Select Departures From Biblical Orthodoxy in Christianity

Deception in Christianity

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Matthew 24: 4-5

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many (KJV). 

 

II John 7

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

 

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

 

2Peter 2:1-22  

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false word

 

I Timothy 1: 18-19

18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

 

Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.

 

We are to Go out and Teach Regardless of the Environment!

 

Matthew 10: 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;

 

II Timothy 3: 5

having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.  Avoid such people.

 

Proverbs 9: 7-9

Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more (NLT).

2 Corinthians 11:14


No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

 Know Them By Their Fruit:

The Fall of Adam by Hugo van der Goes Cir 1479

The Fall of Adam by Hugo van der Goes Cir 1479

One of the tactics of anti-Christian, religious based cults is their ability to “spin” negative incidents to give the target plausible deniability of various biblical doctrines. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine a subject’s basic consciousness, reality awareness, worldview, emotional control, and defense mechanisms. The subject is guided to reinterpret his or her Christian history and adopt a new version of belief. This seemed to be especially true when it came to the leaders of most of these new religions who are most often characterized as “prophets and apostles”. The cults make a person re-evaluate the most central aspects of their Biblical Christian beliefs, with a focus on their negative experiences in the Church.

The foundation of any cult is to make it difficult for a target to leave. They convey hurdles to leaving which are either real or imagined downfalls of exiting the cult. The cult’s goal is to increase the “leaving cost” of real or imagined downfalls one will incur if they leave the cult. For example, you can say once you become a “Genuine Christian” (their version), you are one for life. If you stray from their version of “Christ”, you are doomed to a Lake of Fire. The “leaving cost” is easy to see: Leave us and you will suffer. Since most churches do not teach the Bible as authoritative, the cult’s missionaries have a wide range of targets to aim at to destabilize a believer. Therefore when a local congregation or denomination removes the Bible as authoritative they enable the cult to prevail and make it politically difficult for people to leave: BEWARE!

One unbiblical tactic is where the preacher tells the congregation what they expect to hear. By continually appealing to their ego, boosting their pride, and self-esteem, as well as simply reassuring them that they are correct in what they believe; they lull the listener into believing their version of the “correct” ideology to accept. This results in a “GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT INSTEAD OF WHAT THEY NEED” mantra. Another tactic is to appeal to people’s laziness and intellectual complacency. They do not wish to be challenged and want to live according to what is important to them. Some who call themselves “Christian” prefer intellectual laziness, and even hide from learning anything about the Bible. As long as they know nothing about the Scripture they are happy with the skewed view the cult church teaches them because it seems correct even though they are swayed away from the truth.

Examples of Anti Christian Cultic Beliefs

Liberalism:

Liberalism in theology is similar to liberalism in politics. Both want to secularize their respective societies to match the Humanist tenets. They put their faith in evolution, historical relativism, progress through science, the “benevolent” state, and getting someone else’s money. To do this they must quiet the Bible fundamentalist and their revealed truth. The liberal refuses to believe the miracles of the Bible regardless of the evidence for them. Liberalism promotes Christianity without the Spirit or the power of God.

Modernism:

Modernism is a more subtle and increasingly popular idea to reframe the Bible in a way that makes Biblical writers present God according to their own superstitious world view.  The most prominent is the “Bible contains the Word of God, but is not the World of God.” This means that man wrote it and therefore it has no authority.  Modernists say “Glean the good stuff and don’t worry about the negative”.  For example, the Israelite’s tribal god was Jehovah, who is no different from the Canaanite’s tribal gods such as Moloch, Baal and others.  Of course at the time of Christ, paganism abounded with a firm belief in what we call mythology.  Relatively few pagans exist today that still worship Zeus, Ares and the other “titans”, however modern thinkers point to the fact that all deities of the day interacted with humans and produced half-god, half-human offspring.  So, they say Jesus is no different, he is just another myth that hung on long after the others fell pray to modernism.  they say people today no longer believe the old fairy tails and archaic religion of a mean God with a half-human son.   Jesus was about love, not judgment so let’s just forget all the “righteousness stuff” and accept anything that makes others happy.

Secularism:

According to secularists, Christianity and God should be forced out of everyday life and be kept behind the closed doors of the home or church where it belongs.  We see this attitude in our schools and now in our governments.  Secularism puts pressure on people to keep religion private and out of the public eye.  It is anti-evangelism and as a religion, has its own doctrine.

Universalism

Popular books like The Shack and other similar fictitious “Christian” books are promoting a theology called Universalism.  Universalism basically says since Jesus died for everyone, everyone will be saved.  The extreme brand of Universalism, called Ultimate Reconciliation, teaches that even Satan will be reconciled to God in the end.  Universalism’s appeal is that God loves everyone.  After all who doesn’t want a loving God?  Forgiveness comes without repentance and the Christian relationship with God is without discipline or strength of character.  If we all make it to heaven in the end, why bother living a Christian life?  This doctrine is more insidious than it seems and is affecting many people today – even if they do not know it by its theological name.

Politicalism:

Politicalism seeks to enforce certain religious viewpoints through political power, either in a church or secular government.  Those with this viewpoint cringe in fear when they hear a news story about Islamic fundamentalists wanting to force a country and its entire population to adopt Islamic religious law as the law of the land.  Yet they will do the exact same thing in America.   It is the idea that America is like Old Testament Israel and if we can just make enough Christian “laws”, God will bless us.  The problem is that there are no Christian nations – only Christian people.  If America was birthed with Christianity it was because she had Christians, not Christian laws.  When will the church learn that political power will not save a soul?  Yet if we save a soul, we will probably get that person to follow in the moral lifestyle we promoted in the first place. The Church- that is individual Christians – will have to deal with these issues more and more in the coming days.  If there ever was a time to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints,” it is today.

Americanism:

This subject can be much misunderstood. We love America and are blessed that the Lord saw fit to place us here. We have the most freedoms of any nation on earth but we must be cautious to not place Americanism before our Christianity. Jesus said that He is the way the truth and the life (John 14: 6). He did not say that any country on this earth is to replace Him. Many that claim Christ as their savior seem to think that our salvation comes from the United States of America. For example, they believe that since the first amendment to the US Constitution provides religious freedom, all religions are equal. That is not what it says, here is what it says:

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 Cults That Promote Themselves as Genuine Christian

 

Anti-Christian Cults stealthily attack Christianity from a doctrinal viewpoint. So, those cults that are nearest to Christianity are viewed as just another denomination with some differences but are not considered destructive. We are led into believing that it is inappropriate to speak out against them because it causes division in the Body. We simply do not know enough about these different groups to adequately prepare to speak out against them and prevent others from embracing these corrupt theologies. We fall for the lies because we do not know the truth of the Bible and therefore the false doctrines of the Christian Cults. Dr. Donald Campbell expressed the problem very succinctly when he said, “When the gospel message is corrupted, the way of salvation is confused and people are in danger of being eternally lost.” [1]We must realize this and strive to warn of the dangers of the Christian Cult’s doctrine.

Mormonism:

Joseph Smith the founder was greatly influenced by his father, who searched for buried treasure using occult methods. His life changed in 1820 when he supposedly received a vision from God the Father and the Son, who told him that all other religions were an abomination, but that he was the prophet to bring restoration.

In 1823 another vision from the angel Moroni convinced Smith that God was calling him. Moroni said he would find some golden plates requiring translating. Smith discovered these plates, inscribed with what he called “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics,” outside Palmyra, New York. He was able to translate them with a huge pair of spectacles that he called the “Urim and Thummim.” According to his story, between 1827 and 1829, he “translated” the plates, and in 1830 published The Book of Mormon. The plates were purportedly taken to heaven by Moroni.[2]

Many people flocked to Joseph Smith’s new theology. Within a decade he had thousands of followers. A principle reason for this rapid rise in popularity was Mormonism’s startling and distinct contrast with the beliefs of the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and various other Christian denominations. To begin with, Smith taught that most of the beliefs of Christianity were hopelessly corrupted, including the Bible, and this had been supernaturally revealed to him in order to restore “God’s truth”. The main attraction, however, was theological novelty. Today the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church has taken a different tactic involving new name preferences (play down “Mormonism,” play up “Church of Jesus Christ”) and other strategies (create an image of being a part of mainstream Christianity through advertising campaigns). It’s working. After Islam, Mormonism is now the fastest growing religion in the world, although little has changed doctrinally from it’s novel beginnings.

  • Mormonism teaches that God has a physical body and lives on a planet near a star called Kolob.
  • He is but one of an infinite number of gods, each ruling over his own world located somewhere in the universe. Supposedly, each god has untold numbers of goddess wives who produce millions of spirit children. Amazingly, these spiritual offspring of god and his goddesses must then be birthed through physical beings (non-gods) on earth. This obtains for them the physical bodies necessary to become gods and goddesses, who create and rule over their own worlds.
  • Polygamy was a major part of Mormonism. It met the need for producing bodies for the spirit babies birthed by multiple mother goddesses. It is still practiced among some Mormon sects today. The Latter Day Saints’ focus on the family has more to do with the Church’s biblically unorthodox theology than with domestic well-being.
  • According to LDS teaching, Jesus was one of those spirit babies (as was his spirit brother Lucifer, who became Satan).
  • The conception of Jesus was unique but not virginal; God, who is physical, had intercourse with Mary.
  • Since producing children is critical to a Mormon male’s progression to godhood, Jesus had children through the women (the sisters Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene) who accompanied him. Supposedly, he married them at the wedding feast of Cana.
  • Mormonism’s salvation accommodates nearly everyone in one “heaven” or another. The death of Jesus on the cross was redemptive only in that it provided physical resurrection (bodies) for all.
  • Obeying the commandments and performing Church duties and rituals are necessary in order to reach the Celestial Kingdom.
  • Those who fall short of such requirements may still enter in as Celestial servants, and, if not, they can abide in the Terrestrial Kingdom.
  • Moral non-Mormons may spend eternity in the Telestial Kingdom.
  • Hell is a purgatory-like place and is eternal only for those few who commit an “unpardonable sin,” such as apostasy. Nearly everyone has a chance to improve his eternal status after death.

We have opinion leaders and high-level politicians who are Mormons and as 1st Amendment Americans we accept them as just another denomination teaching the truth. Anyway there are many ways to heaven, aren’t there?

Christian Science:

Christian Science is not Christian in terms of biblical doctrine. Only the name itself is Christian. The idea of Christian Science came in 1866 when Mary Baker Eddy said she discovered the “Science of metaphysical healing”. She organized it in 1879 and it was founded on her book, “Science and Health (with Key to the Scriptures)” the last part of the title was added later.

  • They believe there is no such thing as sin, it is an illusion.
  • They believe there is no such thing as sickness, it also is an illusion.
  • They believe that sick people must be convinced that they are not sick, then they will get well, since sickness is an illusion and does not really exist.
  • There is no such thing as death, a person gets old and dies because they believe that is what is supposed to happen. This stems from the fact that they believe that the whole universe is an illusion.
  • Their god is not the personal God of the Bible. Everything is god and god is good. Therefore, there is no sin, disease, or death because all is god and god is good. The whole universe is falsehood – an illusion.
  • They claim that there is healing from Christian Science. Their method of healing is denying the disease itself, e.g., “I am not sick. I do not have cancer.” This is not prayer but simply talking out loud to yourself. In fact, Christian Science says that prayer to a personal God is a hindrance.
  • They believe women can become pregnant by a supreme effort of their own minds, a man is not needed for procreation.
  • Man is not made of the dust of the earth as in Genesis 2 because matter does not exist, therefore Eddy calls Genesis 2 “a lie”. They take her word over the Bible.
  • They believe that Jesus is not God, he was the highest human concept of the perfect man, but not to be worshipped.
  • They believe that Jesus was never tempted by the devil. Eddy says, “He was tempted by the false beliefs in His own mind.”
  • They believe that Jesus never died because death does not exist; He just thought He was dead.
  • They believe the blood of Jesus has no atoning value and since sin is an illusion we are not guilty.
  • They believe that salvation is deliverance from delusion and entrance into Christian Science.

Mary Baker Eddy claimed that her teachings guaranteed health; however, she suffered considerably at the end of her life, requiring large doses of morphine to cope with her pain.   [3]

Jehovah Witness:

Charles Taze Russell officially founded Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW), also known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York), in 1884. Originally called the Zion’s Watch Tower and Tract Society, or the Zion’s Watch Tower (1879), they officially adopted the name of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. In 1870, Russell originally denied the doctrine of Hell, and would go on to reject nearly every other Christian doctrine, as well as add many physically and spiritually dangerous doctrines of his own making. Many of these unique and bizarre teachings were to be found in his six volume series titled, Studies in the Scriptures.[4]

  • Source of Authority. JWs claim the Bible as their final authority, but Russell’s writings, especially Studies in the Scriptures,are considered “the light of the Scriptures.” JWs have their own translation of the Scriptures (New World Translation, published in 1961), which reflects the binding interpretations of the group’s leaders.
  • JWs believe that God is not a triune God, but only “Jehovah God” (Let God Be True, pp. 100-101); they teach that Trinitarianism is a belief in three gods, and thereby, Satan-inspired polytheism.Joseph Rutherford, the JW’s second president wrote: “… sincere persons who want to know the true God and serve him find it a bit difficult to love and worship a complicated, freakish-looking, three-headed God.” [5]
  • Jesus Christ.Since JWs do not believe in the Trinity, they also do not believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. They add the word “other” four times to Colossians 1:16,17, teaching that Christ was God’s first creation, i.e., the reincarnation of Michael the archangel created by Jehovah, rather than the Creator. The “Watchtower” teaches that Jehovah God created Michael the Archangel before the foundation of the world; Michael was His only begotten son by virtue of the fact that he was the only creature directly created by Jehovah. It was this created Michael who became the JW Jesus (i.e., a denial of the eternality of Christ). JWs say that “Since actual conception took place, it appears that Jehovah God caused an ovum or egg in Mary’s womb to become fertile, accomplishing this by the transfer of the life of his first born son (Michael) from the spirit realm to the earth”[6] Marvelously, Jehovah transferred the life-force and the personality pattern of his first born heavenly son (Michael) to the womb of Mary. God’s own active force, his holy spirit, safeguarded the development of the child in Mary’s womb so that what was born was a perfect human” [7] JWs also add an “a” in John 1:1, making the verse read, “the Word was a god” (which in essence, makes the JWs guilty of the same polytheism of which they accuse Trinitarians).
  • Use of Name Jehovah.JWs use the name “Jehovah” only for God (in order to distinguish between God and Jesus Christ), while failing to recognize that Jesus is the fulfillment of “Jehovah” in Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3.
  • Resurrection of Christ. JWs deny the bodily resurrection of Christ through their teaching that the body of Christ was annihilated by God — not risen — but rather a new one was created three days after His death. This they call the “resurrection” of Christ. Thus, Jesus was “resurrected” as a “glorious spirit creature” and does not now have a glorified physical body. Instead, they claim Jesus arose spiritually and only “materialized” at various times after His resurrection so He could be seen alive.

Seventh Day Adventism:

Ellen G. White plays a central role in the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church. One of the “27 Fundamental Beliefs” of the SDA Church is that Ellen White manifested the gift of prophecy and her writings are “authoritative” for the Adventist Church They say:

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 that provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.

According to Adventist leaders, the writings of Ellen G. White are “inspired” by the Holy Spirit in the same way as the Biblical authors were inspired. Mrs. White was a prophet to the church of Christ today. And the same as the messages of the prophets were received in old days, so her messages should be received at present times. The Following quote is directly from the Seventh Day Adventist Review and Herald October 4, 1928.

“Seventh Day Adventists hold that Ellen G. White performed the work of a true prophet during the 70 years of her public ministry. As Samuel was a prophet, as Jeremiah was a prophet, as John the Baptist, so we believe that Mrs. White was a prophet to the church of Christ today.”[8] Here are four practices that are divergent from the genuine teachings of Scripture:

  • Add to the BibleEllen Gould White is credited to have written 25 million words that are quoted by Adventists just like Bible Scripture. Adventists that have grown up in the church have familiar quotes that come to mind, but they often do not know if the imbedded information is from the Bible or Ellen Gould White.  Adventists have also taken to printing their own Bibles with the messages of Ellen Gould White hidden in the verses of Scripture.
  • Subtract from the person of Jesus Christ or His Deity. Ellen Gould White claimed Jesus did not come in the flesh when he walked the earth some 2000 years ago, as the Bible warns some evil people would do. Ellen Gould White also claimed Jesus was an Angel from Heaven.
  • Multiply the requirements for SalvationAdventists have published many hundreds of books that contain what they call “Testimonies”, which are full of thousands of commandments directed toward their members. If you do not follow these commandments, you are not following the counsels of God, the Adventists claim.  These books contain over 25 million words of Ellen Gould White, and it would take a lifetime to read them all. SDA members are expected to purchase and read as many of these books as possible, and they teach from these books in their Churches like most denominations teach from the Bible. One of the teachings of the Church is to not eat meat, in order to obtain Salvation Other doctrines they hide from new members are: eating pork causes leprosy. Wearing wigs damages the brain. Wearing bonnets indicates satanic control. Drinking coffee, tea or some soft drinks is a sin Having butter, eggs, or meat on your table keeps your prayers from reaching heaven
  • Divide the loyalty of the follower between God and other Christians.  Adventists claim all other churches are “Babylon” and will be lost when Jesus comes back to earth.  Adventists are taught to convert as many people to Adventism as they can, and quickly, because the people in other churches are lost. Adventists spend little time converting the truly lost because they spend most of their effort debating people in other churches, telling them they are in a fallen church and not in the true church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Ellen Gould White also worked at separating people inside her church, teaching that church members should not pray for each other when they are sick if those sick people are not loyal tithe payers to their church.

Daniel Woodhead

End Notes:

[1] Campbell, D. K. (1985). Galatians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.pg 591

[2] Eckman, J. P. (2004). The truth about worldviews: a biblical understanding of worldview alternatives. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. pp. 98–99

[3] Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. pg. 388

[4] Vonderlack, R. (1992). Russell, Charles Taze. In J. D. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian history. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House. Pg. 600

[5] Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Let God Be True, Second Edition, Published by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Brooklyn, NY USA 1946, pgs. 100-101

[6] JW Organization Web Site accessed February 20, 2015 http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/who-is-michael-the-archangel/#?insight[search_id]=7251be95-903f-4bb1-818b-96eebd27beae&insight[search_result_index]=0

[7] Ibid. http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102005134?q=Jesus+born+a+perfect+human&p=par

[8] Morey, R. A. (1989). How to keep your faith while in college (p. 129). Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers.

 

Referenced Works:

 

Berry, Harold J. (1990) What They Believe, BTTB: pp. 51-70

Branch, Rick, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society,” (accessed February 20, 2015) (Watchman Fellowship Profile, 1993)

Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (Eds.). (2005). In The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev., p. 870). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Eckman, J. P. (2004). The truth about worldviews: a biblical understanding of worldview alternatives (p. 4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia,

Grolier’s 1995 Multimedia Encyclopedia,

Lowery, K. (2007). Numbers in the Bible. In T. Cabal, C. O. Brand, E. R. Clendenen, P. Copan, & J. P. Moreland (Eds.), The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. xxxiv). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Martin, Walter, (1985) The Kingdom of the Cults. Published by Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN 55438

Morey, R. A. (1989). How to keep your faith while in college. Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers.

Morey, R. A. (1980). How to answer a Jehovah’s Witness. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship.

Sin, Jack, Examining & Exposing Cultic & Occultic Movements. , “Focus on JWs,” April 2000, pp. 16-20.

Vonderlack, R. (1992). Russell, Charles Taze. In J. D. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian history (p. 600). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.

Watchtower Online Library, Research tool for publications in various languages produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses accessed February 20, 2015

http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/h/r1/lp-e

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The Heresy of The New Evangelicalism (AKA The Emerging Church)

DECEPTION

Pastor, “Power, Prestige, and Wealth are all Yours if you just Tell Them  What They Want to Hear”

  Self-portrait with Fiddling Death, by Arnold Böcklin 1872


Self-portrait with Fiddling Death, by Arnold Böcklin 1872

 

 This is perhaps the most insidious of all the heretical deceptions to come upon biblical Christianity.  It is characterized by catering to the desires of the people. Instead of being inculcated with God’s Word and having our personal world view and behavior be patterned after God’s Word, the New Evangelicalism gives the people what they want.  One NT passage clearly predicts this reversal of worship of God to worshipping man.

Romans 1:25

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

The idea with this new wave of apostasy is to soft-sell the Bible and salvation. It is not attempting to save anybody from the fires of Hell but from an aimless and meaningless life here on earth. Our experiences and quality of life here are more important than the total service to God and the blessed assurance that He will soon come to lift us out of this sinful decaying world. Salvation is given lip service and evangelism with real confrontation is thought to be too divisive. This apostasy does not want to upset anybody. There is never any mention of Hell and the outcome of an unsaved life.  They may say that they believe strongly but, their actions differ sharply from what they say.

Usually their Bible teaching is characterized by an over emphasis on application. This of course is the middle of the road approach. They avoid doctrine as too divisive.

Paul warned us that the end times would be characterized as a departure from sound doctrine and a departure from the truth.

II Timothy 4:3-4 

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

With the divisiveness they believe that they will lose members of their congregation and therefore funds. Or they are concerned with money and man-made approaches to self-help. A total dependence on God for their resources is abandoned for “sound business” practices or “fundamental marketing techniques.”  Total reliance on God by elders through prayer and patience is exchanged for parliamentary procedure and schemes for man made self-advancement and career goals. The pastor is considered as a CEO, not the teacher of God’s Word. Mission statements and strategic plans are formulated to accommodate personal plans. The Bible is subordinated to man’s desires.

The thought of prophecy is anathema to the New Evangelical for they say it causes division. This division of course is between those non-literal Bible expositors and the literal Biblical expositors.  Some have characterized the New Evangelical as being seduced by the world spirit of this present age.

You can see it in the leaders who are popularized. Usually they have a high degree of prominence in the government or sports and their testimonies are sought after for paid speaking engagements and book endorsements.

You will never see a Sunday school teacher or poor inner city pastor held up by them as pillars of the faith. Christ went to the lowest members of society to bring the truth to the world. He did not go to the popular and prominent.

This is a spirit of disobedience and a mood of compromise. It is a rejection of many of the negative aspects of New Testament Christianity. It is an attitude of positivism. They would rather be diplomats not fighters, positive rather than militant, infiltrators rather than separatists. They would not be restricted by a separationist mentality. The New Evangelical would rather pursue dialog, intellectualism, and appeasement than Biblical Militiantism. Psychology is fast becoming their guide.

The use of psychology is rapidly becoming the norm in Christian Schools and churches.

Our culture has become deeply and extensively psychological. The weakness and carnality of the church in recent decades has allowed this psychological mind-set of the world to flow into the church. This process has brought about a redefining of many foundational matters of the Christian faith. We used to correctly understand that man’s problem was sin and God’s remedy was His saving and transforming grace (Romans 5:12, 17). Now, the trouble is the disorder of codependency, and the solution is group therapy. Formerly, we understood that man tended to stray from God to follow his own self-willed path (Isaiah 53:6), and that he needed to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). Now, we think that man must esteem himself, affirm himself, and actualize himself. All of this new thinking is coming from psychological theory, which is primarily a philosophy of life. We are strongly warned in the word of the Lord not to be guided by the philosophy of the world.

Colossians 2:8

“Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ”

 

Beware of the leaven of the new-evangelicals.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

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Seduction of the Evangelical Church

 

Written by Dave Hunt and originally Published in June of 1991

 

Deception

Deception

 

“Join me today in fasting and prayer for the 115 Cardinals seeking God’s Will in a new leader.” —Rick Warren, Twitter, 03/12/13

 

The evangelical church today is being seduced as never in its history. It faces a danger so grave that, although we have discussed this problem before, it must be addressed again with new insight and vigor. If evangelicals succumb to the seduction, as they increasingly are doing, then their gospel witness will be submerged in confusion and could eventually be lost—a tragic and new dimension to the apostasy from which the church and the world will never recover. Most astonishing and alarming is the fact that (with few exceptions) evangelical leaders and even the major cult watchers refuse to acknowledge this threat. We are therefore compelled to address the subject once again with renewed concern.

For decades evangelicals have diligently and faithfully attempted to identify, analyze and warn the church against cults. Included in the standard list are Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity, Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, etc. Yet the most seductive, dangerous, and largest cult (many times larger than all of the rest combined) is not included in the list! Most cult experts refuse to identify this horrendous cult as such! Instead, they accept it as “Christian.”

Worst of all, this cult (which preaches a false gospel that is sending hundreds of millions into a Christless eternity) is now embraced as a partner in “evangelizing the world” by many groups that preach the biblical gospel. Major denominations, such as the Anglican and the Episcopalian church, are involved in merger talks with this cult. The Assemblies of God hierarchy has been engaged in “fruitful dialogue” with this cult, whose members are now widely perceived as born-again Christians. As a consequence, the evangelical church faces an unprecedented crisis that threatens its very survival.

The above is a severe, solemn, and devastating charge to make—a charge that we have documented in the past and in support of which additional evidence will now be given. We challenge any church leader to a public debate who declares that this assertion is false. If proven wrong, we will publicly repent. But if this accusation is true, then a major shake-up in the evangelical church is required, including repentance by many of its most highly regarded leaders. We solicit your help in providing church leaders with the facts they need to identify this cult—facts of which I [Dave] was ignorant years ago when I, too, failed to identify the Roman Catholic Church as the cult that it is.

What is a “cult?” In his book, Rise of the Cults , Walter Martin defined cultism as “…any major deviation from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith.” Though unmentioned by Martin, Roman Catholicism is undeniably a “major deviation from orthodox Christianity” on many “cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith,” and thus, by his own definition, a cult. Recognition of this fact ignited the Reformation! To deny that Roman Catholicism is a cult is to repudiate the Reformation and mock the millions of martyrs who died at Rome’s hands, as though they gave their lives in vain.

But, says someone, since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), the Roman Catholic Church no longer teaches and practices what it did at the time of the Reformation. That popular idea is false. To counter the Reformation, Rome’s foremost theologians met from 1545-63 in the Council of Trent. Its Canons and Decrees , which rejected every Reformation doctrine, remain the standard authoritative statement of Roman Catholicism, and adherence thereto is required by Catholic catechisms. Opening Vatican II, Pope John XXIII declared, “I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent.” Vatican II went on to reaffirm Trent’s Canons and Decrees . No, Rome has not changed since the Reformation—except superficially.

Were Luther, Calvin, and the other Reformers alive today, they would denounce Roman Catholicism as the largest and most dangerous cult on earth! Yet the Christian Research Institute and other counter-cult groups refuse to classify it as a cult. In the above book, Martin emphasized that the five major cults at that time had “a following exceeding 8.5 million persons….” Yet he overlooked Roman Catholicism’s hundreds of millions!

Answers to Cultists at Your Door presents another example. Its authors, Bob and Gretchen Passantino, are described as “experts in cult research [who] have spent years in countercult ministry” (outside back cover of Witch Hunt ). They include such marks of a cult as the claim that it “is the only organization on earth that is following God’s will” and that its leader is “uniquely chosen by God to lead God’s people” and that it alone “offer[s] the Bible’s ‘true’ interpretation on all matters.” Again, the Roman Catholic Church fully fits all of the criteria. It claims to be the only true church, says that its pope is uniquely chosen to lead all of God’s people, and explains that only its hierarchy can interpret Scripture. Yet the Passantinos, like most other “cult experts,” fail to include Roman Catholicism as a cult, though it meets all their own tests!

Mormons must blindly obey Joseph Smith and his successors, JWs dare not question The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and other cultists must submit to their leaders. Such authoritarianism is the primary mark of a cult. The same blind submission is required of all Catholics. Canon 212 of Catholicism’s Code of Canon Law requires that Catholics must give absolute obedience to their “sacred pastors.” Vatican II states repeatedly that only Catholicism’s hierarchy can interpret the Bible and that papal pronouncements must be obeyed without question. Canon 333 (Sec. 3) declares, “There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.” Vatican watchdog Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s recent 7,500-word “Instruction” declares that dissent about church teachings cannot be “justified as a matter of following one’s conscience.” No cult demands surrender of mind and conscience more fully or arrogantly than Roman Catholicism.

Roman Catholicism is not only left out of the list of cults by the experts, but it is explicitly approved. For example, in Scripture Twisting , James W. Sire, longtime Editor-In-Chief of InterVarsity Press, defines a cult as having “ doctrines and/or practices that contradict those of the Scriptures as interpreted by traditional Christianity as represented by the major Catholic and Protestant denominations… ” (emphasis his). Sire makes Catholicism a standard of orthodoxy against which cults are to be judged. Yet he accuses the cults of twisting Scripture, a technique of which Rome is surely the ultimate master. Sire indicts Mormonism as a cult for adding other revelations to the Bible—but Rome has added far more new revelations to the Bible than the Mormon Church. Sire declares, “There is no guru class in biblical Christianity, no illuminati, no people through whom all proper interpretation must come”—yet that is exactly the situation in the Roman Catholic Church! How, then, does he make it the standard of orthodoxy?

Consider also The Agony of Deceit published by Moody. Each chapter is written by a leading evangelical about a specific false teaching within today’s church. While Agony mostly repeats much that was found in Seduction of Christianity five years earlier, it is another voice issuing many of the same warnings, for which we are thankful. Yet it, too, whitewashes Roman Catholicism. On page 65 it states, “Traditional Roman Catholicism…hold[s] to biblical inerrancy.” In fact, Catholicism explicitly denies biblical inerrancy! The next sentence does acknowledge that the “messages [of Protestantism and Catholicism] are poles apart,” but moves right on without identifying the vital differences.

Page 111 declares, “The Catholic church resisted the mounting heresies with regard to the Person of Christ, and…Protestants would continue to affirm Catholic Christology.” Again, terribly false! Catholicism’s Christology is heretical. It denies Christ’s exclusive role as mediator between God and man, making Mary “co-mediatrix”; it denies the exclusivity of His redemptive work, making Mary “co-redemptrix” (Vatican II credits Mary with a perpetual “salvific role; she continues to obtain by her constant intercession the graces we need for eternal salvation”); and it denies the sufficiency of His redemptive work, declaring that the redeemed must, in addition to Christ’s suffering for them upon the cross, suffer for their own sins here and/or in purgatory, etc. A great deal more heresy is involved in Catholic Christology, such as presenting Him as perpetually an infant or child subject to His mother, perpetually on the cross—but lack of space prevents further detail. The “Christ” of Roman Catholicism is just as false as its “Mary”—as much “another Jesus” as that of Mormonism or any other cult. Let’s admit it!

Several times in Agony it is stated that Protestants and Catholics embrace the same apostolic creeds. This is a partially true but seriously misleading statement. The implication is that the creeds are an all-encompassing statement of biblical Christianity, which they are not. Furthermore, there is a vast difference between the meaning that Catholics and Protestants attach to what the creeds say. For example, while affirming that Christ “suffered under Pontius Pilate,” Catholicism teaches that His suffering was insufficient. In addition to Christ’s suffering, we must each suffer for our sins in order to be saved. We can even suffer for the salvation of others. (The Apostolic Constitution of Jan. 1, 1967, Indulgentarium Doctrina , #1687, urges Catholics to carry “each one his own cross in expiation of their sins and of the sins of others…assist[ing] their brothers to obtain salvation from God.”) This is rank heresy to Protestants. Yet Agony implies that Catholics mean the same thing as Protestants by the creeds—an inexcusable and deadly error in a book by eminent Christian scholars written to point out errors within the church. Though this and the other books cited above contain much that commends them, their approval of Catholicism is tragically misleading.

The deviation by Catholicism from biblical Christianity goes to the heart of the faith, to salvation itself, and thus affects the eternal destiny of those who are deceived thereby. Roman Catholicism rejects salvation by faith and preaches a false gospel of works that cannot save—salvation is not in Christ but in the Church through submission to its edicts and sacraments. The Basic Catechism of Christian Doctrine calls the sacraments “the chief means of our salvation.”

The first of the seven sacraments is baptism, which is performed upon 98 percent of Catholics as infants. It is declared in Canon 849 to be the means “by which men and women are freed from their sins, are reborn as children of God….” The Basic Catechism declares that baptism “is necessary for salvation…cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians….” Another sacrament is the Mass, which the Catechism declares to be “one and the same Sacrifice with that of the Cross, inasmuch as Christ…continues to offer himself…on the altar, through the ministry of his priests.” Canon 904 states that “the work of redemption is continually accomplished in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice,” thus denying Christ’s triumphant “It is finished!”

Let me remind you of Hugh Latimer’s last words, spoken through the flames to his companion who was bound to the same stake: “Be of good courage, master Ridley…for we shall by God’s grace this day light such a ‘candle’ in England as I pray shall never go out!” Tragically, the “candle” lit by hundreds of thousands of faithful martyrs burned at the stake, if not already out, is barely flickering and in danger of being snuffed completely. Paul Crouch, head of the largest Christian TV worldwide network, demeans the martyrs by calling the issues they died for mere semantics; and he makes a mockery of the Reformers by declaring orthodox the heresies that sparked the Reformation.

Those who believe Rome’s lies and follow her gospel of works for salvation are lost. Failing to recognize this fact, many evangelical leaders and cult experts have themselves been deceived by Rome and need to be confronted and informed. How tragic to assume that Catholics are Christians who merely have some peripheral beliefs and practices which seem peculiar to Protestants but which will not prevent them from being saved. A false gospel is a false gospel, and it damns those who believe it, whether preached by Mormonism or Catholicism. A cult is a cult. Roman Catholics, like the members of other cults, need to be treated with compassion, warned of cultic lies, and presented with the true gospel, which alone can save them.

 

Written by Dave Hunt in June 1991

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