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This question was asked of me, “there are 34,000+ different Christian denominations today. Who is to say which churches constitute the congregations of ‘true Christians’?” My responce follows.
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I seen someone else make a similar statement about two weeks ago and have not had time to comment but would like to do so. The post I am commenting on used 19,000+ as the number of Christian denoms.

I would like to postulate a question that I believe statements like this beg to ask! I believe this is what people mean when they make such comments,,, “With between 19 and 34 thousand different Christian denominations,,,is it not ludicrous to think there is anything but confusion among christians as to what christianity is? Why should I consider joining such a confused bunch? Is there really any logical reason to consider Jesus Christ?”

It is my belief that people who make such claims, as there being 19 – 34 thousand denominations of Christianity, in a sense that there are that many different versions are really saying “you guys are fools and can’t even figure out ya’lls own religion”. Some may actually believe that there are many different versions of Christianity but I believe that most prop up such bogus ideas in there head to justify their denial of Jesus Christ.

FALSE TEACHERS, PROPHETS, GOSPELS AND A DIFFERENT JESUS

Every New Testament book except Philemon contains warnings against false teachings, false prophets and false gospels that teach a different Jesus and Spirit. Paul said there where false teachers among the Corinthians and Jesus said beware for many come false teachers have come to lead you astray. We are told that there are men who secretly introduce destructive heresies and that Satan and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness. We are even told that there are doctrines of demons.

To the church at Galatia Paul said “you are being thrown into confusion by people trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am astonished that you so quickly turn from the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel”. We are told to not accept any other gospels than the one preached by the apostles, even if they come from angels or the apostles themselves.

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Top 5 False Doctrines To Avoid

by IMAblogger.net

NUMBER 1 – THE WORD OF FAITH GOSPEL

— What Is This All About ? —

The Word of Faith Doctrine, The Prosperity Gospel, The Name it And Claim It Creed… The list goes on and on with this False Doctrine. This doctrine is probably the greatest weapon that Satan has used in these last several decades to destroy Faith in Christ and His Finished Work. The direction of this doctrine sends the seeker in a wrong direction than what God has intended for believers.

As Judaism was the great hindrance to the Message of Grace during the time of Paul, the so-called “faith Message” is the great hindrance presently. In fact, I believe it is even worse than Judaism.

First of all, the faith which is proposed is really no faith at all, at least that which God will recognize. If our faith isn’t properly in Christ Crucified, we are not truly in “Faith”. ( I Cor. 1:17-18, 21,23; 2:2; Col. 2:14-15; Eph 2:13-18). The “Word of Faith” teaching totally denigrates the Cross. It is referred to as “past miseries,” or even as “the greatest defeat in human history.” It also teaches that the Blood of Jesus Christ didn’t atone. While it will say out of one side of its mouth that the Blood does atone, it will then turn around and say, but not within itself. And with that little hook, people are made to believe that they are teaching and preaching the Blood, which they aren’t.

They teach that Jesus became a sinner while on the Cross, died as a sinner, which means that He died spiritually, thereby went to Hell, and we speak of the burning side of Hell, and there suffered for three days and nights the agony of the damned. At the end of the three days and nights, they continue to teach, God then said, “It is enough,” meaning that He had suffered enough. He was then “born again,” even as any sinner is Born-Again, and then resurrected. So when they talk about a person’s faith in Christ in order to be saved, they’re speaking of trusting Christ and what He did in the pit of Hell as a lost sinner. Incidentally, all of this is pure fiction, with not a shred of it being in the Bible. But sadly, untold millions believe it!

The teaching of the “Word of Faith Message” of which has been written here, is none other than blasphemy. It cannot be construed as anything else. To believe such a doctrine, which is the worst perversion of the Atonement that Satan has ever concocted, is none other than believing a lie. That’s why Paul said:

“Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves, know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?” ( II Cor. 13:5)

These are strong terms as given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle. He is saying that any doctrine, any teaching, that eliminates the Cross, is termed as a reprobate doctrine, which produces “reprobates.” Reprobates in the Greek is “adokimos,” and means, “rejected, worthless, cast away.” So in effect Paul is saying that any other type of faith is a “worthless faith.”

The truth is, anyone who takes unto themselves the false message of the “Word of Faith” doctrine has taken a path that will ultimately lead to spiritual ruin.

— Who Is Involved ? —

wof

Mike Murdock / Paula White / Benny Hinn / Kenneth Copeland / Gloria Copeland / Creflo Dollar / Steve Munsey / Jesse Duplantis / Pretty Much All of the TBN Network / Pretty Much All of the Daystar Network / Marcus Lamb / Joni Lamb / Too Many More To Mention /

NUMBER 2 – THE GOSPEL OF SELF ESTEEM

— What Is This All About ? —

To correct this situation, man (not God) has come up with the false gospel of “self-esteem.” This false way basically teaches that man’s problem is that he does not readily know his self-worth; man consequently needs his self-esteem elevated. If this can be done, they teach, man’s problems will be solved.

In order to place this new teaching into proper perspective, we should realize that so-called “Christian” psychologists and psychiatrists transplanted it from outside the Church and from outside the Bible, and I speak of that which is truly the Bible, preferably the King James Version or another Word for word translation and not a paraphrase. A leading evangelical psychologist, who vigorously promotes self-worth teaching, explains, in one of his books, “You’re someone special:”
“Under the influence of humanistic psychologists, like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, many of us Christians have begun to see our need for self-love and self-esteem.”

Satan’s threefold humanistic plan for world domination is basically simple, and you might be surprised how well it correlates with this new theology:

1. Darwinism (Darwin) — the concept of evolution, as it affects the social man, resulting in abortion, humanism, and the “survival of the fittest.”

2. Marxism (Communism and Socialism) — Satan’s economic foundation, which has been proven the world over to be an unworkable philosophy. It results in nothing but poverty.

3. Freudianism (Psychology) — a profound influence on the morals of man, and leading, one might say, toward immorality. And there you have it! Satan’s three-pronged assault — social, economic, and moral. The self-esteem philosophy comes directly from Freudian principles, and it does demand an entirely different

— Who Is Involved ? —Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen

One of the foremost proponents of the self-esteem gospel, Robert Schuller, has called for a “new reformation,” stating that the Sixteenth Century movement (under Martin Luther and John Calvin) was a “reactionary movement” because it emphasized that men are sinners. Schuller goes on to say,

“Once a person believes he is a ‘unworthy sinner,’ it is doubtful he can honestly accept the Saving Grace God offers in Jesus Christ.”

Schuller then offers his blueprint for bringing sinners to Salvation:

“If you want to know why I make people laugh once in a while, I am giving them sounds and strokes, sounds and strokes, like you would a baby. “It’s a strategy. People who don’t trust need to be stroked. People are born with a negative self-image. Because they do not trust, they cannot trust God.”

Of course, if this man is right, accepted Evangelistic practices, which have brought millions to Christ, are wrong. We should then stop telling people they’re sinners who need Jesus Christ as their Savior. We must no longer convince them of their sin and rebellion against a Holy God. We must never speak of Hell, nor warn of the terrible, eternal consequences of rejecting the wonderful offer of Salvation as an unmerited gift from God.

Instead we should begin to stroke men and women into faith, smile them into the kingdom of God, and elevate their self-esteem. If one knows his Bible, he will agree that this is a major change in Christian perspective. However, the proponent of this false gospel has an even broader concept in mind. He goes on to say:

“A theology of self-esteem also produces a theology of social ethics and a theology of economics — and these produce a theologyof government. It all rises on one foundation: the dignity of a person who is created in the image of God.”

Basically, this self-esteem theology states that we need a new reformation and a new theology.

What it also suggests — but does not openly state — is that we need a new Bible. But, truthfully, without openly saying so, it is now giving the Church a new Bible. I speak of the many new interpretations which are now on the market, such as “The Message Bible,” and scores of others of similar perversion. By no stretch of the imagination can these interpretations be called the “Bible.” Pure and simple, they constitute no more than mere prattle, one might even say drivel, of man. Concerning this new gospel of self-esteem, it strikes at the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The True Gospel states that man is a lost sinner, who cannot save himself, and who thus desperately needs a Redeemer.

One the same steps as Schuller, stands a megachurch leader by the name of Joel Osteen. His charming smile and his personable tone leads many to wonder: “How can this man be wrong”? Well, its all about the message. He will not preach the cross. He will not preach the blood. He will not preach about sin. He will only tell you how great a person you are and how much potential you have in you. He will tell you to repeat phrases to yourself daily for affirmation. He will not direct you to God, but he will lead you to self every time.

— Why Should I Avoid Them ? —

(MARK 8:34) “AND WHEN HE HAD CALLED THE PEOPLE UNTO HIM WITH HIS DISCIPLES ALSO, HE SAID UNTO THEM, WHOSOEVER WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.”

The phrase, “And when He had called the people unto Him with His Disciples also,” speaks of an interval of some period of time between His rebuke of Peter and this present statement. In the previous exchange, only the Disciples were included; but others are now also addressed! What Jesus will say will be the very heartbeat of what it means to a Christian; consequently, the Message is given not only to the Disciples, but also to the people, because it is a requirement for all! The phrase, “Whosoever will come after Me,” refers to those who accept the call. It means to be Born-Again, to become His Disciple, to follow His Teachings, and to enter into His fellowship. If one is to notice, Jesus didn’t say, “Come after the Church,” or “Preacher,” or “Priest,” or “Prophet,” but rather Christ Himself (“Me”). Christianity without Christ is no more than any other philosophy. Such produces the moralist, of which there is an abounding number, but does not produce a changed life. The moralist reduces Christianity to a mere religion, which makes it little different than the other religions of the world. Actually, Christianity, within itself, cannot change anything or anyone. Only Christ can change hearts and lives! He actually makes a new creature of all who come to Him.

When we preach self and how great we humans are, first of all, we are lying and second we are doing the opposite of what Christ taught and what God expects.

NUMBER 3 – THE PURPOSE DRIVEN …

— What Is This All About ? —

The Purpose Driven Life attempts to turn a born again life into one of pragmatism rather than one being led by the Spirit of God. The book series has many “uplifting” stories of giving purpose and hope to a people worldwide. It subverts God’s way in order to push certain agendas that are exposed in the book series. The doctrine is filled with biblical half truths held up by scriptures that are only partial and taken out of context. The quotation of many paraphrase translations of the Word of God are used in order to fit into what The Purpose Driven Life is trying to indoctrinate. The founders of The Purpose Driven series draw their visions from the business world in order to try to grow the church in ways never tried before in the Body of Christ.

— Who Is Involved ? —Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founder and pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He is responsible for writing the Purpose Driven Series while receiving personal help from business guru, Peter Drucker. Between these two characters and other like minded individuals, they founded a new way to “DO” church. These methods brought people into the church in droves, but at the same time threw out all sound doctrine. Warm bodies on the pews seemed to be the only goal at the beginning while now it has expanded to Global domination and an inclusive doctrine.

— Why Should I Avoid Them ? —

Any group who throws out sound doctrine to “tickle the ears” of the saints, has done a great injustice to the work of Christ. When any body refuses to confront sin as sin in order to bring no offense and risk the possibility of losing a member, has compromised the message of Christ and thus became apostate. This group, and many like it, attempt to widen the gate that Jesus Himself calls narrow. Rick Warren’s idea of Salvation is not telling the sinner of their need to repent due to their sins. This is how you get saved in Rick Warren’s mind, according to The Purpose Driven Life book:

‘Dear God, I want to know Your purpose for my life. I don’t want to waste the rest of my life on the wrong things. Today I want to take the first step in preparing for eternity by getting to know You. Jesus Christ, I don’t understand it all, but as much as I know how, I want to open my life to You. I ask you to come into my life and make yourself real to me. Use this series to help me know what You made me for. Thank you. Amen.’

“If you just prayed that prayer for the very first time, I congratulate you. You’ve just become a part of the family of God.”

Those were words from his book, and that is the dogma that is held high by that camp. Avoid this at all costs. Eternal souls are in the balance, and messages like this do nothing to aid in leading people in the correct direction. The focus should be Christ crucified. It should ever be that we glory in the Cross of Christ. Not in the works or programs of man.

NUMBER 4 – THE EMERGENT CHURCH

Preface: I know I will probably get a lot of backlash about this one, but hear me out. The proponents of the Emergent Church will probably say that they have heard my schpiel over and over again, but nonetheless, I “schpiel” on.

— What Is This All About ? —

The Emerging Church is all about change. They vocalize that, as the culture and society of the world changes, so should the Church. The Word of God becomes less true to the Emergent Church because they want to bring unity to the world by compromising the scriptures in order to avoid any offense. There is deep thought to what God “really” thinks about sin and hell. There is much avoidance of mentioning that some other person’s religion might actually bring them down a path to hell. They like to read the scriptures with an attidude of:

“Yea, God did write about hell in the Bible, but how can a loving God actually send people to hell, if it even exists”?

They liken God to a parent who might threaten a punishment or make up the boggie man in order to get the kids in line, while all the while the parent never intends to follow through with the punishment.

— Who Is Involved ? —Brian McLaren is one of the major mouth pieces of the Emergent Church Movement. You may have read a post on this website about some of his escapades. To read more about Brian McLaren read here and here.

— Why Should I Avoid Them ? —

The False Doctrine that the Emergent Church presents about inclusivism and the compromise of the scriptures is addressed as directly contrary to scriptures such as Revelation 2:14-17 where the church of Pergamos is addressed as preaching a False Doctrine. I think the bottom line is, the Word of God stands true now as it has always. We shouldn’t invent new ways to do God’s work. We should just “Do” what God says. We have to tell others about Christ and His Finished Work on Calvary. There is a literal Hell, and souls are going there daily. If the Emergents are right, and there is no Hell, and all roads lead to Heaven, then WOW! Great. But Why did Christ have to die? ….What if the Emergents are wrong??? What if in condoning sin and accepting all religions and celebrating them as on the same road to heaven, they are actually doing the souls of man no good. I am of the belief that Man is sinful and wicked. We are in need of a savior. In Christ we have hope and must accept him, or we will be held accountable for our sins and thus pay an eternal price. I wouldn’t want to be wrong about that one. Not when you are so close.

MATTHEW CHAPTER 7

13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it

NUMBER 5 – THE NEW MYSTICS

—What Is This All About ?—

They claim to be a Christ centered ministry, but warning signs go off when they expound that their vision is to “practice the presence of God”. They are deep into “soaking” in the presence of God (another warning sign). They are heavily into the Signs and Wonders and promote prophetic schools where they can teach you how to function as a prophet including how to receive and deliver revelations, etc.

—Who Is Involved ?—

Probably the most famous of the New Mystics would be John and Lily Crowder and Benjamin Dunn. A simple google or Youtube search will bring up videos of these clowns “getting high” and drunk in the presence of god. They make an open mockery of the Holy Spirit and His giftings. I have posted about one video in particular here. and here.

Another prominent member of this movement is Joshua Mills. You might recognize him from one of my past posts here where Patricia King, another Mystic, builds his lies up until you hear the lies from his own mouth. Joshua mills regularly encounters angels, angel dust, gold dust, diamond dust, diamonds, feathers, and more. He even has oil pour out of his hands and onto other people.

—Why Should We Avoid Them ?—

The Bible says in Acts 17:29:

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Our focus should be on Christ and His Finished Work.  If we are out seeking for signs and wonders we are not obeying God in his call on us to tell the World about Him.  And the simple fact that we think that fake dust signifies the Glory of God, is sad.  If I thought that glitter signified anything Godly, I might think twice about avoiding those strip clubs.  I hear those girls get covered in the stuff.

http://imablogger.net/2008/09/21/top-5-false-doctrines-to-avoid-the-compilation/

 

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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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Dear Friends in Christ,
 
I have been fascinated for a long time with the Diety and Pre-incarnate existence of Jesus Christ, as it is revealed in the scriptures. We have studied and contemplated the coming to earth and taking on of our flesh of Jesus Christ, perhaps it would be good to consider His Eternal existence as a member of the Trinity before He ever came to the manger. His “goings forth” have been from Old Testament times being seen on this earth, and yet keeping His true identity  hidden until just the right time when He came to live and die on the cross for our sins.
 
Most of these Bible verses were found in the book,  Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer, Dunham Publishers, (1966) p 30-33. Chafer was the founder and first president of Dallas Theological Seminary. Much of the content of this book was published in the magazine “The Sunday School Times”  in 1925.
God Bless you as you read and ponder His Word.


 
This  group of scriptures shows how the Pre-existence of Christ relates to the revealing of His Diety. By these Scriptures, Jesus Christ, The Son of God is seen to be in His Infinite Person and eternal existence, coequal with the other persons of the Godhead, and this fact is unaffected by His becoming a Man. Therefore, Jesus Christ is shown to be True God and True Man all at the same time. Consider these Scriptures: 
 
John 1:1-2 (KJV)
 In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
{2} The same was in the beginning with God.
 
Micah 5:2 (KJV)
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;
 whose goings forth have been from of old,
 from everlasting.
 
Isa 7:14 (KJV)
 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel.
(Note:”Immanuel” in Hebrew means: “With us is God”)
 
Isa 9:6 (KJV)
 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
 and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
 
John 8:58 (KJV)
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Before Abraham was, I am.
 
Exo 3:13-14 (KJV)
And Moses said unto God, Behold,
when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them,
The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you;
and they shall say to me, What is his name?
what shall I say unto them?
{14} And God said unto Moses,I AM THAT I AM:
and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel,
I AM hath sent me unto you.
 
Isa 43:10-13 (KJV)
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD,
and my servant whom I have chosen:
that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he:
before me there was no God formed,
neither shall there be after me.
{11} I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
 {12} I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed,
 when there was no strange god among you:
 therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.
{13} Yea, before the day was I am he;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand:
 I will work, and who shall let (hinder) it?
 
John 17:3-5 (KJV)
 And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
{4} I have glorified thee on the earth:
I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
{5} And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self
with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
 
John 13:3 (KJV)
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,
and that he was come from God,
and went to God; 

Phil 2:5-11 (KJV)
 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
 {6} Who, being{Grk=from the beginning} in the form of God,
thought it not robbery{Grk=a prize to be retained at all costs} to be equal with God:
{7} But made himself of no reputation{Grk=emptied Himself},
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
{8} And being found in fashion as a man,
 he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.
{9} Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name which is above every name:
 {10} That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
{11} And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
 

 

Col 1:12-22 (KJV)
 Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet{Grk=worthy} to be partakers
of the inheritance of the saints in light:
{13} Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness,
and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
{14} In whom we have redemption through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:
{15} Who is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn{Grk=foremost in importance} of every creature:
{16} For by him were all things created,
that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,
whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:
all things were created by him, and for him:
{17} And he is before all things,
and by him all things consist.
{18} And he is the head of the body, the church:
who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;
that in all things he might have the preeminence.
{19} For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
{20} And, having made peace through the blood of his cross,
by him to reconcile all things unto himself;
by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
{21} And you, that were sometime alienated
and enemies in your mind by wicked works,
yet now hath he reconciled {22} In the body of his flesh through death,
to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Tim 3:16 (KJV)
 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,
seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles,
believed on in the world, received up into glory.
 
Heb 1:1-3 (KJV)
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners
spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
{2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
whom he hath appointed heir of all things,
by whom also he made the worlds;
 {3} Who being the brightness of his glory,
and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the word of his power,
when he had by himself purged our sins,
 sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
 
Heb 13:8 (KJV)
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
 
Rev 1:8 (KJV)
 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord,
 which is, and which was, and which is to come,
the Almighty.
 
Rev 21:3-8 (KJV)
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,
and He will dwell with them,
and they shall be His people,
and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
{4} And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying,
neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.
 
{5} And he that sat upon the throne said,
Behold, I make all things new.
And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
{6} And he said unto me, It is done.
 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
 I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
 {7} He that overcometh shall inherit all things;
and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
{8} But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable,
and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers,
and idolaters, and all liars,
shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone:
which is the second death.
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HOW ANCIENT IS THE TRINITY DOCTRINE? by Wesley P. Walters

As different as para-Christian groups or cults are from each other, most have one thing in common: they hate the biblical teaching of the Trinity. They want their God to be simplistic, uncomplicated, and less complex than the world He created. They want a God reduced to terms they can get their finite minds around.

Modern advances in science have shown that the created world is an extremely complex mechanism. Those who work in nuclear physics or molecular biology are continually discovering the complexity of the world God has created.

In fact, some complex, seemingly contradictory data has yet to be fitted into a rational system that explains the relationships. A simple thing like “light” is known to move like “waves” yet strike like “particles.” Atomic physicists are still struggling to put together a theory that can fully explain this apparent contradiction.

Those who work in the complex mathematical equations of quantum mechanics are told by their instructors that “If you think that you really understand quantum mechanics and how it applies to reality, that proves you do not understand it.” One of the basic theorems is that if the speed of a particle is known, then its location can not be known, and the more accurately you know its location, the less accurately you know its speed. This does not seem very logical to the average person, but it works very well in atomic physics, in which scientists get very close to the essence of matter.

Thus, while scientists are continually learning more about how complex and even apparently contradictory the world of created reality is, cults that reject the complexity of the God who made this reality are proliferating. They, along with Moslems and modern Jews, taunt Christians, saying: “How can there be just one God, and yet the Father be God, the Son be God and the Holy Spirit be God? Is He the Son of Himself and the Father of both?”

Even though Christ Himself taught that the name [singular] of God in which we baptize is Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), all cults falsely assert that the doctrine of the Trinity is a teaching that grew out of fourth century paganism. So unified are the cults in this assertion that they appear to be using the same erroneous Church history book and parroting one another.

The truth is that by the time of Christ, the first century A.D., the Jews themselves, on the basis of the Old Testament, were coming to an understanding of the complexity of Yahweh.

The Teachings of The Targums

When the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity 450 years before the birth of Jesus, they had adopted Aramaic as their native language. Although it is a dialect of ancient Hebrew, Aramaic is about as different from it as modern Italian is from its classical Latin ancestor. Consequently, during the first and early second centuries A.D., Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Old Testament were made.

These translations, called Targums, were The Living Bibles of their day, an interpretive paraphrase of Scripture. They help us see how these first-century Jews understood their Old Testament.

One of the striking things these Targums show is that first century Jews had come to understand the phrase “the Word of God” as referring to a divine entity within God Himself, yet distinguishable at times from God. J.W. Etheridge, in the introduction to his translations of the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, has given us a number of examples of this Jewish understanding of the term, “the Word” (Aramaic: Memra).

In Genesis 18:1, where the Hebrew Bible says Yahweh (Jehovah) appeared to Abraham, the Targum says, “The Word of the Lord appeared to Abraham.” Further on, where the Hebrew reports “Yahweh rained down upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yahweh out of heaven,” the Targum states that “the Word of the Lord sent down upon them sulphur and fire from the presence of the Lord out of heaven.” (Genesis 19:24)

In Genesis 16, when Hagar sees “the Angel of the Lord,” the Targum says she saw “the Word of the Lord.” After seeing this “Word” (Memra) she says, “Here has been revealed the glory of the Shekineh of the Lord.” Then, according to the Jerusalem Targum, “Hagar returned thanks and prayed in the name of the Word of the Lord, who had appeared to her.” Thus the Word not only is regard- ed as the presence of deity, but is in some manner personally distinguishable from the Lord.

In Genesis 28:20 the Targum of Onkelos paraphrases Jacob’s vow, “If God will be with me… then Yahweh will be my God” with the words, “If the Word of the Lord will be my help… the Word of the Lord shall be my God.” Again, the Angel of Yahweh who spoke to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14) is designated by the Jerusalem Targum as “the Word of the Lord.”

The distinct personality of this Divine Word is seen pointedly in Jonathan’s Targum of Isaiah 63:7-10. There, where the Hebrew text speaks of Yahweh being their Savior, the Targum reads, “the Word (Memra) was their Redeemer.” (vs. 8) When the Israelites continued to disobey, then “His Word (Memra) became their enemy, and fought against them” — an action ascribed to Yahweh in the Hebrew text. Again in Isaiah 45:22 the Targum of Jonathan exhorts, “Look unto My Word and be saved.”

While this personalizing of the Word was being expressed in Palestine in the Targums of Jesus’ day, Philo, an Egyptian Jew and contemporary of Jesus, was expressing similar thoughts in even more distinct words. In his essay “On the Creation,” Philo states that man was not made in the image of some creature, but in the image of God’s own uncreated Word. He wrote: “for the Creator, we know, employed for its making no pattern taken from among created things, but solely, as I have said, His own Word.”

Philo continues: “Man was made a likeness and imitation of the Word, when the Divine Breath was breathed into his face. (“On the Creation,” XLVIII: 139, Loeb Edition I, pp. 110-111)

In his work on Noah, Philo again expresses the teaching that man is made by “the First Cause” (that is, God) in the image of “the Eternal Word:” “Our great Moses likened the fashion of the rea- sonable soul to no created thing, but averred it to be a genuine coinage of that dread Spirit, the Divine and Invisible One, signed and impressed by the seal of God, the stamp of which is the Eternal Word.”

He continues: “…man has been made after the Image of God (Genesis 1:27), not however after the image of anything created… man’s soul having been made after the image of the Archetype, the Word of the First Cause.” (“Noah’s Work as a Planter,” I:18-20, Loeb III, pp. 222-223)

Thus, the eternal Word is in some sense distinguishable from God, and yet at the same time is, like God, uncreated, rational and the bearer of the divine image. This comes very close to the teaching of the New Testament that the Word was distinguishable from God, and yet was God. As John 1:1 expresses it, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It also appears similar to Paul’s teaching that the Son is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15); and the writer of Hebrews statement that the Son “is the exact representation of His being.” (Hebrews 1:3)

Philo, however, goes further. He says that God is the king and shepherd of all creation, but rules and controls it through his eternally existing Word, whom Philo calls God’s “First-born Son.”

His “hallowed flock” of created things God directs by his divine laws, setting over it His true Word and first-born son, who shall take upon Him its government like some viceroy of a great king. (“On Husbandry,” I:51, Loeb III, pp. 134-135)

Philo has God expressing Himself in this manner: “I alone… sustained the Universe to rest firm and sure upon the Mighty Word, who is My viceroy.” (“On Dreams,” I:241, Loeb V, pp. 424- 425)

Therefore this eternal Word, God’s first-born Son, is the upholder of the whole creation, “the everlasting Word of the eternal God is the very sure and staunch prop of the Whole. He it is, who extending Himself from the midst to its utmost bounds… keeps up through all its length Nature’s unvanquished course, combining and compacting all its parts. For the Father who begat Him constituted His Word such a Bond of the Universe as nothing can break.” (“Noah’s Work as a Planter,” I:8-9, Loeb III, pp. 216-217)

This reflects the same thought that Paul expressed about the Son as being the one “in whom all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17) It also reminds also reminds us of Hebrews 1:3, which depicts the Son as “sustaining all things by his powerful Word.”

Philo continues his discussion of the Word by maintaining that to those incapable of seeing the supreme cause, God Himself, He appears to them in the form of His Angel, the Word: “For just as those who are unable to see the sun itself, see the gleam of the parahelion and take it for the sun, and take the halo round the moon for that luminary itself, so some regard the image of God, His Angel, the Word, as His very self.” (“On Dreams,” I:239, Loeb V, pp. 422-423) This sounds very similar to the teaching tha t the Son is “the radiance (or outshining) of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3), the only part of God’s nature that people are allowed to see. This is true because “no one has ever seen God,” but “the only begotten God… He has made Him known.” (John 1:18) Thus, Jesus, the Son, can say, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

Philo further explained that God, being light, is “the archetype of every other light.” As such He is “prior to and high above every archetype.” Thus He holds the position of “a model of a model,” that is, He is the model for His Word, which Word becomes the model for creation. The Word, therefore, contains all the qualities of God. As Philo expressed it, “the model or pattern was the Word which contained all His fullness — light, in fact.” (“On Dreams,” I:75, Loeb V, pp. 336-337) Paul expressed a similar thought when he wrote that in the Son all God’s fullness dwells. (Colossians 1:19; 2:9)

To Philo, therefore, the Word of God is the eternal, uncreated Word containing all the fullness of God and bearing His image. That divine image which the Word bears is the image in which man was created. The Word is further the sustainer, upholder and ruler of the world, carrying on the governing of all things, as God’s viceroy, and containing all God’s fullness.

While the Word is not a created thing and carries on all the functions of God, Philo is clear that there are not two gods — although he does not attempt to explain how this can be. Philo’s teaching is, therefore, very close to the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Philo reached his conclusions without the aid of the New Testament and certainly without deriving his ideas from pagan notions of deity. The Old Testament teaching that the Angel of Yahweh is really the presence of Yahweh Himself seems to have strongly influenced Philo’s ideas.

To relegate the doctrine of the Trinity, therefore, to a fourth- century adaptation of paganism is to ignore the conclusions that several Jewish theologians and teachers had reached four centuries earlier, from God’s revelations given to Israel before the time of the coming of Christ. At the very time that the Word was becoming flesh (John 1:1, 14), Jewish writers were already beginning to see that God’s Word could in some way be distinguished from God the Father Himself, yet have all the fullness of God contained in Him.

http://www.barr-family.com/godsword/trinity.htm

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Jesus Christ is the Creator

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The Bible teaches that God created everything that exists, whether spiritual or material. “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Ac. 17:24). “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11). “[Him] that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein…” (Rev. 10:6). Yet the Bible also teaches that Jesus Christ created everything. This can only mean that Jesus Christ is God, for only God who is uncreated has the power to create from nothing. The Bible teaches that creation from nothing was an act of the God. That explains why Genesis 1:26 says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Following are some verses of Scripture which teach that Christ is the Creator.

John 1:2-3-“He [Jesus Christ] was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made” (NKJV).

John 1:10-“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”

1 Corinthians 8:6-“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

Colossians 1:16-17-“For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Hebrews 1:2-3-“…his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power….”

Hebrews 2:10-“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things….”

Hebrews 3:3-4-“For this man [Jesus Christ] was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.”

http://www.seekgod.org/bible/jesusisgod.html

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This question was asked of me, “there are 34,000+ different Christian denominations today. Who is to say which churches constitute the congregations of ‘true Christians’?” My responce follows.
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I seen someone else make a similar statement about two weeks ago and have not had time to comment but would like to do so. The post I am commenting on used 19,000+ as the number of Christian denoms.

I would like to postulate a question that I believe statements like this beg to ask! I believe this is what people mean when they make such comments,,, “With between 19 and 34 thousand different Christian denominations,,,is it not ludicrous to think there is anything but confusion among christians as to what christianity is? Why should I consider joining such a confused bunch? Is there really any logical reason to consider Jesus Christ?”

It is my belief that people who make such claims, as there being 19 – 34 thousand denominations of Christianity, in a sense that there are that many different versions are really saying “you guys are fools and can’t even figure out ya’lls own religion”. Some may actually believe that there are many different versions of Christianity but I believe that most prop up such bogus ideas in there head to justify their denial of Jesus Christ.

FALSE TEACHERS, PROPHETS, GOSPELS AND A DIFFERENT JESUS

Every New Testament book except Philemon contains warnings against false teachings, false prophets and false gospels that teach a different Jesus and Spirit. Paul said there where false teachers among the Corinthians and Jesus said beware for many come false teachers have come to lead you astray. We are told that there are men who secretly introduce destructive heresies and that Satan and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness. We are even told that there are doctrines of demons.

To the church at Galatia Paul said “you are being thrown into confusion by people trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am astonished that you so quickly turn from the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel”. We are told to not accept any other gospels than the one preached by the apostles, even if they come from angels or the apostles themselves.

Satan is rightfully decrypted as adversary. Christianity is not dualistic ( there is not a bad god and a good god battling it out) and because God is sovereign ,Satan cannot be rightfully viewed as an adversary to God. He is just a created fallen angel. Satan opposes Gods plan of redemption. He does this by perverting the simple gospel of Grace and certain truths about the nature of God, Man, Angels and salvation.

ORTHODOXY VERSES HETERODOXY

The new testament and church history shows that Christianity has always made a valiant effort to keep the gospel from being perverted in the midst of constant attempts to redefine the essence of Christianity from both terrestrial and celestial sources. The book of Galatians notes that some where trying to lure the Christians in Galatia back into the legalistic systems of Judaism and the epistles of john tell us that Gnostic teachings where already on the rise.

Detractors always like to claim that Christianity was not a codified belief system until the creed producing church councils,, which they wrongfully say was the beginning of what we call the Church. Dan Brown claims that it was at these councils that Christianity was invented. But anyone who knows church history will tell you that these councils where required because false teachings came to attention and had to be dealt with. The church councils where not held to establish real or essential Christian doctrine but to refute false heretical teachings that had risen up in the church. Establishing essential doctrine was a by product of some of these councils and as Gnostic writings continued to appear on the scene these councils also established what is the (cannon) measure of or for inspired scripture. Christians have always struggled to keep out the heterodox beliefs and to the keeping in of the orthodox.

SOLA SCRIPTURA

History shows that Christianity was institutionalized as the state religion of the roman empire by Constantine. The Christians had been persecuted, even to death, for their beliefs about Jesus for many years and the reprieve was welcomed but wrought it’s own problems. The major problem was that religious belief cannot be mandated by a state since religious belief is soulish in nature and law cannot dictate personal belief. You can make a pagan say he believes in Jesus but you can’t make him actually believe in Jesus through force. In the generations after Constantine people where said to be Christian by virtue of the place of their birth (i.e. in Rome) not by virtue of their beliefs. All roman citizens where decreed to be Christians because of their birthplace but that did not make all Romans non pagans or actual Christians. Christianity was temporarily redefined by some.

I am not at home so I don’t have the specifics handy, but at one point a Pope made a decree that church tradition would be given as much emphasis as scripture regarding Christian beliefs. By elevating church tradition to the level of scripture as the authority for defining and living the Christian faith, the catholic church perverted the gospel as it had never been perverted before. The deification and worship of Mary, salvation by penance and works and many other heretical beliefs arose which required the protesting of the protestant movement. Once perverted the catholic church remained apostate and Christians required a separation and reformation. It was a return to the essential doctrines of Jesus and the apostles themselves.

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.

THE VISABLE AND INVISABLE CHURCH

Who is to say which churches constitute the congregations of ‘true Christians’?

I think it is fair and right to say that there are two real churches of Jesus Christ. The visible and the invisible. The cooperate and the spiritual. We must realize that the church is personal and spiritual and it is not an institution. There is not one denomination that is totally doctrinally correct. Denominations arise out of non essential matters such as which day is the Sabbath (SDA) and should we be baptized by immersion (Baptist) or sprinkling. If a denomination arises out of a misconstrued essential doctrine, it is not a denomination but a Christian cult.

It is safe to say that no church organization has the corner on True Christianity. There are true Christians within all Christian denoms and non denoms. There are false Christians within all denoms and non denoms. But there is exactly zero false Christians in the invisible church.

CONCLUSION

My conclusion is that it is not appropriate to say there are many Christian denominations and try to link any and all proclaimed denominations with true Christianity. The bible is full of warnings about false teachings, prophets, gospels spirits and even false Jesus‘. The bible even claims that it is a fallen angels agenda to pervert the truths contained in the bible. History shows the fight to keep Christianity from being redefined. It is absurd to say I will not consider Jesus because there is no unity in his followers because there is unity within diversity among the people of Jesus.

There are many individuals and groups that call themselves Christians but you don’t become a car by parking in a garage. You have to become a car to be a car by nature. A Christian is a Christian by virtue of what they believe about Jesus Christ. I have avoided defining what is essential Christian doctrine because I don’t have time but I will say it is safe to say if you don’t think Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Light,,,, ,your not a real Christian. It is safe to say that not all, but close to all Christian churches listed in my phone book believe he IS The Way The Truth and The Light. It is safe to say that of 19 – 34 thousand alleged Christian denominations that there is only one true church and it is called the body of Christ of which Jesus is the head. The true church is not a denomination. The true church are people that hold to essential Christian doctrine.

It should be no surprise that there is unity within diversity within true Christianity. To be otherwise would be authoritarianism.

Had to get that off my chest, thanx.
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I am sorry for being so wordy in this post. I have been afk and been itching to express my opinion.

For anyone not taking the time to read all of this post I would like to ask how many Christian cults are there? And what doctrines are essential to “true” Christianity

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