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Five Historical Facts About Jesus That Will Never Change…Whether You Believe Them or Not!

1. Jesus existed—He was a real person who actually lived in history. No one doubts that.

a. Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, devotes 20,000 words to the person of Jesus Christ and never once hints that He didn’t exist.

b. Non-Christian sources mention Jesus:

• Tacitus, a Roman historian (55-120 A.D.): “Christus (Christ),… suffered then extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate.” (Annals 15:44)

• Josephus (38-97 A.D.) wrote, “Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die…. His disciples… reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive.” (James H. Charlesworth, Jesus Within Judaism (Garden City: Doubleday, 1988), p. 95)

Therefore, you can’t discount Jesus!

2. We have reliable eyewitness testimony to Jesus’ life in the New Testament documents.

a. There are 8 writers who claimed to be either eyewitnesses or to have had contact with eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and the writer of Hebrews.

b. These men claim to have written carefully researched accounts of their testimony:

• Luke 1:1-4— Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly ac-count for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

• 2 Peter 1:16—For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again. We have seen his majestic splendor with our own eyes.

c. These accounts were written in the 1st century—well within the lifetime of eyewitnesses:

• “In my opinion, every book of the New Testament was written by a baptized Jew between the 40’s and the 80’s of the first century A.D. (very probably sometime between about A.D. 50 and 75.)” (Dr. William F. Albright, Christianity Today, January 18, 1963)

If Jesus died in 30 A.D., then some of these books were in circulation 7 years later, all within 45 years.

d. Four things missing from the book of Acts prove it was written prior to 70 A.D.:

• The destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) is not mentioned.
• The death of Paul (c. 64 A.D.) is not mentioned.
• The persecutions by Nero (64 A.D., 68 A.D.) are not mentioned
• The deaths of other key leaders (i.e., Peter (65 A.D.), James (62 A.D.) are not mentioned

Why didn’t Luke (the author) say anything about these major events and leaders? Because these events happened after he wrote his book. That’s why many scholars date Acts around 64 A.D. If Acts was Luke’s second book (Acts 1:1), then Luke was written before that. Matthew came before Luke, and almost all believe Mark came before either Luke or Matthew.

Therefore, you can’t dismiss Jesus!

3. There can be no doubt that Jesus claimed to be God.

a. Mark 14:61-62—But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

b. Jesus said:

• To know Him was to know God (Jn 8:19)
• To see Him was to see God (Jn 14:9)
• To believe in Him was to believe in God (Jn 14:1)
• To receive Him was to receive God (Mt 10:40)
• To hate Him was to hate God (Jn 15:23)
• To honor Him was to honor God (Jn 5:23)

Therefore, you can’t disregard Jesus!

4. Jesus said He was the ONLY way to God:

• John 14:6—I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

• 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.

• Acts 4:12—Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

• 1 Tim 2:5—For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and people. He is the man Christ Jesus.

• John 3:14-18—And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of Man, must be lifted up on a pole, so that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish
but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God.

There are not 5 or 6 different ways to God. In fact, there are not even 2 different ways. Jesus says He is it! You won’t get there without Him.

Therefore, you can’t bypass Jesus!

5. Jesus proved WHAT and WHO He was by rising from the dead. No other religious leader pulled that off.

a. There are 4 facts that have forced even skeptics to accept that Jesus rose from the dead:

• Jesus was buried in a tomb—both His friends and His enemies knew where it was (Matt. 27:62-66)

• The tomb was found empty early Sunday morning. (Want proof? Look at Matthew 28:11-15 where Jesus’ enemies cook up a story to explain why it was empty!)

• Jesus’ disciples and a lot of other people saw Him ALIVE after they had seen him killed and buried (1 Cor. 15:3-9).

• Jesus’ disciples believed that He had risen. So much so that they were willing to die for their belief. (Which is amazing when you consider that Peter had already proved he could crack under very little pressure—see Matthew 26:69-75)

Paul said, in 55 A.D.:

• 1 Corinthians 15:3-4—I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me—that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said.

• Romans 1:4—And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit.

• Ephesians 1:19-20—I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

• 1 Peter 1:3—…Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead.

• 1 Peter 3:18—Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. Jesus is alive. All other religious leaders are dead. Which would you rather
trust—a living Lord or a dead guru?

• Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. (Romans 10:9, The Message)

Therefore, you can believe—with confidence—that Jesus is the only TRUTH that really matters!

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WHAT DO THEY THINK OF CHRIST?

AETHERIUS SOCIETY – UFO group messages from “Master Jesus” in outer space.

AHMADIYYA MOVEMENT – (Islam) Jesus a prophet only.

ALAMO CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION -Correct doctrine on Jesus but cultish in their denunciation of other Christians.

AMORC – (See Rosicrucianism)

ANANDA MARGA YOGA SOCIETY – Founder Maha-Guru is an incarnation of God.

ANTHROPOSOPHICAL SOCIETY – Jesus just man until age 30, and then received “Christ Essence”.

ARICA INSTITUTE INC. – “Christ cannot be God”.

ARMSTRONGISM (WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD)- Since death of H.W.Armstrong in a state of doctrinal changes. Church split with new groups forming. See Philadelphia Church.

ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH – Denies Trinity.

ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH AND ENLIGHTENMENT (EDGAR CAYCE) – A portion of God called Soul reincarnated eventually as Christ.

ASTARA – Speak of “Cosmic Christ”. Deny His eternal nature.

BABA RAM DASS (HANUMAN FOUNDATION) – Disciples encouraged to acknowledge their inner divinity and oneness with universal deity. Hinduistic.

THE BAHA’I FAITH – Christ one of the 9 great manifestations of divinity. Baha’u’allah greater.

BAWA MUHAIYADDEEN FELOWSHIP- Man becomes God.

BHAGWAN SHREE RAJNEESH- (See Rajneesh Meditation Centers.)

BLACK MUSLIM- Jesus was black and only a prophet. Allah incarnate is Wallace Ford.

BRANHAMISM – Jesus created, not eternal.

BROTHER JULIUS – Believes he is incarnation of Jesus.

BUBBA FREE JOHN (DAWN HORSE FELLOWSHIP; FREE PRIMATIVE CHURCH OF DIVINE COMMUNION; FREE COMMUNITY ORDER; LAUGHING MAN INST.) – Claims he is incarnation of God; a guru to be worshipped; equal with Christ.

BUDDHISM – Christ not recognized as Deity. Zen Buddhism also does not affirm the existence of the living God.

CABALA (KABBALAH) – Doctrine of Deity recognizes only two deities-the hidden god; the infinite great divine Nothing; and the dynamic god of religious experience. Mystical.

CENTER FOR SPIRITUAL AWARENESS – (CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL ALLIANCE) – Jesus a man who reached “Christ-consciousness”.

CHILDREN OF GOD (FAMILY OF LOVE) – Began fundamentalist but degenerated into Occult.

CHRISTADELPHIANS – Jesus did not exist before birth to Mary. Not God.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE -Christ is a Divine Idea and his blood doesn’t cleanse us.

CHURCH OF ARMAGEDDON (LOVE FAMILY) – Follow prophet “Love Israel”. Use Yoga & drugs.

CHURCH OF GOD INTERNATIONAL)(Garner Ted Armstrong) follows original teachings of Herbert W Armstrong. Denies Trinity, God is a family.

CHURCH OF BIBLE UNDERSTANDING (FOREVER FAMILY)- Founder Traill is one true access to bible understanding; denies Trinity.

THE CHURCH OF GOD INTERNATIONAL -(See Armstrongism.)

CHURCH OF THE LIVING WORD (THE WALK) – Followers become the Living Word (Christ) to the world.

CHURCH UNIVERSAL AND TRIUMPHANT (SUMMIT INT.; SUMMIT LIGHTHOUSE) – Jesus a man with Christ-consciousness within him.

COONEYITES (TWO BY TWOS) -Jesus inherited Adam’s fallen sin nature and did not finish His earthly mission, but they are doing so.

DAWN BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOC. (FRANK AND ERNEST) – Jesus created; not God. Deny Trinity.

DIANETICS – (See Scientology)

DHYANA-MA-NDIRAM – Jesus one of many reincarnations of God.

DIVINE LIGHT M ISSION OF GURU MAHARAJ JI – Followers believe their Guru is Christ come again.

ECKANKAR (THE ANCIENT ART OF SOUL TRAVEL) – Christ is “god as all men are god”.

EMISSARIES OF DIVINE LIGHT (ONTOLOGISTS) – Do not accept the atoning work of Christ; Mystical.

ESALEN INSTITUTE – “Human Potential” movement; Mystical.

EST (ERHARD SEMINAR TRAININGS) THE FORUM) – Teach that each person is a god himself.

ETERNAL FLAME – Chas. Paul Brown, the leader, claims to be the very body and blood of Christ.

FAMILY OF LOVE – (See Children of God)

THE FARM – Jesus a man indwelt by Christ-consciousness.

FINDHORN FOUNDATION UNIVERSITY OF LIGHT – Separate Jesus and Christ. Appear to be pantheistic and believe in plant spirits.

FOREVER FAMILY – (See Church of Bible Understanding)THE FORUM- (see est)

THE FOUNDATION FAITH OF THE MILLENNIUM- Deny deity of Christ, only a prophet.

FOUNDATION OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING (ROY MASTERS) – Neglects Christ or mentions him in a negative context.

FRANK & ERNEST – (See Dawn Bible Students Assoc.)

FREE MASONRY – Jesus a man like us.

HARE KRISHNA (ISKON) – Jesus one of their gurus, but Hare Krishna is their God.

HINDUISM – No need of a personal savior; each one attains to becoming “a god” or attaining “cosmic consciousness”.

THE HOLY ORDER OF MANS – Jesus a man indwelt by Christ consciousness.”

“I AM” MOVEMENT – Jesus one of many ascended masters.

IGLESIA NI CRISTO – Jesus a great savior, but not true God.

INNER PEACE MOVEMENT – Jesus a man who reached “Christ-consciousness”. God is impersonal.

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OF CHRIST (THE JAMILIANS) – Christ came again in the form of Jamil Sean Savoy (Born 1959, died 1962). Christ a “universal force” to be experienced but not worshipped.

ISKON – (See Hare Krishna)

ISLAM – Jesus a prophet of Allah who was superceded by Muhammed.

JAINISM – Deny existence of Creator. Non-theistic humanists.

JAMILIANS – See International Community of Christ)

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES THE WATCHTOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY) – Jesus created as Archangel Michael/lesser god; became only a good man, died, ceased to exist, re-created as Michael again in heaven. Not God. Deny Trinity.

KABALARIANS – Speak of “Christ Principle” born within every individual. (See Cabala)

KRISHNAMURTI FOUNDATION OF AMERICA-Disciples worship him as incarnation of God without his approval.

LATTER DAY SAINTS – (See Mormons)

LAYMEN’S HOME MISSIONARY MOVEMENT – Christ is not God.

LIFESPRING – Similar to EST.

LOVE FAMILY- (See Church of Armageddon)

MAHIKARI – Both Jesus and Buddha are regarded as refined spiritual beings able to radiate true light in their day.

MEGIDDO MISSION – Jesus wholly human in his nature.

THE MIND SCIENCES – God is a principle.

MOONIES (THE UNIFICATION CHURCH; THE HOLY SPIRIT ASSOC.; HOLY SPIRIT ASSOC. FOR THE UNIFICATION OF WORLD CHRISTIANITY; THE UNIFIED FAMILY; INTERNATIONAL ONE WORLD CRUSADE; INTERFAITH ENDEAVOR; ETC. ETC.) – Christ failed in His earthly mission leaving Rev. Moon to finish the task. Many believe Moon to be “Lord of the Second Advent.”

MORMONS (THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS) – Jesus was born in heaven as the spirit child of Elohim (Heavenly Father) by one of his wives, and Jesus’ brother was Lucifer, who became Satan. Jesus one of many gods.

MUKTANANDA PARAMAHANSA (SHREE GURUDEV SIDDHA YOGA ASHRAM) – Each person strives for his own “God-realization”.

NEO-GNOSTICISM – Jesus one who possessed a “higher consciousness”. Did not die for man’s sins.

NEW AGE MOVEMENT – Promises to produce “Messiah” out of a coalition of cult/occult groups.

NICHIREN SHOSHU SOKA GAKKAI – True God replaced by Gautama Buddha and Nichiren. Bible replaced.

ONTOLOGISTS – (See Emmissaries of Divine Light) Spirit.

PENITENTES (BROTHER OF OUR FATHER JESUS) – Atonement comes by personal bloodshed rather than Christ’s death and suffering.

PEACE MISSION MOVEMENT- Sometimes states that Jesus is God, but leader George Baker has also claimed to be God and Holy Spirit.

PEOPLES TEMPLE CHRISTIAN CHURCH -Jim Jones considered himself the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and led over 900 followers to their deaths.

PHILADELPHIA CHURCH – Recently formed breakaway group from World Wide Church of God. Carries on with old Armstrongism teachings. Denies Trinity, God is a Family.

PROCESS CHURCH OF THE FINAL JUDGEMENT – Jesus a man.

PSYCHIANA – Jesus a human life acting out the God-power.

RADHA SOAMI SOCIETY – Jesus one of many lords.

RAJNEESH MEDITATION CENTERS (ORANGE PEOPLE) – God is not a person. Existence is without cause.

REORGANIZED CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS – Jesus Christ existed with God in the beginning, sharing in creation.

REV. IKE (FREDERICK EIKERENKOETTER) – Deity is “the presence of God in you”. There are no literal, spiritual realities.

ROSICRUCIANISM (ROSICRUCI ; AMORC) – Reincarnated man is a manifestation of the cosmic Christ.

RUHANI SATSANG – Jesus Christ essentially a man of the East.

SANATANA DHARMA FOUNDATION – Jesus is a man who achieved a divine state through meditation.

SATHYA SAI BABA – Claims to be Christ and has achieved “God-realization”.

SCIENTOLOGY – All are gods including Christ.

SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP – Separates Jesus and Christ. Jesus was indwelt by “Christ-consciousness”.

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM -Believe Jesus is God but also that he is Michael. Christ did not complete atonement at Calvary.

SHREE GURU DEV SIDDHA YOGA ASHRAM – Believes leader is God.

SIKHISM – If a person works his way to salvation he is absorbed into the formless God.

SILVA MIND CONTROL -Seek oneness with pantheistic deity; speak of “Christ awareness”.

SPIRITUAL ADVANCEMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL FOUNDATION – Their leader, Sai Baba, is Jesus Christ who was returned. Man forgets he is God.

SPIRITUAL FRONTIERS FELLOWSHIP – Jesus the man died but Christ lived. Uses seances.

SPIRITUALISTS – Jesus was a Jewish medium.

SRI CHINMOY CENTERS – God is seen as consciousness and light. Divinity is within.

STILL POINT INSTITUTE – Christ is an evolutive god, a cosmic Christ.

SUBUD (GURDJIEFF; RENAISSANCE FELLOWSHIP OF FRIENDS) – God is a “great life force” flowing through everything and is felt by inner vibrations. Impersonal.

SUFISM – God-consciousness by whirling dancing.

SUFISM REORIENTED INC. – Meher Baba claimed to be Christ incarnate.

SUMMIT LIGHTHOUSE (SUMMI NTERNATIONAL) (See Church Universal and Triumphant)

SWAMI KRIYANANDA – Followers seek God-realization; Hinduistic.

SWAMI RAMI (HIMALAYAN INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF YOGA SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY) Combines Indian religious philosophy with psychological therapeutic techniques.

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA (VEDANTA SOCIETY) – Mystical Hinduism; Ramakrishna worthy of same devotion as Christ.

SWEDENBORGISM – Calls Jesus god but denies the personality of the Holy Spirit.

TAOISM – Worships creator-principle of the Tao (“The Force”) Ignores Christ.

THEOSOPHY – Christ is the reincarnation of the world’s soul.

THE 3 HO FOUNDATION (YOGI BHAJAN; SIKH FOUNDATION) – God is cosmic consciousness. Pantheistic.

T.M. (TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION) – Christ is a prophet. Mankind can meditate into God-awareness without a mediator.

THE UNIFICATION CHURCH – (See Moonies)

UNITY (UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY) – Jesus was a perfect man indwelt by the Christ consciousness present in everybody.

UNITARIANS (UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOC.) – Jesus extraordinarily good man only.

UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH – Denies Trinity.

URANTIA – Jesus a “Creator Son” called “Michael”.

THE WALK – (See Church of the Living Word)

THE WATCHTOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY – (See Jehovah’s Witnesses)

THE WAY INTERNATIONAL – Jesus is not God.

WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD – (See Armstrongism)

YOGA – A series of exercises designed to align your body to absorb the cosmic force.

ANANDA MARGA YOGA – Jesus is considered God, but you, too, will become God.

INTEGRAL YOGA INSTITUTE – God has no name, no form, no place. Evil is also God.

SIVANANDA YOGA VENDENTA CENTERS – God (or Christ) is not a person or spirit, but consciousness.

TANTRIC YOGA – Achieving God realization by sexual means.

ZOROASTRIANISM – Does not recognize personal God.

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Not all religions are Christian.
There is a difference.

The Gospel message of Salvation is clear:

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

No one comes to the Father except through Him.

http://mmoutreach.org/other_cults/articles/what_do_they_think_of_christ.htm

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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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