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If you have a chance, watch Secrets of the Vatican on PBS TV. It is worth all 90 minutes. Sixty years plus of corruption, pedophilia, homosexuality, intrigue, money laundering, drug trade and other evils have been uncovered with little contrition. The curia is the governing body of the Roman church. It comes from word roots meaning, ironically “care by” a “noble guardian.” There certainly has been not guarding going on and not noble but venal. Yes, the Roman Catholic Church is trying to do something about it, with mixed results, but it can’t because so much of the foundation is flawed. The New Testament identifies a number of errors which demonstrate falling away from God.
When God changes his mind, so will I.
God has promised He will do His word. He has not promised He will honor the words of men. It is our duty to know the difference.
And Protestant churches have fallen into the humanism trap too. Secular Humanism is a real political group with a doctrine and devotees. That is not what I am referring to here. Secular humanism is the spirit of compromise that reduces both the Word of God and the effects of sin to a human perspective. In the case of the pedophiles, secular humanists (SH) say it results when priests cannot marry.
Secular humanism always identifies a problem as starting with Man and ending with Man’s doing something about it; so God is not a factor.
In no case is this correct.
God’s Truth & church doctrine often do not match
Truth is always based ultimately on the word of God, because it is the will of God, and evil results when God’s will does not prevail in a man, a society, a nation, and all the groups therein. Pedophilia is not caused by celibacy rules but a direct result of disobedience to God’s word/will. The Bible says clearly “Do not forbid to marry.”
1 Timothy 4:1-4 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;
How plain can you get? Here are more examples of common practice in violation of the revealed will of God.
Truth is Biblical not denominational
SH #2. Correction to church practice and corruption would have begun earlier but the lowly participant in this denomination is discouraged from reading the Bible. The entire scriptures are there for all men to know, read, promote, and live every day. Church believers can be and should be the backbone of immediate correction. They should have the power to be rid of corrupt leaders at any level. John 17:17 – Your word is truth.
SH #3. There is no “special” priesthood in the New Testament. We are all called priests. Each person in the church of Jesus Christ has a function. There are no fancy robes, headdresses, pope-mobiles, red sashes, gold goblets and on and on. No, the first church met often in the back of a restaurant, or someone’s home, or when under persecution in the graveyards of Rome. There was NO MORTGAGE.
1 Peter 2:9 -you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Women had as much right in the New Testament church as males Any differentiation tells us that the group is not “in Christ.” In Christ is where the church is supposed to be; when it is not it is somewhere else – in the world, in the flesh, in the devil, or more likely in trouble. Man is not the measure of reality, unless you mean the Man Jesus.
Galatians 3:27-29 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
SH#4. Believers are not saved by being baptized. They are saved before they are baptized. It is not necessary to baptize babies. They do not need to be added to heaven; because they already are there! They do lose that standing when they mature however; then salvation and baptism are appropriate.
Mark 10:14 … Jesus [said] Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.
The Kingdom is where children are right now.
SH#5. There is no purgatory, i.e. a place where people go after death to get their lives straight. Jesus said, “Today you’ll be with me” to the thief on the cross. That ought to be good enough for today as well.
Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to [the thief] “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
SH# 6 Jesus died once. That’s all, never again. No crucifix should have on it a body of Jesus. He left the tomb.
Hebrews 10:10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
SH #7. Yes Virginia there is a devil. Some churches speak of the devil as though he either does not exist or is not a problem. This makes it easier for the demonic kingdom over which he presides to run a muck in our lives. And again, it does not match the written word of God. There are four wills in the world, the will of Man, the will of the world system, the will of the demonic kingdom, and finally the will of God. The first three will pass away.
Christians have a responsibility to know the Bible and what they believe. They should also know what the Bible does not say. God had four thousand years to create His written word and now we have it. And there is a test!
My new hero is Franklin Graham who said simply (I paraphrase) “When God changes His mind, so will I.”
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The Internet is filled with religious, spiritual and Christian teaching of every conceivable quality and quality. Some of it is good and some not. I even follow them for daily downloads, wrong as they may be, just to keep up with the current stuff. No one’s nose gets longer. What are we to do?
False prophets are real, both religious and secular
First, there is no real problem regarding false teachers/prophets. They have been around since Genesis 2 when the snake deceived Eve and a continuing problem throughout history, all nations, all religions, all denominations and all congregations. The problem lies simply with the people who believe them! Or not.
When you are faced with information your mission is to examine it and on the basis of what you know to be true, weigh it and decide what is true and false. If the information you get is false, and the standard you set alongside it is false, you will end up with a false conclusion. If you lay alongside what is true, you can pick up what is true and pitch out the false.
Eat the fish spit out the bones
The late Derek Prince gave us this rule: “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.” If you eat a lot of fish, especially carp, perhaps you know much of the little beast is bones. Doing this properly results in truth. It is time-consuming requiring thought and research.
Every inch of life, not just the Church is plagued with falseness. If you have been taught falsely and have little or no access to truth, you simply cannot make a good decision about what you are learning. This is an information black hole. The light you may see occasionally in a flash could instead be misinterpreted as untruth from another level. A lifetime of wrong information leads to assumptions. You will have no ground for doing what is right. You only see the sorry results of doing wrong.
Some fish are almost all bones
Here are some examples. In China the rate of grown women that commit suicide is the highest in the world, about half a million a year. Even though China allows firearms only in rugged, dangerous areas farm women have access to fertilizer and little else; it is a hopeless existence. They can also drown themselves. Frequently they have only a meager education and no resources. There is no truth in their world.
Another example happened this past year. A group of about 11 girls were snatched from a Muslim nation and sent to Russia as sex slaves where they prayed to Allah daily for release. In exasperation they decided after a year in this prison that the next day they would commit mass suicide. One of the girls said, “My grandmother told me once there is a god in Europe called Jesus. Why don’t we pray to him?” So they did. The following day all the girls were rescued.
One piece of truth acted upon saved them all. This story comes from a sex trafficking action group in California which you can find on the internet at “The A21 Campaign.”.
Christians sometimes leave a church because they hear something false, then flee to another church which can be worse. The only ruler by which we measure truth as Christians is the Bible. In my present congregation there is a handful of teachers who are secular humanists, something I suspect they don’t know.
Don’t be an unbeliever
They say, on occasion. “I don’t believe this or that” referring to a Bible passage. This makes them “unbelievers” and means they are teaching their own opinion. That is the ultimate in self-will and is a damnable business according to Isaiah.
Usually they fail to see how hazardous this is. The scripture said that teachers, above all, must be spot on or they come under worse judgment – not from the congregation of course, but from the Lord.
What is your antidote? The private Christian citizen must know his Bible. That takes work, but we have universal education in this nation so access to scripture should not be too difficult. This means reading the ENTIRE book, not just those passages we like. If you meet God on level ground, that is with your opinions and your assumptions on hold, you’ll be surprised what you learn.
The Phillips translation of Romans 3:19-20 says “The straightedge of the law shows us how crooked we are.” That ruler if followed can also make us right!
Secular reasons or church membership
The non-learners are those who attend church to
- find contacts for business or social reasons
- show off their Biblical knowledge, frequently inadequate
- gain salvation through good works (Maybe God will accept me)
- find others who agree with them, right or wrong
- lonely and/or isolated
You can probably add your own reasons.
The Internet is awash with web sites listing the sins and errors of prominent teachers, and some not so well known. This is a waste of time. It does nothing to move the Kingdom forward and a great deal of people-bashing does not either get rid of wrong teachers or bring people to Christ, the focal point of our faith.
Hell is not about doctrine but attitude
In addition, some of the so-called errors are not errors at all, just a reflection of old opinion and practice. P-l-e-a-s-e let us focus on what God is doing and less on alleged doctrines. It is not all that hard to compare a man’s teaching with the Bible and leave the conclusion at that. But to say that a modem teacher is wrong because he does not agree with someone who spoke 200 years ago forgets that the faith improves, and expands over the ages. If it didn’t we would be forced to say that doctrine not faith saves us, and that is impossible. You are not going to be judged in heaven by what you believe but by whom you believe. Let’s leave accusations to the “accuser of the brethren.”
We do not condemn the lonely or those with problem motives. At least they can learn something. But the antidote to the false is always the truth. “Thy Word is truth.” John 17:17.
About every 30 years or so someone discovers dramatic new “evidence” about the nature of God or Jesus.” This week documents show up in Britain indicating Mary was actually Jesus’ wife etc. etc. Someone will make a lot of money out of this and then it will all disappear. (Remember the Piltdown Man.) Perhaps the only benefit of this kind of drama is that ordinary people who have very little interest in religion will examine Christianity more thoroughly.
In the 1960’s “God was dead.” In the 1970s we had an explosion of interest in the occult, the Madelym M. O’Hair drama, her disappearance and murder. Ms O’Hair spent her life trying to expunge Christian ideas wherever she could. Her lawsuit removed Bible reading and prayer from schools. As a side note, after this happened home schooling, plus private and Charter schools mushroomed. Wikipedia on O’Hare
We saw “Rosemary’s Baby” a movie about the devil’s child, while another famous occult-leaning leader named Bishop Pike disappeared. Brief bio of Bishop Pike The movie generated a host of other horror films in the following years.
Pike’s checkered history is typical of the drama-kings-and-queens of the 20th century who used celebrity to push a brand of religion that was entertaining but hardy effective as Christianity and had no ring of truth nor could any of it effect lasting changes in theology or Christian practice..
We had scandals about ministers, some of them manufactured; the newspapers had a brief war against Billy Graham’s use of money. There were books such as the “The Da Vinci Code” about Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene. We’ve had numerous stories about pre-historic humans; Scientology came along with the speculation that earth was originally populated by superior aliens. If they were so superior, one might wish they had stayed.
Jim Bakker and his wife got into financial trouble and while their PTL-TV empire crumbled, many others rose up to take its place – Trinity, 700 Club, and GOD TV which now almost cover the globe with no hints of scandal. It almost seems as though God does this on purpose; when something bizarre comes up, He magnifies the genuine.
Kooky, self-serving theology is always with us. Jim Jones made his followers drink poison Kool Aid which had the unintended effect of bringing the term “kool aid drinkers” into the language, meaning those who accept false teaching with a smile on their face are still dead – at least in their brains. Bill O’Reilly made this famous. The “Heaven’s Gate” group in California commits mass suicide in 1997. Those were the days when everything was mass-gripping – Princess Diana’s death, the mass TV viewing of O. J. Simpson’s white van slowly driving a California highway, and mass demonstrations in Hong Kong and Bulgaria. This stuff must be catching.
Not too long ago during the Clinton administration a compound of Christians in Texas was blown up by the FBI, an act which still generates considerable controversy about its legality. David Koresh was downtown in Waco, Texas frequently. No need to blow him up; just arrest him. But somehow God stands firm.
The Bible was written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit of God and while it took a long time to be seen in written form, today it is on everyone’s smart phone, books, newspaper, blogs and around every corner. Yes, there are things God wants to teach us yet, but the message of who Jesus is and why He came has not changed. The book of John simply states. “Thy word is truth.” John 17:17.
When in doubt – open book.