sects

If you read this Blog post, you will never look at Christianity the same again. It will clear up many of your misconceptions and give you a much clearer picture of why the bible is the only source for Christian belief, and why the new revisionist “Christian” religions of the 1800s are far afield of historical Christianity.

Don’t make the mistake that there are so many religions that no one can be right. There are only five major world religions and they differ from Christianity in major ways. My last post briefly outlined the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim traditions. You can read it here “Religions Aren’t the Same“.

There are many Christian denominations that disagree in areas of practice but agree on the core tenets. A persons level of faith, pride and arrogance all play a part in what someone will believe or not.

The Reason There Are Denominations and Differences

1 Corinthians 8:7-11

Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge

Colossians 2:16:23

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Denominational differences are one thing; however, if you worship a different Christ, you are taking your life in your hands.

Two sects have crossed that line. They have joined every other world religion in that they have changed the identity of Jesus Christ enough to miss salvation.

These sects began 1,800 years after Christ’s death, by single individuals who claimed new revelation. Adherents to these sects have put their trust in the “revelation” of one man.

  1. Mormons: Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni and claimed he was to restore corrupt Christianity.
  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Charles Russell editor and chief of the Watch Tower Tract Society. His following grew as he published numerous predictions of Christ’s return and the end of the world in 1799, 1874, 1878, 1914, 1918 and 1925. When these predictions failed, many fell away while others were convinced they happened but invisibly. Through the Watch Tower Tract Society, Russell began to reinterpret the bible to conform to his own theology. Later the New World Translation bible was published to conform with the changes in doctrine Russell espoused.

Note: Russell had no background or schooling in ancient Greek or Hebrew.

BIBLE: Galatians 1:8

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!

2 Corinthians 11:3-4

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

Interesting note

In the 1800s the King James Bible was the standardized Christian bible. It was based on the Textus Receptus, which was itself translated from 13th century manuscripts. The argument that the manuscripts were so removed from the originals, corruption may be a concern. Today, that is no longer the case as scholars have over 5,800 Greek manuscripts, some dating back to the 1st and second centuries.

Is The Original Bible Corrupt?

See my blog posts

Jehovah’s Witnesses

For a more detailed commentary on them you can read my blog posts

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses: a reasoned and critical examination Part 1
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses: a reasoned and critical examination Part 2

For the purpose of this blog post, I will just be highlighting some of the major differences between the Christian sects and the historical tradition.

There are some differences in the many Christian denominations in terms of practice, but in terms of core belief and salvation the J.W. and Mormon religions stand apart from historical Christianity.

The JW sect began with Charles Taze Russell in the 1870s. Russell became disillusioned with bible doctrine and ultimately rewrote it. He began to write his own theology which is considered more important than the bible itself. After Russell’s death, the Watch Tower Society became governing body, and point of control for doctrine and salvation.

They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines… (Watchtower; Aug. 15, 1981; p. 29)

We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the scriptural guidance we need outside the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ organization. (Watchtower, February 15, 1981, p.19)

Without the watchtower society, believers cannot find salvation or guidance.

To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it. (Watchtower; Feb. 15, 1983; p. 12)

Avoid independent thinking…questioning the counsel that is provided by God’s visible organization. (Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1983 pg. 22)

The Bible Not Necessary

If the 6 volumes of ‘Scripture Studies’ are practically the Bible topically arranged, with Bible proof-texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes- ‘The Bible’ in an arranged form. That is to say, they are not merely comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself…

Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible itself, but we see also that if anyone lays the ‘Scripture Studies’ … after he has read them for 10 years-if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone…out experience shows that within 2 years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he has merely read the ‘S.S.’ with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years. (Watchtower, Sept 15, 1910)

  • Not all believers go to heaven
  • Have their own companion writings and if you read the bible alone you will fall into darkness. Only the “Watchtower ‘Society” can properly interpret scripture
  • Teach that Jesus is an angel named Michael
  • Reject Jesus’ resurrection
  • There is a second chance to believe after death;

    However, those who refuse to learn God’s ways after being raised to life will be destroyed forever with no hope of a resurrection [jw.org #9]

These doctrinal changes are in direct conflict with the historical salvation message.

 

Mormon (LDS) Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints

Founded by Joseph Smith in the early 1800s.

  • Bible corrupt, yet they quote it and say they follow it
  • Jesus came to America. Native Americans are of Jewish descent. DNA evidence shows no connection of the two peoples.

  • Believe in millions of gods, Father, Son and Holy Spirit all separate gods
  • There have been infinite gods because if God was a man who by works became a god, who created the first man? [This doctrine was established when scientists believed the universe was eternal, before the evidence of the universe having a beginning]
  • Mormon god is not all knowing, omni-present or all powerful because he has a body, he cannot hear all prayers all at once, he is limited
  • God the Father is an exalted human being of flesh and bone who worshiped his own god, who worshiped his god and so on back through infinity

    God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man… I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man [king Follett Sermon; By Joseph Smith, Jr.(1805–1844) First President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] LDS.ORG FALSE

    BIBLE: No one has seen the Father except the one [Jesus] who is from God; only he has seen the Father. – Jesus  John 6:46;  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth – Jesus  John 4:24; No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son John 1:18; The Son is the image of the invisible God Colassians 1:15

  • Historicity of people, places and events in the book of Mormon are unsupported by historians and archaeology.
  • Jesus and Satan are siblings from the same spirit parents.

    But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father [LDS.org]  

    FALSE The bible teaches that Jesus is the ONLY begotten Son and is himself God in John 1:18;  No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

  • Jesus birth was the result of physical relations between God and his daughter Mary

    The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood—was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers,” (Brigham Young; Second President and Prophet;  Journal of Discourses, v. 8, p. 115, Brigham Young University.ed, digital library) 

    Brigham Young also said, “Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 51)

  • Three levels of heaven, only apostate Mormons, Satan and Demons go to actual Hell
  • Worthy Mormons to on to become “Gods” and populate their own planet by sexual relations with all his wives, producing spirit babies

    We are created, we are born for the express purpose of growing up from the low estate of manhood, to become Gods like unto our Father in heaven (Brigham Young; Second President and Prophet;  Journal of Discourses, v. 3, p. 93, Brigham Young University.ed, digital library)

  • Salvation is through your own deeds as you work to become “worthy” by God’s grace who enables your work
  • Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, 34 wives one as young as 15

    taught that polygamy was a divine commandment. Smith practiced it personally, by some accounts marrying more than 30 women some of whom had existing marriages to other men [Wikipedia]

  • Racism
    • It wasn’t until 1978 that blacks were allowed to become priests after a Godly revelation by Church President Spencer W. Kimball [LDS.org]

      from the mid-1800s until 1978—the Church did not ordain men of black African descent to its priesthood or allow black men or women to participate in temple endowment or sealing ordinances. [LDS.org]

    • Brigham Young taught that God would curse whites for marrying blacks ¹
    • Blacks are descendants of Cain ²
  • Book of Abraham translation was wrong
    • Translated by Joseph Smith who was illiterate, as a history of Abraham’s life, written in his own hand. In 2014 University of Chicago Egyptologist Robert K. Ritner said the papyri was a funerary piece on death, and had nothing to do with the Jewish patriarch Abraham, who’s name is never mentioned, but was the Breathing Permit of Hor³

Like the Muslim religion, it draws the carnally minded. Muslims get numerous virgins after death for sex and rich foods and mansions. Mormons get eternal sex with a plurality of wives and are themselves gods of their own planets. There is not much hope for the woman. Like on earth, they are objects of the mans passions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the mid 1800s, the book of John quoted above was believed to have been written about 150 AD to 170 AD, over a hundred of years after Jesus’ death and therefore unreliable. That was until the discovery of papyrus 52.

P52  is a fragment “copy” of the original Gospel of John.  It has been dated to about 117 AD – 138 AD. If the copy is that old the original can easily date back to the first century. No time for corruption and error.

 

INCONSISTENT

  • Though both these sects were born out of the claim the bible message had become corrupt and untrustworthy, both will tell new potential converts that they follow only the bible. What is not said is that they follow the bible as determined by their appointed prophet, or organization that alone can dispense understanding.
  • Neither sect will explain just when the bible was supposed to have become corrupt. In light of manuscript discoveries over the last 150 years, this position is difficult to

Questions

  • If God is an exalted man, why does the bible say God has no beginning?
  • If God was a man, how could he have created the universe? The Mormon God is dependent on an already existing universe.
  • Would God be unable to maintain the integrity of his core message and the true identity of his only begotten Son over the centuries?
  • If scripture was corrupt in the 3rd or 4th centuries why did God leave humankind without a remedy for sin until the 1800s?

There is a reason why every religion on earth attacks the true identity of Jesus Christ. There is a reason why the name of Christ is a universal curse term. Because he is who he said he was, and his name carries weight.

The revisionist versions of Christianity are so far removed from the original bible they cannot be considered to be Christian. Why? Because they are consistent with every other world religion in that they make Jesus Christ unrecognizable to the first century church.

Historical Christianity

  • The bible is God’s inspired word that will never be corrupted.

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. Matthew 24:35

  • God is eternal and has no beginning

From eternity to eternity I am God.  Isaiah 43:13

 

  • There has only ever been one God and we will not become one

…understand that I alone am God.  There is no other God—there never has been, and there never will be Isaiah 43:10  

  • Jesus preexisted the universe

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us John 1:1,14

And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. – Jesus  John 17:5

Jesus created Satan, he is not his brother

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made  John 1:3

for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him Colossians 1:16

  • Only Jesus was born Holy, of a virgin through the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35

  • We were all born sinners in need of a savior

Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me Psalm 51:5

  • Salvation is through the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. We can’t earn anything

It is a free gift and we don’t have to earn anything  For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast Ephesians 2:8-9

  • God transforms his children because we cannot.

And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit Ephesians 3:18

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.  Colossians 2:20-23

The Mystery of the Trinity

And this is why historical Christianity stands alone and unique among the world’s religions. Christianity is the only religion that says God cared so much for humanity that he came to earth in the form of a man. He lived, struggled and suffered as all human beings do so he understands our weakness. Then he paid the ultimate price for you and me.

Matthew 1:23

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.

And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.  Romans 8:10-11

Every other leader, teacher and prophet in the history of world religions is dead and buried.  Only Jesus rose from the dead, proving to us that he is God and has the power to resurrect us on the last day as well.

Today’s bible is reliable, guaranteed by God not to fade, corroborated by archaeology, and ancient historians, and is understandable by everyone who reads it. Other religions claim a control figure or panel is needed for enlightenment.

Jesus himself says we will be judged not buy him but by his word. If God allowed his word to become corrupt, there would be no basis for God to judge anyone. The apostle Paul said that before the law [Word of God] sin was not counted against people, because no one knew they were sinning.

Romans 5:13

Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break.

John 12:47-48

If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. – Jesus

True Christianity is when you are in relationship with God himself, not controlled by some organization with self appointed guardians of truth. There is only one mediator between us and God and that is Jesus.

John 16:13

when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. – Jesus

1 Timothy 2:5

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus

1 John 2:26-27

I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing [Holy Spirit] you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing [Holy Spirit] teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

 

References:

  1. [Harris, Matthew L.; Bringhurst, Newell G. (2015). The Mormon Church and Blacks. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-08121-7.]
  2. Brigham Young’s Speech on Slavery, Blacks, and the Priesthood, Feb 5, 1852. Reprint by Utah Lighthouse Ministry
  3. Ritner, Robert K., A Response to ‘Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham’,

 

Robert J.

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