individuality (emphasis author’s).” In many instances they are led to believe by cultic leaders that such a loss of autonomy is necessary for their personal good, and that any objective, independent thought concerning their personal lifestyle that conflicts with the group belief system is actually sinful or traitorous. When the only tool a person has to discern with – a free mind – is so completely and voluntarily hedged in under such a belief, mind control is inevitable.

The issue of cult mind control and psychological manipulation is a point of controversy among many in the countercult community. Some feel that such a coercive dynamic as cult mind control does not exist. However, we believe that many cultists have indeed been deceived by false cult authorities and then bound by mind control techniques that utilize implanted phobias, socialized conditioning and deceptive propaganda to coerce, deceive and manipulate prospective converts and the “true believer” into blindly following the authority. Independent thinking is suspended, and the control of reason and emotion is firmly conditioned by intensive interaction with this cult authority. It is our contention that the central task of the Christian countercult worker is to, by the leading of the Spirit, help the deceived to reactivate their faculties of critical thought in relation to the group or philosophy they have been deceived by – and to see that their authority they have been trusting in is both unreliable and erroneous. Cult authority must be sensitively, yet deliberately undermined. We concede that this is a controversial topic and one that is still being widely debated, yet we feel that this website and its articles will attempt to adequately address it as time permits.

A Christian response to this real issue must be intentional and forthright. The countercult worker must be committed to a continuous process of learning, of education to learn the ins and outs of countercult strategy that deals with this crucial issue of the cult mindset. While a Christian perspective certainly takes into consideration the very real influences of the demonic, the plain truth is that the cult recruitment process that lures and indoctrinates prospective members of cultic groups is a thoroughly human one involving manipulation based upon social pressures. From start to finish, the influences of group dynamics and thought control are incredibly subtle, almost indistinguishable from normal human behavior. The human tendency to seek companionship, acceptance by authority and a desire for purpose and community in life plays perfectly into the hands of cultic groups who, knowing these needs, will unhesitatingly exploit them to make converts. It is unethical, coercive and certain dishonest to say the least. But the cult recruiter generally doesn’t hesitate to round a few corners for “the truth”, and half of the problem is understanding that there is a process of mind control at work that underlies, in many instances, the false and heretical doctrine that they cult recruit has chosen to embrace, at the peril of body, mind and spirit.

What Is “Countercult Ministry”?


The explicitly Christian countercult ministry is a direct, deliberate and Spirit-led response to the call of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Body against last-days deception. Jesus, when asked in Matthew 24:4 about when to know when the end of the world and His coming would be at hand, said that, first of all, that His people must “take heed, lest no man deceive you.” Deception is a calling card of the last days, and the Bible has prophetically and imperatively warned us to be aware of this in the most explicit manner possible. Jude 3-4 calls us to action for the love of deceived souls, and 1 Peter 3:15 is a command for all Christians to be ready to answer all who question our faith. If we have received the truth of the Gospel, then we must also be ready to contend for it, as 2 Timothy 2:24-26 teaches. The alternative is damning deception that divides families, and destroys life in the name of God.

It must be repeated for emphasis that the Scriptures have made it crystal clear that the prophecies about the end of all things and Christ’s Second Coming would be foreshadowed by a tidal wave onslaught of deception. The explosive proliferation of unorthodox and aberrant religious activity in the past thirty years is , we feel, the fulfillment of this stark and sobering prophetic warning by Christ. Therein lies the critical need for a never ending vigilance against the onslaught of heresy and a never ending readiness to provide a reasoned response to its seductive advances – through upholding Christian orthodoxy and engaging in countercult work.

Countercult ministry is a militant response to this challenge of Satan. Dr. Gordon Lewis’ remarks on this are sobering and to the point as he sought to highlight the high stakes involved:

” .. we are led to specialize in delivering people from counterfeit religions. .. we seek to expose (1) deceptive teachings, (2) immoral ways of life, and (3) oppressive ministerial, missiological tactics, like heavy-handed shepherding of every detail of life in religions, cults and the occult. But these are two-edged swords that have a way of cutting against aberrant Christians as well as cultists. Our battle is not only against the religious oppressors of this dark world, but also against ‘the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Eph. 6:12) .. Among the evils we deplore in the cults are abuses of human rights, destructive violence, institutionalized violence, and the undermining of the family and the inhuman exploitation of people in the cults. We must deplore those evils even more if they occur among missionaries to the cults or aberrant Christian groups.”

“Lone Ranger” heroes will not survive long in this atmosphere, and the high turnover of countercult workers and ministry is proof of this. Only within the context of the Christian community of faith can such a ministry be conducted, and only among Christians united together can countercult workers “be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” It is nothing less than warfare in the spirit, a conflict that is invisible to all but discerning believers. It is a contention for the truth of the Gospel in the face of false prophets and teachers, to both evangelize and restore the deceived and to edify and defend the Body. We contend there are few more demanding ministries and disciplines required than for the countercult ministry. And it goes way beyond simple argumentation with cult missionaries: the countercult ministry requires an integrative approach that can easily demand of the countercult worker a dear price: the patience of the pastor, the aptitude of the teacher, the zeal of the evangelist, the discernment of the prophet, and the mission mindedness of the apostle.

How did countercult work begin?


Cultic groups have circulated throughout Western civilization and the United States for generations representing themselves as organizations claiming to speak exclusively for God and who have institutionalized the free usage of mind control, deceptive claims, unscrupulous and unethical practices, and outright religious abuse. Groups such as these have left in their wake many destroyed marriages, disrupted families, and suicidal children along with the untold amounts of societal destablization and ruin such activity would bring.

But in the United States the same First Amendment freedoms that have given cult groups the means to brazenly carry on their destructive work also guarantee that voices of dissent can also be heard – and organized. Hence the rise of the countercult movement, a movement prefigured by the isolated protests of a few brave men and women in the spiritual wilderness of the last two centuries. These were primarily Christian clergy, deistic rationalists and Jewish rabbis who recognized the seductive lure of spiritual manipulation and tried to sound an alarm, but were largely ignored. With the rise of the cultural turmoil of the 1960’s in post-Christian Western society came a tremendous amount of growth in cult group formation and activity. Concerted efforts to counter these organizations began to be manifest in the development of cult deprogramming (through the efforts of men like Ted Patrick and Patrick Ryan) and grass roots formation of support groups for the families of cult members. These hapless and bewildered families saw loved ones change into mindless individuals and disappear into cult communities for good, and could find help nowhere else.

Research by Robert J. Lifton, Leon Festinger, Eric Hoffer and others concerning thought reform, social psychology and the powerful influence of group dynamics gave great insight into the power of the cult, and the draw of the mass movement. Organizations that opposed groups such as the Unification Church, the Children of God and the ISKCON movement began to appear and actively network with one another. With the high profile mass suicide of the People’s Temple cult in Guyana in the late 1970’s, the effort gained tremendous impetus. The now defunct Cult Awareness Network became a major clearinghouse of information and support of countercult activity at that time. Today, this largely secular movement is headed up by organizations such as the American Family Foundation, ReFocus, and individual professional counselors, researchers, and university professors. The continuing influence of deceptive religious groups – aside from the well known debacles at Rajneeshpuram and the Heaven’s Gate group, among others – in the more mundane circles of life have required their presence.

About the same time that purely secular efforts to oppose cult groups began, the religious community began to mount its own response, largely if not entirely along Jewish and Christian lines. The Christian faith was being seen as directly challenged by cultic innovations, and the early Church’s ancient tactic of the apologia, or reasoned defense of the Faith, enjoyed a long overdue rediscovery by her spiritual heirs. Classical Christian apologetical training became the foundation for countercult work, and drawing on the work of pioneering Christian researchers such as J.K. Van Baalen, Walter Martin, and John Gerstner, individual Christian groups and communities started to explore the culture of deception that cult groups firmly established to reach out to them in actual mission work. These largely Evangelical and Jewish efforts proceeded from the perception that these groups were not merely “competitors” but were spiritually destructive influences that defied orthodoxy, targeted new converts and the established faithful who were ignorant of the dangers. Many of the Christian workers involved in this work also began to network and organize, some of them being actual ex members of various cult groups themselves who felt a deeper sense of personal ownership in the mission aspect. Helplines and exit counseling, as in secular efforts, became part of the arsenal used in the silent conflict. Christian ministries such as the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, CARIS, Watchman Fellowship and the Christian Research Institute came into being in the 1970’s and have been the Christian Church’s major resource on spiritual deception since then.

In the past twenty years, Evangelical publishing houses have produced many long needed resources and books on the cult problem that have helped sensitize the Church to its challenge. The Church of God (Cleveland) Lay Affairs Office-created curricula on cult outreach and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Interfaith Witness Office were perhaps the first major attempts by the Church to professionalize a response to spiritual deception, and the creation of the Evangelical Ministries To New Religions coalition (EMNR), an organization dedicated to advancing Christian mission among cultic groups, is more evidence that countercult work is being recognized for the bona fide ministry that is has always been. A growing but established presence of Christian counter cult and apologetics ministries on the World Wide Web continues to escalate. With the rise of a new pagan “spirituality” in our post-Christian society, it has become obvious that the defense of the Faith can no longer be ignored. But whether the Church as a whole will ever embrace such a Biblical mandate as it once did remains to be seen, and personally, we are concerned that present trends seem to make that possibility more and more remote.

Does the Bible say anything about cults?


While there would not appear to be much in common between the ancient Near East as described in the Bible and today’s modern world, the descriptions and activities of certain religious and philosophical factions and leaders of that day give great insight into how cultic groups operate. Some of the most revealing passages are about the apostacy of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:17, 28-29), the spiritual abuse of its people by its leaders (Ezekiel 34:1-10), the elitist pride of the Pharisees (John 9:28-34), and the nature of false teachings themselves (Colossians 2:8, 18-23, 1 Timothy 4:1-3, 2 Peter 2:9-10, 12-19). Time will not permit us to bring forth the many other Scriptural allusions we are referring to, but these glimpses of divisive deception and abuse (along with the others we have offered in these articles) are a good introduction.

From a purely Biblical perspective, 2 Corinthians 11:4 gives us the clearest and most concise description of how cults may be discerned. False teachings, the apostle Paul warned here, will introduce three major errors to the unsuspecting in the name of Christianity. First they will preach their own determination of who Jesus Christ is, denying his Biblically revealed identity as God the Son and exchanging it with another. They’ll point to “another Jesus.” Secondly, cult teachers will proclaim a “gospel message” that is ultimately is a message of works-centered salvation, in sharpest contrast to the Good News of saving grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). They’ll preach “another gospel.” Thirdly, the revealed spiritual nature of the work of the cult claims to be, but actually is not, inspired by God the Spirit. Instead, a chilling reference is made to spiritual entities who lend tremendous spiritual power to their natural human puppets to preach deceptive gospels. They’ll be empowered by “another spirit.” This is the work of demonic agents in allegiance with Satan, the opposer of God throughout history.

Shouldn’t defending the faith be left only to “the experts”?


This is a question that stems from similar lines of inquiry concerning the calling to Christian ministry that are asked by many Christians today, as in the past. This is a vital and fundamental question: how we answer it will define just how we will approach the uneasy, fragile, almost antagonistic ties that the Church seems to have with those willing to defend the faith, choosing many times to castigate them as judgmental “heresy hunters” and “critics” who tear down and criticize needlessly.

We hold that a balanced understanding of the Scriptures we’ve reviewed earlier is that the corporate Body of Christ has been specifically charged to earnestly contend for the faith, to provide an answer for every man who wants an answer concerning their questions of our faith, and to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to all mankind. That the Body has historically not done a good job of this is the understatement of the age. It is all too obvious that the Church has been, for the most part in the last two millennia, been laboring under spiritual malaise, division, or outright carnal ignorance. At one time in her past, however, we can see that this was not always the case, at least in comparison to the magnitude of apathy, ignorance and prejudice of today’s Church. Amidst the backlash, affliction and chaos that the first great persecution wrought upon the early Church in Acts 8, we find the report of Luke, the ever careful historian that he was, recording that “those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (Acts 8:4 NIV). Despite the loss of apostolic leadership, daily worship, and house church fellowship, the believers who were dispersed throughout Israel fearlessly proclaimed the Gospel.

This presupposes a degree of spiritual maturity that the entire early Church was to emulate: if this was a reality in the early Church, then we would contend that the apostolic admonitions of Jude and Peter for the church to collectively defend the faith are to be considered as binding today for all Christians. Period. Although the Church today is nowhere near that level of maturity (really, how many churches can be said to be – to a man, woman and child – be preaching “as they go” in this backslidden age? cf. Mt. 28:19) we are still, in my opinion, not relieved of that responsibility. Therefore, we cannot consider countercult ministry as something reserved only for a few “called” to it, and the Spirit of God still awaits the Body of Christ to embrace this mandate (as well as the countless other charges to defend the widow, to feed the hungry, to receive strangers into one’s home, and generally to be real salt and light).

Thank God for those who have responded to His calling in this area of countercult and discernment ministry, and have provided such profound contributions and examples in tackling the challenge, brothers like Craig Branch, Charles Beach, John Farkas and Jerry Yamamoto, and sisters like Jobi Eaves, Angela Goedelman, Lora Burton and Joy Veinot. Still, we do not feel that it is the province only of the “enlightened” countercult worker alone in the defense of the Faith. We are all called to this sacred task. There is no Greek to parse or creedal convention to recite that can possibly refute this simple truth (for the sake of seeming “objective”), mainly because such a comforting and conscience numbing option that could be used to dismiss such a declaration is nonexistent.

While the world, the flesh and the devil continue to gnaw away at the old landmarks and the ancient foundations of the Faith, we have absolutely no excuse for ignoring its’ commands to demonstrate our Christian maturity through discernment, to try all things, and to earnestly contend for its very existence. Only our own spiritual hardness of heart and lack of spiritual passion for what is True and Right in the sight of the Father keep us paralyzed. In the sight of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the terrifying depravity of our fallen world, and the continued backslidings of an increasingly nominal and almost irrelevant “church,” such an attitude is sheer spiritual folly that only adds religious Novocain to our already dulled senses. A falling away indeed is at work here.

So, assuming we are correct, we feel justified in making this final charge directly to all of those reading this article who would call themselves Christians: what will you do with what you now know? Will you lay aside this article considering this to have been a fascinating intellectual exercise about last days perils that, however interesting, has only the most fleeting relevance to your “real life”? Do you now conclude this with an amazement that will last just long enough until the next thing catches your bored eye? Or will have you seen a universe of ministry that has barely been charted by the Church? Will you have heard the mandate by our Lord as given through apostolic admonition? And will you earnestly seek the Lord for what He would have you to do in this hidden and silent war of the ages, the conflict between truth and error?

We realize this may sound as if we are coming on too strong, as if we are perhaps being too dramatic and grave, even fanatical. Strong passions are indeed unsettling. Yet after several years of beholding on the front lines the human cost of deception, we don’t think it is possible to overstate the case to people who have never been in the arena, or even aware of the warfare that routinely claims many innocents in the lines of strange cultic fire. Generation after generation of precious men, women and children like you and me have become unwitting victims of deception-inspired breakdowns, suicides, molestations, spiritual abuse, and religious megalomania that have left them living lives of control-oriented legalism, or premature graves. All of them known and loved by God, all of them mattering so much to Him as you and I that Jesus Christ emptied himself of all Glory to become like them – and us – yet without sin, to die for all our sins.

No, we believe the gravest matter to be considered here is this: that such a horrendous tragedy as the rise of global spiritual deception and subsequent global destruction of human life could ever have risen to the crisis point that it is at today, and that much if not most of this state of affairs is due to the irresponsibility of the Church’s failure to reach its hands out to the drowning – among other things.

One former cult member who came to know Christ after years of patient personal work by a faithful Christian worker later was to overhear outside a Sunday School class the complaint of a less patient Christian about the amount of time that it takes to witness to cultists. “Why, with all of that time and effort,” they protested, “you can win several people to Christ!” The ex-cultist pulled the Christian aside afterwards and said “you are right. It is true. You could have won many others to the Lord with the time taken to witness to me. But,” he concluded with a shining face, “I’m so glad someone thought I was worth the trouble.”
RDM BIBLIOGRAPHY Heresies, Harold O.J. Brown, Baker 1984 Orthodoxy And Heresy, Robert Bowman, Baker 1992. An Introduction To Christian Apologetics, Edward John Carnell, Eerdmans, 1948. Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, Park Street, 1990. Recovery From Cults, edited by Michael Langone, Norton, 1993 Cult Proofing Your Kids, Paul Martin, Zondervan, Zondervan 1993. Contend For The Faith, edited by Eric Pement, EMNR, 1992

http://www.spiritwatch.org/faq.htm

HERE IS THE VIDOE TO PART ONE OF WALTER MARTINS CHISTIAN CULT VIDEO

http://vodpod.com/watch/1050431-1-2-christian-cults-dr-walter-martin?pod=how2becomeachristian

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Why talk about cults?

We are continually warned in the Bible to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. The cults fall into the category of darkness. Cults are leading people astray into lies, deceit, confusion and ultimately hell. According to our theme verse, we are not even supposed to say, “God bless you” to cult members lest we be partakers of their evil deeds. We can tell cultists about the Lord, but if they don’t want to hear and persist in their cult activities, we are to have no fellowship with them. Today’s “Christianity” says, “Just love everybody and try to impress them with your life. After all, we all believe the same ‘essentials’.” The Lord says:

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

I Corinthians 5:11

In this and other verses, the Bible says to mark those that cause division–not embrace them.

Purpose

This page has multiple purposes:

  1. warn the saints, cult members and potential cult members of false doctrines
  2. equip saints to effectively witness to cult members and sympathizers
  3. equip saints to identify cult members from a few words of conversation

Satan has filled this world with “Christian” cults and wrong doctrines in order to see people cast in hell fire. He (1) deceives the simple and (2) appeals to the prideful who want a “customized” religion that fits in with their belief system. Cults also offer something, “new” which in this world is tantamount to better. But God said, “I change not”. So when someone brings me a “new thing” I am wary and really seek the Lord about it.

Witnessing to the Cultist

I’ve met people from a number of cults and all of them had been brainwashed by their religious leaders. You must be in prayer the whole time you are talking to them, because the spirits that have control over them must be quieted in order for them to hear what you are saying. The cult member has been told the same lies so many times that he believes they are true. He’s been told that his group is the only one that has the truth. He has been told that the world considers his group a cult. He has been told that disciples of Jesus had to undergo the same persecution he does. You are talking to a person that thinks they are right.

The biggest weapon you’ve got is the word of God. It punches holes in every cult argument. The Bible is the only offensive weapon listed in the whole armour of God in Ephesians 6. NOTHING can replace an intimate knowledge of the authorized King James Bible. Believe it or not, I’ve met cultists who have been specifically told NOT to read the authorized King James version of the Bible. This is personal experience. Dear reader, I’m not straining at a gnat on the AKJV issue.

One time I was making some good headway with a Jehovah’s Witness cult member. The Holy Ghost was moving heavily and I could see that some light was getting through, but our time expired and she had to go back to work because her lunch hour was up. She said she’d like to get together again. I told her that if she told any of her members that they’d tell her not to talk to me again. “Oh, I’m just going to tell my husband.” That was the last I saw of her. I just have to pray and trust that God will take whatever occurred that day and work it out to His glory–His word will not return unto Him void, but will accomplish the thing that He pleases.

Cults have a tendency to change their names, but their evil deeds remain. They’ll try to tell you that their “official publications” speak for them, not the writings of their founders and prominent leaders. If you’re not sure if an organization is a cult, do these three things:

  1. Take a look at their founder. Good don’t come out of evil. Jesus said an evil tree cannot bear good fruit and this is true for cults.
  2. Ask yourself, “Who do they say Jesus is?”
  3. Ask yourself, “How do they say we must be saved?”

 

http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/cults.htm

 

HERE IS A LINK TO PART TWO OF WALTER MARTINS VIDEO ON CULTS

http://vodpod.com/watch/1050435-2-2-christian-cults-dr-walter-martin?pod=how2becomeachristian

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HERE is only one Gospel, only one true message of good news from heaven. But there are many substitutes offered in place of the Gospel. It was so in the beginning. It is so now. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians:

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel; which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians1:6-9)

THESE are intensely solemn words. They come bubbling up from the steaming heart of the indignant apostle in righteous wrath as he learns of pretentious carnal legalists deliberately seeking to mislead eternally-bound souls with a false message which could only, like a will-o-the-wisp, lead to ruin and destruction at last. He would have us know it is a fearfully wicked thing to trifle with the sacred heaven – sent message that has come to a needy world declaring the grace of God to poor lost sinners.

WHAT then is this Gospel of which the apostle was so jealous? He tells us plainly in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4,

“… I declare unto you the gospel… how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

Note carefully: The Gospel is God’s wonderful story of His beloved Son. It is a message of grace to be received in faith. It is not a code of laws to be obeyed or good advice to be followed. It is not a system of ritual observances or a call to submit to certain ordinances. It does not set forth the claims of any human church organization, however venerable, nor does it exhort men to seek after experiences, however remarkable, though a blessed experience follows its acceptance. It simply sets forth Christ crucified and risen as the Savior of all who believe in Him.

WHEN THE MORMON elder comes declaring that an angel revealed a gospel of salvation through a restored church and renewed ordinances, he is preaching another gospel, and angel and man are alike under the curse.

WHEN THE LEGALIST comes insisting that salvation is by obedience to God’s holy law (which in itself is just and good), he is preaching another gospel, for the Word of God declares, “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight.”

WHEN THE REVIVALIST comes promising salvation to those “who make a full surrender” of all that they have to God, and who “pay the price of full salvation,” he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary’s cross and the work that saves is finished. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender, when He yielded Himself unto death for us that we might be redeemed from the curse of the broken law and forever saved from the judgment to come upon all who refuse His grace.

WHEN THE MODERNIST prates in glowing terms and honeyed phrases of salvation by character, salvation by altruism, salvation by ethical culture, he, too is proclaiming another gospel, for if character could have saved, Christ need not have died; if altruism would have fitted sinful men for heaven, the Lord Jesus would surely have told us so; if ethical culture could deliver from the wrath of God, what place would Gethsemane, Calvary and the Empty Tomb have in the Divine economy?

WHEN THE CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST (falsely so-called) denies the reality of sin, disease and death and lulls sinners to sleep by telling them that “God is all and all is God,” even going so far as to declare the death of Christ was unreal, and His resurrection simply spiritual, and that the blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sins when shed upon the accursed tree than when it was flowing in His veins, he, or she, is promulgating another gospel, which is not another, for it is a baseless dream, a weird and blasphemous “error of mortal mind” that will leave its votaries at last without God and without hope.

THE SOLEMN FACT IS THERE IS NO OTHER GOSPEL. Every pretended substitute is but a Satan-devised delusion meant to turn men away from the strait gate which alone leads into the narrow way, and make them contented as they crowd down the clear side of the broad way to eternal perdition.

BEFORE there can really be another gospel there must be another savior and another Holy Spirit, and this can never be. Nor is any other gospel needed, for the grand old Gospel of the grace of God is all-sufficient to save “whosoever will,” and has demonstrated its power throughout the centuries by transforming lost miserable sinners into happy joyous saints. Paul says,

“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith” (Romans 1:16,17).

THE Gospel needs only to be preached in the power of the Holy Spirit to hold its own against every imitation and substitute that the mind of the natural man energized by Satan can devise. Like the Bible itself it is divinely inspired and, therefore, preeminently fitted for the needs of mankind. It convinces the mind and satisfies the heart, if men but take the place of repentant sinners and accept it by faith. It is the dynamic of God unto the deliverance of all who believe it. To refuse it is to be lost. To receive its message is to be saved.

IT reveals the righteousness of God, making known how He “can be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” Satan’s false gospels all pretend to show how man can establish his own righteousness. The Gospel of Christ comes to unrighteous men and tells them of a righteousness that is divine which is imputed to all who believe.

ANOTHER gospel, whatever its outward form, will always be found to center in something that man can be or do in order to obtain merit. The Gospel of God declares what Christ has done in order that the salvation purchased may be justly offered to sinners.

ANOTHER gospel presupposes some strength, some ability to please God, in the natural man. God’s Gospel declares that when “we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

ANOTHER gospel will land you in hell! God’s Gospel, believed, will bring you safe to heaven.

TURNING from every false hope, I beseech my unsaved reader to rest in what Scripture declares concerning Christ, and thus be able to sing in faith:

“Upon a life I did not live, Upon a death I did not die, Another’s life, Another’s death I hang my whole eternity. None will ever be confounded who put their trust in Him.”

***Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly Fundamentalist author and teacher for many years, served as pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948.***

http://onetruegod.wordpress.com/2008/09/21/another-gospel/#comment-1621

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FROM biblebelievers.com

The religious sect known as the “Church of Christ” has many peculiar and aberrant doctrines that are contrary to the word of God. It is a most deceptive and dangerous cult. Their teaching of baptismal regeneration is an age-old heresy that has damned millions to hell, and is still doing so today. The idea that they are the one, true and restored church of Jesus Christ puts them in the same league with the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches.

If you are a member of this “church” or have been influenced by its teachings, we challenge you to ask your preacher the questions that follow, then get your King James Bible out, open it up, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the TRUTH (John 16:13). If you have never been saved in the Bible sense, for heaven’s sake, do not mistake being “washed in the baptistry of the church” for being washed in the blood of Christ.

If you ask one of these “preachers” any of the questions in this tract, you won’t get a straight answer due to their “screwball” theology. You’ll have them in “hot water,” “swimming in circles,” trying to explain their heretical positions. They’ll be “hopping all over the pond” because they can’t stay too long in one spot without sinking in the mire of their false doctrines.

Don’t YOU wind up being baptized in the “Lake of Fire” by accepting a “waterworks” based plan of salvation and rejecting salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ. (Matt. 3:11; Rev. 20:15; Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 5:9; Rom. 11:6).

Here are Questions for Campbellites

1. According to the history of the “Church of Christ,” God used certain men to “restore” the New Testament Church in the early 1800’s. Where was the true New Testament church before then? Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). What happened to the church and where was the truth it was responsible for preaching before God restored it?

2. If a “Church of Christ” elder refuses to baptize me, will I be lost until I can find one who will? Do I need Jesus AND a Campebllite “preacher” in order to be saved? If I do, then Jesus Christ is not the only Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) and the Holy Spirit is not the only Administrator (1 Cor. 12:13) of salvation – the “Church of Christ” preacher is necessary to salvation for he is performing a saving act on me when he baptizes me! Is this not blasphemy against Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost?

3. If the water pipes broke and the baptistry was bone dry, would my salvation have to wait until the plumber showed up? If I were to die before then, would I go to hell? If obedience to water baptism is the means of forgiveness of sins, then I would.

4. If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to “lose my salvation” and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn’t my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistry?!! – before I had a chance to sin so as to be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn’t that my best opportunity?

5. If as a Christian I can sin so as to “lose my salvation,” just what sin or sins will place me in such danger? Is it possible to know at what point one has committed such a sin, and become lost again? Please be specific and give clear Bible references.

6. If as a Christian I can fall and “lose my salvation,” is it possible to regain it? If so, how? If God “takes away” my salvation, doesn’t that make Him an “Indian giver”? How could I ever know for sure that I was saved or lost?

7. After becoming a Christian, are there any sins that will put me beyond the “point of no return” so that I cannot regain salvation? What sin or sins will put me in such jeopardy, so that, after becoming a Christian, I would be doomed to hell without any recourse? Please be specific and give me clear Bible references.

8. If I committed some sin -whether in thought, word, or deed, one minute before a fatal car crash – would I go to hell if I did not have time to repent of it? And, please, don’t just say that it’s up to God without giving me a specific Bible reference.

9. Why does the “Church of Christ” insist that their name is scriptural when it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible? The church is referred to as the “church of God” eight (8) times in the Bible, but never is it called the “church of Christ.” The verse they use is Romans 16:16, but it doesn’t say “church of Christ.” Where does the Bible call the church the “church of Christ”?

10. If the “Church of Christ” claims to worship God only as “authorized” by scripture because they sing only (and do not use instrumental music), then where do they get the “authority” to use hymnals, pitchpipes, pews, and indoor baptistries in their worship services? If the answer is that they are “aids to worship,” where does the Bible allow for that? Where is your required authorization? If a pitchpipe can be an “aid to worship” for the song service in the “Church of Christ,” then why can’t a piano be an “aid to worship” for Baptists who may need more help in singing?

11. The “Church of Christ” teaches that a sinner is forgiven of sin when he is baptized in water by a Campbellite elder. Where does the Bible teach that water baptism is required in order to have one’s sins forgiven? Every time the phrase “for the remission of sins” occurs it is speaking of the fact that sins have been forgiven previously! The Bible plainly teaches that the forgiveness of sins is conditioned upon repentance of sin and faith in Christ – never upon water baptism! (Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 20:21; Romans 1:16; Romans 4:5; et.al.) Where does the Bible teach that forgiveness of sin is linked with water baptism? When Christ made the statement in Matthew 26:28, “for the remission of sins,” it had to be because they had been forgiven all through the Old Testament! Christ shed His blood because God forgave repentant and believing sinners for thousands of years before the Son of God came to “take away” sins and to redeem us and pay the sin-debt with His own precious blood. How can one say that “for the remission of sins” means ‘in order to obtain’ in light of the fact that God never uses the phrase in that sense? In the Old Testament God forgave sin on the basis of a blood sacrifice (Heb. 9:22) – the Old Testament saints had their sins remitted (i.e., forgiven) but they were not redeemed until Christ came and shed His blood at Calvary. Their sins were covered (Romans 4:7; Psalm 32:1), but the sinner was not cleared of his guilt (Exodus 34:7) until the Cross (Heb.10:4). Before Calvary, the sins of believers were pardoned, but they were not paid for (i.e., redeemed) until the crucifixion (see Romans 3:25 and Heb. 9:12-15). When Jesus said, “It is finished,” (John 19:30), all sin – past, present and future – was paid for, and the plan of salvation was completed, so that ‘whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins’ (Acts 10:43). In Acts 2:38, the people were baptized because their sins were forgiven (at Calvary when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,”) and they received the blessing of forgiveness when they repented of their sin of rejecting Christ and accepted Him as their Saviour and Lord. Friend, heaven or hell depends on what you believe about this.

12. If salvation is not by works of righteousness which we have done, and baptism is a work of “righteousness,” then how can water baptism be a part of salvation? (Titus 3:5; Matt. 3:16) In the Bible, we are SAVED BY GRACE, and grace does not involve human effort or merit grace is grace and work is work! (Just read Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 11:6.)

13. The “Church of Christ” teaches that “obeying the Gospel” includes being baptized in water in order to be saved. If this is true, then how is it that the converts of Acts 10 were saved by faith before and without water baptism? The Bible says in Acts 5:32 that only those who obey God may receive the Holy Ghost – so what did those in Acts 10 do to obey and receive the Holy Ghost and be saved? In the light of Acts 10:34-48, Acts 11:14-18, and Acts 15:7-11, how can anyone honestly believe that water baptism is necessary to salvation? Simon Peter said their hearts were “purified by faith” (Acts 15:9) and that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ like they were (Acts 15:11); that is, before and without water baptism! We know that unsaved people do not receive or have the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; Romans 8:9). We know that the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have believed on Christ (John 7:39). We know that the Holy Spirit seals the believing sinner the moment he puts his faith and trust in Christ as Savior, before he is ever baptized in water (Ephesians 1:12,13). How does the warped theolgy of Campbellism explain away these clear passages of Scripture without “muddying the waters” of truth and drowning its members in eternal damnation?

It would be impossible to discuss all the false doctrines of the “Church of Christ” in this small article. If you have a particular question not dealt with here, or need clarification on the issues discussed, contact us via email or at the phone number or address listed. We will provide you with sane, sensible and scriptural answers to your Bible questions.

http://www.biblebelievers.com/david_martin/martin_church-christ.html

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Baptism (Baptismal Regeneration):

1). Matthew 26:28, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:12, 1 John 1:7, Romans 3:25, Heb. 9:22, Heb. 9:12, Heb. 10:18 (The Blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin not baptismal water). See also Col. 1:14.

2). Luke 2:30, Acts 4:12, Romans 1:16, 1 Thes. 5:9, 2 Timothy 2:10, 2 Timothy 3:15, Heb. 5:9, Heb. 2:10 (Christ is solely necessary for salvation not water. Water can’t remove guilt, which is in the heart.)

3). Acts 15:9 There is the purifying heart by faith without water. See also Titus 3:5 and Heb. 10:20.

4). Romans. 10:9-13, 1 Cor. 1:17, 1 Cor. 1:12 Baptism isn’t necessary for salvation

5). In 1 Cor. 1:17, Paul said he didn’t came to baptize, but to preach the gospel. Paul was a preacher and if he wasn’t called to baptize, then baptism isn’t necessarily required to be saved since sinners before repentance can be baptized and claim to be saved but aren’t. Also baptism alone doesn’t account for sins since Christ’s blood alone does that by you believing on him.

6). 1 Peter 3: 21 Baptism is symbolic for an answer of a good conscience toward God.

7). Acts 8:34-39 Baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo meaning immersion not sprinkle. Catholics are sprinkled instead of being immersed for baptism, which is unscriptural.

8). Acts 8:36-37, Acts 16:31-33, Acts 18:8, Acts 2:41, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 6, Acts 8:12, Acts 8:13 In those verses, it shows baptism coming after salvation after one believes on Christ (repentance). Baptism can’t affect a man’s heart since baptism is a water action or work and only Christ alone can do that apart from works. Paul, Cornelius, and the Philippian Jailer are all examples in the book of Acts of using or being presented with baptism after one’s salvation first.

9). Eph. 2:5 By faith ye are saved (Baptism is excluded from the equation). Another analogy is this; the very elderly, crippled, those paralyzed for life, and the very ill can’t be baptized for obvious reasons, yet if they repent; they’re saved without baptism. One is baptized because he/she believes (or is saved) not to get saved.

10). Luke 23:43 The thief on the cross is in heaven without being baptized. See also Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:11, Romans 3:28, Galatians 15:4, Acts 16:30-34. Rituals like baptism or baptizing people will never save but Christ making baptism proceeding after salvation. Therefore, the believer’s baptism is scriptural.

11). Rev. 12:11 The blood of the Lamb (not baptismal water) causes us to overcome this old world. See also Eph. 1:3 saying that you are sealed by the Holy Spirit not by water baptism.

12). Mark 10:13-16 Baptism is unnecessary for salvation, because a simple action can’t account for every sin you’ve committed. If you’re not saved and baptized, you can still sin without being saved until you experienced repentance. Repentance doesn’t require baptism, so baptism isn’t required to be saved.

13). Galatians 3:26-27 You are placed in the body of Christ by spiritual baptism at the moment you are saved then water baptism later.

14). Mt. 28:18-20 Jesus gave the local church the ordinance of water baptism so the believer’s baptism within a church is justified. Note: a church can only issue water baptism for anyone who is saved. Since anybody can be saved with or without a church’s assistance, baptism is not required for salvation again. See also Eph. 1:13-14 saying one becomes an heir to salvation and is indwelled by the Holy Spirit after he/she believes not after he/she is baptized.

15). 1 Cor. 14:1-5 Individuals in the church are speaking in tongues before being baptized. Only saved people can speak in tongues, therefore you can be saved without being baptized, but all Christians should be baptized as an adult in their lifetime as participating in God’s ordinance (also covenant sign with God).

16). Hebrews 13:20 The blood of the everlasting covenant (Christ’s blood) had brought peace not water.

17). John 4:2 This is a great verse. It says that Jesus never baptized anyone but only his disciples. If Jesus mentioned salvation and saved people, why didn’t he baptize? It is because baptism isn’t required for salvation validated once again by Christ’s actions of never baptizing anyone. If Jesus is the giver of salvation and never baptized people for salvation then baptism isn’t needed for salvation. It’s interesting to note that no one from Adam to Christ who was believers was saved by baptism. And baptism regeneration was never doctrine in the early church until Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria at ca. 120 AD. In fact, you can find Polycarp, Clement of Rome, Barnabas, and others mentioning salvation by grace through faith without works in their literature before 120 AD.

Here are some questions that baptismal regeneration supporters can’t answer conclusively:

-If baptismal regeneration is true, why can afterwards that you can still have a chance to lose your salvation?
-Why is it that many people like the Thief On the Cross, etc were saved before being baptized?
-Why is that there are examples where people received the Holy Spirit before being baptized? Only saved people can receive the Holy Spirit.
-Why did Christ didn’t baptize a soul and Paul only baptized 2 people? Both lead many people to salvation and both even proclaimed people’s salvation with or without baptism.
-Why is it that there are tons of verses to easily show that salvation is by grace through faith involving Christ’s blood (Which I can show easily), yet baptism is mainly used in fewer times at the Bible?
-What saves and it can only be either Christ’s blood or baptismal water. It’s either one and you can’t have it both ways. If Christ’s blood is sufficient enough to save people, why must you believe that baptism saves which isn’t and doesn’t involve Christ’s blood? If Christ’s blood is infinite enough to save all sin and all humans, isn’t that baptismal water is needed as well? Is Christ’s blood not enough?

Please explain.

-Why is it that salvation can come within or without a church’s assistance and baptism is to be only executed by the church, yet you’re not required to submit yourself to a church for salvation?
-Why did Peter say Repent to get salvation first and then baptism after salvation in Acts? If baptism is used for salvation wouldn’t you be baptized first or what is the outline of salvation in terms of repentance and baptism?
-Why did Christ in Mt. 28:19-20 say teach all nations first then baptize second?
-Why did Phillip baptize the Ethiopian eunuch only after he believed on Christ and acknowledged that he is the Son of God?
-Why did historically the Didache (It shows baptism only after days of preperation), Polycarp, Ignatius (he only calls baptism as a spear or helment to your faith), Clement of Rome, and others in the early church didn’t mention a word on baptismal regeneration yet by 150 A.D., it came about by Justin Martyr. Many reformers like John Wycliffe, Waldensians, Anabaptists, etc don’t subscribe to it anyway so why should we?

 
-Why did baptismal regeneration exist from pagan religions before Christianity’s existence, yet for some reason you believe it must be required for Christians? God rejects paganism into the true faith and that’s outlined in the O.T. and N.T.
-Why did no OT person or prophet utilize baptism for salvation yet you believe Christian is to do this in the NT?
-Why is that men and women who had true conversion living godly lives in Christ without being baptized first in their walk? There are tons of examples of that in the world whether you like it or not.
-Why is there no mention of baptism for salvation anywhere in the Bible especially in Jude and James? All references to baptism involve the church and the believer alone nothing more or less.

http://truthseeker247works365.blogspot.com/2006/07/comments-on-purgatory-baptism-and.html

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Most of the information in this article is taken from the sources footnoted.

Restorationism is the claim that the Christian Church fell away from the truths of Jesus and the NT apostles and had to be “RESTORED” to it’s NT state and practice. The whole Christian church had become apostate and non-existent, is their claim. But this allegation is pure folly and uninformed speculation. This is also in total contrast and contradiction to the idea of “REFORM” and the protestant reformation.

The main influence and emphasis of the Restoration Movement of the Cambellite’s and their subsequent offsping religions of the “restorationist” that followed and was spawned from them, is seriously flawed and based on the false assumption that the true Christian Church had been wiped clean from the face of the earth (needing to be completely restored) and that Gods promises about his church and word are not true. In the face of much persecution and attempts to abolish God’s church and word from the face of the earth, there has always been at least a large remnant of true believers and members of the incorporeal and invisible church of God. “’Restorationism’ is based on a belief called the Great Apostasy, that traditional Christianity has departed so far from the original Christian principles that it is not redeemable.” (2) 

The bible contains these promises about itself and Jesus’s Church.

Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

1Pe 1:25A But the word of the Lord endureth forever.

Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.

The Restoration Movement (also known historically as the “Stone – Campbell Movement”) was started by Alexander Campbell when he opened this church the “Old Philadelphia congregation of the Church of Christ, this congregation came into existence in 1804. The records are in the possession of the church in Warren County, Tennessee.“ (1) The “Church of Christ” denomination had not existed until this point.

Although we mostly know of Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone and Walter Scott to be the founders of the restoration movement, it’s principles and precepts had already been laid by others.

The key principles of the Restoration Movement and the Restorationist are,

1. Christianity should not be divided, Christ intended the creation of one church.

2. Creeds divide, but Christians should be able to find agreement by standing on the Bible itself (from which they believe all creeds are but human expansions or constrictions) instead of on the opinions of people about the Bible.

3. Ecclesiastical traditions divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by following the practice (as best as it can be determined) of the early church.

4.Names of human origin divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by using biblical names for the church (i.e., “Christian Church,” “Church of God” or “Church of Christ” as opposed to “Methodist” or “Lutheran”, etc.). It is in this vein that conservative members of the Churches of Christ object to the phrase “Stone-Campbell Movement.” (1)

The Heretical Restoration Movement is comprised of the Campbellites; Disciples of Christ, Church of Christ., Independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ.(2) And it is also comprised of members defecting from mainline Christianity. The Religious Affiliation of Alexander Campbell by adhernats.com (3)

The Heretical Churches of Restorationism are, Christadelphians, Latter Day Saint [LDS] movement (The Mormon Church and it’s sub-groups), Adventism, Millerites, Sabbatarianism, Seventh-day Adventists, Charismatic Restorationism, and more. (2)

The false doctrines of restorationism where perpetuated by these silly mottos! Great Slogans of the Restoration Movement by John Wadely.

Each of these false traditions give a different reason for believing the GREAT APOSTACY had taken place and necessitated a total “restoration”.

Restorationist dates for the Great Apostasy (2)

Restorationism is often criticized for rejecting the traditions followed by the early church, but different restoration groups have treated tradition differently. While some view all the Church Fathers as unreliable witnesses to the original Apostolic Church, others find in the earliest Church Fathers proof that the early church believed and practiced as some restorationists do, and the late Church Fathers differences as evidences of a gradual or sudden falling away. Common to all restorationism is the belief that the Church Fathers or post-apostolic church leadership had no authorization to change the church’s beliefs and practices, but did so nevertheless.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the apostasy started after the death of the last apostle, John. They believe that the Holy Spirit held the apostasy back in full force but after John died the spirit let the apostasy grow. They believe that it came in full after the First Council of Nicaea. Still, they believe that throughout all that time there were true Christians alive until the beginning of the restoration.

The Latter-day Saints also assign a very early date for the apostasy, beginning shortly after the deaths of the original Twelve Apostles at approximately 100 AD, and certainly being in a full state of apostasy by the 4th century. With this early date, they claim the least need to reconcile known writings and practices of the early church and Church Fathers. Although their writings are sometimes cited to show reminiscences of earlier true practices, they are also used to demonstrate that doctrine and understanding had been already altered.

The Sabbatarians have generally agreed on the approximate date of 135 AD as the start of the apostasy. Justin Martyr in about 160 AD had specifically defended the first day assembly, and so is considered an apostate to Sabbatarians. Nevertheless, the early church history recorded the continued keeping of the Saturday Sabbath for creation and Sunday Sabbath for the Resurrection in Hippolytus’s time. They view the apostasy as not complete until the church stopped keeping the Sabbath sometime after Constantine.

The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement views the Great Apostasy as a gradual process. Ignatius promoted obedience to the bishop in about 100 AD,[23] which is viewed by some as signaling the introduction of the idea of a professional clergy, who began to elevate themselves over the people, leading by a gradual process of corruption to the prophesied “man of lawlessness”. Infant baptism, which restorationists condemned as coercive church membership, is similarly viewed. They believe that only adult baptism was practiced at least to the time of Tertullian, but that infant baptism was introduced locally around the time of Irenaeus. They often reject notions of original sin which entail a corruption of human nature, and admit only a defilement of mankind’s habitual environment, traditions or culture. As do other Restorationists, they saw the church-state alliance under Constantine (see also Constantine I and Christianity and Christendom) as a kind of captivity of the church through the centralized power of the bishops. Finally, the development of the idea of the supremacy and universal authority of the Bishop of Rome is considered the completion of the Great Apostasy from which the Protestant Reformation only partially recovered, but most nearly did so among the Anabaptists and the Baptists

If you will investigate for yourself you will see that each of these scenarios is NOT TRUE and purely false. The Restoration movement and all of it’s associated religions or churches are cults based on false doctrine.

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

These “cardinal doctrines” are generally agreed to be,1. the Trinity 2. the full deity and humanity of Christ 3. the spiritual lostness of the human race 4. the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ 5. salvation by faith alone in Christ alone 6. the physical return of Christ 7. the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.

Certainly all the churches, groups or movements listed in this article meet the criteria to be called cults and in NO WAY could be considered Christian.

All this information and more is covered in the awesome video series “Salvation through water? Church of Christ” 1-14 from Dr. Robert Moory available for viewing on the How2BecomeAChristian.info web site on the “Church of Christ video page” and the VODPOD widget on this blog. The video series is also on the H2bac.info “COC” vodpod @ http://h2bacinfococvideos.vodpod.com/ which has 32 + videos on the COC and it’s doctrines.

Sincerely, IJN, IHS

Damon Whitsell H2bac.info

____________________________________________________

(1) http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Restoration-Movement

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorationism

(3) http://www.adherents.com/people/pc/Alexander_Campbell.html

This work is licensed (FOR YOUR FREE USE) under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

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“Church of Christ” Topical Video – Campbellism

 Bob L. Ross, author of the book, “Campbellism, Its History and Heresies,” joins Larry Wessels, director of Christian Answers, in this brief review of this 19th-century religious movement. This movement known as “Campbellism” and adhered to by groups known as “Church of Christ,” “Christian Church,” and “Disciples of Christ,” had its beginning primarily through the influence of two immigrants from Ireland. Thomas Campbell, the father, and Alexander Campbell, the son, rebelled against Presbyterianism and ultimately created the Campbellite movement. The Campbells had arrived in America in the early 1800s and later with the help of Walter Scott and Barton W. Stone “restored” the “ancient Gospel” with an emphasis on Acts 2:38 and baptismal remission. Works righteousness is a common feature of Campbellism and plays a large part in many of their strange doctrines such as their denial of the use of musical instruments in the church worship service (among some of their sects).

19  For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

1Co 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 1Co 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST

 

 

 

For years I have heard it taught that the Church of Christ is NOT a denomination or sect like the Baptist, Methodist, etc.
 
Let’s Examine The Evidence
 
World Book Dictionary defines denomination as: (1) a name for a group or class of things (2) a religious group or sect.
 
Holman Bible Dictionary defines a sect as: a group having established their own identity and teachings over against the larger group to which they belong. especially the different parties making up Judaism in the N.T. times.
 
New Englishman’s Greek Concordance and Lexicon defines sect as: the persons holding a certain opinion, that is a sect, a faction.
 
The evidence is clear; the Church of Christ according to the definitions above is a denomination or sect. (1) they have a name and they are a group of believers (2) they are a religious group (3) they have established their own identity and teachings to set them apart from a larger group, which makes them a sect or denomination.
 
Here is what we read in the bible: Then the high priest rose up, and all that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees ( Acts 5:15 ) … and …There rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees ( Acts 15:5 ) … KJV
 
IT SEEMS TO ME; that a DENOMINATION or SECT is a smaller group of believers within a larger group of believers, and different from other groups due to their teachings and beliefs.
 
Groups…Sects…Denominations…Church of Christ
 
(1) One Cuppers…these believers teach that it’s a sin to use more than one cup during the Lord’s Supper.
(2) Fellowship Rooms…these believers teach that it’s a sin to have a fellowship room in the church building where believers can come together to eat and share a meal.
(3) Musical Instruments…these believers teach that it’s a sin to use musical instruments when singing songs during worship to God.
(4) Still Others…see nothing wrong with using multiple cups, fellowship rooms, or musical instruments.
(5) And Many…of these divided sects teach that you are sinning and must repent and come back to the TRUE CHURCH, ( their sect ), in order to be pleasing to God.
 
Many people in the Church of Christ will not admit that they are a SECT or DENOMINATION of the larger part ( Christianity ). They will tell you that they belong to the TRUE CHURCH that Jesus started 2000 years ago.
 
But if you look closely at the Church of Christ, you will find many sects, with each sect claiming to be the one and only true church that Jesus started. And you will find these sects or denominations pointing fingers at each other and demanding that they repent and join their sect. The End Lee Howell

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more about “HOW TO BE SAVED!“, posted with vodpod

 

 

My Friend:

God says in order to go to Heaven, you must be born again. In John 3:7, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.”

In the Bible God gives us the plan of how to be born again which means to be saved. His plan is simple! You can be saved today. How?

First, my friend, you must realize you are a sinner. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Because you are a sinner, you are condemned to death. “For the wages [payment] of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This includes eternal separation from God in Hell.

“…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

But God loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to bear your sin and die in your place. “…He hath made Him [Jesus, Who knew no sin] to be sin for us…that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus had to shed His blood and die. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). “…without shedding of blood is no remission [pardon]” (Hebrews 9:22).

“…God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Although we cannot understand how, God said my sins and your sins were laid upon Jesus and He died in our place. He became our substitute. It is true. God cannot lie.

My friend, “God…commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). This repentance is a change of mind that agrees with God that one is a sinner, and also agrees with what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “…’Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved… .’ ”

Simply believe on Him as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried, and whom God resurrected. His resurrection powerfully assures that the believer can claim everlasting life when Jesus is received as Savior.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).

Whosoever

includes you. Shall be saved means not maybe, nor can, but shall be saved.Surely, you realize you are a sinner. Right now, wherever you are, repenting, lift your heart to God in prayer.

In Luke 18:13, the sinner prayed: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Just pray: “Oh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus was my substitute when He died on the Cross. I believe His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection were for me. I now receive Him as my Savior. I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins, the gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your merciful grace. Amen.”Just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith. Believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works can save you. Remember, God does the saving. All of it!

God’s simple plan of salvation is: You are a sinner. Therefore, unless you believe on Jesus Who died in your place, you will spend eternity in Hell. If you believe on Him as your crucified, buried, and risen Savior, you receive forgiveness for all of your sins and His gift of eternal salvation by faith.

You say, “Surely, it cannot be that simple.” Yes, that simple! It is scriptural. It is God’s plan. My friend, believe on Jesus and receive Him as Savior today.

If His plan is not perfectly clear, read this tract over and over, without laying it down, until you understand it. Your soul is worth more than all the world.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Be sure you are saved. If you lose your soul, you miss Heaven and lose all. Please! Let God save you this very moment.

God’s power will save you, keep you saved, and enable you to live a victorious Christian life. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Do not trust your feelings. They change. Stand on God’s promises. They never change. After you are saved, there are three things to practice daily for spiritual growth:

Pray — you talk to God.

Read your Bible — God talks to you.

Witness — you talk for God.

You should be baptized in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ as a public testimony of your salvation, and then unite with a Bible-believing church without delay. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord….” (2 Timothy 1:8)

 

I am asking you the most important question of life. Your joy or your sorrow for all eternity depends upon your answer. The question is: Are you saved? It is not a question of how good you are, nor if you are a church member, but are you saved? Are you sure you will go to Heaven when you die?”Whosoever therefore shall confess [testify of] Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).

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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.

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Have you ever heard that phrase “The ONE TRUE CHURCH” before?

If You have,,, it is most likely that you heard it from a cult member or cult group. ALL cults say they are the “one true Church” (referred to as OTC hereafter). All cults have 3 things in common. 1. The all have distorted teachings about God, specifically Jesus and the Trinity. 2. They all employ a teaching and culture of legalism. And while they may give lip service to “salvation by grace”, they apply a system of salvation by works. 3. They all claim to be “The ONE TRUE CHURCH” !

This idea of the OTC among cults is expressed in many ways, some of them very ambiguously and not always clearly understood by the folks that hear the assertions. The claim to be the OTC by cults, and the many different ways that say or imply it,, is generally called Authoritarianism. Authoritarianism being defined as “Characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom” (1).

Lets understand how Cults practice authoritarianism by looking at the teachings of their leaders or books. We will see that indeed cults are sectarian and authoritarian in belief and practice,,, claiming that “only they have the ONE TRUE way” and that only through their group, church, or fellowship can anyone be saved. They say only they have authority and salvation is exclusive to, and dependant upon their teachings and membership in their group. They keep their members in bondage by saying that members that leave the OTC, will lose their salvation by doing so.

We will hear it in their own words and then I will share a comment from a friend, that sums up the topic of “The ONE TRUE CHURCH” very well. We’ll look at 3 or 4 of the more well known cults. Lets look at a couple of Mormon quotes first.

Mormons

Joseph Smith claimed that he had seen both God the Father and Jesus Christ and asked these personages which church he should join. He claimed he was told to 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” (Joseph Smith History 1:19).

“Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth” (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10).

Notice that the Book of Mormon here is saying that the Christian church is “the whore of all the earth”, “the church of the devil” and “the mother of abominations”.

The Mormon scripture Doctrine and Covenants says the Mormon church, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Later day saints is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased ….” (1:30)

Clearly Mormonism’s claim has always been that it is the OTC and all others are false and of Satan. For more anti-Christian quotes from Mormon leaders all the way up to the present leadership, see this post on this blog. LINK HERE

Church of Christ

For the Church of Christ, we will refer to section of an article at faithfacts.org @ http://www.faithfacts.org/world-religions-and-theology/church-of-christ#truechurch

The section is appropriately titled,,,,

TRUE CHURCH.

Walter Scott in the preface of his book, The Gospel Restored, said: “In 1827 the True Gospel was restored. For distinction’s sake it was styled the Ancient Gospel.” In a more recent Church of Christ tract, the writer says: “She [the church] was HIDDEN for 1260 years, that she might be protected from the power of the Popes.” Is it true that some within the CC still teach that the true church was really completely hidden for some 1260 years, so hidden in fact that Alexander Campbell had to find a Baptist preacher to baptize him?

Apparently not all CC people have this understanding of the 1260 year church gap. Some only say that the true church existed during those 1260 years, although believers had to worship in secret lest they be persecuted by the apostate Catholic church. But if you do hold to the gap view, what is the meaning of Mat 28:20 (“And lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end of the age.”)? And Ephesians 3:21 (“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.”) If the church was in apostasy for centuries, why does Jesus say, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it”?

Is it correct that sometimes the CC considers Christians who “do not walk with you,” as Ketcherside claims (www.freedomsring.org/heritage/chap22.html) to be “hobbyists, or dishonest, or insincere, or sectarians, or unworthy of notice?” Did Jesus die for a particular party within Christendom? Do you know precisely where God would draw the line to eliminate certain people from being considered Christians? How would you define “sect?” Would you define it differently than Cecil Hook (http://www.freedomsring.org/ftc/chap24.html)?

Hasn’t the church always been in need of reform and restoration—even from the beginning, as evidenced by Paul’ letters to his churches? If a man loses his leg, doesn’t he still have the essential nature of a man? If the church loses some correct practices, doesn’t it still have the essential nature of a church (www.freedomsring.org/fic/chap19.html)? The concept of the restoration of the true church is a view that the CC holds in common with Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. If the church only existed in “seed” (meaning the Word) as you say during this church gap period, where in the “seed” does it prophecy that Alexander Campbell and his followers would restore the church? Or where in the “seed” does it authorize anyone to restore the church?

Is it fair to accuse other Christians groups of being started by men, when history clearly shows that the Church of Christ was started by men—Thomas and Alexander Campbell on May 4, 1811?

How does the Bible differentiate between joining a local congregation and joining the universal church of Christ (http://www.freedomsring.org/ftc/chap22.html)

Jehovah Witness’s

“It should be expected that the Lord would have a means of communication to his people on the earth, and he has clearly shown that the magazine called The Watchtower is used for that purpose.” (1939 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, p. 85.)

“Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect.” The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, p. 591.

“We cannot claim to love God, yet deny his word and channel of communication.” The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, p. 591.

Only this organization functions for Jehovah’s purpose and to his praise. To it alone God’s Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book. The Watchtower; July 1, 1973, pp. 402.

“We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ organization.” (The Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1981.)

“Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible.” The Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1967. p. 587.

Just like the Mormons, the COC and all of the Christian Cults of the restoration movement started by Alexander Campbell, the JW’s also claim to be the ONE TRUE CHURCH.

Lets look at one more cult and then I will give you my friends wise summary of all of this.. This next cult is thought by some well respected Christians to not be a cult,, but it is in both doctrine and it’s authoritarianism and claim to be the OTC.

Seventh Day Adventist (SDA)

For the SDA we will refer to a section of an article by McGregor ministries @ http://www.macgregorministries.org/seventh_day_adventists/sda_facts.html

What facts won’t they tell you?

They won’t tell you that they consider themselves to be the only, true, remnant Church. Their prophetess, Ellen G. White, whom they revere and believe without question has told them that
“…Satan has taken full possession of the Churches”. (Spiritual Gifts V.l,p.189-90)
They also believe our prayers are an “abomination” to God. (Spiritual Gifts, V1 p.190).

That is what they think of you and your church, even if they won’t say it out loud in public, or to your face.

They revere their founding prophetess, Ellen G. White, and made this statement in their “Ministry” Magazine of Oct. 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”.

They won’t tell you too much about Ellen G. White at their public seminars, but their goal is to bring the person attending to the point of conversion and baptism.
Their 2000 baptismal certificate poses questions to which the candidate must answer “yes”. Question 8 says,

“Do you accept the biblical teaching of spiritual gifts and believe that the gift of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church”.

If the candidate says “yes” and is baptised, they soon learn that the “gift of prophecy” is Ellen G. White’s writings. Point 13 has them accepting that the SDA Church is the remnant church of Bible Prophecy. They have been baptized into an exclusive group, but they don’t know how exclusive it is, yet!

No doubt they will be urged to avail themselves of a “Clear Word Bible”. This publication of theirs has inserted the words and doctrines of Ellen G. White right into the Bible text, insuring that the person studying it will have the mind of Ellen G. White.

Slowly, but surely, the new SDA will come to believe these extra-biblical doctrines that set the SDA church apart from Evangelical Christianity.
Summary conclusion My friend Katherine wrote the following about “the True Church” and she did such a good job I asked her if I could include her words here in this article. Katherine says,,,

The One True Church is easy…..there will be many that are members of the One True Church….they will come from all over the World…..God knows each and everyone of them because He is the only one that knows their heart………
They come from every denomination….from every walk of life….they are rich and poor…lame and weak but very rarely strong except that because of Jesus they have become stronger and richer than they ever imagined…beyond what they could ever conceive….this is the reason they continue to want to tell others about the Love Christ has for them….so they can know also.. God wants none to perish but many will, simply because of PRIDE……

Any denomination that has rules and regulations that do not match up with the Word of GOD…..is not TRUTH….and just about every denomination has one rule that does not match with the Word……some have so many they have become cultist….. now if this rule is a rule that is a salvation rule or says that if you do not do so and so..you are not saved or if you do not belong to this denom or that denom you are not saved….well they do not match up to the Word Of GOD……the Bible is Black and White…..it is man that blurs the Word …..If you truly love one another, understanding will fall into place….God is Love….If you Love…..you will know GOD…….it seems that pride is always out front……and this is sad…….

There are two types of churches……

Church…a building with a name and lots of different people attend……saved and unsaved….

Church…..the only members of the body of Christ….they come from everywhere….and some don’t even attend a church building…….real simple

Some of my other wirings that are related to this subject are,,

1, The Heresy of Restorationsim 2. CULT UNITY 3. 34,000 differing denominations or Unity Within Diversity UNITY IN ESSENTIALS

FAIR USE notice: The material from other ministries in this article was used for research and educational purposes.
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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.”

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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.

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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

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In the last two years, I have met about 10 Church of Christ Members and exchanged dialogue with them. I have found that about half of them deny the Trinity by saying the Holy Spirit is not God. They justify this by personifying the bible as the Holy Spirit. They turn a person into a thing. And they call an imperfect thing, the Holy Sprit. But only God is Holy. And the Holy Spirit is said to be Holy because he is God. There is no translation of the bible that is 100% correct from start to finish. I believe the KJV is very very close to inerrant. But I no longer believe it to be totally inerrant.

Lets look at an illustration that points out how these Church of Christ members (later called COC) put God in a box

1. If there are tribes in the remote jungles of the Amazon region, that still have not been discovered (and I heard it said by the pros that it is most probable) then according to the COC conclusion that it is the bible that saves and not the Holy Spirit (called the HS hereafter) it would be an impossibility for them to be saved if they have not a bible in their hand. I heard it said that there are still some languages that still have yet no bible translation in those languages.

2. Lets say that I charter a deep sea boat to go fishing with just me and a captain. We had a fire and had to abandon ship, but I did not have time to get my bible before I jumped ship. Then while the captain and I was in the raft awaiting possible rescue, he informed that that he had never read the bible but sensing the seriousness of the situation, wanted to know the bible truth and to do what it said to be saved.

According to the COC member that personifies the bible as the HS, this man could not be saved. Because it is the bible that saves, not God. And in this very matter, you see the Palagianism of the COC smack ya right in the face. According to their beliefs about the bible and the HS, they would conclude that this man cannot be saved by my witness, or any other means that God could employ to reach the man. But if he just had a bible, he could read it and grasp it under his own will to be saved. The COC believes just like Pelagius in that they do not think that it is God that saves by drawing men unto himself and authoring and finishing our salvation.

Back in the good old days before pelagianism made a comeback in the restoration movement and the restorationist religions that it created, God used to do it all in salvation. From point 1 to infinity and he got all the glory.

BEFORE GOD WAS IN A BOX.

God didn’t used to have to have a bible to reach men. He reached Abraham, Noah and Moses all without any written scripture. He spoke to them through miracles, dreams and visions. He spoke to their hearts and wrote his law on their heats. He drew them to himself very easily without any written revelation. The NT says that we can have the “mind of Christ” And there is no verse that says that you cannot get the mind of Christ only by reading the written word. Why do you think we are told to go into the world and testify, and not,, go into the world and pass out scripture.

It is no surprise that the COC puts God in a box. I think the JW’s do the same thing with the personification of the bible (their version) as the HS. If you do a study on legalism (in particular legalism in the COC) you will see that it is so common among legalist to adhere to the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law, that you have to conclude that it is pandemic among them. They also put more emphasis on the written word than they do the God that wrote it.

WHY DO THEY PUT GOD IN A BOX???

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HERE IS A RELVANT BLOG POST Falsely viewing the Holy Spirit as a poetic device known as personification!

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Anti-Trinitarians falsely view of the Holy Spirit as a poetic device known as personification!

The Holy Spirit is not a Personification of God’s power! 

A. Personification Definition: “A figure of speech in which a thing, quality or idea is represented as a person. To speak of a thing as having life or personality”

In reference to “59 Thunderbird Coup, “She sure is a beauty”
Cupid is personification of love.

Expressions like. “The face of the moon”

C. The Bible does use personification widely:

“Oh earth, earth, earth, write this man down childless.”

Ps 98:8 “The rivers clap their hands: Let the mountains sing together for Joy.

“I tell you if these become silent, the stones would cry out.” Lk 19:37­40

Of wisdom, “She stands and calls on the rooftops” Proverbs 9:1­6

“And I heard the altar say: “Yes, Jehovah God, the Almighty, true and righteous are your judicial decisions.” Revelation 16:7

“At this he said: “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground.” Genesis 4:10

“Look! The wages due the workers who harvested YOUR fields but which are held up by YOU, keep crying out, and the calls for help on the part of the reapers have entered into the ears of Jehovah of armies.” James 5:4

wisdom is said to have “children.” Luke 7:35

Sin and death are spoken of as kings. Rom 5:14,21

D. Similar false view of the nature of Satan. They view the devil, not as a separate personal evil being, but as the personification of sin and disease. When it says “the Devil prowls around seeking someone to devour”, (Jas 4:8) This is personification they would say.

E. Some say the Holy Spirit the personification of the Bible. They do this by constructing a chart like below and show that the two have many of the save qualities. They then conclude that since they have the same qualities, they are the sane thing and rest on this chart as proof.

Similar qualities does not mean two things are the same. Identical twins have many similar qualities but are distinct.

There are several qualities the Holy Spirit has that the word does not. Although the Bible is ascribed functionality that might imply person hood, (speak, convicts, leads, justifies, instructs etc) these terms are not exclusive to person hood but are normal applications of what a book can do.

 

What is never ascribed to the Bible, that is to the Holy Spirit, are emotions, intercedes, searches, the ability to choose, exercise free will, or be worshipped

. The many similarities between what the Bible is said to do and what the Holy Spirit is said to do, is because the Bible is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to convict, convert and guide the church.The Holy Spirit revealed the Bible. He is the revealer. The Bible is the revelation.
The Bible is the “sword of the Spirit”, not the Spirit Himself, but the instrument he uses to accomplish His will. Eph 6:17
F. Notice that we can construct a similar chart to show Characteristics that the Father shares with the Holy Spirit. The difference is that none of these things can the Bible do!

PLEASE VISIT THIS LINK to see the charts they have made showing the differences between the Bible and the Holy Spirit   

http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-holy-spirit-personification.htm

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B. Examples we are familiar with: