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