Monthly Archives: February 2014

Christianity verses ?

Different Religions:

Definition of God:

Christian Science:
God is All in all. God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter. God is incorporeal, Divine, Supreme, Infinite mind, spirit soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. God is infinate, the only Life, substance, Spirit or Soul. The only intelligence of the universe, including man. Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Person called God – God-Mother; Christ the the spiritual idea of sonship; Divine Science or the Holy Comforter. The theory of three persons in one God [that is, a personal trinity or Tri-unity] suggests polytheism, rather than the one ever present I am.
M. B. Eddy

Spiritualism:
Infinite intelligence pervades and controls the universe, is without shape or form, and is impersonal, omnipresent, and omnipotent. It teaches that the spark of divinity dwells in all [Spiritualism Is and does]. The doctrine of the trinity seems to have no adherents in the advanced circles of the spirit world. The divinity of Christ as a co-equal with the Father is universally denied. Spiritualist manual 1940 Eastern Mysticism: Brahma, the Absolute, other than which there is nothing else-without qualities, unknowable, impersonal, beyond all appearances, changes, differences. God is all there is. All visible objects are but modifications of self existence, of an unconscious and impersonal essence which is called God. God is omnipresent and almighty, and is in the heart of everyone. In his real nature man is divine. the inner man is fully Divine. Vendanta teaches no other dogma but the divinity inherent in man, and his capacity for infinate evolution. From the Transcendental Meditation teachings.

Unification Church:
God Himself told me that the most basic and central truth of this universe is that God is the Father and we are His children. There is one living, eternal, and true God, a person beyond space and time – sourse of all truth, beauty, and goodness – creator and sustainer of man and the universe. God being the First Cause of all creation, also exists because of a reciprocal relationship between the dual characteristics of positivity and negativity of God “masculinity” and “femininity” respectively. God existed as the internal masculine subject, and He created the universe as His external feminine object. Man is the visible; and God is the invisible form. God and man are one. Man is incarnate God – as important in value as God Himself. Declaration of Unification Theological Affirmations Atheism: There is no God; we came from a primordial soup 18 billion years ago. Should be considered the same as an evolutionist. If you believe you came from nothing, how can you then claim to be part of the universal oneness?

Mormonism: [latter day saints]
We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. This cannot rationally be construed to mean that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one in substance and in person. There are three God’s … separate in personality, united in purpose, in plan, and in all attributes of perfection. Mormon Doctrine.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: [watch tower society]
God’s personal name is Jehovah. Only Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting. Jesus is not One God with the Father. Holy Spirit is God’s Active Force, not a person. There was a time when Jehovah was alone in universal space. All life and energy and thought were contained in Him alone. The obvious conclusion is that Satan is the originator of the trinity doctrine. Elohim is the plural of majesty, it does not mean that he is mysteriously a trinity. From Watch Tower Doctrine.

The Bible:
In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth. He is God; there is none else beside Him. For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therin is: which keepeth truth forever. Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the Last; and beside me there is no God. Many people will tell you that they have “the answer” but the truth is we have the Bible, which is where God has chosen to reveal Himself to man… Look at any other religion no matter which one you want, you will see that everyone of them insist you work for their form of salvation. If that were the case our Lord would not have had to take our sins upon Himself.

“Nowhere in scripture are we taught “the trinity is our mother,” or that Jesus – the unique Son of God – is our true mother,” and were certainly not taught, “All shall be well.” The late Dr. Walter Martin, a very well respected evangelical apologist, was correct when he said: The vast majority of mankind; will not make it [to salvation], because they simply will not repent.” And if you don’t think these people are lost; then why in the world are you even bothering to call yourself a Christian. Study mysticism as I have, and you’ll see a common thread of universalism within it.” Ken Silva

I just finished reading a really long article written about how the Pope will be the anti-christ and how they came up with a formula for what the # 666 means. I’m not sure how all of this falls into place, but I believe that the anti-Christ will be a political and military figure and if the Pope is involved in the last days he may be the false profit, since that person will be a religious figure. Remember that Satan always attempts to mimic the Lord [false miracles,etc]. So Im sure he’ll have to come up with a false trinity. I do believe that the world as we know it is about to come to that time known as the tribulation. You must repent to be saved [covered on the salvation page].

It is becoming very common to mix Hinduism with Christianity. It’s known by the name Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) among others. People go to a church that practices this and often confuse it with what they think is “Speaking in Tongues” or moving of the Holy Spirit. When we fall into allowing other doctrines even in a little sense, we are committing heresy. If if we think we are being enlightened by following these things, it is blasphemy [calling God a liar].

Please take a good look at any religion that you may either be involved with or looking into. If it offers secret knowledge, oneness with the universe or any other unattainable goal, is it worth the chance of giving up your eternal soul? The Bible is God’s handbook for man.

God bless, Dan Beliveau
danbel.webspawner.com

Who Decided What Went into the Bible?

Hal Seed
Lead Pastor, New Song Community Church

Just about everyone wants to know how the sixty-six books got chosen to be in the Bible. Why these sixty-six? Why not a few more (or a few less)? Why these books and not others?

In Persecution in the Early Church Herbert Workman tells the story of a Christian who was brought before the Roman governor of Sicily during the last great persecution of the church. His crime? Possessing a copy of the Gospels.

The governor asked, “Where did these come from? Did you bring them from your home?”

The believer replied, “I have no home, as my Lord Jesus knows.”

The governor asked his prisoner to read a portion of the Gospels. He chose a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Next he read from Luke: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

At this, the judge ordered the prisoner taken away—to his death.

Under Roman law new religions were illegal. In its first few decades Christianity was seen as a sect within Judaism. Once it was determined that Christianity was a separate religion, it became illegal to identify as a Christian. So, for the first three centuries of what we now call the Christian Era, it was a crime to be Christian. Persecutions sprang up throughout various parts of the empire. Believers were tortured and sometimes martyred for their faith. In 303, Emperor Diocletian ordered the confiscation of Christian property and churches, and the burning of Scriptures. Believers and their Book had become so inseparable that the way to eliminate Christianity was to eliminate the Bible.
How the Bible Came Together

Who decided what went into the Bible? The short answer to that question is no one. Or maybe a better answer is God did. When scholars talk about how a book qualified to be called Scripture, they list five characteristics called the laws of canonicity. But these characteristics are recognized in hindsight; they weren’t developed by a particular group at a particular time in history.

After his resurrection Jesus commissioned his followers to go and make disciples, and they did. They devoted themselves to sharing the Christ’s good news, enfolding people into local churches and teaching them to obey all that Jesus had commanded.

These Jewish believers already had Scripture. Around Palestine the Jewish Scripture is exactly what Protestants today call the Old Testament. Jesus referred to these books when he spoke of the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms (Luke 24:44).

Outside the Holy Land some Jews included twelve to fifteen other books as part of Scripture. The Septuagint, which was translated in Egypt, contains books that we now call the Apocrypha. (Apocrypha means “those hidden away.”) Early Christians differed over whether these extra books should be considered Scripture or not. Those nearest Palestine tended to exclude them. Those closer to Rome tended to include them.

During the sixteenth-century Reformation, Martin Luther spoke strongly against the Apocrypha. In reaction the Roman Catholic Church convened a council in Trent (now in Italy), where they declared the Apocrypha to be canonical. To this day Catholics and Protestants disagree on this issue. Catholics uphold the Apocrypha. Protestants believe that the Apocrypha is useful but not inspired.

Wherever Christianity spread, Christians gathered for worship and instruction. In keeping with the customs of the Jewish synagogue, a portion of Old Testament Scripture would be read and explained. Meanwhile, the apostles, along with other evangelists and teachers, traveled from place to place to plant churches and encourage believers. When one of these recognized leaders was in town, he was invited to speak during the service.

As need arose, the apostles wrote letters to various churches. When a letter arrived, it was read with great excitement in the worship service. Often the letter would be copied and shared with neighboring churches, who, in turn, would share it with still other churches. Naturally, the more inspiring letters were copied and shared more often.

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul wrote, “After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea” (Colossians 4:16). We still have the letter to the Colossians. The letter to the Laodiceans was not considered inspired or pertinent enough to be preserved.

Around A.D. 150, Justin Martyr described worship this way:
On the day called the Day of the Sun all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then all rise together and pray.

By this early date, “the memoirs of the apostles” were considered as important to the teaching of the church as the writings of the prophets.

Marcion and Montanus. About ten years earlier a wealthy ship owner named Marcion sailed from his home near the Black Sea to the capital city of Rome. Marcion believed that the God of the Old Testament was different than the God of the New Testament. The former was distant and loved justice, while the latter was loving and emphasized grace.

Marcion rejected the Old Testament, along with any writings that might reinforce views other than his own. He developed a list of books he considered acceptable: portions of the Gospel of Luke, ten of Paul’s letters, plus a letter purportedly from Paul to the Alexandrians. This list is known as the Marcion Canon.

The church had to respond to this. Though nothing had been officially written down, decided or proclaimed, most Christians had a sense of what was Scripture and what wasn’t.

Between A.D. 156 and 172, a second provocateur appeared on the scene. His name was Montanus. Montanus was accompanied by two prophetesses, Prisca and Maximilla. “The Three” spoke in ecstatic visions and encouraged their followers to fast and pray, calling the church to a higher standard of righteousness and zeal. If that was as far as their teaching went, they would have been an asset. But their message included what they called “new prophecy,” which pushed Christ and the apostolic message into the background. The age of Jesus was being superseded by the age of the Holy Spirit, and Montanus was its spokesman.

Was Montanus truly bringing a new prophecy with new authority? Prophecy more authoritative than Jesus and the apostles? This question prompted the church to respond a second time.

In A.D. 144, the church of Rome excommunicated Marcion and continued the sifting process on what was Scripture and what wasn’t. The Montanus controversy pushed the church to ask further questions of their Scriptures. Specifically, was God bringing further revelation? Could that revelation be true if it contradicted things taught by Jesus and the apostles? Could new truth change or add to the basic teachings the church had been feeding on for the past century? The answer was no. From this the church concluded that the canon of Scripture was closed.

Spurred by these dilemmas the church developed its list of canonical books. The following are guidelines for accepting a book into the New Testament:

1. Was the book written by a prophet of God?

2. Was the writer confirmed by acts of God?

3. Does the message tell the truth about God?

4. Did it come with the power of God?

5. Was it accepted by God’s people?

These are the marks of canonicity. “Canon” is a Greek word meaning “rule” or “measuring stick.” These five questions are used to determine which books “measure up” to being labeled divinely inspired. They exhibit “the marks of canonicity.”

Turn to a Bible’s table of contents and you’ll see that each of the books was written by either a prophet or apostle (Ephesians 2:20), or by someone with a direct relationship to one.

Miracles were the means by which God confirmed the authority of his spokesmen. In Exodus 4, Moses was given miraculous powers to confirm his call. In 2 Corinthians 12:12, Paul teaches that the mark of an apostle is “signs, wonders and miracles.”

Truth cannot contradict itself, so agreement with the other books of Scripture was only logical. As was historical accuracy. If the facts of a book were inaccurate, it couldn’t have been from God.

The inner witness of the Spirit was equally important. A key question these early Christians asked was, When we read this, is there an inner sense from God that what is written is right and true?

Initial acceptance by people to whom the work was addressed was crucial. What was the original audience’s sense? Did they accept the book as an authoritative word from God? Daniel, who lived within a few years of Jeremiah, called Jeremiah’s book “Scripture” in Daniel 9:2. Paul called the Gospel of Luke “Scripture” in 1 Timothy 5:18. Peter affirmed that Paul’s letters were “Scripture” in 2 Peter 3:16.

The Muratorian Fragment. Even before Marcion and Montanus, the church was aware of these important criteria. In A.D. 96, Clement of Rome wrote “The apostles were made evangelists to us by the Lord Christ; Jesus Christ was sent by God. Thus Christ is from God and the apostles from Christ. . . . The Church is built on them as a foundation” (1 Clement 42).

After Marcion and Montanus, lists of New Testament books begin to appear. One of the first was The Muratorian Fragment. It was discovered among the Vatican’s sacred documents by historian Ludovico Antonio Muratori in 1740 and dates to about A.D. 190. The fragment is damaged. The portion we possess begins with “the third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke.” We assume the first and second Gospels to be Matthew and Mark. The fragment lists John, Acts, all of Paul’s letters, James, 1-2 John, Jude and the Revelation of John. It also includes the Revelation of Peter, the Wisdom of Solomon and (“to be used in private, but not public worship”) the Shepherd of Hermas.

Eusebius. By the early third century only a handful of books that we now call our New Testament were in question. In western regions of the empire, the book of Hebrews faced opposition, and in the east Revelation was unpopular. Eusebius, a church historian of the fourth century, records that James, 2 Peter, 2-3 John and Jude were the only books “spoken against” (though recognized by others).

Athanasius. In 367, Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, wrote an Easter letter that contained all twenty-seven books of our present New Testament. In 393 the Synod of Hippo affirmed our current New Testament, and in 397 the Council of Carthage published the same list.
Who Decided What Belongs in the Canon?

Theologians are careful to note that the church didn’t develop the canon, God did that by inspiring its writing and superintending each book’s preservation. The church recognized the canon by experience and mutual agreement.
Assignment

Read 2 Peter 1:19-21.