The Incarnation Sets Christianity Far and Above All Other Religions

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God (1 John 4:2).

Slide2

If there is one vast difference between true Christianity and all other religions in the world, it is the claim that our leader, Jesus Christ, was and is actually God incarnate (in the flesh). This is what sets Christianity far and above every other religion. All other religions start from the point of man at the center of all things, and then trying to erect Babel-like towers up to God.

Christianity is the only religion in which God reaches down to man by becoming a man. It is the doctrine of the incarnation which actually condemns all other religions because through the person and work of Jesus Christ, a way is actually forged for us by Christ to the Father.  When leaders of other religions shut the door on Christ by denying who He is, they shut the door of salvation. They are telling the Father that His provision of salvation through His Son is not good enough. In their pride and arrogance, they believe that they have a better way back to the Father, or to ethereal bliss. They are telling the Father they do not need His Son.

Continue reading

Advertisements

“But The Bible Was Written By Men!”

Often times we hear objections from non-believers that we cannot trust the Bible because it was written by men. The implication is that the Bible is fallible because men wrote it, men who were simply giving their opinion, or worse, conspiring to say something that God never said. It is the quickest way to stifle conversation or thought among non-believers. Never mind the fact that men are making this judgment that we cannot trust the Bible. Which means if men are so fallible that we cannot trust the Bible, then how can we trust their opinion that we cannot trust the Bible because men made it, and they are men, and men are making opinion statements… wow, that was confusing. But you get the idea.

Continue reading

Top 3 Reasons Cults of Christianity Thrive

There have always been cults of Christianity, from the early days of the Gnostics, to the early Middle Ages with Islam, to our current days with Mormonism, Christian Scientist and Jehovah Witnesses. These religions take portions of true Christianity, and craft their own brand of religion. The Apostles warned us of such, as well as Jesus when they spoke of savage wolves (Acts 20:28-31), and wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15-23). Since my conversion back in 1990, part of my focus as a Christian has been to expose them for what they are. Given that I was raised in a cult, you can understand why.

The question that I have asked myself and I’m trying to answer today is, “Why do the cults surviveWhat is it about them that keeps them going and causes them to thrive?”

Continue reading

German Woman Rebukes Islam

This video is making the rounds and I wanted to share it with my readers. This woman shouted down an Islamic iman who was giving a call to worship at the historic Memorial Church of the Reformation, built in honor of Martin Luther. She proclaimed that Jesus Christ is Lord over the church and Germany. During an interview afterwards, she says what so few understand about Islam, that they worship another god all together. They do not worship the same God as true Christians do. Here is the video:

We need to strive to be a bold as she was. She is following in the footsteps of the apostles who went from town to town proclaiming the truth. We need more Christians like her, and more pastors with her courage to stand up and proclaim the truth of Christ. This really is an inspiration.

Hattip: Diana.

Top 5 Abused Bible Verses

In working on my sermon this week, I’ve come across one of the most abused verses in Scripture. It’s not as abused today as it was some 70 years ago, but it is still one of the most abused passages of Scripture. The passage is John 8:31-32  “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Only in it’s abuse, those using it only quote verse 32, without the first part of the conditional clause.

A conditional clause means that there is a condition to knowing the truth. Knowing the truth means that we are His disciples. Being His disciples mean that we follow Him and His word. Yet countless people use the old King James Version, Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, in a manner to indicate that the truth is just floating about for anyone to find it. It is not, for truth to be know, we must know it in the light of Christ.

I’m reminded of my childhood growing up in the cult of Christian Science and see that portion of the passage on the inside cover to Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Please note: she has no keys to Scripture. Her book is filled with senseless drivel. She doesn’t know Christ, God or the truth). The passage is used in such a way that it suggests that objective truth is just floating about and all we need to do is look for it. It’s not. The only true way to know real Truth is to know Christ and be known by Him (Matthew 7:21ff). Truth is not disconnected from Christ.

We also see this passage on the building of countless universities across the land. There too, it’s put forth as if truth is out there for anyone looking for it apart from Christ. I know the arch-rival of my own university, texas university, has the scripture emblazoned on one of the buildings. However I don’t think that school, or any other state-run school that has the passage emblazoned on campus is advocating their students become disciples and followers of Christ.

The point is that when Christ uttered those words, He was in a heated debate with the Jews about His identity and their need to be freed from sin. He wasn’t throwing up the idea that truth was to be known apart from Him. Knowing the truth means we must be “in Christ,” and by being “in Christ” we will know truth about who He is and who we are. We are sinners in need of a Savior, and the Truth is that He is that Savior. Being in Him means we are freed from one of our greatest foes: sin. We cannot be truly free unless sin is dealt with, and only through Christ is that sin dealt with. Otherwise we will die in our sins, as Jesus warned the Jews (John 8:21).

This is why this verse makes my Top 5 list of the most abused passages in history. People have abused it in an attempt to make themselves seem erudite in the pursuit of truth. Yet, truth pursued apart from Christ does us no good at all.

4. Number 4 on the list is Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. The reason this one makes the list is that far too many people use it as a quick fix to someone else’s problems. Your cousin just died in a car wreck? Romans 8:28. You have cancer? Romans 8:28. You just lost your home to foreclosure? Romans 8:28. Your cat had puppies? Romans 8:28.

It is abused because of the way that it is used in Christian circles. People use it in an attempt to belittle the struggles of others and this is unconscionable. It is thoughtless, and mean. Paul writes that we are to weep with those who weep in Romans 12:15, not throw Romans 8:28 in their faces.

To abuse this passage is to ignore the fact that Christians have been called to suffer just as Christ suffered. I know, suffering is one of those things that polite Christians do not talk about. But it is a reality of the Christian life. To deny it, is to deny the calling every Christian has in life. So when someone suffers, don’t throw up a quick passage so you can sooth your conscience and be on your way. Sit down with them, and be with them and weep with them.

3. Number 3 on the list is Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This verse is abused because it is ripped out of context. The context is that Paul is saying he has learned to be content whether he has plenty or he is abased, both to abound and suffer need. He does not say that he can conquer the world because he has Philippians 4:13.

This verse should not be the foundation of every motivational speaker to come down the pike. That is not what Paul is saying. In fact, he would probably be aghast at the idea that so many are using this passage in such a manner, given that Jesus Christ conquers the world and our worlds, we do not. We are mere servants, not tiny gods out to conquer all that is before us.

2. Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.” This passage is abused among the haters of Christianity. It’s not used to teach us to guard against being hypocritical, as Jesus intended it to be used, but used to silence anyone who would espouse any godly standard above that of being a dog. Jesus isn’t giving a blanket statement for not judging, but given a lesson on how to judge rightly.

I like what Paul Washer is reported to have said concerning this verse: “People always tell me, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged.’ I reply, ‘Twist not Scripture, lest ye be like Satan.'”

1. John 3:16 For God so loved the world… You know my hatred of the abuse of this passage. Far too many use it to justify their ungodly behavior and lack of holiness because of God’s love. In other words, “For God so love the world, I can live and believe as I please, and Jesus is there to take care of everything for me.”

This passage is also the foundation of so much bad theology that I think we should stop quoting it, and quote all of John 3 to bring it back into light. Anything less than this is to abuse the fulness of what Christ was saying in John 3.

There you have it, my Top-5 abused passages of Scripture. What are yours?

From Pleasantville to Principia — The Journey of One Woman’s Life from the Cult of Christian Science to Christ

The following was written by Ashley. She shared this with me after she discovered my posts about Christian Science on the cults page. I’m sharing her testimony with you, and with permission.

From Pleasantville to Principia

If you looked up my childhood in a dictionary, you would have found the word Pleasantville.  I was raised in Kansas City by two very loving, grounded, hard-working parents.  I had a brother 2 years older than me, and the four of us together were very close, loving and fun.  My brother and I were pretty good kids growing up.  Our parents ran an indoor sports complex, and so athletics were extremely important in our family.  We both grew up playing sports and hoped to someday see the fruit of our hard work through a College scholarship.

The Falsity of Fainting

We were members of the local Christian Science church.  I never really noticed that I was different from anyone else in school because of the church I attended.  I didn’t really notice there were other churches outside of Christian Science.  The first recollection of me realizing that Christian Science was different and so was I, was when I fainted for the first time.

It was on the day of Thanksgiving.  While getting ready for church, I made it very clear that my stomach was really hurting me and I didn’t feel capable of going and sitting for an hour in church.  As was custom, my mom or dad took me into a quiet room of the house and shared that I needed to “Know the Truth” about myself and to read from the Science and Health the Scientific Statement of Being.  I can to this day repeat it verbatim.

There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.

Praying that my body was spiritual and not material, I tried to be a good Christian Scientist, and overcome my pain by changing my thought and aligning it with God’s thought and proceed to attend the morning church service.

It didn’t take but twenty minutes into the service and I looked at my brother and shook my head.  The rest I don’t remember up until I woke to throwing up in the bathroom.  I was told that I fell back on the pew, hit my head, slid under the seat and started to throw up.  My dad rushed me out of the church.  I went home and was sick the whole week.  We prayed and no medical attention was sought out for my stomach pains and dizziness.

Through this experience, what made me realize that something was different about Christian Science was the reaction of my church congregation; or lack thereof.  No one mentioned my faint when I came back the following Sunday.  And I was told not to discuss  it to any friends, neighbors or family members.  By sharing this “false belief” about me fainting, I was accepting it to be true about myself.  And it wasn’t true, because I was a perfect child of God.

My faints continued and so did my parents need help me KNOW THE TRUTH and not accept them.  I remember a time where my family drove to Florida and we had stopped at a gas station.  I had been sleeping in the back and woke up and no one was in the car.  I ran into the gas station in complete fear that I wouldn’t get my candy they usually would let us have on stops.  When I found my mom, I started to faint.  She quickly dragged me into the bathroom so that no one would see.  I remember vividly her trying to quietly wake me up and tell me that someone else was in the bathroom and to be quiet.  I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have the help of someone else besides my parents, but she definitely didn’t want my faint to be seen.  I have continued to have fainting issues to this day.  To be clear, I don’t want to dishonor my parents for what they thought was the right thing to do in those situations.  They always did their best to keep me safe and protected.  But what really stood out to me was the rejection of the belief that I was a “fainter”.  This rejection issue feeds into so many other areas of the Christian Science life.  There’s a sense of shame that comes with a Christian Scientist’s failure to have healing or physical health.  It is hard for me now to wrap my brain around.  If I couldn’t overcome my faints, I felt that it was something I wasn’t understanding in my own thought about God and my true being.  When in all reality, I’m a fainter and it’s okay.  To sum up, Christian Science is a works “religion” and teaches that IF we are praying rightly and “knowing the Truth”, healing will occur.  If no healing occurs; we aren’t where we need to be mentally.  Works.  And that is not how God works.  He is a God of GRACE.

The Principia Bubble

When my brother and I had gotten older, the reality that we were the only Christian Scientists in our school, started to settle in.  When our school had flu shots or required physicals, my parents handed in exemption forms from our local Church to our teachers, while all the other classmates were in the nurse’s office.  It became evident to my parents that we were slowly being opened up to the medical world quickly through our schooling and friendships we made.  So my parents did the right thing as Christian Scientists did, and they sold their business and home and moved us to St. Louis to attend the Principia Upper School-A School for Christian Scientists.

Principia offered everything my parents hoped and prayed for.  My brother and I had a strong education but more importantly, we both became extremely passionate for Christian Science.  We both were thorough in our studying of the Bible with its’ important Key- Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy.  Every morning I read my Bible lesson and let the Science and Health guide me throughout the Bible in it’s own specific way, and I made my parents extremely proud with my daily spiritual growth.

The Wrong Decision or my BEST Decision

When it came time to choose where to go to College, I had always known that softball would play a key role in my decision process.  Considering I loved the sport and my parents paid a lot of money so I could play at an elite level all throughout high school, I made getting a scholarship my main goal.  At the time, I was 4th generation Christian Scientist.  My brother was already attending Principia College, and so were my cousins.  I worked extremely hard to get my scholarship and fortunately was offered one.

My parents still begged me to apply for Principia College and this is first part of “my story” where I knew the Lord specifically directed me.

I was always so obedient to my parents, but in my heart I knew Principia was the wrong place for me.  My reasoning was that all my highschool friends would be there and I didn’t want to repeat highschool all over again.  But looking back, it seemed very unlike me to not even please my parents with applying as a back up plan.

From College to I Do’s

I had 4 great years of college.  I stayed true to being a Christian Scientist, but found myself around a lot of people who thought I was extremely different.  I laughed it off, and egotistically thought that I knew the Bible better and was more spiritual than them.  After all, I was a Christian Scientist and was capable of healing myself through prayer.  They were all “weak” in thought and needed medicine.

And this is the 2nd part of “my story” where I saw the Lord’s hand at work.  He brought me my sweetheart.

My husband was a blessing like no other.  He was raised Catholic and I was raised Christian Science.  What were we to do?  Knowing my temperament, if I had married a man who was extremely opinionated and impatient, I probably would have put my foot down and said there was no way I would leave Christian Science.  But my husband was and still is none of those qualities.  He’s patient, open-minded and always calm.

We decided to attend both each other’s churches.  We both had found we disliked different parts of each other’s denomination and decided that we would figure it out in time, instead of pushing to join a church.

“But I’m a Christian!”

Right in the beginning of our marriage, my kind-hearted Mother in Law encouraged me to attend a Bible Study.  It is a 8 year study called Bible Study Fellowship.  This Bible Study didn’t allow you to speak about specific denominations.  It was a pure study of the Bible with application questions.   I thought it was great.  I had never studied the Bible without the Science and Health right next to me, and so I was very intrigued by this “new age” way to study.  Oh me.

The first year I really enjoyed the study.  But as any well-trained Christian Scientist would do, I ignored the parts of the Bible that were not “inspired by God’,  such as “we are sinners…”, “Christ is God”.  Obviously those were not inspired because Mary Baker Eddy told me that I am made perfect, sin does not exist and Christ is a great example-BUT DEFINITELY NOT GOD.

As I studied the Bible, the more clear it was to me that Mary Baker Eddy left out some extremely solid nuggets of TRUTH that I desperately needed to know about.  When I studied and realized that Jesus declared himself to be THE Savior, and that a final day of judgement was to come for all men, I was stumped.  I was told differently by my leader Mary Baker Eddy about my salvation.  That’s when my world began to crumble.  Is she calling Jesus a liar?  I couldn’t piece it all together without feeling a great deal of anxiety.  Nothing is more humbling than being passionate for one set of beliefs all your life and to one day find out that you are incredibly wrong.  But this is where the Lord really protected my broken-hardened heart.   At Bible Study Fellowship (bsfinternational.org) they would always ask us at the end of the lecture if we had accepted Christ.  That was what would qualify someone as being Christian.  I of course ignored that portion of the lecture because I was a Christian.  Right? Wrong.  The Lord continued to protect me.

The second year of this Bible Study feels like it was just yesterday; and I wish it was.  I would love to go back and repeat the feelings I had over and over.  It was my fourth week and we were studying the Book of Matthew.  One of the key principles shared was, “Repentance involves changed thinking and a changed life”.  That night, my life was changed.  I don’t even know how my legs walked me out of that church, but I somehow made it to my car and called my Mother in Law and started rambling off a bunch of questions.  Like always, she was calm, comforting, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful.  That night on the phone, I came to KNOW the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.  22 years old.  I drove home, and looking back I’m surprised that I didn’t get a speeding ticket.  I found my husband and quickly told him the news.  The GOOD NEWS.   Together we worship the Lord and I can’t be more grateful for God’s hand in my life.

Can someone teach me to forget, not just forgive?

I will be honest and say that I am definitely a working progress throughout this amazing change in my life.  Although I now know the Lord as my Savior, the pain of knowing I’m the “black sheep” in my family and lost in a sea of Christian Science friends who don’t understand who I am anymore, is one big dark cloud over my head.  I am working on forgiveness and trying to understand what God wants out of me.  But the anger I have and grudges I hold are not mine to carry.  They are the Lord’s. I am taking a place that’s not really mine when I hold onto the way people have wronged me.

I think about Joseph and his darkest hours in prison, sold into slavery by his own family, and wonder what He thought about God.  God brought people into Joseph’s life in his darkest hours to comfort and help him.  I think about my darkest hours and look back at different people God brought into my life.  He was always there through the encouragement and comfort of others.

This is my lower story that will glorify God’s upper story.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
It’s all about the UPPER STORY.  Christian Science was my darkest hour, and I know there will be many stumbling blocks along the way-but I have the armor of Jesus Christ and cannot be shaken.  It’s all about the Upper Story.

14 Accusations Against Christianity

The following accusations come from Sasha, who was commenting on my Top Reasons Christianity Is Superior to Any other Religion post.  I wondered if she was hurt by a church in my comments there, and here is her response:

No, I wasn’t hurt by a church. I went to a Christian school until 5th grade and loved it. The people are amazing. Just because someone finds illogic in your faith, doesn’t mean they’ve been “hurt.” I’ve been hurt more trying to discover the religion I have now but through an intellectual approach and sincerity, I saw the beauty of it. Christianity doesn’t make sense whatsoever.

I appreciate your kindness and I really wish more Christians were like you. Take care.

So my prayers are that the Spirit will move in her life and she will see the sense of true Christianity over her current religions, which I wonder if she is not a Jehovah’s Witness given her propensity for logic and her copy of the “true word.”

For apologetic purposes, here are my response to her 14 claims (her claims are in bold):

1. Christianity is the only religion where 1=3 and 3=1. Logic? Don’t think so.

This attack is often used by the skeptics of the faith and shows a misunderstanding of what we are saying about the Trinity. It also exalts human reason above the authority of Scripture as the final authority about what is true and not true. When we do this, we are making ourselves out to be gods and sitting in judgment of His word and revelation to us. This is a danger we all fall into when we come to Scripture and assume that something is true or not true based upon our own understanding of that truth.

Is God three in One? Yes, but let’s clarify what we mean by that. The Trinity is God in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but One God. He is One is His essence, in that all three persons of the Godhead are equal in nature, and deity, yet separate in their personhood. Therefore we know that the Father is fully God, the Son is fully God and the Holy Spirit is fully God, but all three are individual in their personhood. All three share in the same attributes but differ in their roles.

Just because we cannot get our minds around this truth does not nullify the truth itself. God is beyond logic and beyond our comprehension. So to say that Christianity is wrong because we cannot understand the God who reveals Himself in Scripture is arrogant on our part. We need to come to Scripture, and God, with a sense of humility admitting that we will never understand that which is beyond our comprehension. Since He has revealed Himself to us as a Triune God, we must accept these truths even though we cannot fathom them. Some might say that this makes God illogical. I’m not saying that at all. He is completely logical, but our minds are unable to grasp Him in this way.

For clarity, let me quote the WCF Larger Catechism on the Trinity:

Q. 7. What is God?

A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible,  every where present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

 

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?

A. There is but one only, the living and true God.

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?

A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.

Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?

A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.

Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?

A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes, works, and worship, as are proper to God only.

2. Christianity is the only religion where their (G)od can be killed by human hands. 

This is true. The Second Person of the Trinity came and dwelt among us as our representative, In order for our debts to be paid, we needed someone who represented us, therefore the One to die on the cross had to be fully human in order to pay that debt for us. Under the Old Testament system the goats and bulls that were sacrificed could not represent us, since they were not human. They merely pointed to the coming of One who would do so.

Another way to understand this is that since we are the sinners, the ones made in the image of God, then the One making that sacrifice would also have to be made in the image of God. By being human, Jesus fully represented us on the cross.

He was also fully God as well. This was so that He could fully bear up under the wrath of God, and more importantly, pay the eternal debt that we owe to God for our sin. We owe an eternal debt to God because we have sinned against One who is an eternal being. This is why no mortal man can pay off that debt with enough good works. How does one pay an eternal debt? We can either pay that debt by serving out our sentence in eternal hell, or we can have an eternal being pay it for us. This is why Jesus was fully God, and fully man. He represented us as the Son of Man, and satisfied the wrath of the eternal Father by being the Son of God.

He graciously chose to lay down His life on our behalf.  The beauty is that He was raised from the dead on the third day as He told us He would be. This shows God’s good pleasure in His Son. In doing so, we know that we have a true and real Savior that can truly save us from our sins.

However Sasha’s statement is also false. While Christ laid down His life on our behalf, the Father did not lay down His life, nor did the Holy Spirit. Did the God-Man die on the cross? Yes He did. Did God die that day? No He did not. We put to death the Savior, but killing the Triune God is an impossibility since we cannot kill that which is eternal.

3. Christianity is the only religion where your sin is automatically forgiven without effort.

Absolutely! We are saved by faith in Christ’s atoning works and not in ourselves, so that we cannot boast, even our faith is a gift from Him (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The problem with the assumption behind Sasha’s statement is that anyone can be forgiven for their sins with effort. This is what sets true Christianity apart from the rest of the religions of the world. All those in other religions are trying to “save” themselves through their own efforts. But our works are considered as filthy rags before the Father because they are tainted with our sin. This is why the unbeliever’s works are unacceptable.

In the Old Testament, the Jews had to offer up sacrifices that were unblemished and perfect. This wasn’t so they could be forgiven. Their sacrifices did not save them, but the sacrifices did point to the One who would save them, and was offered on their behalf without spot or blemish. The requirement that the sacrifice be without spot or blemish was to show the Israelites the necessity of a sinless sacrifice. The sacrifices had to be perfect in order to be acceptable to God. They were intended to paint a picture for the Jews so they could see the sinfulness of sin. Just one spot, or one tiny blemished, rendered the lamb unacceptable.

If our works, given to God, are tainted by sin in the least, they are unacceptable. Since we are all sinful and fallen, we have no works in and of ourselves to give to God to pay the eternal debt of sin we owe to Him.

This is why the Scriptures make it clear that Jesus was without sin. He is the acceptable sacrifice for those who would be saved.

By putting our faith in Him for salvation and forgiveness, His works and righteousness are imputed to us, and our sins are imputed to Him. He pays for our sins, and gives us His righteous works.

No other religion can compare because those in the other religions are sinful and fallen. Every so called “good work” they perform are done in sin, apart from Christ and are unacceptable to the Father. They cannot pay the eternal debt that they owe.

4.Christianity is the only religion where another person (oops sorry. GOD) takes the blame for everyone else’s sins. 

True, but not worded the way I would word it. Christ takes the wrath of God on for the sins of His children. He pays the debt for our sins because He is the only that can do so. (See question 2 above).

No other religion can satisfy God’s wrath. This is why the gospel is the love of God before mankind. He shows us that we are helpless, and then His Son voluntarily comes to earth to do what we cannot do. No other religion can come close to dealing with our sins, or reflecting God’s rich love toward His people.

5. Christianity is the only religion where their prophets were drunkards, adulterous, and incestuous (Noah, David, Lot, respectively).

Yup! The Bible is full of sinners, of which, Jesus came to save. As I like to point out, a majority of the Bible has been written by murderers (Moses, David and Paul). We fully admit that all those in the Scripture are sinful, fallen humans in need of a Savior.

The premise behind Sasha’s statement is wrong. She is presupposing that other religions have sinless leaders, therefore, they are authentic leaders and their religions are more pure. This is a false assumption because no one is sinless, except Christ alone. The men she mentions, Noah, David and Lot, are not in the Bible for us to follow. They were there pointing us to the sinless One to come.

Moses looked forward to Christ’s day, because he knew he needed a Savior. David wrote about THE LORD speaking to HIS LORD and setting up HIS LORD on the throne (Psalm 110). Paul called himself the chief among sinners, and counted all his life as dung, except the reality of knowing Jesus Christ.

Why does the Bible do this? It does this to show that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All are in need of a Savior. All fail to measure up to God’s holy standards, except Jesus HIMSELF, and He willingly laid down His life on the believer’s behalf. He said so Himself. He came to save sinners, not those who thought themselves well.

We do not look to the men of the Bible to be our guide. We look to Christ alone. Only He can save. Only He is worthy of worship. Only Christ is worthy of praise. The men of the Bible, just like we are, have feet of clay, are fallen, and in need of the perfect Savior.

6. Christianity is a religion where the people don’t even know their own scripture because it’s been altered thousands of times to fit their needs.

TRUE and FALSE.

Actually there are two accusations in this one. The first is that Christians don’t know their own Bible. There is truth to that on one hand. Many church goers do not know Scripture. However, those who are truly saved, truly trust in Christ, know God’s word because we know it leads to our spiritual well being. We cannot survive without God’s word…

As for the Bible being altered, this is a false charge. See this post here with Dan Wallace clarifying that the more ancient Greek manuscripts we find, the more certainty we have in the Bible given to us through history. Or as Bruce Metzger puts it, there are some 20,000 lines in the New Testament, and considering all the manuscripts we have, only 40 of those lines are up for debate as to their meaning. Of those 40 lines, none of them affect any major doctrine of Christianity. No other ancient manuscript has such an accuracy rating.

7. Christianity is a religion where the people cherry-pick the parts they want to follow and conveniently disregard the rest. (Did you know that pork, wine, and wearing white for men are prohibited in the Bible? Oh and women have to cover their heads or else shave off their hair.) 

This is one of those charges that not only Sasha makes, but those in the Gay community make as well. Please Sasha, stop making this claim. You are siding with company I don’t think you want to side with.

There are several charges. First, pork was forbidden under the Mosaic Covenant so that the Israelites were never to eat it nor keep pigs. They were seen as unclean animals. This is the same argument as the shellfish argument that many make. The problem is that the Mosaic Covenant has been set aside because is was the lesser covenant and replaced by the New Covenant (see the book of Hebrews). The dietary and ceremonial laws were all set aside with the coming of Christ and the institution of the New Covenant. Those who still hold to them are legalistic in their nature. This does not mean we are laying aside the moral laws found in the Ten Commandments. Those are still binding today, but the ceremonial and dietary laws have been laid aside.

As for wine, not sure what Sasha is referring to since our LORD instituted the LORD’s Supper using wine and Paul even recommends it for Timothy. I know in the Old Testament in Isaiah, that those who set their hearts on it for their being (making it idolatry) are condemned by the prophet for drunkenness, but no where is the use of wine forbidden.

As for the hair, it is true that if a woman has shaved her head, as the temple prostitutes of Paul’s day were known for doing, then they were to cover their heads. Otherwise, they were to grow their hair long for their covering.

8. Christianity is a religion where their god has to come in HUMAN FORM to mediate. Like he can’t do it from the heavens.

He could have done it from heaven, but chose to do otherwise in His wise and holy counsel. Jesus is our Mediator and was qualified to be so because of His earthly ministry and death on the cross. In fact, that was part of His mediation and the reason we have access to the Father. This charge is really against God’s plan for salvation. I agree that God could have done it in some other manner, but He chose to do it this way because it brings Him the most glory. This is really a charge against the mind of God and His decisions and we should not go there. Our ways are not His ways, and our thoughts are not His thoughts. To try and peer into the mind of God is exceedingly arrogant.

But also see above. Christ came in human form to represent us and fulfill all the Old Testament Law, as well as the whole of Scripture. He was the Second Adam. Whereby the first Adam brought sin into the world, thereby death, Christ is the Second Adam bringing righteousness and life.

Whereby Adam was given the charge to subdue the world, and failed, Jesus came to subdue it, the spiritual world, and the devil. This is why we have the miracles, showing Christ’s dominion over sickness, death, evil spirits, and Satan. He truly does what Adam was charged to do, but failed in his sinfulness.

9. Christianity is the only religion where there are two testaments that completely contradict each other.

To the untrained mind, I can see why this charge is made. But the two testaments affirm one another, especially in the prophecies given about Christ, the types of Christ’s portrayed there and fulfillment of all the promises in Christ.

The Bible is one plan of redemption from beginning to end, which is depicted in man’s fall, and God’s promise to redeem His people. You see the beginning of that in Genesis 3, the development of that covenant of grace through the people of God and it’s fulfillment in Christ. So to say that there is complete contradiction is a misunderstanding of God’s purposes, His covenants and His plan of redemption.

10. Christianity is a religion used to justify imperialism in the past.

Yes, this charge can be true. But so is every other religion if given the power, including atheism. Just because the adherents of a faith do not act in accordance to that faith does not negate the faith. We fully admit that the church is a mixed bag of both believers and non-believers (see wheat and tares/sheep and goat examples in the gospels). The more non-believers in the church lead to periods of unholiness and wickedness. The more true believers lead to more grace and liberty.

While this charge is true, it also must be pointed out that Sasha has freedom of religion because of Christianity and the liberties found in our religion. We have charitable organizations because of Christianity. We have freedom to worship whom we please because of Christianity and the liberty found there.

So while you may make this charge, remember the freedom you do have because of Christianity. Islam, as we are seeing, offers no such liberty.

11. Christianity is a religion where women are property.

This is false. Women were liberated because of Christianity. Jesus brought worth, value and dignity to women through His ministry and women are seen as having souls in Christianity. I would have to have more clarity to answer more fully. What do you mean by this?

12. Christianity is the only religion where unbaptized babies go to hell.

Several issues are wrapped up in this charge. First, being baptized does not guarantee someone entrance into heaven. We are saved by faith and faith alone in Christ alone for salvation.

Secondly, only God’s elect will go to heaven. This means only those who believe in Christ for salvation will be saved by Him. This includes those dying in infancy who are of the elect, will be saved. Baptism is not the saving mechanism. Faith is the saving mechanism and the Spirit moves when and where and how He pleases in a person’s life.

We know that the Spirit can move in an infant’s life at an early age because John the Baptist knew when His Savior entered the room even though both were still in the womb. The knowledge was based upon what the Spirit was doing in John, not in John’s ability to understand or reason out the truth. This is an example of God’s grace and what it takes to be saved. The Spirit must move in a person in order to change their hearts from one of stone to flesh in order for them to believe and be saved. It is all God’s grace, not our ability to reason or logically discern something. Even the most intelligent people in the world cannot save themselves through logic and reasoning. Salvation is all be God’s grace. Therefore if He chooses to save the elect who die in infancy, that is HIS choice, not ours.

Baptism has nothing to do with our election or faith. It is a sign that points to the greater reality of salvation in our lives. A sign merely points to something greater. It doesn’t do the saving itself.

13. Christianity is the only religion where they fool their children into being faithful through games, dancing, camps, and never actually really reading the scripture or letting them think for themselves. No intellectual approach whatsoever.

Depending on the church itself, this could be true. But the “no intellectual approach whatsoever” is a straw man. We are to love the LORD our God with our heart, soul, strength and minds, and we do when we teach the truths of Scripture to our children. This is why we catechize our children, so that they grow up knowing the truths of God’s word.

I would also ask that you spend some time reading the great minds of the faith, like Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, and a host of others, including John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Some of the greatest thinkers in Western Civilization have been Christians. It is sad that you are too closed minded and ignorant of their works to know this.

14. And last but not least, Christianity is a flawed religion that is “perfected by faith.

Not sure what she means by this one. We are perfected by faith, but I see no flaws in our religion. I see flaws in Christians, myself included. All that does is drive me back to my Savior, in whom there are no flaws.

I believe in the original words of the one true God and his book, not the current Bible that was written by man.

This statement leads me to believe that Sasha is a Jehovah Witness, but I could be wrong.

I hope the Spirit moves in her as she reads this to help her see the truthfulness of Christ and His religion for His people. But I know from experience that when a JW or Mormon come to your door, they are not truly open for debate. They seek merely to persuade and get you to sign their dotted lines. As Christians, we truly must wait on the Holy Spirit to move in the life of a person for them to be saved. This is both an advantage and disadvantage. It’s a disadvantage because we can only present the truth and trust in the Spirit to convince the lost of their need of Christ. If a person is truly to be saved, we must wait on the Spirit.

But it is an advantage because when the Spirit moves, the person in question truly is saved for all eternity. It is through God’s work and not ours that they are saved. May the Holy Spirit move in Sasha’s life and others who read this article.

A Third Response to a Christian Scientist

It is time to finally finish up my response to a Christian Scientist which I started several weeks ago. The point is not to win this CS to the true faith, but to help those who are in the true faith see through the arguments that these people make, be they part of Christian Science, Mormonism, liberal churches, etc. It would be nice to see this man turn from the heresies of his faith, to saving faith in Jesus Christ, but given that this man is a practitioner in his religion and makes his living as such, he has sold his soul to this falsehood. Instead of coming to Christ to be saved, he came to Christ to make his money off of healings and propagating a lie. He has a form of godliness but denies its true power (2 Timothy 3:1-9).

Continue reading

A Second Response to a Christian Scientist

This is my second response to Don, a Christian Science practitioner. I tried to respond to him in the comments section, but feel that to respond adequately I must do a bit more in-depth parsing of what he is saying. You can find my first response here, and the original post, Christian Science: Deadly in More Ways Than One, here.

Again this is not so that I change his mind. The man has made his profession as a Christian Scientist and has ample “experience” to support his claims. What I’m saying is that his claims, while based on experience, are not to be trusted since these claims are not based on God’s word.

Continue reading

Christian Science: Deadly In More Ways than One

I was pleased to see that the Christian Post had an excellent piece exposing the deadly nature of Christian Science. I have written on this false-religion numerous times because I was raised a Christian Scientist and my mother died as a Christian Scientist. I know the deadly nature of the religion, both physically and spiritually.

It is always good to see other believers taking the time to expose these cults for what they are, false religions with no real hope of salvation. Like most cults, Christian Science is just as bad as the rest for it seeks to teach its followers that salvation, redemption, etc., are all based on our own actions. For the Christian Scientist, it really is about thought control. If we just correct our thinking, then sin, death and all the evils of the world will go away. The emphasis is on the followers ability to do this in order to see desirable results.

As one can surmise, the reality of the results are deadly, given the fact that many have died trying to “correct” their thinking so that diseases would go away. That is the point of the Post’s article.

A deadly religion is passing off as “Christian” and has been for more than a century. Not just spiritual death, but literal death as well; hundreds of people have died as a result of disease untreated because a Christian Scientist will tell you, sickness is only an illusion.

Christian Science is one of the few religions in the world that contains a core teaching that is often deadly when put into practice,” James Beverley writes in The Nelson’s Illustrated Guide To Religions.

“Quiet carnage is a part of the Christian Scienceculture,” stated Linda Kramer, a former member who is now a born-again believer, in the article, “Christian Science: Attempting a Comeback.”

That culture is in fact, a cult, apologists say, and different from Christianity in every way.

“Christian Science deserves the title of cult since it departs from plain Bible teaching on major doctrines and the movement also adopts a potentially deadly view of how to deal with sickness,” Beverley, professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale University, said in an email to The Christian Post.

I’ve rejoiced that this religion has fallen on hard times here of late. In fact, very few people that I grew up with that were raised as Christian Scientist, are still in the cult. I believe this is due to the hypocrisy built into the religion and it’s failure to deal with sin in a meaningful way. For instance, the religion teaches that the existence of sin ceases to exist as long as the thoughts of sin exist.

If this is true, then why did our parents ever have to correct us growing up? How could they ever say anything we did was wrong? It was just their wrong thinking of sin.

Plus, we grew up in households where no miracles every truly occurred. Sicknesses never seemed to vanish with correct thinking. We still wore glasses, still got the chicken pox, still caught colds, still got headaches. That correct thinking never seemed to get us any where. Whereas going to a doctor, we discovered that there were actually medicines to deal all those things, including headaches.

This is one of the reasons Christian Science is a dying religion, as the article points out:

Death and sickness are probably the cause of the significant drop in numbers recently, Miller said, though the religion attracted many big thinkers and celebrities at its peak in the early 1900s.

“It’s a dying religion,” he said “They’re dying out because they’re dying off. They don’t realize that at this point.”

“With modern medicine, it’s not attracting many.”

Kramer agreed. “It’s a dying religion, definitely. Right now we’re seeing a drop because a whole generation of baby boomers who were raised in Christian Science are now leaving the church.”

That’s why it’s so important to still try to reach these people, both Miller and Kramer stressed.

I’m grateful for this. I don’t think the religion ever will die off completely. Too many looney women involved in it (this religion is truly dominated by women.) But it is good to see that the numbers are way down.

Here are other posts on the topic:

Ex-Christian Scientist: Don’t Let the Cults Redefine the Terms

Christian Scientist Have Great Testimonies, But…

Dreaded Animal Magnetism…

Sweet Little Joel Osteen Believes that Mormons ARE Christians

One of the reasons we need to be so diligent in understanding our faith as Christians is because the cults love to make themselves look just like us. They will use the same language and imagery that we use, but what they mean by their words is not what Scripture says those words should mean.

It is truly sad when a man like Joel Osteen, who has such a prominent audience, cannot discern the least bit of truth from a falsehood. In the video below, he states that he believes that Mormons are Christians. This reveals how truly ignorant Osteen is when it comes to the Christian faith and the cults that claim allegiance with us.

This is why a man like Osteen is so dangerous to Christianity. He doesn’t realize that Mormons/Christian Scientist/Jehovah’s Witnesses etc. are dangerous because they say the things that make them seem orthodox, yet they are not. It is not until you understand what they believe about Jesus Christ that you begin to see that the Jesus Christ the cultus worship is not the Christ of the Bible.

For instance, the Mormons believe that Jesus is the brother of Satan. Satan went off and did evil things and Jesus went off and did his own thing, and became a god. If we are good then we too become little gods like he did and in the afterlife, we get our own worlds to rule, along with members of our family whom we get to tell what to do for all of eternity. This is not Christianity, but the religion of imagination.

What does the Scripture say about Christ? It shows Him to be the Creator of the Universe. Yes, the Father was involved in creation just as the Holy Spirit was. But listen to Paul’s words in Colossians: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

I know that Mormons take verse 15 and state the Christ was created. But that is not what the text shows. Firstborn over all creation means “the One to whom belongs the right and dignity of the Firstborn in relation to every creature.” All of creation belongs to Christ and the preeminent heir of all things. Paul is declaring to us that Jesus is the Son of God, in which all things belong to Him. In Paul’s day, the firstborn always had privileges that we do not see today. Jesus occupies the place of the firstborn in relationship to creation because the Father has given it to Him (Matthew 28:18ff).

He is not one that is created. Remember in John 8, when battling with the Pharisees, He declared that before Abraham was, “I am.” This was a self declaration of His right as the Second Person of the Trinity. As the Father is the “I Am” so too is the Son for they are one in essence. Jesus was declaring Himself to be equal to, and the same essence as the Father. There is no beginning nor end of Christ and He is the One that spoke all things into existence… including Satan. He is the Alpha and Omega. This means that He was there in the beginning just as the Father was. Not as One created to create, but existed before anything was created.

We see this truth with John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word. John is declaring to us, with the language of Genesis 1:1, that the Father and Son are the beginning and end of all things. Paul clarifies in Colossians 1.

16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

Notice those words: For by Him all things were created… This is one of the times in which we can say “all things” is not merely a figure of speech representing a lot of something. But it means all things without exception. He existed before the foundations of the world and created all things. Christ even created Satan and the angels who eventually fell with Satan. This is what is meant by visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.

Mormons sees Jesus as a brother with Satan, yet the Scripture declares that Christ existed before Satan and was the creator of Satan. This shows us that the Mormons worship a different Christ all together. While they may give lip service to a Jesus that is similar to the Christ of Scripture, their Jesus is one of their own making and not the One who reveals Himself to us in Scripture. To believe in another Christ does not lead to salvation, for it is to preach an anti-Christ. We are to preach the true Christ of Scripture, not one of Joseph Smith’s making. In other words, Mormons preach an anti-Christ, a replacement Christ, one that offers no true salvation, one that is merely a creature like we are and one that only points to another righteousness.

The Christ of Scripture is vastly different, for He becomes the true believers righteousness. He redeems us from our sins, and makes us righteous in the sight of God. He atones for our sin because He satisfies the wrath of an infinite and eternal God. We owe an infinite and eternal debt to God because of our sin. It takes an infinite and eternal Savior to redeem us. While in His human nature, Christ is not infinite and eternal, He is in His Divine nature. By Divine, I do not mean special and good as in the sense of eating a brownie that is divine. What I mean is that He is God in the flesh (John 1:14), and this makes Him Divine.

I know Joel Osteen is trying to be nice. This is always the problems with false prophets. The Scripture describes them in such terms that we often believe the false prophet will have fangs dripping with blood and horns sticking out of their heads. But false prophets rarely look this way. They look just like sweet little Joel Osteen, being nice, with soothing words, never controversial and always given men what their itching ears want to hear.

This is deadly. Those who listen to Osteen every week never hear the true gospel and are on a road to hell. For all his sweetness today, they will spend eternity in agony. I know the topic of hell is unpopular to bring up today, but Christ did. He made it clear to us that there truly is a hell, for He is the One who created that hell (Matthew 25:41). He is also the One who warned about false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15-23). The point is that these things are serious and this is why it is so important to point out the false teachers like Osteen and Joseph Smith. True men of God cannot remain silent. We are called to proclaim the truth, and in doing so, point out the errors and damning lies of sweet little men like Osteen. I know this will cause some to say I’m being disagreeable. But those who do would say the same about Christ and Paul and the rest of the Apostles who would not back down from Christ. No, I’m not placing myself on equal footing with Christ and the Apostles. Please do not think that. I only point this out because to sit and remain silent when such men of prominence make such claims, is to become guilty of omission.

Here is the video:

For another take on Mormonism, read Neil’s post here. You can also read my posts on the topic as well:

The Marks of a Cult, Mormonism Exposed, and Against Mormonism.

One final point concerning Mormons. The reason this topic is so front and center is because Mitt Romney is a Mormon. A lot of people are saying they will not vote for Romney because he is a Mormon. I won’t vote for him because he is a moderate. While I do believe that Romney’s Mormonism gives him a different view of Christ and the afterlife, I don’t believe it would inhibit him from being a good president. I just don’t think he is the best candidate because he IS a moderate. We need a conservative. One who happens to be a Christian would be a bonus, but it’s not essential.

Also, for those who say that it is against the Constitution to be opposed to, and not vote for, a candidate based on his religion, you are wrong. The Constitution bars Congress, etc., from looking at a candidate based on religion. However, as individuals we can oppose people all we want to based on their religion.

Again and again in recent weeks, the “no religious test” clause has been hauled out to silence those who oppose Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Jon Huntsman of Utah because of their affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints—more popularly known as the Mormon Church. “It’s unconstitutional,” some have said boldly but clumsily, “to oppose someone in the American political system on the basis of that person’s religion.”
What’s slipped out of focus here is what entity is prohibited from having such a test. It’s Congress, or some official representative of government, that is absolutely barred from making any kind of religious test for office-holding.
Individuals, meanwhile, are free to establish such preferences, and to advocate them to others. Individuals can’t restrict the appointment of a particular governmental employee, but they have full liberty to claim they’ll never vote for a Hindu, or will vote only for a Unitarian.
Non-governmental organizations may also do so. Theoretically, your regional chamber of commerce, your local newspaper, or the area’s electricians union could take a stand against Presbyterians or in favor of Baptists—and still be within the words and the intent of the Constitution.
Even political parties and political action groups are not constitutionally barred from establishing and enforcing their own “religious tests.” They would do so, of course, very much at their own risk, and especially so in today’s pluralistic society. For the Republican Party, for example, to suggest that a candidate had to profess evangelical Christianity to be ideologically acceptable might be technically constitutional, but almost certainly politically silly.
Read the rest of the article here.

Politically Correct Matthew 18 Police: Update

I’m glad to see this article by Brannon Howse on this subject. Anyone who takes a stand for the truth and against false teachers invariably has been hit by this argument. It is the argument that is made about criticizing false teachers in public without first going to them in private. These PCM18 police, thinking they are standing for righteousness sake, say that before we criticize someone like Joel Osteen, that we should go to him in private and discuss our grievances based upon Matthew 18:15-18.

The problem with this is that what Osteen does is done in public, therefore the sin of false teaching needs to be addressed in public. This is what the Apostle Paul does in most of his letters. He addresses public sins in his letters because they were done in public. The issue of Matthew 18:15-18 is dealing with a brother that has sinned, not false prophets that are teaching damnable error.

Given what the the PCM18 police want, how are we to deal with someone that is dead, like the heretics Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy or Charles Taze Russell? All three started cults in America and all three are dead. They are heretics, in that they taught works salvation and that Jesus is only a man, not the Second Person of the Trinity. They all three taught another gospel all together. This is damnable heresy in the fullest sense of the words because those who follow their teachings, no matter how sincere they are in their beliefs, end up going to hell because their faith is not in Christ alone, by faith alone.

How many times did Jesus warn against false prophets? Just read Matthew 7 and 23 and you get a sense of what Jesus feels about false teachers. Then there is Paul, who warns Timothy over and over again to teach only sound doctrine. I know that most people recoil at the word “doctrine,” especially the politically correct, and those in the Emergent Church. The last thing they want to hear is the word “doctrine” because they know that doctrine divides. Yes, yet it does. It’s meant to purify the church. This is why Paul told Timothy to stop those who did not teach sound doctrine. He warned the young pastor about the days in which men would come who would have a form of godliness but denying its power. If that is not Joel Osteen, then I don’t know who it applies to.

The reality is that the true pastor sets his heart on not only teaching the truth, but also showing where false doctrine raises its ugly head and pointing it out. If a pastor truly loves his people as He has commanded us to do, then we must teach both the truth and show what is false so our people are not duped by men with persuasive words. We have a responsibility to show where the error arises so that each member of the flock is well equipped for the work of the ministry. Since the work of the ministry means going into the world, then they need to be ready to deal with false doctrine as well, or at least know that something is not right when they hear it.

Otherwise, we, as pastors, are not fulfilling our calling. Let the PCM18 police scream. They have another problem on their hands, namely, Romans 1:18, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. This is truly what they want to do. Keep the truth locked a way out of a false sense of unity.

John MacArhur on Joel Osteen

Hattip: Neil. This is an excellent summary of Osteen’s theology and the danger he poses to Christianity.

The Purpose of Christ: To Preach, To Save, Not to Heal

In my recent discussions on Christian Science, I’ve had some interesting comments. To get a CS saying anything at all is a good thing since they are taught not to debate, argue or discuss their beliefs if there are any really tough questions… like, “how can you say matter doesn’t exist? If I hit you in the face, I’m sure your non-existent face would feel the full brunt of my non-existent fist.” Never mind facts.

And the following writer, Hank, ignored some facts about the discussion when he made the following comments:

I find it interesting that when people are so engrained in thought (some call it being brainwashed) that they fail to see the big picture – and whats more, unsubstantially(sic) reject ideas that challenge their own. They fear what they don’t understand.

Hank’s problem is that he didn’t read all the posts that I’ve written concerning Christian Science. If he had, he would have known that I was raised as a third-generation Christian Scientist. My father was a Christian Scientist (he isn’t any longer, he is now a true believer), and his father was a Christian Scientist. I joined the Mother Church when I turned 21 and I was a faithful member for at least a year after that. Then the illogical aspects of the religion begin to bother me. So to accuse me of not understanding is a ridiculous charge. I understand the religion and the fact that the founder of CS, Mary Baker Eddy, plagarized  her “truth” from a man named P. Phenias Quimby, who was literally a snake-oil salesman. This is not taught to us growing up. The leaders of CS don’t want their members to realize their beloved leader was a quack. Tell me, who is brainwashed in this scenario? The one who questions Christian Science and their beliefs, or the one who is a devoted follower of MBE?

Hank goes on:

How did Jesus heal, really? Ask yourselves that. I would challenge each of you to actually read, and try to understand what Christian Science is, and the Bible for that matter. Becuase I don’t think you do.

This is one of those charges made against those who don’t know the faith. I’m sure it works well among those not raised in the faith. He was addressing both me and my brother, both raised in the faith. He is also asking about the healings of Christ. He is making the mistake of placing too much emphasis on Christ’s healing and not enough emphasis on the statements made by Christ on why He came to earth. Jesus is very clear about His purpose and it is not to teach us how to heal ourselves, as those in Christian Science would have you believe. Listen to Christ’s own words on the subject:

Mark 1:38 “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”

Yes… He came to preach. Over and over again Jesus preached to and taught the people. This is one of His primary purposes. He was preaching about the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:43), about repentance, about the need to trust in and believe Him for salvation. He would say such statements that if we wanted to be a part of Him, then we must drink His blood and eat His flesh (John 6.) He was alluding to the union we have with Christ, not His literal blood and body, and this would be played out in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. He would teach that the Law, when fully understood, condemns all mankind, and all need to trust in Him for salvation. He would teach and preach on both heaven AND hell. In fact, we have more information about hell that came directly from Jesus than any other person in the Bible. After all, He was the one that created hell for the purpose of dealing with Satan, a being that He created, and Satan’s minions (also beings that He created, See Matthew 25:41). He would also tell us that in heaven, we are not like we are here on earth. There is no marriage in heaven. By doing so, He is saying that this is the way we are created, with material bodies that are fallen and need to be redeemed by Him.

He redeems us by calling us to repentance for our sins.

Mark 2:17 “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Now the CSer might say He is addressing the physically ill, so this points to a purpose of healing. The problem is that central to their theology is that they see the material world as evil and non-existent. They believe that since God is Spirit and that God is all in all, then the only true existence is that which is spiritual. But God didn’t make a spiritual world, but a material world. He even went so far as to call all things that He made good. So to call matter evil is to dispute what God has said about His creation.

Are we not spiritual as well? Originally, yes. There was a spiritual aspect to us but when sin entered into the world, all mankind died with Adam spiritually speaking and physically as well. Physical death represents the spiritual death that Adam introduced into the world via his sin against God. Therefore, we are all born physically alive, but spiritually dead. Ephesians 2:1ff. shows us that we are spiritually dead until God makes us spiritually alive. Jesus called this being “born again.” This new birth must come from God, the Holy Spirit working in our lives, in conjunction with the preached word of God. This is why Jesus preached so much.

He also came so seek and save that which was lost. This is what He preached. Luke 19:10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Again, the point is that Jesus states His purpose over and over again, and never once does He point that His purpose is to teach us how to heal ourselves, or to save ourselves, or to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. He is telling us that we are incapable of doing all these things, and that we need to depend upon Him for everything. John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

In other words, we cannot do anything apart from Him. If we bear any fruit worthy of repentance, it is because we are in Him and the Holy Spirit is in us helping us, leading us, guiding us in bearing that fruit. None of this comes about without saving faith in Him. (Realize that CSers do not believe that Jesus is the Christ, but that He represented the Christ. Right there, they differ on who Christ is. See this link concerning His deity.)

The point is that CSers believe that Jesus came merely to teach us to heal. This is what MBE taught for she was always sick and healing was a major concern for her. She says that she healed herself when “a spirit” came upon her and taught her the truth of CS. Her testimony is that she was near death because of a fall onto the ice. She was walking, fell on the ice and was near death. They summoned a doctor and the doctor said there was nothing he could do for her (there was nothing wrong. The same doctor would say that when he examined her, she wasn’t anywhere near death). Then in the middle of the night, the spirit came, taught her all about CS and she was “miraculously healed.”

From this healing comes the well spring of their theology and religion. The problem is that healings they always boast of are never ones that are verifiable like the ones that Christ did. In other words, they are never healings that are obvious to the human eye, as were the ones that Christ did. Every miracle that Jesus performed was such that it was obvious that a miracle had taken place, blind people seeing, the lame for decades walking, the dead rising, etc. For the typical CSer, the testimony of healing is always questionable because they are the ones testifying to the sickness and the healing. It’s not something that we can see, as in the lady in the wheel chair who was paralyzed for 35 years, suddenly got up and walked.

In fact, you can find just as many cases where the sick in CS ended up dying as they were in healing. This has always been one of my problems with CS. If it is true, then why don’t they walk through a hospital or two, heal everyone inside and show us the validity of their claims. If their belief system is true, then it should be true at all times and for everyone. Not just those inside CS. If CS is true then why don’t they go into the Children’s hospitals and close them down because of their ability to heal? They don’t do so because they cannot. The CSer is just as powerless as we are when it comes to healing ourselves by positive thinking. That stinking matter, that is sinful and fallen, will not cooperate with our positive thoughts.

In fact, a closer look at true Christianity will show that often times, sickness is used by God to bring us into a closer relationship and dependence upon Him. The Father lovingly uses our sufferings for our benefit and His glory. This is the truth of our sanctification. We can expect to suffer on this side of glory because our Lord suffered as well. Jesus did come to alleviate suffering, but not on this side of glory. Only those who believe in Him for salvation will benefit in His glory and redemption.

Since Christian Scientist do not believe in Jesus Christ of the Bible, then they are not partakers of this blessing. This is the problem with cults, they use the same terminology that we do, but to them it means something different. This being the case, they do not worship the true and living God of the Bible, but a false god of MBE’s own making. We can only pray that God opens their eyes to the truth as He did for me, my brothers and my father.

Christian Scientists Have Great Testimonies, But Those Testimonies are Still Based on Lies

When I posted “That Dreaded Animal Magnetism” earlier in the month, I knew the likelihood of a real Christian Scientist showing up would be high. I didn’t have to wait long. The writer was making a case for CS being true, but only based that claim on his experience. The problem is that his experience is not based on the whole of Scripture, but selected passages used by Mary Baker Eddy to bolster her argument. Using such hermeneutical tactics can lead one to get the Bible to say just about anything we want.  It is bad theology and based upon a lie. Truth is not truth if it is based partly on a lie.

For instance, the visitor writes:

For me, prayer as taught in Christian Science is effective, when I open my heart. And I’m sure this is an action that must occur between the individual and God. It’s an admission to oneself that God’s Christ comes to us right where we are.

We already have a departure from true Christianity. Did you see it? Probably not because what he wrote seems to be close to what many evangelicals tend to say from time to time. The key is that “God’s Christ” and the Christ of the Bible are two different Christ’s. To a Christian Scientist, Christ means the higher idea, the perfect expression of love and thought. Christ is not a man, namely Jesus, but Jesus was merely a man living out this higher idea and being an example to us. Hopefully the red flags are going off for you because you are seeing that this is not the Christ of the Bible, but Mary Baker Eddy’s imagination.

(Never mind that the writer also ignores the basic Biblical tenant of total depravity, meaning that we are dead in our trespasses and sins UNTIL God sends His Spirit, in conjunction with His word, to convert our hearts from being dead to alive.)

It doesn’t matter what Jesus we follow, if that Jesus is not the one in Scripture, he is false. No one has the right to make God into our own image therefore we must be sure that the One we believe in is of Scripture and not our imagination. Jesus is the Christ, who came to die on the cross and deal with our sins. To separate Jesus from the Christ is to have another Christ all together. CSers don’t believe in sin at all, and believe that His death was unnecessary for atonement because, since God is love, He really wasn’t mad at us in the first place. All that wrath stuff was just incorrect thinking. But God is Holy and must deal with sin, because sin is a transgression against Him and His person. Our sin is an affront to God. We may think lightly of it, but we have offended the holy and eternal God of Creation and that must be dealt with. His holiness demands retribution.

That retribution can either come by us, meaning we rightfully spend eternity in hell paying off our debt of sin to the Father (which is for eternity since He is eternal), or we can believe in the God-Man, Jesus Christ, to deal with our sin on the cross. The CS apologists continued:

I suppose many of the healings I have had through my study of Christian Science could have been treated effectively through medical science. Yet my first response is to find resolution through prayer alone. Those I have helped through prayer and I have experienced complete healings of flu and cold symptoms, sprained ankles, dislocated joints, migraine headaches, problems from severe accidents and many other challenges.

All this sounds great, but these arguments could have been made by a tribal Shaman praying to a mountain or tree God. Nothing in this claim points to anything validating his faith. They only show that he persevered and got well. The human body can take care of all of these ailments and found “complete healings.” I guess that last phrase means that the migraine headache went away. Also please note, none of the healings were of the nature of those that Christ performed. When Jesus healed, it was obvious the person was really truly ill. He was healing migraine headaches, but people covered with leprosy. The diseases and illnesses were so severe that there was no doubt the person in question was ill. Like many of the faith healers in Christianity, all these ailments could have been faked.

Also, these events that the writer claimed are true are based on his experience. They do not prove or disprove the claims of Christian Science. We also know that Satan can perform miracles as well, so how do we know that the man’s healings were not the work of Satan. We do not. By they way, before you accuse me of attributing these healings to Beelzebub, and thereby committing the ultimate sin, notice that the writer said he did these things. He is not attributing these healings to the Holy Spirit or even Jesus Christ, but his ability to think and pray correctly.

He continues:

Yes, there have been times when I felt I needed to turn to medical science for help and there is no Christian Science church hierarchy that dictates I may never turn to medical science. But these experiences haven’t stopped me from turning to prayer again the next time I am challenged. With each healing I may attribute to prayer, I grow in character and feel closer to God’s love.

Again, his entire statement is based on what he does, and there is no glorifying God in the least. True believers know that if we bear fruit, it is because the Holy Spirit is working in us, so that God gets all the glory. Christian Science doesn’t seek to glorify God, but man. Another little indication that it is false.

The logo on the cover of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, has these four statements made by Jesus (from Matthew 10), “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.” To me, casting out demons means that in my prayers, I can’t just affirm God’s goodness and His perfect protection despite what the world might throw at me. I must also cast out the demonic thought that it might be God’s will that I suffer or die or that God made the problem I’m suffering from. This negative self-talk is what Mrs. Eddy described as animal magnetism.

Here we do have an appeal to the logo for Christian Science. Hardly convincing evidence to the truth and validity to his claim. The real kicker is that “negative self-talk” that he refers to. True believer knows that we will suffer on this side of glory. It is what it means when the Father rebukes us, or prunes us (John 15:1-5, Hebrews 12:3-11). God disciplines us, allows us to suffer and uses those sufferings for our spiritual growth. They are not given to us so we can pull ourselves up by our spiritual bootstraps and correct our thinking. But used to chasten us because He truly loves us. If Jesus Christ (one and the same) suffered on the cross, can we, as His followers and children, expect anything less? The New Testament doesn’t seem to indicate this at all.

Christian Science is not true Christianity, just another lie and form of rehashed Gnosticism. It doesn’t matter that our visitor is sincere in his beliefs, he is sincerely wrong.

Neil also wrote a post about sincerity of beliefs doesn’t mean those beliefs are right. As he points out, you can be sincerely wrong. He wrote:

In my airplane experience I sincerely believed that the shaving cream was toothpaste, but I was sincerely wrong.  No amount of sincerity was going to change the composition of what was in the tube.  Religious views are the same. No amount of sincerity will result in your beliefs creating the traits of the one true God.  Therefore, you should follow the facts where they lead and make every effort to know the truth about God.

The pottery does not get to create the potter.  In fact, the potter hates it when the pottery makes up fake potters.

His point is that no matter what beliefs we have, if those beliefs are not based in objective truths, they are wrong. Christian Science is not based in objective truth. Yes, they do use the Bible and catapult into beliefs based on true statements of the Bible. But they are very limited in what they say is true of the Bible.

I would expect the writer to come back and dialogue concerning his beliefs. But CSers are trained not to argue. This is a wonderful tactic by the leaders of their group. They know that if they argue, one might actually convince them that their views are wrong. By telling their followers not to argue, this gives them the excuse to “take the higher road” so to speak. It fosters their pride and convinces them that they are right. Very clever. But deadly. Again, if your beliefs are based on a lie, it doesn’t matter how sincere you are or what your experiences are, if they do not line up with Scripture or even basic general revelation, they are wrong.

That Dreaded Animal Magnetism

I was dialoging with an old friend over the religion we both were are part of when we grew up. Both of us are now ex-Christian Scientist. Please don’t confuse this with the more glamorous, yet just as hell bound, Church of Scientology, dreamed up by L. Ron Hubbard and fostered by the likes of Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Christian Science cannot boast such high-profile actors. I think Sandy Duncan and the woman that played opposite Archie Bunker are about as famous as they get. This is because, as another friend and ex-Christian Scientist once said, “This is the most stupid religion on the face of the earth.”

Yes, those of us who leave this ill-fated religion, have plenty of stories to tell.

For instance, I remember when I was visiting my favorite Aunt & Uncle in Little Rock one year, that I complained of a headache. I had headaches all the time. The typical response from my mother, the most avid CSer you could find, would tell me to think good thoughts and my headache would go away. I would think good thoughts and my head aches would always remain. (As any good CSer will tell you, it was because of the dreaded animal magnetism, in which someone was thinking bad thought around me, keeping me from healing myself. As far as I could tell, I was the someone because my thoughts went like this, “think good thoughts, think good thoughts, damn headache, won’t go away! Think good thoughts.”) Needless to say, my headaches would depart in their own good time.

But not the time I was in Little Rock. I complained and my Aunt & Uncle offered me… aspirin. I couldn’t believe that. They were offering me the evil aspirin to take for my headache that wouldn’t go away. “Well, isn’t that sinful?” I asked this, never seeing the contradiction in beliefs. CSers believe that sin only exists as long as the belief of sin exists. O how I could have exploited that little lie had I not been so naive. “But Mom, you only think I hit John. Quit thinking that and the thought of me pounding his head will go away!”

Back to the aspirin. My Aunt quickly piped up, “no aspirin is not a sin.” Her argument was so convincing, I caved immediately. I took the two white pills with some water as my head continued to hurt. Within 20 minutes, my headache was gone! I was so excited, those 2 little pills actually got rid of my headache. It was a miracle… or at least a miracle cure! Why hadn’t anyone in my religion discovered this before? It sure would have got rid of trying to think good thoughts.

DISCLAIMER: If any Christian Scientists are reading this, just remember, that this post doesn’t actually exist. I don’t want to be accused of being your evil animal magnetism!

BTW, I was sent this link by a friend that will help you understand Christian Science better than I can explain it. Be careful though, it has a few explicatives that I do not approve of and a portrayal of God that is inappropriate. But the video is worth watching because it nails their beliefs and practices well enough that you will begin to understand.