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”.
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 dependent 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. We’ll look at 3 or 4 of the more well known cults. Lets look at a couple of Mormon quotes first.
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 is saying here 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
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 Church of Christ 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 Church of Christ 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 Matthew 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 Church of Christ 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 Church of Christ 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 ie. Thomas and Alexander Campbell on May 4, 1811?
“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 ChucOC 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.htmlWhat 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.
I find that when many talk about salvation or being saved, they do not even use or have the correct definition of save, saved or salvation in mind.
The terms in Hebrew, Greek and English predominantly mean to deliver, to rescue from harm or danger, to deliver from sin, to preserve and protect. These actions come from outside of us. They are not something we do. We are merely recipients.
Webster’s defines salvation as “the act of saving someone from sin or evil : the state of being saved from sin or evil”, “something that saves someone or something from danger or a difficult situation” and “deliverance from the power and effects of sin”. Strong’s defines Salvation in the Greek as “G4991 sōtēria Feminine of a derivative of G4990 as (properly abstract) noun; rescue or safety (physically or morally): – deliver, health, salvation, save, saving”. And in Hebrew Strong’s defines Salvation as “H3444 yesh-oo’-aw Feminine passive participle of H3467; something saved, that is, (abstractly) deliverance; hence aid, victory, prosperity: – deliverance, health, help (-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare”.
It was Christ “who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4). Before the foundation of the world “… God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). Salvation is simply not about what we do, but rather what God and Jesus Christ has done on our behalf, delivering us from the wages of our sin – death. There is a plan of salvation. And with any plan there is doing involved. But we are not the ones that do the doing.
The following debate happened between myself and Church of Christ member Dave Bell. “Faith is a synecdoche (please see opening statements for a definition)” is an argument that is often employed by Church of Christ preachers. The claim is often made without any substantiation. Therefore I am grateful to Mr. Bell for participating in this debate with me as it is the only one on this subject on the internet. – Damon Whitsell
Opening Statement by Dave Bell
IS “FAITH” A SYNECDOCHE?
It has been said that “words written in truth are everlasting” and I believe that with all my heart. The question of this discussion is about the use of the word “faith” or belief and how it is used in scripture especially in regards to our salvation. Many contend that all one has to do is to believe or have faith in Christ and at that point one is saved and that it is by faith alone and nothing else since all other would be to add ‘works’ of our own to that salvation. In one sense that is true but it is only true if one realises that “faith is a synecdoche for the whole plan of salvation we must obey in order to be saved. So that is how am I using the word synecdoche here? We must define our terms for the discussion to continue.
Synecdoche: This word is from the Greek sunechdeechesthai meaning to receive jointly. It is usually spoken of as a figure of speech by which is spoken a whole by a part or a part by using a term denoting the whole.
All of us who read and study the Bible must remember that it is richly endowed with figures of speech and the synecdoche is one of the most common figures of speech used by the Bible writers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There fore we must read, recognise, and learn to correctly interpret synecdoche’s this is absolutely necessary if we would be faithful and accurate in drawing our conclusions on numerous passages and indeed subjects.
It is my contention in this discussion that “faith” of “belief” is a part put for the whole of the Gospel plan of salvation as it is presented in the New Testament that is all of the conditions of salvation are indicated by the use of one; generally that of faith this is the first one mentioned as without it nothing else would follow. The whole Gospel plan of salvation given is this: Hearing the Gospel, believing the gospel, repentance of sin, confession of Christ as Lord before men, baptism for the remission of sins, and living a faithful life until death. “Faith” involves all of these and is thus the synecdoche of salvation by Gospel obedience.
Men were to call on the name of the Lord in order to be saved (Romans10:17); they were to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved (Acts 16:31); they were to repent of their sins in order to be saved (Acts 17:30); they were to be baptised in order to be saved (Acts 2:38; 22:16). It is common for us to see one of these mentioned without any reference as to the presence of any other. That is how I am using “faith” as a synecdoche in this discussion.
If we were to put the word “alone” with all of these component parts I think we can see what I mean. We are saved by “faith alone” but are we? We could do this with the entire component parts of the plan of salvation legitimately since all on their own are synecdoches. We could say we are saved by baptism alone since it saves us (II Peter 3:21). It was not however Peter’s intent to teach us that all one must do to be saved was to be baptised. Yet by parity of reasoning with the faith only error we could say that Peter does indeed teach this since we forget how to employ the synecdoche in our reasoning. Baptism (a part) is made to stand for the whole plan of salvation as faith is made to stand as a part for the whole plan of forgiveness of our sins.
We are then to recognize and understand the various synecdoches that relate to the terms of our forgiveness of sins and thus our pardon. If we can do this I think we will find a truly beautiful and harmonious picture in the plan of salvation given to us by God through the Holy Spirit in the word.
However if we do not recognize them it is not possible to understand fully what God requires from us in order to be is for the whole plan to be Obeyed, not just one part of it at the expense of the rest. To repeat it, the whole for which a single element (synecdoche) is made to stand in various passages consists of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance of one’s sins, confession of Christ as Lord before men, being baptised for the remission of one’s sins, and living faithfully until one dies.
Figures of speech are common in all languages and the Bible is no exception to this. Our New Testament was written in the common or koine Greek and the Greeks seemed to make a “science” out of figures of speech and we must learn to interpret those figures or “tropes” as they were called; tropes comes from tropos meaning a turn this is simply because these figures represented “turns” or variations from the normal literal meaning of words.
For this and the other reasons we have seen we must acknowledge that the Bible is replete with figures of speech. We must also learn to recognize when a writer or speaker is using figurative terms like the synecdoche, and to correctly interpret those terms as a failure to do so can lead to disastrous consequences for us especially in regards to our salvation.
If we look at a question such as “How long was Jesus in the grave?” we can see how a synecdoche works in practice. In Mark15:42-43; Luke 23: 50-54; and John 19:31, we can see that the crucifixion occurred on a Friday. Then in Matthew 28:1ff; Mark16:2ff; Luke 24:1ff; and John 20:1ff, we can see that the lord’s resurrection was on the first day of the week or Sunday.
Now even though these statements are clear there are many unbelievers who will tell us that Christ’s own words just cannot be harmonized with a sixth day crucifixion (Friday) and a first day resurrection (Sunday). The prophecy they will all go to is found in (Matthew12:40) where Jesus said that He would be three days and three nights in the grave. They are quick to show that part of Friday night, the entire day and night of Saturday and part of Sunday are equal to only ‘part’ of days and only two nights. I think that what is even sadder is that some who claim to be believers also make this argument and agree with the unbelievers.
Now if it be demanded that we take the Lord’s words strictly literally then we do have a problem as they would contradict what He had spoken in passages such as: (Matthew 16:21; Luke9:22; Mark 8:31; and John 2:19). Yet when Jesus said these things those who heard Him had no problem with them including His enemies.
All of these apparent difficulties melt away when we recognize that the three days and three nights are a synecdoche of time in which the phrase “three days and nights” actually refers to a part of that time.
If we go back nearly a thousand years and read (I Kings 12:5, 12) we can see the exact same figure used by Rehoboam; where he says to the people “Depart for three days, then return to me, so the people departed.” Then Jereboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the “third day” as the king had directed, saying “Return to me on the third day.” So we can see that this type of synecdoche was very familiar to the Jews and they would understand what Jesus had said to them hence they had no problem with His words at all and never made the argument the atheists and some “believers” make about ittoday. All that was needed was to understand the type of figure Jesus used and here it was a synecdoche and is an example to ustoday.
If we now look at some Biblical examples of salvation we might begin to see how this figure is used in scripture. The question we must ask ourselves regarding these synecdoches is this: Is this “all” or is it only a part of what God requires for us to be saved?
(1) (Titus 3:5) “According to His mercy He saved us.”
(2) (Hebrews 7:25) “He saves to the uttermost them that draw near to God.’
(3) (Matthew 10:22) “He that endures to the end shall be saved.”
(4) (Romans 10:17) with (Matthew 10:32 “He who confesses Me etc.
(5) (I Peter 3:21) “Baptism now saves us.”
(6) (John 3:16) “He who believes shall have eternal life.”
(7) (Mark 16:16) “He who believes AND is baptized shall be saved.”
I think when we examine these properly and interpret them right we must agree that all of these are synecdoches they are part of the plan of salvation that have been given to represent the whole of that plan of salvation.
This raises a question that I think demands an answer from us if we are to be logical in our interpretations and that is this: Should we now fault the Holy Spirit (who inspired the New Testament writers) for NOT stating ALL the conditions of salvation every time the subject occurs, both God and our part in it?
This in turn provokes (to me) another question which is this: Why is it that when the word “faith” appears in the New Testament that those who claim that this alone saves us feel that they must insert the word “only” after faith? We can surely all agree that what we have just looked at are indeed synecdoches yet with faith it suddenly changes here, why? I think that it has to be this way for the “faith only” corner because if they believe this doctrine then in order to be true and consistent to it they must then teach that faith is the only condition thus when it appears it simply cannot stand for anything else. This I deny.
The only place that the doctrine of faith only is discussed is in (James 2) and in that passage it explicitly states that faith according to the non synecdoche corner cannot and does not save us.
This is because true faith produces and works through love (Galatians 5:6) if it does not do this then faith does not work at all. Further if we love God then (I John 5:3-4) will tell us that this is the love of God that we keep His commandments and that his commandments are not grievous for whatsoever is begotten of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world (even) our faith.
The last question is has your faith overcome the world and if so how can it be “faith only?
DEBATE: Is faith a Synecdoche? Denial Opening Statement by Damon Whitsell
Hello Dave, thanks for this debate and bringing up this interesting topic, it’s a new one for me. In researching for this debate I found many Church of Christ articles that claimed faith is a synecdoche. But they all just made the assertion without trying to prove or make a positive case for that assertion. I look forward to hearing your affirmative case and responding.
A Synecdoche, as I understand it, is a figure of speech in which a part represents a whole of something, or the whole represents a part of something, such as a “hand” represents a “worker”. And from our prior interactions and your posting in the group, I take it that by saying “faith is a synecdoche” you mean the word faith means to do or “obey” the “whole plan of salvation” which is “hear, repent of sin, believe, confess, be baptized for remission of sin and live a faithful life” (6 steps). I think you will have a hard time establishing the truthfulness of that claim and my reasons follow.
SOURCE: Does God hear the cries of those who do not communicate in human language? Does His heart respond to the fearful mewing of a motherless kitten or the exhaustion of a donkey staggering under a load far too heavy for it? Does He care about the animals that are bred in cramped quarters and exploited for profit?
God was so interested in the welfare of the animal kingdom that He created, that He even commanded Noah, in the time of judgement on the earth, to make the ark big enough to hold two of every kind of animal that existed.
The Bible actually has much to say in regard to animal abuse. In the beginning, God created the earth and all the creatures on it to be under the authority of humanity. He entrusted these beautiful elements of His creation to our care (Genesis 1:26). Our sinful nature causes us to abuse these things, sometimes without even realizing it. Yet, God expects the Christian, above all others, to be sensitive to all of His creation, knowing that exploiting or abusing it shows a disrespect for God Himself. Abuse of anything that God made is not the character of God, but rather of the Evil One.
Domestic Animals: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel” (Proverbs 12:10). Throughout the Bible, God shows how He expects us to care for our animals in practical ways. In the Law of the Israelites, for example, one of the purposes of the Sabbath year of rest for the land, was to let the land lie fallow–and so that the poor as well as livestock and wild animals could eat from it (Exodus 23:11 and Leviticus 25:7). The Sabbath day itself was not only for humans to rest. God also commanded us to give our animals rest on the same day. (Exodus 20:10). He also commanded the Israelites to help both their friends and enemies when their ox or donkey had fallen over, or was carrying a burden too heavy for it to bear (Exodus 23:5 and Deuteronomy 22:4). In addition, livestock were also allowed to eat as they worked (Deuteronomy 25:4). Finally, God says to us in Proverbs 27:23: “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.”
Part of the reason that God anointed young David to be king over Israel, was that he was a good shepherd and could be trusted with the sheep under his care, even risking his life for them when they were attacked by lions or bears (1 Samuel 17:34). God knew that if David had this sort of heart for his sheep, he would be a faithful shepherd over an even greater treasure–the people of Israel.
Wild Animals: His eye is on the sparrow: In addition to domesticated animals, God also watches over wild animals and commands us to do the same. In Deuteronomy 22:6-7, God promises a long life to those who will watch over wild birds. If we rape the land or the creatures in it, what will sustain us in the future? He allows for the taking of eggs, but commands that we release the mother bird to continue living in the wild and reproducing as He intended. In Job 38:41, God says that He hears the cries of newborn ravens crying to Him for food. Jesus went on to say that God supplies food for the wild birds and that not one of them falls to the ground without Him knowing it (Matthew 6:26, 10:29).
These small, but kind and practical commands written throughout the Bible give us good insight into how God expects us to treat animals. Surely we will have to answer to Him for any abuse that we have committed against them. God created animals for us to love and to learn from. In them, we see our own dependance upon God illustrated in their dependance upon us. We can also see elements of our foolishness manifested in them (who has not seen a crowing rooster and laughed at the comic caricature of ourselves crowing to all the world in our foolish pride?) In addition, God also tells us to learn from their wisdom:
This question was asked of me, “there are 34,000+ different Christian denominations today. Who is to say which churches constitute the congregations of ‘true Christians’?” My response was…
I saw someone else make a similar statement about two weeks ago and have not had time to comment but would like to do so now. The post I am commenting about used 19,000+ as the number of Christian Denominations.
I would like to postulate a question that I believe statements like this beg to ask. I believe this is what people mean when they make such comments, “With between 19 and 34 thousand different Christian denominations, is it not ludicrous to think there is anything but confusion among Christians as to what Christianity is? Why should I consider joining such a confused bunch? Is there really any logical reason to consider Jesus Christ?”
It is my belief that people who make such claims, as there being between 19 and 34 thousand denominations of Christianity, in the sense that there are that many different versions are really saying, “you guys are fools and can’t even figure out ya’lls own religion”. Some may actually believe that there are many different versions of Christianity, but I believe that most prop up such bogus ideas in their head to justify their denial of Jesus Christ.
FALSE TEACHERS, PROPHETS, GOSPELS AND A DIFFERENT JESUS
Every New Testament book except Philemon contains warnings against false teachings, false prophets and false gospels that teach a different Jesus and a different Spirit. Paul said there were false teachers among the Corinthians and Jesus said “beware for many come false teachers have come to lead you astray”. We are told that there are men who secretly introduce destructive heresies and that Satan and his ministers masquerade as Servants of Righteousness. We are even told that there are Doctrines of Demons.
To the church in Galatia Paul said “you are being thrown into confusion by people trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am astonished that you so quickly turn from the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel”. We are told not to accept any other gospels than the one preached by the Apostles, even if they come from Angels or the Apostles themselves.
Satan is rightfully descripted as “adversary”. But Christianity is not dualistic (there is not a bad god and a good god battling it out) and because God is sovereign, Satan cannot be rightfully viewed as an adversary to God. He is just a created fallen angel. Satan opposes God’s plan of redemption. He does this by perverting the simple Gospel of Grace and certain truths about the nature of God, Man, Angels and Salvation.
ORTHODOXY VERSES HETERODOXY
The New Testament and church history shows that Christianity has always made a valiant effort to keep the Gospel from being perverted in the midst of constant attempts to redefine the essence of Christianity. The book of Galatians notes that some were trying to lure the Christians in Galatia back into the legalistic systems of Judaism, and the epistles of John tell us that Gnostic Teachings where already on the rise.
Detractors always like to claim that Christianity was not a codified belief system until the creed producing church councils, which they wrongfully say was the beginning of what we call the Church. Dan Brown claims that it was at these councils that Christianity was invented. But anyone who knows church history will tell you that these councils where required because false teachings came to attention and had to be dealt with. The church councils where not held to establish real or essential Christian doctrine, but to refute false heretical teachings that had risen up in the church. Establishing Essential Doctrine was a byproduct of some of these councils, and as Gnostic writings continued to appear on the scene these councils also established what is the Cannon (measure of, or for, inspired scripture). Christians have always struggled to keep out the heterodox beliefs and to the keeping in of the orthodox.
History shows that Christianity was institutionalized as the state religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine. The Christians had been persecuted, even to death, for their beliefs about Jesus for many years, and the reprieve was welcomed but wrought its own problems. The major problem was that religious belief cannot be mandated by a state since religious belief is soulish in nature, and law cannot dictate personal belief. You can make a pagan say he believes in Jesus but you can’t make him actually believe in Jesus through force. In the generations after Constantine people were said to be Christian by virtue of the place of their birth (i.e. in Rome) not by virtue of their beliefs. All roman citizens were decreed to be Christians because of their birthplace, but that did not make all Romans non-pagans or actual Christians. Christianity was temporarily redefined by some.
I am not at home so I don’t have the specifics handy, but at one point a Pope made a decree that church tradition would be given as much emphasis as scripture regarding Christian beliefs. By elevating church tradition to the level of scripture as the authority for defining and living the Christian faith, the Catholic Church perverted the gospel as it had never been perverted before. The deification and worship of Mary, salvation by penance and works, and many other heretical beliefs arose which required the protesting of the Protestant Movement. Once perverted the Catholic Church remained apostate and Christians required a separation and reformation. It was a return to the Essential Doctrines of Jesus and the apostles themselves.
UNITY WITHIN DIVERSITY
A few months ago, I was engaged in debates at Factnet (a cult watch ministry) with followers of Arnold Murray and the Shepard’s Chapel. They can be called a Christian Cult because they do not hold to Essential Doctrine. They cannot be called a denomination or a true church. They have nothing in common with others that call themselves Christian, except for the name Christian. They hold an unorthodox view concerning the nature of God, Man, Sin and Salvation. From non-essentials such as the heresy of pre-existence, to the heresy of anglo-israelism, 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 Within Diversity.
My phone book list about 20 different local Christian Churches. Among them are denominations and non-denominations and Christian Cults. I can go to most of those churches and have much unity in beliefs with them, especially concerning Jesus. As many have said “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 Chaplers. They are isolated, exclusive and authoritarianist 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 name Christian to themselves.
THE VISABLE AND INVISABLE CHURCH
Who is to say which churches constitute the congregations of ‘True Christians’?
I think it is fair and right to say that there are two real churches of Jesus Christ. The visible and the invisible. The cooperate and the spiritual. We must realize that the church is personal and spiritual, and it is not an institution. There is not one denomination that is totally doctrinally correct. Denominations arise out of non-essential matters such as which day is the Sabbath (SDA), and should we be baptized by immersion (Baptist) or sprinkling. If a denomination arises out of a misconstrued essential doctrine, it is not a denomination but a Christian Cult.
It is safe to say that no church organization has the corner on True Christianity. There are true Christians within all Christian denominations and non-denominations. There are false Christians within all denominations and non denominations. But there is exactly zero false Christians in the invisible church.
My conclusion is that it is not appropriate to say there are many Christian denominations and try to link any and all proclaimed denominations with true Christianity. The Bible is full of warnings about false teachings, prophets, gospels, spirits and even false Jesus’s. The Bible even claims that it is a fallen angel’s agenda to pervert the truths contained in the Bible. History shows the fight to keep Christianity from being redefined. It is absurd to say “I will not consider Jesus because there is no unity in his followers” because there is Unity Within Diversity among the people of Jesus.
There are many individuals and groups that call themselves Christians, but you don’t become a car by parking in a garage. You have to become a car to be a car by nature. A Christian is a Christian by virtue of what they believe about Jesus Christ. I have avoided defining what is Essential Christian Doctrine because I don’t have time, but I will say it is safe to say if you don’t think Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Light, you’re not a real Christian. It is safe to say that not all, but close to all Christian churches listed in my phone book believe He is The Way, The Truth and The Light. It is safe to say that of 19-34 thousand alleged Christian denominations that there is only one true church, and it is called the Body of Christ, of which Jesus is the head. The True Church is not a denomination. The true church are people that hold to Essential Christian Doctrine.
It should be no surprise that there is Unity Within Diversity within true Christianity. To be otherwise would be authoritarianism.
A foundational and basic error of interpretation lies in thinking that James 2 is the go to place in scripture to clarify what salvation is. CoC’ers that oppose salvation by faith alone seem to think James was teaching differently than Paul and the rest of scripture. But he is not. Paul is the apostle to the gentiles and James was a Jew speaking to Jews. They were speaking to two different audiences and emphasizing two different types of Justification. Paul said Abraham was justified by faith and had nothing to boast about before God. He was showing justification before God. Yet James said “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18). He is speaking about justification before men. And both Paul and James agree and said that Abraham believed God and it was counted or credited to him as righteousness..
To see the two different kind of justifications see (Rom 4:2) “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God”. If Abraham was justified by works, as James at first glance appears to assert he is, he can glory before men but not before God. Romans 3: 19-20 says “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The law makes all men “guilty before God” and “in his sight”, but we can be seen as just to men by observing and keeping the law and doing good works. This has to be the true understanding of James2:24 because the scripture is clear in so many places that we are saved through faith and not by works. James cannot be speaking in contradiction to the rest of scripture.
Pollsters say there are 22,000,000 Porn Addicts in America and unfortunately some of those porn addicts are as young as eight years old. Even for those who are not addicted, regular porn use or a compulsion for porn can be very harmful to them, their relationships, our families, our communities and also Our World. The intention of this writing is to alert parents to the danger of porn to their children and our relationships and communities, and to provide anyone who would like to know about the dangers of porn addiction with the resources they might need to be aware of how harmful porn addiction is, and resources on how to fight and beat porn addiction.
Actor Terry Crews “came out” some years ago about his “porn addiction” and says it was a “major problem” in his life that “changed him” and almost caused him to get divorced from his wife Rebecca. Surprisingly many celebrities have also came out publicly about their porn addiction and have been advocating to make people aware of the danger that porn was to them and to warn others that the normalization of porn in our world is a “dirty little secret” that harmed them. And they are concerned enough to share their stories and struggles with porn addiction with others in hopes that it will help others beat their porn problems, compulsions or addictions. Besides Crews, one of the other very famous celebrities to come out about his porn addiction is Chris Rock. (Please see the many resource article links below this post to learn more about how porn is a danger to children and adults, how to spot porn addiction in children, to what extent porn is a problem in our world, how porn is harmful to our brains, our relationships, our families and communities – how anyone can effectively fight porn addiction – and more celebrities that have come out publicly about their porn addiction to help others.)
Terry Crews made a videos series he entitled “Dirty Little Secret” that is available on his Youtube Channel. In the seven 10–15-minute videos Crews talks about how porn was such a problem for him. Part seven is testimony from his wife Rebecca and they both testify how they both had to get therapy and make life style changes for Terry to beat his porn addiction and “save their marriage.” They both share tips, strategies and the actions they took to save their marriage and be a happy couple again.
Here is the playlist of Terrys’ “Dirty Little Secret” videos I made. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4krRkO4sHc&list=PLRwxWDQhxh1_FnqfGCOIIKrBO9bey1mWC). The video titles are… (1) Dirty Little Secret – Part 1 (2) Dirty Little Secret – Part 2 (3) Dirty Little Secret – Part 3 (4) Dirty Little Secret – Part 4 – SHAME! (5) Dirty Little Secret – Part 5 (REBECCA SPEAKS!) (6) Dirty Little Secret – Part 6 – ACTION! (7) Dirty Little Secret – Part 7 – SELF-DISCIPLINE vs. WILLPOWER!
I’m sure some of you are now thinking “Porn is not a problem, it’s just adult entertainment” or “Porn is a healthy alternative to being promiscuous.” Some of you might be thinking “I watch porn and it’s not a problem for me” and you might be right. But I would challenge you to visit the Facebook group Overcoming Pornography Addiction (a link to OPA will be in the comments below) and ask those that admit porn is an addiction to them, ask them “When and how did you discover you are addicted to porn?” and most of them will tell you “I never knew I was addicted to porn or that porn was a problem for me until I tried to quit watching porn”.
I would also challenge you to take the “90-Day “NoFap”/No Porn Challenge” (again, a link to the Challenge will be in the comments) from the mmindblowing website. (NoFap is a website and community forum that serves as a support group for those who wish to give up pornography and masturbation. Its name comes from the slang term ‘fap’, referring to male masturbation. While reasons for this avoidance vary by individual, the main motivation cited is attempting to overcome addiction to pornography or other compulsive sexual behaviours.) You’ll never know if porn is a problem for you unless you can see the harmful effects porn might be having on you, and most likely you will not know porn is a problem and be able to see the harm it might be causing you and you relationships, until you try to quit and possibly realize you cannot complete the 90-Day NoFap/NoPorn Challenge. If you cannot stop watching porn for 90 days, you should seriously consider that you might have a porn problem and look into the next important resource I found (that will also be linked in the comment section below).
The best learning material I found on the harmful effects of porn is a 3-part video series titled Brain-Heart-World produced by the Fight the New Drug Organization whose stated mission is “Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.” They derive their name from the fact that many phycologists and psychiatrist say that porn is as addictive as any drug and that porn is the “new drug” that they are most concerned about. In fact, porn addiction is now a DSM-5 sub-criterion for the diagnosis of Hypersexual Disorder according to the American Psychiatric Association.
The 3 videos of the Brain-Heart-World series are named Brain, Heart, World, because those are the 3 areas that porn causes so much damage. The Brain-Heart-World videos are free to watch here https://brainheartworld.org
The 30-minute video entitled “Brain” cites of slew of scientific studies on how porn changes, and “rewires”, children’s and adults’ brains and the way they function, just like hard-core drugs do. That is why pornography is so addictive to so many children and adults. And the studies show that regular porn use and addiction changes the way humans behave that have detrimental effects on our families, our communities and our world, thus making porn considered to be a public health issue to some psychiatrists and psychologist.
The 30-minute video entitled “Heart” shows in great detail, again through scientific studies, how porn changes the behaviors, personalities and the relationship abilities of both children and adults. This greatly effects all regular porn users and addicts’ families and communities. Thus, making regular porn use and addiction, especially among children, a public health issue of great personal concern to those who are aware of the harmful effects of pornography.
The 30-minute video entitled “World” shows again through scientific studies how regular porn use and addiction gravely effects our whole world because it increases sexual abuse, sexual violence and sex trafficking all across the world. In this video you see testimonies of former porn actors and how involvement in the sex industry personally and drastically affected them in very harmful ways. And the video has a heart-wrenching testimony of a lady that was a victim of sex-trafficking as a child. There is even testimony from Elizibeth Smart who is maybe the most famous victim of kidnapping and sexual abuse. She talks vividly about how her assailant would view porn before raping her and would show her porn telling her, this is what I am going to do to you. She was 14 years old when this tragedy happened to her.
Thank you if you have taken time to read all of this. I would again encourage or challenge you to read some of the resource links I have included in the comment section below, if you think they might be helpful to you. Also, if I can help you in anyway, please feel free to send me an email @ email@example.com and I will try my best to help you in any way I can. ________________________________________________________
In the last two years, I have met about 10 Church of Christ Members online 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 Spirit. 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 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 some 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 do not have a Bible in their hand. I heard it said that there are still some languages that still have 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 make disciples, 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.
I am posting this to show those that may doubt that assertion that until the last 40 years Mormons leaders have boldy said that they are not Christian. What follows is quotes from Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders. It must be remebered that the LDS church was started on the first video of Jesus christ in which he was told that all of Christiandom is apostate and an abomination.
Joseph Smith (Mormonism’s founder)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). When asked “Will all be damned but Mormons?” Smith replied, “Yes, and a great portion of them unless they repent and work righteousness” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 119). “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). The Doctrine and Covenants (1:30) leaves no doubt to the Mormon teaching of exclusivity when it says the LDS church is, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased ….”
Brigham Young (Mormonism’s Second President)“When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness” (Journal of Discourses 5:73). “The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God” (Journal of Discourses 8:171). “With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world” (Journal of Discourses 8:199). “Should you ask why we differ from other Christians, as they are called, it is simply because they are not Christians as the New Testament defines Christianity” (Journal of Discourses 10:230). “The religion of God embraces every fact that exists in all the wide arena of nature, while the religions of men consist of theory devoid of fact, or of any true principle of guidance; hence the professing Christian world are like a ship upon a boisterous ocean without rudder, compass, or pilot, and are tossed hither and thither by every wind of doctrine” (Journal of Discourses 10:265). “… the time came when Paganism was engrafted into Christianity, and at last Christianity was converted into Paganism rather than converting the Pagans” (Journal of Discourses 22:44). “Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and kicked on to the earth” (Journal of Discourses 6:176).
John Taylor (Mormonism’s 3rd President)“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense …the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century” (Journal of Discourses 6:167). “What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast.” (Journal of Discourses 6:25). “What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing …Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they know neither God nor the things of God” (Journal of Discourses 13:225). “And who is there that acknowledges [God’s] hand? …You may wander east, west, north, and south, and you cannot find it in any church or government on the earth, except the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Journal of Discourses 6:24).
Daniel H. Wells (Mormon Apostle)“The whole system of Christianity is a failure so far as stemming the tide of wickedness and corruption is concerned, or turning men from their evil ways to living lives of righteousness before God our Heavenly Father. I would rather preach the Gospel to a people who have not got any religion than I would to a people who have got a great deal of religion. You take the Catholic world. What impression can the truths of the Gospel make upon them as a people? Scarcely any impression at all. Why? Because they are satisfied with what they have got, which we know is an error, and which is not calculated to stem the tide of wickedness and corruption which floods the world. It never will convert the world to God or His Kingdom, or convey a knowledge of God unto the children of men, and it is life eternal to know Him, the living and true God. The Christianity of the period will never make the people acquainted with God in the world. It will never bring them to eternal life as spoken of in the Scriptures. It is an utter impossibility. In the first place they do not know anything about God, and in the second place, they apparently don’t want to know anything about Him. They have reared a superstructure in the earth which is false. It is and has been a tremendous imposture to the children of men. Some have come out of it, to a certain extent, seeing its incongruity, and yet they have floundered in the dark, not knowing what was right; not having that knowledge of God which is necessary to obtain eternal life, they have been tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, without being able to find the truth. Many who have thus been foundering are honest people; but the so-called system of Christianity is not only an error and a snare, but is a monstrous iniquity fastened upon the children of men throughout the earth. No wonder that people become infidel. The inconsistent and incongruous nature of the system is enough to make any being who reasons infidel. It was time the truth should be revealed; it was time for the Lord to restore the everlasting Gospel, for men were blind. Darkness covered the earth, even gross darkness the minds of the people in regard to religious subjects. Perhaps a darker time was never known since the earth began its revolutions around the sun. From what I have read and from what experience I have had in life, and the intelligence I possess, I make bold to give my testimony that the darkest period the world ever saw was when this work first commenced, when it was made known from heaven to Joseph Smith. It was no darker here, perhaps, than in any other part of the world; but it was just as dark in Christian countries as in any Pagan country, so far as true religion and the light of heaven were concerned” (Journal of Discourses 24:321-322).
Orson Pratt (Mormon Apostle)“Q. After the Church of Christ fled from the earth to heaven, what was left? “A. A set of wicked Apostates, murderers, and idolaters, who …left to follow the wicked imaginations of their own corrupt hearts, and to build up churches by human authority…” (The Seer, pg.205). “…all other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and any person who receives Baptism or the Lord’s supper from their hands highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most corrupt of all people …The only persons among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who have authority from Jesus Christ to administer any gospel ordinance are those called and authorized among the Latter-day Saints” (The Seer, pg. 255).“This class of men, calling themselves Christian, uniting with the various forms of the pagan religion, adopting many of their ceremonies and institutions, became very popular, and finally some of the pagans embraced Christianity and were placed, as it were, upon the throne, and what they termed Christianity became very popular indeed. How long has this order of things existed, this dreadful apostasy, this class of people that pronounced themselves Zion, or Christians, without any of the characteristics of Zion? It has existed for some sixteen or seventeen centuries. It has spread itself and grown and gone into the four quarters of the earth. It is the great ecclesiastical power that is spoken of by the revelator John, and called by him the most corrupt and most wicked of all the powers of the earth, under the name of spiritual Babylon, or in other words Babel, which signifies confusion. This great and corrupt power is also represented by John as presenting a golden cup to the nations, full of all manner of filthiness and abominations” (Journal of Discourses 14:346). “This great apostasy commenced about the close of the first century of the Christian era, and it has been waxing worse and worse from then until now” (Journal of Discourses 18:44). “But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of people Christian Churches, because they profess to be …But there has been a long apostasy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance, and they are represented in the revelations of St. John as a woman sitting upon a scarlet colored beast, having a golden cup in her hand, full of filthiness and abominations, full of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; that in her forehead there was a name written – `Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots’” (Journal of Discourses 18:172). “Who is Babylon? I have already explained that Babylon is a great power that should be in the earth under the name of a church, a woman – that generally represents a church – full of blasphemy …These churches are scattered over the wide face of the earth, and this is called Babylon. Another angel is to follow the one that brings the Gospel, after it has been sufficiently preached, and proclaim the downfall of this great and corrupt power in the earth” (Journal of Discourses 18:179). “The worshipers of Baal were far more consistent than apostate Christendom; for they had a faint hope that Baal would hear and answer them; but modern divines have no expectation that their God will say anything to them or to their followers. Baal’s followers cried from morning until evening for him to give unto them a miraculous manifestation, in the presence of Elijah; but to even expect a supernatural manifestation or revelation now is considered, by modern religionists, as the greatest absurdity. Baal’s worshipers, therefore, with all their absurdities, approached nearer the religion of heaven, in some of their expectations, than those who falsely call themselves Christians” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 1 (1850), pp.12-13). “We have already proved in the previous numbers of this series that immediately after the first century the whole earth became corrupted by the great “Mother of Harlots,” that apostasy and wickedness succeeded Christianity, that for the want of new revelation, all legal succession to the apostleship was discontinued that the gifts and powers of the Holy Spirit ceased and that the Church was no longer to be found on the earth: this being the case, all nations must have been destitute of the everlasting gospel for many generations – not destitute of its history as it was once preached and enjoyed but destitute of its blessings, of its powers, of its gifts, of its priesthood, of its ordinances administered by legal authority” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No.6 (1851), pg.82).
Heber C. Kimball (First Counselor to Brigham Young)“Christians – those poor, miserable priests Brother Brigham was speaking about – some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth …” (Journal of Discourses 5:89).
George Q. Cannon (Counselor to presidents Young, Taylor, Woodruff and Snow)“I do not wish to say anything in relation to other forms of religion; I do not know that it is necessary that I should do so; but no thinking man can admit that Christianity so-called – I call it a false Christianity, untrue to its name – satisfies the wants of humanity at the present time. It is not a religion that satisfies” (Journal of Discourses 24:185). “After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon” (Gospel Truth, pg.324).
Wilford Woodruff (4th LDS President)“I said then, and I say now, may the Lord give me such periods of darkness as were enjoyed by the Apostles and Saints of old, in preference to the Gospel blaze of modern Christianity. The ancient doctrine and power will unlock the mysteries of heaven, and pour forth that Gospel light, knowledge, and truth, of which the heavens are full, and which has been poured out in every generation when Prophets appeared among the children of men. But the Gospel of modern Christendom shuts up the Lord, and stops all communication with Him. I want nothing to do with such a Gospel, I would rather prefer the Gospel of the dark ages, so called” (Journal of Discourses 2:196).
Erastus Snow (LDS Apostle)“There is a theory in the human mind – I will say with a certain school of modern philosophers – to satisfy themselves and justify their infidelity; the bent and tendency of their inclinations is that way. But it is probable that the crude, undefined devices and erroneous notions and ideas of modern Christianity touching the Deity leads to this infidelity, as much as anything else. The advocates of Christianity are in a great measure to blame. When we begin to scan the teachings and enquire into the views of the leading divines of modern times, and examine their articles of faith and their discipline, the teachings of different Christian denominations on the subject of the Deity, we do not wonder that the reflecting, careful thinker, should repudiate their crude notions” (Journal of Discourses 19:268).
B.H. Roberts (LDS Seventy and Historian)“Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Introduction to the History of the Church 1:XL). “This view of God as an incorporeal, immaterial, bodiless, partless, passionless being is now and has been from the days of the great apostasy from God and Christ, in the second and third centuries, the doctrine of Deity generally accepted by apostate Christendom. The simple doctrine of the Christian Godhead, set forth in the New Testament is corrupted by the meaningless jargon of these creeds, and their explanations; and the learned who profess a belief in them are wandering in the darkness of the mysticisms of the old pagan philosophies” (History of the Church, 1:LXXXV).
Parley P. Pratt (Mormon Apostle)“The false and corrupt institutions, and still more corrupt practices of `Christendom,’ have had a downward tendency in the generations of man for many centuries …The overthrow of those ancient degenerate races is a type of that which now awaits the nations call `Christian,’ or in other words, `the great whore that sitteth upon many waters” (Key to the Science of Theology, 1938 ed., pg.106).
James Talmage ( LDS Apostle)“A self-suggesting interpretation of history indicates that there has been a great departure from the way of salvation as laid down by the Savior, a universal apostasy from the Church of Christ …From the facts already stated it is evident that the Church was literally driven from the earth; in the first ten centuries immediately following the ministry of Christ the authority of the Holy Priesthood was lost among men, and no human power could restore it” (The Articles of Faith, pp.200,203). “The significance and importance of the great apostasy, as a condition precedent to the re-establishment of the Church in modern times, is obvious. If the alleged apostasy of the primitive Church was not a reality, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims” (The Great Apostasy, preface).
Joseph Fielding Smith (10th LDS President)“For hundreds of years the world was wrapped in a veil of spiritual darkness, until there was not one fundamental truth belonging to the place of salvation that was not, in the year 1820, so obscured by false tradition and ceremonies, borrowed from paganism, as to make it unrecognizable; or else it was entirely denied …Joseph Smith declared that in the year 1820 the Lord revealed to him that all the ‘Christian’ churches were in error, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men” (Doctrines of Salvation 3:282).
Spencer W. Kimball (12th LDS President)“This is the only true church …This is not a church. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. There are churches of men all over the land and they have great cathedrals, synagogues, and other houses of worship running into the hundreds of millions of dollars. They are churches of men. They teach the doctrines of men, combined with the philosophies and ethics and other ideas and ideals that men have partly developed and partly found in sacred places and interpreted for themselves” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pg.421). “Presumptuous and blasphemous are they who purport to baptize, bless, marry, or perform other sacraments in the name of the Lord while in fact lacking the specific authorization” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pg.55).
Bruce McConkie (Mormon Apostle)“The traditions of the elders – as is also the case with the traditions of an apostate Christendom – are wholly devoid of the least scintilla of inspiration. They are, as Jesus said, ‘the commandments of men’” (The Mortal Messiah, Vol.2, FOOTNOTES, Pg.412). “What of seventies? Who are they, and how do they fit into the eternal scheme of things? That their mission and ministry is unknown among the cults of Christendom is one of the great evidences of the apostate darkness that engulfs those who call themselves by the name of Him who called seventies to stand as especial witnesses of that very name” (The Mortal Messiah, 3:99-100). “Thus the signs of the times include the prevailing apostate darkness in the sects of Christendom and in the religious world in general. False churches, false prophets, false worship – breeding as they do a way of life that runs counter to the divine will – all these are signs of the times” (The Millennial Messiah, pg.403). “What is the church of the devil in our day, and where is the seat of her power? …It is all of the systems, both Christian and non-Christian, that perverted the pure and perfect gospel …It is communism; it is Islam; it is Buddhism; it is modern Christianity in all its parts” (The Millennial Messiah, pp.54-55). “As with other doctrines and ordinances, apostate substitutes of the real thing are found both among pagans and supposed Christians” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.72). “When inquiring and scientific minds delve into the narrow and bigoted creeds of the apostate sects of Christendom it is not surprising that they rebel against those dogmas falsely set forth as the tenets of true religion” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.107). “Christianity is the religion of the Christians. Hence, true and acceptable Christianity is found among the saints who have the fullness of the gospel, and a perverted Christianity holds sway among the so-called Christians of apostate Christendom” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.132). “The only real superiority of the apostate sects of Christendom over their more openly pagan counterparts is the fact that the Christian sects (though rejecting the doctrines, ordinances, and powers of the gospel) have nonetheless preserved many of the ethical teachings of Christ and the apostles” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.240). “And virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ whom they vainly suppose to be a spirit essence who is incorporeal uncreated, immaterial and three-in-one with the Father and Holy Spirit” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.269). “Gnosticism is one of the great pagan philosophies which antedated Christ and the Christian Era and which was later commingled with pure Christianity to form the apostate religion that has prevailed in the world since the early days of that era.” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.316). “In large part the worship of apostate Christendom is performed in ignorance, as much so as was the worship of the Athenians who bowed before the Unknown God, and to whom Paul said: “Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 374). “For instance: The creeds of apostate Christendom teach untruths about God, and the scriptures say that those who accept these creeds ‘have inherited lies.’ (Jer. 16:16-21.) Those who accept any of the doctrines of the apostate churches are said to ‘believe a lie.’ (2 Thess. 2:1-12.) The process of apostasy consists in changing ‘the truth of God into a lie.’” (Mormon Doctrine pg. 440).“Pagan tribal gods were the creation of the imaginations of apostate peoples, just as the creeds and apostate views of God which prevail in modern Christendom are the result of forsaking the truth” (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 511).“Mormonism is Christianity; Christianity is Mormonism; they are one and the same, and they are not to be distinguished from each other in the minutest detail …Mormons are true Christians; their worship is the pure, unadulterated Christianity authored by Christ and accepted by Peter, James, and John and all the ancient saints” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.513). “The gods of Christendom, for instance, are gods who were created by men in the creeds of an apostate people. There is little profit or peace in serving them, and certainly there is no salvation available through them” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, pg.545).
As a blogger it is my job to say something interesting, or intriguing, about this video to try to get you to watch the video, because I believe it is a great video, and I would like to see people watch the video and spiritually prosper a little more because of watching it. But this video is hard to give an adequate description of because it is so different, so I will just say this.
I have been following Joe Kirby and his ministry on Youtube for over a year now and I believe this is his best video I have seen yet. Joe does not usually do apologetics videos, or rebuking videos, or exposure type videos exposing false teachers and false teachings but here he gives very good reasons why people should be very weary of “progressive Christianity”, and yes he does give a loving rebuke to “progressive Christians”.
He starts off with the old riddle about 5 blind guys and an elephant, and how they all feel something different when feeling the elephant to show, and then to explain why, that Christianity and Biblical Truth are not up for just any and every interpretation. He talks about how progressive Christianity mimics our post modern relativistic world by claiming that all truths are true (so just be nice and accept all truths as true) and treating God’s Word no different than many Unbelievers do, thinking it can mean what ever we might think or imagine it means.
NO, God and the authors of the bible had very specific intended interpretations, and ways we are to understand biblical truths, when they wrote the Bible. And Joe explains that very well and why it really matters.
So I hope I have convinced you to watch the video because I really do think you will spiritually prosper more if you do.