Are you a Christian is like asking someone if they drive an automobile. You could say yes you drive but the person would not have any real specifics. You could be driving a truck, a ford, a sports car, dodge family van and so on. Are you a Christian has become as vague as the question, are you religious?
Lets look at two sects who call themselves Christians, but are very different in belief than traditional Christianity. Who cares you may ask? Well, it could be the difference between life and death.
The first sect I have already covered and can be read about in my blog posts
- Jehovah’s Witnesses: A Reasoned Critical Examination part 1
- Jehovah’s Witnesses: A Reasoned Critical Examination part 2
The other is a sect that got its start almost the same time as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Traditional Christianity teaches that Jesus is the word of God, that he is God and his word will never parish.
John 1:1; In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Matthew 24:35; Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. – Jesus
For more information with scriptural support of Jesus Deity, please read my other blog posts;
In the other tradition, Jesus is a created being and a spirit brother of Satan. This puts Satan and Jesus on an equal footing. Also, in the other tradition there are companion books that correct the bible, because Jesus word did pass away and needed to be restored.
SALVATION & FORGIVENESS
The bible clearly teaches that salvation is a gift from God and that the blood of Christ paid for all our sins. This is the reason for the term Gospel, it means good news. Good news because Jesus paid the cost for our eternal life. The verses below are just a sample of many stating that we cannot earn or work our way into heaven.
Romans 6:23;For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:8-9;For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Galatians 5:4;For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
There is one unforgivable sin in the bible [Matthew 12:22-32] which is attributing the power of Jesus [The Holy Spirit] to Satan. If anyone is attributing the Holy Spirits power to Satan, then they are not believers and cannot be forgiven. We can only be forgiven if we believe. All the sins we commit in our lifetimes will be forgiven if we turn to Christ.
1 John 1:9; If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 103:2-3; Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins
Jesus is the dividing line. There is the Jesus of scripture that saves, and then there all the others. There is only one gospel, one salvation and that is through the Jesus of the bible.
Several Christian sects have popped up in the last couple hundred years claiming the God’s word had been corrupted and needed to be restored. In some cases the authority lies with one man who claimed to have had some experience with an angel of light.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
Since these claimed restoration sects formed in the 1800s, there has been significant discoveries of ancient texts that date back to within generations of the original writing of the New Testament itself. My question is, when did the New Testament have time to become corrupted?
For example the verse in John 1:1 says;
John 1:1 (NIV c.2011)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:1 (Papyrus 66 c.100 -200 AD)
“Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος” [In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God]
This verse and others establish Jesus’ deity from very early in church history. If the New Testament had become corrupted within a hundred years or so of its writing, that means God waited 1,700 years to restore his message of salvation?
If there were only a couple of copies of New Testament books, then maybe it would be more difficult to confirm accuracy. But there have been so many manuscript copies found that corrupting the message would have been impossible.
Jesus is God and the only path to salvation.
The historic Christian faith is the only faith still holding to these truths as set out in the bible. There is only one Jesus who saves so we must find the authentic savior. Beyond these foundational truths, we can debate without risk of losing our salvation. God shows us not to quarrel over the peripheral things.
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them…
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
If you are in doubt about the reliability of the New Testament I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch these videos by renowned PhD scholars. You will learn what what main stream biblical scholarship is regarding the New Testament manuscripts and the empty tomb narrative in the bible.
If Jesus isn’t who he says he is in the bible, and he did not rise from the dead, you don’t have to worry, Christianity is dead. I think the evidence of scripture is convincing enough to research further, even by praying that God reveal himself to you.