That Which Unites Christianity


Theology & Sin

 

John R. Houk

© December 31, 2018

As a blogger I typically write or share on subjects that cause me disenchantment from a Christian-political worldview. My tendency is toward the political more than the Christian. As the year draws to an end in 2018 I thought IO might muse with a little more slant on the Christian perspective.

 

I’ll begin with heresy.

 

Among the Christian faithful “heresy” is a subjective thing. Roman Catholics are ill-at-ease with Protestants who reject the episcopal traditions related to Papal supremacy. Protestants are ill-at-ease with Roman Catholics that place the edicts of a Papacy over the authority of the Holy Scriptures.

 

Protestants are divisive among many Denominations that in varying may view one Denomination to be practicing heretical views divergent from another.

 

For example, traditional Baptists may view Tongue-Talking Denominations as influenced by the devil while visa-versa the Tongue-Talkers view the Baptists as walking in disobedience rejecting the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of Tongues.

 

Holy Spirit Baptism Denominations may heresy among themselves as to nature of Jesus. Pentecostal movement differences of opinion may appear tangential to the outsider yet to Pentecostal practitioners those apparent insignificant tangents may be fightin’ words.

 

Simplest example Pentecostal differences:

 

There are three main divisions within the Pentecostal movement. The original group which came out of the Holiness churches (Methodist and Nazarene), sees three progressive steps in the life of a believer which indicate growth and blessing. The first step is justification, which is the forgiveness of sins that comes from putting faith in Jesus Christ. The second step is sanctification, or the second blessing, which was first taught by John Wesley in his “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection” (1766). The essence of this doctrine is an inner purity of heart and an infusion of power, whereby the believer no longer practices sin. This is sometimes followed by the third step, the “baptism of the Spirit,” as evidenced by speaking in tongues or other signs. The Church of God in Christ and the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee, are two major denominations in this group.

The second division is comprised of those who came out of a Baptist background, but were heavily influenced by the Holiness revivals of the late 1800s. The Assemblies of God was founded in 1914 under the leadership of Eudorus N. Bell, who had been a Southern Baptist pastor. The key difference in doctrine for this group is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is available for anyone, regardless of attaining sanctification.

The third division is the Oneness Pentecostals. At the meeting which formed the Church of God in Christ (1914), there was intense debate over Trinitarian doctrine. While the majority of Holiness believers held to the traditional belief in the Trinity, there was a growing group which held to a modalist [Blog Editor: Words like “modalist” delves into the oft-times difficult to understand realm of theology. Hence a “modalist” is an adherent of modalism which is a particular understanding of the Godhood. The Merriam-Webster definition.] belief and affirmed that baptism should be done in Jesus’ name only. Another tenet of this group is the necessity of speaking in tongues as evidence of salvation. This group was to form the United Pentecostal Church and the Apostolic Pentecostal Church, among others.

What are we to make of this movement? The early Holiness believers recognized that Christianity ought to result in visible changes in a person’s life. The focus of many early prayer meetings was to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1). These earnest believers wanted to run their race faithfully and were seeking God’s help to do so. As that earnestness gave way to emotional religious fervor, doctrines were developed to explain and support the emotions and experiences. For many today, the emphasis is on the excitement, the experience, or the new word of prophecy. Some of the questionable foundations laid by John Wesley (e.g., a second blessing of perfection) paved the way for later Pentecostal doctrines of new works of the Spirit. Some Pentecostals allow experience to trump scriptural teaching and attempt to conform Scripture to what they “know by experience.” But fervent experience, even when it involves miracles, is not the test of true faith (see Matthew 7:22–23). Peter affirmed the value of Scripture over experience when he said, “We also have a more sure Word of prophecy, to which you do well to take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19). (What is the Pentecostal Church and what do Pentecostals believe?GotQuestions.org)

 

True to traditional Protestantism, GotQuestions.org emphasizes Scripture over experience. Yet the Got Questions crowd tries to be nice in the explanation, a more combative traditionalist probably uses more pejorative disclaimers in defending the Faith via a subjective perception of truth.

 

The point I’m attempting to make without writing a book is that theological differences apart from theological centralities should be considered meaningless. To avoid fightin’ words among Christians it is best to emphasize central theological beliefs that has a commonality amongst Christian Believers.

 

What are some central beliefs where there is complete agreement (derived from inter-denominational organization – Prayer Foundation):

 

The Catholic Consensus of Greek, Latin, and Evangelical Christendom.

 

I.—RULE OF FAITH AND PRACTICE.

 

  • The Divine Inspiration and Authority of the Canonical Scriptures in matters of faith and morals. (Against Rationalism.)

 

II.—THEOLOGY.

 

  1. The Unity of the Divine essence.

 

  1. The Trinity of the Divine Persons.  Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Maker, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. 

 

  1. The Divine perfections.  Omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, wisdom, holiness, justice, love, and mercy.

 

  1. Creation of the world by the will of God out of nothing for his glory and the happiness of his creatures.

 

  1. Government of the world by Divine Providence.

 

III.—ANTHROPOLOGY.

 

  1. Original innocence.  Man made in the image of God, with reason and freedom, pure and holy; yet needing probation, and liable to fall.

 

  1. Fall: sin and death.  Natural depravity and guilt; necessity and possibility of salvation. [Blog Editor: Of interest the Eastern Orthodox will typically tell you a denial of Original Sin. Yet after reading an explanation, their theology calls the Fall – Ancestral Sin. It is my belief it is another case of trivial semantics.]

 

  1. Redemption by Christ.

 

IV.—CHRISTOLOGY.

 

  1. The Incarnation of the eternal Logos or second Person in the Holy Trinity.

 

  1. The Divine-human constitution of the Person of Christ.

 

  1. The life of Christ.  His superhuman [Blog Editor: I prefer supernatural to superhuman] conception; his sinless perfection; his crucifixion, death, and burial; resurrection and ascension; sitting at the right hand of God; return to judgment.

 

  1. Christ our Prophet, Priest, and King forever.

 

  1. The mediatorial work of Christ, or the atonement.  “He died for our sins, and rose for our justification.”

 

V.—PNEUMATOLOGY.

 

  1. The Divine Personality of the Holy Spirit.

 

  1. His eternal Procession(εκπόρευσις, processio) from the Father, and his historic Mission (πέμψις, missio) by the Father and the Son.

 

  1. His Divine work of regeneration and sanctification.

 

VI.—SOTERIOLOGY. [Blog Editor: i.e. Salvation or in Eastern Orthodox – Theosis/Deification]

 

  1. Eternal predestination [Eastern Orthodox view] or election of believers to salvation.

 

  1. Call by the gospel.

 

  1. Regeneration and conversion. Necessity of repentance and faith.

 

  1. Justification and sanctification. Forgiveness of sins and necessity of a holy life.

 

  1. Glorification of believers.

 

VII.—ECCLESIOLOGY AND SACRAMENTOLOGY.

 

[Blog Editor: It is my opinion all three Christian Movements ascribe to a universal Church, but I sense each branch has slight differences on how that universality presents. All branches have sacraments yet there is a lack of agreement on how to practice and how those sacraments present. Ergo I’m not listing the Prayer Foundation numeration.]

 

VIII.—ESCHATOLOGY.

 

  1. Death in consequence of sin.

 

  1. Immortality of the soul.

 

  1. The final coming of Christ.

 

  1. General resurrection.

 

  1. Judgment of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

  1. Heaven and Hell.  The eternal blessedness of saints, and the eternal punishment of the wicked.

 

  1. God all in all (I Corinthians 15:28 [Blog Editor: The Amplified Version is a good explanation]). (What All Christians Believe in Common: Eastern OrthodoxRoman Catholic, &Protestant; Prayer Foundation)

 

I wanted to be clear on universal similarities inherent in Christianity to note there are universal condemnations as sin inherent in Christianity. This is an understanding that MUST be understood. Why?

 

Because the Multiculturalist Left (and not just in the USA) has had a cultural transformation goal that is having a negative influence inside the Christian Church.

 

The Secular Humanism promoted by the Multiculturalist Left has been wickedly successful in what the Church calls sin that separates from God is normal. Calling sin normal literally calls the Creator non-existent.

 

Lucifer Cast from Heaven

 

Who of infamous significance called his Creator of no-effect?

 

The Fall of Lucifer

 

12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
[a]Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the [b]lowest depths of the Pit.

 

16 “Those who see you will gaze at you,
And consider you, saying:
Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
17 Who made the world as a wilderness
And destroyed its cities,
Who [c]did not open the house of his prisoners?’ (Isaiah 14: 12-17 NKJV)

 

The Prophet Isaiah uses the King of Babylon as a type of Satan calling the old devil by his pre-Fall angelic name – Lucifer.

 

Secular Humanism is a modern type of Lucifer. Pretending to bring light to humanity, the humanist ideology tries to cover humanity in a darkness that separates from the Creator. And so moral relativity uses smoke and mirrors to hide God the Creator’s moral agenda

 

The Redemptive plan inherent in God’s morality ultimately secures the human creation’s – made in God’s image – union through Christ Jesus with God Almighty.

 

Union through Christ – John 17: 11-26 NKJV:

 

11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep[a] through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them [b]in the world, I kept them in [c]Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is [d]lost except the son of [e]perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify[f] them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

 

Jesus Prays for All Believers

 

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who [g]will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (Bold text Blog Editor’s)

 

The sin excused as normal in Secular Humanist Moral Relativity threatens humanity’s union with God.

An Introduction to What Separates Humanity from Union with God (Romans 1: 18-23 NKJV):

 

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who [a]suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is [b]manifest [c]in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [d]Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like [e]corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

 

A list of immoral acts separating a person from can be read in Romans 1: 26-32 NKJV. Here is a rough list as defined in –

 

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible in BibleHub.com Romans 1:29:

 

  • Homosexuality – Romans 1:26-27

 

  • Sexual Immorality (fornication in KJV): The word denotes all illicit sexual intercourse.

 

  • Wickedness – The word used here denotes a desire of injuring others; or, as we should express it, malice. It is that depravity and obliquity of mind which strives to produce injury on others. (Calvin.)

 

  • Covetousness – Avarice, or the desire of obtaining what belongs to others.

 

  • Maliciousness (Licentiousness KJV) – κακία kakia. This word denotes evil in general; rather the act of doing wrong than the desire which was expressed before by the word “wickedness.”

 

  • Full of envy – “Pain, uneasiness, mortification, or discontent, excited by another’s prosperity, accompanied with some degree of hatred or malignity, and often with a desire or an effort to depreciate the person, and with pleasure in seeing him depressed” (Webster).

 

  • Murder – “The taking of human life with premeditated malice by a person of a sane mind.” This is necessary to constitute murder now, but the word used here denotes all manslaughter, or taking human life, except what occurs as the punishment of crime.

 

  • Strife (Debate in KJV) – … the word in the original meant also contention, strife, altercation, connected with anger and heated zeal … This contention and strife would, of course, follow from malice and covetousness, etc.

 

  • Deceit – This denotes fraud, falsehood, etc.

 

  • Evil-mindedness (Malignity in KJV) – This word signifies here, not malignity in general, but that particular species of it which consists in misinterpreting the words or actions of others, or putting the worst construction on their conduct.

 

  • Whisperers – Those who secretly, and in a sly manner, by hints and innuendoes, detract from others, or excite suspicion of them. It does not mean those who openly calumniate, but that more dangerous class who give hints of evil in others, who affect great knowledge, and communicate the evil report under an injunction of secrecy, knowing that it will be divulged. This class of people abounds everywhere, and there is scarcely any one more dangerous to the peace or happiness of society.

 

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible – BibleHub.com Romans 1: 30:

 

  • BackbitersThose Who calumniate, slander, or speak ill of those who are absent. Whisperers declare secretly, and with great reserve, the supposed faults of others. Backbiters proclaim them publicly and avowedly.

 

  • Haters of God – … No more striking proof of depravity could be given; and in no creed or confession of faith is there a more painful and humiliating representation given of human wickedness … Strong’s Concordance 2319 (theostugés): theostygḗs(a substantival adjective, derived from 2316/theós, “God” and stygeō, “abhor”) – properly, to abhor God (His will). This rare term refers to people who totally turn against the Lord (used only in Ro 1:30).

 

  • Violent (despiteful in KJV) – This word denotes those who abuse, or treat with unkindness or disdain, those who are present. Strong’s Concordance 5197 (hubristés): hybristḗs(a masculine noun derived from 5195/hybrízō) – properly, someone “damaging” others by lashing out with a nasty spirit. This kind of individual is insolent (delights in wrong-doing) – finding pleasure in hurting others (G. R. Berry). See 5195 (hybrizō).

 

  • Proud – Pride is well understood. It is an inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one’s superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, etc. (Webster).

 

  • Boasters – Those who arrogate to themselves what they do not possess, and glory on it. This is closely connected with pride. A man who has an inordinate self-conceit, will not be slow to proclaim his own merits to those around him.

 

  • Inventors of evil things – This doubtless refers to their seeking to find out new arts or plans to practice evil; new devices to gratify their lusts and passions; new forms of luxury, and vice, etc.

 

  • Disobedient to parents – This expresses the idea that they did not show to parents that honor, respect, and attention which was due. Strong’s Concordance 545 (disobedience – apeithés):

 

apeithḗs (an adjective) – literally, unwilling to be persuaded (by God) which shows itself in outward disobedience (outward spiritual rebellion); disobedient because unpersuaded.

apeithḗs (“unpersuaded”) begins with the decision to reject what God prefers, with His offer to persuade about His preferred-will (cf. 2307 /thélēma). See 543 (apeitheia).

 

PLUS

 

1118 (parent – goneus):

 

Definition: a parent
Usage: a begetter, father; plur: parents.

 

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible – BibleHub.com Romans 1: 31

 

  • Undiscerning (Without understanding in KJV) – Inconsiderate, or foolish

 

  • Untrustworthy (Covenantbreakers in KJV) – Perfidious; false to their contracts.

 

  • Unloving (Without natural affections in KJV) – This expression denotes the lack of affectionate regard toward their children.

 

  • Unforgiving (Implacable in KJV) – This word properly denotes those who will not be reconciled where there is a quarrel; or who pursue the offender with unyielding revenge. It denotes an unforgiving temper.

 

  • Unmerciful – Destitute of compassion. Strong’s Concordance 415 (aneleemon): without compassion, cruel; Definition: without mercy; Usage: unpitying, unmerciful, without compassion, cruel.

 

The inspiration for these comes from a post I found on a Prophecy Update email from December 27. The article that caught my eye was “POWER IN THE BLOOD” by Pastor Mike Taylor. Below is the cross post from Pastor Taylor’s blog entitled Church of the Living God.

 

JRH 12/31/18

Please Support NCCR

*********************

POWER IN THE BLOOD

 

There is Power in the Blood

 

By Pastor Mike Taylor

December 26, 2018

Church of the Living God

 

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
6:20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”(1st Corinthians 6:19-20)

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”(1st Corinthians 3:16 -17)

 

Man was created in the image of God as is recorded in the first book of the Bible.

1:26  “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”(Genesis 1:26-27)

 

But down through the ages, man has thought that he knew better than God, the lawgiver, the creator of all things. God instituted certain principles, laws of nature, and of Himself to guide men into His ways and to instruct them in righteous living. But the bible is full of stories of men who would not listen to the Words of God, but deviated according the sins of their flesh and their sinful nature, following instead according to the prince and power of the air and temporary ruler of this world, Lucifer….Satan the devil.

Man is made of flesh, but has a spiritual component that when deviating from the Law of God, is defined as sin. What is sin? Words such as Crime, Error, Foul, Wrong, and Vice come to mind. Each of these words name behaviors that fail to reach an accepted standard. Any group of people joining to accomplish a goal will establish a set of rules, laws, guidelines or principles to regulate proper conduct. When such a code is abused or ignored, a penalty is usually imposed.

It is no different when you speak of our Heavenly ABBA Father. God established a code of conduct called His Law, as defined by the Ten Commandments. It defined His perfect nature and His desire that man follow His way of living. Man has rejected God’s way of living down through the ages and the penalty of not following God’s perfect law, is death. Paul speaks of this in Romans, chapter 6,

 

23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”(Romans 6:23)

 

Jesus, the Substitute of what we all deserve.

In God’s love for His creation, He gave us His only Son, knowing that we could not keep the Laws of God, as we are sold under sin. To transgress one aspect of the law is to transgress the whole law, as there is no difference when it comes to sin in God’s eyes. The law was our school master to lead us to repentance, knowing that we were incapable of keeping the letter of the law. It was God’s plan all along to redeem His creation to all that would look to His Son for payment of the sins past, present and future. God covered them all with one perfect sacrifice, His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

BATTLE FOR MAN’S SALVATION AND GNOSTICISM

In the very beginning of the early church, a heresy developed that men knew better than God. It was called Gnosticism, or secret knowledge, Gnosis. These heretics believed in dualism, or the battle between matter and spirit, good and evil, and light and darkness as defined by the body being bad, and the spirit being good. These early infiltrators of the early church professed that it didn’t matter what you did within your body, as the spirit is what mattered. They believed that Jesus was not God in the flesh, as His flesh was corrupt and could not be our redeemer, but that salvation comes from in one of two ways:

» That the only way to attain true spirituality is to deny their flesh (matter) of anything that might tempt them to sin. Those who thought this way became ascetic or afflictions of their flesh.» The opposite extreme, that the things done in the body are inconsequential because only the spirit counts. These Gnostics often fell into licentiousness as defined “lacking legal or moral restraints especially : disregarding sexual restraints licentious behavior licentious revelers. 2 : marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness.”

Bible shows that Paul battled this heresy in his epistles, especially in 1st Corinthians, Galatians and Colossians. The Apostle John battled it in all his writings. 1st John chapter 3, is one of those examples:

 

3  “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
4  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
5  And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7  Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous

8  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1st John 3:3- 8)

 

John argues against this heresy. Some in John’s area of ministry seem to have believed that they could not sin in their flesh. Since their flesh, matter, was ultimately evil anyway, it could not be redeemed and was worthless. Thus, they concluded, anything done in the flesh had no bearing on one’s salvation. I see that abounding even today in this cesspool we call the world. It surrounds us on every side. New Age Emergent churches are promoting a new gospel, a new way of following Jesus and the epitome of the Gnostic beliefs found in a religion that has survived 2000 years. Both feel they have “secret knowledge” of what God meant in His Holy Word and have redefined what is scriptural and what are the precept of mere mortal men.

 

THE LAODECIAN CHURCH GROWS STRONGER

I had the displeasure of reading an article by a supposedly Christian pastor who proclaimed that we must repackage the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to reach the people of today. Say what? So we must doll up the message to make it more palatable for the young people today? What’s wrong with preaching the truth of Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Is there another way to enter into God’s Kingdom other than the blood and body of Jesus Christ? NO!! Does that mean rock music in the church? Does that mean creating a mall type atmosphere that rivals any shopping outlet? Does that mean we must have tattoo parlors in the church? Yes, I said tattoo parlors. I had a dear lady write and report churches in her area are promoting tattoos right in the building of these churches. Some misled people of these new “enlightened” churches think they have the right to adorn their bodies with different colored inks that show they follow a “christian” message. I categorically reject this pseudo form of Christianity, as it glorifies the flesh, not the Savior. When would you paint graffiti with a spray can on the building you worship in? Would you paint a cross on the sides of the building and adorn the sanctuary with man-made symbols that deface the structure in various colored inks? Is it any different when you tattoo a cross or a crown of thorns across your back and say you are proclaiming Jesus? How can we reach the world that is dying, if we ourselves are identifying with them by our actions?

As a Christian, or one who professes knowing Jesus Christ, what is our duty when trying to live the Christian life? There is only One example that we are to live by and follow and that is our perfect example, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Would Jesus allow a tattoo being placed on His righteous body? Would he follow the sins of this world by doing what I see happening in today’s emergent “enlightened” churches? It smacks of Gnosticism.

1st John chapter 2:

 

4  “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1st John 2:4-6)

Peter reinforced that argument when he wrote in 1st Peter chapter 2:

 

21 ” For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth

23  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25  For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”(1st Peter 2:21-25)

 

Jesus our perfect example and the personage we must emulate. God told us in His Word that we must separate ourselves from the sins of the flesh and the ways of this world: 2nd Corinthians,

16 “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
18  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. “(2nd Corinthians 6:16-18)

THE WORLD IS DYING. 

 

I am reminded daily when I see the amount of people in our hospitals that abuse their bodies with all form of addictions. I see people ravaged by alcohol addiction and drink heavily daily. I see people who get high on whatever their drug of choice is and there are many forms of chemical abuse that are legal. I saw a young person who damaged his body with a substance called K2, which is abusing bath salts by injecting it, smoking it, or inhaling it to get high. It destroys their brain, their internal organs, and respiratory systems. I see people who are grossly obese, who find comfort in food and gluttony and are diabetic and with failing organs. Or how about 1-2 pack a day smoker who destroys their lungs, heart, and open the door for cancers to invade? If the lost and dying world is suffering this type of destruction, should we not separate ourselves from this type of behavior with its addictions and not even look like the rest of the world? If they can’t see any difference in us, why would they choose this man, called Jesus Christ? If they can’t see Jesus in you, then will they listen to your message? Probably not, but they will take your entertainment in the churches, but live like the devil the rest of the week.

THE MILLENNIALS OF OUR WORLD

I talk to young people who call themselves Christians, but are living with their boyfriend or girlfriend without the sanctity of marriage. How can one profess knowing Jesus Christ, when they live opposite of what He commanded and lived? Are they confused or do they just know better? Hey, everyone is doing it, right? So it must be OK? I see children being born out of wedlock into new types of families, or being raised by same sex couples and it’s OK? Again, how can you reach a world that is dying from being lost in sin, when you indulge in sin yourself, and think it’s alright? God plainly condemns this kind of behavior and the abuse of our bodies and our mode of living to the detriment of our very existence. Peter wrote according to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit in 1st Peter,

 

14  “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17  And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20  Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21  Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”1st Peter 1:13-21)

 

THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES, SPEAK OF A GLORIOUS EVENT

It is quite clear for all that are awake and see the events around us, that we ARE in the last days of this world’s existence. Suddenly, without warning, your world will be turned upside down and you will either be found in Jesus Christ, or being bamboozled by the god of this world, you have followed another gospel, that is not of Jesus Christ. You will have been living your life according to what you think is best, not according to the clear commands of Jesus Christ or having His sacrifice applied to your life. I have tried to hammer home the message that this world is fast approaching the cliff of tribulation and all of us need to be getting our houses in order. If you profess Jesus Christ, as your Savior, then live like it. If you are playing a fool’s game of following another gospel, or a false messiah, and abusing your bodies in ways that are in direct conflict with the clear teachings of the One who died for the entire world, Jesus Christ, then you may have a sad day approaching. When Jesus banishes you from His presence during the sheep and goat judgment at the Judgment Seat of our Lord, you will have no one to blame, but yourself:

 

33  “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. …….(moving down)
25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, (ye who practice lawlessness) into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: ……..
46  “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”(Matthew 25:33, 41, 46)

 

WHAT MUST YOU DO IF YOU PROFESS JESUS?

Christian, look at yourself. Do you follow the clear message of the Bible? Do you continue to make mistakes? Of course you do, but not according to the rest of the world, if you profess our Lord and Savior, but you do not live as the world does. You separate yourself from anything and everything that speaks of the lust of the flesh and follow the Holy Spirit, guiding your own spirit in righteous living. A Christian will not willfully sin according to the lust of his flesh, but seeks after righteousness. The truly converted man or woman is a new creature in Christ Jesus.

17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”(2nd Corinthians 5:17-19)

 

19  “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”(Romans 8:19-23)

 

 

Men are dying because they are abusing the body made in the image of God. They follow the god of this world and fall into every unclean practices that leads to death. They die prematurely and experience painful deaths. I know, because I’ve seen it, up close and personal.

How more should we who have been converted to follow the ways of God, abstain from anything that would look like the world? God will hold each of accountable for things done in our body, meaning he will reward, or withhold reward for each of His children who are truly converted, but never quite learned the lessons of righteous living. See the opening verses that started this sermon. He will sorely judge the haphazard Christian who abuses the body He resides in. He will also, judge those who follow a pseudo form of Christianity, but deny the power thereof as noted in the sheep and goat parable. To mouth the words of being a Christian, does not make it so. It is an inward change of the heart. You will look odd to the world, but Jesus warned each of us of that very fact: John chapter 15,

 

18  “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.”(John 15:18-21)

 

TO ALL WHO ARE SEARCHING FOR THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL

To the lost and dying, that do not have the payment of their sins paid for by the blood sacrifice and broken body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, time is growing short. Jesus is right at the door waiting to gather His church unto Himself. Jesus said that the time would be as in the days of Noah. Look around you, does this world seem to be going mad? Is it not as Jesus said it would be? Truly, it is.

 

26  “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27  They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28  Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29  But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.”(Luke 17:26-29)

 

POWER IN THE BLOOD

 

With all that is happening in this world, men dying needlessly. People without hope of a better life that is coming. Not embracing what John 3:16 spoken of by our Lord Jesus. Our God and Kinsman Redeemer gave up His life on a cruel Roman cross for one purpose, and that is to shed His own precious blood for the salvation of many souls He would reclaim from the sin started in the Garden of Eden. God knew before the world was even formed, and time was created for mankind, that He would have give up His Glory for 33.5 years and come as our Righteous Redeemer. God knew that there was no other way, as man could not do it himself, no matter how moral one man might be….It is totally impossible, as I said, sin one time, and you have broken all the laws of God, as God looks at them all the same..to Him, sin is sin and nothing we can rid ourselves of. This concept draws my mind to the scriptural verse that was the purpose of Christ coming to save this God forsaken world.

 

3 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:3-8)

 

When I was a boy, I recall a wonderful old hymn that spoke of what our Lord did for us:

 

There Is Power In The Blood

 

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood

 

There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the blood of the Lamb
There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb

 

Would you be free from your passion and pride
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide
There’s wonderful power in the blood

 

There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the blood of the Lamb
There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb

 

The precious sacrifice our Lord gladly laid down His life, to save mankind is found in shedding of blood, every last drop being spilled on the ground. For without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness, which the Bible testifies through God’s Holy Spirit.

 

22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:22-26)

 

FOLLOW JESUS, NOT ANY ONE RELIGION

Do not look at others who proclaim they are Christians, as some may be deceived. You might look to others for the way they live and use it as confirmation that you do not want this free gift of grace paid for nearly 2000 years ago. You will then make that choice independent of those you hold up as the reason you have not committed your life and heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. You will be solely responsible for the banishment into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Each of us are destined to be either in glory and in the presence of God Almighty, or be banished from His presence for all eternity.

 

9 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”(Philippians 2:9-12)

 

Each of us have been formed in the image of God. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior, must realize that their body is the Temple of God and we were bought with a very high price, hence my opening scriptures concerning this very fact. Those who have not accepted the free gift of salvation, do so at their own eternal peril. I extend an open invitation to all who will listen to that still, small voice inside your heart that draws you to the God who created you. Romans chapter 10,

 

8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13)

 

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)

 

Invite the Spirit of God into your heart to make Jesus Lord and Savior of your life. Become the Temple of God’s Holy Spirit and flee from anything and everything that imitates anything found in this world that the rest of the world revels in to their own destruction.

This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying God’s salvation in your heart and life. If there is anything I can counsel you on, pray with you about, or just a listening ear, then email me at realteam1999@sbcglobal.net,  or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com, for more biblical lessons on salvation and the soon return of our Lord Jesus.

 

God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus feet.

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That Which Unites Christianity

Theology & Sin

 

John R. Houk

© December 31, 2018

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POWER IN THE BLOOD

 

Pastor Mike Taylor is an ordained minister in the Church of the Living God and reaches out to all the world to proclaim the Gospel and the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

STATEMENT OF MINISTRY BELIEFS

 

Transforming to Conservatism with an Illumination of Heresy


Proud to be everything Leftists Hate

John R. Houk

© August 8, 2014

 

Years ago when I became a Born Again Christian I began the ironic evolution (ironic because since being Born Again I am not a huge fan of Darwinian Evolution) of moving from a Center-Left Liberal to a downright Christian Right Conservative. And honestly there are quite a few Neoconservative ideas in which I have an affinity.

 

I began with this micro-bio of my faith because I read a fascinating article from the Acton Institute with the theme of heretics and heresy. I first became aware of the Acton Institute back in the days of the disillusionment I began having with the Democratic Party. Just think, back in the early 1980’s the Dems were not even close to being as anti-Christian as they have become under the direction of President Barack Hussein Obama. One of the last good Dems was still in the Senate – Henry (Scoop) Jackson – in Washington State where I grew up in Eastern Washington.

 

Senator Jackson was quite Liberal on most domestic issues (I am a bit uncertain social issues such as abortion and gay marriage). On the other hand before terms like Neoconservatism and American Exceptionalism was a political cause, Jackson was quite supportive of a strong military to confront Marxist expansionism embodied by the then Soviet Union. Jackson believed in supporting Western-style democracy in foreign governments to confront the totalitarianism that was the spread of the disease of Communism.

 

After abandoning the Dems I was not politically transformed enough to be a Republican. Hence in 1980 I did not vote for Ronald Reagan. Actually I don’t even remember the name of the Candidate I voted for in 1980 except it was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for POTUS. I voted Libertarian because of my disgust for Carter and my distrust Reagan (at the time) as a button pushing warmonger. It is in these Libertarian days that I found the writings of Lord John Acton, Ayn Rand (See Also HERE and HERE) and Ludwig von Mises. Libertarians promoted these people as pioneers of Libertarianism. Although my insight today is these guys though definitely espoused much of the Libertarian ideals, none of them would call themselves Libertarian in today’s sense of social Liberalism and Free Market Conservatism as expressed in this thought:

 

Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property-rights that people have naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force-actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud. (Quote from Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz; Found at – What is Libertarian? Written for Institute of Humane Studies at George Mason University)

 

This train of thought sounded like a great compromise between the exploitive ravages of Left Wing Liberalism and the part of Conservatism I was not ready embrace, viz. a super military with the ability to threaten the people of Independent nations that live under a different political paradigm in which Americans are acquainted. Today I view the latter as naïve wishful thinking that people can just get along. The former sounded great from a Liberty point of view yet I came to realize Social Libertarianism did not comply with the Biblical view of God Almighty.

 

This social view hypocritically viewed the rights of female individuals trump the rights of unborn human beings in a woman’s womb. This social view deceptively justifies immoral living as acceptable as long as it doesn’t cause physical harm to another person. This is deceptive because if the Creator says it is wrong that means there is harm to the inner man (or inner person to feminists and Liberals) of an individual both in person and to those unwittingly exposed to immorality from another. And so, I abandoned Libertarianism.

 

I have found that the Acton Institute (actually founded in 1990) named after Lord John Acton promotes Conservative economics and Godly morality.

 

And hence I return to the fascinating article from the Acton Institute entitled, “Heretics and Heresies, New and Old”. Here Hunter Baker brilliantly demonstrates that a heretic can be something other than merely deviating from the orthodox principles of a particular faith.

 

JRH 8/8/14

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Heretics and Heresies, New and Old

 

By Hunter Baker

August 6, 2014

Acton Institute

 

You may not have realized it, but Tony Dungy is a heretic.  Does the former football player, coach and now TV analyst hold beliefs that are considered heretical by his fellow Christians?  No.  But his recent doubts about Michael Sam as an NFL player (you’ll recall Sam as the All American college athlete who has publicly announced that he’s gay), caused Dungy to be viewed as a heretic by members of another sect that is gaining adherents at a rapid pace.  They are more sure of themselves than ever.  Where once they pleaded for tolerance, now they sense that they are gaining the upper hand.  “There can be no tolerance for ideas that are wrong,” they explain.  And they are thinking it might be time to exercise new power.

 

Whether the issue is the HHS mandate regarding the provision of contraceptive products or new attitudes regarding same-sex romance and marriage, the group holding what might be called “progressive” attitudes has demonstrated a willingness to push those who disagree into conforming.  The Christian florist or baker must be brought to heel.  Maybe even sent away for sensitivity training.  When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a narrow decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, the secular-progressives howled as though some peasant had failed to remove his hat in the presence of the king.

 

The issue hasn’t always been sex or bioethics.  If we look back into the 20th century, we can see the Soviets persecuting heretics of a different kind.  In Russia, the heresy was the idea that the state should be limited or that people should be able to determine their own economic destiny.  Some heretics even thought (gasp!) that citizens should be allowed to own property. While they were at it, of course, the Soviets, and the Bolsheviks before them, launched a massive persecution of Christians that heaped up martyrs by the millions.

 

China under Chairman Mao had heretics, too.  These were people who had doubts about The Great Leap Forward and other plans set forth by the great leader who declared that “China has stood up!”  Some of the heretics were people like college professors who had to be humbled by being sent out into the rural areas to perform farm labor.  Others forgot to place pictures of Mao in their homes in prominent positions.  During the Cultural Revolution, packs of enthusiastic teens beat such people, including their once esteemed elders, with belt buckles for a lack of proper revolutionary attitude.  As of this summer, I think a few members of our own revolutionary vanguard may have wanted to take belts off and start swinging at the proprietors of a certain craft store.

 

The tragic thing is that we all seem to have a tendency to want to marginalize and hound the heretics among us. Deng Xiaoping was sent to a re-education camp by Mao Zedong for his incorrect thinking.  You might think he would, in turn, be an advocate for greater freedom of expression.  But who authored the outcome at Tiananmen Square?  It was none other than Chairman Deng.

 

I am sorry to say that Christians, who are rapidly becoming the heretics of this age as they were in others, are far from innocent in this regard.  They were persecuted terribly as an unacceptable cult in the Roman Empire.  When they finally gained acceptance, it was a great deliverance for them.  Official tolerance brought freedom.  Eventually, there was power.  While the first Christian emperor, Constantine, was not a great coercer of others, some of his successors were.  And we all know that the experience of the church in the west includes acts of savagery in war and the torment of heretics in times of peace.  Sometimes repression is due to a desire to retain power, but all too often we are willing to commit crimes against others because we want to bring the millennium.  According to this view, Paradise won’t overtake us unless a few committed people are willing to do whatever it takes (perhaps by any means necessary) to get the job done.

 

It is one thing to pursue visions of moral and spiritual excellence in a positive fashion.  We should feel free to exchange ideas and to persuade one another of the correctness of our views.  That is the process by which we attempt to discover truth.  But there is a human factor that turns healthy debate toward coercion.  It is the penchant we have for finding disagreement and disconfirmation unpleasant and unsettling.  We don’t like to hear that others hold a different view.  Our understandings of the world are precious to us.  It can be especially exciting to have some new view that seems to be enlightened in comparison to the retrograde mindsets of others.  We don’t appreciate it when these knuckle-draggers don’t get with the program.

 

But the temptation is always there to finish the process of converting the group with a little intimidation here, some official marginalization there, and the loss of privileges.  Maybe those people shouldn’t be able to run a school or have an important job or participate in the community in a variety of ways.  Brendan Eich, another new heretic who co-founded Firefox and was evicted from his own organization, can tell you all about it.

 

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Transforming to Conservatism with an Illumination of Heresy

John R. Houk

© August 8, 2014

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Heretics and Heresies, New and Old

 

© 2014 Acton Institute

 

Acton Institute Core Principles

Integrating Judeo-Christian Truths with Free Market Principles

 

1)     Dignity of the Person

 

2)     Social Nature of the Person

 

3)     Importance of Social Institutions

 

4)     Human Action

 

5)     Sin

 

6)     Rule of Law and the Subsidiary Role of Government

 

7)     Creation of Wealth

 

8)     Economic Liberty

 

9)     Economic Value

 

10) Priority of Culture

 

Dignity of the Person – The human person, created in the image of God, is individually unique, rational, the subject of moral agency, and a co-creator. Accordingly, he possesses intrinsic value and dignity, implying certain rights and duties both for himself and other persons. These truths about the dignity of the human person are known through revelation, but they are also discernible through reason.

 

Social Nature of the Person – Although persons find ultimate fulfillment only in communion with God, one essential aspect of the development of persons is our social nature and capacity to act for disinterested ends. The person is fulfilled by interacting with other persons and by participating in moral goods. There are READ THE REST

 

Word of Faith is no More Heretical than Mainstream Christianity


Christ Crucified

John R. Houk

© September 5, 2012

 

I gladly admit I became a Born Again Christian through the Word of Faith (WF) Movement. When I became a Christian quickly began to understand the WF was controversial because of the view of Faith, Charismata (Holy Spirit Gifts) and the Prosperity Message.

 

Because of these controversies faith witch hunters have become numerous labeling WF as a heresy in Christianity. In fact if you Google “Word of Faith Movement” you will be guided to site after site that calls WF a heresy.

 

Labeling WF a heresy is somewhat like a Roman Catholic labeling the Eastern Orthodox Church and various Protestant Churches as heretical. The fact is all three versions of Christianity believe in the death of Christ on the Cross, Jesus’ dead body was laid in a tomb for three days and that on the third day Jesus Christ resurrected to a fully human life and is just as much God as He is human. The three major strains of Christianity believe Christ told the Apostles and Disciples to go throughout the world and share the Good News (Gospel) that Jesus arose from the offering His Blood as a once and for all sacrifice to redeem humanity from the Fallen Age of Satan that occurred when the first man (Adam) fell from fellowship with God transforming from immortal to mortal. And that the curse on Adam also became a curse on all the Earth. The three strains of Christianity believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Second Person in the Holy Trinity. They believe the Trinity is Three Persons that are One God.  AND that the Resurrected Christ will return again to reign on Earth from the Throne of David centered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. THEN whether it is after a millennial rule or simply at the end of the age, God will create the New Earth and the New Jerusalem. AND the New Heaven will come upon the New Earth and God will reign in Eternity and humanity will KNOW God. God and humanity will be as one with humanity knowing the Will of God instinctively.

 

As much as Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestants accuse each other of being heretics, the basics of Salvation are agreed upon. Guess what: The Word of Faith Movement also believes the simplicity of Salvation in Christ Jesus.

 

Among Protestants the basics are agreed upon, it is in dogma variations within Protestantism that various Denominations will call another Denomination in error. In the modern era this called agreeing to disagree; however not too long ago various Denominations would call differences of dogma heresy.

 

Now the next logical argument might lead one to say if WF is not a heresy in the basics why shouldn’t we basic Christians consider Mormonism (Latter Day Saints), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Unitarian and other derived sects from Christianity that do NOT follow the basics as non-heretical?

 

Briefly let’s look at some of these Christian offshoots that ignore the basics.

 

Mormonism (From Contender Ministries):

 

Mormon                                                                      Mainstream Christianity

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The Church has 4 Standard Works that are authoritative:  The Bible (in so far as it is translated correctly), the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.  Speeches and writings of the current president of the church are also authoritative.  The Bible is far below the other standard Works because it is full of errors (wherever it disagrees with Mormon doctrine).

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The only authoritative scriptures given by God are the 39 books of the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible.  God promised to preserve his word and to suggest that the Bible was mistranslated and corrupted would be to call God a liar.  If God were to give additional revelations they would be consistent with any prior revelations thus eliminating Mormon writings, since they stand in direct opposition to the divine revelation that has already been given in the Bible.

One God

There are many Gods. Brigham Young-Journal of Discourses 7:333 “How many Gods there are, I do not know.  But there never was a time when there were not Gods.

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There is only one God.  (Dt 6:4; 33:26-27; Isa 43:10; 45:5; 46:9; 1Ti 2:5)

The Nature of God

God the Father is an exalted man (a man who has progressed to godhood) with a body of flesh and bones.

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1973 ed., p. 346 – “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man…I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in a form-like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man.”

D & C 130:22  “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also.”

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The Bible is most explicit in stating that God is not a man (Nu 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; Hos 11:9).  God the Father, the eternal God is Spirit (Isa 55:8-9; 6:1-5; 57:15; Pss 90:2; 113:5-6; 123:1; Jn 4:24: 8:23)  Jesus said that a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Lk 24:39)

 

God the Father became a God after learning truth, aggressively pursuing godhood, and being obedient to the laws of the gospel.

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God the Father has always existed as such (Dt 33:27; Isa 43:10; 44:6; 45:5, 21; 46:9; Mal 3:6; 1Co 8:4; 1Ti 2:5; Rev 1:8; 21:6; 22:13).

 

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As Psalms 90:2 and 93:2 state, God has been God “from eternity to eternity.”

 

God the Father has a wife, through whom he procreates spirit children.

“Implicit in the Christian verity that all men are the spirit children of an Eternal Father is the usually unspoken truth that they are also the offspring of an Eternal Mother.  An exalted and glorified Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57) could not be a Father unless a Woman of like glory, perfection, and holiness was associated with him as a Mother” (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., p. 516)

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The Godhead determined to make man in their image, not to procreate spirit children (Ge 1:26).  Nowhere does Scripture even hint at the existence of an Eternal Mother.

 

God is not a uniquely eternal being.  All spirit is self-existent matter and is eternal (without beginning or end).  Such “matter (called intelligences) sometimes becomes organized into a spirit being through birth to celestial parents.  Then that spirit is born through human parents on earth.  Like all people, God took this course and eventually reached Godhood.

God would stop being God if intelligences stopped supporting him as God.

(D&C 93:29, 33; Abraham 3:18-23; Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed. p. 751)

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God is not God unless He is all-powerful, all knowing, absolutely in charge.  If God exists only as God because of support given from other intelligent forms, He is not God at all (Isa 44:6; Ro 3:4; Rev 1:8; 21:6; 22:13)

 

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God is unchangingly omnipotent, and no purpose of His can be thwarted.  He is not overruled by anyone (Ge 17:1; Job 36:22-23; 42:2; Isa 14:26-27; 40:13-14; Jer 32:27; Mt 19:26; Lk 1:37; Ac 17:24-25; Rev 19:6)

Man and Sin

Man was also in the beginning with God.  Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be”  (D&C 93:29)

Life, intelligence, mind, the ‘light of truth’ , or whatever name one gives to the center of the personality of man, is an uncreated, eternally existent, indestructible entity…In the first stage, man was an eternally existent being termed an intelligence…The next realm where man dwelt was the spirit world….eternally-existing intelligences were clothed with spirit bodies…numerous sons and daughters were begotten and born of heavenly parents into that eternal family in the spirit world” (The Gospel Through the ages, pp.126-127)

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Man is a finite being, not an eternal one.  The first man Adam was created at a specific point in time (Ge 1:26-27; 2:7; 1Co 15:45-49).  Man did not exist in the beginning when God was creating the universe, for if he had, God’s question to Job would have made no sense (Job 38:4).  Man was created lower than the angels, so that David wondered why God is even mindful of him (Ps 8:3-5; 144:3).  Not a single verse in the Bible suggests that God has a wife, but Isaiah 44:24 explicitly says that the Lord made all things by Himself.  Moreover, several passages in Isaiah indicate that there is only one God and there is none beside Him (44:8; 45:6) or like Him (46:9).

 

“…these spirit children were organized, possessing divine, eternal, and godlike attributes, inherited from their Heavenly Father and Mother.  There in the spirit world they were reared to maturity, becoming grown spirit men and women prior to coming upon this earth” (The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 127).

“Jesus is man’s spiritual brother.  We dwelt with Him in the spirit world as members of that large society of eternal intelligences, which included our Heavenly Parents and all the personages who have become mortal beings upon this earth or who ever shall come here to dwell…Jesus was the ‘firstborn,’ and so He is our eldest brother” (Ibid., p.21)

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Jesus was and is Almighty God from everlasting to everlasting.  He is the creator of all that exists and is “firstborn” over all creation in the sense that He is the preeminent originator of life and the universe (Mic 5:2; Ps 90:2; Jn 1:1-3; Ac 3:14-15; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:2).  This meaning for the word “firstborn” can be understood by comparing Genesis 41:51-52, which states that Manasseh was Joseph’s “firstborn” son while Ephraim was the second, with Jeremiah 31:9, where God calls Ephraim the “firstborn.”  Obviously, “firstborn” does not always mean the one literally born first.

 

Death and sin came through the fall of Adam and Eve.  But their deed was not actually a “sin.”  It was really a blessing because it enabled man to continue progressing on toward eternal life.  “They (the Christian world) have been long taught that Adam and Eve were great transgressors…We, the children of Adam….should rejoice with them, that through their fall and the atonement of Jesus Christ, the way of eternal life has been opened up to us” (Articles of Faith, p. 476)

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Rejoicing is hardly the proper response to Adam’s sin.  Because of that sin, both Adam and Eve died spiritually and their physical bodies began to deteriorate.  Eve was given pain and sorrow in child-bearing, Adam was required to work and sweat in order to eat, the entire creation was cursed, they were thrown out of the Garden forever, and the entire human race was destined to be born dead in sins and children of god’s wrath by nature.  To rejoice in the fall of man is to embrace Satan’s lie.  It was Satan who deceived Eve by convincing her that sin was good and would bring her knowledge and reward.  (Ge 3:16-24; Ro 3:23; 5:12-15, 17-19; 8:19-22 Eph 2:1-5; 1Jn 3:4)

The Doctrine of Salvation

Christ’s death on the cross (the atonement) canceled the penalty of death imposed on ALL men through Adam’s sin, thereby ensuring that all men would be redeemed – resurrected and given immortality (the reuniting of spirit with body)-as a gift.

“If there had been no atonement, temporal death would have remained forever, and there never would have remained forever, and there never would have been a resurrection.  The body would have remained forever in the grave” (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., p.63)

“Redemption from death, through the sufferings of Christ, is for all men, both the righteous and the wicked” (Ibid., p. 65)

“Immortality is a free gift which comes by grace alone without works on man’s part” (Ibid., p. 377)

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Not everyone is blessed through Christ’s crucifixion.  Only those who accept His sacrifice and surrender themselves to Him (Ro 10:9) will receive the benefit of Jesus’ death and resurrection, which is forgiveness of sins (Ac 10:43) and salvation (Ro 3:24).  Eternal life “in Christ,” and not just simply eternal existence through resurrection, is the gift offered by God to humanity (Ro 6:23).  This gift is obtainable only by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-10).

 

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Jesus’ death serves to reconcile all believers to God (Ro 5:10).  In dying, Jesus broke down the wall of separation between us and God that was present through man’s disobedience to the Law (Eph 2:11-22)

 

As you can there is NO WAY Mormonism follows the basics of Christianity.

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Jehovah’s Witness and Christianity (From AllExperts.com)

 

A.  God

    1.  The JW belief about God is that only the Father is God.  They do not believe the Son is God, nor do they believe that the Holy Spirit is a living personality, but rather a force.

    2.  The Christian belief states that there is 1 God, whom the Bible has revealed in 3 separate and distinct persons, namely, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  These 3 persons are not 3 separate Gods, but 3 persons uniting as the one true God of creation.  Just as 1 family may have many different members, each a separate person, but not a separate family.  The many members would unite as 1 family, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit unite as one God.

B.  Jesus Christ

   1.  The JW belief about Jesus Christ is that He was created by the Father in the beginning, is the same being in Scripture as Michael the Archangel, and came to earth and died on an upright pole (They do not believe He died on a cross).  They believe He was not raised in a fleshly body, but rather as a spirit being.  They believe that Jesus will never return to this earth in the flesh, but instead, has been ruling the earth invisibly from heaven since the year 1914.

   2.  The Christian view about Christ, is that He is fully God, and was always in existence in the beginning with God (John 1:1-3).  He is not a creation, but rather the Creator.  We do not believe He is Michael the Archangel, or any other angel.  Instead, He is above the angels of heaven, and is to be worshipped by them (Hebrews 1:4, 6, 8).  Christians believe that He died on the cross, rose again in the flesh (Luke 24:36-39; John 2:19-21), and will return to this earth in power and judgment (Rev. 1:7, 19:11-16).  Christians also believe that putting one’s faith in the death of Jesus Christ as an atonement for sin, is the only way by which we can enter the kingdom of God.  It is not by our good works, but by His work on the cross.

C.  The Bible

   1.  The JW belief about the Bible is that it is the Word of God.  It should be mentioned, however, that they have produced their own translation of the Bible, in which many verses have been changed to support their beliefs.  It is called the NEW WORLD TRANSLATION, and it is the one that they believe in.  They also believe that the Bible cannot be interpreted by the individual, but must be interpreted with the help of the publications of the Watchtower Society, which they view as the “faithful and wise servant” of Matthew 24:45-51 and Luke 12:42-48.

   2.  The Christian view of the Bible is that is the infallible, inerrant Word of God, and that it alone can “make us wise unto salvation” (1 Tim. 3:15-17).  It should be read and studied diligently, and is meant to be understood.  It is God’s will that all people be saved, and He will not hide the message of eternal life from anyone who desires to know Him (John 17:3, 2 Peter 3:9).

D.  Heaven

    1.  The JW belief concerning Heaven, is that it is reserved for only 144,000 select individuals, while the rest of saved mankind (faithful JWs) will live forever on a paradise Earth.  These with an Earthly destiny are called the “Great Crowd” (Rev. 7:9), or the “other sheep” (John 10:16), and have no hope of ever going to Heaven or seeing God.

   2.  Christians believe that anyone who puts their faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, and lives for Him, can enter the Heavenly kingdom of God.  We believe that Christians go to Heaven immediately at death, and those who live until the return of Christ, will be “caught up” (raptured) to Heaven to be with Him (1 Thess. 4:13-18).  There will be a Tribulation period of 7 years on this Earth, and at the conclusion of this period, Christ will return and set up a kingdom here for the duration of 1,000 years.  At the conclusion of this time, Satan will be allowed to tempt mankind one final time, after which himself and those who follow him, will be cast into everlasting punishment.  There will then be a “new Heavens and a new Earth”, where righteousness will last for eternity.  All Christians will be able to enjoy Heaven, and a paradise Earth (Rev. 19-22). 

E.  Hell

    1.  JWs do not believe in a literal Hell, but that Hell only represents the grave.

    2.  Christians believe that there is a literal Hell, which was prepared for “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).  It is not God’s will that any human go to Hell, and by accepting Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, we will escape Hell.  Those who reject Jesus Christ as their personal Savior will have no atonement for their sins, and will be under the judgment of God (Rev. 14:9-11).  But by making Jesus Christ the Lord of one’s life, he/she can live forever in God’s kingdom.

F.  Holidays

    1.  JWs forbid their members from celebrating almost every holiday, including the individual’s own birthday.

    2.  Christians believe the principle found in Romans 14:4-6, namely, that days of celebration are an issue for each person to decide for him/herself, provided that they use that day to honor God.  Certainly days which have occultic connections, such as Halloween, would not be honored by those who are true servants of God.  But when it comes to celebrating days which remind us of Christ’s birth or resurrection, each Christian has the freedom to do this if he wishes. 

G.  Medicine

    1.  JWs, in the past, forbade their members from receiving vaccinations against diseases, or life-saving organ transplants.  It was taught that these procedures were “against God’s law”, and many loyal JWs died as a result of their obedience to these teachings.  Though these procedures are no longer forbidden by the Watchtower Society, they do forbid the practice of blood transfusions.  Today, a loyal JW will allow himself, or even his child, to die rather than accept a blood transfusion.  Just as JWs many years ago on the issue of vaccination and organ transplants, the loyal JW today is taught that blood transfusions are “against God’s law”.  A JW believes that, to accept a blood transfusion, would be jeopardizing his chances of everlasting life.

    2.  Christians recognize the Old Testament prohibition against eating blood, which was given to the Jews.  They do not, however, extend this command to the practice of blood transfusions.

 

AGAIN Jehovah’s Witnesses is definitely not part of the basics of Christianity.

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Christian Science (From OnceDelivered.net)

 

What the Bible says about God:

What Christian Science says about God:

There is one true and living God, who exists as three distinct, co-equal, co-eternal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Deut. 6:4; John 1:1-3, 6:27, 20:28; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:13; 1 Peter 1:2).

Christian Science teaches that “the theory of three persons in one God (that is, a personal Trinity or Triunity) suggests polytheism, rather than the one ever-present I AM…. Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but is the Son of God” (Science and Health, pp. 256, 361). Eddy also denied that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, since God is an impersonal “principle.” The Trinity is redefined as life, truth, and love.

What the Bible says about Jesus:

What Christian Science says about Jesus:

He is the virgin-born Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-23; Luke 1:35).  He is eternal, the Creator, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit (John 1:1-14; Col. 1:15-20; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 1:1-13). Jesus died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3), rose physically from the dead (Matt. 12:38-40; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:4-8; 1 Peter 1:18-21) and is coming back physically and visibly one day (Matt. 24:29-31; John 14:3; Titus 2:13; Rev. 19:11-14).

Christian Science denies the deity of Christ: “Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but is the Son of God” (Science and Health, p. 361). It also denies His virgin birth: “A portion of God could not enter man; neither could God’s fullness be reflected by a single man, else God would be manifestly finite, lose the deific character, and become less than God…. Jesus was the offspring of Mary’s self-conscious communion with God” (Science and Health, pp. 336, 29-30).Christian Science minimizes Christ’s work at Calvary: “One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin…. The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon ‘the accursed tree’ than when it was flowing in His veins…. One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin” (Science and Health, pp. 23, 253).Eddy taught, “If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me” (First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 318-19).Finally, Christian Science denies that Jesus died and rose again: “His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while he was hidden in the sepulcher, whereas he was alive, demonstrating within the narrow tomb the power of Spirit to overrule mortal, material sense…. Jesus’ students … learned that He had not died” (Science and Health, pp. 44-46).

What the Bible says about salvation:

What Christian Science says about salvation:

Christ’s death at Calvary completely paid our sin debt so that salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus (John 3:16, 5:24; Rom. 4:4-5; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).

Since sin and death are false beliefs (illusions), salvation involves overcoming the false idea that they exist with the realization of man’s divine spirit and mind. “Man as God’s idea is already saved with an everlasting salvation” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 261).

What the Bible says about man:

What Christian Science says about man:

God created man in His image – with a human spirit, personality and will. A person’s life begins at conception and is everlasting, but not eternal; that is, our lives have no end, but they did have a beginning (Gen. 1:26-28; Ps. 139:13-16).

People are divine spirits, or part of God. “God is the principle of man; and the principle of man remaining perfect, its idea or reflection – man – remains perfect” (Science and Health, p. 466). Eddy further taught, “Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual” (Science and Health, p. 468).

What the Bible says about the Bible:

What Christian Science says about the Bible:

The Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God, and is His sole written authority for all people (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

Christian Science interprets the Bible in light of Eddy’s writings, particularly Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In addition, Eddy expressed some doubts about the textual reliability of the Bible: “a mortal and material sense stole into the divine record, with its own hue darkening to some extent the inspired pages” (Science and Health, p. 139).

What the Bible says about sin:

What Christian Science says about sin:

Sin is violation of God’s holy standards. All humans are sinners (Rom. 3:10) and are under the curse of sin – spiritual and physical death (Gen. 2:17, 3:17-19; Rom. 3:23, 6:23). Only faith in Christ and His work on our behalf frees us from sin and its consequences (John 3:16, 5:24; Eph. 2:8-9).

Sin, along with death, disease and pain, are not real; they are merely illusions. “The only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief…. They are not true, because they are not of God” (Science and Health, p. 472).

What the Bible says about death:

What Christian Science says about death:

Physical and spiritual deaths come upon all people as a consequence of their sin (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1). People become spiritually alive when they are “born again” (John 3:3-6; Eph. 2:1-5). At physical death, our souls and spirits separate from our bodies [which go into the grave to await resurrection and final judgment] and enter an everlasting state of blessedness [for those born again] or torment [for those who die in their sins] (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Cor. 5:8).

Death is an illusion. People, like God, are immortal spirit or mind and therefore do not die.

What the Bible says about heaven and hell:

What Christian Science says about heaven and hell:

Hell is a place of everlasting conscious existence where the unbeliever is forever separated from God (Matt. 25:46; Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 14:9-11, 20:10).  As for Heaven, all believers have God’s promise of a home in Heaven, will go there instantly upon physical death, and will return with Christ from Heaven to earth one day (Luke 16:19-31; John 14:1-3; 2 Cor. 5:8; Rev. 19:11-16).

Christian Science teaches that “the sinner makes his own hell by doing evil, and the saint his own heaven by doing right” (Science and Health, p. 266). “The advanced psychist knows that this hell is mental, not material, and that the Christian has no part in it (The first Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 160). “Heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind” (Science and Health, p. 291).

 

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Unitarian (Unitarian Universalist since 1961)

 

1. Source of Authority. The UUs deny the divine inspiration and absolute authority of the Scriptures. They claim the Bible was merely the creation of men, and therefore, the Bible contains many “inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and errors.” They substitute human reason for revelation as their source of authority, and believe there are no absolute or infallible guides, including reason. [HJB] In fact, UUs desire a world religion that “draws from and honors the teachings of all of the great religious traditions.”

2. Trinity. The UUs deny that one God exists in three Persons. Instead, they claim that Trinitarian doctrine was added by the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. [HJB]

3. God. The UUs hold a variety of liberal views about God: Some do not believe that He is a Person, but instead claim He is an impersonal spirit, a natural force, or a principle. Some even claim that He is a created being, not supernatural. Others even deny His existence completely.

4. Jesus Christ. The UUs deny the deity of Christ — that He is not God and Savior, but only a good man and teacher. They claim that the apostles and other Christian writers added to the Scriptures the teachings concerning Christ’s atonement for sin.

5. Salvation. The UUs teach that the essence of salvation is character development (“deeds not creeds”), rather than faith in Jesus Christ alone — the “social gospel” reigns supreme in UU. This belief allows every person to do whatever is right in his own eyes as long as he is sincere about it (including homosexual behavior — UU became the first denomination to call for the legal recognition of same-sex marriages [Associated Press:6/25/96]; as early as 1970, UUs called for an end to discrimination against homosexuals and bisexuals, and in 1980, UUs resolved that homosexuals should be ordained.).

6. Hell. The UUs hold the “universalist” belief that no one will be eternally condemned. They, therefore, deny the existence of hell, claiming it is unreasonable for a loving God to send people to a place of eternal torment. They believe that we suffer the consequences of sin in this life only. [HJB] (From RapidNet.com. See Also: Unitarian Universalist Beliefs and Practices and Unitarian Universalism Exposed.)

 

Yup, Unitarianism does not pass the Basic Christian test. There are other Christian off-shoots that are better described as a cult because they do not pass the Basic Christian principle. AND yet the Word of Faith Movement is labeled a heretical Christian off-shoot by what is known as Mainline Christians that follow the basics but have variations of dogma.

 

There are more Christian off-shoots that do not follow the basics of the faith but call them self Christian that I have not listed here. You can Google those other cults or you can take a look at a comparison chart I found HERE. However, even that chart lists some of the bigger cults and doesn’t show them all.

 

The point I am driving home is that the Word of Faith as a movement should not be labeled a heretical cult because various Protestant Denominations, Roman Catholics or the Eastern Orthodox Church consider WF principles as heretical. Trust me there are many Protestants that look upon Roman Catholicism as Popery or Papist heresy. There are many Protestants that reject the Eastern Orthodox concept of deification because of the belief it is heretical. Keep in mind the Eastern Orthodox Church is older than the Roman Catholic Church and definitely older than Protestant Denominationalism. Then there was the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox mutual excommunication of each other over something as simple as where the Holy Spirit proceeds from: e.g. does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son or just the Father.

 

Okay, I’ve set the tone in support of WF. Now in future posting I am going to examine the WF beliefs that are outside the basics of Christianity.

 

JRH 9/5/12

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