Parliament of the World’s Religions

‘THERE IS A ‘WORLD PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS’

Yes, it’s really true! There is such an organisation and they have convened a ‘Parliament of World’s Religions’ in Salt Lake City, Utah USA, the city founded and headquarters today of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[1] this coming October 15th – 19th 2015. The following picture was taken at their first gathering May 1st – October 31st 1893 in Chicago during the World’s Columbian (Christopher Columbus Day) Exposition, or Fair. It attracted 27 million visitors – a quarter of America’s population at that time!

OneWorldReligion

“The first major attempt to create a One World Religion!” (Author’s comment)

It’s huge success and profitability became the standard for all future fairs!

The Fair’s success, in attracting large numbers of people prepared to spend money on merchandise, while enjoying themselves, is embedded in the ‘roots’ and development of the ‘Disneyland’ and ‘Disney World’ concepts – which other similar theme parks around the world have adopted! It’s all based on the now accepted fact that enjoying oneself is inextricably tied to purchasing goods or simply the act of spending money![2]

The ‘Parliament of the World Religions’ was convened again in Chicago in 1993; then in Cape Town, South Africa 1999 and Melbourne, Australia 2009. The see a list of over 20 of the major speakers in October click on:

http://www.parliamentofreligions.org///content/salt-lake-2015?p=speakers

The beliefs of the speakers range Tibetan Buddhism, (the Dalai Lama); a Roman Catholic nun; a professor of Islamic Studies; A Nobel Peace Laureate from Ireland; an Evangelical Christian; the President of Coast Rica; a Muslim Rhodes Scholar; a Hindu advocate of eco-feminist philosophies and principles; a Jewish Rabbi; a ‘New Thought’

minister; an Indian Chief and spiritual leader; a Sikh Activist; Ghandi’s Grandson; a Mormon author and conservationist; A South African Dutch Reformed Church cleric…and the list just goes on!

From their Website, under the heading, “Educating Religious Leaders for a Multi-Religious World”[3] I quote: “The Parliament of the World’s Religions developed an initiative to explore the importance of interfaith understanding for the curriculum and priorities of our schools. To this end, the Parliament created a Task Force of U.S. Seminaries to highlight the importance of interfaith understanding at the seminary level. Strong acknowledgment was made concerning the urgency of interfaith engagement and the preparation of a religious leadership equipped with knowledge and understanding of the plurality of faith traditions in the contemporary world. Cultural and intellectual understanding of other religions, along with profound pastoral instincts, are increasingly essential for theological students as well as for those engaged in the academic study and teaching of religion. The very nature of world events today demands that effective religious leadership be able to identify and articulate the influence of religious traditions on these events. Theological seminaries in particular are obligated to equip students for meaningful pastoral practice and leadership of their communities in the midst of this growing diversity”. (Emboling mine).
In the foregoing quotation I have highlighted some phrases that concern me greatly! They are obviously targeting our ‘Christian’ Seminaries in the belief, as do all Ecumenicalists, that if you can influence the existing seminary teachers and those training to become church leaders, that they will inculcate into their congregations, the ‘One World Religion’ falsehood, “that all religions lead to the same god/heaven”! They ‘covenant’ together to, “…celebrate our shared values of compassion, justice, peacemaking, and harmony in diversity”.
What comes to mind after researching the foregoing is the Scripture from John 14:6, where the true Lord Jesus said, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. Which means to the writer, exactly what it says; there is no other way to be reconciled to God the Father, but through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!

What the ‘Parliament’ is trying to create can only be a ‘fruit salad’ of all religions which will come to nothing in the end!

© Fred Grigg, Gold Coast, July 2015
[1] The ‘Mormons’

[2] Condensed from the article posted on: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ma96/wce/legacy.html

[3] http://www.parliamentofreligions.org//programs/educating-religious-leaders-23




Watchtower Bible & Tract Society – Date Setting

The Watchtower Society (WTS) – the leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) – is famous for its long list of failed dates. Individual Witnesses know about the ‘prophetic years’ of 1914, 1918, 1935 and 1975, but many are completely ignorant about the history of their movement! When asked today, they are most likely to deny that the WTS ever said anything about ‘the end of the world’ in 1914 and 1925. Even for a recent episode like 1975 the JWs will often flatly deny that the WTS ever proclaimed Armageddon within no more than a few months from October 1975.

This list is intended to be comprehensive, if not exhaustive. There’s a massive amount of research by many individuals behind this short summary, but we can never guarantee there are no errors. If you find any, please let us know.

Dates

1798
End of 1260 days of Revelation 12. Start of “the last days”. Three Worlds (1877), p114.Replaced by 1799 no later than 1889, with SiS2. [Note 1]

1799
Start of “the last days”. Napoleon debased the pope and ended the 1260 days of Dan 7:25; 12:7; Rev 11:1-3. WT Jan-Feb 1889 [repr p1093]. SiS2 p256. SiS3 p58,63,64 Replaced by 1914 in 1930 [Note 2]

1829
End of the 1290 years (from 539AD) of Daniel 12:11, when William Miller’s (to become root of SDA church) movement started. SiS3 p84, SiS7 p40, 60, 163. Our Lord’s Return (1929) p27. Abandoned in 1930

1844
William Miller’s “end of the world”. To Russell, start of the 30 year “tarrying time”, corresponding to 30 years from Jesus’ birth to his baptism. SiS2 p240
Abandoned in 1930

1846
End of the 2300 days, G. Storrs and others abandoned false doctrines, “sanctuary cleansed”. Also start of “evangelical alliance” between protestant churches, called “spiritistic”. SiS3 p108, SiS7 p163. Abandoned in 1930

1873
6000 years of human existance ends, start of seventh millenium: THE millenium of Revelation; the Day of the Lord. See SiS2 foreword, p39. (New chronology making 1975 the end of 6000 years was adopted in 1943, but 1975 was not made an official prophetic date until 1966, with Life Everlasting.) Abandoned in 1930

1874
The start of Christ’s invisible presence. Russell’s most important date. Three Worlds p175, SiS2 p170, Our Lord’s Return p27, Proclaimers p133 footnote. Until around 1904, Russell taught that this year marked the start of the Battle of Armageddon, WT 1/15/92 p21-3 [repr p1355]. SiS2, p101.
Abandoned in 1930; [Note 2] WTS itself claims it was abandoned in 1943

1875
End of “Great Jubilee Cycle.” End of 1335 days in Dan 12:12. The invisible resurrection of the saints started. (Note also that Russell held that the “Biblical year” 1875 started Oct 1874.) Three Worlds p108.
Idea of invisible resurrection in 1875 replaced by 1878 in 1881?

1878
End of gospel age, the rapture of the saints. Three Worlds p68; Proclaimers p632; Divine Purpose p19. Naturally abandoned after 1878

1878
Heavenly resurrection of dead saints. God’s favor returning to the Jews. Kingdom of God started to exercise power. WT Oct 1879 [repr p39]. SiS2 p101. SiS6, p663. Millions (1920) p27-8. 1928 editions of The Harp of God had removed this date from the text (see pp236, 244 in earlier editions).
Abandoned in 1928

1881
Rapture of the saints, including Russell and other Bible Students. WT Jan 1881 [repr p180], Dec 1880 [repr p172], compare May 1881 [repr p224].
Abandoned and even denied from May 1881

1881
Close of “high calling” to be among 144.000. Fall of Babylon. Proclaimers p632. Replaced by 1918 in 1922?. Close of “high calling” later moved to 1935

1910
Expected rapture of the Saints, based on measurments in corridor in the Great Pyramid of Gizeh. SiS3, p364, versions issued before 1910.
Naturally abandoned after 1910

1914
The end of this world, Christ’s literal return, the end of Armageddon and latest possible date for rapture. Jews expected to return to God’s favour.
“Present truth” until the end of 1914, but replaced by 1915 from around 1912 to Aug 1914 (start of WWI, which was felt to somehow fulfil the above prophecies about 1914).

1914
Christ’s invisible return, start of reign as King, end of last days. “Gentile times” ended, but this has no visible effect, except an (JW-imagined) increase in violence, wars, pestilence, earthquakes and other calamities since that year. Current JW doctrine. From 1922 this was held to be start of Christ’s *reign*, from 1930 also the start of invisible presence (earlier held to be 1874). [Note 2] Until recently, the WTS taught that some of those who experienced the events in 1914 would be alive to see the end of the world. This “1914 generation” doctrine was removed in November 1995. See WT 11/1 1995 p17. The “Creator’s promise” about the end of the world before the 1914-generation died was removed from masthead (p4) of Awake! in 11/8 1995 issue. Whole idea of “generation” in Mt 24:34 being specific individuals is now abandoned.

1915
The end of the world. From ~1912 until start of WWI this year replaced 1914 in Russell’s writings, since 2520 years from 606BC ends in 1915 not 1914 as Russell had thought. The fact that there is no zero year was “forgotten” when some events happened in 1914. In 1943 the idea that had been promoted in SiS7, namely to move Jerusalem’s destruction from 606 to 607BC, was officially adopted (The fact that Jerusalem according to Bible chronology fell in 587BC does not interfere with Watchtower chronology.)
Year abandoned after start if WWI

1918
False religion, especially Christendom, to be destroyed. Demons would enter the minds of clergy, the “swine class”, causing them to do stupid things that provokes “the masses” to destroy them. “Church members by millions” thus killed by God. SiS7 p128, 485. Naturally abandoned after 1918

1918
Fall of Babylon, close of call to be among 144.000. This year is still held by JWs to be date for fall of Babylon, “all false religion.” See Revelation Climax p260 which says “So by 1919 Babylon the Great had fallen”. Current JW doctrine. Close of “high calling” was later moved to 1935.

1919
The Bible Student/Watchtower movement chosen by Christ to be only “channel” of communication from God to men. Current JW doctrine.

1920
Worldwide anarchy, collapse and fall of all earthly governments. SiS7 p258.
Naturally abandoned after 1920

1925
The end of the world immediately following the resurrection of “men of old” (Biblical heroes listed in Hebrews chapter 11). Establishment of Kingdom in Palestine. SiS7 p128, Millions p88,97. Very definite statements in WT 6/15 1922; 4/1 1923, elsewhere. Naturally abandoned after 1925, even though the date itself was held to be somehow fixed in the Scriptures even as late as in 1931 (Vindication I p338).

1935
Close of “high calling” to be of the 144.000. From this date, JWs have taught that the “great Company/Crowd” in Rev 7 will live on Earth, not in heaven. The “Great Crowd”, all JWs except ~8000 living now, is not considered anointed Christians, is not “born again,” do not partake in communion and does not have Christ as mediator. They expect eternal life on Earth. See WT 6/15 1992 p23; Proclaimers (1993) p166. This date is justified only on the fact that the doctrine about earthly hope for “great crowd” was created in 1935. Current JW doctrine

1941
WW2 was expected to end in Armageddon, God’s War. WT 9/15 1941 p288 talked about the “remaining months before Armageddon.” Idea abandoned in 1943, after death of Rutherford, when the Watchtower Society started to proclaim a “very short” period of peace after WWII.

1951
This was 37 years after 1914, like Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD, which was 37 years after Christ’s death (WTS chronology). Some WT articles in 1950 hinted strongly to this parallell. WT 11/1 1950 p407; 9/1 1950 p277; compare WT 3/15 1951 p179 and 4/1 1951 p214 both pointing out that “we are 37 years into the ‘time of the end’ of this world.” Idea was abandoned in WT 9/1 1952 p542

1954
Theoretical length of 1914-generation after the old “30-40 years” definition. See WT 9/1 1952 p542. “Generation” idea based on Matt 24:34, but it was finally abandoned in WT Nov 1, 1995. Replaced by 70-80 year generation in 1952

1975
End of 6000 year of human history after WTS chronology. Strongly hinted to be end of the world; could only be a matter of “days and months, not years” before Armageddon. Life Everlasting p26-30; WT 7/15 1967 p446-7; 8/15 1968 p499; 5/1 1975 p 285. See also YB 1980 p30-31. Abandoned and now even denied after 1975. When challenged by older JW’s who were looking forward to the date, they will blame the fault on “overzealous” members!

1984
Object for much speculation about maximum length of a generation, based on 70 years from 1914 and Psalm 90:10. See WT 9/1 1952 p542; WT 12/1 1968 p715. Abandoned silently as date approached and eventually past.

1986
Declared by United Nations to be “International Year of Peace,” which caused much expectations with JWs about the expected declaration of “peace and security”, a sign of the imminent end based on a special interpretation of 1Th 5:3. WT 10/1 1985 p18. Silently forgotten after 1986

1994
Object for much speculation about maximum length of generation, again like 1984. See WT 9/1 1952 p542; WT 12/1 1968 p715.
Abandoned silently as date approached and past.

2000
End of world expected to come before end of century. WT 1/1 1989 p12 (work to be completed “…in our 20th century”, text changed in bound volume); WT 10/15 1980 p31 (“highly improbable” that this world continues to 2000); 3/1 1984 p18-19 (“end much closer than [2000]”).

Notes

Note 1: References to this beginning of the “last days” in 1798/9 is found to be remarkably absent in many of Russell’s writings. In fact, 1798 was a part of in Barbour’s chronology, with the (alleged) start of papal rule in 538AD as a basis year, but Russell replaced it with 1799 (539AD basis) in the beginning of 1889. The 1799 date was emphasised as late as in Our Lord’s Return, a Rutherford booklet from 1929, but evidently abandoned with almost all of the old chronology in 1930, with Light I. See Note 2.

Note 2: Sometime between the booklet Our Lord’s Return in 1929 and Vindication I in 1931 Rutherford rejected almost all of Russell’s old chronology and many other central doctrines. The book Light I (1930) emphasised the time from 1879 to 1918 as a time of preparation, and 1918 as the coming of the Lord to his temple. 1914 is stated to be the year God put Christ on his throne. 1874 is understood to be wrong. The first explicit statement about Christ’s “parousia” from 1914 seems to be in the 1932 booklet What is Truth? which says “The prophecy of the Bible, fully supported by the physical facts in fulfilment thereof, shows that the second coming of Christ dates from the fall of the year 1914.” For some strange reason, the WTS book God’s Kingdom (1973), p207-9, claimed this change from 1874 to 1914 came in 1943, when the WTS completed a new chronological system, which included moving Jerusalem’s destruction from 606BC to 607BCE to keep the 1914 date while finally accounting for the non-existing “zero year.” See also Proclaimers p133.

Note 3: Some Watchtower dates are NOT included in this listing, notably those who were derived from earlier chronology but were abandoned long before that year approached. One example: SiS7 p61, 62 says “The actual depopulation of the whole of Palestine did not occur until the year 135 A. D. (corresponding to our year 1980), . . . It is possible that A. D. 1980 may have something of special interest for Fleshly Israel, but certainly not for us. It is 70 years beyond 1910, the date when Pastor Russell gave his great witness to the Jewish people in the New York Hippodrome.”

Key to Publication Codes

Three Worlds:
Nelson Barbour and C. T. Russell: Three Worlds and the Harvest of This World, Rochester, NY 1877. Written by Nelson Barbour. Russell financed the publication and is listed as co-author (Note: NOT a Watch Tower Society booklet, but still listed in their Watch Tower Publications Index).

WT:
C. T. Russell/Rutherford et al/anonymous: Zion’s Watch Tower, Watch Tower and The Watchtower, periodical issued by Watch Tower Society. Semimonthly in English and most major languages. Editor from start in 1879 to 1916 was Charles Taze Russell. Abbreviation “repr” refers to page numbers in “reprints” issued by WTS in 1919 and still printed (1879-1916 volumes) by some Bible Student groups in the USA.

SiSx:
Studies in the Scriptures, volumes 1-6 by C. T. Russell and Volume 7 by Woodworth and Fisher. Series also named Millennial Dawn before 1904; see Proclaimers p53 footnote. Note that new revisions with sometimes substantial changes were reissued by Russell and the Watch Tower Society until at least 1926. Changes are not noted, and it’s often difficult to know when a particular book is printed.

SiS1:
C. T. Russell: Studies in the Scriptures I: The Divine Plan of the Ages, 1886.

SiS2:
C. T. Russell: Studies in the Scriptures II: The Time is at Hand, 1889.

SiS3:
C. T. Russell: Studies in the Scriptures III: Thy Kingdom Come, 1891.

SiS4:
C. T. Russell: Studies in the Scriptures IV: The Day of Vengeance, 1897. Later called The Battle of Armageddon.

SiS5:
C. T. Russell: Studies in the Scriptures V: The At-one-ment Between God and Man, 1899.

SiS6:
C. T. Russell: Studies in the Scriptures VI: The New Creation, 1904.

SiS7:
Studies in the Scriptures VII: The Finished Mystery, 1917. This volume was claimed to be the posthumous work of Russell, but was really written by Clayton J. Woodworth and George H. Fisher under supervision of Rutherford.

Millions:
Joseph Rutherford: Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920. Booklet.

The Harp of God:
Joseph Rutherford: The Harp of God, 1921.

YB:
Rutherford/anonymous: Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Annual book with official reports and statement for the previous year, and usually giving the history of the JWs in one or two specific countries.

Our Lord’s Return:
Joseph Rutherford: Our Lord’s Return, 1929. Booklet.

Light I:
Joseph Rutherford: Light I, 1930.

Vindication I:
Joseph Rutherford: Vindication I, 1931.

What is Truth?:
Joseph Rutherford: What is Truth?, 1932. Booklet.

Awake!:
Anonymous: Periodical by Watch Tower Society. Semimonthly in English and most major languages.

Divine Purpose:
Anonymous: Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, 1959. Previous official history of the JWs.

Life Everlasting:
Anonymous: Life Everlasting – in Freedom of the Sons of God, 1966.

God’s Kingdom:
Anonymous: God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years has Approached, 1973.

Revelation Climax:
Anonymous: Revelation – Its Great Climax is at Hand!, 1988. “Commentary” to the book of Revelation. JWs have a historicism (and premillenistic) interpretation of the book of Revelation, applying JW events in our time to symbols and events in the Revelation.

Proclaimers:
Anonymous: Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, 1993. Current official history of the JWs.

Nb: This article was sent to Mandate Ministries without due recognition of an author? If anyone recognises the article, please contact us and we will annotate accordingly. MM

 




WHO IS RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE.ORG?

WHO IS RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE.ORG?*
(A group promoting that one can believe anything that one wants to believe!)

1world-logo

The file name of this site logo is: ‘1world-logo’ !

 

In addition to the above logo, they have another, vis:dove of which they say, “Our main logo is a dove with an olive branch. This symbol had its origin in story of a world-wide flood sent by the Babylonian God Ea. The hero, Ut-Napishtim, sent out a dove from his ark to determine if there was any dry land in the vicinity. This symbol has since evolved into a universal symbol of peace, tolerance, and understanding.” (Emphasis added)

Their Statement of Belief speaks for itself in the Preamble, as does their beliefs, which states, “We are a multi-faith group. As of late-2012, we consist of one Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Wiccan and Zen Buddhist. Thus, the OCRT* staff lack agreement on almost all theological matters, such as belief in a supreme being, the nature of God, interpretation of the Bible and other holy texts, whether life after death exists, what form the afterlife may take, etc.” Then under the heading:

“We believe in:
• Personal worth: The inherent worth of every person. People are worthy of respect, support, and caring simply because they are human. Unfortunately, our group has not reached a consensus on when human life, in the form of an ovum and spermatozoon, becomes a human person with civil rights including the right to live. On this matter, our group’s lack of agreement on when personhood begins mirrors that of society at large.

• Lack of discrimination: Working towards a culture that is relatively free of discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, physical disability, language, age, body shape, etc.

• Dignity: The dignity of the human person. We oppose the use of torture and cruel or unusual punishment including the death penalty.

• Democracy: The importance of democratic processes within religious, political, and other structures in which the will of the people is implemented, subject to the limits imposed by the constitution.

• Religion-state matters: The separation of religion and the state. (This is generally referred to as “separation of church and state.” But we prefer the more inclusive term). The government should avoid promoting one faith group within a religion over another, or promote one religion over another, promote religion over secular beliefs, or promote secular beliefs over religion. 1

• Personal freedom: The freedoms of religious beliefs, speech, association, and expression at the individual, congregational and denominational level. 1

• Freedom of speech: The freedom to compare the beliefs of faith groups with each other, and with the findings of science. It also includes the freedom to criticize faith and other groups when they harm others.

• Relative truth: The principle that many moral, ethical, and religious beliefs vary greatly from one culture, religion, and time to another, and are thus relative. We do acknowledge that they are often considered absolute by various religions and secular belief systems. 2

• Impact of religion: The generally positive influence that most religions have had on their followers and on society. 3

• A problem with the use of prayer: It is our belief that prayer is an unreliable method to assess the will of God. We were initially divided on this matter, but a pilot study appears to indicate that prayer for this purpose is unreliable.

• Evil in religion: In the importance of individual believers detecting evil influences and policies that currently exist within their chosen faith group, and strongly advocating for their correction. If significant improvement or elimination of sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, etc. is impossible, we feel that they should consider withholding financial support and/or leaving the group. 4

● Education: The principle that people are not truly educated unless they have studied the world’s major religions and ethical systems. They need to learn of both the good and evil impacts that each has had on society throughout history. They need to be taught skills at analysis and “baloney detection.”

Then follows the Footnotes for the foregoing, which also speaks for themselves:

Footnotes, mainly about exceptions:

1. However we have not been able to reach a consensus about the age at which an individual should fully enjoy these freedoms. We also recognize that some of these freedoms should have limits. For example, we do not feel that parents should be allowed to let their children die if medical treatment will give a sick child a chance to live. We do not feel that individuals should be free to advocate genocide or falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theatre.

2. We have been frequently criticized for our lack of belief in absolute morality.
3. One group of exceptions are a handful of destructive cults which have endangered the lives of their members.

4. This includes those faith groups that actively promote discrimination and oppression on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and similar grounds. Within Judeo- Christianity, this includes many conservative faith groups, like Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Judaism, fundamentalist and many evangelical Christian denominations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints (LDS’ the main Mormon church), etc., who refuse ordination to all women, and actively oppress lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals (LGBTs). We note that in six predominately Muslim countries, to be a sexually active lesbian, gay or bisexual is a capital offense. In many other predominately Muslim countries, women are very heavily discriminated against. Few if any religions appear to be free of all bias.

5.Students need to obtain a balanced understanding of the positive and negative contributions of religion, including the religious sources that inspired Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, and Martin Luther King, Jr. to commit their life to serving a hurting humanity. They need to learn of the impressive contributions that religions have made to the pursuit of philosophical and scientific truth, the alleviation of human suffering, the improvement of political systems, the provision of educational opportunities — the list is almost endless. However, students also need to learn the dark sides of religion: how religious beliefs have contributed to hatred, intolerance, unjustified discrimination, and suffering as well as:
Mass murders and genocides in such places as Nazi Germany, Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Sudan and countless other countries. Human slavery, the oppression of women, oppression of sexual minorities, female genital mutilation, etc. These evils are largely cultural in origin, but tend to be preserved and promoted by many religions around the world.

Historical opposition to medical advances.”

*Copyright © 1997 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (OCRT) and extracted from their website: http://religioustolerance.org/ 3 Apr 2015

CONCLUDING COMMENTS
There is no doubt that the principals of OCRT are well-meaning in their intent and that they are probably fine upstanding citizens in the society in which they live. We have no axe to grind with them as they are free moral agents to believe whatever they want. However, reason that they came to our attention was through our website Search Engine Optimization monitoring process trying to divert traffic from our website! So, I decided to find out who they were and what their modus operandi was? After visiting their site, one would have to agree that they are against religion in all its forms, just as we are at Mandate Ministries! We believe that religion is a curse on mankind and has been at the root of many conflicts in ages past, and currently, in which it has caused massive loss of life, injury, destruction of property and devastation!

As Born-again Christians we believe that we are not to be classified as ‘nominal christians’, or at all religious in the observance of our faith. But rather, we are following, in a personal relationship, the one who is El-Shaddai – God Almighty! His Word the Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) We endeavour to worship Him in spirit and in truth, just as He desires as Jesus stated in John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Jesus, was also the one who said, in John 14:6-7, “… “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

Therefore, we at Mandate Ministries do not recommend, or commend, to you the writings to be found on the OCRT’s website! by Fred Grigg




SHARIA: THE UNIFYING IDEOLOGY AMONG MODERN TERROR GROUPS

By Brigitte Gabriel – Founder and President of Act for America.

Dear Fred,

Re: Boko Haram and the Islamic State. Lashkar Taibi. Al-Shabab.

We hear these names all the time used synonymously with terrorism. Commentators and political pundits try to draw them into distinct boxes by geography or by their ethnicity. But in actuality there is a deep connection among all these groups and their barbaric practices — an ideology that is at the very heart of the danger facing Western civilization, and that we are working every day to stop.

We’ve all known about the horrors of ISIS — an English acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. In recent months the group has grown beyond the last two letters of its title. The Islamic State is now active in Libya and is expanding its influence rapidly. In India, Lashkar Taibi is actively working to bring about the fall of the Indian Republic, destroy Hinduism and Judaism, and see the disputed areas of Kashmir and Jammu made part of Pakistan, which would then itself become part of a larger pan-Islamic state.

In the Horn of Africa, Al-Shabab continues to fight to gain a foothold for sharia in the power vacuum that has existed since the early 1990s. And in Nigeria, Boko Haram kidnaps schoolgirls, murders Christians and Jews, and grinds those under its rule into ever-deeper misery and oppression. The ideology that bonds all these groups together is a strict adherence to sharia law — the all-encompassing legal code of Islam, as practiced during the early days of the original empire that grew from Mohammad’s conquest of the Arabian Peninsula.

Most if not all of these groups talk about the desire to establish sharia rule in their lands. Much of the horror we see on the evening news from the Islamic State comes from their dedication to apply their 7th century views on everything from slavery to women’s rights to every aspect of life. People unfortunate enough to find themselves under sharia rule find themselves in a place with little to no freedoms at all. Virtually every aspect of their lives is dictated by the omnipresent religious rules. Women are held as little more than property. They can be beaten and in many cases killed with impunity. Girls have no chance at an education. Indeed, Boko Haram’s very name means “Western education is forbidden.”

In the lands of sharia, those who dare to profess a faith other than Islam are, under the best of circumstances, treated as second-class citizens, and more often than not rounded up for persecution or murder. Just last year in Mosul, Islamic State fighters went house-to-house, finding Christians and marking their houses with an Arabic character — an abbreviation for “nasrani,” a pejorative term rooted in the word Nazarene. The choice given to those non-Muslims was simple: convert, pay a fine, or face “death by the sword.” And as in so many other countries ruled by jihadis, the only thing more prevalent than efforts to kill and displace Jews is the perpetual stream of threats against Israel. What our national security leaders have at best failed to teach the public — or at worst failed to realize themselves — is that these groups are not composed of lunatics, or any group of “lone wolves” that have congregated together in common madness. These horrors are not the actions of a few malcontents in need of jobs or social programs. Graeme Wood put it very well in his story in this month’s Atlantic:

“The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”

Rather than the irrational acts of madmen, the beheadings, kidnappings, and terrorist attacks around the world are the end result of a long-developed reading of Islam and what it requires of its followers. Under their ideology, the only permissible form of government is that of a theocracy, specifically a revived caliphate, ruled by one man who will follow the will of Allah to rule the entire world. It is this ideology – that sharia is the only acceptable law, and those who will not accept its rule must be destroyed – that we fight against. Jihadis know no color, they know no national borders, and they cannot be placed into neat boxes.

They only know that those who refuse to accept the rule of their caliph must die. This is what we’re fighting against. A handful of people can change the world, for good or ill. It’s up to each of us to sound the alarm and be agents for change, to defend the country that we love against this great threat.

 

 




POPE FRANCIS DECREES THAT INDIVIDUAL SALVATION OUTSIDE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH DOESN’T EXIST

NTEB News Desk  | June 26, 2014

Pope Francis gave a sermon on June 25th in Rome, where he dispelled any and all lingering doubt about how the Vatican views worldwide Christianity. Francis once again declared his unshakable belief that the Roman Catholic Holy Mother Church… is the one and the only church. Listen to Pope Francis as he tells you in his own words exactly what he thinks of all Christian churches outside of the Roman Catholic Church:

“No one becomes Christian on his or her own! Is that clear? No one becomes Christian by him or herself. Christians are not made in a laboratory. A Christian is part of a people who comes from afar. The Christian belongs to a people called the Church and this Church is what makes him or her Christian, on the day of Baptism, and then in the course of catechesis, and so on. But no one, no one becomes Christian on his or her own. If we believe, if we know how to pray, if we acknowledge the Lord and can listen to his Word, if we feel him close to us and recognize him in our brothers and sisters, it is because others, before us, lived the faith and then transmitted it to us. We have received the faith from our fathers, from our ancestors, and they instructed us in it.”

Sighted 15 Jan 2015: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=22947




WARNING:  ISLAM – AUSTRALIA’S THREAT

Note from the writer: The following article was requested by Ps. W. Robert McQillan, then editor of the “Australian Evangel Magazine’ back in 1986. ‘The Evangel’ as it was called, was the Official Magazine of the Assemblies of God in Australia. In 2007 the AOG name was changed to ‘Australian Christian Churches (ACC).’  The article was published in Volume 43 – No 11 November 1986 under the above headline. I believe, that with hindsight, which is always 20/20, the article was somewhat prophetic!

We are being approached more and more by people asking for insights into the strange world of Islam. Australia now has a large and growing Muslim population, with over 70 centres of Islam now established throughout the country! Many Australians are succumbing to their proselytising and are converting to Islam. We have been told, on good authority, that they are even coercing people to become Muslim.

Beginnings:
Islam began in the 7th century after Christ, when God, whose name (to the Muslim) is Allah, supposedly gave mankind a new religion through the man Muhammad who is now revered by millions as a holy prophet. Islam is thought of by its followers as a ‘perfect religion’ which combines the basic truth of all religions and enjoins it with new truths, thus making it the complete one. It is regarded as ‘The Universal Religion’. Islam means ‘peace’, therefore ‘peace with God’. A follower of Islam is called a Muslim, which means ‘obedient to God and peace loving’.

Central Teaching:
The core of the Islam is, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger (or prophet) of Allah”. To acknowledge this statement is to enter the fold of Islam and becoming a Muslim.

Beliefs:
To be able to witness effectively to a Muslim, we must be aware of their basic doctrines. These are:
(a) God is one and everlasting.

(b) Angels are God’s agents, working at His command, and that Gabriel is the Holy Spirit(!).

(c) Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Confucious, etc., were all sinless prophets for their time.

(d) The chief of all prophets was and is Muhammad.

(e) The books of Moses, Psalms of David, Gospels, the Vedas, the Zend-Avastas and other similar books were all God inspired, originally pure, but no longer intact. The basic truths of the foregoing have been incorporated in the Quran (‘Koran’, which some say, is the Muslim equivalent of the Bible) which Muslims believe is 100% the ‘Word of God’ (but only in Arabic!)
(f)  There is life after death and a Day of Judgement for all people.
(g) There is a heaven, which is called Paradise.
(h)  There is a hell. Hell is a reformatory, for in the end all will be with their ‘Lord’ in heaven.

Duties of a Muslim:

  • There are five times in each day that certain prayers must be said.
  • To fast and not eat food during daylight hours in each month of  Ramadhan, which is Islam’s holy month.
  • To give alms to the poor. The legal requirement is to give one-fortieth of their income.

• To journey to Mecca as a pilgrim, at least once in their lifetime and engage in ceremonies and rituals around the Ka’ba Shrine. The pilgrimage is an essential part in gaining salvation.

Features of Islam:
• Islam teaches (but does not practice) the equality of all races believing that all men are equal in the sight of God.

• Islam believes it has the solution to the world’s economic problems. Islam prohibits interest on capital thereby supposedly equalising wealth.

• It is a religious duty of both males and females to acquire knowledge.

• Islam does not allow alcohol, or drugs which cause addiction. The only exception is for medication.


Sin and salvation: 
Sin is punishable, but Allah forgives it. A sinful deed can be atoned for by a Good deed. Therefore, the righteous are those whose good deeds outweigh the bad.


Jesus Christ:
Jesus was born fatherless like Adam. Some Mulims say he did not die on the Cross, someone else did? Others say he only fainted, from which he recovered and went with his mother to Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. He took final refuge in Kashmir, in India, dying there at an age of over 100 years.

The Second Coming: 
Jesus’ second coming was promised by Muhammad. Since Jesus died the Messiah can only be another person coming in the power and spirit of Jesus. (The Ahmadiyya Movement, a sect of Islam, believes the Messiah has come. His name was Ahmad, born in Qadian, India in 1835!)


Sects of Islam

(a) The Sunnis: After Muhammad’s death a power struggle developed as different factions vied to be Muhammad’s successor. Four schools of thought emerged (the Malikis, Hanafis, Shafi’is and Hanbalis) each accepting the Quran, the Sunna (or the practice of the prophet), and the four bases of Islamic Law (Shari’a): the Quran, (the Hadith) and Ij’ma (which is the consensus of the Muslim community) and the Q’yas (the use of analogical reason). These four schools of thought came together to be called the Sunnis, who make up about 90% of today’s number.

(b) The Shi’a: The Shi’a Muslims regard themselves as ‘people of appointment and identification’ because they differ with the Sunnis on leadership. Their leader is appointed by ‘the cycle of initiation’ which which is said to heve been introduced by Muhammad. It is their belief that their leader (or Immam) will be invested with the qualities of inspired and infallible interpretation of the Quran. Their first Immam was Muhammad’s cousin, an adopted son and later a son-in-law, by marriage to his daughter Fatima.

The Immamis are believed to be in direct descent from this line. They believe that the ‘cycle’ will be completed with the messianic return of the 12th Immam. He is said to have withdrawn in the 3rd century of Islam but still gives ‘guidelines’ to his agents on earth, or the ‘doctors of the law’ (Mujtahidun). The most respected today are the Ayatollahs of Iran — Shi’as believe that only they have the right to interpret the law and make religious rulings.

There are two offshoots of the Immamis: (1) the Saidis, who mainly live in Yemen, who do not limit the Immam. There are two groups, vis: the Mizaris, who look to the Aga Khan as their Immam, and the Musta’- lis, (known as the Bohora Muslims) who believe in a hidden Immam, to be revealed?


Iraqi – Iranian war 1980-1988:
For several years this war has raged with much carnage caused by conventional weapons and the reported use of chemical warfare. Little has been reported in the media, as no doubt reporting is very difficult. Leaders in the West have called for both countries to enter into peace talks. But what is not understood is that there is no peaceful solution! This is a holy war (Jihad) that must be fought to a conclusion. The Ayatollah Khomeini believes he is leading a struggle ‘between Islam and all infidels’. All who are not Muslims are considered infidels! He has taught his followers, as their Immam, the ‘USA is the mother of all infidels’. This is why they took the US Embassy and held its’ staff as hostages.

Islamic proph
ecy: Khomeini also believes he has the task of bringing to pass the fulfilment of a prophecy given about 800 years ago, that in the time of the end, the Shi’a would be led by the Imam Mandi (who many believe Khomeini is) in an uprising in which they would overthrow the less militant Sunnis, and establish the Shi’as as the leaders of Islam. This is why there is no possibility of Iran and Iraq negotiating a cease-fire. Peace is not negotiable, for in the Iranian mind, it is a war in which there can only be one result – Victory for the Shi’a (which was a belief held by most back in 1986).
Ezekiel 38:5 mentions Persia and Libya along with other nations as being in an alliance that will come against Israel. It is interesting that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, who are not Shi’a, have leant towards Israel in recent times. The reason as I see it is ‘self-preservation’ against the threat of Iran. If Iran marches through Iraq, then Israel, which has one of the most efficient armed forces in the world today, will become Iran’s mark. If Israel is disposed of, then Iran would have no opposition in her quest to dominate all Islam.

Witnessing to Muslims

  1.  Awareness
    Remember the Muslim view of Jesus is that He was just a great prophet. They acknowledge He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, He performed miracles, such as giving sight to the blind, healing lepers and raising the dead. He is called the Messiah and will return to earth to establish Islam. He is called the ‘Word of God’ and the ‘Spirit of God’. But, Jesus is not the Son of God and Saviour! To equate anyone with God is blasphemy — the unforgiveable sin. Most Muslims do not believe He was crucified; someone else died in His place.
  2. Allah
    Understand that, unlike the God of the Bible, Allah has done nothing for man that cost him something. Islam makes no real provision for sin. Salvation is never sure, as they have a ‘works’ emphasis.
  3. Muhammad
    Understand that the teachings of Islam’s founder are based on untrue and inaccurate interpretations of the Bible. His teaching in the Quran is based on revelations which he himself initially believed were demonic in origin.
  4. Stategy
    The Holy Spirit is the chief agent in winning anyone to Christ! Be guided by Him at all times. Avoid condemning Islam or speaking badly of Muhammad or the Quran. Remember the Muslim is adamant that he believes in one true God, who he believes is Allah, and in His laws. In the heart of every true Muslim is a fear of God. Most Muslims have a sense of sin, but they have no conviction of same. Try to forget that they are Muslims and treat them as a human beings who are lost and in need of a Saviour. Your message will be judged by your character, your witness and conduct will speak volumes. Build on truths he already knows, and most importantly bear in mind that all Muslims will respond to love!

Footnotes:
1.  There are variations of the ‘Shahadah’ (Testimony, Witness) also known as the ‘Kalimah’ (Creed, Statement) within Islam e.g., Sunni Islam says, “I witness that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”




NEW ISLAMIC CALIPHATE DECLARES JIHAD ON … MUSLIMS

The new “caliphate” of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—the Islamic State, formerly “ISIS”—recently made clear that it means to follow in the footsteps of the original caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Sadiq (632-634), specifically by directing its jihad against fellow Muslims, in Islamic parlance, the “hypocrites” and “apostates,” or in Western terminology, “moderates.”This came out in the context of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, with some Muslims asking the newly formed “caliphate” when it would launch a jihad on the Jewish state.

The Islamic State’s response? “Allah in the noble Koran does not command us to fight Israel or the Jews until we fight the apostates and hypocrites.”

On one of the Islamic State’s question-and-answer websites, some asked why it was “not fighting Israel but instead shedding the blood of the sons of Iraq and Syria.” The new caliphate responded:

The greater answer is in the noble Koran, when Allah Almighty speaks about the near enemy. In the majority of verses in the noble Koran, these are the hypocrites, for they pose a greater danger than the original infidels [born non-Muslims, e.g., Jews and Christians]. And the answer is found in Abu Bakr al-Sadiq, when he preferred fighting apostates over the conquest of Jerusalem [fath al-Quds], which was conquered by his successor, Omar al-Khattab.

There’s much to be said about this response, rife as it is with historical allusions.

First, it is true. After the prophet of Islam died, a great number of Arabian tribes that had submitted to his rule by becoming Muslims—the word muslim simply means “one who submits”—thought they could now renege, and so they apostatized in droves. This sparked the first Ridda, or “apostasy wars,” waged by Abu Bakr al-Sadiq, who became the first caliph on Muhammad’s death in 632. For nearly two years, till his own death in 634, his caliphate’s entire energy was focused on waging jihad on all the recalcitrant Arab tribes, forcing them by the edge of the sword to return to the fold of Islam.

Tens of thousands of Arabs were burned, beheaded, dismembered, or crucified in the process, according to Islamic history, especially by the “Sword of Allah.” It was only afterwards, under the reign of the second caliph, Omar al-Khattab (634-644), that the great Islamic conquests against the “original infidels”—those non-Arab peoples who had never converted to Islam, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, etc.—took place.

Islam’s war on the apostate, so little known in the West, figures prominently in Islamic history. Indeed, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential Islamic clerics today, while once discussing the importance of killing any Muslim who apostatizes from Islam on Al Jazeera, correctly stated that “If the [death] penalty for apostasy was ignored, there would not be an Islam today; Islam would have ended on the death of the prophet.”

In short, and as the Islamic State is now arguing, the first and greatest enemy of Islam—the “nearest” enemy—is the “apostate” and “hypocrite,” for they are the most capable of subverting Islam from within. This phenomenon of “pious” Muslims fighting and killing “lukewarm” Muslims, or Shia and Sunnis fighting one another—while the original infidel stands by or gets away—has many precedents throughout history. For example, in its response, the Islamic State further justifies not fighting Israel by saying:

The answer is found in Salah ad-Din al-Ayubi [Saladin] and Nur ad-Din Zanki when they fought the Shia in Egypt and Syria before [addressing] Jerusalem. Salah ad-Din fought more than 50 battles before he reached Jerusalem. And it was said to Salah ad-Din al-Ayubi: “You fight the Shia and the Fatimids in Egypt and allow the Latin Crusaders to occupy Jerusalem?” And he responded: “I will not fight the Crusaders while my back is exposed to the Shia.”

All of this history quoted by the Islamic State is meant to exonerate the new caliphate’s main assertion: “Jerusalem will not be liberated until we are done with all these tyrants, families, and pawns of colonialism that control the fate of the Islamic world.”

Some observations:
[*] Although the Islamic State is trying to suggest that only autocrats like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad are “apostates” and “hypocrites,” and that most average Muslims are eager for Sharia, the fact is, a great many of the world’s Muslims fit under this rubric. The largest revolution in history, Egypt’s June 2013 anti-Brotherhood revolution, attests to this. Thus the new caliphate’s jihad is not just against “tyrants,” but many average Muslims as well, as the organization’s carnage in Iraq and Syria attests.

[*] The Islamic State’s declaration justifying non-confrontation with Israel is not winning it much popular support in the Arab world and is naturally portrayed as a copout. It further validates the popular Arab narrative that the United States is siding with the Islamists to create havoc in the region; to have the various sects (Sunni vs Shia, Moderate vs. Islamist) fight each other in order to divide and weaken the region. Thus Dr. Ahmed Karima, a leading professor of Islamic jurisprudence in Al Azhar, said that the Islamic State’s position concerning Israel proves that “it is a creation of U.S. and Israeli intelligence” and that the new caliphate “is the biggest of all hypocrites.”

[*] Alternatively, others, especially Islamists, appreciate that the Islamic State is patterning itself after the first caliphate of Abu Bakr—hence why its first caliph chose that name—because it finds itself operating in the same circumstances. Nascent and without much support, it first mission, like Abu Bakr, is to re-subjugate Muslims to Islam. Only then can it focus on the “original infidels.”

[*] While this approach may be temporarily good for Israel (and all infidel states), in the long run, a fully functioning and unified caliphate with “reformed” Muslims next door is not a pretty picture. After all, the Islamic State is not exonerating the infidel, but rather saying his turn will come once the caliphate is capable of an all-out assault. At best, it’s a temporary reprieve.

From: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/raymond-ibrahim/new-islamic-caliphate-declares-jihad- on-muslims/ 22nd July 2014




THE GOSPEL IS…Not The Bible

Pastor Harry A. Ironside – Man of God In the first place, the Gospel is not the Bible. Often when I inquire, “What do you think the Gospel is?” people reply, “Why, it is the Bible, and the Bible is the Word of God.” Undoubtedly the Bible is the Word of God, but there is a great deal in that Book that is not Gospel.

“The wicked shall be turned into Hell with all the nations that forget God.” That is in the Bible, and it is terribly true; but it is not Gospel. 

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” That is in the Bible, but it is not the Gospel.

Our English word, “gospel” just means the “good spell,” and the word “spell,” is the old Anglo-Saxon word for, “tidings”, the good tidings, the good news. The original word translated. “Gospel,” which we have taken over into the English with little alteration is the word, “evangel,” and it has the same meaning, the good news. The Gospel is God’s good news for sinners. The Bible contains the Gospel, but there is a great deal in the Bible which is not Gospel.

Not The Commandments

The Gospel is not just any message from God telling man how he should behave. “What is the Gospel?” I asked a man this question some time ago, and he answered, “Why I should say it is the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, and I think if a man lives up to them he is all right.” Well, I fancy he would be; but did you ever know anybody who lived up to them? The Sermon on the Mount demands a righteousness which no unregenerate man has been able to produce. The law is not the Gospel; it is the very antitheses of the Gospel. In fact, the law was given by God to show men their need of the Gospel .

“The law,” says the Apostle Paul, speaking as a Jewish convert, “was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. But after that Christ is come we are no longer under the schoolmaster.”

Not Repentance

The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past.

Not Giving Up The World

Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.

THERE ARE SEVEN DESIGNATIONS OF THE GOSPEL in the New Testament, but over and above all these, let me draw your attention to the fact that when this blessed message is mentioned, it is invariably accompanied by the definite article. Over and over and over again in the New Testament we read of the Gospel. It is the Gospel not a Gospel. People tell us there are a great many different Gospels; but there is only ONE. When certain teachers came to the Galatians and tried to turn them away from the simplicity that was in Christ Jesus by teaching “another Gospel, “the apostle said that it was a different gospel, but not another; for there is none other than the Gospel. It is downright exclusive; it is God’s revelation to sinful man.

Not Comparative Religion

The scholars of this world talk of the Science of Comparative Religions, and it is very popular now-a-days to say, “We cannot any longer go to heathen nations and preach to them as in the days gone by, because we are learning that their religions are just as good as ours, and the thing to do now is to share with them, to study the different religions, take the good out of them all, and in this way lead the world into a sense of brotherhood and unity.”

So in our great universities and colleges men study this Science of Comparative Religions, and they compare all these different religious systems one with another. There is a Science of Comparative Religions, but the Gospel is not one of them. All the different religions in the world may well be studied comparatively, for at rock bottom they are all alike; they all set men at trying to earn his own salvation. They may be called by different names, and the things that men are called to do maybe different in each case, but they all set men trying to save their own souls and earn their way into the favor of God. In this they stand in vivid contrast with the Gospel, for the Gospel is that glorious message that tells us what God has done for us in order that guilty sinners maybe saved.

THE SEVEN DESIGNATIONS OF THIS GOSPEL are called…

1. The Gospel Of The Kingdom, 

and when I use that term I am not thinking particularly of any dispensational application, but of this blessed truth that it is only through believing the Gospel that men are born into the Kingdom of God; We sing: “A ruler once came to Jesus by night, To ask Him the way of salvation and light; The Master made answer in words true and plain, ‘ye must be born again.’ ” But neither Nicodemus , nor you, nor I, could ever bring this about ourselves. We had nothing to with our first birth, and can have nothing to do with our second birth. It must be the work of God, and it is wrought through the Gospel. That is why the Gospel is called the Gospel of the Kingdom, for, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3,7). “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. . . And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:23-25. Every where that Paul and his companion apostles went they preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and they showed that the only way to get into that Kingdom was by a second birth, and that the only way whereby the second birth could be brought about was through believing the Gospel. It is the Gospel of the Kingdom. It also called

2. The Gospel Of God, 

because God is the source of it, and it is altogether of Himself. No man ever thought of a Gospel like this. The very fact that all the religions of the world set man to try to work for his own salvation indicates the fact that no man would ever have dreamed of such a Gospel as that which is revealed in this Book. It came from the heart of God; it was God who “so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He first loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9,10). And because it is the Gospel of God, God is very jealous of it. He wants it kept pure. He does not want it mixed with any of man’s theories or laws; He does not want it mixed up with religious ordinances or anything of that kind. The Gospel is God’s own pure message to sinful man. God grant that you and I may receive it as in very truth the Gospel of God. And then it is called

3. The Gospel Of His Son

Not merely because the Son went everywhere preaching the Gospel, but because He is the theme of it. “When it pleased God,” says the apostle, “who called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him among the nations; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood” (Gal. 1:15,16). “We preach Christ crucified . . . the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23,24). No man preaches the Gospel who is not exalting the Lord Jesus. It is God’s wonderful message about His Son. How often I have gone to meetings where they told me I would hear the Gospel, and instead of that I have heard some bewildered preacher talk to a bewildered audience about everything and anything, but the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel has to do with nothing else but Christ. It is the Gospel of God’s Son. And so, linked with this it is called

4. The Gospel Of Christ 

The Apostle Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost of the risen Savior, says, “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” And He speaks of Him as the anointed One, exalted at God’s right hand. The Gospel is the Gospel of the Risen Christ. There would be no Gospel for sinners if Christ had not been raised. So the apostle says, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). A great New York preacher, great in his impertinence, at least, said some years ago, preaching a so-called Easter sermon, “The body of Jesus still sleeps in a Syrian tomb, but His soul goes marching on.: That is not the Gospel of Christ. We are not preaching the Gospel of a dead Christ, but of a living Christ who sits exalted at the Father’s right hand, and is living to save all who put their trust in Him. That is why those of us who really know the Gospel never have any crucifixes around our churches or in our homes. The crucifix represents a dead Christ hanging languid on a cross of shame. But we are not pointing men to a dead Christ; we are preaching a living Christ. He lives exalted at God’s right had, and He “saves to the uttermost all who come to God by Him.” The Gospel is also called

5. The Gospel Of The Grace Of God, 

because it leaves no room whatever for human merit. It just brushes away all man’s pretension to any goodness, to any desert excepting judgment. It is the Gospel of grace, and grace is God’s free unmerited favor to those who have merited the very opposite. It is as opposite to works as oil is to water.” If by grace,” says the Spirit of God, “then it is no more works. . . but if it be of works, then is it no more grace” (Rom.11:6). People say, :But you must have both.” I have heard it put like this: there was a boatman and two theologians in a boat, and one was arguing that salvation was by faith and the other by works. The boatman listened, and then said, “Let me tell you how it looks to me. Suppose I call this oar Faith and this one Works. If I pull on this one, the boat goes around; if I pull on this other one, it goes around the other way, but if I pull on both oars, I get you across the river.” I have heard many preachers use that illustration to prove that we are saved by faith and works. That might do if we were going to Heaven in a rowboat, but we are not. We are carried on the shoulders of the Shepherd, who came seeking lost sheep When He finds them He carries them home on His shoulders. But there are some other names used. It is called

6. The Gospel Of The Glory Of God 

I love that name. It is the Gospel of the Glory of God because it comes from the place where our Lord Jesus has entered. The veil has been rent, and now the glory shines out; and whenever this Gospel is proclaimed, it tells of a way into the glory for sinful man, a way to come before the Mercy Seat purged from every stain. It is the Gospel of the Glory of God, because, until Christ had entered into the Glory, it could not be preached in its fullness, but, after the glory received Him, then the message went out to a lost world.

It is also called…

7. The Everlasting Gospel, 

because it will never be superseded by another. No other ever went before it, and no other shall ever come after it. One of the professors of the University of Chicago wrote a book a few years ago in which he tried to point out that some of these days Jesus would be superseded by a greater teacher; then He and the Gospel that He taught would have to give way to a message which would be more suited to the intelligence of the cultivated men of the later centuries. No, no, were it possible for this world to go on a million years, it would never need any other Gospel than this preached by the Apostle Paul and confirmed with signs following; the Gospel which, throughout the centuries has been saving guilty sinners.

THE GOSPEL DECLARED

What then is the content of this Gospel? We are told right here, “I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” There is such a thing as merely believing with the intelligence and crediting some doctrine with the mind when the heart has not been reached. But wherever men believe this Gospel in real faith, they are saved through the message. What is it that brings this wonderful result? It is a simple story, and yet how rich, how full. “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received.” I think his heart must have been stirred as he wrote those words, for he went back in memory to nearly thirty years before, and thought of that day when hurrying down the Damascus turnpike, with his heart filled with hatred toward the Lord Jesus Christ and His people, he was thrown to the ground, and a light shone, and he heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” And he cried, “Who art thou Lord?” And the voice said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” And that day Saul learned the Gospel; he learned that He who died on the Cross had been raised from the dead, and that He was living in the Glory. At that moment his soul was saved, and Saul of Tarsus was changed to Paul the Apostle. And now he says, “I am going to tell you what I have received; it is a real thing with me, and I know it will work the same wonderful change in you. If you will believe it. “First of all, “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Then, “that He was buried.” Then, “that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

The Gospel was no new thing in God’s mind. It had been predicted throughout the Old Testament times. Every time the coming Savior was mentioned, there was proclamation of the Gospel. It began in Eden when the Lord said, “The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head.” It was typified in every sacrifice that was offered. It was portrayed in the wonderful Tabernacle, and later in the Temple. We have it in the proclamation of Isaiah, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and with His stripes we are healed.” It was preached by Jeremiah when he said, “This is His Name whereby He shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness” (Jer.23:6). It was declared by Zechariah when he exclaimed, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones: (Zech.13:7) All through those Old Testament dispensations, the Gospel was predicted, and when Jesus came, the Gospel came with Him. When He died, when He was buried, and when He rose again, the Gospel could be fully told out to a poor lost world. Observe, it says, “that Christ died for our sins.” No man preaches the Gospel, no matter what nice things he may say about Jesus, if he leaves out His vicarious death on Calvary’s cross.

CHRIST’S DEATH – NOT HIS LIFE

I was preaching in a church in Virginia, and a minister prayed, “Lord, grant Thy blessing as the Word is preached tonight. May it be the means of causing people to fall in love with the Christ-life, that they may begin to live the Christ-life.” I felt like saying, “Brother, sit down; don’t insult God like that;” but then I felt I had to be courteous, and I knew that my turn would come, when I could get up and give them the truth. The Gospel is not asking men to live the Christ-life. If your salvation depends upon your doing that, your are just as good as checked for Hell, for you never can live it in yourself. It is utterly impossible. But the very first message of the Gospel is the story of the vicarious atonement of Christ. He did not come to tell men how to live in order that they might save themselves; He did not come to save men by living His beautiful life. That, apart from His death, would never have saved one poor sinner. He came to die; He “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.” Christ Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all. When He instituted the Lord’s Supper He said, “Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. . . This cup is the new covenant in My Blood” (1 Cor. 11:24,25) There is no Gospel if the vicarious death of Jesus is left out, and there is no other way whereby you can be saved than through the death of the blessed spotless Son of God.

Someone says, “But I do not understand it.” That is a terrible confession to make, for “If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (2 Cor. 4:3). If you do not see that there is no other way of salvation for you, save through the death of the Lord Jesus, then that just tells the sad story that you are among the lost. You are not merely in danger of being lost in the Day of Judgment; but you are lost now. But, thank God, “the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,” and seeking the lost He went to the cross. “None of the ransomed ever know How deep were the waters crossed; Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through, Ere He found the sheep that was lost.”

THE NECESSITY OF DEATH

HE HAD TO DIE, to go down into the dark waters of death, that you might be saved. Can you think of any ingratitude more base than that of a man or woman who passes by the life offered by the Savior who died on the Cross for them? Jesus died for you, and can it be that you have never even trusted Him, never even come to Him and told Him you were a poor, lost, ruined, guilty sinner; but since He died for you, you would take Him as your Savior? HIS DEATH WAS REAL. He was buried three days in the tomb. He died, He was buried, and that was God’s witness that it was not a merely pretended death, but He, the Lord of life, had to go down into death. He was held by the bars of death for those three days and nights, until God’s appointed time had come. Then, “Death could not keep its prey, He tore the bars away.” And so the third point of the Gospel is this, “He was raised again the third day according to the Scriptures. “That is the Gospel, and nothing can be added to that. Some people say, “Well, but must I repent?” Yes, you may well repent, but that is not the Gospel. “Must I not be baptized?” If you are a Christian, you ought to be baptized, but baptism is not the Gospel. Paul said, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel” (1 Cor. !:17) He did baptize people, but he did not consider that was the Gospel, and the Gospel was the great message that he was sent to carry to the world. This is all there is to it. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

THE GOSPEL ACCEPTED

Look at the result of believing the Gospel. Go back to verse two, “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” That is, if you believe the Gospel, you are saved; if you believe that Christ died for your sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again, God says you are saved. Do you believe it? No man ever believed that except by the Holy Ghost. It is the Spirit of God that overcomes the natural unbelief of the human heart and enables a man to put his trust in that message. And this is not mere intellectual credence, but it is that one comes to the place where he is ready to stake his whole eternity on the fact that Christ died, and was buried, and rose again. When Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED” the work of salvation was completed. A dear saint was dying, and looking up he said, “It is finished; on that I can cast my eternity.” Upon a life I did not live, Upon a death I did not die; Another’s life, another’s death, Is take my whole eternity.” Can you say that, and say it in faith?

THE GOSPEL REJECTED

What about the man who does not believe the Gospel? The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16). He that believeth not shall be devoted to judgment, condemned, lost. So you see, God has shut us up to the Gospel. Have you believed it? Have you put your trust in it; is it the confidence of your soul? Or have you been trusting in something else? If you have been resting in anything short of the Christ who died, who was buried, who rose again, I plead with you, turn from every other fancied refuge, and flee to Christ today. Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.

“O, do not let the word depart, And close thine eyes against the light; Poor sinner, harden not thy heart, Be saved, O tonight.” 

[Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly Fundamentalist author and teacher for many years, served as pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948]




The Creeds

THE APOSTLE’S CREED

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

THE NICENE CREED

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

THE ATHANASIAN CREED

  1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
  2. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
  3. Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance
  4. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son and another of the Holy Spirit.
  5. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.
  6. Such as the Father is, such is the Son and such is the Holy Spirit.
  7. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Spirit uncreate.
  8. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
  9. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
  10. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.
  11. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensibles, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
  12. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty;
  13. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
  14. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
  15. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
  16. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
  17. And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.
  18. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord;
  19. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say: There are three Gods or three Lords.
  20. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
  21. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
  22. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
  23. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
  24. And in this Trinity none is afore, nor after another; none is greater, or less   than another.
  25. But the whole three persons are co-eternal, and co-equal.
  26. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
  27. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
  28. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  29. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
  30. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and made of the substance of His mother, born in the world.
  31. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
  32. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
  33. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
  34. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God.
  35. One altogether, not by the confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
  36. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
  37. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
  38. He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty;
  39. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
  40. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
  41. And shall give account of their own works.
  42. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
  43. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

 

THE DEFINITION OF THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON (451 A.D)

 

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

THE ANATHEMAS OF THE SECOND COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE (553 AD)

The Second Council of Constantinople was called to resolve certain questions that were raised by the Definition of Chalcedon, the most important of which had to do with the unity of the two natures, God and man, is Jesus Christ. The Second Council of Constantinople confirmed the Definition of Chalcedon, while emphasizing that Jesus Christ does not just embody God the Son, He is God the Son.

  1. If anyone does not confess that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one nature or essence, one power or authority, worshipped as a trinity of the same essence, one deity in three hypostases or persons, let him be anathema. For there is one God and Father, of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit, in whom are all things.
  2. If anyone does not confess that God the Word was twice begotten, the first before all time from the Father, non-temporal and bodiless, the other in the last days when he came down from the heavens and was incarnate by the holy, glorious, God-bearer, ever-virgin Mary, and born of her, let him be anathema.
  3. If anyone says that God the Word who performed miracles is one and Christ who suffered is another, or says that God the Word was together with Christ who came from woman, or that the Word was in him as one person is in another, but is not one and the same, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, incarnate and become human, and that the wonders and the suffering which he voluntarily endured in flesh were not of the same person, let him be anathema.
  4. If anyone says that the union of the Word of God with man was only according to grace or function or dignity or equality of honor or authority or relation or effect or power or according to his good pleasure, as though God the Word was pleased with man, or approved of him, as the raving Theodosius says; or that the union exists according to similarity of name, by which the Nestorians call God the Word Jesus and Christ, designating the man separately as Christ and as Son, speaking thus clearly of two persons, but when it comes to his honor, dignity, and worship, pretend to say that there is one person, one Son and one Christ, by a single designation; and if he does not acknowledge, as the holy Fathers have taught, that the union of God is made with the flesh animated by a reasonable and intelligent soul, and that such union is according to synthesis or hypostasis, and that therefore there is only one person, the Lord Jesus Christ one of the holy Trinity — let him be anathema. As the word “union” has many meanings, the followers of the impiety of Apollinaris and Eutyches, assuming the disappearance of the natures, affirm a union by confusion. On the other hand the followers of Theodore and of Nestorius rejoicing in the division of the natures, introduce only a union of relation. But the holy Church of God, rejecting equally the impiety of both heresies, recognizes the union of God the Word with the flesh according to synthesis, that is according to hypostasis. For in the mystery of Christ the union according to synthesis preserves the two natures which have combined without confusion and without separation.
  5. If anyone understands the expression — one hypostasis of our Lord Jesus Christ — so that it means the union of many hypostases, and if he attempts thus to introduce into the mystery of Christ two hypostases, or two persons, and, after having introduced two persons, speaks of one person according to dignity, honor or worship, as Theodore and Nestorius insanely have written; and if anyone slanders the holy synod of Chalcedon, as though it had used this expression in this impious sense, and does not confess that the Word of God is united with the flesh hypostatically, and that therefore there is but one hypostasis or one person, and that the holy synod of Chalcedon has professed in this sense the one hypostasis of our Lord Jesus Christ; let him be anathema. For the Holy Trinity, when God the Word was incarnate, was not increased by the addition of a person or hypostasis.
  6. If anyone says that the holy, glorious, and ever-virgin Mary [Note: The claim that Mary is “ever-virgin” is Roman Catholic folklore. (Jonathan Barlow)] is called God-bearer by misuse of language and not truly, or by analogy, believing that only a mere man was born of her and that God the Word was not incarnate of her, but that the incarnation of God the Word resulted only from the fact that he united himself to that man who was born of her; if anyone slanders the Holy Synod of Chalcedon as though it had asserted the Virgin to be God-bearer according to the impious sense of Theodore; or if anyone shall call her manbearer or Christbearer, as if Christ were not God, and shall not confess that she is truly God-bearer, because God the Word who before all time was begotten of the Father was in these last days incarnate of her, and if anyone shall not confess that in this pious sense the holy Synod of Chalcedon confessed her to be God-bearer: let him be anathema.
  7. If anyone using the expression, “in two natures,” does not confess that our one Lord Jesus Christ is made known in the deity and in the manhood, in order to indicate by that expression a difference of the natures of which the ineffable union took place without confusion, a union in which neither the nature of the Word has changed into that of the flesh, nor that of the flesh into that of the Word (for each remained what it was by nature, even when the union by hypostasis had taken place); but shall take the expression with regard to the mystery of Christ in a sense so as to divide the parties, let him be anathema. Or if anyone recognizing the number of natures in the same our one Lord Jesus Christ, God the Word incarnate, does not take in contemplation only the difference of the natures which compose him, which difference is not destroyed by the union between them — for one is composed of the two and the two are in one — but shall make use of the number two to divide the natures or to make of them persons properly so called, let him be anathema.
  8. If anyone confesses that the union took place out of two natures or speaks of the one incarnate nature of God the Word and does not understand those expressions as the holy Fathers have taught, that out of the divine and human natures, when union by hypostasis took place, one Christ was formed; but from these expressions tries to introduce one nature or essence of the Godhead and manhood of Christ; let him be anathema. For in saying that the only-begotten Word was united by hypostasis personally we do not mean that there was a mutual confusion of natures, but rather we understand that the Word was united to the flesh, each nature remaining what it was. Therefore there is one Christ, God and man, of the same essence with the Father as touching his Godhead, and of the same essence with us as touching his manhood. Therefore the Church of God equally rejects and anathematizes those who divide or cut apart or who introduce confusion into the mystery of the divine dispensation of Christ.
  9. If anyone says that Christ ought to be worshipped in his two natures, in the sense that he introduces two adorations, the one peculiar to God the Word and the other peculiar to the man; or if anyone by destroying the flesh, or by confusing the Godhead and the humanity, or by contriving one nature or essence of those which were united and so worships Christ, and does not with one adoration worship God the Word incarnate with his own flesh, as the Church of God has received from the beginning; let him be anathema.
  10. If anyone does not confess that our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified in the flesh is true God and the Lord of Glory and one of the Holy Trinity; let him be anathema.
  11. If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, together with their impious, godless writings, and all the other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the holy catholic and apostolic Church, and by the aforementioned four Holy Synods and all those who have held and hold or who in their godlessness persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned; let him be anathema.



STATUTES, ORDINANCES, COMMANDMENTS

STATUTE:  a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or     country; A permanent rule made by a body or institution

ORDINANCE:  a local law or regulation; a religious practice or ritual prescribed by the church

 PRECEPT: principle: rule of personal conduct for action; a guide for rules or morals; teaching: a doctrine that is taught; “the teachings of religion”; “he believed all the Christian precepts”

TESTIMONY: a solemn statement made under oath; an assertion offering firsthand authentication of a fact; “according to his own testimony he can’t do it”; something that serves as evidence; “his effort was testimony to his devotion”; open declaration, or profession of faith

COMMANDMENT:  an order given by one in authority, expecting to be obeyed; Divine command; rule or set of rules; ten commandments

LAW: a collection of rules imposed by authority; legal document setting forth rules governing a particular kind of activity; a rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature and essential to or binding upon human society;

 

 

 




Facts The Seventh Day Adventists Won’t Tell You

Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) won’t tell you they are behind the “Revelation Seminars” which they sponsor. They act all” interdenominational” if questioned. Watch out for these SDA outreaches as well: Voice of Prophecy, Faith for Today, It is Written, The Quiet Hour, Amazing Facts etc. They also hide behind Heath oriented shows on the networks, and sponsor stop-smoking clinics etc, all as introductions to Seventh-day Adventism.
Often, the only tip-off that what you are reading originates with them is that it is published by “Pacific Press”. They produce bright and colorful Children’s books, often seen in medical and dental offices, and of course, unsuspecting Church libraries.
They very much want to be perceived as Evangelical Christians, seeking a place on the ministerial fellowships. All this is good PR for them, but what do they really believe?
What facts won’t they tell you?
They (SDA) won’t tell you that they consider themselves to be the only, true, remnant Church. Their prophetess, Ellen G. White, whom they revere and believe without question has told them that;
“…Satan has taken full possession of the Churches”. (Spiritual Gifts V.l,p.189-90)
They also believe our prayers are an “abomination” to God. (Spiritual Gifts, V1 p.190).
That is what they think of you and your church, even if they won’t say it out loud in public, or to your face.
They revere their founding prophetess, Ellen G. White, and made this statement in their “Ministry” Magazine of Oct. 1981 and have never retracted it:
“We believe the revelation and inspiration of both the Bible and Ellen White’s writings to be of equal quality. The superintendence of the Holy Spirit was just as careful and thorough in one case as in the other”.
They won’t tell you too much about Ellen G. White at their public seminars, but their goal is to bring the person attending to the point of conversion and baptism.
Their 2000 Baptismal Certificate poses questions to which the candidate must answer “Yes”. Question 8 says;
“Do you accept the biblical teaching of spiritual gifts and believe that the gift of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church”.
If the candidate says “Yes” and is baptised, they soon learn that the “gift of prophecy” is Ellen G. White’s writings! Point 13 has them accepting that the SDA Church is the remnant church of Bible Prophecy. They have been baptized into an exclusive group, but they don’t know how exclusive it is, yet!
No doubt they will be urged to avail themselves of a “Clear Word Bible”. This publication of theirs has inserted the words and doctrines of Ellen G. White right into the Bible text, insuring that the person studying it will have the mind of Ellen G. White.
Slowly, but surely, the new SDA will come to believe these extra-biblical doctrines that set the SDA church apart from Evangelical Christianity.
Doctrine on Christ
Seventh-day Adventists, in the early days, denied the Trinity, but now they (say that they) accept it. However, they have “leftovers” from this heresy. Ellen G. White wrote in Patriarchs and Prophets, page 761, “…He (Jesus) was revealed to them as the Angel of Jehovah, the Captain of the Lord’s Host, Michael the Archangel”.
Adventists, you can’t have it both ways! Either Jesus Christ is God, or He is some kind of an Angel. You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth to try to cover up embarrassing statements by Ellen G. White. They won’t tell you she was wrong – when its “her or the Bible”, she always wins!
Doctrines on Salvation
If you receive Christ as your Saviour through the SDA’s, only your past sins, up to that moment are forgiven. Now you must get to work to earn your salvation. Ellen G. White said in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald of 10-26-1897 this statement,
“…The terms of salvation for every son and daughter of Adam are here outlined. It is plainly stated that the condition of gaining eternal life is obedience to the commandments of God”.
Of course, it is the fourth commandment that is stressed, since Ellen saw this one glowing in one of her visions. Salvation now becomes dependent on which day of the week one observes.
Modern Adventists keep sundown Friday to sundown Saturday as the Sabbath, but earlier in their history they kept 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday.
The rest of us “Sunday keepers” are doomed to receive the “mark of the beast” and lose our eternal life. (The Spirit of Prophecy V. 4, p. 505). They sure don’t say this at their seminars!
Christ exclaimed “It is finished” when He died for our sins, but it is not finished in Seventh-day Adventism! EGW wrote in “The Faith I Live By” p. 211,
“At the time appointed for the judgement – the close of the 2300 days, in 1844began the work of investigation and blotting out of sins…both the living and the dead are to be judged “out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works”. (Rev. 20:12).
People are never told at Seminars that if they become SDA’s and are baptized, a recording angel is watching their every move to determine their salvation eventually. EGW issues this warning in The Faith I Live By, page 210,
“Every man’s work passes in review before God… Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered, with terrible exactness, every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel.”
It’s not much fun being an Adventist and being watched constantly by that recording angel with his “terrible exactness”. Prepare to become very uptight.
Christians will say, “Sure, we slip sometimes into unintentional sin, but we have a mediator in Christ Jesus”. No, you don’t in Seventh-day Adventism. Be prepared for this SDA doctrine by Ellen G. White:
“…Those who are living on the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil….”. (The Great Controversy p. 425).
Obviously they have chosen EGW’s doctrine over that stated in the Bible in Hebrews 7:25,
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them”.
Where would we all be without Christ as our mediator, EVER making intercession for us?
Christ bore our own sins in his body on the tree according to the Bible. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree…”. Become a SDA, and it will be Satan who will eventually bear your sins! Ellen G. White wrote,
“…so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin…so Satan, bearing the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit, will be for a thousand years confined to the earth, which will then be desolate…”. (The Great Controversy p. 485).
You won’t hear this one at the Seminars! They keep their radical teachings for later.
False Prophecies
You won’t be told about (the fact that) Seventh-day Adventism grew despite endorsing a false date for Christ’s return. What a dubious beginning! Ellen G. White endorsed a false prophecy by (one) William Miller that Christ would return, first in 1843 and then 1844. Miller repented when Christ didn’t show up on his date but Ellen didn’t want to be viewed as a false prophetess for endorsing him through her visions. The idea was concocted by one of her followers that the date was right, but the event was wrong. Ellen eagerly accepted this “out”, and this explanation was offered to explain away the false prophecy:
Christ didn’t come visibly to earth, but He, invisibly, in heaven, changed compartments from the Holy to the Most Holy in 1844 and began the work of “investigative judgment” that we have discussed previously.
This false date and its failure triggered other heresies on the atonement of Christ which continues to this day. Honest-hearted SDA’s who have pointed out the error of the 1844 investigative judgment have been shown the door by their Conference. You sure won’t be told the true history behind the 1844 doctrine by SDA’s!
Embarrassing false prophecies by EGW have been, altered, covered up, and locked up by the SDA’s. You won’t be told about them, but here are a couple.
One false prophecy done in the name of the Lord marks that one as a false prophet (See Deut. chapter 18).
Ellen G. White said people alive in 1856 would be translated at the 2nd coming of Jesus. (Testimonies, V1, p 131,132).
She said in Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1, p. 259, that the United States would be “…humbled into the dust” by England during the Civil War.
No wonder Jesus told us to “Beware of the false prophets”. Time is their enemy. These false prophecies will never be mentioned by the SDA’s.
Cult Links
You won’t be told at the SDA Seminars about the things they have in common with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. SDA’s share their early history with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. An early Adventist, N. H. Barbour co-published with Charles Taze Russell (now regarded by many as the founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses) . They had a falling out over (what else?) dates for the end of the world! (1844 and 1874), and parted company.
Both, however, kept heretical doctrines to this day like Jesus being Michael the Archangel, the denial of Hell, and both still advocate soul sleep. Both invented invisible occurrences in heaven for their failed dates for Christ’s visible return, investigative judgment for the SDA’s and Christ’s invisible “presence” for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
There is a Mormon link also for the SDA’s. It is a proven fact that Ellen G. White plagiarized most of her writings. The Church has been challenged by Walter Rea, author of the (book) “White Lie” to prove that even 20% of her writings are original. They can’t. Their weak defence was that there were no copyright laws in Ellen’s day, so what she did was legal. You will never be told of her plagiarism by the SDA’s.
As Ellen was rising to prominence, Joseph Smith had just died. Her writings contain many phrases used by Joseph Smith. Mind you, he has also been accused of plagiarism. I have a thick file of similarities, but time does not permit details at this time, but it does illustrate just how far her “borrowing” went. You will definitely not be told of her similarities to Joseph Smith at the Seminars!
Consulting the Dead
You really won’t be told about Ellen G. White’s engaging in necromancy, communication with the dead, expressly forbidden by God in Deuteronomy 18:10-12
“There shall not be found among you anyone…who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord…”
This particular necromancy occurred after the death of her husband James, whom she called “Father”. She recounts the experience in a letter to her son published in “The Retirement Years” p. 161 – 163.
She begins her letter by stating that she was seeking God regarding her future,
“A few days since I was pleading with the Lord for light in regard to my duty”…
It is evident she believed this dream was in response to her prayers to God. (Her husband) James (“Father”) appeared beside her as she was in a carriage. She reported he looked “very pale, but calm and composed”. (After all, he was dead!)
She says,
“…I saw you die; I saw you buried. Has the Lord pitied me and let you come back…?”
We are not to have conversations with the dead, but Ellen and James converse back and forth about church matters and their health. At one point James foretells the future for Ellen,
“…Now, Ellen, calls will be made as they have been, desiring you to attend important meetings…”.
James, her dead husband, goes on to tell her she must avoid taxing her strength by going to meetings and retire and write instead. He tells her “…Make this your first business”.
Ellen now makes an agreement with her dead husband to stay in touch,
“Well, said I, James you are always to stay with me now and we will work together”.
This would involve further communication with the dead. Ellen recounts that she then awoke and took the whole matter as being from the Lord in these words,
“…I feel no duty to go to Battle Creek…I have no duty to stand in General Conference. THE LORD FORBIDS ME. That is enough.”
Well, that is enough to conclude, not only the letter, but the fact that Ellen consulted the dead and took it all as coming from the Lord. She indicated she wanted to continue this practice.
Can we trust this dream? No, of course not. How then are we to trust her other 200 or so “inspired by God” dreams and visions that occurred over her lifetime? We can’t, if we judge matters by the word of God. You won’t be told EGW practised necromancy at the Seminars!
Assorted Silliness
Often, cult research is tedious and boring. I am grateful to EGW for being humorous, ridiculous, and just plain silly. Her writings bearing her name are 17 times as long as the Bible, plagiarized or not. Many of them have to do with her doctrines on health and food.
As an SDA you will be encouraged to become a vegetarian. Ellen indicated that your salvation could be dependent on giving up meat . No meat-eaters will be “translated” at Christ’s coming (Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 380).
You won’t be told this scripture by SDA’s
“…he who is weak in faith eats vegetables only…” (Romans 14:2). (Fun to read to vegetarians).
She taught in Counsels on Diet ..on p. 390 (some editions) that
“…if we subsist largely upon the flesh of dead animals, we shall partake of their nature”.
Partake of their nature? This is against God’s creation laws of “kind”, and Impossible. Also conveniently forgotten is Paul view, “Eat anything that is sold in the meat market, without asking questions for conscience’ sake.” ( 1 Cor. 10:25). Obviously no vegetarians evident in the early church!
Most of EGW’s concerns over diet were in an effort to control what she considered to be an excessive sex drive in the male. She devoted endless pages to discussing “secret vice” (masturbation) and blamed the practice for a wide range of diseases. Here, in “Solemn Appeal” page 12 are a few of the diseases said to be caused by “secret vice”
“…dyspepsia, spinal complaint, headache, epilepsy, impaired eyesight, palpitation of the heart, pain in the side, bleeding at the lungs, spasms of the heart and lungs, diabetes, incontinence of urine, fluor albus or whites, inflammation of the urinary organs… rheumatism, affected perspiration, consumption, asthma, catarrah, polypus of the heart, affection of the bones, fevers, ..etc. etc.
The cure for secret vice was even funnier. The perpetrator was to sit in a sitz bath at as low a temperature as possible. At the same time, he was to have a hot foot bath, while applying cold cloths to his forehead. He was also to wear an abdominal bandage or wet girdle at night “to good advantage”.
She concludes, “Cool bathing of the parts affected is also beneficial”.
To those SDA’s who write me that I must be endorsing masturbation by making this public, let me assure you that this is not the case. Why don’t they charge their leader with the same accusation? She wrote about it much more than I ever have! I am merely exposing her silliness in health matters. You’ll never hear these ridiculous topics from the Adventists!
Thanks to Ellen White’s influence, the Kellogg brothers were inspired to develop cold corn flakes, as hot porridge could “heat the blood” with undesirable results!
She sternly warned against using feather beds for the same reasons, but I found a letter from her asking someone to send her, her featherbed! (EGW Vol 3, p. 341).
She also developed a “reform dress” on instructions from God, which was a bulky affair with pants under a long dress. She gave up on wearing hers finally, and so did the other women, after years of suffering discomfort.
Other assorted nonsense included Angels needing golden cards as gate passes to get in and out of heaven. (Early Writings p. 37-39),
She also “travelled” to other planets in her visions, and also claimed to have met Enoch (more necromancy). (EGW: The Early Years Vol.1 p. 114; p.157).
She taught that certain races of men are the result of amalgamation between man and beast. (SG Vol 3, p. 64,75). Which races? You won’t be told this one at the Seminars, or even later!
Her silliness extended to wigs as well. Any woman daring to wear one would “…lose their reason and go hopelessly insane”. (Christian Mothers, # 2, p. 121).
Well, that’s about enough of the silliness. We could go on, but won’t.
To bring this to an end, it is amazing to me that the SDA Church reveres Ellen G. White, choosing her visions, dreams, doctrines and teachings above the Bible. Other women had better run for cover, however, as they wouldn’t dream of ordaining a woman in their denomination which is totally male dominated.
Adventists love to quote Walter Martin who was “had” by them as a young man and believed their statements without checking matters out closely, to prove they are not a cult. However, before he died, he made this statement on the John Ankerberg Show:
“I fear that if they continue to progress at this rate, then the classification of a cult can’t possibly miss being reapplied to Seventh-day Adventism, because once you have an interpreter of Scripture, a final court of appeal that tells you what Scripture means, as soon as you judge Scripture by that, as soon as you have someone who has made doctrinal errors in the past, even on the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the atonement and other things, and that person is raised to that position or authority, you have polarization around that person”.
By their own actions and stubborn clinging to Ellen G. White, her extra-biblical teachings, visions, and doctrines, the Seventh-day Adventists have placed themselves in the category of a cult. They certainly won’t tell you this fact! They are a cult!
In Conclusion
SDA’s often make every effort to appear “evangelical”, joining in with inter-ministry groups and trying to “blend in” with the Christian community.
However, make no mistake about it, they believe they are exclusively correct because they recognize and follow Ellen G. White. Among themselves, they mock the Christian’s beliefs, calling our concept of salvation, “cheap grace”. They privately consider themselves to be spiritually superior to the rest of us.
From: MM Outreach Inc. http://mmoutreachinc.com/seventh_day_adventists/sda_facts.html




Making Sense of the Middle East

Making Sense of the Middle East
In the last three years, Barnabas Aid has carried many news stories and articles about the Middle East. Many of these have focused on the brutal and destructive civil war that has been raging in Syria since 2011, or on the rapid and tumultuous political changes that have racked the nation of Egypt. Since both countries have large Christian minorities, who have been cruelly oppressed as a result of these events, they are of particular concern to Christians in the West.
But the strife in Syria and Egypt is not purely internal. To be understood correctly, it has to be seen in the context of a wider and multi-faceted conflict across the entire region. A number of divisions run across the Middle East, creating political and social tensions of many kinds. The key regional players compete with one another to achieve outcomes that will best serve their own agendas.
These divisions hugely complicate the unfolding dramas in Syria and Egypt, not least because some countries (notably Saudi Arabia and Qatar) are on the same side in one of the conflicts and on opposite sides in the other. They also further jeopardise the already precarious position of Christians in the region, many of whom are caught up in the wider struggle but have little power to influence it.
[Here we] shall consider some of the most important of the divisions in order to illuminate not only recent events in Syria and Egypt but also the developing crisis across the entire Middle East. We shall also spell out some of the implications for Christian minorities in the affected countries.
Sunni versus Shia
The conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims has a long and bloody history. The split originated little more than 20 years after the death of Muhammad, in a dispute over the succession to the leadership of the Muslim community. When Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, became caliph in 656, he was not universally accepted as the rightful heir, and war broke out between his supporters and his opponents. Although Ali and his sons were all killed, his followers, Shia Ali (the party of Ali), continued and became the Shia Muslims.
Sunni empires and states have been the dominant force in Islam, and Sunnis have comprised the majority population. They represent at least 80% of the world’s Muslims today and around 90% of those in the Middle East. But the Shia are a majority in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain and have significant minorities in Lebanon, Yemen and some of the other Gulf states. The Shia Alawite sect has also ruled Syria for decades through the current President Assad and his father, despite their being only a small minority in the country.
Sunnis and Shias remain hostile to each other and in the Middle East this hostility has intensified in recent decades since the resurgence of activist Shia Islam. That revival was seen most clearly in the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the emergence of the militant Shia group Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1982. Sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shias broke out in Iraq following the US led invasion of 2003 and has continued sporadically ever since, while Iran has hardly troubled to hide its intention of extending its influence in the region. Meanwhile the Sunni regimes in the Arabian Peninsula are battling to suppress their own restive Shia minorities (or in Bahrain’s case, majority) while supporting anti-Shia groups elsewhere.
The conflict between Sunnis and Shias is becoming more complex because of outside allegiances. Some Sunnis support Hezbollah because they are opposed to Saudi Arabia. Equally, Lebanese Christians may support either Hezbollah or the Sunnis. In both Lebanon and Syria, Christians may end up supporting Sunnis, Shia, Hezbollah or Kurds depending where they find themselves, for self-preservation. The main Sunni-Shia battle is currently between the Sunni states of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf (including Qatar) and the Shia nation of Iran, with the West siding with the Gulf states against Iran and its nuclear potential. It is being played out most graphically and tragically in the cities and villages of Syria. The Alawite government is a key Iranian ally, and both Iran and Hezbollah have declared their plans to defend Syrian President Assad, even against attacks from the West. But Saudi Arabia and Qatar, eager to deprive their Iranian rival of its Shia partner, are supporting and arming the opposition forces.
An opposition (Sunni) victory in Syria is likely to have a devastating effect on Iran and its Shia allies. The regime in Iran would come under increasing pressure from its own discontented population, and a new political system might emerge. Hezbollah in Lebanon and other Shia supporters would also be greatly weakened. Although these changes might have some positive political results, there is also a danger that the wounded Shias would lash out against soft targets as a way of bolstering their popular support, especially perhaps the highly vulnerable Christians in Iran. (The outlook for Syrian Christians in this scenario is examined below.)
Aggression between Shias and Sunnis has spread to neighbouring countries. A Sunni jihadi group in Iraq killed elections, and then to use the coercive power of the state hundreds of Shias in 2012, aiming to eradicate key Shia strongholds in the country. In Lebanon the two communities have lined up in support of the Syrian government and opposition respectively, sometimes with bombings gun battles.
Hezbollah is also perceived to threaten the stability of Lebanon and the wider region, as it has become state within a state, is anti-Israel and obtains its arms Iran. The Shias of Syria with the Alawi-led government of Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian Shia regime and are perceived as a single entity that the West, Israel and the Gulf states would like to see dismantled. An al-Qaeda-linked group has also threatened Shia supporters its own Islamist of Hezbollah with attacks. The turbulence created by this inter-Muslim conflict looks set to continue for some time, with potentially disastrous consequences for Christians and others caught in the crossfire.
Sunni Secular Liberals versus Islamists
At its beginning, the Arab Spring of 2011 was widely hailed as a victory for Western-style liberal democracy over despotic autocracy. But the picture that later emerged was a very mixed one. Only in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were governments actually overthrown; in various other countries, sustained civil disorder or more moderate protests brought some political changes, but the old regimes continued in power. In still other places, major or minor protests effected little significant change. At least, however, the optimists could point to free elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya as a sign of positive change.
But the infant democracy in Egypt has already come to grief, as the elected government has been toppled in a popular uprising supported by the military. The Tunisian regime is deadlocked with its opposition following the assassination of two politicians, and the Libyan government is struggling to contain numerous hostile militias (many of them linked to al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups) defying its attempts to disarm them.
The people of these nations are learning the hard way that democracy is about more than votes and elections. In order to flourish it requires a strong civil society judiciary, laws that protect individual rights and safeguard the political process, and an educated and informed electorate. Many or all of these essential conditions are lacking in North Africa.

At the heart of the crisis, at least in Egypt and Tunisia, lies a fundamental conflict between secular liberals over the roles of Islam and the state. While liberal or progressive Muslims, along with Christians and other minorities, believe that religion and the state should be separate. Islamists insist that Islam must dominate the state. They believe that the Islamic source texts and sharia law contain sufficient guidance for a complete social and political system, and that the state is the best tool for implementing this. As a result, they seek to gain political power by any means they can, including by
democratic elections, and then to use the coercive power of the state to enforce sharia.
Although the early Arab Spring protests were dominated by liberals, who called for Western rights and freedoms, these were not delivered by the subsequent elections. In Tunisia and Egypt, the long established and better organised Islamist movements capitalised on the power vacuum to pursue their own goals. The Islamist parties, Ennahda and the Muslim Brotherhood, duly emerged victorious from the polls in Tunisia and Egypt respectively.
The Muslim Brotherhood at once began to exert its grip on Egyptian politics and society. It rapidly imposed its own Islamist agenda, pushing through an unpopular constitution that gave clerics an undefined role in ensuring that all legislation complied with sharia. The Islamist regime of President Mohammad Morsi was characterised by a series of power grabs directed at (for example) the judiciary, regional government and the media. Christians were among the worst affected by the new order, with an increase in violent attacks and a growing number of “blasphemy” cases that saw them jailed for allegedly insulting Islam. The government offered them no effective protection and failed to take action against those responsible.
It appeared that Islamist success in Tunisia and especially Egypt would herald a strengthening of Islamism throughout the Middle East. Its goal of reshaping society and politics on the basis of sharia to create Islamic states ruled by Islamists seemed within touching distance. There was even talk of re-establishing the caliphate, a united Islamic state under one ruler or caliph. But all was not as it seemed. Discontent grew rapidly among secularists in Egypt, who saw their revolution being hijacked by the Islamists. The government also failed effectively to address the country’s economic crisis, and inflation (especially rising food prices) fuelled popular discontent. Mass public protests erupted on the streets. Despite attempts by the Egyptian government to neutralise the army, it retained its independent political power and was ready to respond to the massive unrest. Saudi Arabia, which feared Islamist groups as a threat to its monarchical government, was much alarmed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s progress. It is thought to have been heavily involved in Morsi’s fall, and it is bankrolling the new military government.
Meanwhile, secularists in Tunisia have been emboldened by the coup and have also taken to the streets. They have demanded that the Islamist Ennahda government should step aside and make way for a caretaker government. In what had appeared to be Islamism’s new stronghold of North Africa, it has lost ground in terms of popularity and political power and is suddenly on the defensive, if not disarray. These changes are likely also to impact Turkey, whose own government has been moving increasingly towards an Islamist position.
Sadly the beleaguered Christians of Egypt have seen no improvement in their conditions since the fall of the Islamist government. On the contrary, they are suffering one of the worst periods of targeted violence against them in modern history. Because of their known opposition to Islamism they were scapegoated by the Muslim Brotherhood for the military takeover, and they have seen churches and other Christian institutions attacked and Christian homes and businesses daubed with a black X to mark them for destruction. Some Christians have also been killed. There are concerns that a full-scale Islamist insurgency may break out in Sinai in the north and Minya and Assuit in the south, which will endanger the Christian population still further. However, despite the persecution they are enduring, Egyptian Christians have forgiven their persecutors and not retaliated.
Saudi Arabia versus Qatar
Saudi Arabia is perhaps the most rigid, hard-line and authoritarian state in the entire region, and it is working hard to preserve its monarchical regime. At the time of the Arab Spring it cracked down hard on its own Shia protestors and helped the Sunni rulers of Bahrain to suppress theirs. And although it played a key role in encouraging the populist Sunni uprisings in various other countries, it rejects political Islamist m movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood that use the democratic process to gain power. Its extreme conservative brand of Islam, Salafi-Wahhabism, is inherently opposed to democracy.
The small nation of Qatar has used the developing crisis in the Middle East to assume a more significant role. It has provided leadership for the international effort for regime change in Syria, and also for the Libyan insurgency and the new government’s efforts at reconstruction. But unlike Saudi Arabia, it has also maintained close relations with the main political Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood (which has its headquarters there), and supported its government in Egypt. It has also hosted various opposition governments in waiting. By these means it has hoped to avoid a terrorist threat within its own borders and also to promote a stable environment for Qatari investment abroad.
However, major political changes are currently taking place in Qatar. The ruling emir has retired and been succeeded by his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Both countries have immense oil wealth, and they are more than ready to use it to shape the society and politics of other countries and so to safeguard their own position. But this makes them rivals for influence in the Middle East, and this tension is
highlighted by the conflict between Saudi tradition and Qatari reformism as described above. So although the two nations are on the same (opposition) side in the Syrian civil war, they take opposite views on who should succeed Assad. Qatar wants a Muslim Brotherhood regime to be installed, while Saudi Arabia would see this as a threat. When the Brotherhood swept to power in Egypt, Qatar appeared to hold the upper hand; but now the Islamist government has been toppled, Saudi Arabia is in the ascendant.
Anti-Christian repression is more severe in Saudi Arabia than anywhere else in the region. Non-Muslim places of worship are forbidden, and although the substantial expatriate Christian community is supposedly allowed to worship in private, they are subject to raids and arrests. Conversion from Islam is punishable by death, and the small number of indigenous Christians practise their faith in extreme secrecy. Qatar permits Christian worship in a designated area, and expatriate Christians are subject to few restrictions, except that they are forbidden to evangelise. But apostasy is technically a capital offence there too, and indigenous Christians operate mainly underground.
The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is contributing to the instability and violence in both Egypt and Syria, with all its disastrous consequences for Christians. But the unchallenged dominance in the region of either country would be unlikely to enhance the freedom or security of the churches.
Ethnic and sectarian tensions
Within this regional power struggle are numerous ethnic and religious minorities that are either pursuing greater security or just trying to survive. The Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups without a state of their own. Around 30 million of them are spread across Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, and they are pressing for greater independence. In recent years they have established a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq, and they support the opposition to Assad in the hope of doing the same in northern Syria. But although their nationalist ambitions are thus contributing to regional instability, they have been generally hospitable to Christians fleeing from violence in central and southern Iraq, many of whom have found relative safety in the north.
Not for the first time in their long and difficult history, the Jewish people of Israel are also threatened by the factions and volatility of their powerful neighbours to the north and south. They are largely isolated, and a strong Islamist political presence in either Syria or Egypt magnifies the danger that they face. The ousted Egyptian President Morsi was quoted as making a number of vitriolic statements against the Jews, including a call for a Palestinian state on the “entire land of Palestine”; had his government remained in power, Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty would have been under threat. Islamist rule in Syria would renew the long-standing danger the country poses to Israel’s north-eastern border.
As for the Christians, they are the most vulnerable minority in the Middle East. In addition to their oppression in Arabia and persecution in Egypt, outlined above, they are now facing the wholesale destruction of one of their most ancient communities, trapped in the tortured nation of Syria. Since the uprising began, Syrian Christians have been ruthlessly targeted by Islamist militants within the opposition; their churches have been destroyed, their homes taken over and their people kidnapped and killed.
This is a grim repeat of what happened to Iraqi Christians following the US-led invasion of 2003, when hundreds of thousands were forced to flee their homes following targeted attacks by Islamist militants, who associated them with the Western powers because of their faith. The Assad regime in Syria had afforded considerable freedom and protection to Christians and other minorities; if it falls, there is some danger that the greater part of the Church in Syria will be obliterated.
International responses
The response of Western governments to the continuing crisis has been mixed. The US and UK desire to weaken Iran, and in particular to thwart its nuclear agenda. They are also hostile to the Assad regime in Syria, both for its suppression of political dissent at home and for its support for insurgents and militants abroad, especially in Iraq and Lebanon By early December 2013, there have been some very significant changes taking place in the Middle East. There have been recent moves by both the US and Russia, along with several other EU countries, trying to broker a “deal” (sweetened by offering Iran to repeal and ease some sanctions to end their nuclear program
To stop them having nuclear weapons? (With the current state of flux in the ME another article will soon follow this one to update our readers). For these and perhaps other reasons they have allied themselves with Saudi Arabia and Qatar in support of the Syrian opposition.
In Egypt the US initially backed the Muslim Brotherhood as the democratically elected government, although it sometimes appeared not to recognise the movement’s essentially Islamist character and aims. For example, at a House of Representatives Intelligence Committee hearing in February 2011, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, described the Brotherhood as a “largely secular” organisation with “no over-arching agenda”.
But the removal of Morsi created a dilemma for America as to whether or not this constituted a coup, in which case there would be implications for its ongoing financial and military support of the Egyptian army. It appears to be waiting to see how the fast changing events work out before committing itself to one side or another, while remaining committed to the “non-violent Islamist movements” as potentially the best way of bringing stability to the region.
Both Russia and China are concerned about the growth of radical Islamism, including Islamist terror groups, in the region, as they see it affecting their own countries, where they are facing similar problems. In the Caucasus the Russians face an al-Qaeda and a rising tide of Islamist movements. Similarly, in the Xinyang province of China the Uighurs are seeking independence or autonomy and are developing close links with radical Islamist and terror groups in the Middle East.
Islamism in the Middle East poses a real threat to other societies, including those in the West, where radical Islamism is spreading and many Western Muslims are going to fight alongside jihadists in Syria and elsewhere, returning home to become potential jihadists themselves. Western countries are not fully grappling with this problem.
Conclusion
One consistent thread in Western policy towards the Middle East is its failure to support or protect the region’s defenceless Christians. Its actions have contributed to the virtual extinction of the Church in Iraq and seem set to have the same result in Syria, while Christian communities elsewhere have looked in vain for help as they groan under the yoke of persecution.
In fact the intricate divisions described above have generated a surprising new alignment. While Western nations are increasingly on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi-Wahhabis and against the Iranians and other Shias, Russia and China are seen as more supportive of a liberal and anti-Islamist position and of the Shi-as, including Iran. As a result, Christians find themselves supported by Russia and China (not traditionally seen as friends of the Church), while the historic supporters of religious liberty and human rights in the West, which have seen themselves as Christian nations and co-religionists with Middle Eastern Christians, are aiding the radical Islamists and denying Christians their fundamental freedoms.
Western governments face a major challenge in navigating the complexities of the current crisis in the Middle East. It is to be hoped that they will at last take into account the desperate plight of the region’s Christians and take action to defend and strengthen them. ?
This article was written for Barnabus Fund in mid-September 2013 and Published in their magazine Barnabus Aid, November/December 2013 Edition and used here by Permission




The Mirage of Moderate Islam

“Islam does not have a separation of Mosque and State, because there is really no state, only the mosque.”

Travellers across the vast stretches of the Arabian desert have been known to get lost and in their thirst and exhaustion hallucinate oases with palm trees and flowing water. Western policymakers lost in the vast stretches of madness that define the Muslim world are even more wont to hallucinate the oasis of a moderate Islam to take refuge in. Whether you’re dying for a drink or a way to reaffirm your reality, a mirage is sometimes the only way you can find it.
Moderate Islam is a mirage, a projection by desperate Westerners of their own values and culture, on an entirely different religion and culture. It is a mirage that many Muslims are eager to uphold, in the same way that desert merchants might sell goblets and bowls of sand to passing travellers foolish enough to confuse water with dust. And like travelers who think they are drinking water, when they are actually swallowing sand, it is a deception that will eventually kill the deceived.
When the Western cultural elite look at Islam, they see what they have to see to avoid falling into crisis mode. Like the traveller who would rather choke on sand, than face up to the fact that he is lost in a desert, they would rather keep most things as they are, even at the cost of the extinction of the nations they preside over, than confront the full scope of the threat surrounding them. A threat that they had a hand in nurturing and feeding in the name of goals that seemed to make sense at the time.
It is easier to segregate a “Bad Islam” composed of a tiny minority of extremists from the generally “Good Islam” of the rulers of the Muslim world and the waves of Muslim immigrants washing up on their shores. [That] this segregation has no objective reality, and is nothing but a psychological defence mechanism against experiencing the full reality of a disaster. From the Titanic to World War II, there are numerous similar situations in which the people in charge chose to ignore a growing crisis at a horrific cost.
The two primary paradigms through which Western political elites see Islam, is that of tyranny on the right, and the evils of Western foreign policy on the left. Bush employed the former when he defined the problem as being one of tyranny, rather than Islam. Having defined the problem in terms of a majority of “Good Muslims” oppressed by “Bad Tyrants”, Bush tried to liberate the former from the latter, only to discover that there was a good deal of overlap between the two. Under Obama, we have seen the left implement its own construct of Islam, as popular resistance movements against colonial oppression, who are reacting to the evils of American foreign policy. This knee jerk Marxist formula goes one worse than the Bush Administration by defining terrorists as “Good Muslims” and moderates as “Yankee Puppets”.
But the only item of true significance to emerge from the contrast of these worldviews, is the revelation that American political leaders from both sides of the spectrum still view Islam in terms of the old Cold War struggle between Communism and Capitalism. Like many generals who fight every war in terms of the last war, the political leaders of the West still see Islam in Cold War colors, which prevents from seeing it for what it is. While Islam shares some common denominators with Communism, as well as Nazism, it is also a quite different entity than either one. For one thing it is not Western in any sense of the word. It does not rely on a centralized leadership. It has had over a thousand years to seep into the culture of the regions it has conquered. That has made Islam into an identity in a much more profound way, than Adolf or Vladimir could have ever managed with their own crackpottery.
Islam predates the political movements such as Communism and Nazism that arose to fill a vacuum of faith in a secularizing West with dreams of racial and economic utopias. It is the original sin of the East, a ruthless religion based on stolen beliefs and stolen property, its moment of religious transcendence was not that of the law or the spirit, but the sight of tribal rivalries uniting under a single green banner. The Banner of Islam.
The powerful appeal of Islam has been rooted in that dream of unity, an idea that is hard for more civilized peoples to understand because they take unity for granted. Yet any European need only turn to the fierce struggle for an independent and united German nation in the 19th century, or for an independent and united Italy around the same time. An eventual outcome in which both nations ruled by nationalist regimes faced off together against England and France during WWII could be traced back to that false sense of destiny which papered over national insecurities with blood.
But nationalism requires meaningful national identities, while the Muslim world only has artificial borders drawn by colonial administrations, differences in Arabic slang and bitter familial rivalries. Despite the best efforts of Arab Socialist autocrats like Gamal Abdel Nasser or Saddam Hussein, the vaunted unity of the Arab nation failed to materialise. While Nasser admired Hitler and Hussein admired Stalin, neither was able to turn their respective countries into anything even as barely functional as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. Instead Nasser got by on Soviet aid and Saddam Hussein on oil money.
Glance at a map, and you will see the Muslim world defined in terms of borders and politicians, but as Allied troops along the Afghan-Pakistani border are discovering, the actual Muslims on the ground define themselves in terms of tribe and family, not nation. The Muslim world is a hodgepodge of dispossessed ethnic groups crammed into artificial nation states created by the UK and the UN. Nation states that have a vote at the UN, an embassy off Turtle Bay, and little tangible reality.
If that sounds farfetched, consider that there is an actual debate among foreign policy experts over who really runs Pakistan. Many European observers of Turkey have a similar debate going there as well. Most of the Muslim world is run by families, like the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Some are run by dictators who took part in military coups and hold power using the military and the secret police. These are the only forms of stable government in the Muslim world that matter.
Without a dictator or a powerful ruling family, or clique of them, civil war follows. Yemen has been torn apart by such tribal civil wars for a long time, the latest phase of the war is being conducted with the participation of Al Qaeda. Anwar Al-Awlaki, the infamous Imam, did not join Al Qaeda merely out of anger or ideology, he did it because his Awlaki family is allied with the local Yemeni Al Qaeda. Think about that for a moment, and you begin to see the byzantine maze of loyalties and alliances in the vast desert of the Muslim world.
Empires and kingdoms combined church and state in order to insure that there would be no contradiction between religion and the authorities, that the will of the king would also be the will of god. Mohammed tried to make the same leap in the multicultural environs of Mecca, eliminating all religions, but the one he had newly created in order to glue together the warring families and tribes. That act was and is the essential basis of Islam. Everything else is borrowed glamor from the other religions that he had subjugated and destroyed to make way for Islam.
For Muslims that initial bloody butchery is the only true act of religious significance that matters. Because for a brief shining moment, the internecine quarrels were brutally suppressed, and thousands of backstabbing desert tribesmen came to see themselves as something larger and greater. Of course that false unity collapsed back into warring families and tribes. Which has made it all the more of an unattainable dream. It is why Jihad is the ultimate religious act for a Muslim, and why the Caliphate is the great religious goal.
To Muslims, Islam is a Perfect Form of Global Unity that Must Be Achieved at Any Cost
In the face of this understanding, any talk of a moderate Islam is nothing but a farce. To Muslims, Islam is what the Thousand Year Reich was to Nazis and a United World is to Socialists. A perfect form of global unity that must be achieved at any cost.
A moderate Muslim might pursue such a goal “peacefully” through Dawa or missionary work, but successful Muslim mass conversions have taken place either directly or indirectly through the sword. Even Muslim missionary successes in the West take place in the context of Muslim terrorism. There is no Islam without the sword, because it has no meaning or identity without violence. A non-violent Islam is nothing but a collection of tribal mores and borrowed religious ideas. It quickly recedes to the secular and the cultural, driving the Islamists to revive its core ethos through acts of violence and terror.
This is what Western political and cultural leaders do not understand. The Right is correct that Islam like Communism can be weakened by capitalism, but it cannot be destroyed that way. Because Islam is not incompatible with business, it originated among merchants after all. The fruits of capitalism can help secularize Islam, but not without empowering the very same type of merchants who helped create it. That is why American capitalism has helped create the terrorist threat by enriching the new rulers of Mecca, the House of Saud, which has expanded its own power by funding a new Islamic invasion against its best customers in the West. And so history repeats itself again.
Islamists Have Shown They Can Quite Effectively Exploit Capitalism and Democracy to Further Their Aims
Capitalism brought down the Soviet Union, but it could not give Russians a meaningful identity. Instead it financed the rise of a new Russian totalitarian regime of KGB bosses and oligarchs who had grown wealthy on the profits from Western business. Even Communist China has shown that it can incorporate Capitalism and only become more of a threat by doing so. The fundamental error conservative American political leaders made was to assume that Capitalism and Democracy were absolute forms of good, in reality they’re simply tools and prisms which different cultures use to express their potential in different ways. The Bush Administration showed the limits of applying Cold War rhetoric to Islamic realities. Or, treating 1.5 billion Muslims as the demographic equivalent of 1500 nuclear bombs, without ever admitting the attitude behind the diplomacy.
The Left however is even more wrong, falling back on its old habit of treating all enemies as resistance movements against capitalism, globalism and all the isms that they associate with First World nation states. If the Right is still echoing Ronald Reagan, the Left is still stuck on the Philippine–American War of the 19th century. And while the Right has shown that it can learn, the Left has only shown that it can shout the same self-destructive thing even louder. The Obama Administration is an exercise in national self-hatred. A ritual purging for the sins of Western success similar to an anorexic vomiting after every meal.
If the Right has some ideas for dealing with Islam, the Left has decided that Islam is right. There is no logic behind this, but that of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, along with healthy doses of orientalism and the fetishisation of the Noble Savage.
The Chief Cause of Islamic Outrage, is that these Displays of Anger Allow Muslims to Feel a Sense of Power
American foreign policy triggers Muslim rage, as do cartoons in Europe, Jewish housing in Israel, Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, British female tourists in Dubai, a teddy named Mohammed in Sudan, and countless other “irritations”. But none of these excuses are the real cause. The chief cause of Islamic outrage, is that these displays of anger allow Muslims to feel a sense of power. Anger empowers small men, whether they are beating their wives or blowing themselves up in cafes. The excuses, “She made do it”, “She shouldn’t have walked in front of the TV” or “She should have had dinner ready”, are just that. Excuses. The real cause is the sense of power that comes with the anger. The sense of suddenly being larger than life. That anger is its own cause and its own reward. And that is what Islam gives to the Muslim. The Jihad.The Caliphate.Anger in the name of Allah.
In America, Democratic and Republican leaders primarily differ on how tiny that “tiny minority of extremists” really is, and who’s to blame for their extremism. The ugly reality that their entire view of Islam is based on a mirage, is not something they are willing to accept. But to talk of the Taliban or Al Qaeda without speaking of Islam, is as absurd as discussing the [Russian] Gulags without mentioning Communism. It means that not only can the problem never be solved, but it can never even be addressed. Because we have never stated the cause.
Instead we try to fight Islamic terrorism by cultivating alliances among the constantly churning factions of governments, militias, warlords and tribal elders, hoping to use them—only to be used as pawns in their own games instead. That is what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has happened among the Palestinian Arabs and the Yemeni government, in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and anywhere else we try to apply Western policy making.
Islam Does Not Have a Separation of Mosque and State, Because There is Really No State,
Only the Mosque
The Muslim world has technology, but no civilization. Western nations have given to the Islamic East, the appearance of nationhood and the fruits of industry, without ever acknowledging that they were tossing pearls before swine. A pig wearing a pearl necklace is still a member of the porcine family. Only now it is a well-dressed pig. We have dressed up the Muslim world, but underneath it is not so different from the warring tribes that Mohammed tried to glue together with Islam. And that is why Islam retains the power that it does. Islam does not have a separation of Mosque and State, because there is really no state, only the mosque. The great dream of over a millennium of a transcendent global Muslim unity. A Great Leap Forward across the chasm of tribal savagery and into a Caliphate, which will undo all the achievements of all other peoples, and demonstrate once and for all that the Muslim is supreme over all the rest of the world.
Author: Daniel Greenfield (Bio and Archives)  Monday, August 20, 2012
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City writer and columnist. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and his articles appear at its Front Page Magazine site.
Daniel can be reached at: sultanknish@yahoo.com
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/print-friendly/48919
Downloaded 15th May 2013




Cooneyites

NOTES ON THE ‘COONEYITES’
Compiled by Fred Grigg
Gold Coast, Australia
August 2013
The name ‘Cooneyites’ was applied to a group of people who followed one Edward Cooney after he was ex-communicated in 1928 from another group known as ‘The Two-by-Two’s’; which were founded in Ireland by one William Irvine in 1897. The ‘Two-by-Two’s’ and the ‘Cooneyites’ are today often confused as being one and the same people, but they are two distinct pseudo-Christian groups! Members of both groups will deny they are one and the same and both reject the name ‘Cooneyite’.
Edward Cooney came into contact with Irvine and in 1901 he joined the ‘Two-by-Two’s’ and donated £1,300 to Irvine’s ministry – it was a requirement that to become a ‘preacher’ one had to sell all and give to the poor. Cooney relinquished his part in the family business to become, as people called them, because they owned nothing, a ‘Tramp Preacher’ (also known as ‘Go Preachers’). He developed a reputation as being a ‘powerful speaker’ and became one of their most vocal leaders. Cooney was revered by some and ridiculed by others for his views.
In the early years of the 20th century, Cooney’s sermons were debated in the public and press, with frequent citations of aggressively provocative remarks: distinguished for its bitter hostility to all existing Churches, and to a regular paid ministry of any kind, reminding one not a little of the Plymouth Brethren on these and other points Cooney was excommunicated from the “Two by Twos” in Ireland, at a leaders’ meeting, on October 12, 1928. This occurred because he refused to conform his preaching to adhere to the “Living Witness Doctrine” (which posits that faith comes from hearing the word spoken, and seeing the “gospel” physically lived, from the lips and life of a witness), and to cease preaching wherever he felt led to preach. Afterward, he continued to preach worldwide, and groups of his followers left, or were expelled from, the main group and continued in fellowship with him.
Cooney had wanted to end his days in his native Ireland. However he also wished to impart a final doctrinal revelation which caused another divide among his followers there. He had come to the belief that God would grant another opportunity for repentance following death, and this caused a split within the group. Tired, ill and wishing to escape the uproar, he made a final trip to Australia, where he died at Mildura in 1960 .
Today, Cooneyites still exist in small numbers. In the UK, according to the 2001 Census just over 200+ were recorded living in Northern Ireland in County Cork and in Wigton, Cumbria, England. They also exist in Australia, notably in the Mildura District, Victoria; the Young, Muswellbrook and Ballina Districts in New South Wales.

HOW THE COONEYITES DIFFER FROM ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN BELIEFS
What They Believe…
That Their Fellowship:
•    is a direct historical continuation of the New Testament church
•    is “from the beginning”
•    is God’s ONLY true way; therefore, all other church members, preachers, churches and religions are “false”.
That Salvation:
•    comes by grace AND works (self-effort)
•    is earned or merited through faithfulness and righteousness
•    is determined at death
•    is not possible without being in their fellowship
•    is conditional upon works and not secure
•    includes sanctification coming BEFORE justification
That Jesus:
•    came to be a perfect example, a pattern minister or way-shower
•    life is equal or more important than His death
•    created a way to Heaven through His death; and a way on earth by his life; which is one and the same as their fellowship.
That Their Ministers:
•    are God’s only true ministers
•    are the ones through whom one must go (mediators) to be saved
•    are the supreme authorities in Biblical interpretation
•    have authority and rule over members
•    viewpoints are considered as authoritative as the written Word
•    traditions are equal in importance with God’s commands.

What the Cooneyites do NOT Believe

  •  in the Triune God
  • in the deity of Jesus; That Jesus is God the Son
  • in the deity of the Holy Spirit; God the Holy Spirit
  • the Holy Spirit permanently indwells every believer
  • in the finished work of Christ
  • that Jesus came to be our substitute in His life and death
  • that man is born in sin
  • in eternal security
  • in the priesthood of all believers
  • conversion can take place through the written Word without human agency
  • one can know they are saved in this lifetime
  • salvation can be attained without going through their ministers
  • in total reliance upon Jesus’ shed blood for salvation
  • that salvation is an unconditionally free gift of God
  • in salvation solely by grace through faith in Jesus, not of works (i.e. Jesus’ Way is only in their fellowship)

DISCLAIMER: The above are general statements regarding the group’s beliefs and practices gathered over many years from numerous sources. However, they may not be believed in totally. Historically, depending on the time in history and/or the overseer in charge, differences have occurred regionally and likely will continue to occur. And as in any group, some individuals may hold specific beliefs/understandings that differ from the main church body.
The above copy was cut and pasted from:  http://www.tellingthetruth.info/home/factsheet.php




The Nameless House Church –Commonly Known as “The Two-by-Two’s”

Introduction and Background
Not much has been written about this group despite the fact that they are possibly one of the largest cults membership-wise in Australia. Members will quickly tell you they are not ‘Cooneyites’ which is another group and that they have no association with them. However, they both have come from the same ‘root stock’, until there was a ‘split’ with the Cooneyites which is now the smaller of the two groups.  The ‘Two-by-two’s’have been known variously as ‘Irvingites’, ‘The Tramps’,‘Go-preachers’, ‘Workers’, the ‘Nameless House Church’, the ‘Christian Convention Church” and the ‘Friends’ (not the ‘Quakers’). They prefer to call themselves ‘The Way’ (not ‘The Way International’ – a different group altogether), “The Jesus Way” or just “The Truth”.
Their ministers have officially registered with various government agencies under names such as: the ‘Christian Conventions’ in the USA; the ‘United Christian Conventions of Australia’ in Australia; ‘The Testimony of Jesus’ in the United Kingdom; and in New Zealand as, ‘The United Christian Conventions of New Zealand’ and various other names in other countries.
They had their beginnings in Ireland toward the end of the 19th century, in 1897. Their founder was one William Irvine. For a time they were accepted by other churches, but that acceptance was withdrawn when Irvine publicly denounced all other churches. In 1914, when Irvine announced that he the ‘Alpha Gospel’ which was part of the ‘Omega Message’ for the final ‘Age of Grace’. He was soon to be excommunicated.Eventually, one Edward Cooney was also expelled in 1924. In 1928 with those who followed him and had joined with Cooney became known as “The Cooneyites”.
The “Two-by-Two’s” are extremely well co-ordinated and effective in seeking and gaining converts. Many a Christian has been caught, after joining with them, believing that they were in a normal, albeit strict, Christian church, similar to a strict Brethren group. So good is this ‘front’ that some Christians (including church leaders with a solid knowledge of the Bible) have ALMOST been deceived into accepting them as fellow Christians! There are some who still do not believe this group is a smooth and subtle counterfeit of the true Church, therefore, a cult! To hold their opinion is always due to a lack of information. Unlike other cults they do not print literature that states their beliefs and members will not discuss them with ‘Outsiders’. It is only in recent years that some who have broken away from them, have given vital information and insight.
Organizational Structure
The group is run by Head Workers, known also as Overseers. Various geographic areas are controlled by a male Head Worker who assigns ‘fields’ to the Workers under his authority. Elders, who have meetings in their homes, are appointed by the Workers. Workers and Head Workers hold regional, national and international ‘Workers Meetings”.
They have a “clergy-laity” distinction. There are ordinary memberswith the leaders being called, ‘Apostles’, ‘Ministers’ and‘Workers’ – these are also called ‘servants’, ‘hand maidens’ and ‘true shepherds’. The ‘Workers’ are usually men, but women who have given up all of their worldly possessions and live their lives partly according to Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:17 can also be called ‘Workers’.  They are all celibate, unsalaried, and homeless because they must ‘walk as Jesus’–with no permanent place to lay their head.
While in the early days these preachers often lived as street people, these days they move into member’s homes when they are in their assigned ‘field’ or district. It is the members who keep them. Each state has a senior worker, under which the others operate. The Workers exert enormous power and rule their people with an‘iron fist’ so to speak!The fear of excommunication is used to keep people inline and total submitted to them.
They regard themselves as the only true Christians. Conversion to Christ through any other church they believe is Satanic. Any deviation from their teachings is said to be, “earthly, sensual and devilish”. They believe their preachers are direct descendants of the Apostles.
Almost all current members do not know about the ‘roots’ of their movement, which began in the 1800’s. If they are challenged, they will tell you there have been groups of them scattered throughout Europe since the very first century.
Once they avoided cities and preferredworking country districts where there is less opposition. However, they now have large numbers in city areas where they have had great success in wooing people away from other churches. Many a pastor has lost members of his church to them without even knowing who they were!
Their Beliefs and Practices
They claim to have no ‘doctrines’ as such and all of their church beliefs and teachings are claimed to be ‘oral’. They have nevermade public any written or published statement oftheir tenets andbeliefs.
They believe that the Bible is a ‘dead book’ unless it is interpreted by one of their ‘Workers’.
They oppose the doctrine of ‘Original Sin” and that all are born into this world as “innocents’.
They use the King James Bible exclusively in English-speaking countries and they have their own hymnal, entitled, ‘Hymns Old and New’, in their gatherings. They are opposedto all church buildings, viewing them as conclusive evidence of it being a false church.
Friends are assigned to Sunday, Wednesday, and Union Fellowship “meetings”, which are always held in designated homes. Visitors may attend “Gospel Meetings” or “Services” held in rented halls or other convenient buildings. “Conventions” are large, annual, regional gatherings, usually held in rural areas in buildings specially constructed and maintained for this purpose.
Services consist of:

  • (1) Sunday and mid-week: Hymn singing (acapella), prayers, testimonies;
  • (2) Gospel Meetings: Hymns, often with piano accompaniment; prayer and preaching by the Workers;
  • (3) “Union Meetings”: a larger version of #1 usually held once a month;
  • (4) “Convention”: extended preaching sessions, testimony, eat and sleeping over several days;
  • (5) “Special Meetings” a one day version of Conventions.”

All other churches, denominations and religions are false. Their Workers teach that salvation can only be had by hearing and ‘professing’ their beliefs through one of the Workers. The Trinity is rejected as they do not believe that Jesus and the Father are one and the same God. The Workers teach that Jesus was a ‘god-like’ human on whom the ‘Christ Spirit’ settled, and gave the world a pattern of perfect ministry. Jesus is sometimes referred to as ‘divine”, “God the son”, or “a god” – but they do not mean by this that Jesus is in any sense God, in the way the Father is called God.
They have taught that the, “Word made flesh” of John 1:1, 14 refers to the Workers themselves. They have taught and continue to teach that the group is a direct, historical continuation of the New Testament Church, having no earthly founder. However, to trace back through the ages to the first-century Church is extremely difficult as church records are almost non-existent; some records remain from the second and third century church, but with the advent of  Rome accepting Christianity as the State Religion in the fourth century, many church records,from and since that era have been preserved.
Godhood is not ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The “spirit” is an attitude, emotional feeling, or force originating from God.
The propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is not enough to produce salvation – they hold that one must continue faithfully in their belief system through self effort, self denial, and unquestioning submission and obedience to their ‘shepherds’ until death.
The believe that Jesus died to save only those who follow their ministers, and that His ‘pattern life’ and ‘pattern ministry’ were the primary goal of His earthly sojourn.
Conversion Techniques
They present themselves as ordinary Christians and do not disclose their true identity. Members will not discuss beliefs but will refer you to their Workers. They are very friendly to a prospective convert and if a person shows promise they arrange for their Workers to visit. The Worker only visits with someone deemed “worthy” –that is someone prepared to listen to them. They state they have come to preach the true gospel and belong to no sect. If their gospel is rejected they have been known to be quite insulting, even literally shaking the dust off their feet in front of those who reject them.
If the prospect shows signs of interest and acceptance, the Workers generally rent a local hall where they hold weekly meetings just for this person’s benefit. All preaching at these meetings and the house church meetings, are directed at the prospect. These special meetings continue until the person either converts to them, or walks away.
Converts are baptised, which is called ‘Professing’ through one of their Workers, by full immersion at which time they renounce all former religious connections. If necessary, opposing family members are renounced too. Some children, when baptised, have been known to forsake their parents and leave home under the influence of the group.
Christians should be on guard – especially with the popularity and increase of house church groups today.
Meeting Arrangements
Normal meetings are held in the homes of the ‘Saints’ but they also have large groups set aside in various locations for their Conventions. They hold 2-day Conventions twice a year and a 4-day Convention during the summer holiday season. The Convention Site for Brisbane covers 10 acres. Five acres are used for car parking and the other five acres is crowded with people. At convention time, one can drive past and not even know that there are so many people there?Surprisingly, the Brisbane Convention site holds two conventions over the Christmas – New Year period to allow for the numbers!
In the early 1970’s it is known that there were about 120 such convention sites in the United States. In the State of Oregon it was estimated that there were about 5000 members at that time. This number would have increased dramatically since then.
By the early 1990’s, here in Australia it was estimated that there were over 70,000+ members nationwide! Based on numbers attending their annual conventions, at least 50,000+of them are adults. With no visible ‘Organization’ as such, and no open proselytising, there are almost as many “Two-byTwo’s” in Australia as there are people in BOTH Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons put together!
Membership
Members are encouraged to be ‘moderate in all things’. Men wear their hair close-cropped and dress in unassuming and conservative clothes. In the early years, men were encouraged to wear beards, no shirts with collars, white shirts, white underwear, with brown being the preferred colour. Women are not to have short hair and to wear their long hair in a bun. They are to avoid bright colours and current fashions and never seen in anything but dresses or long skirts. No makeup is allowed and the only jewellery they can wear is restricted to wedding rings, modest pins and watches.
Marriage is encouraged within the group, but marriage to a non-member is forbidden. ‘Workers’ are not allowed to marry unless they leave the ‘ministry’.
They do not celebrate Easter, Christmas, or other religious holidays.
They claim to have preached in every country on Earth. Worldwide membership was estimated back in  1993 at about 700,000+with no numbers known in recent times?
In Summary
A “Two-by-Two’s”salvation is based on his works, not on faith. (Eph 2:8,9) Their ‘jesus’ is not the Jesus of the Bible, which tells us that when He walked on this earth He was God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16). They deny that salvation is through faith in the shed blood of Christ and without this there is no redemption from sin and therefore no justification. (Romans 3:24, 25; Acts 10:34; 1 John 1:7)
Compiled by Fred Grigg
Mandate Ministries
Gold Coast, July 2013




Cults – Dead Ends of Deception

CULTS – DEAD ENDS OF DECEPTION
I’m told that one explanation of the meaning of the word ‘cult’ is that the word is derived from the Latin word  ‘cultus’ which means ‘any kind of ritual, ceremony or liturgy’. The word ‘cult’ was also recently defined as being ‘a teaching, group or movement which deviates from orthodoxy while claiming to represent the true faith’.
Remember, all cults deviate from what is regarded as being orthodox. Christianity is for everyone – from the intellectual to the uneducated. A good litmus test is to question if what is being put to you is capable of being understood by an uneducated member of a remote tribal community, or not! When confronted by a person who tries to tell you that you are in the wrong place spiritually, you need to be able to apply Biblical standards in order to know if that one comes to you in ‘truth’ or not. Why? Because there are many similarities between ‘true Christianity’ and ‘false christianity’. Matthew 24:24 says, “If it were possible, they shall deceive even the elect”. The ‘elect’ referred to here of course, are true Christians. Logically, if a true Christian is in danger of being deceived, then how much easier must it be to deceive one who has no understanding of the Bible or sound Christian teachings?
Satan the Devil (yes, he really does exist and he is known as the Father of Lies), tries to frustrate the building of the true Kingdom of God by raising up those who are ‘false prophets’ (Matt. 7:13-23), ‘false apostles’ (2 Cor. 11:12-13), ‘false teachers’ (2 Peter 2:1-22) and ‘false pastors and shepherds’ (Acts 20:29-30). In simple terms all of these ‘false’ ones are going to look and sound just like true Christians!
Satan’s foremost strategy is to create confusion of which he is the creator and author! People who may have rejected the false (or the counterfeit) are often placed in real danger, through that bad experience, of rejecting the truth, because the truth is difficult to separate from the false. For deception to win, it has to have a very close resemblance to the truth!It is only because of a lack of knowledge and discernment that people are candidates for deception. The truth and what is false therefore, will have many similarities, such as:
• both will require strong leadership
• both will stress a need for loyalty and commitment to their leaders
• both will believe in a deep commitment to the group and its purpose and goals
• both will share the belief that we are living in what is called ‘The End Times’
• both will work to establish a hope for a different and better life-style
A point to remember is that true leadership will always work under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ; false authority will tolerate and encourage the deification (or the exalting like a ‘god’) of their leader, or leaders. The true always looks to the Bible for instruction and guidance; the false invariably will have other writings which embrace material supposedly superior, or additional to Scripture. For example, the Latter Day Saints have the Book of Mormon and other books; Jehovah’s Witnesses have the Watchtower Magazine and a multitude of other books. You will always be able to recognize a dangerous religious group that claims to be ‘Christian’ by their rejection of:-
• the Authority of the Bible, God’s Word
• the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is God manifest in the flesh
• the Cross of Calvary, and
• the Blood Atonement paid by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary’s Cross.
Dangerous religious groups will always promote the idea among their followers that they alone have the truth and that every religion other than theirs is of the Devil. Logically, this leads their members to believe that everyother group claiming to be Christian is the enemy!
Cults will always reject, or suspect all authority but their own. To illustrate, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will place themselves above the law of the land when it conflicts with their own teachings and belief. They justify it by quoting Acts 5:29 which says, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Such teaching leads to a group believing that they are above the law; which can have disastrous results, as it did for the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) in Malawi in the 1960’s when thousands of their members were killed and many more had to flee for their for their lives into neighbouring countries! The Malawian Government required people of voting age to register for an ID Voting Card, without which one could not vote! The JW’s are not allowed to vote, so they did not register and were considered a threat to society!
© Copyright Mandate Ministries 1997




Mirage of Moderate Islam

“Islam does not have a separation of Mosque and State, because there is really no state, only the mosque.”

Travellers across the vast stretches of the Arabian desert have been known to get lost and in their thirst and exhaustion hallucinate oases with palm trees and flowing water. Western policymakers lost in the vast stretches of madness that define the Muslim world are even more wont to hallucinate the oasis of a moderate Islam to take refuge in. Whether you’re dying for a drink or a way to reaffirm your reality, a mirage is sometimes the only way you can find it.

Moderate Islam is a mirage, a projection by desperate Westerners of their own values and culture, on an entirely different religion and culture. It is a mirage that many Muslims are eager to uphold, in the same way that desert merchants might sell goblets and bowls of sand to passing travellers foolish enough to confuse water with dust. And like travelers who think they are drinking water, when they are actually swallowing sand, it is a deception that will eventually kill the deceived.

When the Western cultural elite look at Islam, they see what they have to see to avoid falling into crisis mode. Like the traveller who would rather choke on sand, than face up to the fact that he is lost in a desert, they would rather keep most things as they are, even at the cost of the extinction of the nations they preside over, than confront the full scope of the threat surrounding them. A threat that they had a hand in nurturing and feeding in the name of goals that seemed to make sense at the time.

It is easier to segregate a “Bad Islam” composed of a tiny minority of extremists from the generally “Good Islam” of the rulers of the Muslim world and the waves of Muslim immigrants washing up on their shores. [That] this segregation has no objective reality, and is nothing but a psychological defence mechanism against experiencing the full reality of a disaster. From the Titanic to World War II, there are numerous similar situations in which the people in charge chose to ignore a growing crisis at a horrific cost.

The two primary paradigms through which Western political elites see Islam, is that of tyranny on the right, and the evils of Western foreign policy on the left. Bush employed the former when he defined the problem as being one of tyranny, rather than Islam. Having defined the problem in terms of a majority of “Good Muslims” oppressed by “Bad Tyrants”, Bush tried to liberate the former from the latter, only to discover that there was a good deal of overlap between the two. Under Obama, we have seen the left implement its own construct of Islam, as popular resistance movements against colonial oppression, who are reacting to the evils of American foreign policy. This knee jerk Marxist formula goes one worse than the Bush Administration by defining terrorists as “Good Muslims” and moderates as “Yankee Puppets”.

But the only item of true significance to emerge from the contrast of these world views, is the revelation that American political leaders from both sides of the spectrum still view Islam in terms of the old Cold War struggle between Communism and Capitalism. Like many generals who fight every war in terms of the last war, the political leaders of the West still see Islam in Cold War colors, which prevents from seeing it for what it is. While Islam shares some common denominators with Communism, as well as Nazism, it is also a quite different entity than either one. For one thing it is not Western in any sense of the word. It does not rely on a centralized leadership. It has had over a thousand years to seep into the culture of the regions it has conquered. That has made Islam into an identity in a much more profound way, than Adolf or Vladimir could have ever managed with their own crack pottery.

Islam predates the political movements such as Communism and Nazism that arose to fill a vacuum of faith in a secularizing West with dreams of racial and economic utopias. It is the original sin of the East, a ruthless religion based on stolen beliefs and stolen property, its moment of religious transcendence was not that of the law or the spirit, but the sight of tribal rivalries uniting under a single green banner.

The Banner of Islam.

The powerful appeal of Islam has been rooted in that dream of unity, an idea that is hard for more civilized peoples to understand because they take unity for granted. Yet any European need only turn to the fierce struggle for an independent and united German nation in the 19th century, or for an independent and united Italy around the same time. An eventual outcome in which both nations ruled by nationalist regimes faced off together against England and France during WWII could be traced back to that false sense of destiny which papered over national insecurities with blood.

But nationalism requires meaningful national identities, while the Muslim world only has artificial borders drawn by colonial administrations, differences in Arabic slang and bitter familial rivalries. Despite the best efforts of Arab Socialist autocrats like Gamal Abdel Nasser or Saddam Hussein, the vaunted unity of the Arab nation failed to materialise. While Nasser admired Hitler and Hussein admired Stalin, neither was able to turn their respective countries into anything even as barely functional as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. Instead Nasser got by on Soviet aid and Saddam Hussein on oil money.

Glance at a map, and you will see the Muslim world defined in terms of borders and politicians, but as Allied troops along the Afghan-Pak border are discovering, the actual Muslims on the ground define themselves in terms of tribe and family, not nation. The Muslim world is a hodgepodge of dispossessed ethnic groups crammed into artificial nation states created by the UK and the UN. Nation states that have a vote at the UN, an embassy off Turtle Bay, and little tangible reality.
If that sounds far fetched, consider that there is an actual debate among foreign policy experts over who really runs Pakistan. Many European observers of Turkey have a similar debate going there as well. Most of the Muslim world is run by families, like the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Some are run by dictators who took part in military coups and hold power using the military and the secret police. These are the only forms of stable government in the Muslim world that matter.

Without a dictator or a powerful ruling family, or clique of them, civil war follows. Yemen has been torn apart by such tribal civil wars for a long time, the latest phase of the war is being conducted with the participation of Al Qaeda. Anwar Al-Awlaki, the infamous Imam, did not join Al Qaeda merely out of anger or ideology, he did it because his Awlaki family is allied with the local Yemeni Al Qaeda. Think about that for a moment, and you begin to see the byzantine maze of loyalties and alliances in the vast desert of the Muslim world.

Empires and kingdoms combined church and state in order to insure that there would be no contradiction between religion and the authorities, that the will of the king would also be the will of god. Mohammed tried to make the same leap in the multicultural environs of Mecca, eliminating all religions, but the one he had newly created in order to glue together the warring families and tribes. That act was and is the essential basis of Islam. Everything else is borrowed glamor from the other religions that he had subjugated and destroyed to make way for Islam.

For Muslims that initial bloody butchery is the only true act of religious significance that matters. Because for a brief shining moment, the internecine quarrels were brutally suppressed, and thousands of backstabbing desert tribesmen came to see themselves as something larger and greater. Of course that false unity collapsed back into warring families and tribes. Which has made it all the more of an unattainable dream. It is why Jihad is the ultimate religious act for a Muslim, and why the Caliphate is the great religious goal.

To Muslims, Islam is a Perfect Form of Global Unity that Must Be Achieved at Any Cost

In the face of this understanding, any talk of a moderate Islam is nothing but a farce. To Muslims, Islam is what the Thousand Year Reich was to Nazis and a United World is to Socialists. A perfect form of global unity that must be achieved at any cost.

A moderate Muslim might pursue such a goal “peacefully” through Dawa or missionary work, but successful Muslim mass conversions have taken place either directly or indirectly through the sword. Even Muslim missionary successes in the West take place in the context of Muslim terrorism. There is no Islam without the sword, because it has no meaning or identity without violence. A non-violent Islam is nothing but a collection of tribal mores and borrowed religious ideas. It quickly recedes to the secular and the cultural, driving the Islamists to revive its core ethos through acts of violence and terror.

This is what Western political and cultural leaders do not understand. The Right is correct that Islam like Communism can be weakened by capitalism, but it cannot be destroyed that way. Because Islam is not incompatible with business, it originated among merchants after all. The fruits of capitalism can help secularize Islam, but not without empowering the very same type of merchants who helped create it. That is why American capitalism has helped create the terrorist threat by enriching the new rulers of Mecca, the House of Saud, which has expanded its own power by funding a new Islamic invasion against its best customers in the West. And so history repeats itself again.

Islamists Have Shown They Can Quite Effectively Exploit Capitalism and Democracy
to Further Their Aims

Capitalism brought down the Soviet Union, but it could not give Russians a meaningful identity. Instead it financed the rise of a new Russian totalitarian regime of KGB bosses and oligarchs who had grown wealthy on the profits from Western business. Even Communist China has shown that it can incorporate Capitalism and only become more of a threat by doing so. The fundamental error conservative American political leaders made was to assume that Capitalism and Democracy were absolute forms of good, in reality they’re simply tools and prisms which different cultures use to express their potential in different ways. The Bush Administration showed the limits of applying Cold War rhetoric to Islamic realities. Or, treating 1.5 billion Muslims as the demographic equivalent of 1500 nuclear bombs, without ever admitting the attitude behind the diplomacy.

The Left however is even more wrong, falling back on its old habit of treating all enemies as resistance movements against capitalism, globalism and all the isms that they associate with First World nation states. If the Right is still echoing Ronald Reagan, the Left is still stuck on the Philippine–American War of the 19th century. And while the Right has shown that it can learn, the Left has only shown that it can shout the same self-destructive thing even louder. The Obama Administration is an exercise in national self-hatred. A ritual purging for the sins of Western success similar to an anorexic vomiting after every meal.

If the Right has some ideas for dealing with Islam, the Left has decided that Islam is right. There is no logic behind this, but that of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, along with healthy doses of orientalism and the fetishisation of the Noble Savage.

The Chief Cause of Islamic Outrage, is that these Displays of Anger Allow Muslims to Feel a Sense of Power 

American foreign policy triggers Muslim rage, as do cartoons in Europe, Jewish housing in Israel, Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, British female tourists in Dubai, a teddy named Mohammed in Sudan, and countless other “irritations”. But none of these excuses are the real cause. The chief cause of Islamic outrage, is that these displays of anger allow Muslims to feel a sense of power. Anger empowers small men, whether they are beating their wives or blowing themselves up in cafes. The excuses, “She made do it”, “She shouldn’t have walked in front of the TV” or “She should have had dinner ready”, are just that. Excuses. The real cause is the sense of power that comes with the anger. The sense of suddenly being larger than life. That anger is its own cause and its own reward. And that is what Islam gives to the Muslim. The Jihad.The Caliphate.Anger in the name of Allah.

In America, Democratic and Republican leaders primarily differ on how tiny that “tiny minority of extremists” really is, and who’s to blame for their extremism. The ugly reality that their entire view of Islam is based on a mirage, is not something they are willing to accept. But to talk of the Taliban or Al Qaeda without speaking of Islam, is as absurd as discussing the [Russian] Gulags without mentioning Communism. It means that not only can the problem never be solved, but it can never even be addressed. Because we have never stated the cause.

Instead we try to fight Islamic terrorism by cultivating alliances among the constantly churning factions of governments, militias, warlords and tribal elders, hoping to use them—only to be used as pawns in their own games instead. That is what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has happened among the Palestinian Arabs and the Yemeni government, in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and anywhere else we try to apply Western policy making.

Islam Does Not Have a Separation of Mosque and State, Because There is Really No State, Only the Mosque

The Muslim world has technology, but no civilization. Western nations have given to the Islamic East, the appearance of nationhood and the fruits of industry, without ever acknowledging that they were tossing pearls before swine. A pig wearing a pearl necklace is still a member of the porcine family. Only now it is a well-dressed pig. We have dressed up the Muslim world, but underneath it is not so different from the warring tribes that Mohammed tried to glue together with Islam. And that is why Islam retains the power that it does. Islam does not have a separation of Mosque and State, because there is really no state, only the mosque. The great dream of over a millennium of a transcendent global Muslim unity. A Great Leap Forward across the chasm of tribal savagery and into a Caliphate, which will undo all the achievements of all other peoples, and demonstrate once and for all that the Muslim is supreme over all the rest of the world.

Author: Daniel Greenfield (Bio and Archives) Monday, August 20, 2012
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City writer and columnist. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and his articles appear at its Front Page Magazine site.
Daniel can be reached at:
sultanknish@yahoo.com
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/print-friendly/48919
Downloaded 15th May 2013




Choosing a Church After a Painful Experience

Twenty years ago I left what had been a warm, exciting Christian fellowship, but which had become an authoritarian, restrictive organization. I reached this difficult decision after months of wrenching deliberation and several talks with the group’s leaders about my concerns at the direction the fellowship was taking. I had joined the movement 5½ years earlier in another city, had served as one of four leaders of a church-planting team that brought the movement to Columbus, Ohio, and had led Bible studies and held other positions of responsibility in the church. I literally had expected to remain with the movement the rest of my life. To see it degenerate was, to say the least, a disillusioning experience.

I found myself saying good-bye to men and women I had considered my brothers and sisters. I felt like a part of my soul was being cut out of me. What was I going to do now? I had developed no contingency plans to fall back on in such an unforeseen situation.

My immediate decision was to return to my parents’ home in the Cleveland area, and to the church in which I had grown up. I rejoiced to find a warm welcome and, what was especially important to me, new opportunities to minister after having been increasingly restricted in Columbus.

However, this was, in my mind, only a temporary solution. I still needed a new full-time job and my own place to live. What was I to do for the long term?

After a summer in Cleveland, I decided to move to the San Francisco Bay area to spend some time with a more balanced church, acquiring experience and knowledge that would be useful in later church service. The membership spanned all ages, races, and many nationalities. There was a multiplicity of opportunities to minister for those who desired, and a collective leadership who exercised sincere pastoral care without abusing their authority.

Four cities and churches later, and after 12 years of helping cult survivors, I offer several suggestions for those who currently may be in the process of looking for a new church after a painful experience. These suggestions, in conjunction with the very helpful description of a healthy church given by Rev. Richard Dowhower in the spring 1994 issue of FOCUS News, should help you in your search. Let me add here that you need not think you should quickly jump right back into another church, and that if you don’t there’s something wrong with you. At Wellspring we often recommend that victims take a sabbatical from church for a while until their spiritual wounds have healed a bit.

But first, what are some things to keep in mind or look for when choosing a new church? Most people who have had bad experiences with churches or other types of organizations know several things they don’t want:

  1. They don’t want a church with a lot of rules, or whose pastor thinks he’s God’s gift to mankind, God’s mouthpiece on earth.
  2. They don’t want a church in which normal, legitimate pastoral care has been replaced by meddling in the members’ lives.
  3. They don’t want a church in which the opportunities to serve God or others arerestricted to just a few officially sanctioned activities, or in which they are considered “unspiritual” or “carnal” if they choose to limit their involvement in the church.

But what should one do when going about the usually tentative and confusing task of finding a new church home after months or years of enduring spiritual abuse? Initially, you may wish to do what I did: return to the church of your pre-cult life, if you had one. You may find it is just what you are looking for, or at least that it provides a comfortable temporary spiritual oasis.

Beyond that, some of the things I would suggest are:

1. Take an inventory of why you want to join another church, and what you want in a church.
In his book How to Find Your Church, Christian researcher George Barna asserts that “it is important to be completely honest with yourself. Identify exactly why you want to be involved with a church, and your expectations of the church. If you do not know why you are pursuing a church, or what specific characteristics and qualities you are looking for, the chances are great that you will not find your ‘ideal’ church.”

If you are looking for another church because you believe you can’t really be “spiritual” without one, or because you feel God won’t love you as much (or at all) unless you are attending church, then you need to re-examine what it really means to be spiritual, and you need to (re)acquaint yourself with the concept of the grace of God.

If, however, you want another church because you long for warm, accepting fellowship, spiritual encouragement, and/or opportunities to serve others, then you are on the right track.

2. Make a list of the things you want in a church.
These things will differ from person to person, depending on what he or she considers important. However, writing as an Evangelical Christian, some of the things I would look for are:

a. sound biblical footing.
A church that teaches anything and everything but the Bible seems to me not to be a church at all. When I was employed as a printer in Kent, Ohio prior to joining the staff of Wellspring, I used to drive past one particular church on my way home. Out of curiosity I always read the sign in front as I drove by. Invariably it advertised the next Sunday’s “sermon” as “Slides of So-and-So’s trip to Russia,” “Book Reviews,” “Buddhism’s Contribution to Christianity,” or just “Picnic in the Park.” It struck me that this was more of a social club or a cultural society than a church. That’s fine; if you want to join a social club, join one. But call it that, not a “church.”

While living in California, my wife, Linda, and I became acquainted with a family who attended another church and were part of a Bible study group made up of members of that church. Eventually the pastor decided he should attend it in order to ensure that everything was in order, but he admitted he didn’t really know the Bible; all he knew was the official prayer book of the denomination, since that was what was taught in seminary. I thought to myself, “What business is this man in?”

Further, I would look for a church that not only teaches the Bible, but also takes it seriously. By that I mean, the pastor(s) and Bible teachers don’t attempt to make the Bible say things it clearly doesn’t, either by reading into it what is not there, explaining away what is there, or spiritualizing everything. There is no need to read the Bible any differently from the way we normally read anything else, whether the daily newspaper, the novels of Mark Twain, or the poetry of William Shakespeare. Whatever we read, we need to adhere to a minimum of commonly accepted principles of interpretation. One of the most basic is simply that if the text does not explicitly say something, we must not insist it does. For example, there is no verse in the Bible that explicitly says, “Thou shalt not smoke.” Now, for health and cleanliness reasons it is a good idea not to smoke, but it is absolutely wrong to say the Bible forbids it. You can probably think of numerous similar examples.

b. welcome that is warm and accepting without being smothering.
If you can walk in the front door of the church without anyone noticing or greeting you, that certainly should be a red flag. On the other hand, if you are immediately mobbed by members effusively welcoming you, that also should be a red flag.

c. congregation size that is comfortable to you.
Many people who have had unpleasant experiences in churches often prefer large churches, a few hundred or more, so they can melt into the congregation without feeling like an obvious newcomer. They want to just sit in the pew and be a “spectator” for a while until their comfort level rises. There is nothing wrong or “unspiritual” about this. Others are eager to find new opportunities to serve, and it is often easier to find these in small churches, which frequently have difficulty finding enough people to teach Sunday school, help out in the nursery, or serve in other ways.

d. pastor who is a “gentle shepherd,” not a “lord over the flock.”
Pastors ideally should be models, examples, and mentors, not dictators or despots. An ex-elder in my former abusive movement stated that the leaders of the movement were not shepherds out in front leading the flock but were “cowboys riding herd.” Is the pastor open to questions, or does he demand unquestioning obedience? Does he permit diversity and freedom within the church, or does he expect and require conformity and uniformity (even though he calls it “unity”)?

One of the characteristics of a healthy church offered by Rev. Dowhower is a propos here. He wrote, “Healthy congregations do not play ‘bait and switch’ games with God’s grace, but treat it with utmost respect. To offer divine and unconditional acceptance (God’s grace), and then to make additional conditions of conformity to the organization necessary to continue receiving that grace, is to compromise the unconditional in a most reprehensible manner. Healthy congregations strive to keep the experience of divine unconditional acceptance from being qualified, compromised and contaminated by organizational expectations.”

e. encouragement to find God’s will for your life independent of the control of the leader(s).
It is normal and natural to be concerned about what God desires one to do with one’s life. However, one must be permitted the freedom to seek that will on one’s own, without interference by anyone else, including one’s pastor. Most Christians will voluntarily seek out advice and counsel to help them in this endeavor, but they must be permitted to reach their own conclusions. Any advice offered must remain advice and not metamorphose overnight into directives. One man who was a member of my former movement asked a leader for advice on purchasing a particular car. The leader advised him against buying it. The member went ahead and bought it anyway, and then was disciplined by the leader for disobedience. The member headed for the door.

f. adequate childcare, Sunday school, and other activities for children, if you are a parent.
Couples with young children will want to ensure their kids will not be neglected if they decide to join the church. They will be concerned that their children are well cared for and taught, not just entertained. Does the church take the care and teaching of children seriously, devoting prime facilities and teachers to their care?

g. openness about how the money is spent.
Any church that is not open and aboveboard about its use of funds should be avoided at all costs (no pun intended!). Regular accounting should be given to the members, preferably in writing, and the books should always be available for inspection by any member. After all, a sizable proportion of the funds is contributed by the membership; therefore, they have a right to know how it is being used. They also have the right to approve of such use through secret ballot at regular church business meetings (at least annually). In the Book of Acts (chapter 6), the church members, not the apostles, chose the men they wanted to oversee the distribution of food to their widows.

3. Visit numerous churches in your area that seem like they might offer what you’re looking for.
Names of churches can be found in the Yellow Pages, usually listed according to denomination. Visit each church several times; a one-time visit might catch the church on an “off” day. Further, don’t confine your visits to Sunday morning worship services only; those are usually the most “benign” meetings of the average church. Attend also on Sunday and Wednesday evenings (and adult Sunday school if offered), when the congregation is usually smaller and more “committed” to the church. It is often during these meetings that you can really sense the “spirit” of a church, and pick up on any red flags.

4. Talk to church members.
Ask them how long they’ve been attending, what attracted them to the church, what they like the most about the church, what they like the least about the church. Make an appointment with the pastor to ask him about his philosophy of ministry, what his goals for the church are, what he likes most and least about the church. Ask for a printed “statement of faith,” a list of the church’s doctrinal beliefs. See if it conforms to your own religious beliefs, or if you can at least be comfortable with it.

5. Call the local ministerial fellowship.
Most cities of any size have an association of ministers of the area who meet on a regular basis to share their church experiences, including trials and successes, as peers. If a church in the area has acquired a reputation as one with problems (legalism, authoritarianism, exclusivism, isolationism, etc.) these ministers will usually know it and should be willing to tell you. You could also talk to the minister of the church down the road from the church you’re checking out.

These few steps should prove useful in finding a new church home. If you see any red flags at all, one additional step might help to confirm whether those things are true indicators of problems. This last suggestion occurred to me as I was responding to a letter from a woman who was a member of the church in Columbus I had left several years earlier. She wrote that Paul Martin’s description, in his book Cult Proofing Your Kids, of his experiences in other churches of the same movement were totally unlike anything she had so far experienced in the Columbus church. She wrote that before she decided to join the church, she attended many meetings, talked with many members, including the pastors, and studied the church’s statement of faith. She found nothing out of order. She seemed to imply that Paul must simply be a “disgruntled ex-member” or be making mountains out of molehills. In my reply to her (Paul usually asks me to reply to letters dealing with our former movement) I told her that she had done many of the things I would recommend people do when they are looking for a new church. However, there was one thing she didn’t do that I would also recommend. And that was:

6. Talk to ex-members of the church you’re interested in.
Ask the pastor for the names and phone numbers of former members of the church who still live in the area so you can call them and ask them why they left. This might seem awfully bold, maybe even brash, and perhaps it is. But any good pastor will be glad to give you such names and numbers. If the pastor declines your request, that should be taken as a red flag.

There are legitimate reasons for leaving a church that would not necessarily indicate the church is unhealthy. Some of these might be: inadequate services for children, music style one does not prefer, inconvenient meeting schedule, etc. But other reasons for leaving would indicate problems:

“I’ve been a Christian for many years, but I always felt condemned by the pastor.”

“I never felt accepted by the other members because I’ve been divorced.”

“I felt like unless I participated in all the meetings and activities of the church I would never really fit in.”

“The pastor seemed to promote the attitude that only his church was where God was.”

“All the women [or men, or members] looked and talked alike; it seemed like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

Finally, a few reminders. The cult or abusive church you fled may still color your thinking regarding what a healthy church should look and feel like. If your former group was characterized by enthusiastic meetings with energetic singing, dynamic preaching or teaching, and open displays of emotion, you may find groups or churches that are more contemplative dull and boring; or conversely, spirited churches may feel too similar to your old group to be comfortable. The opposite may also be true. If your former group was sedate and meditative, more demonstrative churches may seem frothy and superficial. But, again, groups too similar to your former group may make you uneasy. Neither upbeat nor laid back meetings are necessarily bad, however. Time and patience (on your part) will usually alleviate this type of difficulty.

Keep in mind that the purpose of the church is not to entertain an audience, but to help believers in their worship of God, teach them God’s Word, and stimulate them to live godly lives. George Barna says, “That does not mean church should be boring. Any place that helps us to understand the God of creation, the Savior of mankind, and provides an outlet for the use of our talents and skills, should be exciting.” He goes on to caution against “evaluating [a] church on the quality or entertainment value of a religious performance, how perfectly the choir sang, or how eloquently the preacher spoke. Instead, think about what impact the sermon had upon your life, or how well the singing led you to worship God.”

Above all, don’t forget that there is no such thing as the “perfect church.” That is no excuse, however, for shoddy administration, haphazard meetings or schedule, aloof or cold parishioners, and certainly not for outright spiritual abuse.

Barna concludes his remarks by reminding us “that as with any family, there will be a time of transition. In a way, you become like an adopted child. Despite the family’s happiness to have you, they will have to change some of their ways to accommodate your needs and you will have to do the same, to become an accepted part of the family. A church, like an individual, cannot be all things to all people. But it can become a loving and caring unit that makes your life better.”

Though that last sentence may seem remote or dubious to you at this time of grieving what you lost in your former group or church, it is true and can be your experience as you follow these suggestions and trust your God-given ability to discern, on the basis of your painful experience, the elements that make for a healthy and rewarding one.

Nb: Lawrence Pile is associated with Wellspring Retreat & Resource Centre, USA. Mandate Ministries has been ‘linked’ to them since the late 1980’s. You will find a link to their website on our Links page.

 




What To Do When Confronting The Cultist


Unfortunately, just like the bulldog above – ready to tear someone to pieces – many people go about confronting a member of a cult group in much the same way. In fact, the only thing they achieve is to further ‘cement’ the cultist into his belief system! Sadly, some people see it only as an opportunity to demonstrate their ‘knowledge’ in a smart way which simply swamps the poor cult with smart remarks, some facts and sometimes Scriptures, which also achieves nothing.

PRAYER:

If you are a Born-Again Christian, you should always begin an encounter with prayer (after all it is a “spiritual battle): Pray with them, or in their presence, whenever possible. It is best not to ask them IF you can pray with them, so as not to give them an opportunity to say “No”. You might begin by saying something like this:- “I never like discussing things about God or Bible matters without first talking to Him about it, so let’s pray and ask for God’s guidance and blessing upon our discussion”. Then, bow your head and IMMEDIATELY begin to pray! Many will not pray with you if you offer them the opportunity, but few people will ever interrupt another person when praying, regardless of how much they disagree with them. Don’t let your prayer ‘preach at them’ – simply pray for the love of God and the truth of His Word to be revealed, or similar.

When praying with a cultist, try to be sensitive to the terminology you use to address God, especially with a Jehovah’s Witness! You could begin your prayer by addressing “Yahweh God”. You can then thank God that He has revealed Himself totally in the person of His only Son, Jesus Christ. Also, thank God in your prayer for His Holy Spirit whose ministry it is to lead and guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Pray that God’s Spirit of Truth would prevail in the discussion. Beginning with prayer gives you an opportunity to subtly set the tone for the discussion and say some things about God and Christ that would be difficult to say otherwise.

Establish Some Common Ground:

Before entering into your discussion, you should first seek to establish some common ground, preferably the inspiration and authority of the Bible. If this is not possible, then try to establish the personality of God – that He is a person and not some impersonal “force” or, “divine intelligence”. This is because most cultists, especially the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, come armed with briefcases full of their own materials.

Mostly, they are better-versed on THEIR material than is the average Christian, so AGREE TO STICK TO THE BIBLE! Confine yourself to the “primary” source, not some “secondary” source. Also, when quoting from or reading the Bible, make sure that you use a version that is standardly accepted and approved of, e.g., RSV, KJV, NKJ, ASV, NIV. If you do use “their version”, then you should know its weaknesses and inaccuracies ahead of time. This is especially true in the case of the New World Translation of the Bible (which is not recognised as an accurate translation by any reputable Bible scholar!) which used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who “translated” it to suit their own teachings!

Finally, be careful NOT to quote isolated scriptures. Most cultists are masters at doing this, and consequently frequently quote verses out of context to try to prove their point. Many a “shaky” Christian has been won to a cult by their using this ploy.

Be Careful about Your Attitude:

On the one hand, don’t have an attitude of timidity and inferiority (2 Timothy 1:7) then on the other hand, don’t have an attitude or pride and superiority (2 Corinthians 10:1). From the beginning, do everything possible to make the person relaxed, comfortable, at ease and not on the defensive. An attitude of real friendliness can go a long way in disarming a cultist because he is, most of the time, prejudiced and defensive against all evangelical Christians from the outset.

One good way to disarm him is to acknowledge the things in his life and practice that are exemplary: his zeal, dedication, sacrifice and the like. Remember how St. Paul approached the men of Athens? “I perceive that in every way you are very religious” (Acts 17:22). He didn’t begin by saying to them something like, “You dopey bunch of idolatrous heathens; you are all going to hell for your heresy and apostasy!”.

Seek to use a positive approach and most importantly, reach out to them in real “agape” love. Seek to befriend them, even establish a relationship of love with them that will eventually have the effect of ‘driving a wedge’ into their beliefs. Make sure that you see them as human beings who are created in the image of God, and not as infidels who need their spiritual scalps lifted! Always remember, many of these people have found in their belief and particular fellowship, a degree of personal and social acceptance that they never knew in life before.

Therefore, as a Christian, if you are going to successfully reach them, you are going to have to show them a degree of love, warmth, interest, concern and acceptance, at least as great as – or possibly even greater than – that which they have experienced in their particular group. If you really love them with Christ’s love, it will drive that wedge, that we mentioned before, into their cultic thinking. In their minds they will be thinking something like, “How can this person be such a friendly and loving person and not share my beliefs?” or, “How can this person accept me and yet reject my beliefs?” or even, “How can this person be so nice and belong to the devil?”

The devil’s Role:

Most cultists are coerced with the idea that anyone who opposes their groups beliefs is motivated by satan himself. Your loving attitude towards them will go a long way towards destroying, or casting doubt upon, this belief and prejudice. Finally, be tough but at the same time tender. DON’T COMPROMISE GOD’S TRUTH! But rather, speak the truth to them in love (Ephesians 3:15). Above all, don’t try to be so tactful that you actually begin to stretch the truth, or so ruthlessly truthful that you are not loving. Through prayer, learn to first bathe God’s truth in God’s love and then learn to speak it out.

Stick Only to Key Issues:

In your discussion, it is very important that you stick only with key issues, such as the Person, Nature and Work of Christ. Don’t let yourself be caught into chasing “theological rabbits” as this will take you into a ‘Bible Holes’ that actually will play into the cultist’s hand and ‘corner’ you with his erroneous theology! As your discussion progresses, make sure that you have the person define all of the terms he uses and ask him to give the basis of his authority for that definition. For example, the following words or phrases always need to be carefully defined: the ‘Deity of Christ’, ‘Justification’, ‘Incarnation’, ‘Eternal Life’, ‘New Birth’, ‘Judgment’, ‘Born Again’, and ‘Resurrection’.

Concerning Christ:

You should not only deal with the importance of His sacrificial atoning death on the Cross, but also emphasise the importance of His physical resurrection from the dead. You might ask them something like: “Why was it so important to His followers that Jesus Christ was physically resurrected from the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:13-17).

You could remind them that Buddha is dead, Mohamed is dead, Krishna is dead, Joseph Smith Jr. is dead, Charles Taze Russell is dead (et al) and that one day his guru or leader will die (if this is not already the case). Tell him that he will be sad, but there is no reason for his leader to rise from the dead, because you have already received the ‘light’ of the only man to be raised from the dead, Jesus, and you have His Light with you’? So, ask again, “Why was the resurrection of Christ so important to His disciples?”.

Try to Find Past Vacuums in their Life:

This can best be done by asking the person what it was that drew them into their particular group in the first place. Also, ask if they had any other church involvement before joining their present group? And if so, why they left that church? This will give you a good opportunity to see into their background and find out their needs and spiritual vacuums. Always give them an honest and fair opportunity to explain their views without your constant interruption. Try not to be so preoccupied with what your response is going to be so that you never really hear what they say in response. Remember, the first and most important part of witnessing to anyone is to listen. Really try to understand what they think and believe. If you honestly and sincerely hear them out, they will more than likely do the same for you.

Don’t be Fooled by any Experience They Claim To Have Had:

Never ever forget that satan can counterfeit all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and he is also a master of the “counterfeit experience”. So don’t try to tear down or belittle any of the experiences they may share with you, because they are all probably real!

Remember, they HAVE experienced something, even though it’s counterfeit. Their experience is just as real to them as your experience is to you. In one of our debates, the local TM teacher kept referring to experience as “proof” by saying: “Well, all I can say is that all of these people practicing TM are experiencing SOMETHING!”.

Obviously, many of these people DO experience a degree of peace and tranquility. Jesus tells us: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give unto you” (John 14:27). Here He infers that there is a “worldly peace” that people can receive, but logically being of the world, it is given by satan! If you say: “I have peace in Christ,” the cultist will most likely answer: “Yes, and I have peace through TM, or Krishna Consciousness, or through Yoga, etc.”. Don’t ever fall into the trap of swapping spiritual experiences.

Remember also that almost all cults are very experientially oriented, so that a discussion based around experience will not get you anywhere. It is important therefore, to stay on the historic Biblical understanding and revelation of God in Christ. Point out to them that all of your experience is based upon historical, objective, and propositional truth. A principle to remember is this: all valid experience is derived from truth, never the reverse! We must always test our experiences against a truth; we never try to infer a truth from our experience.

Check Their Attitude to Sin both in the World and in Their Personal Lives:

Ask them how they realistically deal with evil in general in the world, and how they deal with personal sin in their own life? Their inadequate understanding and low view of sin and retribution can be revealed by discussing with them what was dealt with by Christ’s death on the Cross of Calvary.

Few cultic groups have a clear understanding of the real meaning, or significance of the Cross. Islam and Baha’ism may accept Christ as a manifestation of God, but they have absolutely no clear understanding of the meaning and purpose of Christ’s atoning death on the Cross.

You can use this gap in their understanding by asking this question: “Why was it necessary for Christ to die?” Their answer to this questions will quickly reveal their understanding of the nature of man and his condition before God, as well as what they feel is the solution (salvation) to man’s problem. Even though many other religions and cultists believe that it was not necessary for Christ to die on the cross, it is easy to point out to them from Scripture that THIS WAS JESUS’ CONVICTION FOR HIS COMING! See Matthew 16:21, 17:22-23, 24:44-47

Share Your Personal Testimony of your Christian Faith:

When you feel the time is right and you are led by the Holy Spirit, you can share your faith with them and emphasize the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ in your own life. Tell them of your confident assurance concerning your present inheritance. There are very few cultists who will profess that they have the assurance of Eternal Life now and assured peace with God. This lack of assurance accounts for much of their zeal and activity as, by their own efforts, they constantly try to secure their salvation and assurance before God (salvation through works).

Read to them verses like:- 2 Timothy 1:12 – “I know who I have believed, and I am sure that He is able to guard until that day, what has been entrusted to Him.” Romans 5:1 – “Therefore, since we are justified by FAITH, we HAVE peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Ephesians 1:13-14 – “In Him you also, who … have believed Him, WERE sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which IS THE GUARANTEE of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory”.

Don’t be Put Off Guard by Hostility or Antagonism:

Many cultists will become hostile or irritated towards anyone who dares to question or oppose their beliefs. Some, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons will even try to trap you and make you lose your serenity. [I’m sorry to say that they have succeeded in this with me at times because I was unprepared!]. Therefore, it is crucial that you always operate with “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) which we all should have as a Christians. We should not respond with our emotions. When you cease to operate with a Holy Spirit-guided mind, you will inevitably begin to operate with fleshly emotionalism which will generally result in heated arguments, belligerence or possibly name-calling!

The writer was conducting a public teaching seminar in Macksville, NSW, years ago. The region has been a strong-hold of Seventh-Day Adventism (SDA’s) for several generations. During my teaching session exposing the false christ and false prophecies of the SDA’s, many local SDA’s were in attendance. Their repeated cries of interjection, accusation and rudeness during the session, was so embarrassing for one of their younger womenfolk, who at the end of the session rose and spoke, saying in tears, “I was born and raised an Adventist in this area and I want to apologise to you Reverend Grigg and to the people here this afternoon for the rudeness of my brethren. In all my years as an Adventist I have never seen or heard them conduct themselves in such a an awful manner as they have done this afternoon”!

Most importantly, don’t refer to cult leaders as being “false christs” or “false prophets” or “the antichrist”, even if you think they are! However, if things tend to get “overheated”, always have the grace to apologize. Remember what Paul said, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6).

If You Don’t Win Them, Then at Least Warn Them:

If you don’t succeed in convincing them of their error, then you MUST in love try to warn them of the coming Judgment of God upon all error and upon all perversions of His Gospel. Remember how Paul said, “Him we proclaim, WARNING every man, and teaching in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). Read also Ezekiel 33:8 and Titus 3:10. Paul also warned those who were preaching another gospel: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that we preached to you, let him be accursed! (Galatians 1:8).

Thank Them for Sharing Their Time With You:

Before you part, don’t forget to thank them for allowing you to share your faith in Christ with them. Remember, if you can, to try to pray with them again before they leave. Say something like: “We’ve discussed a lot of things and I believe it would be fitting if we closed this discussion with prayer”. Remember, bow your head IMMEDIATELY and begin to pray! [Remember, rarely will anyone interrupt a person who is praying!]

Try, if you can to obtain their name, address, and phone number so that you can follow them up soon after their visit. If they will accept them [they usually don’t], try to give them some good tracts, literature, booklets or cassette tapes to take with them to further define, explain and defend the faith you have shared with them. You might also ‘lend’ them a good modern translation of the Bible or New Testament to take with them (if you ‘lend’ it to them it remains your property and they will respect that (this also gives you a reason to follow-up) whereas if you ‘give’ it to them, it becomes their property, which they can if they so choose, to even throw it away!) .

You could challenge them with something like this to take your tract or book: “If you have really found the truth, then it cannot hurt you to read this. You owe it to yourself to examine all the evidence available since your soul hangs in the balance!”. I usually also say: “Now, both of us can’t be right! One of us must be dead wrong. I have taken the time to read and study your organisation/group, its history, its founder and its literature and I am thoroughly convinced that it is in error! So I hope you will take this literature/book and objectively study it in the privacy of your own home. It could make the difference to your eternal destiny!”.

Assure them that you have not meant to personally offend them in any way during your discussion time, and even though you strongly reject their beliefs, you still respect them as a person. And always invite them back for further discussions, particularly in reference to their opinion of the materials you have given/lent to them.

After They Leave, Evaluate the Encounter:

After they, or you have left, try and evaluate for a few moments how the encounter went? Make a few notes, in particular, regarding any areas where you felt you were weak in explaining or defending the Gospel. It is especially important that you allow these encounters to become personal learning and strengthening experiences. You should write down any questions that you were confronted with that stumped you, or confused you. Then do some research and get the answers to those questions. If you fail to do this, you might eventually lose your confidence about having further encounters with cult members and satan will have won yet another victory!

It is Most Important for You to Follow-Up!

Immediately put the person/s on your prayer list. Specifically pray for them just as you would for any other person you have had the opportunity to share Christ with. Take the initiative to follow them up in as many ways as you can. Don’t just sit at home and wonder when or if they might call again if they called on you. Remember, if they took the initiative to make the first encounter, you have every right to take the second initiative to follow them up!

  • Follow-up can take the form of a telephone conversation, or even calling personally to thank them for their visit and at the same time, to re-issue an invitation for further discussions. You can even send them some additional Christian literature that will continue to challenge their beliefs, as well as being a witness to them. If they stumped you with questions you could not answer on the day, be sure to do your homework by finding reasonable answers and sending them to them. This accomplishes two things:
  • First, it will let them know that you believe in your faith and care enough to go to the trouble of finding and getting an answer to them.
  • Second, it will alleviate any delusions they might have taken home with them from the encounter about thinking they have successfully refuted another Christian.

 




Danger Signals of the Cults

KNOW THE DANGER SIGNALS OF THE CULTS & WHAT THEY REJECT

Six Major Danger Signals

1. Abuse of Authority – they ‘kill’ what faith one may have in the Bible, church, family, government, etc.

2. Abuse of Time – keeps one in a state of tiredness (even exhaustion) by keeping one working, working, working, at all hours of the day and night.

3. Abuse of Money – keeps one in a state of poverty and dependence by taking away ones wealth (to own material things is to be independent), no matter how much or little that might be.

4. Abuse of Discipline – keeps one in a state of fear that others may report what one does, or says on matters, to the leadership. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses at times even report on their own family members conduct to the leadership (e.g. going to certain movies, being seen with the wrong people)!

5. Abuse of Sexuality – keeps one in bondage to the group by forbidding what is natural, or at times encouraging loose morals (usually at the leaders pleasure).

6. Abuse of Intimacy – keeps one in isolation to the group by discouraging contact with family and friends who show no sign of joining with one. Denying a person social contact outside the group blocks free thinking.

CULTS THAT CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIAN WILL ALWAYS REJECT…

The Authority of Scripture – cults almost always have extra-biblical “revelations” that are more authoritative than Scripture. For example, the Latter Day Saints (LDS) have their Book of Mormon; Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) have their Watchtower Publications; Seventh-day Adventists (SDA’s) have Ellen G. White’s writings, and so on. What all this means is that the Bible, which is the Word of God is not sufficient for our needs today! Notice what Scripture says of itself in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17.

The Deity of Christ – the word ‘deity’ simply means exactly what the Bible says about the Lord Jesus Christ in Colossians 1:9 & 2:9, that He was God manifest in the flesh. The JW’s teach that Jesus Christ was created by God (because God was all by Himself and lonely!) and is the Archangel Michael. The SDA’s believe that Jesus is Michael also.

The Cross of Calvary – cults always relegate the significance of Christ’s vicarious death to be of no value for the individual today! Many teach that all His Crucifixion achieved was to fulfill an Old Testament law of ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’. Their understanding is that Christ’s life only paid the penalty for the sin of Adam.

The Blood Atonement – cults teach that the sacrificial shed blood of Christ has no meaning or relevance for mankind today. The truth is that Christ’s blood atoned for the sins of mankind and can be appropriated freely by God’s grace by every man and woman, boy and girl (see Hebrews 10:12-22)

 




What To Do When Confronted By A Cultist

When approached, or challenged, by a member of a cult, remember that his only purpose in talking with you is to “convert” you to his way of thinking! Our conduct in such an encounter is outlined for us in 1 Peter 3:13-15 “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence”. This must be our basis for communicating the Gospel, for it shows that we:

  • We should not fear anyone
  • We should set ourselves apart for the service and witness of the Lord Jesus Christ should be able provide an answer to everyone for the hope we have
  • We must always show gentleness and reverence towards all

The early New Testament church was bombarded from all directions by pagan religion and zealous Jews, not the least of them being Saul of Tarsus, who later was to become the Apostle Paul. The church in those days dealt with cultic theology, or doctrine (teaching), in the above stated manner, and this counsel is still good for today. Note how the New Testament Christians reacted when they were confronted by paganism in Acts 8, 9, 13:4-13 and 14:8-18, and later, when their theology was threatened in Acts 15:5, chapters 19 and 20, and 21:18-26. 2.

How Then Can We Deal With Them? We must be prepared, and good preparedness always costs one something – in this case, it will cost you your time and energy. For we have to know what a cult believes and hopes for, in order to understand where they are coming from. By not knowing the fundamental beliefs of a particular group and to enter into discussion with them is fooloshness and will only show your ignorance to them! This will have exactly the opposite effect to that which you desire and will only destroy any credibility you may have had.

We must be equipped and familiar with:

  • The group’s background – we must know its roots, or beginnings
  • The group’s terminology – we must understand what they really mean when they speak the group’s “re-interpretation process” used when using Christian terminology
  • Have some solid questions and answers, so you can tell them why they are wrong
  • we must know ways and methods that work in order to lead the cultist from deception into truth.

Remember, all cult members use terminology which you as a Christian will find familiar, but they will have redefined such terminology to fit in with the system they have embraced. If you are not a Christian you will find it very difficult to perhaps even understand what we are trying to say here! So, when talking to the cultist, remember he will interpret any familiar terminology you use, to its meaning as understood by his particular cult. For instance, when speaking to a “Moonie”, and you quote the instance when the Lord said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again …”, you may already know and understand what it is to be Born-again, but for the “Moonie” the expression means that: he was ‘born-again’ from the time when he started reading Moon’s book, “Divine Principles”!

A Jehovah’s Witness does not believe he can be Born-again today, for in his understanding, only a “select few” were ever “born again” after the year 1935! Remember the old saying, “that communication is NOT WHAT YOU SAY, but it is WHAT PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE SAYING!”

Words are only linguistic symbols, and to give them meaning depends on the context in which they are used. Don’t merely LISTEN to the words people use and assume that just because their terminology is the same as yours – for example when you both use a similar phrase – that it means to them what it means to you. These people usually mean something vastly different from what you understand and imply, and because of that, they are deceived and therefore wrong, no matter how sincere they seem!

In summary then, we have to:

UNDERSTAND SOMETHING OF INDIVIDUAL CULTS: Many people THINK they are going to Heaven to be with Jesus Christ merely because they are familiar with and use the language of the Bible. It is therefore, IMPERATIVE that you know God’s Word, the Bible and what it teaches, and that you must be able to teach it clearly as truth (Acts 14:8-15,18 and 17:16-20,32).

UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM OF DISCERNMENT so that we can point out the differences and clearly communicate the TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL.To know and interpret the Bible correctly is paramount if one is to be able to clearly and confidently set forth what the Bible teaches.

We must be able to DEMONSTRATE the truth of Christianity (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The early church knew how to INTERPRET the Word and to TEACH truth (see Acts 8:25-39, 17:10-12, 18:24-26). Sound doctrinal knowledge is the ONLY proven and effective antidote for the demonic doctrines of cultism. To illustrate the point, read 1 Tim. 4:1-16 and 2 Tim. 3:1-17. 3.

Extra-Revelation: Many cultists have “extra-revelation”, i.e. they have and revere additional so-called “scriptures” which they consider just as important, if not more so thatn the Bible. For example, the Mormons and their Book of Mormon. We must be able to demonstrate to the cultist why the Bible is THE ONE true source of knowledge over their “extra” works, and prove why theirs must be regarded as false.

Know the reasons why you believe what you believe: Logically, so that you can demonstrate the evidence for the truth of God’s Word. Notice how Peter used the evidence in Act 2. He used the historicity of Christianity and the prophetical truth of Christianity as the evidence, in order to teach truth.

Having said all that, you may be thinking that you can’t absorb all you need to know. Perhaps you think you haven’t the intelligence, etc., BUT REMEMBER, the early Christians were just simple folk who DEVELOPED THE CAPACITY to know and preach the truth of God’s Word.

Make Sure That You Know Your Own Faith Well: Not just what you believe, but why you believe it! Most Christians know to some degree WHAT they believe, e.g., the tenets of the Apostle’s Creed, but they do not know WHY they believe it. The cults, therefore, capitalise on this ignorance to great advantage! Their chief point of attack is usually: “Why do you believe such and such …?”.

Few cultists, however, can confuse a Christian who is well-versed in biblical theology. As the late Dr. Walter Martin has said so appropriately: “The poison of cultism can be effectively combatted by the antidote of sound doctrine”. (The Kingdom of the Cults, p352). In dealing with cultists, WHY you believe will be more helpful and important than WHAT you believe.

In your preparation for confronting cultists (and other non-Christians), study the REAL thing, not the counterfeit. Remember, when the Treasury Department and banks train people to detect counterfeit money, they do not let them study anything but the genuine currency! They become so familiar with the genuine article that they can spot a counterfeit immediately. The same is true of God’s Word. We, as Christians must become so familiar with the Word of God, that we will immediately recognise satan’s counterfeits by comparison. Be Equipped, therefore, with some Basic Apologetics (2 Peter 3:15, Jude 2:22)

There is No Place for “Pat-Answers”: packaged platitudes, or trite cliches are poor witnessing tools against any non-Christian, especially a cultist! Realise ahead of time that when it comes to apologetics, it will be slow going with them because most people are “experientially oriented” and NOT “intellectually or rationally oriented”. So you must try to communicate knowledge lovingly and patiently. Remember, reason can never replace what reason didn’t put there! All the good reasoning in the world will do no good against an emotional orientation!

Cult members believe as they do because their minds, although they don’t realise it, have been effectively “programmed”. They have NEVER been encouraged to reason things out for themselves, and in fact, they are discouraged, often to the point of threat, from using their own reasoning powers.

Expect most cultists to confront you with the weaknesses and divisions within the Christian Church. Many delight in confronting Christians with the divisions (denominations) within Christendom. They will most likely say to you, “At least we are united, but YOU are all divided, and can’t agree among yourselves on what you believe”. In answering this and other such accusations, we must be open and honest and never try to hide or make excuses for our own weaknesses, but humbly admit them.

However, be quick to point out that even though we do have our differences and divisions on secondary issues, we are all largely united around the BASIC ISSUE, the LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST!

Try to keep some basic cult materials on hand:
This is so that you can ‘lend’* to the traditional door-knocking or street-corner cultist information that may help him to see that he is deceived. If possible, have two kinds of materials. I use the word ‘lend’, because if you ‘give’ it to him, it becomes his and most likely he will throw it away and never read it! However, because they are used to living by ‘rules’, if you lend it to him, he will often respect your property! He knows that he will have to return it to you! If he doesn’t return it, he knows that he will lose all credibility in his so-called ‘witness’!

  • tracts to point out the errors of various cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Christian Scientists, Moonism, etc.
  • good positive tracts that explain and defend the historic Christian faith.
  • * Never try to ‘give’ something to a member of a cult – he then ‘owns’ it and will not respect and keep it. However. when you ‘lend’ something to a cultist, he does not ‘own’ it and respect that he has to return it to you!
  • Have Some Good Probing Questions Ready Ahead of Time for When the Cultist Calls: Preparation will give you the offensive position whereby you can control the flow and direction of the conversation. Listed below are some suggested questions to help you get started.
  • What scholarship and research is the basis for your biblical interpretation?
  • What other nationally recognised biblical scholars agree with your scriptural exegesis (‘exegeis’ means: understanding and interpretation)?
  • What other sacred writing do you believe in, other than the Bible?
  • Who checks out your founder and leader? To whom does he/she answer? Is he/she accountable to anyone other than “God”? Or, what authority is your leadership under, other than his/her own?
  • What do you see as the essential difference between the doctrine of your group and that of the established church?
  • What does your group’s theology/philosophy offer me that I do not already have as a Christian?
  • Are only the people in your group going to be saved? What do you believe will ultimately happen to me if I reject your group’s doctrine?
  • Does one have to quit his local church to join your group? What is your view of the church today?
  • What do you believe a person has to do to have an abundant life here, and be assured of eternal life with God in the life to come?
  • Do you feel that your group is the only true preacher or interpreter of the Gospel today?
  • Of all of the other religious groups in the world, is your group alone the enlightened one? If not, who are other notable Christian or religious groups that you recognise as also teaching truth and who are equal with you in enlightenment and understanding.
  • What is the nature of God?
  • Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • What is your understanding of sin?
  • Do you believe that man is a sinner by nature? If not, what is the explanation for man’s current plight? If so, what is the means of atonement (forgiveness) of sin?
  • Why do you not believe that Jesus Christ alone is the total answer to your needs and to the needs of the world?

We are sure that as you research the teachings of the Bible and those of the cults, you will recognise that there are many other pertinent and relevent questions that you can use which will provide the Holy Spirit to work in in the cultists life.

 




Brainwashing & Mind Coercion

Brainwashing, to put it in simple terms, just doesn’t work! Allied Prisoners of War (POW’s) taken captive by the Communists during the Korean War, during their incarceration were heavily subjected to what became known as `brainwashing techniques’. However, out of the thousands of POW’s who were subjected to their methods and techniques for many years, there were less than a dozen who succumbed!

That’s why we prefer to use the term `mind-coercion’ instead of `brainwashing’. To coerce someone is to `compel or restrain them by force, or authority, without regard to their individual wishes or desires’.

The cults are experts at playing such mind games! Some years ago, one woman when she finally realised that [the group she was with were controlling her with cultic and occultic methods], when asked why she didn’t just walk away said, “I know I should and I really want to, but I can’t do it, it’s like being in a prison without bars”!

Mind Coercion Methods can be defined as…

1. Any technique designed to manipulate human thought, or action against desire, will, or knowledge of the individual.

2. The control of the physical and social environment of the individual. The `spirit of witchcraft’ has been described as `the desire to rule over, or dominate people’.

3. Destroying the loyalties of the individual. For example, to a marriage partner, family, church, country, etc.

4. Demonstrating to the individual that his attitudes and patterns of thinking are incorrect and must be changed.

5. Developing loyalty and unquestioning obedience to the leader and/or the ruling elite.

6. Isolating the individual from family, former associates, sources of information (e.g., no TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc.

7. Exacting obedience and humility by creating a legalistic system with an exacting regimen.

8. Applying strong social pressures and introducing the individual to a reward system for performance, so that the group gains:

(a) the individuals unswerving cooperation. (b) a seeming omniscience and omnipotence (the all-seeing, all-knowing environment in which everyone watches everyone else. (c) the individuals sense of belonging buy creating feelings of acceptance by others, and being an essential part of the group. (d) the willingness and readiness of the individual to `work’ for the group.

9. Applying physical and psychological punishment for non-cooperation, ranging from:

(a) social ostracism (b) social criticism (c) deprivation of food, e.g., meagre vegetarian diet
(d) deprivation of sleep (e) deprivation of social contacts (f) bondage, and even at times torture (g) continual reinforcement of (I) rules and regulations (ii) doctrine (the groups teachings).

In Conclusion: all, or a mix of the foregoing methodology, when applied, creates a carefully controlled physical and social environment. This has the effect of destroying all anti-influences on the group members as a whole, and the individual. In other words `a herd mentality’. What actually occurs is that the followers eventually form a new collective world-view, which builds into their minds a `them and us’ or, `good versus evil’ mentality.

 




The True Church – The Body of Christ

The True Church – The Body of Christ

The most frequently put question to the writer over the years has been “…then which church is the true church?” This question has mainly been asked by those coming away from the bondage of a aberrant church, or cult group, which they has once been led to believe was the only ‘true’ church or group on the earth!

It is very hard for a person, who has never been in spiritual bondage, or been deceived, to even begin to understand the dilemma one faces, when the realisation dawns upon you, that what you believed to be the only persons/people that God has accepted and approved of on earth, are in fact nothing more than a dangerous religious group! The proliferation of such groups and churches in our society today, all of them ‘waving their flag’ so to speak, vying for your attention, all claiming to be the true church, or group, is nothing short of mind-boggling!

Ask Questions: No person who has been deceived, ever wants to be deceived again! Usually, such a person tends to adopt an extremely cautious and critical attitude towards all churches, or groups, from that time on. In fact, he begins to apply one of the basic rules one should use whenever told by another that one is in the wrong place spiritually – that rule is to ask questions! Those questions should be in-depth questions regarding doctrine, background, etc., about the group of the person confronting him. In trying to answer such questions, many Christians have, quite unwittingly, placed a stumbling block before the person they are trying to help. Sometimes Christians, because of their own group’s beliefs, can only offer their own denominational distinctives which is wrong, wrong, a thousand times WRONG!

The True Church: The only answer one should give in a situation like this is A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, THROUGH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND “MEMBERSHIP” IN THE TRUE CHURCH, THE BODY OF CHRIST!” Anything more, anything less, is not of God.

The reader should not get the wrong slant. I believe that EVERYONE needs to belong to a church, particularly one that functions on Grace and not Law! The local church is the will of God. Not just any local church, but, one that is Christ-centred, preaches the Gospel in its fullness, and openly stands for the Truth. The leader/leadership should not be a law unto himself/themselves. They should all be accountable for their decisions and actions! The church and its leadership must have credibility in the minds of, not only the Christian community, but the community at large. It should be a church that respects the individuality and the inherent ability of all in its membership to find the will of, and to hear from God personally. Importantly, it should be a church that practices love, acceptance and forgiveness, for all!

A Living Reality: Isn’t that a tall order? No. Our Heavenly Father has the welfare of each one of us at heart. In His Word, the Bible, He has recorded for us the way in which He wants His church, the Body of Christ, to function. For many Christians the term “Body of Christ” is just a name to describe all those who are Christians. However, there is much more to it than that. The Bible presents the Body of Christ as a living reality! The writer believes and teaches, that to be able to ‘see’, or perceive the Body of Christ in the right spiritual context (in fact, it is perhaps better described as a ‘revelation’ that comes with time and understanding), which removes the barriers created by the curse of denominationalism! One needs to see that God has placed His genuine Spirit-begotten, Born-again people in every Christ-centred church, whether that be Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Charismatic, Pentecostal, etc.

The Head of the Church: Ephesians 5:21-32 clearly states that the Head of the Church is the Lord Jesus Christ. To illustrate. Our own body does nothing without first being directed to do so by the head. The Church therefore, should do nothing without the direction of the head of the church, who is the Lord Jesus Christ (after all, it is His Church!). The church is meant to be run by Grace as a theocracy, ie., God ruled. It should not be run as a democracy, or an autocracy (i.e. man ruled)! The church’s authority comes from its Chief Executive, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He delegates His authority to the local church. That delegated authority is vested in what is known by many as the ‘Ascension Gift Ministries’ which are named in Ephesians 4:11 vis., “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers”. The Lord Jesus wants to impart life to His Body through the members. Everyone who is genuinely born of the Holy Spirit is a member of the Body of Christ. If one reads Ephesians 3:9-10 one will agree that it very clearly states that God has chosen to work in this world through His Body – the Church. For it says, “… to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places”. This is the exact reason that Satan sets himself the task of disrupting, confusing, and even destroying churches!

Humility: It takes humility to be a genuine member of the Body of Christ. In being a member there comes a requirement that we submit one to another in love. This of course should not be blind submission, but a submission that generates out of a respect for the genuine love of God which covers the many shortcomings of the other members. Remember, we will not agree on every Scripture on this side of glory!

Many of the interpretations of Scripture that have been responsible for the erection of what has become ‘denominational’ barriers over the centuries, are not issues that have any affect on a person’s Salvation. Christians are counselled to pursue a holy life, showing the love of God to one another, and to be about helping each other to progress to spiritual maturity. By assisting and helping one-another to find our unique spiritual gifts and callings in God, we will enable the Body of Christ to fulfil its ‘Great Commission’ (which is outlined for us in Matthew 28:19-20). This should be the top priority of the Church today

One Body: The legendary Watchman Nee said of the church, “If a person does not discern the Body and does not follow the law of the Body, he will be subject to weakness and sickness. Why is it that some people are so easily deceived? Why are some believers the recipients of evil spirits? It is because of one’s inability to apprehend the Body [of Christ]”. We should never reject the Body of Christ, or those who graciously represent it, but rather have the grace to willingly submit oneself to it.

Conclusion: Everything that God wants for mankind is expressed IN, THROUGH, and FOR the Body of Christ. Therefore our very ability to function in the Body exists solely by holding securely to the Head – the Lord Jesus Christ. To be at odds with your brother, except perhaps at times where you need to stand for truth, or against sinful practices, is to at the same time to be at odds with the Head – Jesus! Notice in Psalm 133:2 that when Aaron was anointed, that the anointing oil ran from the top of his head, down his beard and over his garments, or the coverings for his body. This description gives us some insight into how God wants the Body of Christ to function.

The anointing of God is upon His Son Jesus as the Head of the Body. The anointing flows from Him, to the Body as a covering. Therefore, to be out of touch with, or outside the Body of Christ, is to be out of touch with the Head. There are have been people with problems who have sought our counsel, over the years, who have told us that the reason they are not in church regularly, or haven’t attended for months, even years, was because “the Lord told me to step aside and rest” or some such story!

Well, that’s just not true, or even good enough – it is God’s will that we belong to and be a part of the Body of Christ! Yes, the writer allows that changes of location due to employment, disability, personal sickness, sickness in the family, or the like, may mean that it is not possible for one to attend a church regularly. Be assured that a loving God knows you and your family’s needs. However, to be outside the Body is to be outside the will of God. All genuine Christians need to be a part of the Body.

Usually the holders of a wrong understanding of the Body of Christ fall into two basic categories:

Firstly, they have no understanding of same due to poor discipling when they first became a Christian, or committed themselves to a church. This invariably highlights the obvious lack of teaching in the church they attend.

Secondly, in many cases, they are really only seeking to cater to their own selfish whims. In so doing they become just plain disobedient to God. Perhaps they are refusing to accept responsibility for taking their place in the church to pursue the ministry that God has for them. Why? Because they know that to do so will cost them time, energy, money, and worldly ambitions. Many people treat church, as someone has already said, as a cafeteria! This is horrifying. They are just spectators to what God is doing in the lives of a few. God’s will is not for us to be spectators, but for us to be participators. Running a campaign styled, ‘Church Life – Be in It!’ would be really good. This would encourage more people to seek, and find, the fulfilling spiritual life of belonging to, and knowing your place in the Body of Christ. This can only be achieved by encouraging Christians to identify their individual and unique gifts and callings in the Lord.

SOME GOOD ADVICE: If the church you currently attend is not doing this, then ask the Lord to guide you to one that is, and join it as soon as possible! It is only by entering into this on-going learning process, that one finds the promised peace that passes all understanding. After all, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace! (read Isaiah 9:6). True peace and contentment can only generate from knowing that one is in the all pervading will and purposes of God for his life.

© Copyright by Fred Grigg 2005

 




The Strange World of Christian Science

The Strange World of…

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

What Christian Science Believes and Teaches:

GOD…

Like Christians, the Christian Scientists believe that God is good, that He is spirit and that He desires the best for His people. But they deny His personal character. The founder of Christian Science (which is neither Christian, nor scientific!), Mary Baker-Eddy, says “Life, truth and love constitute the triune person called God”. (SCIENCE AND HEALTH, p331).

JESUS CHRIST…

Christian Scientists differentiate between the names ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’. ‘Jesus is not God: again the founder says, “Jesus is the name of the man who more than all other men, has presented Christ, the divine idea of God”. (SCIENCE AND HEALTH, p437).

THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS…

“‘The second appearing of Jesus is unquestionably the spiritual advent of the advancing idea of God, as in Christian Science”. (RETROSPECTION AND INTROSPECTION by Mary Baker Eddy, p70).

THE HOLY SPIRIT…

Christian Scientists believe that Jesus’ promise to his disciples that he would send ‘a helper’ (the Holy Spirit) refers specifically to Christian Science.

SIN, DEATH, PAIN AND EVIL…

All of these are unreal products of our imagination. “Man is incapable of sin, sickness and death” (SCIENCE AND HEALTH, p475), continuing, ‘The body cannot die because matter has no life to surrender”.

Christian Scientists’ views on healing are not consistent. They will go to the dentist or the optician, or to the doctor for a broken leg, or into hospital for an appendectomy!

However, Mary Baker-Eddy herself used drugs on many occasions during the last 10 years of her life.

SALVATION…

The Lord Jesus’ death did absolutely nothing to save men from the consequences of their sin.

In Conclusion…

Denying basic Christian teachings establishes beyond doubt that Christian Science is neither Christian, nor scientific.

 




The Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Roots of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and its Leaders…

CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL: The founder of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, was born in 1852 and died in 1916. His parents were Presbyterians of Scotch-Irish descent. At age 15 he joined the Congregational Church. In 1870 he attended meetings conducted by JONAS WENDELL, a Second-Adventist, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was at these meetings that Russell learnt some of the views and teachings still adhered to in part by the Seventh-day Adventists. He attended this group until 1875, and in 1876, he met N.H. BARBOUR of Rochester, N.Y. In this group the leader was teaching that the second coming of Christ was to be spiritual, and not visible as the Adventists taught.

Along with Barbour, C.T. RUSSELL, adopting this belief, eventually left the Adventists. In 1877, BARBOUR and RUSSELL published a book entitled “Three Worlds and Plan of Redemption”. ‘This book set forth their belief that Christ’s second presence began invisibly in the fall (Autumn) of 1874 and thereby condemned a 40-year harvest period. Then remarkably, they set forth the year 1914 as the end of the Gentile Times …’ (QUALIFIED TO BE MINISTERS, p300) which just happened to coincide with the commencement of World War I!

As early as 1877, Russell said Christ had returned in 1874. Barbour and Russell eventually went their different ways and in 1879 Russell began the publication of ” Zion’s Watchtower & Herald of Christ’s Presence”, now known as “Watchtower”. December 13th, 1884, was the official beginning of the Jehovah’s Witness movement. Much doubt exists about Russell’s early activities, e.g., he claimed to have preached to vast crowds in many cities. However, no evidence exists to prove this. In a press release to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 19, 1912, it was claimed Russell spoke at meetings in Honolulu, yet the Daily Eagle received comment from Honolulu that no such meetings had been held there!

At one time, Russell once advertised MIRACLE WHEAT for one dollar a pound, claiming that it would grow five times as fast as any other! A court case found “the wheat NOT to be five times as good, but inferior wheat”. Russell lost the case.

In 1879, Russell married Maria Frances Ackley and she became associate editor of the “Watchtower” magazine. They had no children, and eventually separated in 1897, Maria filing for divorce in 1913 on the grounds of “his conceit, egotism, domination and improper conduct in relation to other women”. Divorce was granted to her.

Russell maintained in the “Watchtower”, 15.9.1910, p298 that his writings, namely his series of books titled, “Studies in the Scriptures”, were more important than the Bible to keep one spiritually ‘alive’. He said that if one just read the Bible he would go off into darkness within six months!

In June, 1912, a Baptist minister produced a tract about Russell entitled “Some Facts about the Self-Styled ‘Pastor’, Charles T. Russell”. Russell sued for libel. In 1913, during the trial, Russell was proved to be a perjurer (a ‘purjurer’ is one who gives false evidence while under oath – in other words, he lied!). Read Rev. 21:8. On October 31st, 1916, Russell died.

JOSEPH FRANKLIN RUTHERFORD: The Watchtower Society’s legal counsellor became the next president. Born of Baptist parents on November 8th, 1869, he joined the Watchtower Society in 1906. After bitter infighting he assumed power and published his book, “The Finished Mystery”. The Society came under much criticism because in it he encouraged the people to refuse military service. In June 1918, the society was banned in Canada and the U.S., the leaders charged, convicted and sentenced to 20 years’ jail. They were released on May 14th, 1919 after the end of the First World War, as they no longer posed a threat to national security.

RUTHERFORD placed much emphasis on selling magazines and books to the public. He also strove to gain total control of the entire membership of the organisation. In 1931, at a convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, Rutherford adopted the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. His reasons being, he said, was to distinguish themselves from all of the many groups splintered from the Watchtower Society since it had begun; e.g. the Russellites, the Millennial Dawn people, the International Bible Students Association, and the People’s Pulpit Association. He also drew scriptural basis for the name change from Isaiah 43:10. He died on January 8th, 1942.

NATHAN HOMER KNORR: He was elevated to be President on January 13th, 1942. He was born in 1905 in Pennsylvania, and joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses at age 16 after resigning from the Reformed Church. In 1932 he became General Manager of the publishing office, and in 1934 was made a director of the corporation.

It was under Knorr’s leadership that the Society, in 1961, published their own translation of the Bible. It has become known by Bible scholars world-wide as “the world’s most dangerous book”, its reputation for error needing no explanation here. (Details are available on request).

It was during his time that the infamous edict was published forbidding Jehovah’s Witnesses the right to blood transfusion, or today includes blood product. Consequently, thousands have lost their lives and the lives of many loved ones over the years because of this harsh and unscriptural law which they have strictly adhered to. KNORR died in the late 1970’s.

FREDERICK W. FRANZ: Became the president. Franz had been responsible over the years for most of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s doctrine. It has been said by former high-ranking Witnesses that Franz was responsible for the Society taking on board the ban on blood transfusions. He definitely was the chief member responsible for the Witnesses own translation of the Bible, even though he was (from his own admission in a court in Ireland) not proficient in Biblical Hebrew. He has been the guiding light (or as some said, ‘the power behind the throne’!) of most of the doctrine since Knorr came to office. When Knorr died, he gained absolute control of the organisation, with influence world-wide over the lives of over 6 million people. Franz died in 1992.

MILTON G. HENSCHEL: He was upgraded from vice president to President when Franz died in 1992. Henschel has been a Witness all his life, having travelled with his JW father in a sound truck broadcasting the JW ‘gospel’ across the nation ( USA) as a boy.

Henschel made some interesting comments, back in July 1968, to Hiley H. Ward ( Detroit Free Press Religion Writer) regarding blood transfusions and JW beliefs. Henschel , then 48, was a member of the Watchtower Society’s seven-man Board of Directors. Henschel said in the interview that there has been some development in the teaching of the Witnesses, but bans against transfusions – transplanting, which is done with transfusion – still exist. He said, “Transplanting organs is really cannibalism. In transplants, you are taking something from another body to sustain life…We are confident of the resurrection, and don’t fear death. If a person gains another five years, because of a transplant, what has he gained, if he loses the future?”

Henschel believed (as did every JW, until November 8th, 1995!), that, “…the ‘last generation’ is dated from the first global war, 1914, and time is getting near to the end of that generation. World War, confusion, famine, are all signs of the final times – 1975 is the year to watch”, he said!

Henschel went on to say that, “Even Sodom and Gomorrah have won a reprieve, as a people, if not among their leaders”. The reason he said, “Is new attention on Jesus’ references to Sodom and Gomorrah, that some will be worse off than those destroyed in those cities”! (?)

Some General Comments…

We make no attempt at this time, to delve too deeply into Jehovah’s Witness teachings (doctrine), as there are many other good works available on the Internet, or perhaps from your local Christian bookstore, which will give you a more detailed insight into their specific doctrines. As you study their doctrines, one will notice the great similarity with some of the teachings of Seventh-Day Adventism. This is because of the aforementioned influence that the Second Adventists had on the first president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell.

A most important thing and sad thing to remember about Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they represent a false prophet organisation. They have many times predicted and given certain dates for the return of Christ, the most recent failed date being 14-15th October 1975.

For many years prior to that date, Jehovah’s Witnesses were encouraged to forsake all in order to pedal the Society’s books from door to door in an attempt to increase membership of the organisation. The writer has to hand many testimonies of people who endured much hardship after this failed date, because they had been encouraged to leave their jobs, and many sold houses and businesses in order to put themselves full-time into the so-called “field ministry” before the end came! When the end didn’t come in October, these people were left “high and dry” with yet another false date!

The Society now says that it was not their fault that the date didn’t come to pass, but rather it was a date looked forward to by overzealous members! In every instance, you will find that where a date failed, the Society blames someone else. They say things like, “It was thought by some that this would be the date of Christ’s return”; “It was thought by more zealous people at that time …”; “God chose not to come at that time” (so it’s really God’s fault!), and so on. They always shift the blame for their failed prophecies to somebody other than the organisation itself. A list of their false prophecies from their own publications is outlined later on this page.

An Important Short Bible Study: That you should undertake for yourself, which will prove beyond any doubt that the Lord Jesus Christ is God (whose real name is Yahweh – not ‘jehovah’ as the JW’s wrongly claim) manifest in the flesh, a claim denied by Jehovah’s Witnesses. One needs to understand that the average Jehovah’s Witness is prevented from looking into the history of the organisation by the being told things were not so clear in the early days; “we have new light”, i.e., they are saying that they have “scriptural revelation to show us what is truth at this time”; and, “the light grows brighter and brighter …”, which means that they are being told that there are increasing levels of truth being revealed over a period of time – which is just not true, as truth is always truth!

Old books are disposed of by the JW’s so that early doctrines and practices, which have in time been changed by in-coming new leaders, are no longer freely available to members today. (Information that is contained in the book, “We left Jehovah’s Witnesses”, by Edmund C. Gruss, is especially beneficial when witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses. It contains testimonies of people who were high-ranking and full-time workers for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society). The Watchtower Society has conducted smear campaigns against people whose testimonies appear in the book. Inferences have been made that these people are child molesters, or sexual deviants, or are dishonest and are liars. However, we now know that these people are now active members in Christian churches and are very well respected in the communities in which they live and function.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society will not admit it, but it is very embarrassed by people who leave their organisation because of the truth they reveal to others. I point out once again the consistent practice of the Watchtower Society conducting defamatory smear campaigns against the character of all who leave their organisation. One must bear in mind that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, like the Seventh-Day Adventists, believe that they are the ‘preferred true religion’, and therefore, every other Christian body is an abomination in the sight of God.

Like the Seventh-Day Adventists, they have reduced the value of Jesus’ sacrifice and atoning work to almost insignificance for their people. There is no teaching as to how one’s personal sins can be forgiven now!

The most important thing to remember about JW’s is that they have the ‘wrong jesus’! Their ‘christ’ is a ‘false christ’ as they have interfered with the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The JW’s, like the SDA’s, believe and teach that Jesus Christ is the Archangel Michael. This of course in not true. Jesus said Himself, in John 8:24, “…you will die in your sins unless you believe that I AM (he)”. Note that the word ‘he’ is in brackets and is therefore not in the original Greek in which the New Testament was written. To qualify that Jesus is the Great I Am (the same I AM that Moses spoke to in the burning bush!), note Verse 58, where again from Jesus own mouth, we hear again proof of who He really is, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I AM”! (Emphasis mine).

The second most important thing to remember – and we stress it once again – is that JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES ARE FOLLOWING A ‘GENUINE’ FALSE PROPHET (see Matt. 7:15, Luke 21:8). One must understand when discussing Christianity with a Jehovah’s Witness, that their doctrines are those of a false prophet, and therefore, irrelevant and often meaningless.

Distinctive Beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:

  • They alone proclaim God’s truth and the only hope for the world is for everyone to join their movement.

  • God is one person, Jehovah, who once existed all alone in space.

  • God created Jesus, who in heaven was the Archangel Michael. On earth he was a man and not divine. When God raised him from the dead, he returned to heaven as a spirit.

  • Jesus’ death was not on a cross – it was a singular ‘torture stake’ – and does not guarantee anyone eternal life. It was only a ransom made for past sins. Obeying God as revealed through the Watchtower is the only way of salvation.

  • The Holy Spirit is the ‘invisible active force’ that moves God’s servants to do his will, and is neither personal or God.

  • All other churches and governments are controlled by the devil.

  • The present world system, as we know it, will end at the Battle of Armageddon – which is coming soon! The survivors of Armageddon will be all JW’s who will reign with Christ for 1,000 years!

  • During this time, there will be no disease or death or any unhappiness. Flowers and fruit will grow abundantly; wild animals will become tame.

  • After the 1,000 years, all the dead will be raised. Only 144,000 who reach the required standard will live in heaven; the remainder will live on earth.

It was believed until recently, that God’s kingdom on earth was established in 1914! That was when Christ returned to his temple and began to cleanse it. The devil was cast out of heaven and Jesus fully established the heavenly part of his kingdom. The earthly part, they taught for decades, will be set up in the lifetime of those who were alive in 1914. Matthew 24 is their favourite theme.

SIX STEPS TO BECOMING A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS…

Step 1. The initial visit by the JW’s and the ‘placing’ of literature (magazines, book, booklet, tract, etc.) in your hands.

Step 2. The JW’s then can make a return-visit, once known as the ‘back-call’, with the excuse of ‘seeing what you thought of the literature’, and to primarily arrange for a regular ‘Home Bible Study’ each week, more if you’re willing – which in fact is really only a study in a JW publication, using the erroneous JW translation of the Bible!

Step 3. The JW’s will encourage you to attend a weekly home study group – where you will have your first contact with the ‘Witness family’.

Step 4. This is a simple step from the home group to attending regularly the meetings held at a local Kingdom Hall – where you will be drawn more fully into the larger ‘Witness family’ – the more people you see doing the same thing, the more you will be impressed! At the Kingdom Hall, one of the three weekly meetings you will attend is called the Service Meeting (this is where you will learn the finer arts of door-to-door salesmanship!).

Step 5. Having completed the first four steps you will then be made guilty about not participating in the ‘Field Service’ (which means going from door-to-door and pedaling Watchtower materials, rain, hail, or shine!)

Step 6. By this step you will know that it is necessary for you to become a ‘Kingdom Publisher’. This is achieved by submitting to the rite of ‘water baptism’ by full immersion. This however is not an indication that one has repented of one’s sins – which is the Bible reason for the rite. For the intending JW it only earns them the right to use the title ‘Kingdom Publisher’ – or, officially become a JW!

What the candidate is not told, and does not know, is that it is after this step that the ‘elders’ in the local congregation then believe they have the right to tell you how to live and conduct your entire life! Until this step is taken, you are NOT formerly a Jehovah’s Witness – only an ‘associated person’! So, if you are not ‘baptised’ you can walk away any time you like as they have no ‘hold’ over you at all. If you come to this stage, then you will be wise to walk away now!

Some Embarrassing Statements Made by ‘God’s Organisation’

  • “‘The Watchtower’ is no Inspired Prophet” (“Watchtower”, 1.4.72, Foreword)

  • 1972 – IDENTIFYING THE “PROPHET” (“Watchtower” 1.4.72) – “So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? … This ‘prophet’ was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses … Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a ‘prophet’ of God. It is another thing to prove it” (See Deut. 18:21).

  • 1889 – “The ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Rev. 16:14) which will end in AD 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership is already commenced”. (“The Time is at Hand”, p101, 1908 edition).

  • 1914 – “The present great war in Europe is the beginning of the Armageddon of the Scriptures”. (“Pastor Russell’s Sermons”, p676).

  • 1916 – “The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1,000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1,000 years of Christ’s Reign, began in 1873” (“The Time is at Hand”, p2, Foreword).

  • 1918 – “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection”. (“Millions Now Living will Never Die”, p89).

  • 1922 – “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914”. (“Watchtower”, 1.9.22, p262).

  • 1923 – “Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge”. (“Watchtower”, 1.4.23, p106).

  • 1925 – “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time, God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year”. (“Watchtower”, 1.1.25, p3). Sept. 1925 – “It is to be expected that satan will try to inject into the minds of the consecrated, the thought that 1925 should see an end to the work”. (“Watchtower”, p262).

  • 1926 – “Some anticipated that the work would end in 1925, but the Lord did not state so. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything”. (“Watchtower”, p232).

  • 1931 – “There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah’s faithful ones on earth concerning the years 1914, 1918 and 1925, which disappointment lasted for a time … and they also learned to quit fixing dates”. (“Vindication”, p338).

  • 1941 – “Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord’s provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon”. (“Watchtower”, 15.9.41, p288).

  • 1968 – “True, there have been those in times past who predicted an ‘end’ to the world, even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The ‘end’ did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing from such people were God’s truths and the evidence that He was using and guiding them”. (“Awake”, 8.10.68) (see Luke 21:8).

  • 1968 – “WHY ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO 1975?” (“Watchtower”, 15.8.68, p494).

 




The Christadelphians

THE CHRISTADELPHIANS were founded by an Englishman, one John Thomas, who was born in 1805 and died 1871. Thomas was raised in a Congregational Church manse/house (although there are some who say he was “the son of a non-conformist minister”). He received an orthodox Christian up-bringing. Thomas went on to study medicine in the United Kingdom at St Thomas’ Hospital. He was awarded a diploma as a physician after three years of study. His forte was in obstetrics. In 1830 he had two articles published in the British medical journal, The Lancet. The articles were entitled:

(1) ‘The Immortal Human Principle’ and,

(2) The Perishable Brute Principle’.

There is no doubt that the beliefs that he held in the United Kingdom at that time were but a foreshadowing of what would develop in time as Christadelphian Doctrine (or teachings) and form the basis, or roots, of what today is being promoted around the world by Christadelphian adherents.

Thomas migrated with his father, who had by then aligned himself with the Baptists, to the United States in 1832. In the USA John joined with a group that was known originally as the ‘Campbellites’. They were at times referred to as “The Disciples of Christ”. Their leader was one Alexander Campbell, who was claiming at that time that Jesus Christ would return to earth in 1866. Christ did not return at the stipulated time, but Campbell died in that same year!

Thomas commenced his ‘church’ in 1838, although some say it was 1844. Thomas, like Campbell, believed and taught that the date 1866 was significant. When the American Civil War began, Thomas and many other cult leaders and their followers believed that the war was the beginning of what the Bible calls ‘The Battle of Armageddon’. Thomas initially called his followers the “Brethren of Christ”. The name “Christadelphian” was first coined in 1864. When Thomas died in 1871, one of his early converts from England, Robert Roberts, became the new leader of the group.

Traits Today Amongst the Christadelphians
There are no paid ministers, or a full-time priesthood as such. In fact Christadelphians scornfully regard churches who pay their ministry as being unscriptural. They actuallly laugh and scorn the churches who salary their ministers, referring to them as being nothing more than ‘hirelings’! Just like Jehovah’s Witnesses they do not vote in a nation’s elections or support a nation’s war effort. Members are not to take part in political affairs, nor engage in any form of public service. They will not swear an oath in a court of law, but they are prepared to serve on a jury! Women are not permitted to preach or pray in their meetings. Members are not permitted to take communion in other churches. To do so would mean their excommunication.

Doctrines

Christadelphians hold to and teach the following beliefs(or teachings):
(1) There is no such thing as the Trinity [All true Christians believe in the Trinity – the Father (God), Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit.] – Scriptures that Christians use to support the trinity doctrine referring to God the Father as ‘Elohim’ (Hebrew) are dismissed as only referring to angels. The angels they say, did the work of creation, because it was beneath God to engage in such a work.

(2) Not believing in the Trinity means that the Christadelphians do not believe that Jesus Christ is God. They deny that Jesus existed in any form before he was born of Mary. In their publication ‘The Christadelphian’, the official journal of the church, No XI, from 1874 they say, “He (Jesus) was not God, neither a mere man, nor had he any existence prior to his supernatural birth”. Again in their ‘Christendom Astray’, page 1089 they say, “Jesus was a manifestation of the Father in man, begotten by the Spirit. He did not become the Christ until his water baptism; until then he simply had a body prepared for the divine manifestation that was to take place through him…”

(3) The Holy Spirit is not a person but a “…radiant visible power from the Father. It is an unseen power emanating from the Deity, filling all space, and by which God is everywhere present. It is the medium by which God created all things…” (Christadelphians by Lita Hutchins, page 7). Again, just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they refer to the Holy Spirit as being an “it”. So the Christadelphians have no Holy Spirit to assist them in their study and interpretation of the Scriptures!

(4) The devil does not exist! Their second leader, Robert Roberts, claimed that where, “…the term Devil appears in the Bible is a synonym for the word ‘sin'”. A statement like this must make Satan the devil and his Kingdom of Darkness rejoice! Think for a moment, for satan to convince another that he doesn’t even exist would have to be the ultimate act of deception!

(5) Personal immortality (that man can live forever as the Bible teaches) is rejected. They believe in the doctrine of what is called ‘Soul Sleep’ (as do both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Seventh-Day Adventists). They also reject ‘conditional immortality’.

(6) Man is just a body – and not a body and soul as the Bible teaches.

(7) The return of the Jewish people to Israel and the establishing of the Nation of Israel is the key to the times in which we now live.

(8) The Kingdom of God will begin when Christ returns to the City of Jerusalem. Then, the Christadelphians believe that when Christ returns:

(a) The Saints (which for them means only the Christadelphians) will become immortal.

(b) The Wicked (meaning all those who are not Christadelphians) will be destroyed.

(c) The ‘faithful’ Christadelphians will gather in Jerusalem as they teach that Christadelphians who have met the required standards and the Jews have any hope of a resurrection and living in the kingdom that will then be administered from Jerusalem.

(d) The Kingdom established at that time, they say, will last for 1,000 years, during which time there will be:
(i) No hell
(ii) No torment of the body
(iii) No personal devils (or spiritual problems)

Salvation
For the Christadelphian, he believes that salvation is a sequential process which is understood as follows:
(1) Gaining knowledge [of the Bible]
(2) Water Baptism [by total immersion in water]
(3) Moral rejuvenation.
(4) A change of nature at Christ’s return.

Membership
To become a member in the Christadelphian church one has to submit to the following:
(1) Accept the gospel preached by Jesus Christ and his apostles – but only as interpreted by the Christadelphians!
(2) Be baptized in water by total immersion. A candidate for baptism must be at least thirteen years of age.
(3) Be seen to be obeying the commandments of Christ.
(4) Submit to the Christadelphian order

Government
In each “Ecclesia”, or church, the people are over-sighted, and administered by men who are drawn from the congregation and have proven their submission to the church and its rules. They are appointed to the following positions:

(1) Managing Brethren [the deacons]
(2) Presiding Brethren [the elders]
(3) Lecturing Brethren [the preachers]

However, it is possible that a man can function in more than one of the above categories. The writer has noted that in speaking with Christadelphians, that there are no single identity who stands out as a supreme leader, nor is there a hierarchy as one would expect in a church. In fact, in the Sydney area, it would appear from expereience and information gleaned, that in many instances the ‘eldership’ of the Yagoona church in Sydney seems to be looked to for appeal, guidance, speakers etc., by the other ecclesias in New South Wales.

Several years ago the writer was challenged to a debate by Christadelphians in the Blue Mountains area at Springwood, sixty miles west of Sydney, NSW. However, we soon learnt that it was from the Yagoona Ecclesia in Sydney that their intended representative was to come. In 1987 the writer was again challenged to a debate by an Ecclesia on the Central Coast, forty miles north of Sydney at Woy Woy, and again their preferred speaker was to come from the Sydney suburb of Yagoona! The writer did not debate in either situation (the writer believes that when it comes to debating, it is always the most skilled in the debating process who wins, not necessarily the one representing truth!), but rather the writer invited the Christadelphians to provide a local speaker for a public address.

The scenario and subject the writer set for the Christadelphians was for a one hour address on the subject, “Why the Christadelphians are the Only True Church“. The writer had then to respond for an hour on “Why the Christadelphians are a Cult”. The evening was a triumph for the truth of God’s Word! The Christadelphians initially accepted the challenge but then wanted to reduce the time allotted, which was refused. The Christadelphian speaker struggled to fill the time! [Both sessions will soon be available through our Resources Page.]

Thomas’ Writings
Perhaps the work John Thomas is best known for is his book “Elpis Israel” (The Hope of Israel). It is said that Parts I & II of the book have stood the test of time. However, part III contains error and has not stood the test of time! Thomas, in boasting of his teachings and writings, says, “Being crafty I taught them with guile”. The word ‘crafty’, according to the dictionary, it means, “…implies cunning, artful, skillful deceit”‘. It also says of the word ‘guile’, “treachery, deceit, cunning devices”‘. Not at all methods that one would use or expect of a person claiming to be a Christian!

On page 184 of Elpis Israel, the writer says, “Dr Thomas came to the conclusion, from what he saw, that a poperised brain is an earthly, sensual, devilish brain …. the bones and muscles of the face and head are molded into form and feature by the plastic influence of the brain”. Which of course is not true.

Notice also that he uses the word “poperised”. It is indicative of the manner in which the Christadelphians, just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Seventh-Day Adventists, continually mock and ridicule the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, and of course the Pope.

False Dates or Prophecies
On page 209 there is an excerpt from Thomas’ magazine “Eureka” which says, “..the 42 months of the Apocalypse and the time and a half of Daniel were expected to terminate in 1864-1868”. John Thomas was wrong, he falsely, like many others have done, proclaimed dates for the time of the end. Notice that Jeremiah 28:9 says, of the true prophet, “…when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent that prophet”. The Lord did not send John Thomas or the Christadelphians to function as his spokesman.

It is interesting to note that John Thomas agreed with the Ellen G. White, of the Seventh-Day Adventists, on the purported date of Christ’s return in 1844! He said, “…we could agree and concluded to await the arrival of the Ides of March, 1844…” [See my booklet “The Sabbath Keepers] However, Thomas had to alter the calendar to be able to agree with the false prophecy of the Adventists. Thomas did this by reasoning as follows:

“…the 391 years and thirty days should be calculated from May 29th AD 1453 which will cause them to end June 29th 1844 which is only three months and eight days after the termination of the 2300 years in March…”1

Thomas further said, “..the true age of the world is 5,933 full years at the same epoch, instead of 1847-8, so the current year is that of 1844!! 2
He went on to qualify his error by saying, “True time 1844 is 1848”! 3 & 4

Robert Robert’s Writings: Roberts obviously did not learn from Thomas’ mistakes. Because he also tried his hand at setting dates. For example he wrote: “…the world was 4,090 years old at the birth of Christ, instead of 4,004. Add 4090 to the present year 1910 and we get 6,000 as the real age of the present time…”5

It is interesting that in the publication from which the foregoing paragraph is quoted, that the remainder of the text has been left out [blank] but for a publishers note which reads:

THE LAPSE OF TIME HAS MADE VOID THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH” (Emphasis added)
Two pages further on in the same book7 we find the following table which supposedly proves Roberts setting of the year 1910 for the time of the end:

  • Seven times commencing BC610 = 2520

  • deduct years elapsed before Christ = 610

  • Expiry date of the 7 times = 1910

  • the world is 6,000 years old = 1910

If this wasn’t so serious it would be funny!

Bumps on the Head!
Have you ever heard someone jokingly say of another, You need your head read“? Well, the saying results from a practice known as PHRENOLOGY. Phrenology was very popular in the 1800’s, and is even today seeing a renaissance among the New Age alternative therapists!
Very simply, phrenology according to the dictionary is the, “Study of the external contours [or bumps] of the cranium [head] as an index to the development and position of organs supposedly belonging to the different mental faculties”! (Parentheses added)

Robert Roberts was a practicing phrenologist! He was employed for about two years by one L.N. Fowler from the United States, when he practiced in the United Kingdom. Roberts says of the practice: “Phrenology, by which is indicated the delineation of a person’s characteristics and mental powers by the conformation of his skull, has a very wide vogue since the 1840’s”8

It is interesting to note that not long after John Thomas joined with the Campbellites, he had a falling-out with their founder and leader Alexander Campbell. The disagreements and open debates over doctrine that ensued between Thomas and Campbell are well documented.

At the height of the argumentation, Thomas challenged Campbell to a Phrenograph, that is to have his ‘head read’ by a phrenologist, in order to prove which of them was organically different! This was to be done by comparing their ‘Skullographic Digitational Difference’. In other words, to establish who was the most intelligent in order to determine who had used the best logic and reasoning, and therefore had the wisest argument!

Robert Roberts was still promoting phrenology, or as it has also been called ‘Cranioscopy’ well into the latter half of the 1800’s.

Conclusion
One Christian writer recently summed up the Christadelphian position perfectly by saying, “Without God, without the Father, without the Son, without the Holy Ghost, without atonement, without a hope of heaven, how truly terrible their condition is! Theirs is indeed a system of error without one redeeming feature”9

Since their ‘christ’ has no deity at all, Jesus is not really worshiped – which dishonors the Father and the Son (John 5:23). Without the New Birth (being Born-again by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour) there is no new spiritual life. As we have said before, without the Holy Spirit there can be no divine love shed abroad in new hearts to mark the true disciple of Christ, no power to witness to the reality of the risen Christ, and no expectation of the miraculous intervention of a caring Lord to meet needs of His people, and confirm the preaching of His Word.


Notes
(1) “Dr Thomas, His Life and Work”, by Robert Roberts, 1873, page 96
(2) Ibid., page 98
(3) Ibid., page 149
(4) Ibid., page 150
(5) Christendom Astray, by Robert Roberts, 1922 Edition, page 326
(6) Ibid., page 328
(7) “Dr Thomas, His Life and Work”, by Robert Roberts, 1873, pages 142-144
(8) Pamphlet, “Christadelphianism, Briefly Tested by Scripture” by A.J.Pollock
(9) “The Christadelphians”, New Life, May 13th, 1982

 




The Occult

wizardry  THE OCCULT

It is perhaps wise for us to spend a little time to ensure that we understand that all CULTS are OCCULTIC. The word ‘occult’ is defined in most dictionaries as involving anything that is:

  • Beyond the bounds or ordinary knowledge, mysterious, not disclosed, covered and concealed.
  • Esoteric (communicated only to the initiated, private, and confidential)
  • Recondite (obscure, hidden, or little known)
  • Mysterious
  • Beyond the range of ordinary knowledge
  • Involving the supernatural
  • Mystical
  • Magical

The following lists just some of the subjects that fall into the above categories: Theosophy, Spiritualism, Rosicrucianism, Gnosis, Alchemy, The I-Ching, Sorcery, Astrology, Numerology, Tarot, Divination, Watchtower Society, Latter Day Saints, Sevent-Day Adventism and so on. These and many others are known collectively as “the occult” simply because they are, in fact, hidden from the majority of people.

Throughout history the cults and the occult has been present in every generation. There is nothing new about them. Occultism has grown like a weed in the garden of mankind for thousands of years. The Word of God speaks against such practices, for God sees them as “loathsome and disgusting” (see Deut. 18:9-13).

Many would see things occult as nothing more than delusion and fraud, indulged in by simple-minded tricksters seeking material gain. This attitude, no doubt, has resulted from the stage presentations of magicians and conjurors who employ sleight-of-hand.

The phenomena resulting from practising in the occult is too well-documented and researched to be dismissed as illusory or imaginary. What may initially appear as being harmless, or fun, has become devastating and horrific for many who dabble in the occult.

Occult phenomena and secret religions are the “in-thing” in the world today. In the USA there are now over 10,000 full-time astrologers. Here in Australia there is an ever-increasing tide of occult “filth” being foisted upon us, particularly via the media and trashy periodicals. Even one of our largest banks has promoted the occult with their stationery emblazoned with astrology symbols.

The occult holds a tremendous fascination for the uninformed. Those who have Jesus Christ as Lord, and who understand and adhere to the Christian standard of living, have little problem with the occult because they live in harmony with their Maker’s instructions. Those who are outside of Christ are often devoid of true peace and happiness, and so therefore, are easily seduced and deceived by the offer of the occult to meet and fill these gaps.

Because the occult appears to offer a way in which one can change one’s circumstances or situation by manipulating or changing the environment, the unwary are easily deceived. Another reason people become ensnared is that there is always an element of mystery involved with any branch of the occult. An “element of mystery” can often have its own appeal, and this can tend to lure the unwary into the occult.

Without Christ one may feel he has no identity or sense of belonging, and this is where the occult fills the gap, by providing the seeking individual with a means of identification in a world of anonymity.

Do not be fooled by those who would have you believe that there is a difference between “black magic” and “white magic”, or “black witches” or “white witches”. Some will tell you that black witches practice magic for their own purposes, in order to gain for themselves, whereas a white witch practices magic only to help others. This may be so, but manipulation is still the goal. The only difference between the two is PROFIT.

Once ensnared and deceived by the occult, a person is generally involved in religious-type activities or rituals based on certain beliefs, and which includes an official and organised ‘priesthood’. The ‘priesthood’ will eventually try to have total control over all underlings.

In many such groups, the unashamed acknowledged source of their help is none other than the devil himself. The writer believes that the occult, therefore, is without doubt, used by Satan to deceive and confuse people in order to replace that which God freely offers to all who would come to Him.

Remember, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching … for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Remember the warning also given by Paul to Timothy, “The Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1Tim 4:1).

 




The Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible Translation

The World’s Most Dangerous Book!

Would you place your trust in a surgeon who was about to perform a major operation on you, if he refused to give you his name or credentials? Or…would you place your faith in a solicitor, who was defending you against false accusations of criminal charges, if he also refused to give you his name or credentials?

We can see how Important it is that we rely on the names and credentials of those who serve us in the important aspects of our life. As in the case of the solicitor, it is essential to know these things, for without this knowledge we would have no assurance that he would truly and honestly represent you. It is therefore of the utmost importance to know the men, the credentials and the qualifications of those to whom we entrust our spiritual lives!

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has failed the public at this most crucial point, as they refuse to give to their followers the names and credentials of the Translating Committee of their Bible, ‘The New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures (see page. 258 of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose). This is all the more important than the Watchtower Society will admit since the New World Translation Committee has deceived many in their translation of the Bible in the following ways:

1. They have invented non-existent rules of Greek grammar and then proceeded to follow these rules only when necessary to support their peculiar theology. A clear example of this is John 1:1, where the Translation Committee has, rendered the Greek “and the Word was a god”. We cite the appendix of another Watchtower publication (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, page 1158) their footnote concerning John 1:1: “Their reason for the rendering of the Greek word Divine and not God is that is the Greek noun Theos without the definite article…” May we call the Watchtower Society’s attention to verses 6, 12-13 (also found in the first chapter of the Gospel of John). Here the Greek noun Theos appears without the definite article (as in john 1:1) and yet the Translating Committee has translated each verse as (Jehovah) God.

Another example of non-existent rules followed only when needed to support their theology is found in the forward of the aforementioned Interlinear Translation (page 18). Here we are taught how to restore the Divine name. We are instructed that we can render the Greek words “Kyrios” (Lord) and “Theos” (God) into the Divine name by determining if the Christian (Greek) writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). If so, we can render “Kyrios” (Lord) and “Theos” (God as Jehovah God. Once again, the Watchtower “rule” is avoided by the Translation Committee as they translated Philippians 2:11. The Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 45:23 as he states that “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Jehovah God (Kyrios) to the glory of God the Father.”

2. The Translation Committee has made up a Greek tense that is non-existent. We cite the 1950 edition of their “New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures” rendering John 8:58 where they have translated “ego eimi” as “I have been” and state that it is “properly rendered in the perfect indefinite tense” in the Greek language! There is NO “perfect indefinite tense” in any language! After the Watchtower Society was informed of this fact, they made the change to the “perfect tense indicative,” but as the Greek student knows, it is present tense and is correctly translated “I AM” (see Exodus 3:14).

3. They have added words to Scripture which changes the meaning of the texts to agree with their theology. Notice the Watchtower’s rendering of Colossians 1:16-17, where the word “other” has been added four times to the text, completely changing its meaning. When Paul wrote those passages that the Son created all things, it is obvious that the Son was not himself created. The Watchtower, however, believes that the Son is also a created being and had therefore added “other” – not found in the Greek Biblical text at all – to make it appear that the Son is also a creature. As mentioned before, the Translation Committee has added the word “a” to John 1:1 to make the Son a creature rather than God Himself. Take note also of the same deceitfulness displayed in Philippians 2:9 where the word “other” is again added, when it is not found or even suggested in the original Greek.

4. The men who comprised the Translation Committee had no adequate schooling or background to function as critical Bible translators. The self-appointed “scholars” who made up this Translation Committee were: N.H. Knorr, F.W. Franz, A.D. Schroeder, G.D. Gangas and M. Henschel. Aside from Franz (who was to become president of the Watchtower Society, now deceased) none of the Committee members knew Biblical Hebrew or Greek and Franz’s ability is open to serious question. This came out in the Scottish Court Sessions in November 1954 (just four years after the release of the Watchtower Scriptures). The following exchange of questions and answers between the solicitor and Franz is taken from the trial transcript:

Q. Have you also made yourself familiar with Hebrew?

A. Yes…

Q. So that you have a substantial linguistic apparatus at your command?

A. Yes, for use in my biblical work.

Q. I think your are able to read and follow the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, German and French?

A. Yes…(Pursuer’s Proof, page 7)

Q. You, yourself, read and speak Hebrew do you?

A. I do not speak Hebrew.

Q. You do not?

A. No.

Q. Can you, yourself, translate that into Hebrew?

A. Which?

Q. That fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis.

A. You mean here?

Q. Yes.

A. No, I wouldn’t attempt to do that. (Pursuer’s Proof, Pages 102-103)

What Franz failed to do was a simple exercise which an average first or second year Hebrew student in any seminary would have no difficulty. (See further, ‘We Left Jehovah’s Witnesses – A Non-Prophet Organisation’ by Edmond C. Gruss, pages 59-101). It is also interesting to note that no Greek scholar with any credentials will endorse the Jehovah’s Witnesses New World Translation. Bill Cetnar, in 1954 (while still a Jehovah’s Witness working at Bethel, New York) was assigned to interview a well-known Bible translator, Edgar J. Goodspeed, asking him for his evaluation and recommendation of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Dr. Goodspeed replied: “No, I’m afraid that I could not do that. The grammar is regrettable…”

We agree with Dr. Goodspeed and go a step further and state that the theology brought forth in this translation is a fatal distortion of Biblical truth. We ask you not to put your trust in such a biased translation of Holy Scripture, or in the Society that has deceived many in the writing of it; we ask that your faith and trust be placed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who said that unless you believe that HE IS the Eternal God (Gk: Ego Eimi – “I AM”), you will die in your sins (John 8:24). It is because of the danger of the perversion of the New World Translation of Holy Scriptures that this warning has been written. Our concern is for you to come to know the TRUE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

 




Martial Arts & Yoga

“The Deception of Martial Arts & Yoga”

MartialArtsnYoga

© 2005 Fred Grigg

The following is a list of topics, by Chapter, contained in the book of the same name. The following is part of the introductory comments from the book (69 pages). See below how to obtain copy of same.

Topics Covered…

1. Doorway to the Demonic

2. History and Origins

3. Principles Behind Martial Arts

4. Types of Martial Arts

5. Types of Yoga

6. Meditation: False and the True

7. Reference Notes & Copyright Details

Author’s Note to the 4th Printing

No one can deny that people today are being influenced by many things in our complex society. Naturally, some influences are good; some not so good; some are just downright deceptive and misleading. It is the ‘not so good’ and the ‘deceptive’ that often leads people into beliefs and practices that in time prove to be extremely harmful to themselves and their loved ones. In this work we will take a closer look at just two influences that are having a major impact upon our world today, Martial arts and Yoga (as the reader will see, the two go hand-in-hand). Both have an outward appearance of being beneficial and seem to be promoting good. However, from the experiences of the unwary often they become quite harmful.

I have found that a great percentage of people seeking my help and counsel, do so because they have had an involvement in either one, or both of these practices. Most enquirers will invariably say that they felt ‘vaguely uneasy’ about getting involved with Martial arts and/or Yoga in the first place. It would be true to say that most people are ignorant of the spiritual roots and dangers associated with these two practices. Experience says that where there is a void of information on a matter, it is then that it becomes very easy to deceive people.

In this work I will present sufficient material to fill that void. Truth is, and always will be, controversial! My reasoning will also be controversial for some as I have used as my ‘yardstick’ the Bible, or the Word of God. Within its pages, the only true and living God, who is the Creator of all, has given principles for mankind to follow in order to live a fulfilled and satisfying life. Mankind breaks those principles to his own detriment.

The Lord Jesus Christ said, “…I came that they (‘they’ refers to us, the people) may have life, and have it abundantly.” (See John 10:10) Yes, His ‘called out’ people can enjoy life in the absolute! He also said that the devil (yes, he really does exist!) is a thief who has three objectives in that, he “…comes only to steal, kill and destroy..”. The devil can, and does use the practices of Martial arts and Yoga to achieve all three of these objectives!

In 1986 Christian leaders in the United Kingdom (UK) sought my permission to use the results of my original studies that eventually became this work, to aid them in their submissions to two public inquiries that were being held in the UK. One conducted by the Ministry of Sport and the other the Ministry of Education. Both government agencies were alarmed at the large numbers of young people, associated with their programs, who were experiencing physical injury and/or the onset of behaviour and personality problems – for their own research had revealed that there appeared to be a common factor for the problems – involvement in Martial arts and/or Yoga!

I ask the reader not to blindly accept what I have written, but that hopefully he will be motivated sufficiently to begin their own personal research of the matters raised so that the issue will become clearer for themselves.

Fred Grigg
Gold Coast, Australia
January 1998

Author’s Note to the 5th Printing

Sadly, this re-print has become necessary due to the increased demand for the information it contains. It has also afforded me the opportunity to go more deeply into certain areas, by way of further explanation and facts. Because of the increased interest in the topics, a significant amount of additional and new information has been included.

Fred Grigg
May 2005


To obtain copy of the book, please contact: http://www.koorong.com.au

 




Seventh-Day Adventists

THE SDA ‘PROPHET’ MRS ELLEN G. WHITE

SDA-Ellen

 

Introduction: What you are about to read has become one the most controversial information pages listed on our Website. This ministry has come into criticism from all fronts, since it began in 1978, over its labelling of Seventh-day Adventists (SDA or SDA’s) as being a dangerous religious group! Over the years the SDA Church leaders, and its members, have frequently ‘spat the dummy’ during personal discussions, by telephone, mail and email, regarding the origins, sources, teachings, beliefs and practices of the Church and its past and current interpretations of Scripture.

Some of the recent email messages received only show how deceived and vitriolic the SDA’s can be. For example, in our public meetings and in email messages we receive from Adventists they loudly shout: “ERROR!!!”; “WRONG!”; “OUT OF CONTEXT!”; “WE’RE NOT INTERESTED IN WHAT ELLEN G. WHITE SAID OVER 100 YEARS AGO!”; “Get your facts straight!”; “Why don’t you go to the leaders of the (SDA) Church and ask them if they are a dangerous religious group!”; “Why don’t you visit the SDA Homepage and see for yourself that we are not a cult!”; “My friend, you should brush up on your history of the Seventh-Day Adventists!”….and so it goes on, and on!

You may be wondering, “How do we respond”? Well, we try to be as loving as we can be, because love is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit! We ask the reader to understand that we really have done our homework and researched both the ‘roots’ of the SDA Church and the ‘roots’ of their teachings (would that our SDA critics take the time to do their own research by reading the SDA’s older publications!). Where most people have difficulty is in our quoting from the the writings of Ellen G. White and others who were once in leadership. Remember, if the leaders at any time claimed to ‘speak for God’, or to just be “God’s Messenger” (as Ellen G. White claimed) then they are acting in, or assuming the role of a ‘prophet’ and must therefore be subject to the Biblical tests relating to what a person’s claims to have said in that role (please go to the Help Topics on the Home Page of our Website for more detailed and in-depth information).

To put it simply, where those who are critical of what we quote or say, we find that they have not even bothered to check the SDA sources that we have quoted from (in particular, the book and editions we have quoted – as later and more recent editions have been changed and sanitised to hide the errors and the embarrassments that we have raised). Nor have our critics read fully from our Site ‘Help Topics’ to understand where we are coming from in our ability to boldly label their group, and others, as being dangerous! True Christians don’t suffer from ‘knee-jerk’ reactions! True Christians are people who act and not react! Most of those who react to us do not follow the example (principle) found in Acts 17:10-12!

Why all the fuss, you may ask? Because we simply believe that anyone who claims to be ‘Christian’ should readily be open to scrutiny and questioned about the things they say, or teach, particularly if they claim to have, “Heard from God”! True Christians should never, ever be insecure in their beliefs – they should be always ready to give an answer to anyone who challenges their faith in accord with 1st Peter 3:15, which says, “…Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence…” One could hardly say that we have been on the receiving end of gentleness and reverence from the SDA’s that we have met!

Naivety of the SDA’s: Many SDA’s are quite naively unaware that their own publications actually contain the quotes we have used in this work. (Please remember that many of the ‘editions’ of the publications quoted from have been changed and no longer show the errors quoted!). The SDA missionary who comes to you, or the ones with whom you come into contact with through their Archaeology/Health/Stress/Quit Smoking and Prophecy Programs, are not very well informed about their own Church’s origins (of course they will strongly dispute this statement, but one must remember that they have been ‘spoon fed’ with what they now believe is their church’s beliefs and history!). However, one has to say that they are a loyal and zealous people, make admirable citizens and have a practical welfare movement throughout the world.

SDA Statistics: One E.B. Price, an SDA convert from Jehovah’s Witness, a leader of the Greater Sydney Conference of the SDA’s, in the early 1980’s wrote:

“The story of Seventh-Day Adventist growth and organisation is a thrilling one in a world where the Christian faith is declining. Using every possible means available to reach mankind, they are found preaching in the largest public halls, or in the remotest jungle villages. Each week their voice is heard on over thousands of radio and television stations, which belt the globe. From 348* branch offices, millions of pieces of literature in 947 languages are distributed from their 63 publishing houses, as they are posted or taken personally from door-to-door. In 38,000 (current figure n/a) Sabbath Schools and thousands more Branch and Vacation Bible Schools, Bible truth is taught, and a further outreach to young people is made through their 7,579 day schools, colleges and universities. They also follow the example of Christ, who went about doing good, with a very practical ministry of helping to alleviate suffering through their 1,186 clinics and hospitals, where healing is brought to millions. Millions more in distress are helped each year in their welfare work outlined in the Bible for Christians” (*Note: the foregoing statistics were quoted on the SDA Main Website which shows 2014 figures. Where available Price’s figures have been updated, but his message is still the same!).

However, the ‘fruit’ that the Lord Jesus tells us to judge in Matthew 7:16 is NOT the ‘fruit’ of some charitable organisation, or in this case, the SDA social welfare program, nor the large number of churches and subsidiary organisations, nor is He referring to the ‘fruit’ of the Holy Spirit. What the Lord Jesus said was to judge PROPHETS on the ‘fruit’ of their prophecies! That is, did their prophecies come to pass? If they did not, then they are ‘false prophets’!

Price goes on to say: “A last warning message is to be given to the world. This witness outlined in Rev 14:6-12 is a world-wide preaching of the gospel, which among its other distinctive features, calls out people to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. A small group of people believing God had called them to do this work, organised themselves into the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in 1863, and since that time have spread throughout the world to become one of the most vigorous and fastest growing churches. By 1960, they had over a million members, and within the next 13 years they doubled this membership. In 2014, the SDA’s claimed they numbers to be well over 18,479,257 worldwide and they baptised 1,057,645 people, who speak a total of 947 languages spread throughout practically every country of the world. Hundreds of thousands continue to swell their ranks each year”.

So, what the SDA believes and is taught by his church is that he is part of the ‘Remnant Church’ and is specifically tasked with fulfilling ‘God’s will for the world’ at this time. Note also that in Price’s reasoning, which is typical of all SDA’s, is that he tries to influence his reader to believe that the diversity and size of the ‘works’ of the SDA Church MUST be proof of God’s backing! In fact the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s)and even many in the Christian Church wrongly take this same point of view – but the truth is that as far as God is concerned, numbers mean nothing!

Roots Of The SDA Movement: Let us examine the ‘roots’ of this group of people, who really believe that they are ‘the remnant church’ for the times we live in! Did God really call them? If it was not God, then who was it that did call them? At this point, I’d like to point out that some publications from both the SDA’s and the Jehovah’s Witness organisations would appear to trace their origins from the same source! However, neither organisation will admit to this fact. No doctrinal issues are considered in the effort to trace the SDA source, but in our Facts About the Jehovah’s Witnesses (also on this site) you will find the relevant data on some of their related prophetic material, and especially their doctrinal similarities in major areas of doctrine.

When confronted by the SDA people, we should show love towards them and have a desire to see them attain to Eternal Life. If you cannot witness to them in love, then do not embarrass the Gospel. Keep in mind that the real fault for the deception in their lives is with those who control the organisation and not with the individual. The leaders are those who deceive the individual. With this in view, it is necessary to discover clearly and quickly where the beliefs of the organisation originated. It is wisdom not to debate biblical doctrine on these issues, for these people are as entitled to their biblical interpretation as you are to yours. But, the real issue we need to clarify here is, are they following a prophet of the true God? Were their prophecies fulfilled and were they scripturally based? Are they really God’s spokesman as they claim?

What is a Prophet? A prophet is one who claims to speak on behalf of another, or in our particular case “…one who speaks as the mouthpiece of God.” So we must conclude that a prophet is one who claims that God, or an angel from God spoke to them, or showed them something in a vision. As an aside, in the Bible prophets were originally called ‘seers’. A seer, from a Biblical standpoint, is one who predicts future events not usually written in the Holy Scriptures; read Deut. 18:20-22. [Please note: Not all of the books from which I will be quoting are available from SDA bookshops. If the original printings are not available, you may be able to contact the White Estate in the USA – although they may, as they frequently do, refuse to release the material you want if it may be embarrassing for them!]

Questions And Answers From SDA Quotes

  • Do the followers of Ellen G. White, now known as Seventh-Day Adventists, believe and claim prophet? Here is an extract from “The Advent Review and Herald”, 4th October, 1928: (note that this is the view that was held by SDA’s as late as 1928).

Quote No 1: “Seventh-Day Adventists hold that Ellen G. White (nee Harmon), performed the work of a true prophet during the seventy 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 (SDA) today”. (Boldness and parenthesis added)

  • Did Ellen G. White herself claim to be a prophet?

Quote No 2: “God was speaking through clay. In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision – the precious rays of light shining from the throne”. This extract is from the book, “Visions of Mrs. E.G. White “Testimony 31, p63:

Quote No 3: “When I send you a testimony of warning and reproof, many of you declare it to be merely the opinion of Sister White. You have thereby insulted the spirit of God”. (E.G. White Testimonies, Vol. 5, p661).

Quote No. 4: “Those who are reproved by the spirit of God should not rise up against the humble instrument. It is God, and not an erring mortal, who has spoken to save them from ruin”. (“Testimony for the Church”, Vol. 3, p257).

  • Did Ellen G. White claim she was not a prophetess? From “Selected Messages”, Book 1, p34, we read:

Quote No 5: “To claim to be a prophetess is something I have never done. If others call me by that name, I have no controversy with them”. However, on page 36 of the same book, under the sub-heading, “The Work of a Prophet and More“, she continues:

Quote No 6: “My work includes much more than this name signifies. I REGARD MYSELF as a messenger for His (God’s) people” (boldness and parenthesis added).

The SDA organisation endeavours to play down the early dates set by Ellen G. White, as she herself also did in later times. But her earlier writings clearly give the later conveniently forgotten, or ignored, prophetical dates! The SDA organisation, no matter how you look at it, evolved out of and deeply imbedded in a group called the ‘Millerites’- founded by one William Miller. However, today they do not like being associated with this group, because of Miller’s failed predictions for the ‘coming of Jesus’ for which he named specific dates, and which failure consequently brought discredit to himself and his followers.

In her book “Early Writings”, Letter No. 38, 1889, Ellen G. White says about knowing the ‘time of the end’ says:

Quote No. 7: “I have not the slightest knowledge as to the time spoken by the voice of God. I heard the hour proclaimed, but had no remembrance of that hour after I came out of vision”.

From “Selected Messages”, Book 1, p60, she states:

Quote No 8: “In our frequent change of location in the earlier history of the publishing work, I have crossed the plains no less than 17 times. I lost all trace of the first published works … And here I pause to state that any of our people having in their possession a copy of any, or all of my first views, as published prior to 1851, will do me a great favour if they will send them to me without delay”. (underlining added)

Until recently, there were no early copies available for reference. The writer has a photocopy of an original book, which is titled “A Word to the Little Flock”, by James White, Ellen’s husband. [Today SDA’s will deny that Ellen G. White ever claimed an exact date for Christ’s return]. So, let us turn to the original printings – not the revised editions – of “A Word to the Little Flock”, p22, by James White published in 1847. Later editions have been edited and some of the valuable original quotes were obviously and deliberately deleted!

Let her [Ellen G. White] speak for herself:

Quote No 9: “It was just as impossible for them (i.e., those that gave up their so-called faith in the movement after the failed dates occurred in 1843, 1844, 1845) to get on the path again and go to the city, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fall all the way along the path one after the other”.

Please note that the following words are omitted from later editions: “… until we heard the voice of God like many waters which gave us the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spake the time, he poured on us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God as Moses’ did when he came down from Mt. Sinai”.

What was the date Ellen G. White claimed and was waiting for? From the same book, “A Word to the Little Flock”, p22, 1847 edition, by her husband, James White, she says:

Quote No10: “It is well known that many were expecting the Lord to come at the 7th Month 1845. That Christ would then come we firmly believed. A few days before the time passed, I was at Fairhaven, and Dartmouth, Mass., with a message on this point of time. At this time, Ellen was with the band at Carver, Mass., “where she saw in vision, that we should be disappointed”. (The seventh month reckoned here is according to the Jewish Calendar. Therefore, the equivalent date in reckoning in our present calendar is October.

The fact is that Ellen G. White herself made two wrong statements:

  1. She did hold a date of Christ’s return (which was proven false);
  2. That no-one could be saved after 1844, and evidence of this is found in “Selected Messages”, Book 1, p63.

Quote No 11: “For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold, in common with the advent body, that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world … I was shown in vision, and I still believe that there was a shut door in 1844?.

Remember, today the majority of Seventh-Day Adventists believe Ellen G. White to be a true prophet of God (indeed, if they do not believe this, many SDA”s themselves would say that they are then not true Seventh-Day Adventists!). On what evidence can this statement be based?

Origins of Saturday Sabbath-Keeping

Quote No12: Taken from “Origin and Progress” – The Sanctuary and the Sabbath, pp186, 187:

Paragraph 1: “The Sabbath of Jehovah stood for loyalty to God; the other Sabbath represented a rival power”.

Paragraph 3: “This message began to be given to the world, as we have seen, in the Advent preaching of 1831-44?.

Paragraph 4: “The second message, ‘Babylon is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’, was first sounded in the Summer and early Autumn of 1844, when it finally became clear to the Adventists that they must separate from the popular Churches”.

Paragraph 7: “Further light was shed upon the matter by a view given Miss Ellen G. Harmon … She saw a vision, the heavenly Sanctuary, with the ark of God and the mercy seat, over which two angels bent with covering wings. This, she was told by her accompanying angel, represented the heavenly host looking with reverential awe upon the law written with the finger of God. The cover of the ark was then raised and she saw the tablets of stone, the fourth commandment in the centre encircled by a soft halo of light. Said the angel: ‘IT IS THE ONLY ONE OF THE TEN WHICH DEFINES THE LIVING GOD WHO CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH AND ALL THINGS THAT ARE THEREIN’”.

Who are the keepers of “the other Sabbath” and who does Ellen G. White consider as the ‘rival power’ of page 186, paragraph 1? She answers these questions in “Spiritual Gifts”, Vol. 1, p189, where she refers back to paragraph 4.

Quote No13: “I saw the state of the different churches since the second angel proclaimed their fall (in 1844). They have been growing more and more corrupt … SATAN HAS TAKEN FULL POSSESSION of the churches as a body … Their PROFESSION, their PRAYERS and their exhortations are an ABOMINATION in the sight of God”. (parentheses and capitals added)

Not all SDA believers realise that these ‘visions’ are claimed by Mrs. White herself to be from God. The SDA’s claim that she got the SDA teaching from one Joseph Bates. In “Origin and Progress” – The Sanctuary and the Sabbath, p187, we read:-

Quote No14: “Joseph Bates, who was the first to lead out in giving the Sabbath reform message, travelled all over New England and New York …”.

Concerning the ‘seventh-day Sabbath’ (Saturday), if Joseph Bates, a Seventh-Day Baptist who joined with Miller in 1840, is correct, and Ellen G. White’s vision of Quote 12, paragraph 4, was of God and confirms his teaching, then E.G. White’s vision of Quote 13 is either true or Ellen G. White was just plain deceived!

If it was a true vision, and seeing that the present SDA organisation claims that Ellen G. White is a true prophet, then all other churches are seen as being ” … corrupt … possessed by satan – their professions, prayers and exhortations are an abomination in the sight of God”. So, if this is a false vision, then can her other visions be relied upon? The Bible says that one single false prophecy makes one false prophet – Deuteronomy 18:20-21 which says, “And it shall happen, whatever man will not listen to My Words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who shall presume to speak a word in My name which I have not commanded him to speak or who shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which Jehovah has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah, if the thing does not follow nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You shall not be afraid of him”. (bolding & underlining added)

In other words, should he try to amend his failed date, or attempt to bring forth another in its place, the Biblical counsel is very clear, we are to take no notice of him! God’s rule is ‘one strike and you’re out! As a result of the foregoing, can the SDA’s today, without any doubt, still lay claim to her as being a true prophet? What then is it to be? A false prophet and the SDA’s are wrong? or, a true prophet thus making all other churches as being corrupt and satanic in origin and backing? It cannot be both!

So, can we prove Ellen G. White made many false prophecies or had many false visions? It is not the intention here to go into minute detail, as space does not permit, but they can be very simply followed up by the serious student if need be.

Quoted in “The Great Controversy”, under the heading “An American Reformer”, pp332, 333, is the following:-

Quote No15: “In 1833, Miller received from the Baptist church, of which he was a member, a licence to preach. In 1835, two years after Miller began to present in public his evidence of Christ’s soon coming, the last of the signs appeared which were promised by Christ”.

Ellen G. White herself states in “Early Writings”, pp232, 233:-

Quote No 16: “I saw God was in the proclamation of the time in 1843. It was his design to arouse people and bring them to a testing point where they should decide for or against the truth: thousands were led to embrace the truth preached by William Miller … The preaching of definite time called forth great opposition for all classes …”.

What was E.G. White’s view of Miller’s teaching? The following is taken from “Life Sketches: Parentage and Early Life”, pp136, 137:-

Quote No17: “In March, 1840, William Miller visited Portland, Mass., and gave his first course of lectures on the second coming of Christ. These lectures produced a great sensation, and the Christian Church on Casco Street that Mr. Miller occupied, was crowded day and night”. “Mr. Miller dwelt upon the prophecies, comparing them with the Bible history, that the end of the world was near … But now I was listening to the most solemn and powerful sermons to the effect that Christ was coming in 1843, only a few short years in the future”.

From the same publication, pp148, 149, we read Mrs. White’s own words:

Quote No 18: “In June 1842, Mr. Miller gave his second course of lectures in the Casco Street Church in Portland. The different denominations, with a very few exceptions, closed the doors of their churches against Mr. Miller. I believed the solemn words spoken by the servant of God and my heart was aggrieved when they were opposed or made the subject of jest. I attended the meetings at Casco Street quite frequently, and believed that Jesus was soon to come in the clouds of heaven”.

The coming of Christ did not take place in 1843; therefore, was Ellen G. White (at the time ‘Harmon’) a victim of a deceiving spirit, or was it just an error on the part of a impressionable young girl as some SDA’s would have us believe? I quote once again from “Life Sketches” pp186, 187:-

Quote No 19: “God tested and proved his people by the passing of the time in 1843. We fully believe that God, in His Wisdom, designed that His people should meet with a disappointment, which was well calculated to reveal hearts and develop the true characters of those who had proposed to look for and rejoice in the coming of the Lord. Our hopes now centred on the coming of the Lord in 1844. This was the happiest year of my life”. So, we can clearly see that the Ellen G. White has blamed God for their failed date of 1843!

Confirmation of the above is also stated from “Origin and Progress: Spiritual Gifts”, p173:

Quote No 20: “As the time first set for the advent drew near, the meetings of the believers in Portland were marked by an ever-deepening interest and the crows increasing. But the expected time passed: the Adventists were sorely disappointed, and the scoffers triumphed”.

So, did God really change His mind? Or was Ellen G. White’s confirming vision of Miller’s date false?

Continuing on, we read:

Quote No 21: “Many, as we have seen in the preceding chapter, gave up their faith, but the large majority held fast their confidence in God and in the movement, and these were soon able to discover the mistake in the reckoning, and look for the fulfilment of their hopes in 1844. Again the set time passed, and the Saviour did not appear. The grief and disappointment of Ellen G. Harmon were indeed great”.

Today, some SDA’s will claim Ellen G. Harmon was only a young girl at the time and was not responsible for the aforementioned dates. Many wrongly claim the dates were of William Miller’s doing. Ellen G. White has admitted that she ‘believed Miller’. She has previously admitted to prophecies concerning the ‘seventh-day’, so does she claim a vision to confirm Miller’s dates? And where did Miller get his dates from? Was Ellen Harmon at the time a church member? The answers to these questions are found in “Origin and Progress: Spiritual Gifts”, pp171, 172 – 1907 edition:

Quote No 22: “In one of her bright intervals, Miss Harmon was baptised and became a member of the Methodist Church. In the summer of 1842 she attended a second course of lectures given by William Miller”. On page 172 of the same book it is recorded that, because of her zeal in witnessing about the soon coming Christ in 1843, “… not long after this, Miss Harmon, with her parents, brother and sisters, was expelled from the local Methodist church”.

In the same publication, “Origin and Progress” p173, it is also quoted:- “…and these were soon able to discover the mistake in the reckoning, and look to the fulfilment of their hopes in the Autumn of 1844?. What mistake? Again God is here clearly given the blame for the 1843 failure in the book “Early Writings – The Gathering Time”, p74:-

Quote No 23: “September 23, the Lord showed me that He had stretched out His hand the second time to recover his people, and that the efforts must be redoubled in His gathering time. I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and it should not be altered; and that the figures were as He wanted them; that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some figures so that no-one could see it, until His hand was removed. Then I saw in relation to the ‘daily sacrifice’ (Dan. 8:12) that the word ‘sacrificial’ was supplied by man’s wisdom and does not belong to the text, and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those who gave the judgment hour cry”.

To what chart did Ellen G. White refer that was mentioned in Quote 23? The chart that was compiled by William Miller. Miller never claimed he had a vision, or that God or an angel sent by God, told him his dates. He was a man merely in error. On his chart his starting point was a Bible reference to Daniel’s 70 weeks and the 2,300 days (Dan. 9:25, Ezra 7:7).

It is quite clear that Ellen G. White was not a young girl in error, for she verified by PROPHECY that the chart was from God (Quote 23), and that the Lord’s coming in 1843 and 1844 were direct prophecies from God! The date on the chart and then the corrected date never ever came to pass. This proves beyond all reasonable doubt that Ellen G. White is nothing more than a self-convicted FALSE PROPHET!

It must be stated here again that if Ellen G. White is NOT a false prophet, then her visions and prophecies ‘from God’ (see Quote 11) are true. That is to say, that every other church which is not keeping Saturday as the Sabbath* is CORRUPT and IN THE POSSESSION OF SATAN. Their professions, their prayers and their exhortations are an ABOMINATION in the sight of God (see Quote 13). * For further insights, go to our page “The Sabbath and The Lord’s Day”

It is claimed that Ellen G. Harmon/White has had hundreds of visions. Admittedly, many things she said did come true – why? Because one is on reasonably ‘safe-ground’ to predict that there will be earthquakes, famines, pestilence, etc., according to Matthew 24! However, do not forget that if one is to be a true prophet, that all prophecies given as from God, must be fulfilled. Remember, God’s way, ‘one strike and you’re out’!

The SDA organisation has claimed at times that they did not originally stem from the ‘Millerites’, or William Miller’s followers. They also play down the early life and prophecies of Ellen G. White. Do they do this so that her early prophecies, which were absolute failures, will not be prominent and cause them embarrassment? The writer thinks in the affirmative! Subsequently, the SDA publication “Midnight Cry”, p485, says:

Quote No 24: “SDA’s were at first largely confined to the New England States. In 1855, the headquarters were moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1860, the name Seventh-Day Adventist was officially adopted. In May 1863, a formal denominational organisation was created. In 1903, the headquarters were moved to Washington”.

However, there is another statement showing the Millerite link with the SDA’s made by Francis D. Nichol, published by the “Review and Herald”, p10:

Quote No 25: “We have spiritual kinship with the Millerites, we belong to a religious body (SDA’s) whose roots go down into the soil of Millerism. Long established judicial rules require a judge to disqualify himself from sitting on a case on which he has any personal interest. He may honourably act as an advocate for one side, but not as a judge between disputants. We believe the same principles hold for an author”. The ‘Midnight Cry’ is described as a “Defence of the Character and Conduct of William Miller and the Millerites who mistakenly believed that the second coming of Christ would take place in the year 1844?. (Remember, they first believed it would occur in 1843!).

QUESTIONS THAT DEMAND ANSWERS!

There are many more questions which are left unanswered. Here are just a few. (a) Was Ellen G. White a Millerite? (b) Did she, and not Miller himself, confirm by prophecy, or a vision from God, that Miller’s chart and dates were correct and from God? (c) Did Ellen G. White confirm by prophecy or a vision from God that the teaching of Joseph Bates (a Seventh-Day Baptist) was correct and from God? (d) Did Ellen G. White state that by a vision from God, that all other churches are corrupt, satanic and an abomination in God’s sight? (e) Was the door of grace and salvation closed by God in 1844 and now only those who keep Saturday as the Sabbath can now be saved? The truthful answer to all these questions is a resounding YES she did!

Relating to a Seventh-Day Adventist

Do you know that the average SDA who speaks to you today does not know these facts from their own literature? Rather than reject them, we should receive them lovingly and gently. Remember, TRUTH can be injurious if it is not ministered like a sledge-hammer and not in love! Remember, the SDA will try to do to you what has been done to him: he will continually try bring in SDA doctrine, or teaching – which he has usually been told or read from one of their books, to prove his beliefs.

In speaking with an SDA, initially it’s best to adhere to the prophetic material, and not discuss doctrine – no one wins by ‘chasing theological rabbits! Remember, as the SDA’s are unable, or don’t want to see Ellen G. White as a false prophet (we now know she is) and they see her as a true prophet, and knowing that they see your church as being corrupt, satanically backed and an abomination to God, they may be very unwilling to discuss these things with you, so don’t take it personally. (see Quote 13).

The Millerites: Remember the SDA organisation will themselves admit Miller’s dates were incorrect, and endeavour to disassociate themselves (and Ellen G. White) from any involvement with the Millerites. Hence, their claim that Ellen G. White was just an “impressionable young girl during Miller’s time”. Because the SDA will not deny his belief in Ellen G. White, therefore, one must conclude that they are spiritually deceived. Has Jesus’s warning in Matthew 7:15 been fulfilled, which states, ”Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves”!

As said before, a prophet is one who claims to speak for another. If these people speak for Ellen G. White, then they are simply prophets of Ellen G. White! If they claim to be Christians and hold to Ellen G. White as a prophet, then they are also claiming that you, as a Christian are deceived; for God showed their prophet, Ellen G. White, in a vision that you are corrupt, satanic and your prayers, and etc., are an abomination in the sight of God! We must be seen by the reader as labouring the point, but every true Christian really needs to understand what the SDA thinks about you and where he believes you are coming from spiritually!

Scriptural Proof

From another angle, how can it be proven beyond all shadow of doubt, that Ellen G. White is a genuine false prophet? Jesus tells us how by using what I call a ‘gardening principle’ from Matthew 7:16, “You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes off thorns, or figs off thistles?” This verse shows the well-known rule that, ‘like produces like’. For example, you shall know an orange tree by its oranges (fruit); therefore, a prophet will be known by their prophecies (fruit)! Obviously, a false prophet bears false prophecies (rotten fruit!). Do you get figs (true prophecies) from thistles (false prophet plants)? No! We must always examine a prophet’s prophecies! If proven to be false prophets, then their doctrines or teachings would be therefore suspect also. The ‘False Teacher’ should be examined, in the light of the Word of God as to his doctrine and teaching.

If the SDA’s claim they are true Christians, and you are a genuinely Born-Again Christian – then why are they trying so hard to convert YOU? Simply, because of their belief that Ellen G. White’s vision in Quote 13? Jesus has already said that false prophets will come to you in sheep’s (or Christians) clothing. From experience, the writer would say that the ‘sheep skin’ on this ‘Ellen G. White wolf’ is very thick indeed!

If Jesus Himself said that false prophets would look like a sheep, it is therefore logical that they would have to act like a sheep – and “Baa” like a sheep, smell like a sheep, even say they follow the right shepherd, Jesus. But this ‘jesus’ of the SDA’s is not the Jesus of the Evangelical Church! SDA’s believed for over 100 years that Jesus, the Son of God, is none other than MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL! This statement is taken from: “Questions on Doctrine”, p71, Question 8; “Spiritual Gifts”, Vol. 4a, p58; “Prophets and Kings”, p572; “Desire of Ages”, p99; and “Story of Redemption”, p173.

Scriptures tell us that satan can and does appear as an ANGEL of Light. Could this be the ‘ANGEL’ Ellen G. White saw and was guided by? Do we know Jesus Christ as a Person, or as an Angel? Do you believe in a place called Hell, as Jesus taught? The SDA’s don’t! To avoid deception one needs to know one’s Bible! It is a failsafe “lamp” to guide one through life; one read and study it often. Why? Because the Bible is God speaking to you. Remember, God and His Word are one. The Bible, is meant to be our contact with God, through the Holy Spirit it is His contact with us (John 16:7-10). Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would teach us and lead us into all truth! (John 16:13). Therefore, knowing the Word of God is to know the absolute Truth.

Here is where the SDA’s are presented with a very great and difficult problem? Having a different ‘jesus’ – Michael the Archangel – and a genuine ‘false prophet’ (in their Mrs Ellen G. White), it has to raise the very significant and important question: “What spirit is it that leads them into their so-called truth and practices?” Is it the Holy Spirit of the Bible? 1 Tim. 4:1 says, “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons”. 2 Tim. 4:3-4 also says, “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 with their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths”.

You are encouraged to read the following guidelines from the Bible: Matt. 7:15-23; Luke 21:8; 2 Peter 2:1-3. These verses are from God’s own ‘measuring rod’ the Bible. In the light of the foregoing verses, the reader has to ask the question, “How do the SDA’s measure up with God’s standard, the Bible?

A Few Facts About the Doctrines/Teachings of Seventh-Day Adventists

Therefore, if the SDA believes, as we have shown, that ‘Jesus is Michael the Archangel’ – the only logical conclusion is that the SDA ‘Jesus’ has to be simply ‘another jesus’ and not the Jesus of the Bible! However, in recent years, officially, the SDA’s have changed this very embarrassing belief and are now saying that they believe in the Trinity! However, the ‘Jesus is Michael’ belief is still in their ‘roots’ and their explanation for the change and how they view the Trinity is not plausible to the author. Note what it says in 2nd Corinthians 11:4, “If indeed – any could show you another Saviour, a more powerful Spirit, a better gospel. Ye might well bear with him.” The following is how the SDA’s taught the error for many decades, “Michael, or Christ, with the angels that buried Moses, came down from heaven, after he (Moses) had remained in the grave a short time, and resurrected him, and took him to heaven”. SPIRITUAL GIFTS, Vol. 4a, p58.

“… and before the contest closed, Christ Himself came to Gabriel’s aid. ‘The Prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days’, Gabriel declares; ‘but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia’.” (Dan. 10:13) PROPHETS AND KINGS, p572.

“The words of the angel, ‘I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God’, show that he holds a position of high honour in the heavenly courts. When he came with a message to Daniel, he said, ‘There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael (Christ) your prince’.” (Dan. 10:21) THE DESIRE OF AGES, p99.

“Michael, or Christ, with the angels that buried Moses, came down from heaven, after he had remained in the grave a short time, and resurrected him and took him to heaven … Satan claimed the body of Moses, because of his one transgression; but Christ meekly referred him to His Father, saying, ‘The Lord rebuke thee’.” THE STORY OF REDEMPTION, p173. (See Jude 9 for the truth)

Soul Sleep: “In the year 1844 I accepted the doctrine we now hold, concerning the non-immortality of the soul, as may be seen by reference to LIFE SKETCHES, pp170, 171 (1880 edition).”

Hypnosis: “You may wonder why we now touch on hypnosis? It is important to understand the possible link self-hypnosis may have with Ellen G. Whites well documented ‘trance-like states’. Early in her experience Ellen G. White, according to record, was cautioned regarding the ‘perils of hypnosis’, but in later years, on a number of occasions, the record also shows that she received instruction regarding it.” EARLY WRITINGS, p298. One who knows about the deeper things of hypnosis, is very aware that one can ‘pre-program’ oneself to go into a ‘trance-like state’ by using ‘word triggers’ by saying something as simple as, “Glory, Glory, Glory” which is on record as being exactly what Ellen G. White did immediately before having one of her many public ‘trances’ or so-called ‘visions’!

Why Her Prophecy Failed: This is the SDA explanation of E.G. White’s failed prophecies: “Thus the work was hindered, and the world was left in darkness. Had the whole Adventist body united the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, how widely different would have been our history”. SELECTED MESSAGES 1, p299.

Slavery: Ellen G. White said that slavery will not be destroyed by the American Civil War, “The system of slavery, which has ruined our nation, is left to live and stir up another rebellion”. TESTIMONY FOR THE CHURCH, p255.

Remember, the Word of God says, “…BUT THE PROPHET WHO PROPHESIES PEACE CAN ONLY BE RECOGNISED AS ONE TRULY SENT BY YAHWEH (God’s written Name) WHEN HIS WORD COMES TRUE”. Jeremiah 28:9 – Jerusalem Bible.

In Conclusion: The letter mentioned earlier, from the wife of an SDA, at the beginning of this writing, said that after she accepted the real Lord Jesus into her life, and I quote, “I have the power and authority of Jesus on my side now. His Spirit has united with my spirit and it will lead me straight through to the kingdom where I’ll see Jesus. My Christian growth and life has progressed more in the last six months than it has in thirty years. Even my husband is pleased with the change in me at home! But he still gets hostile and forbids me even to say, Praise the Lord. Keep praying for me, please, and especially for my husband“. Truly here is a testimony, as Paul’s said in 2nd Timothy 1:12, “Therefore, I suffer as I do, but I am not ashamed, FOR I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to Him”.

The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the key when asked by His disciples as to when He was to return and what would be the sign of His coming: He replied, “Take heed that no-one leads you astray … for false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:3-5 and 24).

© Copyright F.R. Grigg 1981 Revised and Updated 2016




How To Surrender To God

David Parker is the Pointman Ministries International, Central Regional Director, Clay, Kentucky, USA

Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘surrender’ as: “To deliver up; yield to another; to resign; to relinquish” and in the military, the word ‘surrender’ is like a dirty word. In the Marine Corps, there is a unit that had to surrender its colors (flag) at the beginning of WWII. Because of the disgrace of that humane act, that unit’s flag have never come back home to the shores that they served. In boot camp (rookies) we were taught about the Geneva Convention and to only surrender to the enemy if we were able to evade capture and had no means to defend ourselves. With this type of conditioning of duty, pride and honour, no wonder it is hard for the Vietnam Veteran to surrender his/her life to Christ Jesus.

I am a Vietnam Veteran. I served with the Marine Corps in country from February 1970 until January 1971 with a 105 Howitzer Battery . When I went to Vietnam I was a luke-warm Christian. Before I went, I had a heart-to-heart with my Grandfather who was a Baptist minister. My spirit was bothering me about the Sixth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”. He convinced me that I was not responsible for performing my duties as ordered by my government and that soothed my spirit for the moment.

Coming home never really happened. I physically returned to the United States , but emotionally I died. Since I was already dead, there was nothing I could do to myself that would hurt me. With this mentality, I proceeded to drink the world dry. You see, I had a problem – and it wasn’t alcohol. I couldn’t sleep at night because of the nightmares, guilt, anger and rage, depression, suicidal thoughts, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts.

Less than a year from my return, I met and married my young and naive, present and only wife. We have two sons. The reason we are still married was not because of anything I did. The Lord knows I did everything imaginable that could and would end a marriage. I was unable to keep a job, because of my attitude and anger. After about 20 years of this behaviour and several hospitalizations in the Veterans’ Affairs system psyche wards, my wife was contacted by a Point Man Ministries representative. She was told about a conference called, ‘Operation Dust Off’ for Vietnam Veterans and their spouses in Virginia Beach, VA by Point Man and CBN. My wife told me that she felt that this was something we needed to try

We went to three of these conferences. Each time we would be filled with hope in our lives. We would attend the seminars that would have excellent speakers. In these seminars they would speak of surrendering your troubles to the Lord. As good as these speakers were, not on told us how to surrender.

Returning home, we would be on fire for the Lord for a few weeks. But the fire would dwindle due to the lack of fuel, as we returned to the same atmosphere that we had left. In hindsight, I did not stay in the Word of God to know how to keep the fire burning. Nor did I fellowship with other Christians to grow in my new freedom. The door was left wide-open for the great deceiver to stroll in and rob me of the truth.

In 1995, my wife and I attended a Point Man conference in Mansfield , which was extremely spiritual for me. There was something different. The Holy Spirit was definitely there. For the past three years we had been under conviction to start a Point Man Homefront Outreach in our area. Satan was able to convince us that we were not good enough to do God’s work. But, here we received a great revelation – “cannot” is one of satan’s lies. God says all things are possible for those who believe. With the help of the Holy Spirit you do not have to believe that lie. By not believing the lie there is room for you to surrender your past to God and believe the truth. The Truth – there is a God, He sent His only begotten Son to die for every sin. We are all born sinners, but there is something we can do about it – surrender!

Postscript by Fred Grigg:

In the Bible book of John, Chapter 3:1-21, the writer tells of a discussion that Jesus had with an extremely religious man named Nicodemus – he was a member of the Jewish parliament of the day; had been raised under the strict religious code of a group called the Pharisees – he was more religious than perhaps you or I could ever be!

Jesus flatly told him that even with all his religious studies, religious practices, and his long years of experience as a leader in his country, that he would not see or even enter the Kingdom of God unless he was Born Again! (see verses 3-8). Yes, you have probably hear the words ‘Born Again’ used in many different contexts in the media – the ‘born again’ football team; the ‘born again’ car model; the ‘born again’ career of an actor, etc. Well, Jesus did not use the words in any of those contexts.In fact, in the original Greek language that the account was written, the words, ‘born again’ really meant, ‘to be regenerated from above spiritually’ – it is from the inference in that statement relating to ‘re-generation’ that it translates into English as ‘Born Again’.

So, you may ask, what do I have to do to be ‘regenerated spiritually?’ Probably the most simple thing you could possibly ever do in the light of ‘surrendering’ in the way in which David Parker did in the foregoing article. He did it, I did it and so have thousands of others. No, it is not something that you can do without the help of God’s Holy Spirit. It is only by making a quality, meaningful and final decision that you want to surrender your life (and the mess you and others have made of it) to the Lord Jesus Christ. No, it does not mean that you will become a ‘namby-pamby goody-two-shoes’ church-goer dressed in a suit carrying a large Bible under your arm on Sundays (that’s ‘churchianity’ not True Christianity!). What it does mean is that you will become, in time, the person you were really meant to be. You will get to understand that you are loved, accepted and forgiven by a loving God. You will get to understand what purpose you have to fulfill in being here on Earth. You will become a better husband, a better father and someone who really knows where they are going in life.

No, your present and past problems won’t disappear overnight – but, you will find the ability to work through them and overcome them. Everything in the ‘garden won’t be rosy’ but you will have the ability God can give you to face and handle the storms that life dishes up to everyone – Christians and non. How do you become a Christian that is truly regenerated in your heart by the Holy Spirit? You can contact Point Man Ministries for help, or, you can start right now by praying a prayer similar to the following:

“Father God, I come to you in the Name of your Son Jesus Christ. I have no answer to the things that have troubled me in life. I need your help to become the person that you want me to be. Holy Spirit, I open the door of my heart and ask you to come into my life. Create in me a new heart and renew a right spirit within me. Forgive me for all the things that I have done that were wrong (name them one by one – we all know what’s right and what’s wrong). Cleanse me of all my sin (sin is simply falling short of what God wants you to do) and set me free from the bondages of my past. Please help me to make things right in my life – my relationships that I have damaged (wife/husband/children/parents etc). Take authority in my life and help me to be guided and led by you forever. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen”.

If you prayed the above prayer from the bottom or your heart and really meant what you prayed, why not contact us and let us know. We would appreciate your contact and perhaps we can assist you in your desire to serve the True and Living God.

 




Mahometanism – 1842 Article

The following was copied exactly from Pages 744-752 of the following publication:

mahoumatism

From the Title Page:

CHAMBERS’S

INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE

New and Improved Edition

Edited by

WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS

Editors of Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal, Educational Course, & c.

VOLUME 1.

EDINBURGH

Published by Richard and Robert Chambers

1842

The religion of Mahomet, or Mahomed, and called Mahometanism, partakes of a much more exalted character than any of the mythological superstitions already adverted to, inasmuch as it approaches a pure theism, or a belief in the one true God. This famed religion, which now prevails in Arabia, Egypt, the Moorish states, Turkey, Persia, and is extended in a scattered manner over south-eastern Asia, and numbers 100,000,000 of followers, originated in Arabia at the beginning of the seventh century of the Christian era. At this period, eastern countries were in a condition to receive a new and vigorously conducted form of religious belief. The scattered branches of the Christian church in Asia and Africa were at variance with each other, and had adopted the wildest heresies and superstitions. They were engaged in perpetual controversies, and torn to pieces by the disputes of the Ariana, Sabellians, Nestorians, and Eutychians; whilst the simony, the incontinence, and general barbarism and ignorance which were to be found amongst the clergy, caused great scandal to the Christian religion, and introduced universal profligacy of manners amongst the people.

While Christianity, in the manner it was abused by unenlightened followers, was of little avail in civilising the Asiatics, while the religion of the Jews was sunk into comparative insignificance, and while paganism still flourished in the east, Mahometanism was introduced upon the scene, and in a wonderfully short period of time, gave an entirely new cast to manners and form of belief. Arabia being the country in which this new religion was first promulgated, it is considered desirable to mention the nature of the religion which the people previously professed and now abandoned. “The ancient Arabs are supposed to have been what are termed pure theists; that is, they are supposed to have believed in and worshipped one sole, omnipotent, and everlasting God. Historians, however, have seldom correctly appreciated the meaning of these magnificent expressions in the mouth of a savage. In his mind such language is connected with ideas and feelings rather than those which a civilised man would express by it. These splendid epithets are the mere expressions of flattery and fear. The Deity, now addressed, and whose favour is the object of present desire, is for the time the sole object of adoration. The very same savage, who believes in a host of gods, will address each of them by the term of THE ONE.

If among many deities one is thought more powerful than the rest, he will be the oftenest addressed, the oftenest soothed by flattery. No epithet is so flattering as that which asserts his single existence. It exalts him above all beings, and leaves him without a rival. No epithet, therefore, will be so frequently employed. Being the most constantly adored, this more powerful divinity will have this epithet expressive of his sole existence will have this epithet expressive of his sole existence at length be regularly attached to, and form part of, that name. This was precisely the case with the Arabian objects of worship. It is strange that, when complete evidence of this fact exists, really intelligent and circumspect historians should have believed in the pure theism of the Arabians. Sale, like many others, was deceived by pompous expressions: “That they acknowledge one supreme God, appears (to omit other proof) from their usual form of addressing themselves to him, which was this: “I dedicate myself to thy service, O God! I dedicate myself to thy service, O God! Thou hast no companion, except thy companion of whom thou art absolute master, and of whatever is his.” ‘In the very next passage, however,’ Sale adds, ‘They offered sacrifices and other offerings to idols, as well as to God who was also often put off with the least portion, as Mahomet upbraids them.’ Their scheme of divine government was simple, and like most others formed in the same state of civilisation. One god was supposed to be the supreme ruler; and subject to his sway was a vast multitude of inferior deities. The Arabs acknowledged one supreme God, the ‘creator and lord of the universe, whom they called Allah Taala, the most high god; and their other deities, who were subordinate to him, they called simply Al Ilahat, that is, goddesses.’* Idols were set up and worshipped; every field, every rivulet, had its divinities. The fixed stars and planets were also exalted into gods, and as such received adoration. Heaven, moreover, was peopled with angels, who, with the wooden, stone, and clay idols on earth, were regularly worshipped. How the Arabians can be supposed believers in a single godhead, under such circumstances, appears extraordinary.

The manner in which these various divinities were rendered propitious, at once marks that no very exalted conception of a divinity existed in the minds of these barbarians. Fasts, pilgrimages, sacrifices, long and unmeaning prayers, were the means employed to obtain the divine favour.

They are obliged to pray three times a day (some say seven times a day): the first, half an hour or less before sunrise, ordering it so, that they may, just as the sun rises, finish eight adorations, each containing three prostrations; the second prayer they end at noon, when the sun begins to decline, in saying which they perform five such adorations as the former; and the present hour, by a sacrifice of sheep and camels, and the burial of their hair and nails in the consecrated grounds.” The Arabians had many other superstitious practices; they held their women in a degraded condition; and, though refined in some points of manners. They had no written law, were governed despotically by chiefs and were really barbarians and idolaters. It was the debased religion of this people which Mahomet designed to improve, and we now see who this singularly bold and ingenious man was, and how he carried his plans into execution.

Mahomet was born at Mecca, the capital city of Arabia Felix, A.D. 569, during the reign of Noosheervan, surnamed the Just, King of Persia. He was of the family of Haschem, and of the tribe of Koreish, the noblest in Arabia. His father Abdallah was a younger son of Abdalmotalleb, and dying very young, and in his father’s lifetime, left his widow and infant son in very mean circumstances, his whole substance consisting but of five camels and Ethiopian slave. Abdalmotalleb was therefore obliged to take charge of his grandchild Mahomet, which be not only did during his life, but at his death enjoined his eldest son, Abu Taleb, who was brother to Abdallah by the same mother, to provide for him for the future. This was very affectionately performed by Abu Taleb, who instructed him| in the business of a merchant, which he followed; and to that end he took young Mahomet into Syria when he was but thirteen years old, and afterwards recommended him to Khadijah, a noble and rich widow, for her factor, in whose service he behaved so well, that, by making him her husband, she soon raised him to an equality with the richest in Mecca.

It was after he began, by this advantageous match, to live at his ease, that he formed the scheme of establishing a new religion, or, as he expressed it, of replanting “the only true and ancient one professed by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and all the prophets, by destroying the gross idolatry into which the generality of his countrymen had fallen, and weeding out the corruptions and superstitions which the latter Jews and Christians had, as he thought, introduced into their religion, and reducing it to its original purity, which consisted chiefly in the worship of one only God.

He hereupon began to affect solitude, usually retiring for a month in the year to a cave in Mount Hara, near Mecca. He had indisputably a very piercing and sagacious intellect, and was thoroughly versed in all the arts of insinuation. The eastern historians describe him to have been a man of an excellent judgment and a happy memory; and these natural parts were improved by a great experience and knowledge of mankind, and the observations he had made in his travels. He is represented as a man of few words, of an equal, cheerful temper, pleasant and familiar in conversation, of inoffensive behaviour towards his friends and acquaintances, and of great condescension towards his inferiors; to all which were joined a comely agreeable person, and a polite address-qualities of no small service in prepossessing those in his favour whom he attempted to persuade.

“When the prophet was about four years old,” says Mahmut the Arabian, “accompanying the sons of his nurse into the field, the blessed child retired into a cave, at the foot of the mountain Uriel, to pray, when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and said, Bismillar rahmanir rahimi; that is, ‘In the name of God, compassionate and merciful, O child greatly beloved, I am sent to displant from thy heart the root of evil; for thy ejaculations made the gates of Paradise to fly open!’ The young resigned one said, ‘The will of the Lord and mine be done.’ Then the angel opened his breast with a razor of adamant, and taking out his heart, squeezed from it the black contagion which was derived from Adam; and having put the child’s heart in its place again, he blessed him, and retired to the invisibles.

From that time the young favourite of Heaven grew up and prospered in all things, having the smiles of God and man. He was under the tuition of his uncle Abu Taleb, who, discerning the mark of an immense soul in his young nephew, was more solicitous for his welfare than if he had been his son. His fortune being low in the world, be bad no other way to provide for his illustrious charge than by placing him as a factor to Khadijah, a widow of the same tribe with Mahomet, which was the noblest among the Arabians.”

Mahomet’s marriage with Khadijah took place when they were respectively twenty five years of age; and it was not till twelve years after this marriage that be began to fabricate his imposture, in the cave of Mount Hara, about three miles from Mecca, to which he usually retired during the month of Ramazan, being the time of Lent. At length, A.D. 609, when he was fully forty years old, he disclosed his prophetic mission, at first only to his own wife Khadijah. He told her that the Angel Gabriel bad appeared `to him in glory, and declared that God bad commissioned him as an apostle to reform the world ; that he then delivered to him the Koran for a divine law, which should complete all antecedent revelations. Khadijah gained for her husband an important proselyte in her uncle Waraka, a Christian, who was well read in the Old and New Testaments. He pronounced Mahomet “to be the real prophet foretold by Moses the son of Amram.” It is much more probable that Waraka was the assistant of Mahomet in composing the Koran than Sergius the monk, or any other person.

The next proselyte was Abubeker, a rich and respectable inhabitant of Mecca; and his example being followed by many others, Mahomet ventured on a bolder demonstration of his mission. At a numerous assemblage of the Koreishites, at a public entertainment to which he had invited them, he demanded who would become his vizier, or prime minister, assuring them that both happiness in this world and in that to come, would accrue to his followers. The guests remained silent in surprise, when Ali, the son of Abu Taleb, a boy about fourteen years of age, started up enthusiastically, and said, “I will be thy vizier, oh Prophet of God! I will break the teeth, pluck out the eyes, rip up the belly, cut off the legs of thine enemies.” The joy and approval testified by Mahomet to the zeal of his youthful disciple, was an apt and early specimen what manner of spirit be and his deputy were of. The hostile proceedings and denunciations of the prophet against their idolatry, at length aroused the enmity of the Koreishites; but their threats were despised by him, and, in reply to the prudent remonstrance’s of his uncle Abu Taleb, he exclaimed, “Though the Koreishites should arm against me the sun and the moon (alluding to the divinities whom they ignorantly worshipped), the one on my right band, and the other on my left, I would not be shaken from my resolution.” He, however, retired for a while to a castle in Mount Safa, and his followers were banished from the city of Mecca. After this persecution, which lasted five years, in the tenth year of his mission (A.D. 618) he sustained a serious loss in the death of his uncle Abu Taleb; and this was followed `a short time after by the death of his affectionate wife Khadijah, who had so generously made his fortune. On account of these misfortunes, this year was called the Year of Mourning. Instead of sinking under these adversities, however, upon being violently urged by the Koreishites, who still derided his pretensions, to exhibit some miracle, Mahomet ventured, in the twelfth year of his mission, to publish the revelation of his night visit or journey to the seven heavens.

This event formed a striking epoch in his mission, and displayed in the strongest manner the dexterity as well as boldness of his measures. The questions so forcibly put to him of establishing his mission by miracles, is therein parried, and replied to by an appeal to the wonders wrought by Moses, which did not cause the reformation of Pharaoh, and to those of Jesus, which failed with the Jews; he also incidentally remarked, that miracles were designed rather to strike terror and to punish than to convince.

This famous journey is thus described by Mahomet: While he was in the Caaba, or sacred square building at Mecca, reclining on the sacred stone, the Angel Gabriel came to him; he opened his breast, took out his heart, and washed it in a golden basin full of the water of faith, and then restored it to its place. The angel bad seventy pairs of wings, and had the beast Alborak with him, on which the prophets used to ride; it was white, and partly horse, ass, and mule, or a middle between the two last, and went as fast as the lightning, which the name Alborak, in Arabic, signifies. When he was brought to Jerusalem by the angel, all the prophets met him, and owned his superiority. He ascended to heaven with the angel, on a ladder of divine light, and left the beast Alborak at Jerusalem till he descended again. He went through seven heavens before he came to the throne of God, which was in the last one, and Gabriel left him at the entrance of it, and waited till he returned from conversing with God, who gave him the offer to be next himself; but he rather chose to descend again to the earth to propagate his religion. His heavens were all 500 years’ journey distant from one another. One was of silver, another of gold, another of emeralds &c., and the last of light. He met some one of the patriarchs or prophets in each of them. In the first he met and discoursed with Adam; in the second, with John the Baptist and Jesus; in the third, with the patriarch Joseph; in the fourth, with Edris or Enoch; in the fifth, with Aaron; in the sixth, with Moses; in the seventh, with Abraham. Thence he was carried up to Sedrat, the lotus tree, whence were the sources of the four rivers of Paradise. He saw angels in the likenesses of all creatures in these heavens. He saw a great bull bearing the earth on his horns, and when he shook his head there was an earthquake. There was also a cock, which stood on one heaven, and his head reached another; his voice was hear through heaven and earth, and set the cocks on earth a crowing. He saw and angel of such stature that there was 70,000 days’ journey between his eyes. The proportion of a man’s height to the distance between his eyes is as seventy-two to one; so that his stature must then have been 14,000 years’ journey, four times the height of all his heavens together, in which he was quite out of his mathematics. In the seventh heaven, where God and Christ were, was an angel with 70,000 heads and in each head were 70,000 tongues, with which he praised God. Gabriel accompanied him down from heaven to Jerusalem, and from thence conveyed him, with the beast Alborak, to Mecca; and all this was done in the tenth part of a night. In the conclusion of this extraordinary fabrication, he skilfully adds, that when he was enjoined to repeat fifty prayers each day, he entreated for his nation, they were finally induced at his intercession to five. To finish the wonder, he was returned back to the Caabaere the crier called him to prayers; and “thus,” concluded Mahomet, “did I bring with me the prescribed number of prayers; and lessened the burden for my nation.”

This story seemed so absurd and incredible, that several of his followers left him on account of it; and it had probably ruined the whole design, had not Abubeker vouched for his veracity, and declared that if Mahomet affirmed it to be true, he verily believed the whole; which happy incident not only retrieved the prophet’s credit, but increased it to such a degree, that be was secure of being able to make his disciples to swallow whatever he pleased to impose on them for the future. “And I am apt to think,” says Sale, “this fiction, notwithstanding its extravagance, was one of the most artful contrivances Mahomet ever put in practice, and what chiefly contributed to the raising of his reputation to the great height to which is afterwards attained.”

In the memorable year twelve citizens of Medina swore allegiance and obedience to the Prophet, whence they were styled, by way of dignity, Al Ansar, that is, “The Defenders;” and the year A. D. 620 was denominated the “accepted year.” On Mount Akaba, near Mecca, seventy-three proselytes were soon after added to their number, and swore to defend the prophet from all insult, as they defended their own wives and children. “If,” said they to the apostle of God, “we be slain in thy cause, what shall be our reward!” He answered, “Paradise” Then said they, “Stretch forth thy right band,” and he did so; then they took the oath of obedience, promising rather to die than be perjured. He now established twelve apostles of Islamism, which was the name he gave to his religion, himself being the prime instructor and chief of all the true believers; and be then sent away the Ansars, his followers, and his family, to Medina, for security, and remained behind at Mecca, attended only by Abubeker and his son-in-law Ali.

By the protection which his uncle Abu Taleb had extended to Mahomet, he had been preserved thus far from his enemies; but the charge and dignity of the priest and guardian of the Kaaba, having now, by the death of Abu Taleb, become the post of a member of the family of Ommiyah, a declared enemy to the family of Hasehem, to which Mahomet belonged, the Koreishites, irritated and alarmed at the progress making by the new doctrine at Medina, resolved to destroy its author and chief support. This conspiracy was scarce formed, when, by some means or other, it came to Mahomet’s knowledge, and be gave out that it was revealed to him by the Angel Gabriel, who bad now ordered him to retire to Medina. Whereupon, to amuse his enemies, he directed Ali to lie down in his place, and wrap himself in his green cloak, which he did; and Mahomet escaped miraculously, as they pretend, to Abubeker’s house, unperceived by the conspirators, who had already assembled at the prophet’s door. They, in the meantime, looking through the crevice, and seeing Ali, whom they took to be Mahomet himself, asleep, continued watching there till morning, when Ali arose, and they found themselves deceived.

In the recesses of a cave near Mecca, Mahomet and Abubeker eluded for three days the pursuit of their enemies. “There are only two of us,” said the apprehensive disciple, when he expected the pursuers to penetrate their retreat. “There is a third, even God himself,” said his intrepid chief; “he will defend us.” According to tradition, Mahomet afterwards asserted that a miracle was here wrought in his behalf; for that his enemies, approaching the cave, found that its entrance was covered by spiders’ webs hanging from the trees, which convinced them that no person had entered it for a long time. After a perilous journey, Mahomet entered Medina in triumph, being enthusiastically received by the Ansars, who disputed for the honour of entertaining the prophet, and took hold of the bridle of his camel. Mahomet then desired them to let her take her own way, for she was a stubborn beast; which she took, accordingly, and stopped at the stable of two rich orphans, Sahali and Sohaili, where the prophet dismounted. This spot be purchased from the orphans, after refusing their offer to bestow it upon him, and Abubeker paid the money. He erected thereon a mosque and a habitation for himself, on which he laboured with his own hands. Medina henceforth received the august title of Medinat al Nabi, or the “City of the Prophet,”

The Mahometan era, called the Hejira, takes its commencement from the date of Mahomet’s flight from Mecca to Medina. The generality of writers place this epoch on Friday the l6th of July, A. D. 622. It is this event which has rendered Friday the solemn day of the week for his followers; this choice also agreeing with the customs of the Arabians, who held their assemblies usually on the Fridays. The word Hejira is derived from the Arabic verb Hajara, to abandon one’s native country, to emigrate on account of persecution; which from the Hebrew Hagar, the stranger or emigrant; the name of Ishmael’s mother.

It was from this period that Mahomet, having fully ascertained the Hate of his enemies and the extent of his own power, proceeded to lay aside the arts of persuasion and patient endurance, whereby be bad hitherto sought to propagate his tenets; and, elated by the devotion of his disciples and his reception at Medina, he framed henceforth the revelations of the Koran in a tone which proclaimed him a persecutor, and empowered his followers to make war against all opposers. The successful battle of Beder followed soon after; and he then made known those doctrines which have rendered the arms of the Mussulmans so formidable, namely, “that no one can escape his destiny; inasmuch as the man whose days are not complete will escape unhurt from a shower of arrows, when he whose fatal term has arrived cannot escape death by any precaution whatsoever.” The second incitative is that which the present occasion furnished him with: “The sword,” exclaimed the prophet, “is the key of heaven and of hell; a drop of blood shed in the cause of God, a night spent under arms, is of more avail than two months of fasting and prayer. Whosoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven: at the Day of Judgment his wounds shall be resplendent as vermilion and odoriferous as musk; the loss of his limbs shall be replaced by the wings of angels and of cherubim.”

This victory, the first of Mahomet’s battles, was gained, in the second year of the Hejira, over the idolatrous Meccans, headed by Abu Sohan, in the valley of Beder, which is situated near the sea, between Mecca and Medina. Mahomet’s forces consisted of no more than 319 men, and the enemy’s army of near 1000; notwithstanding which odds, he put them to flight, having killed seventy of the principal Koreish, and taken as many prisoners, with the loss of only fourteen of his own men. This first victory, although it may seem no very considerable action, was yet of great advantage to Him, and the foundation of all his future power and success; for which reason it is very famous in Mahometan history, and is frequently vaunted of in the Koran as an effect of the divine assistance, through the miraculous interposition of the Angel Gabriel. The gaining of the battle was, however, wholly attributable to the extraordinary stratagem of Mahomet, by his expedient, at the critical moment, of scattering a handful of dust against his enemies, at the same time exclaiming, “Let their faces be confounded!” Which action so invigorated his fainting followers, that. they charged and overthrew their foes. Mahomet captured the whole caravan, which consisted of 1000 camels, richly laden, fr6m Syria; and this afforded him the means of rewarding his followers, and inciting them to further exertion by the allurements of wealth and the hope of plunder.

Some reckon as many as twenty-seven expeditions wherein Mahomet was personally present, in nine of which he gave battle; besides several other expeditions, undertaken by his orders, in which he was not present. His forces he maintained partly by the contributions of his followers for this purpose, which he called by the name of zacat, or alms, and .the paying of which he very artfully made one main article of his religion; and partly by ordering a fifth part of the plunder to be brought into the public treasury for that purpose, in which matter he likewise pretended to act by the divine direction. In a few years, by the success of his arms, he considerably raised his prophetic character and power. In the sixth year of the Hejira, he set out with 1400 men to visit the temple of Mecca, not with any intention of committing hostilities, but in a peaceable manner. However, when he came to Al Hodeibiya, which is situated partly within and partly without the sacred territory, the Koreish sent to let him know that they would not permit him to enter. Mecca unless be forced his way; whereupon he called his troops around him, and they took a solemn oath of fealty or homage to him, sending Arwa Ebn Masud, prince of the tribe on Thakif, to desire peace, a truce was concluded between them for ten years, by which any person was allowed to enter into league either with Mahomet or with the Koreish, as he thought fit.

Having subdued the chief part of the pagan tribes, and by his relentless severity exterminated the Jewish classes who dwelt peaceably in Arabia, in the seventh year of the Hejira (A. D. 628), he assumed the state of a sovereign, and sent embassies to the neighbouring monarchs, exhorting them to embrace Islamism.

In the eighth year of the Hejira, a quarrel, real or feigned, gave him the opportunity of possessing himself of Mecca, and of the sacred square edifice called the Caaba. Mahomet appearing suddenly at their gates with 10,000 men, before the troops of Mecca had even been apprised of his departure from Medina, they bad no choice left but an immediate surrender or destruction. Thus pressed, and menaced with instant death, the Koreish submitted to the superior power of Mahomet. Their final submission to him, and their acceptance of his faith, were ratified subsequently, “On the hill El Safa. Having visited the holy building of the Caaba, and broken in pieces the idols wherewith it was encircled, Mahomet went in procession seven times round the building, and touched respectfully the black stone which was held sacred by the Arabs; then entering the edifice, he repeated the formulary, “God is Great.” Afterwards he went to the well Zemzem – which is believed by them to be the same that the angel showed to Hagar – drank of the water, and performed the required ablution. Artfully blending attention to exterior observances with zeal, and pursuing a mixed system of mercy and rigour, he subdued the hearts of his high-minded countrymen, and soon superadded to his claims of power the more imposing and indissoluble bonds of superstitious reverence and awe. The capture of Mecca, and the submission of the powerful race of the Koreish, was soon followed by the conversion to Islamism of most of the remoter pagan tribes, until all Arabia bowed the neck beneath his yoke.

Mahomet, having thus become master of all Arabia, made great preparations for the conquest of Syria; but this vast enterprise was reserved for his successors. He gradually, however, paved the way for their successes, and brought the celebrated region of Arabia into one complete and powerful union. He established the law which still obtains in all the Mussulman states, of imposing a personal tax on such subjects as do not embrace Islamism. By this custom, still subsisting among all the sovereigns who acknowledge the Koran, every reputed infidel pays a kharaj, or capitation-tax, over and above the imposts which he supports equally with the rest of the subjects. He absolutely prohibited all idolaters from making the pilgrimage to Mecca, or any foreigner from entering the Caaba, under pain of death. These were strokes of profound policy. He retained the pilgrimage to Mecca, which bad been of ancient standing among the descendants of Abraham and Ishmael. Though he destroyed the images used at Mecca as objects of idolatrous worship, he carefully retained the holy relics of the black stone and the supposed impression of Abraham’s foot. The black stone had been immemorially venerated there; the angels, it was said, had brought it white to the Caaba, and the sins of mankind had transformed it to black. Hence, in allusion to this stone, the Orientals use the compliments, “May God whiten thy face;” “May the shah make thy face white,” & c. make thy face white,” &c.

These practices no less forwarded the progress of Islamism than did the sword of ‘Mahomet. Everywhere the petty Arabian tribes overthrew their idols and submitted themselves to the new faith. Thus was Thus was Mahometanism established, and idolatry rooted out, even in Mahomet’s lifetime, throughout all Arabia; and the Arabs, being then united in one faith and under one prince, found themselves in a condition for making those conquests which extended the Mahometan faith ever so great a part of the world.

In the tenth year of the Hejira (A.D. 631), Mahomet set forth on a solemn and pompous embassy to Mecca, accompanied by all his wives, and by at least 90,000 pilgrims. He sacrificed with his own hands sixty-three victims, and liberated sixty-three slaves, in thanksgiving for each year of his life; he shaved his head, and scattered the hair amongst the multitude, who eagerly seized portions of it as sacred relics. He closed the solemnity with the following apostrophe, which, as if pronounced from heaven, concludes the Koran: “Henceforth, wretched and miserable shall they be who deny your religion. Fear not them, but fear me; this day I have perfected your religion, and completed my grace toward you. I have willed that Islamism be your religion. “He established the lunar moveable year, still in use with the Mahometans; and, finally, as supreme Pontiff or Imam, dismissed the people with a farewell, the last, as he declared that he should give them; whence this pilgrimage derived its name of the Farewell.

Mahomet, having returned to Medina, now drew near the close of his extraordinary and fortunate career. His health had been for three years on the decline; but he had neither relaxed his duties nor his labours. Being at length affected with a mortal malady, he was conveyed to the house of his favourite wife, Ayesha, where he expired, in the eleventh year of Hejira (A.D. 632) in the sixty-first year of his age. Of all his wives, the first alone bore him any children, of whom only his daughter Fatima, wife of Ali, survived him. Having thus presented a sketch of the life of this remarkable man, we proceed to a notice of the religion which he founded. As already mentioned, Mahomet must be viewed chiefly in the light of an improver on the old modes of belief and practice of the Arabians; and his merit (if we may so call it) in this respect appears to have been the combining of a variety of religious opinions into one form of faith, superadding an implicit belief in his own prophetical character, and enunciating the whole of his code in the writings of the Koran. At the period of his death, he bore the character both of a divinely appointed vicegerent (sic)and of a secular prince, the latter being gained by his conquests; and his successors claimed the same double qualification. After the prophet’s decease, the election of a successor occasioned considerable excitement, his father-in-law Abubeker, and his son-in-law and cousin Ali, each claiming the office of caliph. Abubeker was finally successful in the competition, and he, as is known to the readers of history, was succeeded by the ferocious Omar. Ali became the fourth caliph, but he was summarily cut off by poison; and from the long contests which afterwards occurred, it is difficult to say in what line the caliphate was ultimately settled.

The Koran or prescribed record of the Mahometan faith, consists of 114 chapters, each with a distinct title, but varying in length from a few sentences to several pages No continuous subject can be said to run through the work, each chapter being in the form either of a separate revelation, or treating of a peculiar matter in faith, morals, or law. Among the titles to the various chapters, we find the following: The Cow; the Family of Imran; Women; the Spoils; Jonas; Joseph; Abraham; The Night Journey; The Cave; The Assembly; The News; Divorce; The Fig; The Resurrection, &c. The whole is a singular jumble of highly poetical passages, narratives characterised by great simplicity and beauty of style, garbled extracts from the Old Testament, and pious exclamations. The praise of the Almighty is a prevailing theme in all parts of the work, along with a deep inculcation of the principle that Mahomet is the greatest of all prophets who ever appeared on earth. The work certainly contains much that is excellent as respects moral admonition, but also a great deal that is incomprehensible and ludicrous. Mahomet did not live to complete his Koran in the shape we now see it. With the assistance, unquestionably, of a person versant in the Jewish Scriptures, he from time to time, as was suggested by passing circumstances, composed his fragments, which he declared to have been revealed to him from God by the Angel Gabriel; and these having been collected by his followers, were, by succeeding caliphs, formed into a volume entitled Al Koran (pronounced Kooraan), or The Book.

Whatever we may advance against the authority of the Koran, it is has been received by Mahometans with a degree of reverence rarely witnessed among Christians towards the Holy Scriptures. In it they view the whole code of religious belief, civil law and moral obligation. The belief which they generally profess, as drawn from the Koran, consists in the following leading points: Religion is divided into two branches – faith and practice. Faith includes belief in God, in his angels, his revelations in the Koran, his prophets, the resurrection and Day of Judgment, and God’s absolute decrees. Practice includes prayer, comprehending under this head the purifications necessary before prayer, alms-giving, fasting, and the pilgrimage to Mecca. The religion, as a whole, is called the religion of Islam, or Islamism. “The word islam signifies an entire submission to the will of God, and thence the attaining of security, peace, and salvation. This act is performed, and these blessings are obtained, according to the doctrine of the Koran, by acknowledging the unity of God and the apostleship of Mahomet. Every man who makes this profession (aslama) is a Moslem, that is, one who has entirely given himself up to the will of God, and is, on that account, in a state of salvation (salam). As it happens that Musilmani, the dual of Muslim, is commonly substituted for the singular by the Persians and Turks, the words Mussulman or Mussulmans, has in those, as well as in European languages, now nearly superseded the shorter and more correct term.” (Encyclopaedia Americana).

The notions of God and his attributes appear from the Koran to be just, and favourable to devotion. The belief in angels is, however, mingled with many singular fancies. They are believed to have been created of fire, to have pure and subtle bodies requiring no support, and that there is no distinction of sexes among them. The angels are supposed to have various forms and offices assigned to them; some adoring God, singing praises to him, or interceding for mankind, while others are engaged in writing down the actions of men, carrying the throne of God, and performing other services. The Mahometans also believe that there are two guardian angels appointed to attend upon every human being, who observe and write down his actions, and who are changed every day. There are four angels whom the Mahometans believe to be more in the favour of God than any of the others. These are Gabriel, who is sometimes called the Holy Spirit and the Angel of Revelations, from his being employed in writing down the decrees of God; Michael, the friend and protector of the Jews; Azrael, the angel of death; and Israsil, who is to sound the trumpet at the resurrection. The devil, called in the Koran Eblis, is supposed to have been one of those favoured angels, but he fell, because he refused to worship Adam, with the other angels, at his creation. In the eighteenth chapter of the Koran, however, he is said to have been one of the genii, a species of beings whom the Mahometans believe to be intermediate between angels and devils. The genii are said to have been created, like the angels, of fire, free from smoke; but, unlike the angels, they eat and drink, propagate their species, and are subject to death. Some are supposed to be good and others bad. In the seventy-second chapter of the Koran, a company of the genii are described as believing in the doctrine of Mahomet, on hearing him read it.

With respect to the belief in prophets, the Koran inculcates the doctrine that God has at various-times given revelations of his will to several prophets, whose books originally amounted to one hundred and four. Of these, ten were given to Adam, fifty to Seth, thirty to Enoch, ten to Abraham, and the other four to Moses, David, Jesus, and Mahomet. All these, except the four last, they believe to be lost; and that, after Mahomet, no other revelation may be expected. It appears that they have some prayers of Moses, Jonas, and others, a book called the Psalms, which consists of extracts from our version mixed up with other matter, and a history of Christ, said to be written by St Barnabas. In this book, Christ is made to predict the coming of Mahomet under the title of “Famous,” that being the signification of his name in Arabic. According to tradition, there have been from time to time no fewer than 224,000 prophets sent into the world; and of these, 313 were apostles, charged with commissions to reclaim mankind from the infidelity into which they had fallen. Six of them, namely, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mahomet, were sent especially to promulgate new laws or dispensations. The Mahometans believe some of these apostles to have been superior to the others; to the last six, for instance, they give the first place. They believe them to have been free from great sins, although not perfectly pure, and that they all professed the same religion. In this list of prophets they introduce many whose names are mentioned in scripture as patriarchs, such as Adam, Seth, Lot, &c., and also many others who are not mentioned in the sacred writings. But of all the prophets of God, the Koran enforces the leading doctrine that Mahomet is the greatest, and that his mission is to be believed in, under the most severe penalties. “God will render of non-effect the works of those who believe not, and who turn away men from the way of God: but as to those who believe and work righteousness, and believe in the revelation which hath been sent down unto Mahomet (for it is the truth from their Lord), he will expiate their evil deeds from them, and will dispose their heart aright. When ye encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads, until ye have made a great slaughter among them; and bind them in bonds: and either give them a free dismission afterwards, or exact a ransom, until the warriors shall have laid down their arms. This shall ye do.” Chap. xlvii. From numerous passages of this kind, the Mahometans have framed the brief enunciation of their belief: “There is no God but God, and Mahomet is his prophet” a saying which is ever in their mouths, and may be called their popular creed.`

Regarding the resurrection, the Mahometans believe that, when a dead person is laid in the grave, he is received by an angel, who gives him notice of the coming of the two Examiners. These are two black angels, of a terrible appearance, named Mouker and Nakir. They order the dead person to sit upright, and examine him concerning his faith in the unity of God and the mission of Mahomet. If he answers correctly, his body is allowed to lie at rest, and is refreshed with the air of paradise; but if he appears sceptical, they beat him on the temples with iron rods, till he cries with anguish so loud as to be heard by all except men and genii. As to where the soul dwells after death, the Mahometans seem to have a variety of opinions, which need not be particularised. Mahometans are also divided as to the nature of the resurrection, some believing that it will be merely spiritual, others that the body only will be raised; but it is believed that all who have ever lived will appear for judgment. It is likewise believed that the irrational animals will be judged at the resurrection, and weak animals will take vengeance on the strong until satisfaction is given to the injured. The Koran enjoins kindness to all animals whatsoever, although it pronounces some to be unclean; and it is allowed that the conduct of Mahometans in this respect far excels that of the generality of Christians.

It is supposed by the more orthodox Mahometans, that the books wherein the bad actions of a man are registered will be put into one scale, and the good into another, and according as these preponderate, sentence will be given. After this will follow the satisfaction which everyone takes of his fellow, or the retaliation made by them for the injuries they have received. The manner of giving this satisfaction will be to take away from one man a portion of his good works and give it to one whom he has injured. “Which being done,” says Mr Sale, “if the angels say, Lord, we have given to everyone his due, and there remaineth of this person’s good works so much as equalleth the weight of an ant, God will of his mercy cause it to be doubled to him, that he may be admitted into paradise. lf, on the contrary, his good works be exhausted, and there still be some to receive satisfaction from him, God will order an equal amount of their sins to be heaped upon him, that he may be punished in their stead. The trials being over and the assembly dissolved, the Mahometans hold that those who are to be admitted into paradise will take the right-hand way, and those who are destined for hellfire the left; but both of them must first pass the bridge called in Arabic al Sirat, which they say is laid over the midst of hell, and describe to be finer than a hair and sharper than the edge of a sword.”

The Mahometans believe hell to be divided into seven apartments, designed for the reception of different degrees of sinners. The first is destined to receive the wicked Mahometans, the second for the Jews, the third for the Christians, and the rest for other sects and unbelievers. Over these will be placed nineteen angels, to whom the condemned will confess the justness of God’s sentence, and beg them to intercede with him in their behalf. The punishment of infidels will be continued for ever, but wicked Mahometans will be released after a certain period of suffering.

Before entering paradise, the righteous will drink at the pond of Mahomet, which is supplied with water from the rivers of paradise. It is described as a month’s journey in compass, and whoever drinks of the water will thirst no more. It is a matter of keen dispute whether paradise is already created, many supposing that it will be different from the paradise in which Adam was placed. The more orthodox opinion, however, is, that it is the same, and that it was created before the world. It is supposed to be situated above the seven heavens, immediately under the throne of God, and is described as a place of great beauty. The trunks of the trees are of gold, one of which, the tree of happiness, will yield all sorts of fruit for the consumption of true believers. God’s absolute decree and predestination of both good and evil, is a doctrine which Mahomet always took occasion to impress upon his followers. He said that God had not only predetermined the adverse or prosperous fortune of every person in the world, but also his faith or infidelity, which fate it is impossible by any foresight to avoid. By this doctrine, Mahomet taught his followers to have the greatest contempt for danger, which was of material service to him in the propagation of his creed. Of the four points of religious practice required by the Koran, prayer is the first. Mahomet included under this act purifications of the body, by total immersion at certain periods, and by washing the face, hands, and feet, at others. To make his followers punctual in the observance of these purifications, Mahomet declared that the practice of religion is founded on cleanliness, without which prayer would not be heard by God.

A Mahometan is obliged to pray five times in the twenty-four hours, at stated periods – before sunrise in the morning, when noon is past, in the afternoon before sunset, in the evening after sunset, and before the first watch of the night. Public notice is given of these periods by the muezzins, or criers, and every Mahometan prepares himself for prayer. This he performs either in the mosque, or any other place, providing it be clean, after a prescribed form, and with a certain number of ejaculations, which he is on no occasion to abridge, unless when on a journey or preparing for battle. It is also necessary that he should kneel in a humble posture, turn his face towards Mecca, as expressed in the second chapter of the Koran: “Turn, therefore, thy face towards the holy temple of Mecca, and wherever ye be, turn your faces towards that place.” The direction of Mecca is pointed out within the mosque by a niche on the outside, by the situation of the doors and the steeple; and tables have been calculated for finding this out when they have no other guide. A Mahometan is also obliged to lay off all costly parts of his dress before prayers, that he may not appear proud. Females are not allowed to enter the mosques along with the men, but they may visit them at other periods.

The prayers of the Mahometans consist chiefly of pious exclamations, praising the greatness and goodness of God; and one of the more common of these prayers consists in a repetition of the first chapter of the Koran, called the Fathat, or Belief. It is in these words: “Praise be to God, the Lord of all creatures; the most merciful, the King of the Day of Judgment. Thee do we worship, and of Thee do we beg assistance. Direct us in the right way, in the way of those to whom Thou hast been gracious; not of those against whom Thou art incensed, nor of those who go astray.”

Alms-giving is a necessary part of the religious practice of Mahometans. These consist of cattle, money, corn, fruits, and wares which can be sold. At the end of the fast of the Ramadan, every Mahometan is obliged to give in alms, for himself and for every one of his family, a measure of wheat, barley, dates, raisins, rice, or other provisions. “The legal alms,” says Mr Sale, “were at first collected by Mahomet himself, who employed them as he thought fit in the relief of his poor relations and followers, but chiefly applied them to the maintenance of those who served in his wars, and fought, as he termed it, in the way of God. His successors continued to do the same, till, in process of time, other taxes and tributes being imposed for the support of the government, they seem to have been weary of acting as almoners to their subjects, and to have left the paying of them to their consciences.”

Fasting is the third point of religious practice amongst the Mahometans. It consists in abstaining from satisfying the appetites ; in restraining the ears, eyes, tongue, hands, feet, and other members, from sin, and the fasting of the heart from worldly cares, and thinking of nothing but God. During the month of the Ramadan, Mahometans are obliged to fast from the time the new moon first appears till the appearance of the next new moon. In this month they abstain from eating and drinking from daybreak till sunset; and this injunction they observe so strictly, that while they fast, they suffer nothing to enter their mouths or the other parts of the body, esteeming the fast broken if they smell perfumes, bathe, or even purposely swallow their spittle. The old and the sick are exempted from this fast; but in the case of the latter, when they recover, they must fast the same number of days. After sunset the people are allowed to refresh themselves – to eat, drink, and enjoy the company of their wives till daybreak. The more rigid, however, commence the fast again at midnight.

According to the injunctions of the Koran, every man is to perform a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his life, except prevented by poverty or ill health. It is clear that such an observance is altogether inapplicable to the condition and situation of the great bulk of the human race; and what is impossible in human practice, can never have been enjoined by the Creator. Mahomet, it is evident, only thought of Arabia and its neighbourhood, when he planned this idle ceremonial observance. Aware that, even within that limited district, his followers would have a difficulty in performing such a pilgrimage, he allows anyone who is wealthy enough, to hire and send a deputy; many, we are informed, neglect this duty who cannot plead a lawful excuse. The temple of Mecca stands in the midst of the city, and is called the sacred or inviolable temple. Within it are said to be the tomb of Ishmael, and a remarkable black stone, which bears the mark of Abraham’s foot. This temple was held in great veneration by the Arabians long before the time of Mahomet; some even say that it was built by Adam immediately after his expulsion from paradise. To this place pilgrimages are made from all parts where the Mahometan religion is professed. A number having collected from any particular district, form themselves into a caravan for the purpose of mutual protection, which is very necessary from the number of robbers who infest the route. The pilgrims meet at different places around Mecca, according to the direction in which they have come, and are obliged to be thereby the beginning of the first month, called, Dhulhajja.

“It is not,” says Mr Lane, “by the visit to Mecca, and the performance of the ceremonies of circuiting the temple seven times, and kissing the black stone in each round, and other rites in the holy city, that the Moslem acquires the title of the hadji (pilgrim). The final object of the pilgrimage is Mount Arafat, six hours journey from Mecca. During his performance of the required ceremonies at Mecca, and also during his sojourn at Arafat, and until his completion of the pilgrimage, the Moslem wears a peculiar dress called ehhmm, generally consisting of two simple pieces of cotton, or linen, or woollen cloth, without seam or ornament, one of which is wrapped round the loins, and the other over the shoulders; the instep and heel of each foot, and the head must be bare; but umbrellas are now used by many of the pilgrims. It is necessary that the pilgrim should be present on the occasion of a Khootbeh, which is recited on Mount Arafat in the afternoon of the 9th of the month Dhulhajji. In the ensuing evening, after sunset, the pilgrims commence their return to Mecca. Halting the following day in the valley of Mina, or Moona, they complete the ceremonies of the pilgrimage by a sacrifice (of one or more male sheep, he-goats, cows, or she-camels, part of the flesh of which they eat, and part give to the poor), and by shaving the head and clipping the nails. Every one after this resumes his dress, or puts on a new one, if provided with such. The sacrifice is called el fida (or the ransom), as it is performed in commemoration of the ransom of Ishmael by the sacrifice of the ram, when he was himself about to have been offered up by his father; for it is the general opinion of Mahometans, that it was this son and not Isaac who was to have been sacrificed by his father.”

The laws by which Mahometans are governed are in a great measure derived from the Koran. Where this sacred book is silent, reference is made to the traditions of the prophet to direct the decisions of the judge. Regarding the Koran as a book of jurisprudence, we quote the following from the Library of Useful Knowledge: “Nothing but the prejudices of education could make a reasonable man look upon the Koran as a book of jurisprudence capable of conveying instruction to any but a nation of savages. Deficient in form, deficient in clearness, incomplete, it possesses not one single quality requisite to a body of law. In the midst of a vast farrago of nonsense, hidden amidst unmeaning explanations and dark mysterious prophecies, there sometimes appears a command respecting the distribution of property or the punishment of offenders. But no explanations are given – no regular description of the means by which property may be acquired; no enumeration of those by which the rights to it may be lost, is even attempted. The rights of individuals, in their several capacities, to the services of others, are nowhere distinctly mentioned; nor is there any the most distant approximation to a systematic view of the several obligations to which it was intended to subject the members of the community. As occasion prompted, or when a dispute happened, Mahomet was accustomed to issue a revelation, which answered for the immediate purpose. But the original unwritten customs of the Arabs remained in full force, receiving little modification from the decrees of the prophet. One advantage, and one alone, he may be supposed to have originated – his were written decrees; it was a commencement for a body of laws, though a rude and imperfect one. This benefit, however, is more than counterbalanced by the evil of their being irrevocable. What the ignorant barbarian instituted, succeeding generations have been obliged to retain. No matter how absurd, how injurious the decree, religion commands the faithful Moslem to abide by it. The Almighty was its author, and he is all-wise; and, moreover, is as wise at one time as another. How, then, shall we pretend to amend the, divine ordination, or fancy that he himself need amend it? The conclusion is irresistible, provided the premises be allowed. The nations who have assumed the Moslem faith have consequently remained, and, while professing it, will remain, barbarians.”

One of the worst features of the Mahometan faith is the degraded position which it assigns to women. This, indeed, forms a radical error in the constitution of society in Mahometan countries, and must be removed before there can be a steady advance in rational improvement. Women are considered in every respect inferior to men. Few of them, even among the highest classes, receive any instruction; they are carefully secluded from public observation; assigned in marriage without their own consent, on payment of a trifling sum in form of dowry; and are divorced at pleasure – which tends “to debase their minds, and to produce the worst kind of social vices. Polygamy and legal concubinage add to the evils caused by such practices. The Koran allows a man to marry four wives, and to maintain as many concubine slaves as he may choose. He may divorce any of his wives at any instant which caprice or passion may suggest, merely by uttering the emphatic words, “Thou art divorced!” and she must return to her parents or friends accordingly. He may take her again as a wife, and again divorce her; and even divorce her a third time, provided she has in the interval been married to and divorced from another man. Mr Lane, in his work on Egypt, says, that he has known cases in which men have, in the course of a few years, married as many as twenty or thirty wives; and also cases of women who had been married to a dozen or more men successively. In most instances, we are told, a man marries no more than one wife; but as these practices are common, we can easily judge of the depravity of manners which prevails in those countries professing the Mahometan creed.

From the manner in which females are treated, it has been generally supposed by Christians that the Mahometans believe that women have no souls. But this is a mistake. Women are believed to have souls, and are not to be excluded from paradise, though they are there to perform offices of a subservient in nature. The meanest person in paradise, it is believed, “is to have eighty thousand servants, and seventy-two wives of the girls of paradise, besides the wives he had in this world; that he is to inhabit a tent composed of pearls, iacinths (sic – jacinth?), and emeralds; at meals he will be served in dishes of gold; and he is to be at liberty to drink freely of the wine of paradise, which will not intoxicate.” In such promises of felicity, we have a striking proof of the mean ideas of eternal happiness formed by the prophet, as well as of his knowledge of mankind.

The Koran forbids the use of wine or any intoxicating liquors; and this is among the best injunctions which it contains. Opium and other inebriating drugs are understood to fall within the line of prohibition, though not mentioned. The use, therefore, of either intoxicating drinks or drugs, is considered immoral in all Mahometan countries. Mussulmans of all ranks are remarkable for their sobriety and temperance in food. The eating of swine’s flesh is strictly prohibited; and, indeed, most animals forbidden to be eaten by the Mosaic Law are alike forbidden by that of Mahomet. All animals used for food must be killed by cutting their throat; and, in performing the operation, the butcher must say, “In the name of God! God is most great!” Gambling is also prohibited; also usury, and the making of any images or pictorial resemblances of anything that has life. Perhaps the desire to extinguish idolatry influenced the prophet in laying down the last-mentioned law. Apostasy from Islamism is deemed a most heinous sin, and must be punished with death.

The Mahometan creed enjoins no Sabbath, like that of either the Jews or Christians, but selects Friday as a day in the week to be distinguished by more than usual solemnity of devotion. Friday has been pitched upon, because it is said Adam was created on that day, and because the resurrection is prophesied to be on that day of the week. Perhaps a desire to avoid Saturday or Sunday, the days reverenced respectively by Jews and Christians, may also have influenced its adoption. Friday is called El-Goomah, or The Assembly; and on the forenoon of that day large congregations assemble in the mosques, when, in addition to the usual prayers, a sermon or address is delivered, and lessons read from the Koran, by the officiating imams. After, prayers, all kinds of work go on as usual.

All religions, above the meanest paganism, have possessed a body of priests, or functionaries to whom the knowledge of’ the faith was confided, and by whom its precepts were enforced. Considering that Mahomet must have been conversant with the constitution and import of the Jewish priesthood, as laid down in the Levitical law, and also acquainted with the arrangements of the Christian church, it is remarkable that he instituted no order of clergy, but, on the contrary, left his religion to be professed by the people at large, without any distinction as to rank or qualification. On this account, Mahometanism has no priesthood, and cannot be said to constitute in any country what we understand by the term church. Wherever it is established as the religion of the community, mosques or chapels have been erected, generally by endowments from wealthy individuals; and these are individually under the charge of a warden, who is custodian of the revenues, and appoints the ministers of religion and inferior servants. “Two imams are employed to officiate in each of the larger mosques: one of them, called the khateeb, preaches and prays before the congregation on the Friday; the other is an imam ratib, or ordinary imam, who recites the five prayers of every day in the mosque, at the head of those persons who may be there at the exact times of those prayers: but in most of the smaller mosques both these offices are performed by one imam. There are also to each mosque one or more muezzins (to chant the call to prayer) and bowwabs (or doorkeepers); and several other servants are employed to sweep the mosque, spread the mats, light the lamps, and attend the water-wheel by which the tank or fountain, and other receptacles for water, necessary to the performance of ablutions, are supplied.

The imams, and those persons who perform the lower offices, are all paid from the funds of the mosque, and not by any contributions exacted from the people. The condition of the imams is very different, in most respects, from that of Christian priests. They have no authority above other persons, and do not enjoy any respect but what their reputed piety and learning may obtain them: nor are they a distinct order of men set apart for religious offices, like our clergy, and composing an indissoluble fraternity; for a man who has acted as imam to a mosque may be displaced by the warden of that mosque, and, with his employment and salary, loses the title of imam, and has no better chance of being again chosen for a religious minister than any other person competent to perform the office. The imams obtain their livelihood chiefly by other means than the service of the mosque, as their salaries are very small, that of a khateeb being generally about a piastre (nearly 2 ½d. of our money) per month.” – (Lane’s Egypt.)

“The Mahometans,” continues the same authority, “observe the utmost decorum in their public worship. Their looks and behaviour in the mosque are not those of enthusiastic devotion, but of calm and modest piety. Never are they guilty of a designedly irregular word or action during their prayers. The pride and fanaticism which they exhibit in common life, in intercourse with persons of their own or of a different faith, seem to be dropped on their entering the mosque, and they appear wholly absorbed in the adoration of their Creator.” Mahometans have an extreme reverence for a green colour, which is used exclusively as the hue of turbans or other garments by those who claim hereditary descent from the family of the’ prophet. Europeans generally imagine the crescent to be a common symbol of Mahometanism, as the cross is of Christianity; but we believe this is founded on mistake. The crescent, from a very early period of history, was a heraldic ensign of Byzantium or Constantinople, and has been appropriated by the Turks since their capture of’ that city.

The Mahometans are generally affected with the most superstitious reverence for imaginary saints and “favourites of God.” They imagine that idiots and lunatics are under the immediate inspiration of Heaven; and unless these be dangerously mischievous, they are permitted all sorts of license. “Most of the reputed saints of Egypt,” says Mr Lane, “are either lunatics idiots, or impostors.” Anyone who is deranged by religious excitement becomes a welee, or an especial favourite of the Almighty, and is supposed to be gifted with supernatural powers. Almost every celebrated saint, deceased, is honoured by an anniversary birthday festival; and on occasion of these festivals, many persons visit the tomb of the saint, both as a duty and as a supposed means of obtaining a special blessing. Besides the various classes of saints, there are different orders of durweeshes, or dervishes, some of whom subsist by begging, and others by performing at religious festivals; a few devote themselves to religious seclusion, and gain a character for exalted piety.

Mahometanism, from shortly after the death of its founder, has been divided into two great parties or sects, who split upon the disputes concerning the Caliphate, or spiritual and civil supremacy, and received the name of Sunnites and Shiites. The Sunnites take their appellation from the Sunna, or collections of traditions relating to Islamism, which they believe to be of equal importance with the Koran. The term Shiites signifies heretics, which they are called by the opposite party from their misbelief. The adherents of the doctrine that Ali, son-in-law of Mahomet, (believe he) was properly his successor, reject the Sunna. The Turks are Sunnites, and the Persians are Shiites, and each hates the other with implacable animosity. The Sunnites, we believe, are reckoned the orthodox sect, and acknowledge the reigning sultan as the true successor of Mahomet.

Besides differing as to the credibility of the Sunna and the successorship of the prophet, the Mahometan world is divided into four minor sects, the Hhanafees, Shafees, Malikees, and Hhambelees, being so called from the respective doctors whose tenets they have adopted. “The Turks,” says Mr Lane, “are of the first sect, which is the most reasonable.” About the middle of last century a great schism, or attempt at reformation, broke out in Arabia, headed by Mohamed, son of Abdel Wahab, a pious and learned sheikh. Young Mohamed claimed divine inspiration, and taught, like the Koran, (the doctrines of which he but partially received), the existence of an only God, the Creator of the world, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the bad; but he rejected all the stories contained in the Koran, especially those concerning Mahomet, whom he considered merely a man beloved of God, but branded the worship of him as a crime directly opposed to the true adoration of the Deity. He also condemned the ornaments and splendour which are found in the mosques and the sepulchres of pretended saints. In short, he stripped Mahometanism of all its trappings, and reduced it to little else than a pure Theism. All who should oppose this new doctrine were to be destroyed by-fire and sword. His doctrines, being adopted by some influential chiefs, spread with wonderful celerity, and the Wahabees, as his followers were called, shook the stability of the empire of the Turks in Asia. After a hot war of many years, the Wahabees were suppressed by Mehemet Ali, the present Pasha of Egypt; but their doctrines are still far from being exterminated.

Footnotes:
1. Sale, Pre. Disc p.20
2. Ibid p.19
3. Life of Mahomet – Library of Useful Knowledge
4. Turkish Spy, vol. v. p.199.

Printed and published by W. and R. CHAMBERS, Edinburgh. Also by W. S. Orr & Co., London.

Note: This article was sourced and copied by Mandate Ministries 2012




The Facts About

 

The Facts About

Brainwashing & Mind Coercion

Choosing a Church After a Painful Experience

Danger Signals of the Cults

How To Surrender To God  

Martial Arts & Yoga

Seventh-Day Adventists

The Christadelphians

The Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible Translation

The Occult  

The Sabbath and The Lord’s Day

The Strange World of Christian Science

The True Church – The Body of Christ

What To Do When Confronted By A Cultist

What To Do When Confronting The Cultist




The Sabbath and The Lord’s Day

Edited by Fred Grigg and used by permission

DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN LAW AND GRACE

Probably the greatest contrast in the Word of God is that which exists between law and grace, yet it is the one that is least understood and most often confused. The principles of law and grace are mutually destructive; it is impossible for them to exist together. For “if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans. 11:6). To mix these two principles is to dull the keen, hard edge of the law and to destroy the blessed and glorious liberty of grace. Against such the Apostle Paul declared: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so I say now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8, 9).

The extremely solemn nature of this anathema is more readily evident to us when we remember that it has never been revoked, but stands today as irrevocable a warning as when the apostle penned it. It is fitting for us, then, to study well these two principles that we may the better give each its proper place. There are several necessary distinctions between law and grace that are relevant to our discussion. To these let us now turn our attention.

THE BEGINNINGS OF LAW AND GRACE

According to the unmistakable testimony of Scripture the law (by which we mean the Mosaic system of statutes, ordinances, and commandments) had a definite beginning in point of time and also a definite termination. Grace likewise had its inception at a specific time and will be displayed until a specifically predicted time. Many are of the opinion that the law has always existed. It has not. Law, as a principle of works, has existed from the day that God commanded Adam to refrain from eating of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden. But the law, designated as the Mosaic code, came into being with Moses. Scripture states: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1: 17). Of course, this verse does not imply that law never existed before Moses, any more than it implies that grace and truth were not in the world before the manifestation in the flesh of the blessed eternal God the Son.

The law of the Jewish commonwealth did begin with Moses, and the specific display of grace and truth as seen in the New Testament did come by Jesus Christ. The law as an active force has ceased to exist, because the death of Christ fulfilled all the requirements of the law. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth!’ (Romans 10:4). Paul tells us in Galatians that the law “was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made” (Gal. 3:19). The seed is explained to us when Scripture states: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). The termination of the law, then occurred with the death of Christ on Calvary. Grace began to be manifested when the law was done away. (Concerning the reign of the law in the kingdom age we shall speak more particularly later.)

The Epistle to Titus affirms that “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (2:11). That grace which came by Jesus Christ and now offers salvation to all, “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” (Romans 10:12); that grace, I say, will terminate at the catching away of the body of Christ to be ever with the Lord. This distinction between law and grace is of primary importance.

THE LAW FOR ISRAEL

Law and grace are to be distinguished in regard to the respective groups to which each addresses itself. The law was addressed and given to one people and only one – Israel. Moses asked Israel: “And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deut. 4:8). He specified further that “this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel; These are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt” (Deut. 4:44, 45). The Lord Jesus in His upper-room discourse said: “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law” (John 15:25).

Paul, in enumerating the advantages of Israel before Christ’s ministry, declares that to them “pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever, Amen” (Romans 9:4, 5). In spite of these clear and unequivocal statements of Scripture there are those who insist the law was meant for all mankind. To whom, now, is grace offered? Paul announces that “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Tit. 2:11 ). Since God has concluded all are under sin and since all have come short of the glory of God, the grace of God is manifested to all and is appropriated by “him which believeth in Jesus.” All are under the same divine judicial sentence and the remedy is universal in its application. How different here are the principles of law and grace!

THE REQUIREMENTS OF LAW AND GRACE

Law stands in contradistinction to grace in respect of its requirements. The former, ministering to those of the old creation, the natural man, is limited in its adaptation to its subjects. These requirements must first be met before the blessings of God can be received. It is “Do and live” and “Do to be.” Moses described it well when he said: “That the man which doeth those things shall live by them” (Romans 10: 5). In complying with the requirements as best as the natural can in his most limited ability, he is seeking to gain acceptance with God. In the Mosaic system it is: “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:18).

In grace, however, where the requirements are such because one has been accepted of God, the teachings are superhuman requirements. Grace says: “Live and do” and “Be to do.” In the Epistle to the Romans, the Epistle to the Ephesians, and the Epistle to the Colossians, the Spirit first tells us what God has done for the believer, then He declares what we are to do. In grace the requirements are never to be met in the sense of paying a debt or an already due obligation. The standard of the requirements in the law was the whole Mosaic legal system; in grace the standard is no less than a walk worthy of and in conformity with the high, holy, and glorious calling of sons of God in Christ Jesus.

Christ said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). Paul says: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3).

The Spirit of God further reveals through Paul that believers are to reckon themselves dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. That they are to yield themselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and their members as instruments of righteousness to, God. That they are to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. That they are to walk in the Spirit and not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. That they are through the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body and live. That they are to recognise that they who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. That they are to put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and being renewed in the spirit of their minds, to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. That they are to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Less than these requirements could not be asked of those who have been constituted sons of God, citizens of heaven, those seated in the heavenlies with Christ (Eph 2:6). In its requirements the law commands; grace exhorts. Failure to comply with the enactments of the law brings punishment; in grace, failure robs of joy and abounding peace, and stunts spiritual growth. It is possible to find two such principles that differ so decidedly in their essential characteristics?

ENABLEMENT IN LAW AND GRACE

But this is not all. Law is unlike grace in the enablement that is offered to those who are under it. Although the requirements under law fall below those under grace, there is no divine enablement in keeping the law. One can search for even the slightest hint of divine enablement in all of the six hundred and thirteen laws of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and he will not find it. On the other hand, although the requirements in grace are so far above those under the law, there is abundant enablement provided. The indwelling Holy Spirit is He “which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). When the one under grace is walking by means of the Spirit, He empowers unto every good word and work. For instance, if the believer is to love his brother in Christ even as Christ loved him, then he has the enablement to do it, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5).

BASIS OF LAW AND GRACE

The basis of the law is the principle of works; that of grace is the covenant of grace. Human merit is the foundation stone of the law; the merit of Christ is the foundation stone of grace. The law spoke on this wise: “And all these blessings shall come on thee and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God”; “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee” (Deut. 28:2, 15).

The principle of works is grounded in confidence in what the flesh can do; the covenant of grace is based upon faith in what God has done and is willing to do. When the children of Israel were at the foot of Mount Sinai, they were told how graciously God had dealt with them. He said to Moses: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto myself” (Exod. 19:4). Yet when they were told of the law which would require them to acquire merit before God, they confidently asserted: “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.”

This consummate confidence in the flesh is seen again after the law has been given: “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do” (Exod. 23:3). Paul tells believers under grace that “we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus and. have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). The reason is not far to seek, “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 flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:3, 4).

THE PURPOSE OF LAW AND GRACE

Perhaps one of the greatest distinctions between the principles of law and grace is that in respect of the purpose of each. Many are of the opinion among Jews, Gentiles, and even Christians, that the law was given by God that might come to God and be wholly accepted of Him. Righteousness, they maintain, was the inevitable, not to say intended, outcome of the diligent keeping of the law by conformity to all of its manifold precepts and injunctions. To tell such people that the purpose of the law is altogether foreign to their conception of it, is to brand one’s self as an antinomian with the professed desire of abolishing all law, even moral law.

But what saith the Scriptures? Paul tells us by the Spirit “that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Romans 3:19). Again he says: “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound” (Romans 5:20). Yet again he declares: “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made”; “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring. us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith’ (Gal. 3:19, 24.) The law, therefore, was introduced to show man his utter lack of merit before God and the impossibility of gaining any by reliance upon his own strength. It was added to give sin the added character of transgression against the law of God.

So many writers fail to see that while the law itself, coming from God and partaking of His nature, is “holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12), that it cannot render man holy and just and good. The law did not show carnal man his good nature (which he does not have) but his sinful and corrupt nature. Nor need we deceive ourselves into thinking that the law made anything perfect. “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of better hope did” (Hebrews 7:19). Furthermore, what the law could not do is just as important as what it did. It is the testimony of the apostle that “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The view of the law is the dear and normal one set forth by the Scriptures.

The passages bearing on this subject could be multiplied, but the ones cited above will suffice. But what is the purpose of grace? The full purpose of grace was that by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ all the redeemed by faith might be brought into glory, “that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ” (Ephesians 2:7). Until that time, by grace through faith God has purposed to save those who believe in the finished work of Christ. It is further the avowed purpose of grace to teach us that, “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:12, 13).

THE RESULTS OF LAW AND GRACE

There is yet another contrast between law and grace which we must draw. It is the respective results of the operation of these principles upon the individual. Law brings death; grace gives life, “for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life” (II Cor. 3:6). The one is “ministration of death’; the other, “the ministration of the Spirit.” The former is “the ministration of condemnations; the latter, “the ministration of righteousness”: This is nowhere so well portrayed as in the events occurring at the giving of the law and those at the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Of the former we read: “there fell of the people that day about three thousand men” (Exod. 32:28). Of the latter we read: “the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). How, oh how, we ask, can men fail to see those positive, clear, and definite distinctions between the principles of law and grace? May God grant us to be zealous for grace and jealous of its infinitely great blessings and benefits.’

THE JEWISH SABBATH AND CHRISTIAN SUNDAY

Perhaps before this point the reader may with reason have been inquiring as to the necessity for such a lengthy treatment of law and grace in a discussion of the subject of the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day. Our answer is candidly that we have deemed it of the utmost importance to our discussion. As one reads the works on the subject of the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day, one becomes increasingly convinced of the fact that those who hold the proper scriptural position on this subject are only those who have a clear conception of law and grace. But why choose this particular subject to exemplify the distinction between law and grace? Because “The distinction between the reign of law and the reign of grace is at no point more sharply drawn than in the question of the observance of the seventh day of the week or the first day of the week; for these two days are symbolical of the dispensations to which they are related.”

One or two definitions are in order at this point. When we shall refer to the Sabbath, it will be with the understanding that it is the seventh day of the week, the Jewish Sabbath. We know of no day such as the “Christian Sabbath.” When mention is made of the Lord’s Day, it will refer to the first day of the week, the Christian’s Sunday.

THE SABBATH THROUGH THE AGES

We propose to study the subject of the Sabbath in six time periods; namely, that of creation, that between Adam and Moses, that between Moses and Christ, that of the earthly ministry of Christ, that of the Church period, and that of the kingdom age. There are some who find a reference to the institution of the Sabbath at creation in the passage Genesis 2:1-3. The passage reads as follows: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

It will be noted that there is no hint that God gave this Sabbath to man. He alone rested. Considered as a day of rest (although God did not rest because He was tired – Isaiah 40:28) the original Sabbath could not logically have been given to man, because as yet he had not labored. Not only do those who keep the seventh day try to read into this passage the institution of the original Sabbath for all mankind, but even others go to this passage for their supposed authority for the Lord’s Day. They reason that if the Sabbath received its authority here, and the observance of the seventh day has been changed to the first day, then the observance of the first day must go back to Genesis 2 for its authority.

Another fact that militates against the view that the Sabbath began in Eden, is that we find no mention of it for centuries later. In spite of this, one author tells us: “It shares with the ordinance of marriage alone the characteristic of having been instituted at the creation of the world. Being coeval with creation, the Sabbatical law, like the marriage law, is of universal obligation on all mankind.” Proof for such an assertion is not forthcoming.

FROM ADAM TO MOSES

A study of the period between Adam and Moses, a period of about twenty-five hundred years, will reveal that the institution of the Sabbath is not commanded anywhere. One writer seems to find a reference to the Sabbath in the statement in Job: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them” (Job 1:6). It is not declaring too much when we say that this is purely gratuitous assumption, difficult of substantiation from the Scriptures.

If the Sabbath did exist, then it is more than passing strange that, although we find accounts of the religious life and worship of the patriarchs, in which accounts mention is specifically made to the rite of circumcision, the sacrifices, the offering of the tithe, and the institution of marriage, we should find no mention of the great institution of the Sabbath. It did not exist, for Moses says: “Hear, 0 Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day” (Deut. 5:1-3). Such a plain statement of the Word settles the question once for all.

THE CASE OF EXODUS 16

A word should be added here concerning the portion in Exodus 16:21-30. Seventh-Dayists and other legalists make much of this portion in order to bolster their position that the Sabbath was in force from Adam on, and that the Sabbath was already in existence for man before it was incorporated into the Mosaic law. Observe, first of all, that the Sabbath is not mentioned anywhere in Genesis after its first occurrence in Genesis 2, where it refers to God alone. There is not a word as to its being given to men, nor is it there imposed upon man as a commandment.

In Exodus 16 we have the first mention of the manna. Then we read in verses 21 through 30: “And they gathered it morning by morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which Jehovah hath spoken, Tomorrow is a solemn rest, a holy sabbath unto Yahweh: bake that which ye will bake, and boil that which ye will boil; and all that remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not become foul, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that today; for today is a sabbath unto Yahweh: today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that there went out some of the people to gather, and they found none. And Yahweh said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that Yahweh hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.”

Carefully note, first of all, that in this passage the Sabbath is not included as a commandment on Israel. We do not have here the language or terminology of commandment as in Exodus 20:8-11. Compare the word which is clear in both cases. Secondly, mark the absence of penalty for disregard of the Sabbath in Exodus 16, and the penalty for infraction of the Sabbath in Numbers 15:32-36. Both were acts of gathering too, but no death penalty is given in Exodus 16. The Sabbath was not binding on them in this chapter. It cannot be argued that no act was performed. Verse 28 makes it clear that they had refused the provision God had given here for, rest on that day. See verses 29 and 30 also. Thirdly, note the unprecedented character of the situation in Numbers 15. They had no precedent by which to proceed, therefore they had to ask God’s mind in the matter, which was dearly given.

The Sabbath is given to Israel in Exodus 16 before it is enjoined upon them in Exodus 20, but they did not enter into it. Man has never prized the Sabbath either as a gift (Exodus 16), nor has he kept it as a law (Numbers 15). Exodus 16 was a temporary arrangement of which the people did not take advantage.

We can find a somewhat analogous situation in the matter of the gift of the Holy Spirit. We read in John 20:22, 23 that the Lord Jesus Christ breathed the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. This did not mark the new age of the Holy Spirit, else He would not have told them in Acts I to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. It was a temporary provision until the Day of Pentecost. Thus Exodus 16 cannot rightly be used to indicate any help to the legalists on the supposed perpetuity of the law. The case was single, was circumscribed to one people, and applicable for a limited time until the giving of the law.

THE SABBATH UNDER MOSES

The Sabbath, embodied quite distinctly in the ten commandments, was first instituted at Mount Sinai under Moses. The ten commandments were not for all mankind, but for Israel alone. Proof of this fact is seen in the salutation or heading of the ten commandments: “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exod. 20:2). That this was not meant for the Gentiles is further seen from the study of the following two passages: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands’; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world”; “And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude: only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone” (Eph. 2:11, 12; Deut. 4:12, 13).

If the Gentiles were strangers to the covenants, and the ten commandments constituted a covenant, how then does the Sabbath pertain to them? In spite of these clear statements there are those who maintain that the Sabbath belongs to all men. One writer exclaims: “How erroneous is the reasoning of those who argue that the Fourth Commandment belongs solely to the Jews; the fact being that it is the one commandment that is specially signalized as belonging to the whole human race.” As for ourselves we fail to see that God made any distinction in Exodus between the fourth and the remaining commandments; they were all for Israel.

Another writer states: “In this respect [the Sabbath], as in so many others, the covenant with Israel was to serve for the enlightenment and blessing of all families of the earth; and the literal Israel was to be the type of the spiritual Israel, which was to include all peoples, nations, and languages, in a covenant not to pass away till this whole dispensation of time should be lost in eternity.”‘ There is no need to multiply examples of this kind, for to say that they are groundless and unscriptural is sufficient.

SABBATH FOR ISRAEL

The Sabbath was given to Israel for a definite purpose, and it was a religious purpose rather than a physiological or social one. The Lord commanded Moses: “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you” (Exod. 31:13). Ezekiel bears the same testimony, saying: “Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and thee that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them’ (Ezek. 20:10-12). These passages are strikingly devoid of any ambiguity as to the people to whom the Sabbath belonged.

THE SABBATH A PART OF THE UNIFIED LAW

Many in their zeal to keep the Sabbath forget that it is not an isolated factor in a religious code, but is an integral part of a legal system. The infringement of this law in any particular meant the penalty of death. In Numbers 15:32-36 we read of the incident where a man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath was stoned to death. This would have been the penalty for one lighting a fire on the Sabbath. Can modern Gentile Sabbath-keepers evade this issue and declare their innocence before the law? They do make a distinction between what is called the “moral law” and the “ceremonial law.” Suffice it to say that Scripture knows of no such distinction. Nor does this relieve them of their difficulty because, granted that the regulations for punishment were ceremonial, how about the sacrifices God commanded (Numbers 28:9, 10) to be brought on the Sabbath? If these are also declared to be ceremonial, then what was there left in the Sabbath observance to be called “moral”?

We conclude this phase of our discussion with a quotation from a former Seventh-Day observer. “But after keeping it twenty-eight years; after having persuaded more than a thousand others to keep it; after having read my Bible through verse by verse, more than twenty times; after having scrutinised, to the very best of my ability, every text, line and word in the Bible having the remotest bearing upon the Sabbath question; after having looked up all these, both in the original and in many translations; after having searched in lexicons, concordances, commentaries and dictionaries; after having read armfuls of books on both sides of the question; after having read every line in all the early church fathers upon this point; and having written several books in favour of the Seventh-Day, which were satisfactory to my brethren; after having debated the question for more than a dozen times; after seeing the fruits of keeping it, and weighing all the evidence in the fear of God, I am fully settled my own mind and conscience that the evidence is against the keeping of the Seventh-Day.”‘ Little wonder it is that this conclusion was reached, for we have seen that the Sabbath was given to Israel only.

It is to the earthly life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ that many go for their proof that the law and its Sabbath are still in force today. Such a position fails to grasp the truth of the different dispensations, Jewish and Christian, the one on this side of the cross and the other on the other side. Besides, none of the New Testament had been written during the earthly life and ministry of Christ, so that the rule of life for the Christian believer had not yet been given. This is later found in detail in the Epistles. Moreover, those who would keep the Sabbath fail to realise in what role, as it were, Christ ministered upon earth. Paul tells us plainly: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8).

So we see that we cannot find our rule of life under grace in Christ’s keeping of the law. He said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verify I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, fill all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:17, 18). These verses are often quoted to substantiate the keeping of the Sabbath. In the first place, it should be noted that Christ is here stating what He came to do and not what He would have us to do. He came to fulfil all the law, because carnal man could not. He came to pay the penalty of the law, so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us by the Spirit, “for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21). Of what vital importance was the death of our precious Lord Jesus!

THE BURDEN OF RABBINICAL ADDITIONS

Another passage that is often misapplied is that in Mark 2:27, 28 where Christ says: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” It is contended that this surely proves that the “Sabbath’ is for all mankind. But does it? “Man” here is used in a specific sense for Israel, just as “man” refers only to believers when Paul states: “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble” (I Cor. 3:12). That there was a need for the Lord to remind the Pharisees that the Sabbath was for an and not vice versa can be seen from some of their regulations concerning the Sabbath.

The Talmud teaches that Rabbi Jehudah said: “If a man stepped into loam, he should wipe his feet on the ground and not on a wall.” But Rabha said: “Why should he not do that, because it might be presumed that he plasters the wall and is engaged in building? Nay this is not ordinary building (but more like fieldwork). On the contrary: if he wipe his feet on the ground he may perchance smoothen out an inclination, hence he should rather wipe his feet on the wall. For the same reason, he should not wipe his feet on the side of an inclination, lest he smoothen it out.”

The rabbis taught that a small man should not wear a large shoe, lest it fall off and he be compelled to carry it on the Sabbath. He may, however, wear a large shirt, since there is no fear of his taking that off and carrying it. A woman should not go out with a torn shoe on the Sabbath, lest she be laughed at and carry the shoe. She also must not accept Chalitza (Deut. 25:5-10) in such a shoe; but if she did so, the Chalitza is valid. If a person were in one place, and his hand filled with fruit put forth into another, and the Sabbath overtook him in this position, he would have to drop the fruit, since if he withdrew his full hand from one place to another, he would be carrying a burden on the Sabbath.

Women are forbidden to look into a mirror on the Sabbath, because they might discover a white hair and try to pull it out, which act would be a grievous sin. A radish may be dipped into salt, but not left in too long, since this would be similar to making pickle. If on the Sabbath a wall had fallen on a person, and it were doubtful whether he were under the ruins, whether he were alive or dead, a Jew or Gentile, it would be duty to dear away the rubbish sufficiently to find the body. If the person were not dead, the labor would have to be continued; but if he were dead, nothing further should be done to extricate the body.

And so we could go on (for this is not even one insignificant part of the Sabbath regulations), but do not these examples suffice to reveal the urgent reason Christ said the Sabbath was for Israel and not Israel for the Sabbath, as the rabbinical regulations had actually ordained? From the early life and ministry of Christ, then, even though He kept the Sabbath, we cannot find proof that it is binding upon us. In short, what He really did was to keep it, so that it would no longer need to be in force.

THE SABBATH NOT FOR THE BELIEVER

A study of the period from the death of Christ and the descent of the Spirit on Pentecost till the rapture of the Church reveals most unmistakably that the Sabbath has been abolished. It is not incumbent upon any believer to keep the Sabbath, because it is part of the legal system, and “Since law and grace are opposed to each other at every point, it is impossible for them to coexist, either as the ground of acceptance before God or as the rule of fife”; because this is definitely the age of grace, the law “is not in force in the present age in any sense whatsoever.”‘

Paul tells us in II Corinthians 3:7-13 “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. Even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.” In writing to the Colossians Paul says : “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (substance, or reality) is of Christ” (2:16, 17). That the Sabbath was to be done away was not a truth foreign to the Old Testament either, for Hosea says: “I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts” (2:11).

THE LEGALISTS OBJECT

But our legalists protest that we must have some law. Surely you cannot -expect us to believe that it is not wrong to steal, kill or commit adultery in this age, they contend. We do not expect such a thing. God has taken care of this problem also. Every moral principle contained in the ten commandments has been reiterated under grace by the Spirit in the form of an exhortation with the single exception, mirabile dictu, of the commandment to keep the Sabbath. The commandment to have but one God is reiterated in Paul’s statement: “There is one God” (I Tim. 2:5). The second commandment is found in the exhortation: “Neither be ye an idolater” (I Cor. 1:7); the third “But above all things, my brethren, swear not’ (Jas. 5:12); the fourth is nowhere in the New Testament; the fifth: “Honour thy father and mother’ (Eph. 6:2); the sixth “no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him’ (I John 3:i5); the seventh: “whoremonger and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4); the eighth: “Let him that stole steal no more” (Eph. 4:28); the ninth: “Lie not one to another” (Col. 3:9); the tenth: “But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you’ (Eph. 5:3).

Does it not show the perversion of thinking of some men that they should lay most stress on the fourth commandment when it is totally done away by God? All the evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, Dr. Charles Hodge tells us: “It is admitted that the precepts of the decalogue bind the Church in all ages; while the specific details contained in the books of Moses, designed to point out the way in which the duty then enjoined was then to be performed, are no longer in force.” The law does not lend itself to any such loose manipulation, for he that offends in one point is guilty of all, and having undertaken to keep a part of the law, it being an integral whole, he is of necessity a debtor to keep the whole law. To exhort Christians to keep the Sabbath or to observe the Lord’s Day in the manner of the Sabbath is a practice wholly foreign in grace. In short, it is to encourage Christians to fall from grace.

THE KINGDOM AGE

That the Sabbath will be reinstituted shortly before the kingdom age (during the Great Tribulation, Matt. 24:20) and during the kingdom age is the testimony of the Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments: Isaiah prophesied: “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people” (56:2-7).

That this scripture refers to the kingdom age when there will be a temple, sacrifices, the Sabbath, and a more stringent law than that of Moses, is assuredly the teaching of this passage. Isaiah foretold further: “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord!’ (66:23). One writer commenting on this passage says: “All that we are warranted, therefore, to draw from the verse before us is, that as the people of Judea at set times repaired to Jerusalem to worship, and as they observed their new moons and Sabbaths, so in a future age all flesh, or men of every land, shall connect themselves with the church of God, and engage from month to month, and from week to week, in `its stated observances and solemn feasts.’ “

This same ingenious method of exegesis causes the writer to say in another place: “That Christians are under the law of the ten commandments is the doctrine of the New Testament.”‘ If we were to comment on this writer in Biblical phraseology, we should say: “Every man set forth his exegesis according to that which was right in his own eyes.” What floundering in the Scriptures do we find when men are not anchored to the moorings of grace and dispensational truth.

THE LORD’S DAY IN PROPHECY AND TYPE

With the subject of the Sabbath firmly fixed in our minds, the question of the Lord’s Day is easily comprehended. First of all, it was a subject of Old Testament prophecy and typology. The Psalmist declares: “The stone which the builders refused is becoming the head stone of the comer. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:22-24). That this Scripture refers to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the witness of the Holy Spirit Himself by the mouth of the Apostle Peter in Acts 4:11. Moses writes in Leviticus 23: 1 0, I 1. “When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.” Here is undoubtedly a type of Christ risen from the dead, and become the “First-fruits of them that slept” (I Cor. 15:20).

THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK IN THE GOSPELS 

The four Gospels are one in declaring that the Lord Jesus arose from the dead. The celebration of the first day of the week is in commemoration of this blessed event. If the resurrection seem to be a small event in the eyes of some, let them be reminded that it, as an inextricable part of redemption, was a greater display of God’s infinite power than creation (compare Ps. 8:3 with Isa. 53:1). Redemption in Scripture is always given a higher place of importance than creation. There are only two chapters in the Bible on creation, but the remainder of it is devoted to the redemption of fallen men. Six days sufficed to create the world; it has taken centuries to gather out a body of redeemed people for His praise and glory.

When we consider the definite estrangement of man from God with its concomitant disastrous results, when we contemplate what it meant for the Lord Jesus to leave His glory which He had with the Father as the eternal God the son, when we seek to comprehend but a little what the death of the cross meant, when we attempt to realise what it has meant for the Lord Jesus to break the fetters of death that His own ineffably glorious resurrection life might be imparted to us, can we really doubt for a moment the wisdom of commemorating the resurrection by observing with joy and gladness the first day of the week?

EVENTS OF THE FIRST DAY

The first day of the week gains further significance when we note the important events that occurred upon it. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ has been mentioned. It was on the first day of the week that the Lord opened the Scriptures to the disciples going to Emmaus; it was on the first day of the week that Christ appeared to His disciples after His resurrection; it was on the first day of the week that the blessed Holy Spirit descended to abide with and in the Church; it was on the first day of the week that the Lord saved three thousand souls through the preaching of Spirit-filled Peter; it was on the first day of the week that the disciples were wont to come together to break bread; it was on the first day of the week that the matchless and glorious revelation of Jesus Christ was given to John on the isle of Patmos. When we note how little we read of the first day of the week in the records of the Lord’s earthly ministry and yet how much it comes into prominence after the death of Christ, are we not persuaded that this day is for the believer looking back at the cross as an accomplished fact?

THE LORD’S DAY A PART OF PLAN OF GRACE

Furthermore, the Lord’s Day is wholly in accord with the whole concept of grace. Just as the Sabbath belonged to the old creation, so the Lord’s Day belongs to the new creation, The Lord’s Day is on resurrection ground; the Sabbath is not. In speaking of the resurrection of the body of the believer Paul says: “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual” (I Cor. 15:46). We believe that this same principle holds true throughout the entire Word of God. First, there was the old creation, then the new creation; first the natural man in Adam, then the spiritual man in Christ; first the natural seed in Ishmael (and Esau), then the spiritual seed in Isaac (and Jacob); first, the natural people of God or Israel, then the spiritual people of God or the Church first, the natural birth, then the spiritual birth, first, the Sabbath, then the Lord’s Day.

Many cannot see how the Lord’s Day can be kept without any hedges about it, without commandments, and without detailed regulations. “If it be claimed that their is no direct commandment for the keeping of the Lord’s Day, it should he observed that there is explicit command against the observance of the Sabbath day, and that the lack of commandment concerning the Lord’s Day is both in accordance with the, character of the new day, and the entire order of grace which it represents and to which it is related.”‘

At the beginning of the Church’s history the Lord’s Day was celebrated with joy and thankfulness and in spiritual activity. Later, when such groups arose as The Society For The Observance Of The Christian Sabbath, then regulations were added that caused it to conform (witness the Scotch and Puritan Sabbath) more and more to the Jewish Sabbath. There was an adding on to the Lord’s Day, just as there had been to the Sabbath by the Pharisees. Men are determined, it seems, to gain merit before God by their works. But let it be remembered that no Old Testament regulations concerning the Jewish Sabbath can teach us how to keep the Lord’s Day, because the Church period and its rule of life for the believer were not foreseen in Old Testament times, and because the New Testament does provide a rule of life under grace that teaches us how to keep all the days in the week.

Paul says: “One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it”; “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Rom. 14:5; Col. 3:17).

THE LORD’S DAY NOT OF MAN

There have been many attempts made on the part of Seventh-Dayists to attribute the keeping of the Lord’s Day to the institution of man, namely to Constantine and the Pope of Rome. Historical evidence does not substantiate this position. The evidence, moreover, is scattered over two or three centuries and is abundant in quantity. We quote representative testimonies.

THE EVIDENCE FROM HISTORY

Pliny, governor of Bithynia, Asia Minor, wrote in A.D. 107 to Trajan concerning the Christians: “They were wont to meet together, on a stated day before it was light, and sing among themselves alternately a hymn to Christ as God. . . . When these things were performed, it was their custom to separate and then to come together again to a meal which they ate in common without any disorder.”

Ignatius, died about A.D. 110, wrote in his Epistle to the Magnesians: “Be not deceived with heterodox opinions, nor old unprofitable fables. For if we still live according to Judaism we confess that we have not received grace. For even the most holy prophets were persecuted, being inspired by His grace, to assure the disobedient that there is one God, who is His Eternal Word…. If they then who were concerned in old things, arrived at a newness of hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living according to the Lord’s Day, by which our life sprung up by Him and by His death (whom certain persons deny) . . . how can we live without Him, whose disciples even the prophets were, and in spirit waited for Him as their Teacher? Wherefore, He whom they justly waited for, when He came, raised them up from the dead…. We have been made His disciples, let us live according to Christianity.”

Barnabas, A.D. 120, wrote: “Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day, also, on which Jesus rose again from the dead.”

The Teaching Of The Apostles, A.D. 125, says: “But every Lord’s Day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving.”

Justin Martyr, A.D. 140, wrote: “Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ, our Saviour, on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the sun, having appeared to His disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia, whose contributors should know whether the Pope instituted Sunday or not, says: “Sunday was the first day of the week according to the Jewish method of reckoning, but for Christians it began to take the place of the Jewish Sabbath in Apostolic times as the day set apart for the public and solemn worship of God.””

Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth; Bardesanes of Edessa; Clement of Alexandria; Tertullian of Africa; Origen; Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage; Anatolius, Bishop of Laodicea; Victorinus, Bishop of Petau; Peter, Bishop of Alexandria; and others bear a similar corroborating testimony to the observance of the first day of the week in the early centuries of the Church.

THE LORD’S DAY OF GOD

All the available evidence on the subject shows definitely, whether from the Scriptures or the early church fathers, that the Lord’s Day was not instituted by man. Moreover, it is the clear statement of the Word that God inaugurated this day. “This is the day which the Lord hath made” (Ps. 118:24). It is little wonder, then, that it is called the Lord’s Day. Someone has said: “The best argument that has ever been written on the reality of the Christian religion [and we add, on the origin of the Lord’s Day] was written by the invisible hand of Eternal Power on the rocks of our Saviour’s sepulchre!”

In concluding, we ask those who have fallen from grace in living below their gracious privileges in Christ: “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, where unto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Gal. 4- 9). To those who are enjoying the liberty which is in Christ we exhort: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1)!

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Written in the mid- 1930’s by Charles Feinberg,  Professor of Semitics and Old Testament
at Talbot Theological Seminary, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Source Notes:

Bibliotheca Sacra , published by Dallas Theological Seminary

Grace, by L.S. Chafer

The Lord’s Day, by R.C. Burr

The Sabbath, anonymous

The Christian Sunday, by A. Barry

Seventh-Day Adventists Renounced, by D.M. Canright

Seder Mo`ed, Massecheth Sabbath

Systematic Theology, by C. Hodge, Vol III, p337

The Sabbath, by J. Gilfillan, pp 295, 301.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, Vol XIV, p335, col 2.

The Lord’s Day From Neither Catholic Nor Pagans, p 129ff. By D.M. Canright