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Occultic and Masonic Influence in Early Mormonism By Joel B. Groat

The evidence of Joseph Smith’s close connection to occultism and Freemasonry, and how this influenced the origin and development of the LDS Church is not well known outside of scholarly circles. This article summarizes the evidence for Joseph’s personal involvement in both Freemasonry and occultism, and their influence on the Mormon religion.

“There is absolutely no question in my mind that the Mormon ceremony which came to be known as the Endowment, introduced by Joseph Smith to Mormon Masons, had an immediate inspiration from Masonry.”
— Dr. Reed Durham, LDS Historian

Mormonism’s Link to Occultism

Both Joseph Smith and his father were involved in the occult practice known as “money digging.” This involved special rituals and ceremonies which were performed for the purpose of obtaining buried treasure thought to be guarded by evil spirits. Accounts of money digging during the late 1700s and early 1800s are documented in Alan Taylor’s article “Treasure Seeking in the American Northeast, 1780-1830”, published in American Quarterly, 38 [Spring 1986], pp. 6-34. This article specifically mentions Joseph Smith, Sr., and Jr., on pages 10-12, giving examples of their money digging activities. LDS seminary teacher Grant Palmer also documents the Smith family’s occult beliefs and practices, as well as those of their close associates, in his book An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, (SLC, Signature Books, 2002, pp. 175-195).

Joseph’s Involvement in Occultism. Joseph Smith, Jr.’s role in the quest for treasure was especially important since he had a seer stone. Joseph would place this small, special rock in his hat then pull the hat up to his face to block out all light. By doing this he claimed he could see supernaturally, and would help those who were digging by locating the place where the treasure was buried and observing the spirits that were guarding it. Joseph Jr., himself admitted to being a money digger, though he said it was never very profitable for him (History of the Church, V. 3, p. 29). He and his father’s money digging continued until at least 1826. On March 20th of that year Joseph was arrested, brought before a judge, and charged with being a “glass-looker” and a disorderly person. The laws at that time had what was known as the “Vagrant Act.” It defined a disorderly person as one who pretended to have skill in the areas of palmistry, telling fortunes or discovering where lost goods might be found. According to court records Justice Neely determined that Joseph was guilty, though no penalty was administered, quite possibly because this was a first offense (Inventing Mormonism, Marquardt and Walters, SLC: Signature Books, 1994, pp. 74-75).

Occultism and the Start of Mormonism. Shortly after this Joseph discontinued money digging but kept his seer stone. It was with the seer stone that he claimed to both find the plates and later produce the Book of Mormon. This was known by early converts but has since been replaced with later accounts of an angelic visitor. This transition was aided by downplaying the fact that Moroni was a dead Indian warrior, and by referring to him as an angel. Former BYU professor and historian D. Michael Quinn writes:

During this period from 1827 to 1830, Joseph Smith abandoned the company of his former money-digging associates, but continued to use for religious purposes the brown seer stone he had previously employed in the treasure quest. His most intensive and productive use of the seer stone was in the translation of the Book of Mormon. But he also dictated several revelations to his associates through the stone (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, D. Michael Quinn, Signature Books, SLC, 1987, p. 143.

This fact is supported by LDS author Richard S. Van Wagoner who found,

This stone, still retained by the First Presidency of the LDS Church, was the vehicle through which the golden plates were discovered and the medium through which their interpretation came (Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, Signature Books, SLC, 1994, p. 57).

Thus we see that historians have documented a continuity between Joseph’s early occultic practices and the origins of Mormonism. This link extends to the development of the LDS Temple ceremony.

Occultic Parallels in the LDS Temple Ceremony. Historian D. Michael Quinn has done extensive research on rites and ancient mysteries related to occultism. He states,

By drawing only on authorized descriptions of the endowment by LDS leaders, I believe it is possible to see within historical context how the Mormon endowment reflected the ancient and occult mysteries far closer than Freemasonry (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p. 186).

Quinn then outlines the following ten essential characteristics common to both occult rituals and the Mormon Temple ceremonies:

  • They are revealed by God from the beginning, but distorted through apostasy.
     
  • They place an emphasis on the worthiness of initiates.
     
  • They include washings and anointings, a new name and garments
     
  • They emphasize vows of non-disclosure.
     
  • There are both “lesser” and “greater” rituals.
     
  • They feature presentation of the ritual through drama.
     
  • They contain an oath of chastity requiring strict purity and virtue of the participants.
     
  • They feature prominent use of the sun, moon and stars as key symbols.
     
  • The purpose of the ritual is to assist mortals to attain to godhood.
     
  • They employ titles and offices of prophets, priests and kings to those in leadership.

After presenting this material Quinn comments,

To be sure Masonic rituals also shared some similarities with the ancient mysteries, but these were not linked to any concept of heavenly ascent, which was fundamental to both the occult mysteries and to the Mormon endowment. Therefore, what similarities may exist between Freemasonry and Mormonism seem more appropriately to be regarded as superficial, whereas the ancient occult mysteries and the Mormon endowment manifest both philosophical and structural kinship. (Ibid., p. 190).

Mormonism and Masonry

Masonry’s influence on Mormonism and Joseph Smith has been noted by a number of historians. Some of the areas impacted by Masonic lore and ritual include the Book of Mormon, Joseph’s personal life, and the LDS temple ceremony.

Masonic Themes Related to the Book of Mormon. John L. Brooke in his book The Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844, noted the following in reference to the story of the discovery of the gold plates and the narrative structure of the Book of Mormon:

Freemasonry provides a point of entry into this very complex story. As it had been in Vermont, Masonic fraternity was a dominant feature of the cultural landscape in Joseph Smith’s Ontario County …. The dense network of lodges and chapters helps explain the Masonic symbolism that runs through the story of the discovery of the Golden Plates. Most obviously, the story of their discovery in a stone vault on a hilltop echoed the Enoch myth of Royal Arch Freemasonry, in which the prophet Enoch, instructed by a vision, preserved the Masonic mysteries by carving them on a golden plate that he placed in an arched stone vault marked with pillars, to be rediscovered by Solomon. In the years to come the prophet Enoch would play a central role in Smith’s emerging cosmology. Smith’s stories of his discoveries got more elaborate with time, and in June 1829 he promised Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris that they would see not only the plates but other marvelous artifacts: the Urim and Thummim attached to a priestly breastplate, the ‘sword of Laban,’ and ‘miraculous directors.’ Oliver Cowdery and Lucy Mack Smith later described three or four small pillars holding up the plates. All of these artifacts had Masonic analogues.

… Smith’s sources for these Masonic symbols were close at hand. Most obviously, Oliver Cowdery would have been a source, given that his father and brother were Royal Arch initiates; one Palmyra resident remembered Oliver Cowdery as ‘no church member and a Mason.’ … A comment by Lucy Mack Smith in her manuscript written in the 1840s, protesting that the family did not abandon all household labor to try ‘to win the faculty of Abrac, drawing magic circles, or sooth-saying,’ suggests a familiarity with Masonic manuals: the ‘faculty of Abrac’ was among the supposed Masonic mysteries (Refiner’s Fire, Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 157-158).

However, it wasn’t until later in life that Joseph’s involvement became more personal.

Joseph’s Personal Involvement in Freemasonry. Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe stated:

Many of the Saints were Masons, such as Joseph’s brother Hyrum, Heber C. Kimball, Elijah Fordham, Newel K. Whitney, James Adams, and John C. Bennett …. With the acquiescence of the Prophet, members of the Church already Masons petitioned the Grand Master of Illinois for permission to set up a lodge in Nauvoo …. it was March 15, 1842, before authority was given to set up a lodge in Nauvoo and to induct new members. Joseph Smith became a member (Evidences and Reconciliations, 1 volume, pp. 357-358).

Joseph Smith admitted to being a Mason in his History of the Church, volume 4, page 551. Under the date of March 15, 1842 it reads: “In the evening I received the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office.” The record for the next day reads, “I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree” (page 552).

How did Joseph’s Masonic membership affect the development of the Mormon Church? The most significant area appears to be in the development of the Mormon temple ceremonies. As noted above, Joseph became a Mason on March 15, 1842 and “rose to the sublime degree” the following day. Less than two months later, on May 4, 1842, Joseph introduced the temple endowment ceremony (History of the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 1-2).

Masonry and Mormon Temple Ceremonies. The pervasive influence of Freemasonry in Mormon Temples is expressed well by LDS historian Dr. Reed Durham. Dr. Durham, who has served as president of the Mormon History Association, provides a number of interesting parallels between the two. He gives these as evidence for Masonry’s clear influence on Mormonism.

I am convinced that in the study of Masonry lies a pivotal key to further understanding Joseph Smith and the Church. . . . Masonry in the Church had its origin prior to the time Joseph Smith became a Mason …. It commenced in Joseph’s home when his older brother became a Mason. Hyrum received the first three degrees of Masonry in Mount Moriah Lodge No. 112 of Palmyra, New York, at about the same time that Joseph was being initiated into the presence of God . . The many parallels found between early Mormonism and the Masonry of that day are substantial…

I have attempted thus far to demonstrate that Masonic influences upon Joseph in the early Church history, preceding his formal membership in Masonry, were significant. However, these same Masonic influences exerted a more dominant character as reflected in the further expansion of the Church subsequent to the Prophet’s Masonic membership. In fact, I believe that there are few significant developments in the Church, that occurred after March 15 1842, which did not have some Masonic interdependence. Let me comment on a few of these developments. There is absolutely no question in my mind that the Mormon ceremony which came to be known as the Endowment, introduced by Joseph Smith to Mormon Masons, had an immediate inspiration from Masonry. This is not to suggest that no other source of inspiration could have been involved, but the similarities between the two ceremonies are so apparent and overwhelming that some dependent relationship cannot be denied. They are so similar, in fact, that one writer was led to refer to the Endowment as Celestial Masonry.

It is also obvious that the Nauvoo Temple architecture was in part, at least, Masonically influenced. Indeed, it appears that there was an intentional attempt to utilize Masonic symbols and motifs …

Another development in the Nauvoo Church, which has not been so obviously considered as Masonically inspired, was the establishment of the Female Relief Society. This organization was the Prophet’s intentional attempt to expand Masonry to include the women of the Church. That the Relief Society was organized in the Masonic Lodge room, and only one day after Masonry was given to the men, was not happenstance …. included in the actual vocabulary of Joseph Smith’s counsel and instructions to the sisters were such words as: ancient orders, examinations, degrees, candidates, secrets, lodges, rules, signs, tokens, order of the priesthood, and keys; all indicating that the Society’s orientation possessed Masonic overtones.

…. I suggest that enough evidence presently exists to declare that the entire institution of the political kingdom of God, including the Council of Fifty, the living constitution, the proposed flag of the kingdom, and the anointing and coronation of the king, had its genesis in connection with Masonic thoughts and ceremonies …. it appears that the Prophet first embraced Masonry, and, then in the process, he modified, expanded, amplified, or glorified it …. The Prophet believed that his mission was to restore all truth, and then to unify and weld it all together into one. This truth was referred to as ‘the Mysteries,’ and these Mysteries were inseparably connected with the Priesthood …. Can anyone deny that Masonic influence on Joseph Smith and the Church, either before or after his personal Masonic membership? The evidence demands comments …

There are many questions which still demand the answers …. if we, as Mormon historians, respond to these questions and myriads like them relative to Masonry in an ostrich-like fashion, with our heads buried in the traditional sand, then I submit: there never will be ‘any help for the widow’s son’ (Mormon Miscellaneous, October 1975, pp. 11-16, as cited in Changing World of Mormonism, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, 1981, pp. 546-547).

These statements demonstrate that much of the religious ritual within Mormonism finds its origin in both occultism and Freemasonry. It is not surprising that there is an overlap between occultism and Freemasonry within Mormonism since Masonry itself draws from occult lore and ritual. What becomes obvious is that Joseph neglected the Bible’s clear prohibition regarding occult involvement. This is found in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 which states in part,

… thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shalt not be found among you any one that … useth divination, or is an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits [demons], or a wizard, or a necromancer [one who communicates with the dead]. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD.


Resources

The following resources contain a more extensive treatment of Joseph Smith’s magical and occultic practices and worldview:

John L. Brooke, The Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844, Cambridge University Press, NY, 1994, 421 pages. This non-Mormon author is an associate professor in the Department of History at Tufts University.

Grant H. Palmer, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, (Signature Books, SLC, 2002, 281 pages). Palmer is an LDS seminary teacher and three-time director of LDS Institutes of Religion in California and Utah.

D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Signature Books, SLC, revised and enlarged edition 1998, 646 pages. This work is comprehensive and thoroughly documented. The author is a former BYU professor and one of the most respected historians of Mormonism.

Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism, Magic and Masonry, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, SLC, 1983, 97 pages. This former Mormon husband and wife research/publishing team are well-known for their carefully documented critiques of Mormonism.

http://www.irr.org/mit/masonry.html

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Mormonism and
“That’s Just His Opinion”

 

© Spotlight Ministries, Vincent McCann, 2004
http://www.spotlightministries.org.uk

Often, when Mormons are presented with statements from their leaders that could cause some difficulty for them, many will respond by saying something like “Oh, that’s just his opinion. Its not the official view of the Mormon Church.” Often, when Mormons talk about official doctrines of the Church they usually mean the Standard Works: The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

Although many Mormons do not view other LDS writings as official Scripture (for example, The Seer or The Journal of Discourses), it should be remembered that many of these writings consist of the words of very prominent leaders in the Mormon Church. As such individuals commanded great respect they were certainly influential over the rank and file. Their statements must have carried some weight. Mormon leaders in prominent positions, like Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, and Bruce R. McConkie, influenced those who looked to them for leadership. The words of these early LDS leaders did not just go out into a vacuum, they went the hearts and minds of the Mormon people and were incorporated into their beliefs.

It would also seem that many Mormon leaders have tended to view their words as carrying a great deal of weight. For example, regarding the sermons of Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses it is interesting to look at some of Young’s words himself as to how he viewed what was contained in the Discourses:

 

“I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them to the celestial kingdom, as I know the road to my office…I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve.” (Journal of Discourses, vol.13.p.95. Also see vol.13.p.264).

Even though it is fashionable for today’s Mormons to say that they will not accept statements which are not officially classed as revelation, or Scripture, I came across the following quote of a BYU professor which I thought was interesting regarding this very issue:

 

“…While certain doctrines are enunciated in the standard works and some doctrinal issues have been addressed in formal pronouncements by the First Presidency, there is nothing in Mormonism comparable to the Westminster Confession of Faith of the Augsberg Confession. Few of the truly distinctive doctrines of Mormonism are discussed in official sources. It is mainly by unofficial means — Sunday School lessons, seminary, institute, and BYU religion classes, sacrament meeting talks and books by Church officials and others who ultimately speak only for themselves — that the theology is passed from one generation to the next. Indeed it would seem that a significant part of Mormon theology exists primarily in the minds of the members… the absence of a formal creed means that each generation must produce a new set of gospel expositors to restate and reinterpret the doctrines of Mormonism.” (Peter Crawley, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1982).

Related to the above observations from the BYU professor, it can be pointed out that there are some doctrines of Mormonism that are simply not found in the official Standard Works. The LDS doctrine of their being a “Mother in Heaven” is one example. Nowhere is this doctrine found in any of the official Standard Works of the Church. However, such a doctrine is vital in the Mormon concept of eternal progression. If God was not married to His wife in Mormonism then He could never have become God in the first place.

Some Mormons will object that unless a statement by an LDS Church leader opens with the statement “Thus saith the Lord”, then it can be set aside as the mere opinion of the speaker. However, not everyone would agree with this. In 1980 prominent Mormon leaders gave a speech which contained the following words:

 

“SIXTH: The Prophet Does Not Have to Say “Thus Saith the Lord” to Give Us Scripture. Sometimes there are those who haggle over words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel but that we are not obligated to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet, “Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you.” (D&C 21:4.) And speaking of taking counsel from the Prophet, in D&C 108:1, the Lord states: “Verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Lyman: Your sins are forgiven you, because you have obeyed my voice in coming up hither this morning to receive counsel of him whom I have appointed.” Said Brigham Young, “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture.” (JD 13:95.)” (Following the Brethren, Speeches By Mormon Apostles Ezra Taft Benson and Bruce R. McConkie, March 1980. Full speech online at the following link: Following the Brethren).

Furthermore, the popular, and widely distributed, LDS Church manual Gospel Principles clearly states that the inspired words of the living prophet are supposed to be accepted as scripture by Latter-day Saints. (Gospel Principles, p. 55).

Another objection that some members of the Mormon Church may bring against the words of past LDS leaders is that it was all in the past and that the Church has moved on since then. But the problem with this view is that the entire existence of the Mormon Church is based on the historical events that it appeared in in the early 19th century. Also, modern officially endorsed Mormon publications such as the books in the series entitled: Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, contain prolific quotes from early Mormon publications. So past LDS leaders are still influencing modern Mormons even though the quotes that are given are given selectively.

The conclusion of all this is that it is too easy for Mormons to brush aside something uncomfortable that they might hear from a Mormon leader as “just his opinion”, but the truth is that the words of these leaders do carry great weight and influence over the rank and file. In addition to this, as the quotations in this brief article demonstrate, there are Mormon leaders who feel that writings and speeches by Mormon leaders are authoritative even though they may not be contained in the Standard Works.

 

http://www.cultnews.net/

Appeals court rules that Mormon Church is outside of the Protestant Christian faith . . . . .

In a remarkable decision an appellate court ruled that the Mormon Church is outside of the Protestant faith. The decision came in a divorce decree contempt case by the Arkansas Court of Appeals on October 8. According to an October 9 Arkansas Democrat Gazette piece,

“Joel Mark Rownak and Lisa Monette Rownak agreed in their 2005 divorce to raise their children ‘in the Protestant faith.’ The decree bars them from promoting another religion without the other’s consent. In May 2007, Benton County Circuit Judge John R. Scott found Joel Rownak in contempt of that decree based on evidence that Rownak had ‘candidly acknowledged’ promoting the Mormon faith to his sons.”

Interestingly, Mr. Rownak, who is a Mormon testified that the Mormon faith is outside of the Protestant faith. The court, based on Mr. Rownak’s testimony and “evidence” of that effect from the [Mormon] church’s Web site” ruled that the Mormon faith was indeed outside of the Protestant faith and therefore found Mr. Rownak in contempt of the divorce decree.

The significance of this ruling of course is that both an active Mormon (Mr. Rownak) and an appellate court both agree that Mormonism is not a Protestant church. The other significant aspect of this ruling is that the court has made a ruling on a theological matter. While the ruling was technically on a divorce decree contempt case, the grounds for the decision were theological.

http://wfiprestoncondra.blogspot.com/2008/10/appeals-court-rules-that-mormon-church.html

HERE IS THE October 9 Arkansas Democrat Gazette piece

BENTON COUNTY : Court rules against dad in faith case BY CHARLIE FRAGO

Posted on Thursday, October 9, 2008 http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/239705/

 

A Benton County father found in contempt for violating a custody agreement that barred him from promoting Mormonism to his two sons lost his appeal at the Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

Joel Mark Rownak and Lisa Monette Rownak agreed in their 2005 divorce to raise their children “in the Protestant faith.” The decree bars them from promoting another religion without the other’s consent.

In May 2007, Benton County Circuit Judge John R. Scott found Joel Rownak in contempt of that decree based on evidence that Rownak had “candidly acknowledged” promoting the Mormon faith to his sons.

Rownak led his sons in Scripture reading and daily prayer, involved one son in Boy Scouts at a local Mormon church and had one son baptized at the church, according to an opinion written by Judge Sam Bird and agreed to by Judges John Robbins and Robert J. Gladwin.

Rownak argued the contempt finding violated his First Amendment rights, particularly the establishment clause that prohibits the state from discriminating against religion.

Bird wrote that the decree was a valid contract between parties and didn’t violate Rownak’s constitutional rights. He noted that Joel Rownak had requested the language to be included in the decree.

Joel Rownak testified that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints wasn’t a Protestant faith, and the court also considered evidence to that effect from the church’s Web site.

Lisa Rownak had objected to her ex-husband’s promoting Mormonism to their children.

In light of this evidence, Scott was correct in finding Joel Rownak in contempt of the divorce decree, Bird wrote.

At the appeals court, the case is CA 08-193, Joel Mark Rownak v. Lisa Monette Rownak.

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Question: “What is the Restoration movement?”

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

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

Among the key principles of the Restoration Movement are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Question: “What is Restorationism?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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WHY DO WE OPPOSE MORMONISM?

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is, “Why do you do this? Why do you oppose Mormonism? Why do you have this your anti-Mormon web page? Why do you hate Mormons?”

Truth Can Hurt, Even When Given In Love, As Softly As Possible

We know that the truth can hurt and be upsetting, even when given as softly as possible. But it is our Christian duty, in love, to share with you what we know. If your house was on fire wouldn’t you want us pounding at the door. The articles on our web page are like this, to alert you to what the Mormon church is not likely to tell you at their open houses, pageants or when their missionaries come to your home. Some might say we share information like this because we hate Mormons. This is not correct. While we strongly believe that Mormons have every right to their beliefs, we are concerned that people are making decisions about it without all the necessary information. As Christians there are many teachings of this church, such as family, moral values and hard work, we can applaud. We have nothing but warm regard for most of the Mormon people; they make good neighbors, citizens, friends and co-workers. But it is as if their house (any yours) were on fire and we must warn them and you. In reality it is worst than if your house is on fire. Where you will spend eternity is at stake.

We Do Support The Right Of Mormons To Have Their Own Beliefs

We do support the right of Mormons (and non- Mormons) to have their own belief system. But we do take issue with any organization that claims to be:

(1) the only true church, when it isn’t;
(2) a Christian organization, when it isn’t;
(3) and it attacks my Christian beliefs.

If a person’s beliefs are strong and meaningful enough, he or she would want to share them with others. (I am sure this is why many Mormon missionaries serve.) Couple this with God’s commandments that we should tell others (Matthew 28:19,20; 1 Peter 3:15) and we have an indisputable injunction to do this. Also in 2 Timothy 4:2-3 and Hebrews 5:14, we are told to “preach the Word”, to reprove and rebuke, and discern good from evil.

Mormonisn Has Attacked My Beliefs

The Mormon church in one of its scriptures claims to be the only true church on the face of the whole earth (Doctrine & Covenants 1:30). Mormonism from the alleged first vision to the present time has attacked the doctrines of classical Christianity. The Pearl of Great Price, under Joseph Smith – History 1:19, says all other churches are wrong and professors of the creeds are corrupt.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong…all their creeds were an abomination in his sight, that those professors were all corrupt… (There is more on this under “Joseph Smith’s First Vision.” article D-5 of the web page)

I am offended by this statement. I don’t believe Jesus Christ said this. The Book of Mormon says in 1 Nephi 13:26-28, that the Bible has many “plain and precious” parts taken out of it. 1 Nephi 14:10 condemns all churches as being of the devil. It says:

Behold, there are save two churches only, the one is the church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil… (1 Nephi 14:10)

I am offended by this statement. The Mormon Church claims to be the “church of the Lamb of God” and the only one led by God. The Mormon monthly magazine, Ensign, December 1984, pages 8-9, in an article “The Early Signs of the Apostasy” by Kent P. Jackson, says, starting in the second paragraph:

…the church of the Savior and his Apostles…came to an end within a century after its formation. The doctrines which its inspired leaders taught were corrupted and changed by others…none of the Christian systems that existed after those developments, though they did some good things, enjoyed divine endorsement as the Lord’s own church…To say that Satan sits in the place of god in Christianity … is not to say that all that is in it is satanic.

Page 9 of the same article, says that Satan sits at the head of the Christian churches:

But God is not at its head, making that church – following the appearance in it of Satan – no longer the church of God. To say that Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity after the time of the apostles is not to say that all that is in it is Satanic.

Many Parts Of Mormon Doctrine Are Not Christian

While there are some teachings of the Mormon church I can embrace, too many parts of Mormon doctrine are not Christian. The Mormon God the Father, who has a body of flesh and bones, is only one of a countless number of gods who was once a man, died and was resurrected. He had a mother and father and grandparents ad infinitum. He is married and procreates all the spirits of the people who have been and will be born on this earth. The Mormon Jesus was not always God, but was the first-born spirit offspring of God, and the only begotten Son of God in the flesh. He is the spirit brother of Lucifer. Mormonism once taught that Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, became pregnant with Jesus by her Heavenly Father, the Mormon God, in the same literal way a husband and wife procreate children. In the same way we were conceived by our parents. Many Mormons don’t want to believe this doctrine, so we urge all to see the Family Home Evening manual, copyrighted 1972, pages 125, 126, lesson 27 “Whom Say Ye That I Am?” Other references are found in Gospel Principes, Chapter 2, first two paragraphs and all of chapter 47 (1997 edtion). This last reference can be found on a Mormon web page at http://www.lds.org/library/gos_pri/gos_pri.html There is more on these teachings of the Mormons church, with references, in article B-2.

Unique Mormon Doctrine Not Openly Taught

I believe the Mormon church’s teaching program is not open and honest (there is more on this under “What The Mormons Don’t Say” article B-8). If the Mormon missionaries clearly taught the doctrines outlined above and they were easily available at open houses and pageants, people like myself would not need to have a web pages. But then very few people would join the Mormon Church. LDS say they do not teach the “deep doctrine” because people need “milk” first. Would you accept as legal tender a $20 bill that had a picture of Mickey Mouse on it? Of course not. Counterfeiters make their bills to look like the real thing. So do counterfeit religions.

In Summary

So “Why do we speak against Mormonism?” We do it because we must defend our beliefs from the attacks of the Mormon Church and tell people, as commanded by God, about the biblical Jesus Christ and his gospel. See article B-2 for a side by side comparison of what the Mormon church teaches compared to what the Bible says.

Jude 1:3 tells me to “…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

John Farkas Berean Christian Ministries, P.O. Box 1091, Webster, N.Y. 14580

http://www.bcmmin.org/whydoit.html

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

What follows is my response.

I would be happy to help out. You said,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNITY WITHIN DIVERSITY

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

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

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

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

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A Mormon Apologist by the name of CC submitted a response to ALL 17 of the claims in this post 17 Little Known Facts About the Mormons

What follows is PART 2 Facts 10-17

1. the 17 facts as stated by Challengemin.org
2. CC’s comments. (You can see CC’s original comments for verification on the above post comments section)
3. my (Damon’s) counter comments.
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FACT #10 Mormon leaders demand total obedience regardless whether they are right or wrong.
The ward teacher’s message for June, 1945, stated:
“When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan it is God’s plan.” (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354)
Herber C. Kimball, First Councilor to Brigham Young, clarifies further:
“But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 32)
The Bible warns us in I John 4:l:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
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CC: “The following quote is a very controversial quote in Mormon circles: “When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan it is God’s plan.” (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354)

Visit any Mormon blogs and you’ll see for yourself that we do plenty of thinking for ourselves. If I remember correctly, that quote was an opinion piece and I don’t even know who wrote it, but it doesn’t accurately portray the truth. It makes it sound like we just blindly follow our leaders. It also contradicts what our leaders are always teaching us—that we should gain a testimony of whether what they teach is true or not. Ultimately our “prophets and apostles” teach that we should obey God because of our love for Him. Just as Jesus said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments”.”
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DAMON: Controversial? It should be a source for revolution and mass exodus from the LDS church in my opinion. It is a strange dilemma that CC proposes, God has appointed “prophets and apostles” in the lds church,,,, but what they say really has no authority, Mormons only follow God. BUT if the Prophets and apostles speak, WHO ARE THEY SPEAKING FOR??? God or the church?
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FACT #ll. Mormon leaders have consistently attacked the Biblical doctrine of Salvation by God’s Grace through Faith alone.
In Apostle James Talmage’s book, The Articles of Faith, twice he refers to justification by Faith alone as a “pernicious doctrine,” and further declares:
“The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith alone has exercised an influence for evil.” (pp. 107, 480)
The Bible responds:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5: 1)
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CC: “I’m not sure at all why this “fact” is still being brought up by Mormon critics. Anyone who reads the text of the Book of Mormon themselves can see how compatible it is with the Bible and that no matter what works we manage to do, they do not save us. We are ultimately saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I’ve written on this topic multiple times on my own blog because people who I tried to explain this to didn’t believe me. And I’m just not buying this fact one bit.

Mormon leaders have never attacked Biblical doctrine, since we believe every single verse in the Bible. However, they may have disagreed with the erroneous belief that we are saved without any effort or commitment on our part. We believe that we actually have to respond appropriately to Christ’s grace so that we can be saved, and that we respond appropriately by having faith in Christ, repenting of our sins throughout our life, entering into a covenant with Him by baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost, which purifies and sanctifies us and changes our nature.”
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DAMON: CC says “Anyone who reads the text of the Book of Mormon themselves can see how compatible it is with the Bible” I AGREE. The Book of Mormon teaches against Mormon doctrine and agrees with some Christian doctrine. But on the issue of salvation it say “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. After all we can do” 2 Nephi
25:23
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FACT #12. Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie has warned his people against a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.
McConkie made these shocking statements at a speech given at BYU:
“… gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous. . . . Now, I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. . . .But you have been warned, and you have heard the true doctrine taught.” (Church News, week ending March 20, 1982, p. 5)
In opposition to this, Jesus gives us a personal invitation:
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
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CC: “That’s actually taken out of context. In that particular speech Elder McConkie was warning against emphasizing a special relationship with one particular member of the Godhead while neglecting the other two. Apparently there were some BYU students who were teaching that those with a special or advanced relationship with Jesus can pray directly to Him, but Jesus commanded that we pray directly to our Father, and His Father, but in the name of Jesus Christ.”
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DAMON: I am surprised that we did not hear the “well McConkie was kind of a loose cannon and his words are not our cannon” argument again. McConkie said much more about the subject of having a relationship with Jesus.

While it is true that Jesus instructed us to pray to the Father, Stephen recognized that praying to His Savior was right and the early Church were known as those who “called upon the name of the Lord” (Acts 9:14; 21; 22:16; 2 Cor. 1:2). 3 Nephi 19:17-26 records an incident where Christ is being freely prayed to: “And behold they [Christ’s disciples] began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling Him their Lord and their God” (v. 18).
Verse 24 states that the disciples “…did still continue, without ceasing to pray to him…”
Verse 25 says that “…Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him…” The final result of the disciples prayer is recorded in verse 26: “And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; nevertheless they did not cease to pray.”
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FACT #13. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, boasted of doing a greater “work” than the Lord Jesus.
Joseph Smith made this incredible boast:
“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. . . . Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of JESUS ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 408, 409)
No true Prophet of God ever spoke such words as these.
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CC: “The quote in which Joseph Smith seems to boast is an interesting one. To understand the issues, we must remember:

1. It is not based on Joseph’s own writing; it is an account written after his death
2. Joseph was using a scriptural passage by Paul, and applying it to his own situation–the idea of “boasting” was Paul’s, not Joseph’s.

What was Joseph’s intent, and why did he use this approach? As it turns out, he was drawing from the Bible and applying its lessons to his own situation.

In the original context, Joseph was facing intense persecution by many people, including some he had previously considered to be his friends. The statement about “boasting” was supposedly made about a month before he was killed. He made it after reading 2 Corinthians 11 to the congregation. Note the following statement by Paul, in this scripture:

“Again I say, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even as foolish, that I also may boast a little. That which I am speaking, I am not speaking it as the Lord would, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. Since many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also. For you, being so wise, bear the foolish gladly.” (2 Cor. 11:16-19, NASB)

Paul then launches into a literary tirade where he claims many things to make himself look the fool, to contrast himself with those who the Corinthians were listening to for their words of salvation, instead of to him. His words were meant to compare and contrast what the Saints at Corinth were doing against what he was offering.

In short, Joseph is using the scripture in Paul as a counter-argument (or a rhetorical device)–he is responding to his critics, and demonstrating that (as with Paul) true messengers from God are often persecuted by those who should listen, while the false and apostate are praised.
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DAMON: WOW, it is amazing how some people will stretch things to justify them.

CC SAID “To understand the issues, we must remember: 1. It is not based on Joseph’s own writing; it is an account written after his death 2 Joseph was using a scriptural passage by Paul, and applying it to his own situation–the idea of “boasting” was Paul’s, not Joseph’s.”

We’ll look at # 2 first. Paul did not say he was greater than Jesus, Joseph Smith did. There is no context that can justify his heretical statement.

It is foolish to say that Joseph was AS CC SAID: “using the scripture in Paul as a counter-argument (or a rhetorical device)–he is responding to his critics, and demonstrating that (as with Paul) true messengers from God are often persecuted by those who should listen, while the false and apostate are praised.”

The issue is not persecution but Joes arrogance. Regardless of Joe’s or Paul’s persecution, Jesus is the name that is above every name.

Paul said Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

Joseph Smith said “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. . . . Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of JESUS ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.”

CC’s #1 claim that “1. It is not based on Joseph’s own writing; it is an account written after his death “ is a joke. If the account is written after Joseph Smiths death, then just who is speaking for Joe, wasn’t he dead already? Does the Mormon Church write in it’s leaders words after they are dead?
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FACT #14. In 1835 Joseph Smith prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord.
At a meeting called by Joseph Smith he instructed the Latter-day Saints that it was “the will of God” to go forth and “prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh-even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182) Eight years later he reinforced this by stating:
“I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written – the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till 1 am eighty-five years old.” (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 336)
These are obvious False Prophesies which would make Joseph Smith a False Prophet.
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CC: Nobody is sure if Joseph actually said this particular quote, because there is no other evidence that he did. But even if he did, it still does not qualify as a prophecy. There’s a big difference between the word “should” and “would”, as there is between “perhaps” and “will”.

Joseph’s belief was not that the Lord would come by the time of his 85th birthday, but rather that the Lord would not come before that time, which of course was a correct prophecy.

The Savior while here on earth told us that no one on earth knows when the Lord will return: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt. 24:36). Because we do not know, we need to constantly be ready for his return, for “in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh” (Matt. 24:44). Joseph was very familiar with the Bible.

However, Joseph Smith did make several interesting statements about seeing the Savior. One of them is a favorite of our detractors. They have misquoted it, misreported it, misinterpreted it and misexplained it. Most often they simply do not complete the quote, making it appear that the prophet said something he didn’t.

The passage in question is found in Section 130 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It is reported in abbreviated form, and Joseph acknowledged as he recorded it that he didn’t understand the meaning or intent of the revelation. Joseph Smith recorded:

“I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.” (D&C 130:14-15).

Many of our detractors end the quote at this point, and then they assume that the statement is a prophecy that the Savior would come in the year 1890 or 1891, since the prophet Joseph was born in 1805. However, if the reader will continue further in that passage, he will see that Joseph Smith himself stated:

“I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face” (D & C 130:16).

We only learn what the prophet did prophesy by reading verse 17: “I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time.” Without a doubt, that prophecy came true. The Lord did not return to the earth for His Second Coming before that time.
Joseph made reference to the incident on at least two other occasions, and indicated that his belief was not that the Lord would come by the time of his 85th birthday, but rather that the Lord would not come before that time, which of course was a correct prophecy. And Joseph felt very strongly that he wouldn’t live that long, and that his life would be taken, which, of course, it was.
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DAMON: CC SAID “Nobody is sure if Joseph actually said this particular quote, because there is no other evidence that he did”

What does CCC mean. the fact that it is in the official Mormon book THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, proves he said it. And the Mormon church calls it history. In reality Joseph Smith made many false prophecies. But we will get to some of those after we look at his claim that AS CC SAiD “Joseph’s belief was not that the Lord would come by the time of his 85th birthday, but rather that the Lord would not come before that time, which of course was a correct prophecy.”
Look at Smiths own words in “I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.” (D&C 130:14-15).

When Smith said “if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man” he was prophesying a positive, that if Joseph Smith had lived to be 85 he would see the face of the son of man. Meaning that Jesus would return by the time Joe turned 85. This phrase disproves CC’s assertion that Joe was prophesying a negative, that Jesus would NOT return before Joseph was 85.

Lets look a few other False prophecies of Joseph Smith. Here is one to show that Joseph Smith indeed taught that Jesus would come in his generation,,,

“President Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. He then gave a relation of some of the circumstances attending us while journeying to Zion–our trials, sufferings; and said God had not designed all this for nothing, but He had it in remembrance yet; and it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh–even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.” (History of the Church, Vol. 2:189)

Here is one that shows The temple would be rebuilt in Missouri in Josephs day,,

“Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion,i which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. 3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased. 4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. 5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house… 31 Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed.” (Doctrines and Covenants 84:2-5,31.)

AND MY FAVORITE,,,,,

“I prophecy in the name of the Lord God of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the state of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women and children, and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished (History of the Church, Vol. 5, page 394).”
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FACT #15. Mormons are taught to “shake hands” with a messenger to determine if he is from God or if he is the devil.
The following information is found in Mormon scripture:
“When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. . . . If it were the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.” (Doctrine and Covenants 129:4, 5,
Rather than trusting in “feelings” the Bible commands us to:
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21)
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CC: “ This seems kind of amusing, if not somewhat hypocritical, that critics will claim to be experts on what Mormons are taught and believe. I feel safe in saying that I am the world’s authority on what I personally believe and what I have been taught as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The scripture referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants speaks for itself. We also believe the quoted Bible scripture as well. Perhaps this “fact” is brought up, like so many others, for some “shock value”?”
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DAMON: Yes it is amusing and shocking that people would follow a religion that says such things in their inspired writings.
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FACT #16. Brigham Young claimed that those who leave the Mormon Church would turn “wrinkled” and “black.”
The following curse was pronounced by Brigham Young:
“. . .but let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332)
There have been tens of thousands of people leave the Mormon Church – Where are the “black and wrinkled” ones?
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CC: “I have tried and tried and have not been able to locate this particular quote by Brigham Young, but I can comment on Brigham Young’s homilies in “Journal of Discourses”. He said a lot of things that are useful and sound, but he also said a few things that would raise eyebrows of a modern reader. Even prophets are products of their times, and Brigham Young was certainly no exception. Naturally, he was not perfect. Only Christ lived a life of perfection.
Brigham Young, like the majority of American Christians of the time, even seemed to believe in racial inequality. That is to be understood. Latter-day Saints do not expect their leaders to be infallible. Moreover, “Journal of Discourses” is not official doctrine of the LDS church. It’s a collection of sermons and homilies from and for a very different time period than today.”
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DAMON: CC said “I have tried and tried and have not been able to locate this particular quote by Brigham Young” the quote showed it’s source (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332)

BUT what else does the Mormon church say about those that leave? Mormonism claims to be the one true restored church and it’s leaders have openly bashed Christianity until the last 20 yrs. See what Mormons teach about the Mormon Church, Christianity and by default, those who leave the Mormon church.

So Joel Osteen says Mormons are Christians, But what do Mormons say about Christianity?

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FACT #17. Joseph Smith taught the moon was inhabited by people who dressed like Quakers and lived to be about 1000 years old.
In the Mormon publication, The Young Woman’s Journal, pp. 263 & 264, O.B. Huntington gives this interesting information:
“As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do – that they live generally to near the age of 1000 years. He [Smith] described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.”
Now that man has walked on the Moon, there can be no doubt that there aren’t any 6 foot tall Quakers roaming its surface.
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CC: “It’s almost laughable isn’t it? I actually think Joseph intended it to be that way.
Critics claim that Joseph Smith taught that the moon was inhabited, and that this is proof he was a false prophet. They’ll also fail to tell you about all of his real and fulfilled prophecies too.

Nevertheless, the source for this particular claim is not Joseph Smith himself; the first mention comes in 1881 in Oliver B. Huntington’s journal, who claimed that he had the information from Philo Dibble. So, we have a late, third-hand account of something Joseph is supposed to have said. Hyrum Smith and Brigham Young apparently both expressed their view that the moon was inhabited, but we allow all men to have their own views/opinions. To say that if they were truly “prophets” they should have known better than the science of the day would also condemn many prophets in the Bible too.

Prominent scientists of Joseph Smith’s day had published their views of the possibility of people living on the moon. I’m not trying to beg the question; only wanting to keep this brief and in my “own words”. But I could provide references if desired. Suffice it to say that LDS doctrine was not provincial, since it provided for “worlds without number” (Moses 1:33) created by Christ. These worlds held those who would require the gospel, since by Christ “the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.” (D&C 76:24).

As always, prophets and believers are products of their time. Biblical authors, for example, clearly accepted a geocentric (earth centered) cosmos, with a flat earth and heavens supported by four pillars. Like the authors of the Bible, modern prophets are generally beholden to their era’s scientific concepts. I personally think that if Joseph Smith actually said something about the appearance of people on the moon, he was doing it in jest; making a wise-crack about the common speculation. He often used humor to make a point. And Brigham Young was known to often use hyperbole.”
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DAMON: CC SAID “I personally think that if Joseph Smith actually said something about the appearance of people on the moon, he was doing it in jest; making a wise-crack about the common speculation. He often used humor to make a point. And Brigham Young was known to often use hyperbole”

I personally find this laughable that a Mormon would go to such lengths to cover for their founder. This is not a joke or hyperbolic poetry or anything, it is a Mormon who knew Joseph and he says “I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth”

That was not Joseph or Bingham and the man was hardly kidding or speaking in hyperbolic or humorous fashion.

CC says that prophets are a product of their times (and their then current scientific knowledge), that is just false. Prophets are a product of God. CC goes on to give this patently false example that even bible prophets are products of their own times when he says “Biblical authors, for example, clearly accepted a geocentric (earth centered) cosmos, with a flat earth and heavens supported by four pillars”

The bible does not teach a flat earth. The Bible teaches that the earth is basically a sphere in shape. Isa 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth.

The Biblical term “Four corners” does not infer the flatness of the earth, but it is an idiom that means ALL. When it says the four corners of the earth, it means ALL of the earth. And although the bible does use the analogy of the earth sitting on pillars to denote Gods’ power and sovereignty over it, the bible clearly says. Job 26:7 He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.

Therefore I conclude that CC’s assertion that “It’s almost laughable isn’t it? I actually think Joseph intended it to be that way” is a joke. NO, to think that Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God and would be so influenced by his contemporary science that he would say such a things is very very alarming. But to have a Mormon say their prophet and all prophets are a product of their times and and then say He was joking,,, don’t ya get get it. Joseph Smith was just joking,,,, is downright disturbing.
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MY PERSONAL CONCERNS are for the Mormon people who believe in an organization and prophet that has so many problems and pesky little things they always have to answer for like the 17 facts listed in this by Challangemin.org

We see that CC admits that Mormonism is different and that even Christian terms mean different things to Mormons and Christians. It is only rational to discern from this alone, that Mormonism is not Christian, but it does try to be a redefined Christianity and claims to be Gods restored truth and Church.

But we have seen CC say in his defense of Mormonism that Mormons both believe “EVERY WORD” in the bible and then turn right around and say , “as far as it is translated correctly.”
This is the kind of disregard for logic and the law of non contradiction that Mormons have to make to believe in Mormonism.

SO DO YOU THINK MORMONISM IS CHRISTIAN???

Here is more Mormon post on this blog.

DNA proves the Book of Mormon to be fals

So Joel Osteen says Mormons are Christia

17 Little Known Facts About the Mormons

Are Mormon and Christian beliefs the sam

A logical proof that Mormonism is false!

The Mormon Testimony: does your bossom b

The Heresy of Restorationsim by Damon Wh

(Mormonism and ) ANOTHER JESUS? By Ed De

LDS: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-da

Is Mormonism Christian ?

Mormon Dilemmas by Damon Whitsell

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A Mormon Apologist by the name of CC submitted a response to ALL 17 of the claims in this post 17 Little Known Facts About the Mormons

What follows is,,,

1. the 17 facts as stated by Challengemin.org

2. CC’s comments. (You see CC’s original comments for verification on the above post comments section)

3. my (Damon’s) counter comments.

FACT #1 The Mormon Church teaches ALL other Churches are WRONG; ALL their creeds are an ABOMINATION in the sight of God; and ALL their teachers are corrupt.

One of the Mormon Books of Scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, says this about non-LDS churches:

“… they were ALL WRONG; and the Personage who addressed me said that ALL their creeds were an ABOMINATION in his sight; that those professors were ALL CORRUPT;…” (Joseph Smith 2:19).

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CC: “The truth about this “fact” is that The LDS Church teaches that all churches have some truth, just not the fullness of the truth. This particular quote refers to the creeds of the churches that we believe are wrong, but not that all the individual Christians who follow them are wrong in their sincere desire to follow Christ the best they know how.”

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DAMON: Mormonism is built on the First visions of Joseph Smith. And while there are 3 contradictory accounts of this First vision, they all agree in making the false assertion that Christianity is apostate and an abomination to God. Mormonism has this in common with all church’s (Christian cults) that started from Campbell’s Restoration Movement.

This post shows what Mormon leaders have always said, and still do say about Christianity.

So Joel Osteen says Mormons are Christians, But what do Mormons say about Christianity?

This post will teach those that are nor familiar with the restoration movement and restorationism, that the claim that Christianity had become apostate and needed to be totally restored, is common to ALL CULTS. The Church of Jesus Christ of later day saints is just a part o the heretical Restoration Movement. Mormonism claims to be Christianity RESTORED. Here is a relevant article for that

The Heresy of Restorationsim by Damon Whitsell

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FACT #2. Mormonism teaches there is no salvation outside the Mormon Church and no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this statement:

“If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670)

The Bible, on the other hand, teaches salvation is in Jesus alone:

“Neither is there salvation in any other [Jesus]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

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CC: “There are many possible interpretations of what salvation means. I fear we may be using the same word and meaning something entirely different. We do, after all, have different theological vocabularies. In this case you fail to adjust your understanding to how Mormons can understand salvation. Bruce R. McConkie’s book “Mormon Doctrine” isn’t actually official Mormon doctrine; only his personal opinions and interpretations of which he wasn’t always right and sometimes he was verged on being polemical.

However, the Book of Mormon, which is indisputable official LDS doctrine is very clear that there is no salvation save it be through Jesus Christ. “There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8)

However, Latter-day Saints believe in a further goal beyond salvation, which is exaltation. This is most likely what McConkie was referring to when he used the term exaltation.

You also need to remember that there is not a single verse of the Bible which Mormons do not agree with. The Bible is officially part of our cannon. So Mormons agree that “Neither is there salvation in any other [Jesus]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)”

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DAMON: I have to agree with some of what CC said here.

CC said “ There are many possible interpretations of what salvation means. I fear we may be using the same word and meaning something entirely different. We do, after all, have different theological vocabularies”.

IT IS TRUE,,, ALL cults redefine Christian terms.

CC said “You also need to remember that there is not a single verse of the Bible which Mormons do not agree with. The Bible is officially part of our cannon.”

This is just not true, according to the 8th article of the Mormon faith which states “ We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” http://www.religionfacts.com/mormonism/beliefs/13_articles.htm

As to CC’s assertions that McConkie was referring to exaltation and not salvation, In One sense, exaltation is salvation in Mormonism. But in another sense, Mormonism teaches a universal salvation and “general resurrection”. All men will be saved,,, BUT only good temple Mormon men will be exalted to godhood.

There are more quotes showing that the LDS teach that one must accept Joseph Smith to be saved. Look at Joseph Smiths own words,,, “I have more to boast of than any man had. I am the only man that has been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from him, but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (“History of the Church”, Vol. 6, pp. 408-409, 1884).

Isn’t this an exceedingly prideful statement?

“No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial Kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph. . . .” “He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling as God does in heaven.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, 289

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FACT #3. Mormons are taught to doubt the reliability of the Bible and their leaders have consistently attacked its accuracy.

Joseph Smith claimed:

” … it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.10)

The Bible answers this attack:

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

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CC: “This is actually quite misleading. We believe that the Bible was inerrant as it was originally written by the inspired prophets and apostles, and that it is the word of God, as long as it is translated correctly. We understand the word “translate” more loosely to mean “transmit” or “interpret”. So we actually love the Bible as God’s Word and use it often, but we believe that it must be interpreted correctly. We do believe that there were parts of the gospel which were “plain and precious” that are not now found in the Bible as we know it. More than likely these truths were on completely different books which were lost and therefore didn’t make it into our current cannon. But informed Mormons will tell you that the Bible is very much as close to being accurate in the condition it now is.”

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DAMON: CC said “We believe that the Bible was inerrant as it was originally written by the inspired prophets and apostles, and that it is the word of God, as long as it is translated correctly. “

EARLIER CC said “You also need to remember that there is not a single verse of the Bible which Mormons do not agree with”

SO WHICH IS IT??? To seal the fact in the readers minds that Mormons do not believe the Bible, why did Joseph Smith rewrite the bible as this wikipedia articles shows?

The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST), also called the Inspired Version of the Bible (I.V.), is a version of the Bible dictated by Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Smith considered this work to be “a branch of his calling” as a prophet. The work is the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) with some significant additions, clarifications, and revisions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith_Translation

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FACT #4. A basic tenant in Mormonism today is that Jesus Christ is the brother of Satan.

Milton R. Hunter explains it like this:

“The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer,… this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind.” (The Gospel Through The Ages, p.15)

Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Lucifer attempted to become the Savior: in fact, Jesus created all the angels including Lucifer, so they can’t be brothers. Colossians 1:16 indicates that Jesus created “all things,” whether “in heaven,” or “in earth, visible or invisible.”

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CC: Again, this is a misleading statement to make. Nor is it a fundamental tenant of Mormon belief. But I admit Mormons have an entirely different framework into which we fit the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve learned a lot from my blogging interactions with people not of our faith, as well as the book “How Wide The Divide?” by Craig Blomberg (an Evangelical scholar) and Stephen Robinson (a Mormon scholar). The biggest thing I realized, and it’s simply huge, is that LDS are unique in their understanding that we are literally God’s offspring, of the same essence or species of God. For Evangelical Christians, that’s only figurative, as they believe we are a different essence entirely than God, who “chose at some point to make creatures distinct from himself–human beings–with the capacity to have a personal relationship with him” (Blomberg).

Stephen Robinson writes: “The real sticking point is not what the LDS think of Christ and his gospel, but rather the different ontological frame or view of the nature of the universe into which Mormons fit the gospel. For Latter-day Saints also believe in the LITERAL fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of humanity. We believe that God and humans are the same species of being and that all men and women were his spiritual offspring in a premortal existence. The main purpose of the gospel of Christ is therefore not so much to get us to heaven as it is to get us HOME.”

So there you have it. We all were a part of the family of God in the premortal existence long before God presented his plan for us to come to earth. This family included Lucifer, before he rebelled and was cast out and became the devil.

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DAMON: CC says “But I admit Mormons have an entirely different framework into which we fit the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve learned a lot from my blogging interactions with people not of our faith, as well as the book “How Wide The Divide?” by Craig Blomberg (an Evangelical scholar) and Stephen Robinson (a Mormon scholar). The biggest thing I realized, and it’s simply huge, is that LDS are unique in their understanding that we are literally God’s offspring, of the same essence or species of God. “

AND HOW CAN CC STILL CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIAN when he acknowledges such a broad difference between Mormonism and mainline Christianity?

CC said “The main purpose of the gospel of Christ is therefore not so much to get us to heaven as it is to get us HOME.”

The Gospel is clearly stated in the bible, 1Co 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

AND WHY DID JESUS DIE FOR OUR SINS. Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Salvation is about being rescued from the wages of our sin. IT IS NOT about exaltation AND salvation is not universal as taught in the Mormons general resurrection.

The bible teaches there is one God.

Isa 43:10 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.

Isa 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God

Isa 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
 
 
 

 

The book of Mormon teaches there is only one God Mosiah 15:1,5; 2 Nephi 31:21The Book of Mormon Now Zeezrom said: “Is there more than one God?” And he answered, “No.Alma 11:28-29

 

Yet CC and many other Mormons dishonor God and show irreverence toward him by trying to become a God themselves.

Satan tried to become his own God and it cost him. What did it cost him. He got kicked out of heaven and had a place celled hell created for him and those that follow him. Satan tempted Adam and Eve by saying “you shall not die, but God knows that your eyes will be opened and you will be as like God”

A study of the occult will show that Genesis 3: 22 is their “secret doctrine”. Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:

 

Mormonism is occultic through and through. Google “Occult secret doctrine” and you will see that the teaching that men are gods or can become Gods is the biggest teaching in occultism, and look at the new ager’s and their “Christ consciousness” Do you remember Shirley McClain and her prancing on the beach saying I am God, I am God, I am God,,, in her New Age Special on ABC?

 

What is the difference? It is easy to see that Satan is the source of the teaching that men can become gods.

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FACT #5. Mormonism continues to teach that God the Father is a glorified, resurrected Man, and men and women may become Gods and Goddesses.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this claim:

“God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorified, exalted, immortal, resurrected Man!” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 643)

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, taught:

” …you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves…the same as all Gods have done before you,…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 346)

The Lord Himself answers this teaching by pronouncing:

“… I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)

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CC: This is closely related to that quote by Stephen Robinson. Since we believe we are literally God’s children, we believe we will grow up to become like Him, similar to how children grow up to be like their parents. Obviously we have a different understanding of the nature of God than Trinitarians. But we believe our understanding is biblical. We believe in God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We also believe the biblical statements that all three are three and also one. But we reject any post-biblical creeds or councils or statements that attempted to reconcile those two truths.

Therefore, you won’t hear LDS speak much of the Trinity, but of the Godhead. We believe each person of the Godhead is his own being, but that they are one God, or Godhead, as they are one in purpose and intent and glory.

We also hold that it is possible that the Father once had a mortal experience as did the Son, but Jesus was no mere man while he dwelt on earth. He was fully divine and God himself in human form. We’re different in that we are very much mortal, but Christ shows us to way back to the Father. Through Christ’s atonement we believe we can literally be made one again (“at-one-ment”) with the Father as well as the Son. This is the kind of oneness Christ prayed for in his intercessory prayer in John 17.

If we can become “joint heirs” with Them and “one” with Them, than a case can be made that we could also be called gods since we belong to the family of God. But the biggest mistake that critics of the LDS church make is in taking that too far and saying that we believe that we can one day replace God as the supreme ruler of the universe and become objects of worship ourselves. In reality, the goal is to become like them, in attributes and so forth, but we will always reverence and worship the true and eternal God, or Godhead, for eternity.

One helpful clarification about the idea that we can become like God was given by the Church in response to an interview by Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317272,00.html

“We believe that the apostle Peter’s biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature and the apostle Paul’s reference to being ‘joint heirs with Christ’ reflect the intent that children of God should strive to emulate their Heavenly Father in every way. Throughout the eternities, Mormons believe, they will reverence and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to equal them or to achieve parity with them but to imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes.”

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DAMON: CC said “If we can become “joint heirs” with Them and “one” with Them, than a case can be made that we could also be called gods since we belong to the family of God”

I just got though listening to Joyce Meyers say about the same thing. She deduced that because humans have humans, Gods must have Gods. But Neither Joyce, the other word faith movement teachers, or Mormons fail to realize is that humans do not create, they merely procreate. God creates. But then again Mormonism claims that God is an exalted man so in reality God does not create anything, Then you run into the question of where did man come from. And how can God exist in a infinite regression of causes. Mormonism teaches exaltation. So regardless of the Mormon rhetoric that they only claim and worship one God, they believe in an infinite number of God’s and say men can become Gods.

This post deals with the IMPOSSIBILITY THAT GOD IS AN EXALTED MAN. A logical proof that Mormonism is false!

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FACT #6. Mormons consider Polygamy a righteous principle which will be practiced in heaven.

Although there is nothing in the Bible that will support this thinking, current Mormon Scripture has this to say:

“. . .if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery . . . . And if he have TEN VIRGINS given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery.” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:61, 62)

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Cc: Actually this is quite a debate in Mormonism since we generally don’t like the idea of polygamy, and gave it up in 1890. Yet it is true that we allow that those who were authorized to practice polygamy while on earth will continue to have their families in tact in the hereafter. But nothing is taught about the rest of us “normal” couples having to live polygamy in the hereafter. We won’t be forced to do anything that wouldn’t allow us to have the promised “fullness of joy”. I’d like to note here that monogamy has always been the rule and Polygamy has only been the exception, not only among the 19th century LDS, but even when God commanded Abraham in the Old Testament to have multiple wives.

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DAMON: Actually there is quite a split in Mormonism about Polygamy. While the larger portion of the LDS movement no longer practices polygamy, it is a source of contention and many of the 100 + church splits within Mormonism has been over polygamy since it is taught that in order to enter the highest heaven that those who enter must be living in polygamy.

When CC says “Actually this is quite a debate in Mormonism since we generally don’t like the idea of polygamy, and gave it up in 1890”,,,,,, it must be realized that this only happened with the threat of the United States Army invading Utah and claming war against the Mormon Church.

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FACT #7. Mormons today believe God the Father is married and past leaders have taught both God the Father and Jesus Christ are polygamists.

Apostle Orson Pratt makes these unbelievable statements:

“. . .the great Messiah who was the founder of the Christian religion, was a Polygamist,. . . the Messiah chose to take upon himself his seed; and by marrying many honorable wives himself, show to all future generations that he approbated the plurality of Wives under the Christian dispensation,. . .God the Father had a plurality of wives,. . . the Son followed the example of his Father,. . . both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as in time;. . .” (The Seer, p. 172)

Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that God the Father and Jesus Christ are married or polygamists.

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CC: “We don’t talk much about it, but since we believe that we are literally children of a Heavenly Father, that it would follow that He is not a single parent, and therefore that we have a Heavenly Mother. But we know absolutely nothing about her, as nothing as been revealed about her. Likewise, there is no revelation about God or Jesus being polygamists, so any past leaders teaching about that was based solely on personal opinion and speculation and is certainly not representative of the general church membership and is not official Mormon doctrine.

Orson Pratt was known to make some pretty outrageous statements in the 19th century which conflicted even with the views of some of the other church leaders of the time. He was constantly needing to be reigned in, especially with his personal views about the above.”

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DAMON: It cannot be denied that Orson Pratt, taught that God the Father and Jesus was polygamist. He was an Apostle of the Mormon church. He was not just a leader. Pratt should have been more that “reigned in” by other Mormon leaders. If the other Mormon leaders did not agree with Pratt, he should have been removed.

CC says “we believe that we are literally children of a Heavenly Father, that it would follow that He is not a single parent, and therefore that we have a Heavenly Mother. But we know absolutely nothing about her, as nothing as been revealed about her”

It is a logical requirement for Mormons to teach about a Mother God, which the bible says nothing about. This is because of their doctrine of exaltation. Men and women can become gods in Mormonism. And their teaching on pre-existence, that we all pre-existed on a planet called KOLAB with our heavenly father Elohim and His wife, our heavenly mother an exalted woman..

But the teaching that there is a female God or a mother God is purely occultic as shown in witchcraft by their Great Mother Goddess, Mother Nature or Mother Gia. The Egyptian Mother Goddess ISIS is a good example. Occult writer Sylvia Browne wrote a whole book entitled “Mother God”

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FACT #8. The majority of the activity in the Mormon Temples is work done in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith offers this explanation:

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our DEAD.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Although many Mormons are attempting to save their dead relatives, the Bible indicates:

“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalms 49:7)

_____________________________________

CC: “This is a true statement. We believe that baptism is essential to forming a saving covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as signify that our old life is buried and that we are born again as sons and daughters of Christ. Naturally we believe that many of God’s children have died without having had a proper baptism, let alone any baptism. Therefore, temple work is dedicated to doing vicarious ordinances for those who have passed on. In the Spirit World those people will have the chance to accept or reject that baptism, as well as other ordinances, for themselves. We believe this shows both the justice and mercy of God.”

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DAMON: The bible says Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

There is no SECOND CHANCE. Most importantly,,, REGULAR BAPTIMS DOE NOT SAVE, much less proxy baptism for the dead. It is common among the cults to teach baptismal regeneration. Here a couple of post from this blog on baptism.

WATER BAPTISM: A PAGAN AND JEWISH RITE,BUT NOT CHRISTIAN by James Moon

Water salvation/baptismal regeneration reduced to absurdity BY Damon Whitsell

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FACT #9. To the Mormon, the ultimate test that Mormonism is true is an “inner feeling.”

Mormons often refer to this feeling as a “burning in the bosom.” They believe their scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8) gives the best test for determining truth. This test reads:

” . . .study it out in your mind; then you must ask me [the Lord] if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall FEEL that it is right.”

The Bible, on the other hand, tells us:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)

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CC: “We believe that God answers prayers. (See James 1:5). We believe that he speaks to us through His Spirit, which testifies of truth both in our minds and in our hearts. We believe that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. We have faith, and sometimes that faith can grow into certain knowledge. Similar to how we first have faith, before planting a seed, that it will grow. Then if we nourish the seed and it actually begins to grow, then we know was a good seed. And before long, if you haven’t given up on the seed because of unbelief, you’ll be able to taste the fruit for yourself and know if the fruit is bad or good. I planted that seed of faith long ago, and it has grown into a marvelous tree which bears delicious fruit, therefore, I know that the seed of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is a good seed and bears good fruit. But I also acknowledge that you and your faith can bear good fruit as well. I think the Holy Spirit testifies of all truth according to our individual understanding.”

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DAMON: CC said “I know that the seed of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is a good seed and bears good fruit. But I also acknowledge that you and your faith can bear good fruit as well”

CC acknowledges here that HIS GOSEPL and MY GOSPEL are different. Of course his is the true and restored one. But lets examine that and realize what he means. Mormonism and all Restoration movement CULTS say they are the “restored church and gospel”. So they say,,, Christianity became apostate and non existent and the real gospel and church had to be resorted. So on one hand CC wants to claim to be that restored Church and gospel, but then wants to say that Christianity has good fruits. But it cannot be. God only has one Gospel. Either the gospel of Mormonism or the gospel of mainline Christianity is false and one has bad fruits and is not from God. . They cannot both be true.

Christianity says there is one true God and that God became a man to die for the sins of the world. Mormonism says that men are not helpless but have within themselves the ability to become a god. You judge for yourself which one is from God and which one is NOT from God.

Mormons testify that Mormonism is true based on a Burning in the Bosom. CC’s attempt to change the subject does not change the fact that feelings are deceptive.

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FACTS # 11-17 and my Personal concerns about Mormonism WILL BE ADDRESSED IN PART 2 OF THIS POST.
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

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If all Mormons are Christians, then all Christians are Mormon

Mormons claim to be Christian yet deny the essentials of Christianity; namely, that there is one God, that forgiveness of sins is by grace alone, that there is a trinity, that Jesus is God, etc.

 
Mormonism teaches that there are many many gods but that Mormons should serve and worship only one of them, the one of this world. It teaches that forgiveness of sins is not by grace alone. It denies the Trinity doctrine which says there is one God in three persons and instead says that there are three separate gods. It does not proclaim that Jesus is God, but that Jesus is “a” god…. etc. Additionally, Mormons have secret temple rituals, even though the rituals have been done away with with the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.

 
Now, Mormons deny these basic Christian doctrines, yet they want to be called Christian because they say they believe in the same Jesus of the Bible, among other things. But when they speak of Jesus, they mean that Jesus is the brother of Satan, and you and I. They teach that we have all been born from god and his goddess wife who both have physical bodies of flesh and bones.

 
None of this is in the Bible and none of this is believed by Christians. But that has not stopped them from wanting to be called Christian.

 
So, since the Mormons deny basic Christian doctrine and claim to be Christian, then I can deny basic Mormon doctrine and be a Mormon. For example, I deny the following Mormon doctrines.

 

I deny that there are many many gods (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, page 163).

 
I deny that the trinity is three separate gods (Teachings of Prophet Joseph Smith page 370).

 
I deny that god is a man from another planet (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, page 3).

 
I deny that there is a goddess mother (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, page 443).

 
I deny that god is married to his goddess wife (Mormon Doctrine p. 516.).

 
I deny that god and his goddess wife have bodies of flesh and bones (Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22; Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 3.)

 
I deny that we were all born in the pre-existence (Journal of Discourse, Vol. 4, page 218; Articles of Faith, page 174).

 
I deny that Satan is my spirit brother (Mormon Doctrine, page 163).

 
I deny that I need a temple (Articles of Faith, page 138).

 
I deny that I have the potential of becoming a god (Articles of Faith, page 424).

 
I deny that the book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible (History of the Church, 4:461).

 
I deny that good works are necessary for salvation (Articles of Faith, pages 81, 92).

 
I deny that my own blood must atone for any of my sins ((Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, page 247; see also, Vol. 4, pp. 53-54, 219-220).

 
Therefore, since the Mormons deny basic Christian doctrines and call them selves Christian, is it okay for me to deny basic Mormon doctrines and call myself a Mormon?

http://www.carm.org/lds/ldschristian.htm

 

PART TWO OF THIS VIDEO IS HERE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ipeeqr5qoI&feature=related

 

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

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

 

What Do You Mean By Christian “Apologetics?”


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

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

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

What Does Christianity Need Defending Against?


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

What is Christian “discernment”?


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

What Is “Countercult Ministry”?


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

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

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

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

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

How did countercult work begin?


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

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

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

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

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

Does the Bible say anything about cults?


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Why talk about cults PART 2 “, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

 

 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

 

 

 

Why talk about cults?

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

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

I Corinthians 5:11

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

Purpose

This page has multiple purposes:

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

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

Witnessing to the Cultist

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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The video and video page commentary that goes with the video, is below this article from religioustolerance.org (a religiously neutral site), The article is titled “THE AFTERLIFE: BELIEFS OF INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS” But in reality,,, all the groups proclaimed by them to be “Christian denominations” are really aberrant Pseudo/Christian CULTS.
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This is THEIR summary statements about these CULTS afterlife belief.
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Christadelphians: Only those who have heard the Gospel will be resurrected from the grave and be judged. The rest will remain dead, without consciousness, forever.

Christian science: Hell is mental anguish, not a place of separation from God. Heaven is harmony and bliss, not a place of reward.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Hell does not exist; the unsaved simply die and are no more. The earth will become a paradise after Jesus returns.

Mormons: There are 3 levels to Heaven. Hell exists, but very few go there.
Seventh Day Adventists: Heaven exists. Hell is not a place of eternal torment; it is a place where annihilation occurs; people who go there cease to exist.

Twelve Tribes Communities (a.k.a. the Messianic Communities): There are three possible destinations after death: eternal death, God’s eternal kingdom or the Holy City, New Jerusalem. One’s destination depends upon one’s behavior while alive on earth.
Unity School of Christianity: Heaven and hell do not exist as places, but as states of consciousness while we are alive on earth.
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Now we will look at the MORE FULL ASSESSMANT of 4 of these groups and their beliefs on Heaven and Hell (you can read religioustolerance.org assessment of the other groups at the link below). Then we will delve into the motives for these non biblical views of the after life and some logical reasons that hell is real and eternal.

Like the atheist or Reincarnationist, Cult members and cult groups have the physcological need to “re-interpret” the biblical view of eternity and divine judgment. Their souls have not been laid to rest by the doctrine of Grace and total, efficacious sufficiency of that Divine Judgment being poured out on Jesus Christ to make complete atonement for our personal sins.

IN the Cults, the doctrines of redemption and propitiation have been removed. And the atonement is minimized as NOT THE WAY but merely a stepping stone to salvation by works. Therefore, everlasting punishment for sin has to be rejected and removed for sake of the consciences of the Cult members, and potential converts, to bear.
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The Christadelphians
Their name is taken from the Greek in Hebrews 2:11 which translates to “brethren of Christ.” They believe that individuals who have died without hearing the Gospel will remain dead, without consciousness forever. They are to be annihilated at death. There is a division within the group:

The Amended Group of Christadelphians believe that the dead who are “in Christ” will be resurrected and judged at the time of the Second Coming of Christ. Those who have tried to pattern their lives after Christ’s example will be granted immortality. They will live on Earth, restored to its Eden-like state. The wicked will consigned to the “second death.” They will be annihilated and cease to exist.

The Unamended group believe that all of the dead who had been saved will be resurrected and automatically have eternal life in a restored Earth.

Belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, repentance and baptism are all required to be saved.
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Jehovah’s Witnesses
Members of The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (WTS) believe that Hell does not exist. They interpret Hell symbolically as the “common grave of mankind.” Most people simply cease to exist at death; they are annihilated, and do not continue to exist in any form.

The Heavenly Kingdom was established in 1914 CE. A “little flock” or “Anointed Class” of about 135,400 people currently inhabits Heaven. Another 8,600 are still alive at the present time; will also spend eternity with God at a later date. The battle of Armageddon will start soon. Jesus, under Jehovah’s divine rage, will execute vengeance upon the rest of Christendom and followers of “Babylon the Great” (other religions). After the world is purified, a theocracy “God’s Kingdom” will be established on earth for 1000 years. Those who survive Armageddon, the “other sheep,” will live in peace in the newly created utopia — a paradise on earth. They will be joined by the worthy dead who have been resurrected. After 1000 years of God’s Kingdom, Satan, his demon forces and all those rebellious ones who turn against God will be finally destroyed.

In order to be saved, a person should:

accept the doctrines formulated by the WTS Governing Body,
be baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness, and
follow the program of works as laid out by the Governing Body. 6,7,8
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Mormons
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that not one, but three heavens exist:

The highest levels of the Celestial Kingdom are reserved for Mormon couples who have been married in a Mormon temple and thus have had their marriage sealed for eternity. The couples can eventually become a God and Goddess; the husband will then be in control of an entire universe. Christians who are non-Mormons and have led truly exceptional lives will also spend eternity in the Celestial Kingdom.
The Terrestrial Kingdom, is the destination for most individuals.
The Telestial Kingdom is for “liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers” (D&C 76:102).

Individuals will learn and progress within the Kingdom to which they are assigned at death. However, with the exception of those in Hell, they are not allowed to transfer to the next higher level. (D&C 76:70-107) Couples who are not sealed (married in a Mormon temple) will be automatically divorced at death and spend eternity as single individuals.
Hell exists, but very few people will stay there forever. Most will eventually “pass into the telestial kingdom; the balance, cursed as ‘sons of perdition’, will be consigned to partake of endless wo [sic] with the devil and his [fallen] angels.” (Doctrines and Covenants”, 76:84). Sons of perdition have been defined as once devout Mormons who have become apostates by rejecting God’s truth and have left the LDS church. This appears to be the official teaching of the church. Other Mormons have a broader definition and include persons who have knowingly committed a very serious sins and have not repented and sought God’s forgiveness — sins like murder and pre-marital sex.

All will be resurrected. Their belief in Universal Resurrection states that “the unbeliever, the heathen and the child who dies before reaching the years of discretion” will all be brought back to life. (Articles of Faith, Page 85).

Additional benefits beyond simple resurrection will be gained by those who do good works.
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Seventh Day Adventists:
The Seventy-Day Adventists believe in the traditional concept of Heaven and Hell. However, they do not believe that Hell is a place of eternal punishment “with sinners screaming in agony without end.” They view Hell as a place where the unsaved will be burned up, reduced to ashes, and annihilated.

They cite Biblical verses to show that the “‘everlasting’ in ‘everlasting hell’ means ‘as long as there is something to burn in hell.’ Our God is a loving God and to portray sinners as screaming in agony forever and ever does not portray God in such light.” 1
Here is the link to the article. http://www.religioustolerance.org/heav_hel3.htm
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Now we will hear from a friend (Tommy) at a MSN group that I visit. Here is his moderate sized post on the subject @ http://groups.msn.com/ChristianDiscussion/general.msnw?action=get_message&mview=1&ID_Message=97222

The horrors of hell are such that they cause us to instinctively recoil in disbelief and doubt. Yet, there are compelling reasons that should cause us to erase such doubt from our minds.

First, Christ, the creator of the cosmos, clearly communicated hell’s irrevocable reality. He spent more time talking about hell than he did about heaven. In the Sermon on the Mount alone (Matthew 5-7), he explicitly warned his followers about the dangers of hell a half a dozen or more times. In the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25), Christ repeatedly warned his followers of the judgement that is to come. And, in his famous story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16), Christ graphically portrayed the finality of eternal torment in hell.
Furthermore, the concept of choice demands that we believe in hell. Without hell, there is no choice. And without choice, heaven would not be heaven; heaven would be hell. The righteous would inherit a counterfeit heaven, and the unrighteous would be incarcerated in heaven against their wills, which would be a torture worse than hell. Imagine spending a lifetime voluntarily distanced from God only to find yourself involuntarily dragged into his loving presence for all eternity; the alternatve to hell is worse than hell itself in that humans made in the image of God would be stripped of freedom to worship God against their will.

Finally, common sense dictates that there must be a hell. Without hell, the wrongs of Hitler’s Holocaust will never be righted. Justice would be impugned if, after slaughtering six million Jews, Hitler merely died in the arms of his mistress with no eternal consequences. The ancients knew better than to think such a thing. David knew that for a time it might seem as though the wicked prosper in spite of their deeds, but in the end justice will be served.

Common sense also dictates that without a hell there is no need for a Savior. Little needs to be said about the absurdity of suggesting that the Creator should suffer more than the cumulative sufferings of all mankind, if there were no hell to save us from. Without hell, there is no need for salvation. Without salvation, there is no need for a Savior. As much as we may wish to think that all will be saved, common sense precludes the possibility.
Daniel 12:2 “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”
____________________________
So Why do Cults say that hell is not an eternal pace of everlasting punishment???

Wouldn’t you if you where not RESTING in Jesus and his death on the Cross as God’s sacrifice for your sins.

Damon Whitsell
How2BecomeAChristian.info.
________________________________________
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT…HELL?

HELL IS A REALITY

An earmark of cultic religions is their views about hell. If they do not use the fear of going to hell to bring people into bondage, then they try to discount hell altogether. One of Satan’s favorite lies is to try to convince people that they suffer their hell on earth and that there is none hereafter. He also tries to get them to believe the lie that death only brings a state of sleep or rest. Another doctrine teaches that hell is only temporary and eventually after being in the fires of hell people become cleansed and purified to the degree that they will then be accepted into heaven. These terrible heresies are believed by many Christians who are ignorant of what God’s Word has to say about it. Cults also teach that hell is a place where souls are simply annihilated and therefore no longer exist. Some teach reincarnation, giving people another chance to be born on this earth for as many times as it takes to become purified, progressing to higher forms each time they return. Others say hell is only a place away from God, but it is not a literal burning fiery hell. All of these are lies of Satan to cause people to minimize the reality of hell.

What does the Bible say about hell? To make a point, Jesus described this place as such a place of horror that it would be better to sever a member of our body that would lead us there, than to end up in that place of torments.

“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48).
We don’t have to cut our limbs or pluck out our eyes to be free from hell, Jesus made a way for us to escape this evil through our repentance and acceptance of what He did for us on the cross when He died for the sins of our flesh. However, we see clearly that His statement signifies the exclusion of the hope of restoration and that punishment is eternal once a person is there. He repeats the words, “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched,” three times for emphasis.

Another account of the torments of hell is found in Luke 16:19-26:”There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Hell is described not only as a fiery place of torment, but also as a separation from God and His saints, a place where there is continual torment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ker6uxWRTg0

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What are the Characteristics of Cults? by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FROM biblebelievers.com

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

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

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

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

Here are Questions for Campbellites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED post

Is the Church of Christ a denomination?  Comments and questions on Baptism by Truthseeker 24  RePost: The Heresy of Restorationsim by Damon Whitsell  WATER BAPTISM: A PAGAN AND JEWISH RITE,BUT NOT CHRISTIAN by James Moon  The “ONE TRUE CHURCH” by Damon Whitsell   PUTTING GOD IN A BOX , the result of the personification of the bible as the Holy Spirit. By Damon Whitsell  Falsely viewing the Holy Spirit as a poetic device known as personification!  The “Church of Christ” Denial of the Present-Day Ministry of the Holy Spirit by chocd.org  DANGER: The Church of Christ By David J. Stewart Church of Christ Legalism Questionnaire What was the fifth century Pelagian Controversy? How was it similar to what is taught in the Church of Christ?  The “Church of Christ” is not the “one true church”! It is a Cult. By Damon Whitsell

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THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MORMANISM

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MORMANISM

 

The following FACTS represent teachings that are either openly taught in theMormon Church today, or that have been taught by the highest authorities of the Mormon Church. All quotes given are from official LDS publications or the Bible.

FACT #1 The Mormon Church teaches ALL other Churches are WRONG; ALL their creeds are an ABOMINATION in the sight of God; and ALL their teachers are corrupt.

One of the Mormon Books of Scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, says this about non-LDS churches:

    “… they were ALL WRONG; and the Personage who addressed me said that ALL their creeds were an ABOMINATION in his sight; that those professors were ALL CORRUPT;…” (Joseph Smith 2:19).

FACT #2. Mormonism teaches there is no salvation outside the Mormon Church and no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this statement:

    “If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670)

The Bible, on the other hand, teaches salvation is in Jesus alone:

    “Neither is there salvation in any other [Jesus]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

FACT #3. Mormons are taught to doubt the reliability of the Bible and their leaders have consistently attacked its accuracy.

Joseph Smith claimed:

    ” … it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.10)

The Bible answers this attack:

    “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

FACT #4. A basic tenant in Mormonism today is that Jesus Christ is the brother of Satan.

Milton R. Hunter explains it like this:

    “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer,… this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind.” (The Gospel Through The Ages, p.15)

Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Lucifer attempted to become the Savior: in fact, Jesus created all the angels including Lucifer, so they can’t be brothers. Colossians 1:16 indicates that Jesus created “all things,” whether “in heaven,” or “in earth, visible or invisible.”

FACT #5. Mormonism continues to teach that God the Father is a glorified, resurrected Man, and men and women may become Gods and Goddesses.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this claim:

    “God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorified, exalted, immortal, resurrected Man!” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 643)

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, taught:

    ” …you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves…the same as all Gods have done before you,…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 346)

The Lord Himself answers this teaching by pronouncing:

    “… I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)

FACT #6. Mormons consider Polygamy a righteous principle which will be practiced in heaven.

Although there is nothing in the Bible that will support this thinking, current Mormon Scripture has this to say:

    “. . .if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery . . . . And if he have TEN VIRGINS given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery.” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:61, 62)

FACT #7. Mormons today believe God the Father is married and past leaders have taught both God the Father and Jesus Christ are polygamists.

Apostle Orson Pratt makes these unbelievable statements:

    “. . .the great Messiah who was the founder of the Christian religion, was a Polygamist,. . . the Messiah chose to take upon himself his seed; and by marrying many honorable wives himself, show to all future generations that he approbated the plurality of Wives under the Christian dispensation,. . .God the Father had a plurality of wives,. . . the Son followed the example of his Father,. . . both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as in time;. . .” (The Seer, p. 172)

Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that God the Father and Jesus Christ are married or polygamists.

FACT #8. The majority of the activity in the Mormon Temples is work done in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith offers this explanation:

    “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our DEAD.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Although many Mormons are attempting to save their dead relatives, the Bible indicates:

    “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalms 49:7)

FACT #9. To the Mormon, the ultimate test that Mormonism is true is an “inner feeling.”

Mormons often refer to this feeling as a “burning in the bosom.” They believe their scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8) gives the best test for determining truth. This test reads:

    ” . . .study it out in your mind; then you must ask me [the Lord] if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall FEEL that it is right.”

The Bible, on the other hand, tells us:

    “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)

FACT #10 Mormon leaders demand total obedience regardless whether they are right or wrong.

The ward teacher’s message for June, 1945, stated:

“When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan it is God’s plan.” (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354)

Herber C. Kimball, First Councilor to Brigham Young, clarifies further:

    “But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 32)

The Bible warns us in I John 4:l:

    “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

FACT #ll. Mormon leaders have consistently attacked the Biblical doctrine of Salvation by God’s Grace through Faith alone.

In Apostle James Talmage’s book, The Articles of Faith, twice he refers to justification by Faith alone as a “pernicious doctrine,” and further declares:

    “The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith alone has exercised an influence for evil.” (pp. 107, 480)

The Bible responds:

    “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5: 1)

-Page Top-

FACT #12. Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie has warned his people against a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

McConkie made these shocking statements at a speech given at BYU:

    “… gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous. . . . Now, I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. . . .But you have been warned, and you have heard the true doctrine taught.” (Church News, week ending March 20, 1982, p. 5)

In opposition to this, Jesus gives us a personal invitation:

    “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

FACT #13. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, boasted of doing a greater “work” than the Lord Jesus.

Joseph Smith made this incredible boast:

    “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. . . . Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of JESUS ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 408, 409)

No true Prophet of God ever spoke such words as these.

FACT #14. In 1835 Joseph Smith prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord.

At a meeting called by Joseph Smith he instructed the Latter-day Saints that it was “the will of God” to go forth and “prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh-even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182) Eight years later he reinforced this by stating:

    “I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written – the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till 1 am eighty-five years old.” (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 336)

These are obvious False Prophesies which would make Joseph Smith a False Prophet.

FACT #15. Mormons are taught to “shake hands” with a messenger to determine if he is from God or if he is the devil.

The following information is found in Mormon scripture:

    “When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. . . . If it were the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.” (Doctrine and Covenants 129:4, 5, 8)

Rather than trusting in “feelings” the Bible commands us to:

    “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21)

FACT #16. Brigham Young claimed that those who leave the Mormon Church would turn “wrinkled” and “black.”

The following curse was pronounced by Brigham Young:

    “. . .but let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332)

There have been tens of thousands of people leave the Mormon Church – Where are the “black and wrinkled” ones?

FACT #17. Joseph Smith taught the moon was inhabited by people who dressed like Quakers and lived to be about 1000 years old.

In the Mormon publication, The Young Woman’s Journal, pp. 263 & 264, O.B. Huntington gives this interesting information:

    “As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do – that they live generally to near the age of 1000 years. He [Smith] described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.”

Now that man has walked on the Moon, there can be no doubt that there aren’t any 6 foot tall Quakers roaming its surface.

CONCLUSION

If all the FACTS are examined, Mormonism can not be considered a Christian denomination or a divinely led institution. Although Mormons are being deceived by their leaders, why not be concerned enough to share the truth in love? Jesus Himself said: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Restorationist dates for the Great Apostasy (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely, IJN, IHS

Damon Whitsell H2bac.info

____________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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“Church of Christ” Topical Video – Campbellism

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

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

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

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST

 

 

 

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

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for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

1Co 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

“But sanctify the Lord in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (I Peter 3:15)

There is no “surefire method” of leading Mormons to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Since most Mormons have been in their church for years, it’s highly improbable you will convince any Mormon to embrace Christianity in one session. One major problem is the language barrier. The Mormon uses Christian terminology, but with a vastly different significance; therefore, an understanding of basic Mormon doctrine is essential for real communication.

Because of the complex nature of the Mormon faith, this tract is very limited on the information given. It is intended only as a starting point for the concerned Christian who asks, “Where do I start?” and “What do I say?”

A FEW BASICS

  • Love them enough to tell them the truth. Attack Mormonism, not the Mormon.
  • Be prepared. There is no substitute for being well versed in both the Bible and basic Mormonism.
  • Take control of the conversation. Put the Mormon on the defense by asking pertinent questions.
  • Discuss the “real issues.” i.e. God, Jesus Christ, Salvation and Sin.
  • Don’t get sidetracked! Stay on one subject until you have reached a satisfactory conclusion.
  • Quote only from the King James Version of the Bible or Mormon publications. This is the only version they accept.
  • Share the need for a personal relationship with the Jesus of the Bible. Proclaim Jesus, not a church.
  • Offer him literature. Tell him all the quotes are from Mormon leaders or the Bible.
  • Pray for the Mormon. Never cease to pray for him. God is able to save the most hardened Mormon.

The following is a brief examination of the Mormon doctrine of God compared with the Holy Bible:

THE GOD OF MORMONISM

    “In spite of the opposition of the sects, in the face of direct charges of blasphemy, the Church proclaims the eternal truth: ‘AS MAN IS, GOD ONCE WAS: AS GOD IS, MAN MAY BE.” (Apostle James Talmage, The Articles of Faith, p. 430)“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man,.,. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345)“God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorified, exalted, immortal, resurrected Man! (Apostle Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1979 edition, p. 643)

    “… you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you,…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 346

    “If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more Gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds.” (Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 345)

THE GOD OF THE BIBLE

    “…the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” (Deuteronomy 4:39)“… for I am God, and not man;…” (Hosea 11:9)“For I am the LORD, I change not;…” (Malachi 3:6)

    “Therefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee…’ (II Samuel 7:22)

    “For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.” (Psalms 86:10)

    “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:…” (Isaiah 45:5)

The following dialogue is a hypothetical witnessing encounter between a Christian and a Mormon missionary. Missionaries always come in pairs, but usually only one will be the spokesman. This same discussion could be applied to a Mormon friend, neighbor, or relative.

MISSIONARIES AT YOUR DOOR

    Missionaries: (Knock, Knock) Hello, we represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We would like to tell you about a wonderful program for families called “Family Home Evening.” May we come in for a few minutes?Christian: Just a minute, let me get my Bible. (Christian leaves the door and returns with a Bible.) Perhaps you could answer a question for me – Is Mormonism based on the Bible?Missionary: Oh yes! The Bible is one of our standard works. (The other three are: The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.)

    Christian: I understand Mormonism teaches, “AS MAN IS, GOD ONCE WAS, AS GOD IS, MAN MAY BECOME.” Is this true?

    Missionary: Yes, we teach that.

    Christian: In other words, God wasn’t always God, there was a time when he was just a man, and he progressed to become God. Is this true?

    Missionary: (Reluctantly) Yes, this is Mormon doctrine.

    Christian: (Handing his Bible to the missionary) Would you please read Psalms 90 verse 2 and tell me how this verse fits Mormon doctrine?

    Missionary: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Well . . . Uh . . .I’m not sure.

    Christian: According to this verse, how long will God be God?

    Missionary: To everlasting.

    Christian: According to this verse, how long has God been God?

    Missionary: Uh.. Well… it says from everlasting.

    Christian: You mentioned earlier that Mormonism was based on the Bible. Doesn’t this verse refute the teaching of the Mormon Church that God wasn’t always God and was at one time just a man?

    Missionary: Uh…Uh… What about the two sticks in Ezekiel?

    Christian: That’s a very good question. After we discuss this most important teaching about God, let’s look at the two sticks mentioned in Ezekiel. Let’s reconsider the statement, “AS MAN IS, GOD ONCE WAS; AS GOD IS, MAN MAY BECOME.” Doesn’t this indicate that there were gods before our God, there will be gods after our God, and in fact, there are many gods?

    Missionary: Yes.

    Christian: Would you please read Isaiah 43:10 for me and explain how Mormon doctrine deals with this verse?

    Missionary: “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.” I don’t know. I’ve never seen that verse before.

    Christian: Would you read and explain Isaiah 44:6 then?

    Missionary: “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” This probably means there is no other God that pertains to this world.

    Christian: But it doesn’t say that, does it?

    Missionary: Well, no.

    Christian: Tell me – Does your God know everything?

    Missionary: Certainly! He’s all knowing.

    Christian: Would he know if other gods exist?

    Missionary: Of course.

    Christian: Read Isaiah 44:8 and see what God says about other gods.

    Missionary: “… Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” Well. . Uh… The Bible has been copied and recopied so many times, it’s just not trustworthy, besides, we only accept the Bible as far as it’s translated correctly. (8th Article of Faith of the Mormon Church.)

    Christian: Perhaps you could tell me where is it incorrectly translated and give me your documentation.

    Missionary: I don’t know. I haven’t been told.

    Christian: What about your prophet? Certainly he could give you a correct translation.

    Missionary: We!!… I TESTIFY TO YOU. I KNOW THE BOOK OF MORMON IS THE WORD OF GOD, I KNOW JOSEPH SMITH WAS A PROPHET OF GOD, I KNOW…

    Christian: (Interrupts testimony) Wait a minute! How do you know these things are true?

    Missionary: Because I?ve prayed about it and the Holy Ghost has revealed to me these things are true.

    Christian: Do you know that nowhere in the Bible are we told to pray for an “inner feeling” to know if a prophet is a true prophet, or if a book is from God, or if a teaching is true? The Bible says in I John 4:1 – “… believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Deuteronomy 13:1-5 gives a test for a true prophet. It says if a prophet tells us to go after a different God than the God of the Bible, that’s a FALSE PROPHET! According to the Biblical test, Mormon doctrine and Joseph Smith FAIL THE TEST!

    Missionary: Thank you for your time. We had better go now.

    Christian: Before you go, I would like to tell you what Jesus Christ has done in my life. I have received his free gift of eternal life, based on the finished work at the cross. According to Ephesians 2:8,9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” I base my eternal destiny on the trustworthy word of God, the Bible. Also, I would like to give you these two tracts. You may think they are anti-Mormon, but the only quotes in them are statements from your own prophets and apostles, or the Bible. If you think they are in error, please come back and show me EXACTLY what is in error. I love both of you, and want you to know my Jesus.

    Missionary: Thank you. Good-bye.

GOD PROMISES

    “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit …. (Hebrews 4:12)“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” (Proverbs 30:5)
For questions or comments you can contact us
by e-mail at challenge.min@cox.net or write:
http://www.challengemin.org/witness.html

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Happy Labor Day to you.,

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some stats from the other sites.

Last 30 days FIRST SITE

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

 

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

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

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

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

Thanks for everything,

Ministry Manager,  Damon Whitsell

How2BecomeAChristian.info  (with a numeral 2)  Ministries.

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

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

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

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

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

Mormons

Joseph Smith claimed that he had seen both God the Father and Jesus Christ and asked these personages which church he should join. He claimed he was told to join none of them, “for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight” (Joseph Smith History 1:19).

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

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

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

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

Church of Christ

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

The section is appropriately titled,,,,

TRUE CHURCH.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jehovah Witness’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seventh Day Adventist (SDA)

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

What facts won’t they tell you?

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

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

They revere their founding prophetess, Ellen G. White, and made this statement in their “Ministry” Magazine of Oct. 1981 and have never retracted it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are two types of churches……

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

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

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

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

FAIR USE notice: The material from other ministries in this article was used for research and educational purposes.
Foot note (1)

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

The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity

The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity

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

The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity

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

The Doctrine of Authority

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Doctrine of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Person of Jesus Christ

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

Jesus Was Human

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

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

Jesus Was God

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

Jesus Made Divine Claims

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

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

Jesus Exercised Divine Works

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Possessed Divine Attributes

By Demonstration

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

 Jesus exercised authority over nature.

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

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

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

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

 Jesus had authority over life and death.

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

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

By Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Received Worship as God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Is God Yahweh

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

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

The Doctrine of the Church

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

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

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

The Atonement

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

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

Doctrine of Salvation

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

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

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

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

The Doctrine of Man

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

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

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

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

 

 

 

 

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CULT?

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CULT?

 

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

The Characteristics of Cults

 

 

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

New Truth

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Non-biblical Source

of Authority

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Another Jesus

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Rejection of Orthodox Christianity

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

DoubleTalk

 

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

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

Nonbiblical Teaching on the Nature of God (Trinity)

 

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

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

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

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

Changing Theology

 

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

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

 

Christianity Today,

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

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

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

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

 

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

Strong Leadership

 

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

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

Salvation by Works

 

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

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

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

False Prophecy

 

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

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

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

The Founder Speaks

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

2.1914 “THE FARTHEST LIMIT OF THE RULE OF IMPERFECT

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

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

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

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

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

Come, pp.

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

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

Conclusion:

 

 

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

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WHAT IS A CULT?

WHAT IS A CULT?

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

What is a Cult?
 

 

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

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

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

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

Why Do Cults Prosper?

 

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

 

 

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

The Cults Provide Answers
 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEFORE GOD WAS IN A BOX.

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

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

WHY DO THEY PUT GOD IN A BOX???

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

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

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

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

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

Expressions like. “The face of the moon”

C. The Bible does use personification widely:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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B. Examples we are familiar with:

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Once again, there are various positions on this issue within the CHOCD, but this is probably their most grievous error. Because it goes way beyond just rejecting the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, as recorded in I Corinthians chapters 12-14. It also includes the rejection of His “enduement of power.” Jesus said in Acts 1:4-8 that He would “baptize them in the Holy Spirit” and they would “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” And we see the fulfillment of this promise on the day of Pentecost. Peter said in Acts 2:39, that the promise of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit was for every believer, for “as many as the Lord our God shall call!” In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus had also promised that the miraculous would follow those that believed, in Chapter 16, verse 17. Jesus promised in John 14:16, that the Holy Spirit “would be with us FOREVER!” Paul said in Romans 11:29 that, “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”

The only verse that they can even attempt to take out of context to uphold their dispensational outlook is I Corinthians 13:10, that states at some point in time (“when that which is perfect comes”) the miraculous will be done away with. They believe “that which is perfect” was the canonization of the Scriptures. But when you read this statement in context, you see that it couldn’t be what or when they say it is. First of all, the Apostle Paul virtually tells us when it would happen, in verse 12, by telling us what would transpire at the arrival of “that which is perfect.” He says, “For NOW we see in a mirror dimly, but THEN we will see face to face; NOW I know in part, but THEN I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known”.

To prove that the miraculous didn’t cease at the canonization of the Scriptures, all you have to do is plug their theory into verse 12, every time Paul says the word THEN. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but THEN, at the canonization of scripture (300 AD), we will see face to face; now I know in part, but THEN, at the canonization of scripture, I shall know fully as I also have been fully known.” The term “face to face” was used in Paul’s day (as it is in our day) as a very literal term. At the canonization of scripture, who or what did Paul see “face to face?” At the canonization of scripture, how did the Apostle Paul grow in knowledge? He had been in Heaven for over 200 years! The fact of the matter is that when Paul referred to “that which is perfect” he was simply referring to the second coming of Christ, or when we would go home to glory, whichever came first. Will you gain knowledge when you get to heaven? Absolutely! Will you see anyone (Jesus, for example) “face to face?” Undoubtedly! So this verse is obviously a very precarious place to hang one’s hat in an attempt to prove that the miraculous workings of God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, have ceased!

But some (not all) of the members of the CHOCD go even further in their defiance of the Holy Spirit, and say that he is not even a person of the Trinity. The Bible is very clear in attributing personhood to the Holy Spirit by stating that the Holy Spirit has a will (I Corinthians 12:11); that He can be grieved (Eph 4:30); that He would be our Teacher (John 14:26) and more. Many of the CHOCDs even come dangerously close to committing blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31) by saying that any manifestation of the miraculous in this day and age are all 100% demonic! Take it from me, I am living proof that God still performs miracles today. Because in 1979, while a member of the CHOCD… I committed suicide. My family was falling apart, and thanks to the erroneous teachings of the CHOCD, all I had to fall back on was a “religion,” not a living, personal relationship with the living Lord of the Universe. So faced with a future of hopelessness and despair, I took an overdose (130+) of sleeping pills, and laid down to die. But because of the mercy and grace of our loving Creator, a minister friend of mine from the Christian Church came by (after the pills had been in my system for nearly six hours!) As he struggled to help me get dressed to go to the hospital (with the rescue squad on its way), I lapsed into a coma. I went stiff as a board and my eyes rolled back in my head and I keeled over. But on the way to the hospital, as my friend prayed for me, I came to! I had no adverse side effects, other than being thirsty and feeling like I hadn’t slept in days. The doctors didn’t have a clue. My minister friend didn’t even know what to think either. My own earthly Father went to the grave suspecting that the whole thing was an effort to get attention. Hey, you don’t take over 100 sleeping pills to get anyone’s attention but a mortician!

So now maybe you can see why I feel so strongly about reaching the poor souls that have fallen prey to the dead theology of the CHOCD. Legalism robs a believer of their Joy! And since the Joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10), then legalism is a parasite that will sap you of your ability to stand when the storms of life come your way. If the CHOCD wants to be a TRUE representation of the New Testament Church, then they must embrace that which the original church embraced. I am grateful for the basic biblical foundation that I received while in the CHOCD, but even more grateful that Jesus has shown me a “more excellent way!”

http://www.chocd.org/holyspirit.html

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Some in the “Church of Christ” believe they are the only Christians. As one who was previously trained to preach for the Church of Christ, I think that this teaching is harmful. My aim in this video and in my paper is to help members of the Church of Christ and others understand better how we can deal with differences and cultivate a more genuine walk with God. Please visit my website at http://www.geocities.com/thesufficiencyoffaith to download my paper in which I thoroughly discuss these issues. My paper attempts to examine the root of the issue, and in doing so it also addresses many other questions, such as how God deals with people who we might think have not been able to hear the gospel and the relationship between faith and works. Although it was written primarily with the Church of Christ doctrines in mind, the principles God showed me involve questions that have been asked by people all over the world for ages.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE: Who are the churches of Christ?

There is much heresy in the preceding statement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Ye Must Be Born Again!

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You WILL need to visit the site to make the answers pop up. But all CoC members should take this test.

Legalism Questionnaire http://ex-churchofchrist.com/legalismCoC.htm

LEE-gull-izm: noun, 1) something pertaining to obeying law, 2) becoming overly concerned with legal details and losing the intent of the law, 3) straining gnats out of one’s coffee and swallowing huge hump-backed animals.

Hold your cursor over the answer you choose:

1. The “new covenant” is a phrase in the New Testament that is used to refer to
a. the new regulations in the New Testament about the work, worship and organization of the local congregation.
b. baptism and the plan of salvation
c. a new relationship with God based on forgiveness

2. The “gospel of Christ” is a phrase in the New Testament that is used to refer to
a. the new regulations in the New Testament about the work, worship and organization of the local congregation.
b. baptism and the plan of salvation
c. a new relationship with God based on forgiveness

3. The “law of liberty” and the “law of Christ” are phrases in the New Testament that are used to refer to
a. the new regulations in the New Testament about the work, worship and organization of the local congregation.
b. baptism and the plan of salvation
c. a new relationship with God based on forgiveness

4. James (in chapter 2) teaches that faith without works is dead. What kind of works is James talking about?
a. The work, worship and organization of the local congregation
b. All works commanded by God
c. mercy towards poor people

5. The story of Uzzah being struck dead for touching the ark of the covenant teaches
a. unauthorized worship is displeasing to God
b. God keeps his promises
c. God appreciates spontaneous worship

6. The story of Nadab and Abihu being struck dead for bringing strange fire before the Lord teaches
a. unauthorized worship is displeasing to God
b. God proved His acceptance of the sacrifice (Nadab and Abihu did not wait for God’s acceptance)
c. God is displeased by substituting one’s own works for God’s works.

7. Concerning going to church
a. There are many scriptures that teach attending church is one of the most important acts of worship and obedience in a Christian’s life.
b. There are many scriptures that teach one must attend church every Sunday.
c. There are two scriptures that tell us to assemble with other Christians with the purpose of encouraging one another.

8. Jesus viewed God the Father as
a. Someone who threw a big party with music and dancing
b. Someone who was bad-tempered and hard to get to know
c. Someone who only talked to church hierarchy

9. Peter viewed baptism as
a. for the remission of sins
b. to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
c. Both “a” and “b”

10. Concerning instrumental music
a. God accepted instrumental music in the Old Testament
b. David encouraged instrumental music in some of the same Psalms that are referred to in the New Testament
c. There is instrumental music in heaven
d. Jesus compared the church to a banquet with music and dancing
e. there is no condemnation of instrumental music in the New Testament
f. There is no condemnation of spontaneous unauthorized worship anywhere in the Bible
g. The apostle Paul unreservedly encouraged Christians to sing the Psalms
h. all of the above
i. There is no approval of instrumental music by God in the Bible
j. There is no approval of instrumental music in worship in the New Testament

Your Score:
9 to 10 incorrect answers: you probably found this questionnaire irritating.

9 to10 correct answers: you feel (would have felt) very uncomfortable in the strict Churches of Christ, and you got a big kick out of this questionnaire. If you attended hardline Churches of Christ in the past, you may have needed quite a bit of alka-seltzer to digest those mandatory camels.

Any scores in between and you may not feel comfortable anywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Restorationist dates for the Great Apostasy (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely, IJN, IHS

Damon Whitsell H2bac.info

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

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

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

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“Church of Christ” Topical Video – Campbellism

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