Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Cults’ Category

Note: This is a guest post since presently I am overseas.  This is by Ward Snodgrass.  He runs the edifying Facebook Page “Solomon’s Porch” here.

The Language and Mindset of Cultists
What is a Cult???
According to Webster’s Dictionary…..a cult is… “A system of religious worship or rites and ceremonies”
According to secular reference tools (dictionary)…. Christianity is a Cult…
What Webster’s does not elaborate upon …..
Is that a cult has another defining factor…
Cults are followings of Personage and their Philosophies and Morality and Ethics….
Cults are religious followings of people (most of the time one person) and their belief on things
Christianity is not a cult…
Because…
It does not fit either criteria….
1) It is not mere conduct of rites and ceremonies, it is a personal relationship with God
2) Jesus and “his Philosophies and Morals and Ethics’…..are not the views of a mere human person. They are Absolute Truth and the basis of which all other beliefs are false…..
If Jesus were not actually and fully in fact The Truth ..The Son of God Almighty….Christianity would be a non responsive hollow explosion of words and powerlessness as cults are….
1 Corinthians 15:17
and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
Should Jesus not actually be Jesus…
And actually be the Messiah…
Christianity is as valueless as a dead hollow cult….
He is Truth though!
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
It is this rock..
This standard..
Which is the reference of comparison for all other beliefs, religions, and ways of life
Most Cults, if not all have some very common threads
They exist in …Language and Mindset
The specifics of how these two things pervert the truth is to varying extremes….
Here are Some cults … and their Founders… (so you have reference as to what a cult is)
Mormonism… Joseph Smith
Christian Science.. Mary Baker Eddy
Church of Scientology.. L Ron Hubbard
Jehovah Witness.. Charles Taze Russell
Branch Davidians.. David Koresh
Scientology…L Ron Hubbard
Seventh Day Adventism…William Miller
Unification Church… Yong Myung Moon
Worldwide Church of God.. Herbert W. Armstrong
The Baha’i faith… Mirza Ali Muhammad
Unity movement.. Charles and Myrtle Fillmore
The Way International..Victor Paul Wierwille
The International Church of Christ…Kip McKeen
The Church of Almighty God….Zhao Weishan
This world … Is replete with CULTS
How do we begin to make a difference?
How do we know which way is right?
If I took a Mormon, Jehovah Witness, a True Christian, and a Universalist and put them all in one room…..
And then invited a non Christian in…
How would they know the difference and truth of what was talked about????
It is an apparent mess….
The solution revolves around Three Things….

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Yesterday I posted Who Is God? Trinity Debate: Dr. James White vs Bro. Joe Ventilacion.  This was a debate between Christian apologist James White and a defender of the cult Iglesia ni Cristo.  Iglesia ni Cristo denies the deity of Christ.

I want to address one of the arguments that Joe Ventilacion threw out there during his opening presentation for his anti-Trinitarian position.  He bases his argument from 1 Timothy 1:17 which states:

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

From this verse’s statement that God is immortal this is what Ventilacion argues around the 59:30 minute mark:

When Christ died, did God die?  And if he were to say that the second person only died but not the first and third persons, so for three days your Trinity is incomplete!  Because two are alive and one is dead.  So how would you call that?  How would you call that?  Is it a Trinity or is it a ‘Two-inity?’  It’s up to you to make that decision.  But he has an incomplete God for the three days that Jesus died.  Why did Jesus die?  Because Jesus is not the God of the Bible.

Despite Joe Ventilacion’s smirk and laughter from the audience from Iglesia ni Cristo members in the audience to the question of “When Christ died, did God die?” it is not as strong of an argument against the Trinity as they think it is.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

1) Jesus shares the name and titles of God the Father (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58). Jesus who came before Abraham, was the one who spoke to Moses at the burning bush. The claim to deity is a factor. Otherwise, why would the religious leaders who subscribe to monotheism try to kill Jesus?

2) Inconsistency and poor understanding of Greek grammar. The New World Translation from John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” Why do they substitute “a god” for “was God?” Part in parcel is due to the absence of a definite article. However, an absence of a definite article does not grant one a license to translate into “a god.” Moreover it undermines the last verb tense which is in the “imperfect” (grammar demands “was God”). Moreover, to be consistent, NWT must translate passages that is absent of the definite article in reference to God the Father as “a god.” They won’t do it because it will undermine their aberrant theology. Their inconsistency reveals their self-defeater.

3) Misuse of Greek grammar in Colossians 1:15. “Firstborn comes from the Greek word πρωτότοκος (prōtotokos) which connotes the idea of preeminence and first in rank. Jehovah’s Witness disastrously confuse firstborn with first created. As a result, their faulty presupposition of Christ has allowed them to translate Col. 1:16 as “Because by means of him all other things were created…” Proper translation would be “For by Him…” Jesus was the major agent of creation. A god cannot share attributes of creatorship. Only God has the attribute of creatorship. Their teachings runs in contradiction to Isaiah 40-48. Moreover John 14:28 use of the word “greater” is not referring to the ontological nature of Christ. Functionally as the God-man, He operates in a subordinate role to the Father. But Him and the Father are one. (John 10:30). In other words, Jesus shares the honors, attributes, names, deeds, and seat of the Father. A god cannot share those qualities.

4) Jehovah’s Witness like many other false religions are self-righteous. In Luke 18:18-19 says, “And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 19 And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'” A contrasting device is used here to reveal the young ruler’s self-righteousness. The Jehovah’s Witness is liken to the young ruler. Moreover, the parable of the young ruler also refers to Jesus as good. John 10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

5) Point out their false prophecies. In 1972 the Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower claimed to be the prophet of God. These false prophecies are clear violations of Deuteronomy 18:22, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”

CARM documents:
IDENTIFYING THE “PROPHET”–“So does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? . . . This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses . . . Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a ‘prophet’ of God. It is another thing to prove it,” (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197). (See Deut. 18:21).
1897 “Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874,” (Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 4, p. 621).
1899 ” . . . the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced,” (The Time Is at Hand, 1908 edition, p. 101).
1916 “The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1000 years of Christ’s Reign, began in 1873,” (The Time Is at Hand, forward, p. ii).
1918 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection,” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89).
1922 “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914,” (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1922, p. 262).
1923 “Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge,” (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1923, p. 106).
1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year,” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3).
1925 “It is to be expected that Satan will try to inject into the minds of the consecrated, the thought that 1925 should see an end to the work,” (Watchtower, Sept., 1925, p. 262).
1926 “Some anticipated that the work would end in 1925, but the Lord did not state so. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything,” (Watchtower, p. 232).
1931 “There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah’s faithful ones on earth concerning the years 1917, 1918, and 1925, which disappointment lasted for a time . . . and they also learned to quit fixing dates,” (Vindication, p. 338).
1941 “Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord’s provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon,” (Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1941, p. 288).
1968 “True, there have been those in times past who predicted an ‘end to the world’, even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The ‘end’ did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? . . . Missing from such people were God’s truths and evidence that he was using and guiding them,” (Awake, Oct. 8, 1968).
1968 “Why are you looking forward to 1975?” (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1968, p. 494)

6) Point out the implications of denying the biblical Christ. See John 3:36; Romans 5:8-9. Denying Christ undermines “relational intimacy” with God the Father which only Christ can provide. A false Jesus who is a god cannot bring you near a holy and just God (John 14:6).

7) Old Testament passages like Psalm 102:25-27 points to the supremacy of Christ. Hebrews 1:10-13 affirms that truth. In fact tell the Jehovah’s Witness to turn to his or her NWT.

Read Full Post »

This is Andrew Rappaport’s three part series on Mormonism.  It’s part of a longer current series on Cults.

Read Full Post »

Prosperity Gospel

It is a problem all around the world that the church faces.  The Prosperity Gospel.  The Word of Faith movement.  It’s in Africa.  It’s in Eastern Europe.  It’s in Asia.  It’s in the West and imported overseas.

It is not the Gospel and it feeds our flesh.

It’s from Satan himself because it’s a false gospel.

Jason Vicente spoke against the Word of Faith in this message:

HT

Read Full Post »

Going Clear Wright

 (Available on Amazon)

This book on Scientology is penned by a capable author; he is not someone careless nor with an ax to grind against Scientology per se.  I first heard of the Pulitzer Prize winning author for his earlier work Looming Tower.  Here in this work, he does a thorough research of giving us the history of Scientology, its dynamics and beliefs.  I must say after reading this book I can’t Scientology see in the same light again; it is much more frightening than I originally realized.  Sure, I have heard of the hiring of Private Investigators to harass people, the record of embarrassing information among its members as blackmail to keep people in and beliefs in aliens the higher up the level you go…but keeping people imprisoned, actual physical violence and requiring their dedicated members of the SEA ORG sign a billion year contract?  This takes things to another level.  The author does a good job of interviewing people (two hundred I believe) and also what the church has to say or deny.  In the beginning of the book when it went over the founder Ron Hubbard’s personal history, I thought it was interesting and fascinating with all of Hubbard’s tall tales, for instance his lies of being a decorated Naval officer who was wounded in combat.  Hubbard has this thing with embellishment and lies even after he got out of the Navy during World War two including fronting as some kind of nuclear physicists if I remember correctly from the book.  But by the time the book got to the part where Hubbard started the SEA ORG within Scientology and was out in his ship in the middle of the Ocean with no accountability—things go from ridiculous to dark.  It’s a maddening history with incidents like the infamous Operation Snow White in which Scientology engages in a massive intelligence operation like Scientology is its own state.  If Hubbard in power was bad, it got worst according to the book when the current chairman of the board took over.  This is a story of physical abuse, imprisonment and slave labor among the dedicated members known as SEA ORG.  It made me very emotional and sad with all the wickedness not only in its doctrinal teaching but actual physical harm Scientology has inflicted upon some members according to the book.  I commend the author for his bravery in writing this book, and the scholarship he poured into it.  I thoroughly enjoyed how toward the end of the book the author describes his interaction with authorities from the church in Scientology.  This book is a must read if you have any curiosity of this religion.

Note: This has made me pray for those who are in the SEA ORG and general members to come to know the truth in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Read Full Post »

Hebrew Israelite

Yesterday I posted on here a dialogue a Christian (host of Back Pack Radio Show) had with the racist Black Hebrew Israelites, who thinks Jews are the true Hebrews.  

There has not been a lot of Christian resources and apologetics dealing with this movement, which has various subgroups with different beliefs.

The following is my notes: First, I have practical apologetics pointers and secondly are some of my thoughts on what the Black Hebrew Israelites were saying.

APOLOGETICS TO THE STREETS PRACTICAL POINTERS:

-Remember to be gentle and respectable even when they are not.

– Talk to the less dogmatic member of the group when they are dominating loudly in the conversation.

– Use advantage of having other believers and the crowd to control the conversation

– Press them on the goal post for their exegesis:  It is not enough to show verses that the faith/salvation is for Israel; they have to show it’s only for Israel with no inclusion of Gentiles to prove their view

-Ask them a lot of questions if you are not sure what they believe ask them so you can accurately understand them

– Have the burden of proof on them by asking them questions; some helpful questions:

  • Does the Bible show that no one outside of Israel will ever be saved, not even one?
  • Show me where in the Bible that “Ethnos” ever refer to land and not people?

-Verses to keep in mind: Galatians 3:28 (“no Jews or Greeks”) and Revelation 21:24-27 (nations and their kings being cleaned, in heaven)

METHODOLOGICAL CONCERNS:

“ Line by Line” they say, but they haven’t done a good job of dealing with the verse within context.

 

EXAMINING VOCAB MALONE’S INTERACTION

CLIP 1

1.)    Objection: They use Acts 17:24 to go against Malone going to a building to worship God on the basis of this verse

RESPONSE:

  • But in of itself worshipping in a building is not wrong, because at one time God instituted the Temple in the OT
  • John 4:24 is true, but don’t forget that Paul still went to the Temple in Acts 21:26-28

2.)    Objection: Response to Acts 17:26 by quoting from 2 Ezdras 6:54-56

54 And after these, Adam also, whom thou madest lord of all thy creatures: of him come we all, and the people also whom thou hast chosen.

55 All this have I spoken before thee, O Lord, because thou madest the world for our sakes

56 As for the other people, which also come of Adam, thou hast said that they are nothing, but be like unto spittle: and hast likened the abundance of them unto a drop that falleth from a vessel.

57 And now, O Lord, behold, these heathen, which have ever been reputed as nothing, have begun to be lords over us, and to devour us.

58 But we thy people, whom thou hast called thy firstborn, thy only begotten, and thy fervent lover, are given into their hands.

59 If the world now be made for our sakes, why do we not possess an inheritance with the world? how long shall this endure?

RESPONSE:

  • Apocrypha, not Bible

CLIP 2

3.)    Objection: Gentiles are the Jews

RESPONSE:

  • Makes Romans 1:16 unintelligible

4.)    Objection: Deuteronomy 7:6, that the BHI are a special people

RESPONSE:

  • Being a special people does not mean that others are not beneficiaries of God’s blessing
  1.                                                                i.      The reason the Hebrews were free from Egpytian slavery is because of the Abrahamic Covenants (Exodus 3:6, 16)  and don’t forget the content of the Abrahamic covenant is to bless others (Genesis 12:3)
  2.                                                              ii.      Even more so in light of the NT and the New Covenant
  • But is it BHI? How do they respond to other enthno-centric cults who claim this applies to them such as the British Israelites movement?

CLIP 3

5.)    Objection: The New Testament was written in Latin based upon John 19:20

RESPONSE:

  • Here this passage mentioned that the writing, “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews” was written on the inscription of the cross that Jesus was being crucified in.
  • These BHI makes the mistake of assuming that just because there were people in Jerusalem during the death of Jesus that knew how to read Latin does not mean the New Testament itself was in Latin

6.)    Objection: The Dead Sea Scroll does not have the Old Testament, it has the New Testament, it has the Gospel of Thomas

RESPONSE:

  • DSS does have OT passages (think of the Isaiah Scroll!)
  • Gospel of Thomas is not part of the New Testament!

 

CLIP 4

7.)    Objection: Salvation is only for Israel according to Acts 7:31

RESPONSE:

  • Acts 7:31 does not say only for Israel
  • Later the Gospel went to others as well as the book of Acts unfold especially with Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, which he described in his own word in Romans 11:13.
  • Turning to Romans 11, we read about Israel being darkened (v.7-10) and then how salvation has come to the Gentiles (v.11-12);
  • Looking closely at Romans 11:15 means reconciliation of the world!
  • John 12:32
  • Goes contrary to the example of Cornelius in Acts 10 and the conclusion Peter reached in Acts 10:34-35, and the Spirit’s miraculous confirmation of tongues in Acts 10:44-45.

8.)    Objection: Matthew 28:19-20 reference to nations means Jews in those physical location of other nations

RESPONSE:

  • The passage makes no reference to Jews only in those physical location of nations.
  • Term “nations” never refer to physical locations in the New Testament, but only to people.  Burden of proof is on them to prove otherwise.

CLIP 6

9.)    Objection: Beat up other nations is premittable.

RESPONSE:

  • Contrary to the Bible’s teaching such as 1 Peter 2:12, 2:17, 2:20.

10.)                        Objection: Revelation 1:13-15 shows Jesus is black

RESPONSE:

  • Text never said that the skin of Jesus was black.
  • Symbolic language, do we expect Him to be Asian since it’s burning bright in verse 15 and therefore represent the “Yellow man”?
  • With this kind of hermeneutics, do we expect Psalm 45:2-3 and Matthew 17:2 to prove that Jesus is white?

CLIP 8

11.)                        Objection: You can’t be saved you don’t know your nationality.

RESPONSE:

  • Where does the Bible teaches that?

12.)                        Objection: The world cannot sin, only Israelite can sin.

RESPONSE:

  • “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–” (Romans 5:12)

CLIP 9

13.)                        Objection: Galatians 3:28, the “Greeks” refer to Hellenized Jews not Gentiles

RESPONSE:

  • The burden of proof is on them to demonstrate that ελλην refers to Jews that were Hellenized.
  • The Greek word used to describe a Hellenized, that is, a Grecian Jew is ελληνιστης such as found in Acts 6:1.
  • The context, it is unlikely to refer to Hellenized Greek because of the opposing contrasts such as the opposites of “free” vs. “slave, Male and female.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »