KNOW

what you BELIEVE

(Bible Truth & Error)

 

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Copyright Ó 1997

By Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer  jerry@schmoyer.net 

http://india.christiantrainingonline.org/

 

 

 OTHER BELIEFS & PHILOSOPOHIES

 Cults: Marks of & Witnessing to  

 Buddhism

 Christian Science

 Confucianism

 Denominations (Meth, Presby, Luth etc)

 Eastern Religions

 Hare Krishna

 Hinduism

 Islam

 Jehovah’s Witnesses

 Judaism (& Salvation in OT)

 Liberalism

 Mormons

 Native American Religions

 New Age

 Pentecostalism (Tongues, Healing)

 Prophets, Modernb

 Roman Catholicism

 Satanism

 Scientolgy

 Secret Societies (Masons)

 Seventh Day Adv. (Sunday Worship)

 Spiritism

 Unification (Moonies)

 Unitarians

 Unity

BIBLE

GOD’S EXISTENCE

GOD’S ATTRIBUTES

JESUS GOD & MAN

HOLY SPIRIT

TRINITY

SIN

SALVATION

LAW & GRACE

CHRISTIAN LIFE

CHURCH

ANGELS

SATAN & DEMONS

MAN

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE

BIBLE

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF ISLAM)

 

By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            Roy Whetstine purchased a stone “from an amateur collector at an Arizona mineral show for $10,000,” according to Newsweek, Nov. 24, 1986.  It has since been “valued at as high as $2.28 million” and declared to be the world’s largest sapphire.

            Western-world Christians have in their possession a precious gem of far greater value which many treat just as cheaply.  They fail to avail themselves of the joy such wealth could bring them, fail to share it with their own families, and even fail to carry it with them to the house of God.  They leave it lying wherever it happened to be the last time the furniture was dusted under newspapers and magazines. If it were stolen, they probably would not miss it for a month.

            There are multitudes in many parts of the world who would gladly give a month’s salary, go for days without food, and walk great distances to get one copy of the Bible to share with their entire fellowship. Let’s not be too quick to cast aspersions upon the intelligence of the amateur gem collector. Often we are just as bad in attributing the true worth to the Bible. 

GOD REVEALS HIMSELF  God has revealed Himself to man in a general way in nature (Romans 1; Psalm 19) but in a very specific way in the Bible.  The Bible (which means “book” in Greek) is composed of 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.  The Old Testament focuses on the Jews and the law.  The New Testament focuses on Jesus and grace.

POSSIBLE & NECESSARY  While some doubt God could or would reveal Himself to man, it is entirely possible that God would reach out and contact man in this way.  Since He is sovereign He can certainly do this if He so chose.  Not only is this possible, it is also necessary, for if God had not contacted man, then man would not know God.  Thus a revelation from God, like the Bible, is possible and necessary.

INSPIRATION  The Bible claims to be God’s Word (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21).  Jesus considered and spoke of the Old Testament as inspired by God (Mt. 22:29; 24:37; Mk. 7:13; Lk. 24:44).  Inspiration,” meaning “God-breathed” in Greek, refers to God working through the 40 men who wrote the Bible (over 1500 years) to insure that what they wrote is without error.  Without taking away their individual personality and its contributions to their writing, God showed them what to include, what to omit, and made sure all was accurate.  God revealed some parts of the Bible, things man wouldn’t have known on their own (creation, Revelation, etc.).  Now God illuminates the Bible for us, showing us the truth of His Word as we read it. 

MULTIPLE AUTHOR THEORY  It isn’t uncommon today to hear someone say that Genesis is composed of material from 5 different writers or that two men wrote Isaiah.  That isn’t true.  It just undermines inspiration, and makes the books younger than they really were.  Thus prophecies in the books can be said to be written after the event.  This takes away from the greatness of the Bible.  Liberal scholars for years said Daniel had to have been written after the fantastic events described in it, for they could not have been prophesied.  The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has contradicted this.  It isn’t surprising that, despite the discovery in 1947, Daniel still hasn’t been released to the public!  Scientific study shows the books weren’t written by different authors. 

            Researchers in Israel, after subjecting the first five books of the Bible to exhaustive computer analysis, came to a different conclusion than expected. The Torah, or Books of Moses, had long been assumed by skeptics to be the work of multiple authors.  But Scripture scholar Moshe Katz and computer expert Menachem Wiener of the Israel Institute of Technology analyzed the book’s material through sophisticated computer analysis. They discovered an intricate pattern of significant words concealed in the canon, spelled by letters separated at fixed intervals.  Mr. Katz says that the statistical possibilities of such patterns happening by chance would be one to three million.  The material suggests a single, inspired author — in fact it could not have been put together by human capabilities at all.  Adds Mr. Wiener, “So we need a non- rational explanation.  And ours is that the (Torah) was written by God through the hand of Moses.”

OLD TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS  Some are quick to point out that no Old Testament manuscripts from before the Massoretic text in AD 900 exist, and that leaves open the possibility of errors in transcribing the Bible from generation to generation.  The truth is, though, that the Jews were very careful in copying the Bible.  They would count each letter in each line, even in each column, total them up, and make sure every letter was exact.  If not the whole page would be burned.  Also, comparing the Massoretic text with translations in Latin, Greek, Syrian, etc., which have been passed down from generation to generation in their own countries and languages, and which have not been influenced by other translations, show that they all say the same thing.  This shows there haven’t been errors from when they were originally translated hundreds and hundreds of years earlier. 

            Archaeological discoveries are disproving those who question the Bible’s accuracy and supporting its inspiration. A recent archaeological report in the science magazine Discovery contained amazing findings about the Old Testament.  Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, the oldest Hebrew manuscripts dated about AD 900.  The Dead Sea Scrolls, in startling agreement with the Masoretic text, dated to about 150 BC.  Whole or parts of almost every Old Testament book are present.  When these are compared to the Massoretic text over 1,000 years later, they are both the same!  Perhaps one word per large document differs, and these are small things like spelling changes (like ‘honor’ for ‘honour’).  None affect the meaning of the passages they are in. 

            There is also the Septuagint (LXX), a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, made in Egypt in 200 BC.  It, too, agrees with the other translations and manuscripts.  Remember, these all were passed down over hundreds of years, in different parts of the world, without being compared to each other until recently.  Yet all say the same thing!

            Now archaeologists have discovered a pair of tiny silver scrolls that date back to about 600 BC!  While digging at the site of a 5th-century church in Jerusalem, researchers found a Roman legionnaires’ cemetery. Exploring still deeper, they found a small burial cave containing the scrolls.  Very carefully, less than a hundredth of an inch at a time, the scrolls were unrolled.  On each of them appeared an excerpt from the book of Numbers that included the word Jehovah. These scrolls date back to the days before the exile to Babylon, earlier than liberal scholars said Pentateuch was written.

NEW TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS  There are many more New Testament manuscripts than Old.  There are about 4,000 manuscripts of the New Testament available to use today.  The earliest ones date back to the time of contemporaries of Jesus (early 100’s).  Excellent manuscripts date from the 300’s.  (For more information abut this see # 14 in “18 Reasons From Outside The Bible Proving It Is God’s Word” later in this paper).  In addition, there are hundreds of Bible verses quoted by early writers, and these help support the other manuscripts.  As with the Old Testament, the New Testament was translated into many other languages (Syriac, Egyptian, Latin, etc.). They also were copied and passed on for hundreds of years without comparison to others, and when recently compared all support each other. There are minor changes (spelling, punctuation, etc.) but nothing that affects any doctrine.

THE CANON  The term ‘canon’ is given to the collection of 66 books in our Bible.  How do we know the right books were included?  Could some uninspired books have been included and/or some inspired ones left out?  Again, if it is possible and necessary for God to reach out to man and let His will be known, that it is also possible and necessary that He could make sure the right books are included, and that they come down accurately to us today. 

 

            The New Testament canon developed over many years and much prayer.  In various locations many godly men found certain books to be helpful and used of God above other books.  Gradually the same group was used in many places and in a series of meetings and councils, after much prayer and seeking God’s leading, it was affirmed that the 27 books we have today were the ones God wanted in the New Testament.  By comparing them to the books not included one can easily see a big difference in literary style, spiritual value and historical accuracy.

CHAPTERS AND VERSES  When originally written, the Bible didn’t have chapters or verses.  Chapters were formed by Stephen Langton in 1228 and verses by Robert Stephanus in 1551.  These were added to make it easier to find and identify places in the Bible.  Because they were added by men, they aren’t always 100% accurate in where they are placed. 

ERRORS AND CONTRADICTIONS  Some say the Bible has contradictions.  It is way beyond the scope of this article to consider each one, but there are well-written books available that consider each seeming contradiction and clearly explain how these passages do not contradict.  .

18 REASONS FROM OUTSIDE THE BIBLE PROVING IT IS GOD’S WORD  Anyone can write a book and claim that it is from God.  Thus to really pin down the authority of the Bible we need to look at supporting evidence from outside the Bible.  These are given below:

            1. The Bible is theocentric (God-centered), not anthropocentric (man-centered).  If man wrote the Bible, he would be the leading character.  In the Bible God is sovereign and absolute authority (I Chronicles 29:11; Isaiah 43:7).  Man’s highest good is submission to His will.  The purpose of all we do is for His glory (Revelation 4:11).  All other ‘holy’ books focus on man and build up man, not God.

            2. The Bible is monothiestic (one God), not polythiestic (more than one god).  ‘Scholars’ say that man started with many gods and eventually evolved to having just one.  The Bible, at the beginning of man, says there was just one.  If man were writing the Bible he would have one God evolve out of many.  Even the fact that the Jews were worshipping the golden calf and other gods at the time the first commandment was written (which say God was the only god, Exodus 20:1-6) show that even they believed there was more than one God. 

            3. The fact of the Trinity helps prove man didn’t write the Bible.  Would natural man write about something that he could not understand, something with no parallel or analogy in nature?  No finite mind has ever comprehended how 3 separate persons could form one essence/substance.  If man wrote the Bible he would NOT write about a Triune God.

            4. If man wrote the Bible, would he say that the world was created from nothing (Hebrews 11:3)?  Nothing is a state man has never known.  He would come up with some rational explanation, as evolutionists try to do today.

            5. If man wrote the Bible would he say his basic nature is evil and sinful (Romans 3:23)?  Would man say there was nothing he could do but accept God’s cure for sin (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Every religion man has developed or ‘holy’ book man has written has something man must do to earn/deserve removal of sin, but not the Bible.

            6. The extent of revelation in the Bible shows it is beyond what man could or would write.  How could man write of things beyond his own senses and experiences?  Yet the Bible speaks authoritatively about heaven, hell and eternity without hesitation (I Corinthians 2:9-12; II Corinthians 5:8; Luke 16:19; Revelation 19:20-21).

            7. If man wrote the Bible, its ethics would be based on individual, relative decisions (Judges 17:6) rather than absolutes.  Because man is a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) by nature his ethics would be corrupt (as they are today apart from the Bible) and would end in chaos.  One example:  the Bible tells us to use things (I Cor. 7:31) and love people (Rom. 12:10).  Man’s ethics are the opposite.

            8. It is humanly impossible for 44 authors over a period of 1500 years unknown to each other and from vastly different backgrounds and cultures to arrive at 66 books so internally systematic and consistent as the Bible.  It would be like 44 men each tossing a stone on a pile over 1500 years and the finished product being a modern hospital.  There must have been one Author behind it all.

            9. The fantastic number of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible show that it is no book authored by mere man.  Experts in probability give these statistics concerning the following prophecies:

            7 prophecies against Tyre in Ezekiel 26:3-4,7-8,12,14,21 coming true: 1 in 7.5 x 107

            5 prophecies against Samaria in Hosea 13:16 & Micah 1:6 come true: 1 in 4 x 104

            5 prophecies against Gaza & Ashkelon in Amos 1:8, Jer 47:5, Zeph 2:4-7: 1 in 1.2 x 104

            3 prophecies against Moab & Ammon in Ezek 25:3-4, Jer 48:47; 49:6: 1 in 103

            9 prophecies against Edom in Isa 34:6-15, Jer 49:17-18; Ezek 25:13-14; 35:5-7: 1 in 104

 

            8 prophecies against Babylon in Isa 13:19-22; 14:23; Jer 51:26,43: 1 in 5 x 109

            9 prophecies about Jerusalem in Jeremiah 31:38-40:  1 in 8 x 1010

            7 prophecies about Palestine in Lev 26:31-33; Ezek 36:33-35: 1 in 2 x 105

            9 prophecies about Petra & Edom in Isa 34:6-18; Ezek 25:13-14; 35:5-7:1 in 2 x 105

            4 prophecies about Thebes & Memphis in Ezek 30:13-15: 1 in 103

            4 prophecies about Nineveh in Nahum 1:8,10; 2:6; 3:10,13,19: 1 in 102

The probability of these 11 prophecies coming true is 1 in 5.76 x 1059!  This is almost impossible to visualize.  Suppose this number were silver dollars.  There would be enough to fill 1028 suns!  Or think of it like this.  In the universe there are about 2 trillion galaxies, each containing about 100 million stars.  From our 5 x 1059 we could make all of the stars in all of the galaxies 2 x 105  times!  Only one silver dollar in all of these stands for the chance a writer could have guessed all these prophecies correctly!  Even more astounding is the fact that these are only 11 prophecies.  There are literally hundreds and hundreds of others which have already come true.  (For more information about this see “Evidence That Demands A Verdict” by Josh McDowell).

            10. The exceptional literary value of the Bible cannot be attributed to the natural ability of human writers.  How could such unlearned men write such a surpassing piece of literary genius beyond their own ability?  The Bible far exceeds the intellectual and moral qualifications of other books being written in its time such as the Talmud (Jewish), Apocrypha (Christian) and Koran (Islamic).  The living quality of the words, reaching to all ages and social positions of people for century after century show its uniqueness.  The Bible is deep enough for the most gifted scholar to spend a lifetime in one small part of it and never get out all there is, but also simple enough for a young child to read and understand.  One of the greatest truths expressed is just 7 monosyllables, each 3 letters or less: “You in me and I in you” (John 14:20).  The Bible stories are never hurried or cramped, neither are they drawn out and boring.  The Bible does not gloss over the sins of its heroes, neither does it overemphasize them.  The values and opinions of the writers are not the focus, just their.

            11. Another proof for the Bible not being written by man is its enduring freshness.  Voltaire said 150 years ago: “Within 100 years the Bible will be obsolete.”  It has not happened, in fact his home now houses a Bible society!  The Bible never grows old.  No other book in the world not only invites but sustains a ceaseless re-reading.  Other books come and go, but the Bible has remained for thousands of years.  It remains a fresh, up-to-date book, not an old book.

            12. If man wrote the Bible would he say to further spiritual ends by love & reliance on divine power or by political force?  The Inquisition and Crusades in Christianity as well as the history of Islam, Shintoism, Nazism, etc., all show man used political force to spread their beliefs.  The Bible commands to do it in a way that is not natural for man, the opposite way.

            13. No human scientist has been able to avoid being obsolete in a later time.  Science is always changing but the Bible is scientifically infallible in all ages.  The Bible spoke accurately of scientific truth thousands of years before man ‘discovered’ them, while the very writers often believed the opposite of what they were writing.  For example, the Bible says the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) yet until recent times doctors bled people to cure them.  The Bible says the physical world is basically non-physical in its ultimate essence (Hebrews 11:3; Colossians 1:16-17), something no human writer could or would have guessed at.  The Bible has always said the earth was round (Isaiah 40:22), rotates (Job 38:12,14), has gravity (Job 26:7), and the whole solar system orbits in the universe (Psalm 19:16).  Man believed the moon was greater than the earth for many centuries but the Bible says opposite (Genesis 1:16).  Even atomic energy and its results is found in II Peter 3:10-12 (the Greek word means to “loose” or “set free” as what happens when atoms are released).  The laws of thermodynamics are there, too:  #1 (Genesis 2:1-2; Hebrews 4:3,10) and # 2 (Psalm 102:25-27; Hebrews 1:10-12; Romans 8:20-22).  There are hundreds of other examples, too.

            14. The number and accuracy of the ancient manuscripts of the Bible that have come down to us today show God’s work in giving and keeping the Bible for us.  Of Caesar’s “Gallic Wars” we have only 9 manuscripts, the oldest 900 years after the original.  Of the “History of Thucydides” and “History of Herodotus” we have only 8 manuscripts each, from 1300 years after they happened.  Yet of the Old Testament we have 1,700 manuscripts, the oldest 100 years after the original.  The variation percentage between them is one minor difference every 2,000 words!  Evidence for the New Testament is even greater: 13,000 manuscripts with the oldest portion 10 years after the original  and the variation percentage being only one minor difference every 200,000 words!  Manuscripts have come down in many different languages and large portions come to us quoted in the works of hundreds of authors.  The recent discover of the Dead Sea Scrolls pushed back the date of the earliest Old Testament manuscripts 1,000 years, yet there was no difference between them later manuscripts.

            15. The study of archaeology continues to prove there are no historical inaccuracies in the Bible.  William F. Albright, one of the greatest archaeologists ever, said, “The Bible’s incredible historical memory has been many times validated by the process of discovery.  No archaeological discovery has contradicted a Biblical reference.”  For many years scholars thought the Bible in error about the Hittites for no trace of that vast and great civilization had ever been found.  In recent years, though, much has been found about them, again validating the truth of the Bible.

            16. The preservation and regathering of the nation Israel after 2,000 years is proof of the greatness of the Bible.  It has never happened, nor was it ever thought possible to happen, for a group of people to survive 2,000 without a homeland yet stay a separate cultural unity.  That has happened with the Jews.  Where are the Ammonites?  Philistines? Hittites?  Not only that, but the Jews are now back in their homeland, truly a sociological miracle!

            17. The inner testimony of the Holy Spirit inside His people gives us assurance that the Bible is true.  He gives us peace and assurance within that the Bible indeed is God’s book. 

            18. The life and resurrection of Jesus also give validity to the Bible.  If everything about Him, His deity and His resurrection is true, then the Bible is true.  If it is not true the Bible cannot be from God.  This will be considered in the next article about the deity of Jesus. 

BIBLE: A MIRACLE BOOK    

    1.  It is miraculous in its origin — coming to us by divine inspiration.

   2.  It is miraculous in its durability — outlasting the opposition of its critics and surviving the attempts of its enemies to exterminate it.

   3.  It is miraculous in its results — transforming the lives of those who read and believe it.

   4.  It is miraculous in its harmony — agreeing in all its parts, even though written over a period of 1600 years by about 40 different authors.

   5.  It is miraculous in its message — telling of many occasions when God supernaturally intervened in the affairs of men to accomplish his redemptive purposes.

   6.  It is miraculous in its preservation — maintaining its accuracy and reliability down through the centuries.

 

   Yes, the Bible is God’s Miracle Book!

 

   If you are cold, let it WARM you,

   If you are asleep, let it WAKE you,

   If you are a backslider, let it WARN you,

   If you are defiled, let it WASH you.

   If you are disobedient, let it WHIP you.

   If you are uncertain, let it WITNESS to you.

   If you are unsaved, let it WIN you.

THEY WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE BELIEVE? If there is this great body of evidence, why do so many deny the Bible as being God’s Word?  Let me answer that with a story.  Many years ago, while on a visit to England, a wealthy man was fascinated by a powerful microscope.  Looking through its lens to study crystals and the and the petals of flowers, he was amazed at their beauty and detail.  he bought one and took it home.  He thoroughly enjoyed using it until one day he examined some food he was planning to eat for dinner.  He discovered tiny living creatures were crawling in it.  He was especially fond of this food and didn’t know what to do.  Finally he concluded there was only one way out of this dilemma: he smashed the microscope to pieces.  That is what man tries to do to the Bible when it shows up his sin.  Like bugs under a rock run from the light when the rock is turned over, so man in sin runs from the light of God’s truth about him.  That is what many do with the Bible because it reveals their sin.  What a privilege we have in owning and reading God’s written message to mankind!

 

 

 

ISLAM         By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

Mohammed (570-632) in Mecca, claimed Abraham was the founder, through Ishmael

 

NAME

Islam (the religion) = in Arabic “escape danger by submission to Allah”

Muslim, Moslem (the people)  = those who submit to Allah

Mohammeds = don’t like being called this, say they worship Allah and not Mohammed

 

AUTHORITY

GOD-INSPIRED BOOKS:

            1. Torah (Pentateuch: Genesis through Deuteronomy)

            2. Zabur (Psalms of David)

            3. Injil (Gospel of Jesus)

            4. KORAN – final word, supersedes & overrules all others

                        114 chapters, scrambled & confused, sayings of Mohammed gathered after death

                        Contains precepts & laws (religious & civil), admonitions to unbelievers, histories, etc.

                        Contradicts Bible: Jesus NOT God (Surah 4:171), not die on cross (Surah 4:157)

 

VIEW of GOD

ALLAH (Only monothiestic religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam)

God impersonal (to call Him “Father” is blasphemy), could not beget a Son!

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

Believing in the Trinity is the unpardonable sin

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Good teacher only, one of the prophets, will return to preach Islam doctrine until world becomes Muslim

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

No such thing

 

VIEW of SIN

Work off own sin, no assurance of forgiveness

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Earn by keeping the 5 pillars

            1. Daily recite “There is one God, Allah, and Mohammed is His prophet.”

            2. Pray 5 times a day (dawn, midday, midafternoon, right after sunset, 2 hours after sunset)

            3. Fasting during days of Ramadan (9th month) during daylight hours; hear or read Koran once

            4. Give 25% to poor and needs

            5. Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

HEAVEN: oasis in the desert where served wonderful meals by wide-eyed virgins

HELL: burning desert where drink boiling water forever

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

GOD’S EXISTENCE

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF UNITARIANS)

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            “If we have full employment and growth–if we have cities of gold and alabaster–but our children have not learned to walk in goodness, justice and mercy, then the American experiment, no matter how gilded, will have failed.  In modernity, nothing has been more consequential, or more public in its consequences, than large segments of American society privately turning away from God, or considering Him irrelevant, or declaring Him dead.  Dostoyevsky reminded us in Brothers Karamazov that ‘if God does not exist, everything is permissible.’   We are now seeing ‘everything.’  And much of it is not good to get used to.”  — William J. Bennett, The Washington Times Pulpit Helps, March 1996, p. 10.

 

            When people discount the fact that there is a God, the repercussions of that affect every area of their life.  Without God there are no moral absolutes, no ultimate accountability, nothing beyond ourselves.  Man becomes his own God and anything goes.  In fact, many deny the existence of God just so they won’t have to be accountable to a higher power or submit to His will.  They want to live their own lives the way they want, totally unhindered.  They say the idea of ‘God’ is just something emotional cripples use for a crutch to escape reality.  Is this so? How can we be sure there is a God?  What ‘proof’ do we have that God exists?  How can well answer sincere doubters (I Peter 3:15), or still our own unbelief?

 

NO SCIENTIFIC PROOF  In the last article we saw proof that the Bible is indeed God’s inspired Word.  The Bible does claim the existence of God (assumes it, never tries to prove it).  Still, to use God to prove the Bible and the Bible to prove God is circular reasoning.  What proof is there beyond the Bible?  First of all, you can’t prove God by a scientific method any more than you can prove Napoleon by the scientific method.  Neither can be seen, touched or contacted with our senses.  They can’t be put under a microscope to be analyzed.  They each are accepted on the basis of dependable evidence.  There is rational proof for God, though.  We do have much dependable evidence, if we choose to accept it.

 

1. THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (Cause & Effect) 

            Cause:  There must be an uncaused  cause or necessary being for each effect.  No effect can be produced without a cause.  When you see a tennis ball lying on the floor you assume (and rightly so) that someone created it and someone placed it there.  It didn’t just appear on its own out of nowhere.  The same is true of the universe, us, love, hate, etc. — each of these effects had to have a cause behind it equal to or greater than it.

            Motion:  If you would see that tennis ball rolling across the floor, you would then assume (and rightly so), that some power outside the ball and greater than it started it moving.  The universe is full of motion.  Something cannot start and sustain itself.  An external agent or force is required.  There must be a being who is the ultimate source of all motion.

            Interrelationships:  Now our tennis balls hang in a large circle by string, each one swinging and hitting the one next to it.  The motion keeps going around and around the circle.  Each ball is dependent on the others for the system to work.  There must be a final being or force who is above these and independent of them to cause it to start.  While some evolutionists might have said that the ‘big bang’ caused the motion and interrelationships, this is being less and less accepted as the answer even among atheistic evolutionists. 

            Perfection:  There is a pyramid of beings, from insects to men, in an ever-increasing degree of perfection.  There must be a final being who is absolutely perfect, the source of all perfection.  This ultimate perfection is the start, not the finish produce, of all else.  Things don’t build from less to greater, as the second law of thermodynamics states.  It says that everything is winding down (entropy) and points back to a starting time.  It shows that things now are moving away from perfection, not toward it as evolutionists would say.

 

2. THE TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (Order & Design)  Look at your wrist watch.  The order and design there causes you to assume that some intelligent being was behind its creation.  If God isn’t behind everything, than ‘chance’ is.  If God didn’t create this world, then ‘chance’ did.  If God isn’t in control of everything, ‘chance’ is.  It takes more faith to believe in chance than in God!  What ‘chance’ is there of finding a watch just naturally formed of the materials in ground?  What chance is there of the Gettysburg Address resulting from an explosion in a print shop?  What chance is there that all the universe and life in it would just come about by chance?  What chance is there for a liver, or heart, or reproduction system to just come about by chance (and it would have to be completely formed, for a species could not continue if any of these were only partly evolved)?  What are the chances of everything working out so perfectly: gravity, the tilt of the earth, freezing temperature of water, rotation of the earth, proportion of water to land, distance from the sun, etc., just working out?  All that is in the universe, the human body, or an individual cell tells us there is order and design.  The ‘chance’ of it all happening is too great to even be considered!  God created nature to show that He exists (Psalm 19:1).

 

3. THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (Moral)   Suppose our tennis balls, or our wrist watch, all of a sudden developed a moral nature when nothing else around it did, what would this signify?  Man, and man alone, has a moral nature.  All peoples in all times and places have had moral standards of right and wrong.  While they haven’t been the same, they have all know there were such standards and that was such a thing as right and wrong (Romans 2:14-15).  All people have an innate understanding of these.  There is something built into everyone which cries our for justice, for reward for good and punishment for evil.  We naturally look forward to a future time when this is so.  Where does this come from?  Many naturally looks to an afterlife to have these settled.  We all know there must be something more to life than existing for one’s self then dying and being buried like a dog or a leaf.  A restless is built into man showing there must be something more to life, something from without to live for.  All of this points to God.  All of this also shows there is a God who built it into all men.  Where else could it have come from?  How could something like love and hate evolve?  If so, why just in man?  These strong emotions had to be created be a greater being than man, then passed on to man.  They couldn’t come from ‘chance.’

 

4. THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT   Man everywhere and in all time has naturally known there is a power greater than and outside himself that he has worshipped.  Satan usually counterfeited and took the worship, but it is naturally in man to believe God and seek Him.  Those today who deny God’s existence often have to shout so loud and long that one wonders if it isn’t the voices inside they are fighting against. When the infidel Robert G. Ingersoll was delivering his lectures against Christ and the Bible, his oratorical ability usually assured him of a large crowd.  One night after an inflammatory speech in which he severely attacked man’s faith in the Savior, he dramatically took out his watch and said, “I’ll give God a chance to prove that He exists and is almighty.  I challenge Him to strike me dead within 5 minutes!”  First there was silence, then people became uneasy.  Some left the hall, unable to take the nervous strain of the occasion, and one woman fainted.  At the end of the allocated time, the atheist exclaimed derisively, “See!  There is no God.  I am still very much alive!”   After the lecture a young fellow said to a Christian lady, “Well, Ingersoll certainly proved something tonight!”  Her reply was memorable.  “Yes, he did,” she said.  “He demonstrated that even the most defiant sinner cannot exhaust the patience of the Lord in just 5 minutes!”  Another man added, ” As I was coming downtown today, a belligerent little fellow came running out of an alley, daring me to hit him.  Do you suppose I actually struck him, just because he challenged me to do so?  In the same way, our Lord will not strike everyone dead who defies Him.  We should be thankful that in this age He is still operating in grace and desires to show His love rather than His wrath.”  (Romans 9:22)

 

5. SUBJECTIVE INNER AWARENESS  Inside each one of God’s people there is an inner voice that says “Yes!” when the question of God’s existence comes up.  Demons try to flash thoughts of doubt through our mind, but whenever those questions pop up realize it isn’t our minds but Satan’s trick to take away our peace.  When a Christian praises God in song or worship or prayer, something inside says “YES!”  When we talk to others about Jesus there is that “YES!” in our spirit.  When we heard a godly speaker or read a special passage in the Bible the “YES!” is clearly there.  That is God’s Spirit confirming the truth of God’s existence (Galatians 4:6).

 

WHY DOES MAN DENY THE EXISTENCE OF GOD?  Man doesn’t want to be accountable to God.  Man is basically self-centered and prideful, and like Satan, wants to be independent of God.  Man wants to be his or her own God with no other higher power to be accountable to.  Thus man must convince himself that there is no God in order to accomplish this.  The fact of the matter is that God does exist and will reveal Himself to any and all who are open to seriously seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

 

ANSWERING DOUBTERS   There is no answer for those who aren’t open to consider the possibility of a God.  Arguments won’t force anyone to believe something they don’t want to believe.  But for serious seekers the above answers should help.  Actually, against this evidence it is up to them to prove to you that there is no God.  They are going against the majority opinion for all the ages.  Point out to them that if they are right and you are wrong, you have not lost anything, for your believe has at least given you a more peaceful and humane existence.  But if you are right and they are wrong, then not only is their quality of life in this existence at stake, but so is their eternal destiny.  Are they so sure there is no God they that they are willing to bet eternity in hell on it if they are wrong? 

 

SO WHAT?  This is more than an academic exercise for us Christians, too.  Have you ever thought how your life would be different if there was no God?  What if this life was all there was, everything happened by chance, and there was no God (and therefore no Jesus or Bible)?  Thinking about this for even a short time should help us feel compassion for those who face life this way, and also cause us to thank and praise God all the more for His existence and His so clearly revealing Himself to us!  That is certainly reason to thank and praise Him! 

 

 

UNITARIANISM By Jerry Schmoyer                                                                                                                                                            Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

ARIUS (300 AD) – condemned by the early church at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD by Nicean Creed

Continued and spread, reaction to Reformation and revivals

Merged with Univeralists in 1959:       Universalists (God too good to damn man)

                                                            Unitarianism (man too good to be damned)

Humanism and New Age an outgrowth, similar ideas (dignity of man, relative ethics & morals)

 

NAME

UNITarians – if there is a God, He is one (not 3 as in the Trinity)

 

AUTHORITY

Bible one among a number of equally good books (by Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, etc.)

            Bible is “myths and legends”

No authority of their own, say “believe anything you want.”

 

VIEW of GOD

Believe anything you want about God.  At best He isn’t a person but a force, at worst He doesn’t exist.

            40% of Unitarian pastors don’t believe God exists, therefore no prayer, etc.

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

UNITarians – if there is a God, He is one (not 3 as in the Trinity)

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Deny His deity, not Lord and God, not Messiah, just a good man like Buddha

No virgin birth, resurrection, atonement, return; just set a good moral example

Not recognized at a Christian group – any way the same (Christianity not superior)

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

No such thing

 

VIEW of SIN

Man not sinful, only ‘imperfect,’ education key to man’s problems

Man is not condemned, he is essentially good and can save himself by improvement

Ethics relative – whatever you want to do is OK, no absolute right or wrong

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Character development, good works, “God helps those who help themselves”

Be own Savior, don’t look to ‘God’ for help

‘Salvation by faith’ = repulsive, offensive, unBiblical, immoral

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No heaven, hell – idea repulsive & unacceptable

 

 

UNITY          By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

Developed from Rosicrucianism (occult) and New Thought (transcendental), Christian Science added

“Word for Today” – Unity Village

Charles Fillmore, 1854, log cabin in Minn, captured by Indians (demonized), into spiritism

            Myrtle Page (wife) Christ Science ‘faith healer’ – started Unity

 

NAME

Unity of soul with God, all life, all religions, all men in truth (Myrtle said Jesus Himself gave her name)

Unity School of Christianity full name – not ‘Christian’ group but use the name (fast-growing!)

 

AUTHORITY

Writings of Fillmores – not inspired, but ‘best thing available so far’ (truth every changing)

Bible = allegory, search for hidden meaning (OK for those not in direct communion with God)

 

VIEW of GOD

Panthiestic (God is all, in all), principle, not personality; only exists in man’s consciousness

The love in everyone IS God (doesn’t exist apart from this)

Prayer emphasized greatly: “tapping the free energies of the universe” (TM, metaphysical)

            Positive thinking, prosperity thoughts

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

No personality, no Trinity

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Not God, only son of God as are all of the rest of us

Perfect man indwelt by Christ-consciousness present in every one of us (we must just cultivate it)

Didn’t die on cross, matured to place where did not need material existence anymore, one with divine

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

The spirit of truth lying latent within everyone, ultimate authority is the ‘spirit of truth’ within

 

VIEW of SIN

No truth in Satan, evil, sin, sickness, death, etc. -recognition of one’s own deity releases one from these

sin = falling short of demonstrating our divine nature

Overcome ‘sin’ by reprogramming mind to realize there is no such thing!

Similar to Christian Science about sickness – deny it for it doesn’t exist

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Nothing to be saved from!  Just must realize we are part of  God

Say over & over: “I am that I am.  I am life.  I am the Christ.  I know no evil.  I deny all sin and sickness.              I have all power.  I am God manifest in the flesh.”

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No heaven, hell (refuse to believe in loss of life/death)

Reincarnation – transmigration of souls, into animals (they are vegetarian)

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

GOD’S ATTRIBUTES

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF CONFUCIANISM)

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

            Do you have a big God or a little God?  A little girl listened attentively as her father read the family devotions.  She seemed awed by her parents’ talk of God’s limitless power and mercy.  “Daddy,” she asked, placing her little hands on his knees, “how big is God?”  Her father thought for a moment and answered, “Honey, He is always just a little bigger than you need.”

            How would YOU answer the question about how big God is?  Is He bigger than YOUR needs?  Do you really believe that?  Most people don’t. How are we to show them that we have a God bigger than any of their problems?

GOD AS A PERSON  When one accepts the reality that a God exists, the next step is for them to understand that God is a person.  To many God is just a force, an energy source, a ‘Mother Nature’ which is an unfeeling power.  Thus there is no possibility of a personal relationship or intimacy.  How can we explain that not only is there a God, but that He is a person?

            First of all, we must understand what personality is.  Personality means there is a mind that can think and reason, a free will than can make moral choices, and emotions which can feel.  If man has these, where did they come from?

            As a Person, God has a mind which to think and reason.  That is the creative source behind everything working so perfectly and fitting together so well in the universe, everything from the tiniest atom to a complex human being to the largest galaxy.  Such a perfect, intricate system has ‘design’ and ‘intelligence’ written all over it. 

            As a Person, God has a free will to make choices.  Before the creation of the world He chose to make man with a free will, too, despite knowing man would sin and be separated from God eternally.  God then chose to come to earth, Himself, in the form of a man, to pay man’s eternal penalty for sin by suffering what we would suffer for all eternity on the cross. 

            As a Person, God has emotions. God has this built into nature.  Music is more than just notes and sounds.  They were created to touch a deep spot in man.  The beauty of a sunset, the majesty of a waterfall, the awesomeness of the ocean — all these were created by an emotional Being to evoke emotion in man. Did love and hate just evolve?  If so, why so completely in man, but not in animals or trees?  Only man can plan ahead in a rational way (not just be natural instinct for survival).  Only man knows inside that there must be justice some where, some time.  Only man can feel guilt.  Only man has sought to find and contact God.  All peoples everywhere have had a natural, built-in desire to find and know God.  If God is not personal, where does this across-the-board desire for personal contact with Him come from?

THE NON-MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD These are the attributes of God which do not involve moral qualities.  They are:

            Omnipresence  God is all (“omni”) present (“presence”).  He is everywhere (Psalm 138:7-12).  There is no place He is not.  He is in (but not limited to) nature, space, everywhere.  There is no place anywhere in the universe, however large or small, where He is not.

            Omniscience  God has all knowledge.  He knows everything (Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 23:23-25).  There is nothing He doesn’t know.  We don’t have to inform or remind Him of anything.  He knows the future as thoroughly as the past, our every fleeting thought.

            Omnipotence  God has all power.  He is able to do whatever He wants (Job 42:2).  There is nothing He cannot do.  He is able to do anything.  He is always able to do whatever we need, but He isn’t always willing.  Sometimes He knows it would be better for us in the long run as well as for His own glory to not do a thing.  He is always able to do anything and everything.

            Sovereignty  God is the supreme ruler of all (Ephesians 1).  He is in sovereign control of that which He created.  Since He formed and made everything, both by right and supremacy He can do anything He wants with His creation.  He has no limits.  He has no one He needs to get permission from before He can act.  He is sovereign.

            Immutability  God is unchangeable (James 1:17).  This is a real anchor because it means that God’s love and mercy that is available for us today will always be available.  The rules will never change because God Himself will never change.  Sometimes His plan changes, but He Himself will never change for He cannot change.  Perfection can’t be improved on.

            Eternal  There is no beginning or end to God (Genesis 21:23).  He is free from all succession of time.  He created time to serve Him in one small part of His plan, but He is far above time and unaffected by it.  To try and squeeze Him into time and look for a beginning or end to Him is ridiculous. Time will be gone, so there can be no end to anything!

THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD  These do involve moral qualities.

            Holiness  God is separate from moral evil and sin (Leviticus 11:44-45).  He is sinless and unable to sin (in thought or deed).  He is absolute perfection.

            Righteousness & justice This is how God treats His creation (II Chron. 2:6).  God imposes just laws and sanctions.  His rewards and punishments are fair and right.  We can never cause Him of being unfair or unjust.  We may not understand everything from our perspective, but we know that all God does is right.

            Truth  God’s knowledge, declarations and representations conform to reality (John 17:3).  God Himself and all He does is truth, without any error or mistake.  He is never wrong.

            Goodness  God is good.  The non-moral attributes can seem hard and cold, but when guided by God’s goodness we know that the very best is being done for us!  These include:

                        Love  The part of God’s nature that motivates Him to communicate Himself to man, to get involved with man, to pay for sin for man so man can be pardoned.  This is a rational and voluntary affection, not a mere emotional impulse (I John 4:8).  It is the motive for all God does for and with His people.

                        Benevolence  This is the affection which He feels and shows to His creatures.  It is manifested to us in His care for our welfare (Psalm 154:9).  God cannot hate what He made, only what was later added to that creation, which is sin (John 14:5). 

                        Grace  God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.  Grace is goodness manifested to the ill-deserving (which is everyone).  Grace is an essential quality of God, but His use of it is optional (Eph. 2:4; James 5:11).  All we have is because of His grace (Eph. 2:8-9).  God shows grace to everyone in withholding judgment on sin (Ex 34:6) and provision of salvation (I John 2:).  For His people His grace is seen in their election and foreordination (Acts 18:27), redemption (Eph. 1:7-8), salvation (Acts 18:27), sanctification (Rom 5:21; Titus 2:11-12), preservation (II Cor 12:9), service (Heb 12:28) and final presentation (I Pt 1:13).

                        Mercy  This is goodness manifested to those who are in misery or distress (also called compassion, pity, loving-kindness).  Grace is getting what we don’t deserve from God (goodness), mercy is not getting what we do deserve from God (justice, punishment). 

            Thus God is a personal God with all the traits we would naturally expect of God: power, control and goodness.  With such a God in control there is no reason for fear or worry!

 

 

 

CONFUCIANISMBy Jerry Schmoyer                                                                                                                                                     Copyright Ó 1997

 

 

FOUNDER

Confucius (Chinese: K’UNG FU-TZU) (551-479), Chinese philosopher

          Perhaps person most influential in all China history

 

 

NAME

Named after the founder, Confucius

 

 

AUTHORITY

Lun Yu (Analects) – principles of his philosophy handed down by disciples

Confucius revered the study of ancient books and classics

 

 

VIEW of GOD

Little personal belief in the supernatural by Confucius himself

 

 

PRINCIPLES & BELIEFS

More a social and political structure, how people are to live and get along, than a religion

          Not a religion, not trying to start a religion – a philosophy of life instead of a religion

          Never existed as established religion with church, priesthood, etc.

          Confucius seen as great teacher & scholar, never honored as God or claimed deity

                   Public edifices designed for annual ceremonies, esp. Confucius’ birthday

Followed in China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, etc.

 

 

DISTINGUISHING BELIEFS

Principles & teachings were practical & ethical rather than religious

          Saw himself as a restorer of ancient morality, transmitter rather than creator

          Focused on five virtues: kindness, uprightness, decorum, wisdom and faithfulness

          Reverence for parents, living and dead, very key concept

 

 

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

JESUS GOD & MAN

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF HARE KRISHNA & UNIFICATION [MOONIES])

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            Did Jesus really live?  Was there REALLY a historical person by the name of Jesus, from Nazareth, who lived in Palestine early in the first century AD?  Can you prove it?

 

JESUS THE MAN  There is so much historical proof, in the Bible and by secular historians alive at the time, that no one doubts that Jesus lived as a man.  Its a proven historical reality. Ralph Waldo Emerson has said, “The name of Jesus is not so much written as plowed into the history of the world.”  Was there really a person named Jesus?  It’s not even questioned. 

 

JESUS THE GOD  However,  was this human Jesus also God?  Was He divine?  That’s where many people, not wanting to admit to any God to whom they are accountable, deny Jesus is God.  Still, there is proof, abundant proof, that Jesus is God.  Let’s look at some of it.

 

I. JESUS CLAIMED TO BE GOD  Some try to say Jesus never claimed to be God, but that just isn’t true. “Before Abraham was, I Am” (John 8:58)   “Father, Glorify me with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”  John 17:5  “I and the Father are One.”  John 10:30  He accepted worship as if He were God.  He claimed to be able to forgive sin (Mark 2:5).  Look at the following list:

Claimed Equality With God  Matt. 28:19; John 5:17-18; 12:45; 13:20; 14:1, 9

Claimed Oneness With God Matt 4:7; Luke 4:12; 8:39; John 10:30, 36-38; 17:11, 21-22; 20:28

Claimed To Be Sent By God Jn 4:34; 5:37; 7:16-29; 8:16; 9:4; 11:42; 14:24; 16:28; 17:18,23

Claimed To Be The Son of God  Matt 16:17; 22:42-45; Mark 12:35-37; 14:61-62; Luke 20:41;   John 9:35-37; 22:69-70  (“Son” does not mean He is inferior to His “Father” but of the same            substance, equal in right and position.  God is called the ETERNAL Father, thus Jesus the eternal Son.            Thus they both always existed.  It’s not that the Father came first!  This Father-Son reference is just to           show family closeness and equality.  Reading in inferiority for the Son is way beyond the limits of legitimate interpretation.

Claimed To Be From Heaven  John 6:33, 35, 51

Claimed Attributes of God  John 8:42; 16:15

            Omniscience  Matt 11:21-22; Luke 10:13

            Omnipresence  Matt 18:20; 28:20

            Omnipotence  Mark 14:61-63; Luke 22:69-70; John 2:19, 10:18; 11:25-27

            Forgive sin  Mark 2:5,9,10; Luke 5:20-21; 7:48-49

            Divine Authority  Matt 7:21-23; 28:18

            Honor  John 5:22-23

            Pre-Existence  John 8:58; 17:5; 1:1f

LORD, LUNATIC or LIAR  Many people try to write Jesus off as just a nice man, a good teacher, a fine example.  That could have been if it weren’t for His claims of deity.  When someone goes around saying He is God, can forgive sin, and accepting worship as God, then those who would follow Him must deal with these claims.  While claiming to be humble, Jesus said over and over He was God.  There are only three possibilities, and a good teacher isn’t one of them: LORD: He could be right and really God.  LUNATIC: He could be deluded, mixed up mentally, or demonized and really think He is God but be mistaken.  LIAR: He could know He isn’t God but just be trying to deceive people.  You see, either He is God or He isn’t.  If He is then He is much more than just a good teacher, He is Lord.  If He isn’t, then He cannot be a good teacher for He is either a lunatic or liar and no matter which not worthy of being followed, for what about Him can really be trusted?  Lord, Lunatic or Liar — which do you say He is?

 

II. PROOF HE WAS GOD  Not only did Jesus claim to be God, but there is abundant proof that His claims were true.  Consider there:

 

A. PROOF FROM REASON  For one thing, His character coincided with His claims.  When some goofball claims to be God, his character doesn’t agree with the claims.  But Jesus lived a sinless, perfect, other-centered life.  Even Pilate recognized this (Mt. 27:54).

            For another thing, Jesus demonstrated a power over natural forces.  Nature responded to His every word: storms, water to wine, fish and bread multiply, even demons submit.

            Also, He shows the Creator’s power over sickness, making the lame to walk, dumb to speak, blind to see, and bringing people back to life.

            Finally, others felt He was God.  Those who knew Him, lived with Him day in and out for 3 years, called Him Lord, Son of God, Father, Master, etc.  Even his enemies, who had spies investigating His every action looking for a slip, could find nothing imperfect about Him.

            Certainly there is proof from reason that Jesus is God.  There is more proof, too:

 

B. PROOF FROM FULFILLED PROPHECY  Old Testament prophecies were all fulfilled, in Jesus Christ and Him only.  Here is a partial list of the prophecy and fulfillment.

1. Born of the seed of woman:  Gen 3:15;  Gal 4:4, Matt. 1:20

2. Born of a virgin:  Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1;18,24,25; Lk 1:26-35

3. Son of God: Ps 2:7 (I Chron 17:11-14; II Sam 7:12-16),  Mt 3:17; 16:16 (Mk 9:7; Lk 9:35)

4. Seed of Abraham   Genesis 22:18 (12:2-3); Matthew 1:1; Gal 3:16

5. Son of Isaac:  Genesis 21:12; Lk 3:23,34 (Mt 1:2)

6. Son of Jacob: Num. 24:17 (Gen 35:10-12); Lk 3:23,34 (Mt 1:2; Lk 1:33)

7. Tribe of Judah:  Genesis 49:10; Lk 3:23,33 (Mt 1:2; Heb 7:14)

8. Family line of Jesse:  Isaiah 11:1, 10;  Luke 3:23,32 (Mt 1:6)

9. House of David:  Jeremiah 23:5 (II Sam 7:12-16; Ps 132:11); Lk 3:23,31 (Mt 1:1; 9:27)

10. Born at Bethlehem: Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1 (Jn 7:42, Mt 2:4-8; Lk 2:4-7)

11. Presented with gifts:  Psalm 72:10 (Isaiah 60:6);  Matthew 2:1,11

12. Herod kills children:  Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16

13. His pre-existence:  Micah 5:2 (Isa 9:6-7; Ps 102:25); Col 1:17 (Jn 1:1-2; 8:58; Rev 1:17)

14. He shall be called Lord: Psalm 110:1 (Jere 23:6); Luke 2:11; 20:41-44

15. Shall be Immanuel (God With Us): Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 7:16

16. Shall be a prophet:  Deut 18:18; Matthew 21:11 (Luke 7:16; Jn 4:19; 6:14; 7:40)

17. He shall be a priest:  Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 3:1; 5:5-6

18. He shall be a judge:  Isaiah 33:22; John 5:30; II Timothy 4:1

19. He shall be a king:  Psalm 2:6 (Zech. 9:9; Jer 23:5); Matthew 27:37; 21:5 (John 18:33-38)

20. Special anointing of the Holy Spirit:  Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16-17; 12:17-21 (Mk 1:10-11)

21. His zeal for God: Psalm 69:9; John 2:15-17

22. Preceded by messenger:  Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:1-2; 3:3; 11:10

23. Ministry to begin in Galilee:  Isaiah 9:1;  Matthew 4:12,13,17

24. Ministry of miracles:  Isaiah 35:5, 6a; 32:3,4; Matthew 9:32,33,35; 11:4-6 (John 5:5-9)

25. Teacher of parables:  Psalm 78:2; Matthew 13:34

26. He was to enter the temple:  Malachi 3:1;  Matthew 21:12

27. He was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey:  Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:35,36,37a (Mt 21:6-11)

28. “Stone of Stumbling” to the Jews:  Psalm 118:22 (Isa 8:14; 28:16); I Peter 2:7 (Rom 9:32-33

29. “Light” to Gentiles:  Isaiah 60:3; 49:6; Acts 13:47,48a; 26:23; 28:28

30. Betrayed by a friend:  Psalm 41:9; 55:12-14; Matthew 10:4; 26:49-50; Jn 13:21

31. Sold for 30 pieces of silver:  Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15; 27:3

32. Money to be thrown in God’s house:  Zechariah 11:13b; Matthew 27:5a

33. Price given for potter’s field:  Zechariah 11:13b; Matthew 27:7

34. Forsaken by His disciples:  Zechariah 13:7; Mark 14:50 (Mt 26:31; Mk 14:27)

35. Accused by false witnesses: Psalm 35:11; Matthew 26:59-61

36 Dumb before accusers:  Isaiah 53:7; Matthew  27:12-19

37. Wounded and bruised:  Isaiah 53:5 (Zech 13:6); Matthew 27:26

38. Smitten and spit upon:  Isaiah 50:6 (Micah 5:1); Matthew 26:67 (Luke 22:63)

39. Mocked:  Psalm 22: 7,8;  Matthew 27:31

40. Fell under the cross: Psalm 109:24-25; John 19:17; Luke 23:26; Mt 27:31-32

41. Hands and feet pierced:  Psalm 22:16 (Zech 12:10); Luke 23:33 (John 20:25)

42. Crucified with thieves: Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38 (Mk 15:27,28)

43. Made intercession for His persecutors: Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34

44. Rejected by His own people: Isaiah 53:3 (Ps 69:8; 118:22); John 7:5,48; 1:11 (Mt 21:42,43)

45. Hated without a cause:  Psalm 69:4 (Isa 49:7); John 15:25

46. Friends stood afar off: Psalm 38:11; Luke 23:49 (Mk 15:40; Mt 27:55-56)

47. People shook their heads: Psalm 109:25; 22:7; Matthew 27:39

48. Stared upon:  Psalm 22:17; Luke 23:35

49. Garments parted and lots cast: Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24

50. To suffer thirst:  Psalm 69:21; 22:15; John 19:28

51. Gall and vinegar offered Him:  Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34

52. His forsaken cry:  Psalm 22:1;  Matthew 26:46

53. Committed Himself to God:  Psalm 31:5;  Luke 23:46

54. Bones not broken:  Psalm 34:20; John 19:33

55. Heart broken:  Psalm 22:14;  John 19:34

56. His side pierced:  Zech 12:10; John 19:34

57. Darkness over the land:  Amos 8:9; Matthew 27:45

58. Buried in rich man’s tomb: Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60

59. Resurrection:  Psalm 16:10; 30:3; 41:10; 118:17 (Hosea 6:2); Acts 2:31(Lk 24:46; Mk 16:16)

60. Ascension:  Psalm 68:18a; Acts 1:9

61. Seated at right hand of God:  Psalm 110:1;  Heb. 1:3 (Mk 16:19; Acts 2:34,35)

            Note: no one else in history has ever come close to fulfilling even a few of these.  No one ever can, since all Jewish records of lineage were destroyed with Jerusalem in 70 AD. 

            Note also: the probability of just 1 through 8 coming true would be 1 in 10 with 16 0’s.  (If each chance is a silver dollar and they were laid down side-by-side on state of Texas they would cover whole state 2 foot deep!  One is marked, all others not.  Blindfold a man and let him walk anywhere, the chance he’d pick right one is the same as first 8 prophecies just happening!

 

 

 

C. PROOF FROM THE RESURRECTION  Another line of reasoning deals with the resurrection.  It’s quite a claim to say one is going to come back to life, and then to have it claimed to have happened!  If Jesus really did come back to life, this alone would prove His deity.  If not, He can make no claims of deity.  What about the resurrection?

            If Jesus didn’t come back to life, how are we to explain the empty tomb?  Well, some say the disciples stole His body to make it look like He came back to life.  But then how do we explain His 10 appearances to a total of over 500 people?  Also, if they knew He didn’t come back to life, where did they get the courage to all of a sudden be willing to die for Him?

            OK, others say, it was His enemies who stole the body.  That still doesn’t explain His many appearances.  Also, when people started thinking He was alive the enemies would have produced the body to prove He wasn’t alive, and they never even tried to do so.

            Finally, some say Jesus never died, that He just swooned and then revived.  Think about what that means, though.  First, He was pronounced dead by experienced Roman executioners, then a sword shoved in His side up into His heart.  He was wrapped cocoon-like, head to foot (no way to breathe), covered with 100 pounds of spices, sealed in a dark, damp tomb for 3 days.  Somehow He would have to revive, slip out of his wrappings (the Greek says they were undisturbed, like a cocoon after the butterfly leaves), with hands and feet ruined by nails He’d have to move a thousand-pound stone uphill from the inside (no handholds), overpower many Roman soldiers, and travel many miles to Emmaus where He’d convince everyone that He has a glorious, superior, eternal body!

            There are just too many proofs to the resurrection to doubt it.  He appeared 10 times to 500 witnesses.  Without the resurrection being real, would could account for the spread of the early church, the conversion of Paul and millions others, the willing martyrdom of so many?  How would the Lord’s Supper have gotten started (why worship the body and blood of a dead person)?  Why even bother with baptism, which is a picture of Jesus dying and coming back to life?  There is no reason staunch Jews would change their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday unless something really momentous, something greater than the creation of the world (which is what the 7th day celebrates) really happened.  Then, too, there is the whole Easter celebration of the resurrection.  Why would that have started and continued if people then knew He didn’t arise?

            Also, there is external proof of Jesus.  Many secular historians recorded what they heard about Jesus and the claims of His followers to have come back to life.  Pliny the Younger wrote to the emperor Trajan in 112 about these things.  Tactius, a very anti-Christian historian, recorded what was believed and happening.  Thallus, another historian, wrote about the resurrection but personally disbelieved it.  So did Josephus, a famous Jewish historian of the time period.  Since these men didn’t personally believe, but honestly recorded the facts of history, we know they weren’t part of any plot nor did they have any personal gain in recording these things.  Obviously the belief in the resurrection of Jesus in the first century was well accepted and well recorded. 

            One final interesting fact is that Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor, obviously heard about the claims of Jesus’ resurrection and the impact it was having in his empire, for he had a marker erected in the Nazareth cemetery (probably because he heard that Jesus of Nazareth arose but didn’t learn that it was in Jerusalem) saying that anyone robbing a grave would be put to death.  While none of these alone can prove the resurrection, all of them together do add up!

            The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.  Without it the believer has no hope for this life or for the life to come.  The apostle Paul wrote, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain” (1 Cor. 15:17).  Our belief in this great teaching is not based upon some religious feeling or upon an unfounded idea about what may have happened in the past.  Nor are we talking about an isolated rumor, but about a historical fact with solid evidence to support it.

            In the early part of this century, a group of lawyers met in England to discuss the biblical accounts of Jesus’ resurrection. They wanted to see if sufficient information was available to make a case that would hold up in an English court of law.  When their study was completed, they published the results of their investigation.  They concluded that Christ’s resurrection was one of the most well- established facts of history!

            In his little book, Countdown, G. B. Hardy has given us some thought-provoking questions about the resurrection.  “There are but two essential requirements: 1. Has anyone cheated death and proved it? 2. Is it available to me?  Here is the complete record:  Confucius’ tomb — occupied.  Buddha’s tomb — occupied. Mohammed’s tomb — occupied.  Jesus’ tomb — empty!  Argue as you will, there is no point in following a loser.”

   The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reality.  Countless changed lives testify that it’s a fact — not a fable!

 

D. PROOF FROM FULFILLED EXPECTATIONS  Let’s look at this important subject from another angle.  You know, if God became man, there are certain things you would expect.  For example, IF GOD BECAME MAN, THEN YOU WOULD EXPECT HIM TO:

            1. Have an unusual entrance into life.  What entrance could be more unusual than to be born of a virgin?  This is fully attested to by Bible writers as well as early church leaders.  Why would someone make up such a preposterous beginning if they wanted to get people to believe and follow them?  Unless this was true it wouldn’t be claimed!

            2. He without sin.  Jesus claimed to be without sin (John 8:46).  Those who lived with Him as well as His enemies all attested to this.

            3. Manifest the supernatural in the form of miracles.  Jesus claimed to be able to do miracles and many claimed to have witnessed them.  The Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, peter, Jude) and early church writings all affirm these claims.

            4. Have an acute sense of difference from others.  Jesus saw Himself as unique, different.  Others saw Him that way, too.  Even those who didn’t follow Him attest to that: the Koran, Roman and Jewish writers and leaders, and historians and scholars throughout the centuries.

            5. Speak the greatest words ever spoken.  Jesus said: “My words will not pass away” (Mt. 324:35).  Roman officers: “Never a man spoke this way” (John 7:46).  He is more quoted by secular teachers and  philosophers than anyone else ever.

            6. Have a lasting and universal influence.       Historians agree Jesus is the most influential  life who ever lived on this planet.

            7. Satisfy the spiritual hunger in man.  These needs were met individually in Matthew, Peter, Nicodemus, Zachaeus, the woman at the well, and millions of others from then to today.

            8. Exercise power over death.  He claimed to conquer death.  He brought back to life a widow’s only son at Nain, the Centurion’s servant and Lazarus.  He Himself came back to life.

 

CONCLUSION  If Jesus were not God, then He deserved an Oscar!

            Two infidels once sat on a railroad train, discussing the life of Christ.  One of them said, “I think an interesting romance could be written about him.”  The other replied, “and you are just the man to write it.  Tear down the prevailing sentiment about His divinity, and paint Him as a man – a man among men.”            The suggestion was acted upon and the romance written.  The man who made the suggestion was Colonel Ingersoll, the noted atheist.  The writer was General Lew Wallace, and the book was called “Ben Hur.” In the process of constructing the life of Christ, Gen. Wallace found himself facing the greatest life ever lived on earth.  The more he studied, the more he was convinced Christ was more than man.  Until one day, he was forced to cry, ‘Verily, this was the Son of God!”

 

 

 

HARE KIRSHNABy Jerry Schmoyer                                                                                                                                                           Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

Caitanya (incarnation of Krishna) – devotional yoga as a way to worship Kirshna, 16th cent India

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – to USA in late 1960’s (Greenwich Village)

 

NAME

ISKCON = International Society of Kirshna Consciousness

            (Not just a belief system; whole way of life)

 

AUTHORITY

Any religion all right it if makes sense and gives you peace

Bible accepted, but inferior to Hindu scriptures

 

VIEW of GOD

Lord Sri Krishna is original personality of the Godhead (Brahma, Siva, etc., just expansions of him)

            He is everything and can be present in anything, including images, wood, marble, etc.

Krishna – mischievous, happy, loving God with 16,000 wives

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

Do not believe in the Trinity

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Krishna’s son – loved by God but not God

Great spiritual leader but not Savior, just a guru

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

Called Paramatma; it is to Krishna as rays are to the sun

 

VIEW of SIN

Man not sinful

‘Cleansing’ comes by personal sacrifice & discipline, eating foods sacrificed to gods, etc.

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Soul trapped in body by previous lifetimes’ actions (Karma)

Reincarnation, thus they are vegetarians

Escape reincarnation’s cycle by chanting Krishna’s name & acknowledging his presence in everyone

Through proper worship of Kirshna, Karma is destroyed & soul is liberated

Life’s main goal is to overcome our ignorance and develop Krishna consciousness by chanting the Hare             Krishna (“Hail Krishna”) – ant praise to Krishna 1,728 times a day)

Bypass mind, go into trance-like condition devoid of senses (like TM)

Tithe their time to worship Krishna (2 1/2 hours a day)

Noninvolvement in world affairs & social issues, concerned only with own liberation

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

Those very sinful have to undergo different kinds of temporary punishment on different planets

No heaven or hell, cycles of reincarnation

 

UNIFICATION By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

Sun Myung Moon, born 1920 in Korea

Told by Jesus he would complete work of salvation Jesus failed at when on earth (he is 2nd coming)

Said transported to hell, defeated Satan in battle, both Satan and Jesus bowed & worshipped him

 

NAME

“Moonies” = names after Moon

“Unification” = unite all religions & people of the world, all saved & perfected, earth restored

 

AUTHORITY

Bible not God’s Word, not for us; not accurate, just symbolic; quote it to sound ‘Christian’ but are not

Moon final authority, truth revealed to him by visionary chats with Jesus, Moses, Buddha, John Baptist

“Divine Principle” main book, say Moon wrote it but written by Yee Hye Wen, a follower

 

VIEW of GOD

Dual qualities: spirit and energy; God not omniscient, not omnipotent

Man is visible form of God; God is invisible form of man (God and man are one) [Mysticism]

“Father” they pray to is Moon

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

No such thing

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Not God, just a man in whom God dwelt; “Christ” conditional title that must be earned (Moon earned it)

Jesus same as us except without original sin, to start new human race but killed before had children

Satan invaded Jesus’ body, John the Baptist responsible for crucifixion of Jesus (not God’s will)

No physical resurrection or return, Moon is the Second Coming

Not accepted as Christian group by anyone

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

“True Mother” (God is Father, needs mother to give birth to life)

 

VIEW of SIN

Adam & Eve put in Eden to develop into perfection & form Trinity with God

Failed: Eve sinned (fornication with Satan)

 

VIEW of SALVATION

WW II paid world’s indemnity for sin, paving way for Messiah (Moon, started ministry in 1946)

1st & 2nd Adam failed, 3rd Adam (Moon) will succeed by starting perfect race with own perfect children

            1960 married 2nd wife Hakja Han and now have 8 children

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No eternal hell for anyone; Earth will become heaven when perfect

Big push to recruit disenchanted middle-class whites, isolate & brainwash them

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE

HOLY SPIRIT

 

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            It is said that a certain guide lived in the deserts of Arabia who never lost his way.  He carried with him a homing pigeon with a very fine cord attached to one of its legs.  When in doubt as to which path to take, he threw the bird into the air.  The pigeon quickly strained at the cord to fly in the direction of home, and thus led the guide accurately to his goal.  Because of this unique practice he was known as “the dove man.”  So, too, the Holy Spirit, the heavenly Dove, is willing and able to direct us in the narrow way that leads to the more abundant life if in humble self-denial we submit to His unerring supervision.

            There is probably more serious disagreement among Christians today over the Holy Spirit than any other important theological doctrine.   Denominations, churches, even families are split over this.  Who and what is the Holy Spirit?  What is His role today? 

SPIRIT OR GHOST?  The word used for the third Person of the Trinity is “pneuma” (Greek) which means breath.  This pictures Him as an invisible power (“Spirit”), but certainly no “Ghost.”  The personal pronoun “He” is always used, never “it.”  All His works and attributes also show personality.  He is called God (Acts 5:14) and has all the attributes which God has.

WORKS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT  The Holy Spirit is the means and author of the Bible, revealing and inspiring the writers.  In the Old Testament He came upon and filled believers at times of special need in their lives and ministry.  It is in His power that Jesus ministered and did miracles, for Jesus voluntarily lay aside His divine attributes when He came to earth (Phil. 2:7). 

            Today He is the One Who restrains sin in general (II Thes. 2:7), convicts unbelievers of sin (John 16:8-9), and seals (guarantee of assurance) believers (II Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30).  He indwells every believer from the moment of salvation (Jn. 7:37-39; 14:16-17; I Cor. 6:19-20), produces the fruit (good works) in believers (Gal. 5:2-16) and baptizes (identifies) all Christians into the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13).  He guides and directs believers as well as teaching and reminding them of God’s Word (John 14:26).  He gives spiritual gifts to each believer and through them ministers to the whole Body (1 Cor 12:4-13). 

            We are commanded to be filled (controlled) by the Spirit (Eph 5:18) by continually being in total submission to God (Gal 5:16,25) and not allowing any sin or disobedience in our lives (Eph 4:30; I Thes 5:19). 

            One day a Christian was looking at Niagara Falls with a friend.  The friend observed that Niagara Falls was the most neglected power source in the world!  “No,” said the Christian, “the Holy Spirit is the most neglected power source in the world!”  Are you trying to live the Christian life without God’s Spirit?  It can’t be done.  Man comes “batteries not included.”  The Holy Spirit is our energy source.  Without Him we can’t function in the way were created to function.  What about you — are you trying to run without batteries?  The power is available, free, just use it!



 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE

GIFT OF TONGUES

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT, SECOND BLESSING, TONGUES & SUCH MATTERS  What a land-mine this subject is!  It gets so divisive.  I’m sure God hates to see that among His children.  I don’t write this to be divisive, but God does require each of us to come to our own conclusions on this matter, based on the Bible.  I don’t try to explain how or why others feel led as they do, I don’t in any way judge or condemn them, I only know how God is leading me from His Word.  I have thoroughly studied this whole issue with as open a heart as possible, even wishing there were some higher form of spirituality and victory that would take me to a higher plane.  Still, I feel totally convinced God is showing me through His Word that these things are not for me nor the people I shepherd.  What is happening in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles I do not know.  I only know how He leads me.

 

            The Bible teaches that each believer is filled with the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation (I Cor 10:1ff; 12:3; 6:19; Eph. 4:5; Rom. 5:5).  One cannot be saved without the Holy Spirit indwelling them (John 7:37-39; 14:16-17; I Cor 6:19-20).  From there on it is not a matter of getting more of the Holy Spirit but of the Holy Spirit getting more of us!  As we totally submit and live a holy life He fills and works through us. 

            Then what about Acts 2, 8, 10 and 19, when the Holy Spirit came on those who were already believers?  Acts 2 is a one-time, non-repeatable experience (not even repeated in Acts 8, 10 or 19).  Just like the Second Person of the Trinity made a unique, one-time entrance into the world through a virgin in a stable, so the Third Person made His entrance in a unique, one-time way.  When Jesus came back to earth after the resurrection to the apostles, Paul or John on Patmos, He never repeated the virgin-in-a-stable entrance.  Acts 2, also, is non-repeatable.

            Acts 2 is a transition, from Old Testament law when the Holy Spirit only indwelt some believers some times, to New Testament grace, when the Holy Spirit indwells all believers for their whole life.  The apostles had already accepted Jesus’ claims and were saved in the old dispensation, then when the new dispensation started and the Spirit came they naturally would be the first to receive Him in that way.  That is non-repeatable, too.  In Acts 8 we see this same truth applied to half Jews and half Gentiles, in Acts 10 to Gentiles in Palestine, and in Acts 19 to Gentiles outside of Palestine.  They were similar to Acts 2 to show that Jews and Gentiles were now equal in the same Body, that the same thing happened to each.  Each one showed the changeover from Old Testament law to New Testament grace.  There had to be a definite time of change, showing the transfer had been made and those believers accepted.  Still, what happened was different enough to show that it wasn’t Acts 2 repeated again.  Those were the only times anything even resembling Acts 2 happened in Acts, and it only happened once for each new group as the gospel spread from Jerusalem.  All others received the Holy Spirit immediately at salvation. 

            Tongues is not proof of Spirit baptism.  Many received the Holy Spirit but not tongues: 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38-41), early church believers (Acts 4:31), Samaritans (Acts 8:14-17), Paul (Acts 9:17-18), John the Baptist (Luke 1:15-16), Jesus (Lk. 3:21-22; 4:1,14,18,21) and many others (Acts 4:8,31; 6:5; 7:55; 11:24; 13:9,52).  Speaking in tongues is never mentioned in the leadership qualities in Titus or I Timothy.  The Bible makes it clear that obedience is the proof of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, not tongues (Eph 5:18f).

            Tongues in Acts and Corinth were the same.  The same Greek word (‘glossa’ meaning ‘tongue, to speak, language’) is always used of known foreign languages and is used in both Acts (2:6-11, etc) and Corinth (I Cor 14:21; 12:10).  In Acts is it obvious that the listeners heard known languages  spoken by those who had no previous knowledge of the language.  There is no indication that what Corinth experienced was different.  It is only the church at Corinth that is mentioned as using tongues, and then many corrections were needed because it was a very carnal church (I Cor. 3:1-3). 

            The purpose of tongues was to show Jews that God’s judgment was on them.  They were to spread God’s message to Gentiles but failed.  God would show He was judging them for that by bringing His word to them by Gentiles in Gentile languages.  This was prophesied in Isa. 28:9-12; 33:19f; Deut 28:49; and Jer 5:15.  Paul said tongues fulfilled those prophecies (I Cor 14:21-22).  When the Jews didn’t heed this sign and repent, God’s judgment came upon them in 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed.  After 70 AD there is no instance of tongues being used in the early church.  Signs are placed before what they are to mark, not after!  Paul said (I Cor. 13:8-12) that tongues “will be stilled.”  The Greek word, ‘pauo,’ is in the middle voice; they will stop by themselves and not start again.  History records only a very few, very isolated, very minor outbreak of tongues from Acts to the present.  These groups were often heretical in some or all of their other beliefs.  Obviously tongues did stop.  There is nothing to indicate that they would ever begin again, for their purpose has been fulfilled.  When Joel 2 talks about the Holy Spirit coming back after the Tribulation, there is no mention of tongues! 

            Then what about those with the gift of interpretation?  First, the Greek word for this refers to someone who interprets known languages, like from Spanish to German.  The use of foreign languages was to show God’s judgment to the Jews present.  The content of the message was God’s good news, which the Jews should have been spreading.  Since speaking in an unknown language would mean nothing to Gentiles present, Paul said there had to be an interpreter present when the gift was used (I Cor 14:26-28).  This was necessary for the weak and immature Corinthian believers (14:20-22) who were ignorant of God’s truth (12:13).  It was to be kept to a minimum (14:6-12) because it was an inferior gift (I Cor. 14:4).  Paul himself only used his ability to speak in unknown languages in Jewish synagogues, not Jewish services (14:39).

            Applying these criteria to tongues today (known foreign language, showing God’s judgment on the Jews, used only with Jews present, sees as a lesser/minor gift whose use was to be kept to a minimum, etc.) shows that what is happening today is different from what happened back then.

            Tongues are not a heavenly language.  The Greek word makes it clear they are a KNOWN language (Acts 2:6-11; I Cor 14:21; 12:10).  This is different than the ‘groanings’ of Romans 8:26 for those are clearly said to be unutterable (not able to be spoken).  The “tongues of angels” (I Cor. 13:1) is a hyperbole (overemphasis to make a point) like “faith to move mountains.”  Besides, when angels spoke in the Bible, it was always in the known language of those to whom they were speaking. 

            Tongues are not a private prayer language.  All spiritual gifts are given for the sake of others, not the one having the gift (I Cor 12:7, 12f; 14:19,27), that’s why an interpreter had to always be present in Corinth (I Cor 14:26-28).  Every time the gift of tongues was given in the Bible it was given to a group, not an individual.  It was always used in a group, too, no instance of private use is recorded.  The tongue is to be controlled by the speaker, not beyond his control (I Cor. 14:28-33).  Plus, tongues were to be a sign to unbelievers, not believers (I Cor 14:22).  Jesus Himself warned about praying words we don’t understand (Mt 6:7).  Paul said he always understood what he said when he prayed, even in tongues (I Cor 14:15).  When asked how to pray Jesus gave the Lord’s Prayer, not tongues. 

            Dangers of speaking in tongues today.  Paul warns about Satan’s ability to counterfeit this (I Cor 12:2-3) as he has in other religions and cults today.  Tongues is said to be an inferior gift because it is self-centered (I Cor 14:4) and leads to emphasis being put on emotions which can lead people astray (II Cor 6:11-12; Rom 16:17-18).  We are told to pray with understanding (I Cor 14:13-17) and control our spiritual gift (I Cor 14:28-40).  God arbitrarily chooses which gifts to give to whom (I Cor 12:7,11,18,28).  We are told to not seek any particular gift  (I Cor 12:31; 14:1-4).  Tongues speaking can become a substitute for spirituality (I Cor 14:26-28).  Worse of all, it can produce a false security by those who put faith in it as proof that God loves and accepts them.  Most who practice tongues-speaking do not believe in eternal security of salvation, so their speaking in tongues becomes their proof of acceptance by God.  Our faith must be in Jesus’ work on the cross, not in our ability to speak in ‘tongues.’   Those without the gift can feel pressured to fit in with the rest of the group.

 

 

 

PENTECOSTALISM          By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER – PENTECOSTALISM

MONTANISTS, SHAKERS, ERVINITES and other periodic isolated groups in history practiced tongues

JACOBUS ARMINIUS: reacted against Calvinism and elevated free will, saying salvation could be lost

JOHN WESLEY: followed Arminius, salvation not unconditional, perfection (free from sin) possible

METHODIST & HOLINESS CHURCHES: carried the beliefs of John Wesley

NEGRO HOLINESS CHURCH, Los Angeles, 1906: revival that brought in speaking in tongues

 

FOUNDER – CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT

EPISCOPALIANS in VAN NUYS, CALIFORNIA: soon spread to Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist,     Presbyterian and all other denominations, even Orthodoxy and Catholicism

     Charismatics are less extreme and dogmatic than Pentecostals, less legalistic and emotional

 

NAME

HOLINESS: John Wesley’s sinless perfection possible, all can be totally ‘holy’

PENTECOSTAL: referring back to Pentecost, which they say is the norm for all Christians today

 

VIEW of BIBLE, GOD, TRINITY, CHRIST, HEAVEN & HELL

Same as traditional, conservative Christianity from the Reformation to today

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

Much more focus on the Holy Spirit than traditional conservative Christianity

Instead of Holy Spirit a means to an end (being Christlike), He is focused on, worshipped, prayed to

‘Getting more of Holy Spirit’ often emphasized over giving more of self in submission to God

Elevated above God and Jesus, seen as power source to enable person to attain perfection/salvation

 

VIEW of SIN

Often more legalistic, focusing on certain outer acts of sin

Weaker view of sin, feeling that man can overcome it and live above it

 

VIEW of SALVATION

SALVATION: by grace, freely accepting the work of Jesus on the cross

SANCTIFICATION:  a second act of grace whereby the process of perfectionism begins

            Speaking in tongues is the visible proof that this has taken place (“Baptism in the Holy Spirit”)

            Often this holiness (or sanctification) is essential to salvation

            Also characterized by emotional worship, healing, slain in the spirit, interpretations, prophecies

 

MAIN GROUPS

PENTECOSTAL DENOMINATIONS & GROUPS

            Church of the Nazarene (574,000 members)

            Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) (215,000 members)

            Church of God in Christ (425,000 members)

            Assemblies of God (354,000 members)

            Anything with “Full Gospel,” “Pentecostal,” “Holiness,” etc.

CHARISMATIC GROUPS

            Stay in own denominational or religious group while adding speaking in tongues

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE

TRINITY

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF JUDAISM TODAY)

 

 

By Jerry Schmoyer    Copyright Ó 1997

 

            Augustine, the distinguished bishop of Hippo in North Africa, was strolling the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea one morning, engaged in deep thought. He was attempting to come to grips with the depths of the doctrine of the Trinity.   He was interrupted in his thoughts when he stopped to watch a little fellow running toward the ocean with a bucket. He watched with amusement as the little guy filled his pail with water and hurried back up the beach to pour it into a little hole he had pawed into the sand. Within seconds the sea water soaked into sunbaked, thirsty sand.  Then the bishop’s eyes followed the little boy down to the ocean again, and then back up to the hole. Once again the little guy poured the water into the hole, and once again the sand swallowed it up greedily.  “What are you trying to do?”, asked Augustine with a smile. The little boy, a little annoyed at being interrupted in the middle of his busy task, replied, “I’m trying to put the ocean into this hole.”  Suddenly, it dawned on Augustine that he was behaving much like this little fellow. He was trying to cram the ocean of God’s truth into his little box of brains and was having no more success than the little boy with his bucket.

            If you are confused about the Trinity, you’re on the right path!  That three can be one and one three doesn’t compute mathematically or in our  minds, yet both truths are taught in the Bible.  There is only one God, but in the unity of the godhead there are three eternal and coequal persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence.

 

GOD IS ONE  Deuteronomy 6:4 says,  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”  This has become the motto of Judaism,  which sees Christians as having three Gods.

GOD IS THREE While God is one, God is also three.  This is called the Trinity.  While the word ‘Trinity’ doesn’t appear in the Bible, the truth it conveys does.  The most common word for God is “Elohim” which is plural (“im” in Hebrew is like “s” in English).  God said “Let US make man…” (Gen 1:26) and “Let US go down…” (Gen 11:7).  In the Old Testament it is clear the Angel of the LORD is God, as well as God in heaven (Gen 16:7-13, etc.).  Jesus lay aside the use of His divine attributes when He became man (Phil. 2:7) and did all He did as God by the power of the Holy Spirit (Mt 4:1; Lk 2:27; 4:1, 14; 10:21). 

            The Father is God (John 6:27), the Son is God (Heb. 1:8) and the Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4).  There are verses which mention all three persons of the Trinity as equally God: Matt 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and 2 Cor 13:14   May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  At Jesus’ baptism the Son was baptized, the Father spoke and the Spirit came down like a dove (Mt. 3; Mk 1; Lk 3; Jn 1).

THREE AND ONE?   The only solution to this is to believe that God is both three and one.  Both are 100% true.  Our brains aren’t equipped to understand how both can be true any more than we can understand eternity (time without end) or how God is 100% sovereign yet we are 100% responsible for our free will.  There are many programs too complicated for my small home computer to run, there just isn’t enough there to run it.  The Trinity is a program too grand to be run by the human brain.  Just because we can’t understand it doesn’t negate it.  Who are we but tiny specks on a tiny speck (the earth) to think we can understand the Mind of the One who created and runs the whole universe? 

 

 

 

JUDAISM    By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

God, through Abraham, began the Jewish nation

Purpose:          1. Reveal God to the world

                        2. Give the world a book, the Bible

                        3. Give the world a Savior, Jesus

Reform (liberal): when Jews emerged from ghetto life in latter 1700’s in western Europe they adjusted    their beliefs so they could better integrate into modern society (2 million, 35%)

Orthodox (old traditional): reaction against reform Judaism 1800-1850, start in Europe (-1 million, 14%)

Conservative (compromise): middle ground between reform & orthodox (1850-1900), started in US &     Europe (2.5 million, 40%)

 

NAME

“Jew” after “Judah,” son of Jacob and name of the southern kingdom

 

AUTHORITY

Reform & Conservative: Old Testament not inspired, just human writings, must adapt them to today

Orthodox: Old Testament, especially the Torah (Gen-Deut), basis of all daily life

 

VIEW of GOD

Reform & Conservative:  Impersonal, if He exists at all; may just be the force of nature

            Israel is basically an atheistic nation today (“dead bones” of Ezekiel 36-37)

Orthodox: same as we see God

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT &  TRINITY

All groups reject the idea, saying God (if He exists at all) is One

Creed of Judaism:  Deut 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Not the Messiah, not God, just a good man. 

Reform & Conservative: no literal Messiah, prophecies will be fulfilled by man bringing in utopian age

Orthodox: still look for Messiah, who will be a superhuman man (not God) and bring Jewish world rule

 

VIEW of SIN

All groups say there was no fall and therefore no sin nature

Reform & Orthodox: sin is the ills of society

Orthodox: sin is breaking the law

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Reform & Conservative: no need, man is just to better self and society

Orthodox: by repentance for breaking the law, prayer and good deeds

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

Reform & Conservative: None, souls merge into a “life force”

Orthodox: the righteous (law keepers) will exist forever with God in Eden, others suffer forever

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

SIN

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF LIBERALISM, LODGES [MASONS] & SCIENTOLOGY)

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            In the Australian bush country grows a little plant called the “sundew.”  It has a slender stem and tiny round leaves fringed with hairs that glisten with bright drops of liquid as delicate as fine dew.  Woe to the insect, however, that dares to dance around it in the sunny air.  For while its attractive clusters of red, white, and pink blossoms are harmless, the leaves are deadly.  The shiny moisture on each leaf is sticky, and will hold any bug prisoner that touches it. The struggle to get free is often futile, for the movement of the insect causes the leaves to close even more tightly.  This innocent- looking plant actually feeds upon its victims if they do not quickly wriggle out of the entanglement.  This is a picture of what sin does.  Yet, like the flower, many today deny the danger and reality of sin.  Just what is sin?  Is it still real today or have we ‘outgrown’ the whole idea of sin?

 

SIN IS REAL  From the beginning man has tried to deny sin.  Adam and Eve, Cain, and everyone since looks for a way our from sins consequences.  Today is no different.  Instead of acknowledging sin and changing, man would rather stay in his sin but deny his guilt by convincing himself there is no sin.  To do this man must get rid of the idea of God, for any higher authority would have absolutes which, when man breaks, would be sin.  Thus men run to philosophies like evolution which seem to allow them to deny any higher accountability, and thus the existence of sin.  If there is no God, man is the ultimate authority, there is no absolute right or wrong, and anything goes.  But that’s not what the Bible says (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).  Also, that doesn’t seem to work in practicality.  Guilt, drugs to mask the symptoms of guilt and stress, suicide, counseling, crime — all are increasing at an alarming rate.  Those who say that ‘wrong’ is just a learned response or a forced reaction to an imperfect culture, are wrong.  We live in a more progressive society than anyone has, yet these things not only remain but increase.  Sin is not just learned, it comes from within.  Children are born selfish and self-centered, they don’t need to learn that from anyone.  They need to learn how to NOT be that way, but there seems to overcome that on one’s own.  What’s the solution?  First, correctly understand the problem.

 

SIN DEFINED  Sin in anything that is contrary to the character of God.  While a sin differs from a slip or mistake as to motive, dismissing all sin as mistakes is refusing to admit the true sinfulness of the act.  That is like mislabeling dangerous poison as a mildly unpleasant substance.  Sin can’t be seen except in comparison of our selves with Jesus.  His perfect standard is our goal.  Anything that is not what He would think, say, do, or not do is sin.

 

THE ORIGIN OF SIN  Sin started with Satan’s prideful rebellion against God (Ezekiel 28:15).  God is in no ways responsible for sin.  He gave Satan a free will, but had nothing to do with the sin.  If I give my son the keys to the car to go someplace and he drives off the road, is that my fault for letting him drive?  No, he is 100% responsible.  Satan, not God, is responsible for sin.  He brought it to earth in Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned.

 

GUILT OF SIN  The Bible tells us we are guilty of sin in three areas: 

            Imputed sin means we are guilty with Adam for his sin (Rom 5:12). As representative of the human race, we all share his guilt.  We would have done the same thing were it us.

            Inherited sin describes the sin nature that is passed from parent to child (Psalm 51:5).  This natural tendency to sin is something we are all born with.  Each baby is naturally selfish, and self-centered.  Because of this we are ‘totally depraved.’  This doesn’t mean we always sin just as badly as we could in every area.  Humanly speaking, man can and does do nice things and often chooses the right over wrong.  What it does mean is that there is nothing we can do to please God (Isa 64:6) or to impress Him.  If our righteous acts are filthy in His sight, what must our sins be like?  Inherited sin means we have a natural tendency to sin.  It comes automatically.  It means our every act and thought is polluted and unacceptable to God.  Running clean water through contaminated pipes doesn’t clean the pipes but taints the water.  Thus all we do is tainted by selfishness and sinfulness because of our inherited sin nature.

            A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on its back across the river.  “Are you mad?” exclaimed the turtle. “You’ll sting me while I’m swimming and I’ll drown.”  “My dear turtle,” laughed the scorpion, “If I were to sting you, you would drown and I’d go down with you.  Now where is the logic in that?” “You’re right,” cried the turtle.  “Hop on.”  The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle, resigned, said, “Do you mind if I ask you something?  You said there is no logic in your stinging me.  Why did you do it?”  “It has nothing to do with logic,” the drowning scorpion replied.  “It’s just my nature.”   Sinning is just in our nature, too.

            Individual sin refers to the acts of sin we daily commit: wrong thoughts, actions or motives.  It also refers to the good things we should do but don’t do.  Our sinful actions are just the tip of the iceberg of our sinfulness, but the most visible proportion. 

            Thus we are triply guilty — three strikes and you are out!  Any one of these, actually any one individual act of sin (deed, thought, motive, good undone) would be enough to doom us forever.  A holy God cannot allow any sin in His presence.  So what is the solution to sin?

 

 

SOLUTION TO SIN FOR THE UNBELIEVER  The only solution is salvation, freely accepting Jesus’ work on the cross (John 3:16), for He paid the penalty for all our sin.  He suffered on the cross what we would have suffered for sin during all eternity in hell.  Because He was perfect He was without guilt for His own sin, because He was human He could take our place, and because He was God He could suffer for all people at once (greater capacity to suffer).

 

SOLUTION TO SIN FOR THE BELIEVER  Once God’s free gift of salvation is accepted, we can never lose salvation.  Sin must be confessed (recognize and admit the sin – I John 1:9).  Then it is forgiven.  Keeping from all sin is impossible in this life, but it is still our goal and what we must strive toward.  It is only as we stay close to God that we can overcome sin.

            A pilot was flying his small plane one day, when he heard a noise which he recognized as the gnawing of a rat.  Wondering what its sharp teeth were cutting through, he suddenly realized with horror that it might be an electric wire.  Then he remembered that rodents can’t survive at high altitudes. Immediately he began climbing until finally he had to put on his oxygen mask.  Soon the gnawing sound ceased, and when he landed he found the rat — dead. Staying close to God is the only way to grow in victory over sin in our lives.  Know your enemy (sin) but know even more how to have victory (Jesus). 

 

 

 

 

LIBERALISMBy Jerry SchmoyerCopyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

Unitarianism to Humanism, which influenced Christianity, starting in European seminaries in late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Higher Biblical Criticism undermined authority of the Bible

Affected all mainline denominations, all but Missouri Synod Lutheran and Southern Baptist accepted it

Formed National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches

 

NAME

‘Liberal’ summarizes their beliefs and positions

 

AUTHORITY

Bible just a collection of writings which represent man’s best efforts & strivings after God

Much of it out of date and useless, some possible harmful; must separate helpful from rest

RSV translation by them, change “blood” to “sacrifice,” weaken atonement, inspiration, etc.

 

VIEW of GOD

Not a person but infinite & eternal energy, the First Cause, no existence apart from creation

            God is man, man is God

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

Use the term, but don’t believe in 3 divine persons (barely believe in 1); redefine it entirely

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Good man, probably best man who ever lived (master product of evolution)

So good his deluded followers superstitiously thought He was a god!

No resurrection, no miracles (legends which got exaggerated); just good principles and teachings

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

“Force” of God

 

VIEW of SIN

Sin is the product of the environment, not personal responsibility

Sin = man failing to live up to his full capacity (will outgrow/evolve past this)

Evil = not a principle at war with good but whatever doesn’t satisfy

 

VIEW of SALVATION

No real need of for eventually a loving ‘god’ will save all (nothing to really be saved from)

Live by Golden Rule and do your best, that is enough

‘Universal Fatherhood of God and common brotherhood of man’

Evangelical Christians: “slaughter-house religion of the dark ages,’ “gospel of gore”

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No hell, not sure of heaven or immorality (just do your best and don’t worry about it)

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into kingdom without judgment through the ministrations    of a Christ without a Cross.”

 

SECRET SOCIETIES          By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

800 different secret societies in America (nearly half people in USA associated with one or another)

OLD LINE: Masons, Odd Fellows, Klu Klux Klan, etc.  (Masons first, oldest, all others modeled after)

FRATERNAL ORGANIZATIONS: Elks, Moose, etc.

LODGES started in Arabia, later revived in Egypt; 1st modern one in bar in London in 1713

            They claim started Noah & Enoch started lodge, Solomon organized it, Jesus a Mason

            Appeal to ego, pride, social status, business connections, etc.  (Often bigoted) (Mt 23:5-12)

 

AUTHORITY

Bible seemed to be elevated, but use Koran in Arab countries, etc. (Bible no better than Koran, etc.)

Add own stories from ‘tradition’ to Bible (Bible just collection of fables)

 

VIEW of GOD

Composite of Jehovah, Baal, Osiris – called J.B.O. (secret name, never pronounced) often called Allah

One God, one universal religion (similar to Unitarianism) [similar to what Antichrist will use in Tribulation]

Feel they alone are right, superior to others which lack their secret knowledge; superior to church

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Great moral example like Buddha, Mohammed, etc. – different labels for same idea

Never use Jesus’ name even in Scriptures they read out loud; prayer never in Jesus’ name

All world religions worship the same God (claim to be “religious” but never claim to be “Christian”)

 

VIEW of SIN

No such thing, man not sinful nor in need of salvation;

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Hope of eternal life based on good works (live up to lodge obligations), deny blood atonement of Jesus

            False security, no real salvation

False security allows them to often live in sin, immorality, etc. (Reputation of conventions)

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

Promise resurrection to members, special private funeral service at coffin)

 

BROTHERHOOD SUPPORT

Committed to helping each other in business, helping each other even if wrong or criminal

Loyalty to lodge and brothers there comes before church and home (secrets not shared with wife)

Oath to have throat slit and die if break rules or secrets of lodge

Secrecy forbidden by Jesus (Jn 18:20; Eph 5:11-12; Mt 10:26-27)

Unequal yoke wrong  (II Cor 6:14-18)

Jesus against taking secret oaths:  Mt 5:33-37; James 5:12; Ex 20:7

Gospel is FREE, no joining or paying dues or oaths to get way of salvation: Rev 22:17

Jesus is the ONLY way to God, salvation, heaven  John 14:6

 

 

SCIENTOLOGY           By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

L. RON HUBBARD, late 1940’s, said “writing for a penny a  word is ridiculous.  If a man wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”   He did (books still available.)

Fought depression and suicidal tendencies whole life

Dianetics – name of church he started,

Claims to have visited Venus twice (where all life in universe first started)

 

AUTHORITY

Not Bible, but Hubbard’s writings, especially book on ”Dianetics”

 

VIEW of GOD

God a myth

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

No such thing

 

VIEW of CHRIST

A god, not God Himself, not equal with God (same as Michael in Old Testament)

Working his way up levels of self-knowledge

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

No such thing

 

VIEW of SIN

All is relative, no absolutes.  If there is more constructive than destructive a thing is good

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Clear mind from all past reincarnations (charges to do this, very rich), work way back to total godhead

Goal is to evolve to a higher state, free from cycle of birth and death (reincarnation)

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

Hell = annihilation (‘Bible’ hell is total myth, vicious lie invented to make people unhappy)

 

REACHING OTHERS

Use any method, promise anything, to get people in for ‘counseling’ – reveal all facts about self &             past, isolate from any other help, made totally reliant upon Scientology for everything, charge huge amounts for each hour, prey on lonely and anxious people (multinational racket    masquerading as a religion)

 

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

SALVATION

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM TODAY)

 

By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

          Lost in the jungle, a man sought desperately to find his way to safety.  His strength was ebbing fast as the insects and stifling heat did their deadly work.  Suddenly he heard what he thought to be a bell tolling in the distance.  Believing he was nearing civilization, he struggled bravely onward; but he never seemed to draw closer to the sound.  Finally he fell to the ground exhausted, never to rise again. The mysterious bellbird had claimed another victim!  This story is related in detail by G.B. Robeson.  He says that many a traveler in the heart of the rain forest of Central and South America has been led to his death by the uncanny call of this seldom-seen bird.  Its enticing, reverberating “toll” produces an almost overpowering temptation to seek its source.  Similarly, Satan employs subtle devices to ensare the human race. As lost souls seek to disengage themselves from the vines of sin, they are allured by the tempter’s “bell” ringing in the distance.  “At last,” they think, “I’ve found a way of escape,” and so, following the call of the evil one deeper and deeper into the jungle of despair, they are eventually lost for eternity.

 

          Many are following the deceptive call of the devil’s “bell-bird” because it “seems right” to them.  O that they might realize the truth of these words before it is too late: “The end thereof are the ways of death.”  Christ, who declared that “no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6), is the only One who can lead poor wanderers to the promised land of salvation and safety!

 

THE NEED OF SALVATION  For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …  (Romans 3:23).  Because God is holy and perfect, He cannot allow sin in His presence.  Still, He wants man to have fellowship with Him — that’s why He created man.  So He planned to come to earth Himself, and go to the cross as man’s substitute.  By taking the guilt for the sins of the world on Himself, He experienced what we would experience in all eternity in hell, condensed and poured out on Him. Because He was man He could be our replacement.  Because He was sinless He didn’t have sin of His own to pay for and could pay for ours. Because He was God He could experience hell for all of us at once, He had a greater capacity to suffer.  There is nothing we can do to add to salvation, it is all by God.

 

THE PROVISION OF SALVATION  God provided it all, all we do is freely accept His provision.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says:  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–  not by works, so that no one can boast. 

          John 19:30 says:  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  The word it is finished in the Greek means: “paid in full.”  It was written on bills of receipt.  Jesus wasn’t killed for our sin, He suffered and paid for all of it, then, when it was finished and His life’s work completed, He voluntarily died for there was no longer any reason to suffer.  HE paid it all!

 

THE RECEPTION OF SALVATION  Salvation is received by faith.  Romans 3:28 says:  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. John 3:16 also says:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  The artist who painted “Jesus at the Door” is said to have purposely left off the knob from the door, for the door represents the human heart, and on that door, the bolt is on the inside.  Jesus stands and knocks.  But he will not come in unless we open the door.

 

THE REJECTION OF SALVATION  Jesus is the only way to God, there is NO other way of salvation (John 14:6).  Rejection of His gift of salvation means eternal condemnation in hell.  “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36). 

 

 

THE TENSES OF SALVATION  At the moment of salvation all past sin and its penalty is removed (II Timothy 1:9; Acts 16:31).  No matter what, it will never be held against us for its penalty has been paid (Romans 8:1).  Sin committed after salvation has also been paid for on the cross, but must be confessed (admitted to – I John 1:9).  Then it is removed.  Unconfessed sin does not endanger our salvation, but hinders our closeness and fellowship with God.  Sin between a husband and wife doesn’t end the marriage but does keep the partners from being able to be close to and enjoy each other.

          While salvation removes the penalty of all sin, it doesn’t remove its power (Philippians 2:12-13; Romans 8:13).  A Christian still has a sin nature and the capacity to sin just as much as an unbeliever.  Lot is an good example of that (Genesis 13:12, 19:29-38; II Peter 2:7).  While we CAN sin, we don’t HAVE to sin!  Sin’s power is just as strong, but now instead of being powerless to resist, we have a greater Power, the Holy Spirit, and don’t HAVE to sin any more.  We are free from the power of sin, but not yet from the presence of sin.

          In the future, when we are in heaven, we will be free from the very presence of sin and our sin nature will be gone (Romans 13:11; Titus 2:12-13).  That is guaranteed to every one who accepts God’s free gift of salvation.

 

 

THE SECURITY OF SALVATION  Salvation cannot be lost or returned.  Once a person is born into God’s family, he cannot be ‘unborn’ out of it.  He is part of that family no matter what.  Our keeping our salvation doesn’t depend on our ‘hanging on’ but on God’s faithfulness (II Timothy) and protection (Mt. 12:20; Ps 37:24), steadfastness (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:37-39) and forgiveness (romans 4:6-8). 

 

 

 

ROMAN CATHOLICISM                       By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

Constantine made Christianity state religion in 313 AD, under protection & authority of the government

Bishop Leo declared himself heir of Peter’s ‘keys’ and ‘pope’ over bishops in other cities in 445 AD

Pope Gregory established self and bishopric of Rome as sovereign over all churches in 590 AD

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NAME

“Roman” = Bishop of Rome asserted self as supreme over all other bishops

“Catholic” = “Universal” – see self as the one world church

 

AUTHORITY

1. Bible (as interpreted by the church, people unable to interpret or understand the Bible)

2. Church traditions and beliefs from the past – on par or above Bible

3. Rulings of the Popes

 

VIEW of GOD

Distant, unapproachable – so contacted through the ‘saints’ (those with more good works than sins)

Mary closest to God (“mother of God”) best interceder – ‘Co-Redeemer’ suffered with Jesus to redeem

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

 

Yes, same as us

 

VIEW of CHRIST

God come to earth, same as us

Pope is equal to Christ

Mass is the literal sacrifice of Jesus each time it is offered

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

Yes, same as us, but not emphasized

 

VIEW of SIN

Original sin – same as us

            Removing sin – very different from us, not just removed by Jesus

Venial sins – don’t lose salvation but cause sickness of the soul

            Removed by repentance

Mortal sins – sins after baptism cause you to loose forgiveness of ALL previous sins & lose salvation

            Removed by Confession (to a priest), Penance (good works to buy extra ‘grace’ to cover sin)

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Faith and good works (sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction,             Holy Orders and Matrimony)

Many are saved, but most deal with much guilt (stress God’s unconditional forgiveness & Jesus’ love)

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

Purgatory – while remaining sins being paid for

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

LAW & GRACE

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF MORMONS & THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD (ARMSTRONG))

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            London businessman Lindsay Clegg told the story of a warehouse property he was selling.  The building had been empty for months and needed repairs.  Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash all over the place.  As he showed a prospective buyer the property, he took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage.  The buyer said, “Forget about the repairs.  When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different.  I don’t want the building; I want the site.”

            That’s God’s message to us!  Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball.  When we become God’s the old life is over.  He makes all things new.  All He wants is the site and the permission to build.  There are still some trying to “reform,” but God offers “redemption.”  All we have to do is give Him the “property” and He will do the necessary “building.”

 

SALVATION IS BY GRACE, NOT LAW  The Bible makes it clear that we are under grace, not a set of laws to earn our salvation.  John 1:17      For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.    Rom 6:14  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.  Rom 6:15  What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

            Salvation is all by God.  Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–  not by works, so that no one can boast.  A young fellow came forward in a Gospel meeting, earnestly asking, “What can I do to be saved?”  Knowing the man thought he had to accomplish something by his own efforts to gain redemption, the Christian worker responded to the anxious inquirer, “You’re too late!” “Oh, don’t say that,” exclaimed the distressed seeker, “I really want salvation; I’d do anything or go anywhere to obtain it.” “I’m sorry,” replied the other, “you’re too late for that.  Your salvation was completed many hundreds of years ago at Calvary.  It’s finished work! All you have to do is simply receive Christ.  Then the blessed gift He offers will become yours through His merits.  Realizing his great debt was paid, the young man found peace by looking to the Savior and resting his all upon the grace of God.”

            Jesus completely finished the work of salvation on the cross.  There is nothing to be added.  John 19:30  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  Heb 1:3  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

            Salvation is received by faith  Rom 3:28  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.   John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  After hearing the gospel explained, people often say, “You mean there’s nothing I can do to deserve it?  That’s too easy.” It seems natural for people to object to the idea that God’s unmerited favor can be given so freely to unworthy sinners.  Many find it difficult to trust a God who offers salvation as a free gift.

            Bible teacher G. Campbell Morgan told of a coal miner who came to him and said, “I would give anything to believe that God would forgive my sins, but I cannot believe that He will forgive them if I just ask Him.  It is too cheap.”  Morgan said, “My dear friend, have you been working today?” “Yes, I was down in the mine.” “How did you get out of the pit?  Did you pay?” “Of course not.  I just got into to cage and was pulled to the top.” “Were you not afraid to entrust yourself to that cage?  Was it not too cheap?” Morgan asked. “Oh no,” said the miner, “it was cheap for me, but it cost the company a lot of money to sink the shaft.” Suddenly the truth struck him.  What had not cost him anything — salvation — had not come cheap to God.  This miner had never thought of the great price God paid to send His Son so He could rescue fallen humanity.  Now he realized that all anyone had to do was to “get into the cage” by faith.

 

LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS BY FAITH, NOT LAW   Unfortunately too often those who come to Jesus for salvation by grace then try to live the Christian life by law.  They put themselves under some form of legalism.  They are motivated by fear, guilt, pride, etc. and feel they have to do (or not do) something to earn or deserve something from God.  This is a very wrong motive for serving God and living for Him.  We live the Christian life the same way we entered the Christian life – by grace.   Gal 3:1-3  You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.  I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

            There once was a man whose wife died and so he hired a housekeeper to help with the home and the children.  Each morning he would leave a list of what he wanted her to do: wash clothes, shop for food, iron, etc.  She would do what was on the list and at the end of the week get her pay check.  After awhile they became friends and eventually fell in love and married. When they returned home after the honeymoon the woman found she was doing the same work she had done before: clean, shop, iron, etc.  However now there was no list and there was no paycheck.  She was doing the same thing but for a higher motive: love. 

 

            That is how God wants us to serve and obey Him, out of love.  He doesn’t want us living for Him out of fear of rejection.  He doesn’t want us living for Him out of guilt, or trying to earn or deserve His blessing.  He freely loves us and wants us to respond to that grace by loving Him back.   I Jn 4:19  We love because he first loved us.  That’s not too much to ask.  We want our children to follow our wishes, not out of fear or guilt or trying to earn our approval but because they love and trust us and want to do so.  The same is true of our heavenly Father. 

            Salvation is by grace.  Christian living is by grace.  It’s just our pride that steps in and says we must add or do something.  Our pride keeps us from accepting something freely given (it’s free to us, but salvation is anything but free — the cross shows the tremendous price that was paid for it).  It’s all by grace.  Grace is truly amazing.  Amazing grace!

            Like the saying goes: “Try it, you’ll like it!”

 

           

 

 

 

 

MORMONISM By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

Joseph Smith (born in Vt., 1805; found & translated the ‘plates’ in NY in 1827; killed in Ill. 1844)

Bringham Young was his assistant and replaced him

 

NAME

Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints

Mormons (after Book of Mormon)

 

AUTHORITY

Book of Mormon = translation of golden plates Joseph Smith found in New York, record of immigration of Jews from Jerusalem to North America about 600 BC, who became one of the ancestors of     American Indians.  Says Jesus visited them after resurrection.  Full of religious teachings      complimenting the Bible

Doctrine & Covenants = things revealed to Joseph Smith and the Prophets: celestial marriage, Negroes rejected, polygamy, etc.

Pearl of Great Price = missing pieces of Old Testament by Abraham, found by Smith in an Egyptian       tomb and translated from papyri

Bible = use their own translation of it, give it secondary importance

 

VIEW of GOD

“A man is, God once was.  As God is, man may become.”  (Adam was a Mormon from another planet   who came here with his wives and, after starting human race, went to heaven and became ‘God’

Polythiestic = many gods

Polygamy = to populate planet they go to (“celestial” marriages now)

Pre-existent souls = Adam & wives mated in heaven to create souls which await earthly bodies

            (whites only, blacks inferior, create own souls, can’t be in priesthood or in heaven)

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

Strongly disbelieve in the Trinity

 

VIEW of CHRIST

1st soul of Adam & wife = Jesus (2nd soul was Satan, so they are brothers)

No Virgin Birth, just our ‘elder brother’ (sinful like us, died for Adam’s sin,  not ours)

Wedding at Cana was when he married Mary, Mary & Martha, had many children

            (disciples polygamous, too) – this was the real reason He was persecuted

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

“Fluid” – not a person (obtained by laying on of hands) – only one place at a time

 

VIEW of SIN

Adam’s sin started the human race, therefore it was necessary and all right

No sin nature, only acts of ‘mistakes,’ sin downplayed – paid for by good works

 

VIEW of SALVATION

By works, especially for LDS church

ALL will be saved, but to be a ‘god’ must work your way up in this life (baptism for the dead)

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No heaven or hell  (all saved, just different degrees of reward)

Christ rule 1,000 yrs in Independence, MI (“New Jerusalem”) then second chance for all

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE

CHRISTIAN LIFE

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, FAITH HEALING, NORMAN VINCENT PEALE & ROBERT SCHULER)

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            A widow who had successfully raised a very large family was being interviewed by a reporter.  In addition to six children of her own, she had adopted 12 other youngsters, and through it all she had maintained stability and an air of confidence.  When asked the secret of her outstanding accomplishment, her answer to the newsman was quite surprising.  She said “I managed so well because I’m in a partnership!”  “What do you mean?” he inquired. The woman replied, “Many years ago I said, ‘Lord, I’ll do the work and You do the worrying.’  And I haven’t had an anxious care since.”  That’s just how God wants us to live each day — trusting in Him for His provision while we do what He would have us do, no matter how hard it may seem.

            Living by faith is the key to the Christian life.  Some have the idea that living for God means everything will be fine and perfect, but then there is no faith necessary.  The Christian life is not always smooth and easy.  Faith is necessary to stay faithful and focused when things are hard and painful.  Faith only grows when it is challenged and stretched.  Like a physical muscle needs resistance to force it to grow stronger, so our faith muscles need opposition to become stronger.  That is what living the Christian life is all about.  It’s a life-long process of growing spiritually.

GROWTH “Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18) Peter states. Growing in grace means growing in daily Christian experience (external).  Growing in knowledge means learning God’s Word (internal).  Both are necessary.  We enter God’s family by the new birth (John 3).  After physical or spiritual birth, growth is expected.  A baby who doesn’t grow is considered sickly and abnormal (I Cor 13:11).  The same is true after spiritual birth (I Cor 3:1-3). 

VITAL SIGNS OF LIFE  We know our physical bodies are alive because we see evidence of it: pulse, breathing, etc.  I John shows some spiritual vital signs, showing there is spiritual life.  These include believing in Jesus (5:1), desiring to have victory over sin (5:18; 3:9), progress in victory over sin (5:4) and love for other Christians (3:14). 

COMMUNICATION  It doesn’t take long for a newborn to communicate their needs.  First it is crying, then action, and finally words.  Part of our spiritual growth includes growing in our communication skills with God: prayer, meditation, listening to Him and learning His will. 

FEEDING  Babies automatically, instantly want to eat.  With new life comes the desire for nourishment (I Cor 3:1-3).  Spiritually we are to have an appetite for and feed on the Bible.  When a person loses his physical appetite, it is a sing of sickness and poor health.  The same is true spiritually.  We need regular nourishment from God’s Word to grow spiritually.

WALKING  Babies need to learn to walk.  This is a gradual process, one step at a time.  It takes balance, timing and strength.  It means getting up when one falls down.  Muscles must be stretched to the limit to grow stronger.  Spiritually, too, those who are born again are to walk by faith, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit (John 16:7; Eph 5:18).  We can’t walk by our own strength but only in His (John 15:1-8).  Obstacles and trials which block our path are to be overcome by faith.  We are to faithfully persevere and keep walking in Jesus’ footsteps, becoming more and more like Jesus.  Walking downhill is easy, but going uphill against obstructions takes faith.  This is a normal part of Christian living.  We can’t think something is wrong with us if there are struggles for they are to be expected.  Some teach that if we think positive thoughts that mainly good things will happen to us.  Others believe that if we have enough faith we won’t have to endure life’s pains and unpleasentries.  Neither of these are true.

PROTECTION FROM DISEASE  Life is dangerous — physically and spiritually.  New-borns are especially vulnerable to disease and danger.  Germs are everywhere.  Spiritually we face danger from sin, Satan and the world.  Protection only comes from keeping our eyes on Jesus.

WASHING  Babies often need cleaning, for getting dirty is a part of life! They are born pure but soon contaminated.  Spiritually we are clean when born again, but need constant washing by the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all sin (I John 1:9).  This is done by confession.  If a person doesn’t cleanse themselves, they will become sickly and unhealthy.  The same is true spiritually. 

FAMILY SUPPORT Babies are born into families for they can’t live on their own.  They need help from those already grown.  Spiritually, too, new believers need fellowship with more mature believers to help them grow and mature as they should.

REST  There must be rest for growth to take place.  Growth is stinted when where is no sleep or rest.  Spiritually, too, we must rest in Jesus, pace ourselves, and not overwork.  Growth comes in spurts in human bodies and nature in general.  Growth isn’t continual, it comes is cycles of growth followed by rest when that growth is assimilated deeper in preparation for the next growth spurt.  The same is true spiritually.  Don’t expect to be stretching and growing all the time.  It, too, comes in spurts.

            Remember, only God brings growth.  We can’t make ourselves grow, but we can provide the right conditions for God to bring the growth.  After salvation growth is the natural expected result.  We live for Jesus not to gain or keep our salvation, but in appreciation of being freely given it.  Our first major decision is to accept or reject God’s free gift of salvation.  This costs us nothing, Jesus paid it all.  We merely accept it and our sins are gone for all eternity.  We will be with God forever in heaven.  After we accept this free gift, though, we have another decision: how are we now going to live our lives each day.  Will we live for ourselves, as before salvation.  Or will we live for Jesus, submitting to Him and being His servant.  This step does cost us, and it affects our live on this earth.  Jesus called this being a disciple.  In salvation we freely accept, here we give of ourselves to live for Jesus each moment of each day.  This is the basis for living the Christian life.  One can’t really live or grow spiritually until this commitment is made.  When it is made, though, we aren’t to assume things will be smooth or easy for us.  Trials and difficulties stretch our faith and help us grow more like Jesus.  We turn closer to God for help and comfort.  Others see His power as we respond to life’s trials in a Christ-like manner.  This is what living the Christian life is all about.  It’s a privilege, but also a responsibility.  You can’t live the Christian life if you aren’t a Christian.  But just being a Christian (having been born into God’s family) doesn’t automatically mean you are living the Christian life.  Check yourself: do you have spiritual life (born again)?  Are you committed to living for Jesus instead of yourself?  Do you show the signs of life?  Are you growing in your communication, nourishment, walk and so forth?  Living for Jesus is the best you of a life.

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE

CHRISTIAN LIFE

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

            A widow who had successfully raised a very large family was being interviewed by a reporter.  In addition to six children of her own, she had adopted 12 other youngsters, and through it all she had maintained stability and an air of confidence.  When asked the secret of her outstanding accomplishment, her answer to the newsman was quite surprising.  She said “I managed so well because I’m in a partnership!”  “What do you mean?” he inquired. The woman replied, “Many years ago I said, ‘Lord, I’ll do the work and You do the worrying.’  And I haven’t had an anxious care since.”  That’s just how God wants us to live each day — trusting in Him for His provision while we do what He would have us do, no matter how hard it may seem.

            Living by faith is the key to the Christian life.  Some have the idea that living for God means everything will be fine and perfect, but then there is no faith necessary.  The Christian life is not always smooth and easy.  Faith is necessary to stay faithful and focused when things are hard and painful.  Faith only grows when it is challenged and stretched.  Like a physical muscle needs resistance to force it to grow stronger, so our faith muscles need opposition to become stronger.  That is what living the Christian life is all about.  It’s a life-long process of growing spiritually.

GROWTH “Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18) Peter states. Growing in grace means growing in daily Christian experience (external).  Growing in knowledge means learning God’s Word (internal).  Both are necessary.  We enter God’s family by the new birth (John 3).  After physical or spiritual birth, growth is expected.  A baby who doesn’t grow is considered sickly and abnormal (I Cor 13:11).  The same is true after spiritual birth (I Cor 3:1-3). 

VITAL SIGNS OF LIFE  We know our physical bodies are alive because we see evidence of it: pulse, breathing, etc.  I John shows some spiritual vital signs, showing there is spiritual life.  These include believing in Jesus (5:1), desiring to have victory over sin (5:18; 3:9), progress in victory over sin (5:4) and love for other Christians (3:14). 

COMMUNICATION  It doesn’t take long for a newborn to communicate their needs.  First it is crying, then action, and finally words.  Part of our spiritual growth includes growing in our communication skills with God: prayer, meditation, listening to Him and learning His will. 

FEEDING  Babies automatically, instantly want to eat.  With new life comes the desire for nourishment (I Cor 3:1-3).  Spiritually we are to have an appetite for and feed on the Bible.  When a person loses his physical appetite, it is a sing of sickness and poor health.  The same is true spiritually.  We need regular nourishment from God’s Word to grow spiritually.

WALKING  Babies need to learn to walk.  This is a gradual process, one step at a time.  It takes balance, timing and strength.  It means getting up when one falls down.  Muscles must be stretched to the limit to grow stronger.  Spiritually, too, those who are born again are to walk by faith, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit (John 16:7; Eph 5:18).  We can’t walk by our own strength but only in His (John 15:1-8).  Obstacles and trials which block our path are to be overcome by faith.  We are to faithfully persevere and keep walking in Jesus’ footsteps, becoming more and more like Jesus.  Walking downhill is easy, but going uphill against obstructions takes faith.  This is a normal part of Christian living.  We can’t think something is wrong with us if there are struggles for they are to be expected.  Some teach that if we think positive thoughts that mainly good things will happen to us.  Others believe that if we have enough faith we won’t have to endure life’s pains and unpleasentries.  Neither of these are true.

PROTECTION FROM DISEASE  Life is dangerous — physically and spiritually.  New-borns are especially vulnerable to disease and danger.  Germs are everywhere.  Spiritually we face danger from sin, Satan and the world.  Protection only comes from keeping our eyes on Jesus.

WASHING  Babies often need cleaning, for getting dirty is a part of life! They are born pure but soon contaminated.  Spiritually we are clean when born again, but need constant washing by the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all sin (I John 1:9).  This is done by confession.  If a person doesn’t cleanse themselves, they will become sickly and unhealthy.  The same is true spiritually. 

FAMILY SUPPORT Babies are born into families for they can’t live on their own.  They need help from those already grown.  Spiritually, too, new believers need fellowship with more mature believers to help them grow and mature as they should.

REST  There must be rest for growth to take place.  Growth is stinted when where is no sleep or rest.  Spiritually, too, we must rest in Jesus, pace ourselves, and not overwork.  Growth comes in spurts in human bodies and nature in general.  Growth isn’t continual, it comes is cycles of growth followed by rest when that growth is assimilated deeper in preparation for the next growth spurt.  The same is true spiritually.  Don’t expect to be stretching and growing all the time.  It, too, comes in spurts.

            Remember, only God brings growth.  We can’t make ourselves grow, but we can provide the right conditions for God to bring the growth.  After salvation growth is the natural expected result.  We live for Jesus not to gain or keep our salvation, but in appreciation of being freely given it.  Our first major decision is to accept or reject God’s free gift of salvation.  This costs us nothing, Jesus paid it all.  We merely accept it and our sins are gone for all eternity.  We will be with God forever in heaven.  After we accept this free gift, though, we have another decision: how are we now going to live our lives each day.  Will we live for ourselves, as before salvation.  Or will we live for Jesus, submitting to Him and being His servant.  This step does cost us, and it affects our live on this earth.  Jesus called this being a disciple.  In salvation we freely accept, here we give of ourselves to live for Jesus each moment of each day.  This is the basis for living the Christian life.  One can’t really live or grow spiritually until this commitment is made.  When it is made, though, we aren’t to assume things will be smooth or easy for us.  Trials and difficulties stretch our faith and help us grow more like Jesus.  We turn closer to God for help and comfort.  Others see His power as we respond to life’s trials in a Christ-like manner.  This is what living the Christian life is all about.  It’s a privilege, but also a responsibility.  You can’t live the Christian life if you aren’t a Christian.  But just being a Christian (having been born into God’s family) doesn’t automatically mean you are living the Christian life.  Check yourself: do you have spiritual life (born again)?  Are you committed to living for Jesus instead of yourself?  Do you show the signs of life?  Are you growing in your communication, nourishment, walk and so forth?  Living for Jesus is the best you of a life.

 

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE

 ‘FAITH HEALING’

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

 

          There are those today who believe that Jesus not only paid for sin on the cross, but that He also paid for our sickness.  They say that each is received by faith, if you have enough faith to receive it.  Loss of faith, then, causes the loss of these benefits of faith.  They claim some are especially gifted in healing and can heal those who come to them.  They say God did miracles in the Bible and he is still a miracle-working God today. 

          What about this?  Is this true?  This is not just one peripheral issue, but stands very central in our salvation and Christian life.  Is God’s sovereignty or man’s free will the final and ultimate deciding factor?  It must be God’s sovereignty.  The motive for living for Jesus should not be fear of losing our salvation.  The goal of living for Jesus should not be a problem free life.  Pain and suffering isn’t to be faced by whipping up enough ‘faith’ so that God removes it (or living with the feelings of failure and guilt if it isn’t removed and we believe that  is our fault by not having enough faith). What about these claims of ‘faith healers’?  What does the Bible say?

 

IS THE GIFT OF HEALING FOR TODAY?  While it’s true that Jesus and the Apostles healed, it was done as a sign to authenticate that they were from God (Mt 12:39).  This was God’s way having people listen to them instead of all the counterfeits around.  When they were fully authenticated, there was no longer any reason for the sign.  In AD 35 all were healed but by AD 60 some were not (Epaphroditus, Paul’s thorn in the flesh).  Then by AD 67 very few were being healed (Trophimus was left at Miletus sick, Timothy’s stomach was unhealed, etc.).  Jerusalem, the scene of many early miracles, had not one miracle done in it after Stephen was stoned.  The people had the evidence but rejected it.  James, the oldest book in the Bible, says that if someone is sick we are to pray for them (James 5:14). 

SHOULD WE SEE MIRACLES TODAY LIKE IN BIBLE TIMES?  Actually if you list all the miracles in the Bible you will find almost all of them fit three time periods.  They aren’t evenly spread out throughout history but cluster in the times of Moses/Joshua, Elijah/Elisha and Jesus/apostles.  In each of these times a new mess had developed so God sent a new message through a new messenger whom He authenticated by miracles (“signs”).  One more time of miracles is coming, called the Tribulation. 

IS FAITH A PREREQUISITE FOR HEALING?  Jesus didn’t make faith a requirement for healing.  Many that He healed didn’t have faith.  The impotent man at the pool didn’t even know who He was.  The man with the withered hand and the man with dropsy were healed as a sign to religious leaders who were present, they didn’t ask to be healed.  The cripple that Peter and Paul healed outside the temple didn’t exercise any faith.  Of course the demoniacs who were delivered and those brought back from the dead didn’t exercise faith.  Then there are others who had strong faith but weren’t healed: Stephen, Paul, Timothy, Job, David, Elisha, etc.

IS ‘HEALING’ TODAY THE SAME AS IN BIBLE TIMES?  Today’s ‘healers’ must meet the same characteristics of Jesus and the apostles to claim they are doing what was done then.  Jesus and the apostles healed with a word or touch wherever and whenever.  There was no special place or time, no chants or music, no gimmicks, nothing.  Do today’s faith healers walk down the hall in a hospital and empty every room?  That’s how Jesus and Peter did it.  Also, Bible miracles were done instantly, not gradually or slowly.  There was no healing to ‘claim’ or lose.  Healing was then done totally, not partially, and it was never lost.  Everyone was healed.  There was no screening done.  100% of every one, no matter the need, was healed.  Organic diseases were healed: limbs grew back instantly, strong enough to walk on, eyes were open, leprosy instantly gone and healthy flesh gown.  Then, too, the dead were raised.  Today’s faith healing doesn’t nearly meet these characteristics.

DOES GOD NOT HEAL?  Yes, a sovereign God can always heal.  He is always able to heal, but He is not always willing.  Healing isn’t guaranteed.  Healing isn’t based on our having enough faith.  Miracles by Jesus and the apostles were done as a sign to authenticate the One who could heal an unseen soul.  God can and does heal, but He doesn’t gift others to do it, nor does He say that is the recommended norm for His people.

WHAT ARE WE TO DO WHEN SICK?  When we are sick its good to first make sure it isn’t for sin or disobedience.  If there is sin that God is using the sickness to point out, confess it and God will forgive and then use that illness for good (Romans 8:28).  It’s fine to pray, asking God to heal if that is His will.  We are to submit to His will, not demand He do what we want.  Ask Him to use the pain and suffering for His glory (that we and others can see His greatness through His provision and peace) and our growth(make us trust Him more and become more like Jesus).  Use the best available resources: diet, rest, exercise and medical help.  Realize that all healing does ultimately come from God.  Leave the results to His will, though. 

 

          Granted, this whole subject of faith and healing can be a confusing and guilt-producing area.  Specific verses can be found to seemingly support most any view.  However an overview of the Bible and it’s teaching about these things definitely seems to substantiate the above view of healing.  Always remember, our faith must be in Jesus.  HE is the object of our faith, never a human person or group.  Put faith in Jesus, not faith in your faith!  HE is the one we are to look to and glorify.  Always keep your eyes on Him.  Trust and serve Him no matter what.

 

 

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE                           By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

MARY BAKER EDDY, born 1812 NH, Congregationalist, saved in teens, devout family

            Frequently ill, experiments with various kinds of healing (emotional, unstable)

P. P. QUIMBY, faith healer, laid hands on, convinced person not really sick, called it ‘Christian Science’

She claimed to be healed by him, then stole his ideas

Became spiritualist medium, good at influencing people and getting money

1866 founded Christian Science, claimed it was the 2nd coming of Christ

            taught her ‘science’ for $300 (12 lessons), they called selves “Dr” and charged others

NAME

Not Christian or Science!

AUTHORITY

Christian Science the revelation, MB Eddy the revelator.  Can’t know the revelation without knowing her

            She was the way to God

“Science and Health” (given her by God) very poor and inaccurate until edited by Unitarian minister

Bible is God’s Word, but not inspired, has 300,000 errors

VIEW of GOD

Impersonal “it” – just ‘mind,” not personal

Pantheists (God is all, all is God) no god apart from creation, we are all part of ‘god’ (like Hinduism)

God is mind, what He created is mind, not matter (matter is unreal, doesn’t really exist)

VIEW of the TRINITY

No such thing, whole idea “suggests heathen gods”

VIEW of CHRIST

No virgin birth (Mary conceived idea of God & named it ‘Jesus’) Jesus = Mary’s spiritual thoughts

Not God, just human man who demonstrated the Christ principle (ideal truth)

Did miracles by realizing there was no material, nothing wrong – not really sick, just think so

Didn’t die (realized there was no such thing) and hid in grave

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

No such thing, substitute “Life, Truth and Love”

Mary Baker Eddy the “Comforter” – fulfilled prophecy of Christ to send Comforter

VIEW of SIN

No sin, Satan, evil – just wrong belief in mind; man really perfect, sinless, unfallen; no right or wrong

VIEW of SALVATION

“Blood of Christ shed on the cross is no more good to cleanse from sin than when it was flowing in His veins.”

Salvation = progression to perfection (following Jesus’ example in doing this)

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No heaven or hell, death just an illusion

Can’t say “I am sick,” like saying “God is sick.”  “Truth set you free from illusion of sin, sickness & death”

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE

CHURCH

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF METHODISTS, PRESBYTERIANS, LUTHERANS, ETC.)

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            The emperor Diocletian set up a stone pillar on which was inscribed these words:  For Having Exterminated The Name Christian From the Earth.  If he could see that monument today, how embarrassed he would be!  Another Roman leader made a coffin, symbolizing his intention “to bury the Galilean” by killing His followers.  He soon learned that he could not “put the Master in it”.  He finally surrendered his heart to the Savior, realizing that the corporate body of Christ and its living Head, the Lord Jesus, cannot be destroyed by the onslaught of mortal men.

            The history of the church has been represented by the Waldensians in a picture of an anvil with many worn-out hammers lying all around it.  Beneath this scene are the words:  One Anvil — Many Hammers. Organized religion may fail; but the living organism composed of all born-again believers will stand forever.  God is calling out of this world a people for His name who will dwell with Him throughout eternity.   It is called the ‘church.’  Nothing, not even hell itself, will be able to destroy this church (Matthew 16:18).

 

THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH  The Greek word translated ‘church’ (ekklesia) means “a called out group.”  It was used of a local assembly or gathering of people.  In the New Testament it refers to those who have accepted Jesus as Savior during the time period starting with the resurrection and ending with the Rapture.  It is the Bride of Christ.  Those who accept Jesus before or after that time are part of redeemed Israel, not the Body of Christ.  The church truly has a special position in God’s plan and program.  He is the Head, we are the Body.  He is the Groom, we are the Bride.  We are a distinct people of God, not part of Israel and not replacing Israel in God’s plan.  Basically the church is everyone from every country, of every age and background, who is a born-again person from the resurrection to the Rapture.  The church is not basically a building, denomination, or local group of people but each one who is saved during the Church Age. 

 

 

THE LOCAL CHURCH  Still, the Bible does talk about the local church (“assembling, gathering”) as well as the universal church.  Local churches all are part of the universal church.  While there seem to be many more factions and divisions among the church than is necessary, one can understand that a variety of local church groups is necessary to meet all the individual needs, backgrounds and commitments people bring with them. 

            What is the local church?  Basically it is a group of believers, only secondarily is it a building or denomination.  Someone has said the church is a hospital for sinners, not a display case for saints.  The church is not an ark for the saving of just a select few or a ferryboat to take effortless passengers to the shores of heaven.  It is not an eternal life insurance company, nor is it a social set which welcomes certain people and excludes all others.  Rather, the church is a lifeboat for the rescue of sin-wrecked and perishing souls.  It is a family, in which love and service are expected from each person to each person.  It is the representative, the ‘body,’ of Jesus Christ on earth, reflecting His spirit and controlled by His will.  The purpose of the local church is two-fold.  It is to go to those without and share the plan of salvation with them.  It is to take the good news of Jesus to a lost and dying world.  It is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.  Often it fails miserably, though. More than a hundred years ago D. L. Moody lashed out as a loving critic to certain parts of the church of his time for its misappropriation of energies.  The church reminded him, he said, of firemen straightening pictures on the wall of a burning house. In a single sentence he drew a vivid picture of what any of us can become in any generation when we forget the basic activities given to us by the Lord of the church.

            The church also exists to meet the needs of its members.  Any Body needs to meet the needs of its parts for each part to function in a healthy manner.  This takes balance between teaching (God communicating to man), worship (man communicating to God) and fellowship (man communicating to man).  They must all be present.  Teaching & learning God’s Word (hearing from God) must come first, though (Acts 2:42).

            Following the analogy of the human body, each person in the church is gifted at the moment of salvation with a particular gift mix to be used for the sake of others in the Body (I Cor 12).  These gifts are to be used together for each other (I Cor 12, 14), encouraging, helping and building each other up in Jesus.  This is how the church is to function.

            The Holy Spirit is the power source for the church, Whom Jesus sent after ascending to heaven.  He gives the wisdom, power, strength, gifts, guidance, direction and grace needed to function for God.

            The Bible doesn’t give any strict commands about church government.  There were spiritual leaders (elder/pastor/bishop) and physical leaders (deacon) who divided the responsibility.  As to more than that, if one bishop ruled many churches, each person in the local church had an equal say, or if it was somewhere in between, we don’t know. History records all types of church governments.  That isn’t a Biblical absolute.  Meeting spiritual and then physical needs is required, though.

 

‘CHRISTIAN’ CHURCH TODAY  The Christian church today is divided into three main groups: Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant.  This is the main breakdown of the Christian church.  Among Protestants it is broken down even further.  Divisions are on the basis of theological belief (Calvin vrs Arminian; liberal vrs conservative, etc.), historical and cultural beginnings (denominations like Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anabaptist, etc.) or geographical locations (by country, language spoken, etc.).  Still, each one who has accepted Jesus as Savior, if in one of these groups or not, is part of God’s real church, His Body and Bride, that will rule and reign with Him for ever and ever.

            Dick Halverson, the Chaplain of the Senate, notes: In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise.  Let’s make it and keep it the Body of Christ here on earth. 

 

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

ANGELS

(& AN EVALUATION OF AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIONS)

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            Since the mid-1990’s there has been a resurgence of popular interest in angels.  This interest has manifested itself in such diverse phenomena as the proliferation of celestial iconography on greeting cards and household objects, a number of television specials, movies  and weekly series devoted to encounters with angels, cover articles in Time, Newsweek, USA Today and other magazines, comics (Rose is Rose, etc.) based on angel contacts, books about angel manifestations and experiences people have had with angels, the great success of Tony Kushman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Angels in America,” and even the appearance of “angelology” among the course offerings n some colleges.  

 

            The positive side is that it’s nicer to see a focus on angels than on Satan and demons. The negative side is that Jesus is entirely left out as is any mention of salvation only by the blood of Jesus. Seldom is ‘God’ included, and then usually just in a weak background role.  Angels are to bring honor and glory to God, not to themselves.  Plus, in the Bible they never appear to help unbelievers (those who haven’t been saved by faith in God as provided by Jesus on the cross).  They do announce judgment to unbelievers, but that is the only minimal contact they have with them.

            How does today’s emphasis on angels compare with what the Bible says?  Lets look at the truth about angels and see.

 

CREATION OF ANGELS  God created the angels before the world was created (Job 38:6-7), the same time He planned to create each one of us (and already knew us in His mind).  He created an “innumerable” number of angels (Heb. 12:22; Rev 5:11).  No angels have been created or destroyed since then.  The number is exactly the same.  People who die do NOT become angels, in eternity we have a position greater than the angels will have (I Cor 6:3). 

 

PERSONALITY OF ANGELS  God created angels and humans in His image in that we all have a mind to rationally think and reason (I Peter 1:12), emotions to feel and experience (Luke 2:13), and a free will to choose our destiny (Jude 6).  Soon after creation, the top angel (Lucifer, now called Satan Ezekiel 28:12-15) used his free will to rebel against God (II Thes 2:4) and as a result was kicked out of heaven (Isa 14:12-15, Ezek 28:15-17; Luke 10:18).  The angels then had a one-time choice to follow Satan or God.  About one third (Rev. 12:4) followed Satan in his rebellion and also lost their first position, now being called demons.  This was the only time angels ever had an opportunity to exercise their free will.  They are now ‘locked in’ and cannot change their state (angels cannot feel to becoming demons, demons cannot move up to being angels).  Angels do not know what it is to experience God’s grace in their lives.  That is why they are so interested in watching us as we talk and live (I Pet 1:12) for our lives show God’s grace and love in operation in a way they don’t personally experience.  They are impressed with God and His mercy on us undeserving people. 

 

NATURE  Angels are spirit beings.  They are not like God in that they do not know everything.  They are limited to being at one place at a time.  They are not all powerful or all knowing (Ps 103:20; II Thes 1:7).  They have no physical body, but sometimes do appear in the form of a person (Heb 13:1).  This is to help God’s people in need.  Some have wings to show power and glory, but not all have wings.  While possessing all the traits we would call ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine,’ angels are always referred to as masculine.  Male pronouns are always used.  Angels are different, just like people are different: different abilities and functions in God’s service, different traits and skills.  Angels can’t and don’t reproduce (Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25), although it does seem that demons somehow impregnated women before the flood in Noah’s day (Genesis 6:1-4).  Angels never die (Luke 20:36).

 

ORGANIZATION  Angels (and also demons) are organized in a military-like fashion with generals, colonels, lieutenants, sergeants, privates, etc.  They are called archangels, princes, rulers, seraphim, etc. (Rom 8:38; Eph 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:5).  Some have leadership over geographical areas, others over groups of people (as Michael seems to be the archangel caring for Israel).

 

 

DUTIES  The Greek word for ‘angel’ (‘angelos’) means “messenger.”  Actually the word is just transliterated in our Bibles (English letters replace Greek letters but the word is the same).  Were it translated into English we would have the word “messenger” every time ‘angel’ appears.  That is basically their function — messengers (servants) of God.  They are God’s servants who help God’s people (Heb 1:14). Individual angels seem assigned to children and believers (Acts 12:12) to help them in special ways.  God could use His sovereign power to do things such as prevent an automobile accident, have a child fall safely and not be hurt, discover a set of lost keys, or similar actions, but usually He has His angels do that work. They protect God’s people (Psalm 34:7; 91:12; Matthew 18:10).  They bring answers to prayers (Acts 12:7), although sometimes demons oppose them and the answers are delayed (Dan. 10:10-21).  Angels watch and learn from believers (I Cor 4:9; I Tim 5:2).  They encourage us in danger (Acts 27:23-24).  They even help in evangelism (Lk 15:10; Acts 8:26).  They care for God’s people when they die (Lk 16:22; Jude 9).  They fight against demons (Revelation 12). 

 

OUR RESPONSE TO ANGELS  We are not to try and contact angels, they will minister to us as God directs.  I’m sure we all have been recipients of angelic ministrations numerous times without knowing it.  Angels are always present around us, especially when we gather with other believers in Jesus’ name.  However we never can see them unless God opens our eyes in a special way (II Kings 6:17).  It’s quite likely you have seen angels, but in appearance as people (Heb 13:2) and therefore not recognized as an angel.  That stranger who just happens to show up at the right time to provide help or assistance, whom we called an ‘angel,’ might well have been one! 

            We are not to focus on angels or worship them (Rev 19:10).  They are created to bring honor and glory to God, they are His servants.  The same is true of us, too.  When you hear of or think of angels, think of the great God who created them to help us and serve Him.  Give Him the praise and honor and glory and attention, not angels.  He alone is worthy of all praise (Rev 4:11; 5:9,11).  “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”  (Rev 4:11).

 

 

NATIVE AMERICANS                     By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

AUTHORITY

Traditions passed on from generation to generations, enforced by shammans/witch doctor

 

VIEW of GOD

A spiritual force that is the source of all life, a formless power manifested by the sun (sign & symbol)

Seen as light & life-power (sun); or as fertility & strength (earth); or as wisdom & power (jaguar, bear, snake)

Panthiestic – man, animals and plants not really different — all dependent on life-giving source

            (similar to Hinduism and New Age – which is why popular today)

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

No such thing

 

VIEW of CHRIST

No knowledge of Him

 

CONTACT WITH GOD

God contacted by hallucinogenic plants (peyote), fasting, singing prayers, pain, exposure – until in            trance and attain spiritual vision (to be a man spirit-guide often found this way)

Private prayer & public ritual common

Symbolic dances, processions & feasts (Sun Dance, etc.)

            spring: crops & fertility; autumn: thanks for harvest

Long-stemmed pipe to blow tobacco-smoke incense to symbolize the power of the Almighty

Totems (poles or jewelry) to contact demons

Talismans and amulets used: Kachina dolls (idol), fetishes (feathers, crystals, plants, etc), medicine         pouches worn (power focus)

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

God is Spirit (“Great Spirit”) – very spirit-oriented

See ‘spirits;’ in nature, weather, animals, trees, etc. – tried to appease them

            Demons counterfeit angels as “angels of light” (II Cor 11:14)

 

VIEW of SIN

No such thing

 

VIEW of SALVATION

No such thing

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

Little interest in an afterlife, assume souls of dead go to another part of the universe to have a pleasant    existence carrying on everyday activities

Souls of unhappy or evil persons may stay around their former homes, causing misfortunes

 

 

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

SATAN & DEMONS

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF SATANISM, OCCULT, SPIRITISM)

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            On the banks of the Amazon River live a species of large, colorful spiders.  When they spread themselves out they look exactly like the blossoms of a brilliant flower.  When bees and insects land on one to find pollen they find instead a spider that poisons and kills them.  Satan does the same thing with the occult today. 

            Unfortunately we live in a time when more people believe in the Loch Ness Monster than in Satan!  Some people who do believe in him tend to  made him smaller than he really is.

            Your devil is too small if your see Satan as merely a personification of evil.  The picture of a devil in a red suit with a tail and trident comes from ancient times when red stood for death, horns for power, and tails and cloven hoofs for bestiality.  Satan is a real, live personality, not a symbol of evil.

            Your devil is also too small if you consign him to long-ago times or far away places.  He is too small if you assume he leaves Christians alone (that’s one of his biggest lies, which he uses it to cover his tracks).  He is too small if you don’t think he is capable of performing miracles and other feats of power, or if you think you can recognize and defeat him on your own.  He is powerful, even using forces of nature such as lightning (Job 1:16) and strong wind (Job 1:19) to do his will.

            On the other hand some see Satan as more powerful than he is.  Your devil is too big is you see him as an evil god.  He is not equal to God, he is limited to one place at a time and does not have all knowledge.  You also see him as too big if you live in fear of him and avoid learning how to fight him.

NAMES  The names of Satan reveal a lot about him and his character.  He is called Satan (“adversary” of God and God’s people), Devil (“accuser” of Christians), the Wicked or Evil One (showing his essential nature), Enemy (to God’s people), Murderer, Deceiver, Beelzebub (“Prince of Demons”), Ruler of This World, Serpent, Dragon and Angel of Light (counterfeit light to deceive).  Surely these names clearly summarize what he is and does.

ORIGIN  Satan is God’s highest created being  (Ezek 28:11-15, Isa 14), the highest of all the angels.  He is not like God, not omnipresent, etc.  He was created to worship and bring glory to God, but because of pride wanted to be worshipped himself, so was cat out of heaven (Rev 12:3-4; Isa 14; Ezek 28).  About one third of the angels decided to agree with him and were also kicked out of heaven (Rev 12:4).  They are now called demons.

WORK TODAY  After enticing Adam and Eve to sin and getting authority over the world from them, Satan and his forces have continued trying to keep worship from God and getting it for themselves.  They blind the minds of unbelievers (II Cor 4:4) and snatch the Word from their hearts (Lk 8:12).  They do all they can to oppose God’s work (Rev 2:13).  Since they can’t attack God, they take their anger out on those who are God’s — His people (Jews and Christians today).  Satan and his forces tempt Christians to lie (Acts 5:3), accuse and slander them before God (Rev 12:10), hinder our work (I Thes 2:18), do anything possible to defeat us (Eph 6:11-12), tempt to immorality (I Cor 7:5) and incite persecution against us (Rev 2:10).

DEFEAT Satan and his forces are defeated foes, having given their all to destroy Jesus on the cross, but being beaten by Him instead (Heb 2:14-15; I Pt 3:18-22).  When Jesus returns Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire forever (Matthew 25:41; Rev 20:1-15). 

DEMONS  “Demon” means “destroyer.”  They are also called evil or unclean spirits, referring to the fact they don’t have a physical body.  They spread their sin and uncleanness any way they can.  They are spiritual terrorists, trying to destroy the work of God’s kingdom.  As with human terrorists, no one is safe from them, they are deadly serious and have no softness or mercy.  They serve Satan, who is their commander, and carry out his orders.  They receive the worship given to idols or anything other than God (I Corinthians 10:20).

ORGANIZATION  Satan organizes his demons in the same manner God has angels organized – in a military-like structure. These are similar to generals, colonels, majors, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, privates, etc. (Ephesians 6:12).  Usually a “strong man” (or ruler) is assigned to a task, and he has lesser demons under his command to help in the work (Matthew 12:25-29; Daniel 10:2-6, 12-14).  The names of these demons usually refer to their work (“Fear,” “Anger,” “Lust,” “Pride,” “Deception,” etc.).

DEATH, DARKNESS & SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS  In actuality all Satan’s forces operate in the realm of darkness (fear, deception, blindness, confusion, hopelessness, depression, self-pity, anger, revenge, suicide, death, etc.)  He blinds men to spiritual things (II Corinthians 4:4; I John 2:11).  He hardens minds and hearts to spiritual things (II Corinthians 3:14; Ephesians 4:18; Romans 1:21).  He does this to individuals as well as nations (i.e.: Israel Romans 11:7-10).  His purpose is to keep men from God’s light and salvation (II Corinthians 4:4).  God’s light is greater than Satan’s darkness (Genesis 1:14-19; John 1:5-9; 3:19-20; 8:12; 9:5; Matthew 17:2; Ephesians 5:8; I John 1:5-7; Revelation 21:11,23-24; 22:5; Isaiah 60:1).  Believers are in the light, not darkness (Acts 26:18; I Thessalonians 5:4-5; Colossians 1:12-13; John 8:12).

            The epitome of darkness is death.  Satan’s plan for man is death, just as God’s plan for man is life.  Satan is a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).  His name, Abaddon or Apollyon means “Destroyer.”  He tries to destroy physical (John 8:44; Mark 9:20-22; I John 3:12) or spiritual (II Corinthians 4:4) life.  Satan has power to bring death (Job 1:19; Luke 11:21-22; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 9:14-16), but because the power of death was destroyed at the cross (Hebrews 2:14-15) he cannot use that power without God’s permission (Job 2:6; Revelation 9:4).  Satan cannot separate us from God, even by death (Romans 8:38). 

OVERCOMING SATAN & HIS FORCES  God is greater than Satan and his forces (I John 4:4), so we need not fear them (Luke 10:17-19).  We must humble depend on God’s strength, not our own (James 4:6-7; 5:16).  Admit sin and open spots that Satan uses in your life (Psalm 32:5; 139:23-24), and confess any sin (I John 1:9).  Accept God’s forgiveness and, with His help, turn from the sin (Amos 3:3; Ezekiel 20:43).  In prayer claim back any openings Satan is using in your life (Acts 19:18-19; Matt 3:7-8).  Cover yourself with the armor of God each day (Eph 6:10-18). Stay in the Scriptures (Psalm 1:1-3).  The Word is a mirror (James 1:22-25) a lamp (Psalm 119:105) a cleanser (Ephesians 5;25-26) a sword (Hebrews 4:12) and food (I Peter 2:2; Matthew 4:4). Use it for all these.  Develop a life of continuous praise & prayer (I Thessalonians 5:17).  Stay in close fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 13:5).  Commit yourself to totally follow God (Ephesians 6:16).

FOR MORE INFORMATION on Satan, demons, angels, spiritual warfare, demonizing, wearing God’s armor and similar subjects see “Spiritual Warfare Mini-Handbook” by Jerry Schmoyer.

 

 

SATANISMBy Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

Satan Himself

1966 “Church of Satan” founded in USA, started by Anton LaVey (“Black Pope”)

 

NAME

After Satan

 

AUTHORITY

Satanic Bible

Traditions and beliefs passed from generation to generation in secret

 

VIEW of GOD

Good, better than Satan, but weak, unable to keep His promised, not as powerful as Satan

God is too distant, doesn’t get involved and care as Satan does

Satan is in control of the present world, so worship and serve him!

God is more powerful, but Satan is more personal and available

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

Recognize Christian belief in it, but choose to worship Satan as more powerful

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Recognize Christian belief in Him, but choose to worship Satan as more powerful

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

Recognize Christian belief in Him, but choose to worship Satan as more powerful

 

VIEW of SIN

Man has a sin nature which he must affirm and indulge

Ten commandments ineffective, only cause guilt, must reverse them to remove the guilt

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Not needed, no merit in Jesus’ death on the cross

Name written on “Book of Death”

Deny Christian faith, Rebaptism in Satan’s name

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

Worship hell as the throne of Satan, desire to be with him, not with God in heaven

 

OTHER DISTINGUISHING BELIEFS

Black Mass the central ritual, dress like priests but with goat symbol (picture of Satan), use upside down             cross, parodies & inversions of Christian prayers and creeds, animal sacrifices, ritualistic orgies, black host, real blood for juice, pray to Satan backwards, conclude with vows of special service         to Satan

Promise to pay annual tribute to Satan

 

SPIRITISM  By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

Oldest and most deadly cult, hated by God & destroyed by Jews

In America founded by the Fox sisters in New York in 1848

 

NAME

After the ‘spirits’ which they seek and which empower them

 

AUTHORITY

Bible same as all other religious books

Revelation today comes directly to mediums – teachings of the spirits supersedes and advances upon     the teachings of Christianity

 

VIEW of GOD

“Great Spirit,” impersonal, Panthiestic – not very concerned with God, focus on contacting the dead

PRINCIPLES:1. Fatherhood of God

                        2. Brotherhood of man

                        3. Continuous existence

                        4. Communion of spirits and ministry of angels

                        5. Personal responsibility

                        6. Compensation & retribution hereafter for good or evil done on earth

                        7. A path of endless progress

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Not divine, never claimed to be, no virgin birth, no atoning value in His death

An outstanding Jewish medium, ‘one’ with God by being a medium

“Materialized” after death, no bodily resurrection, not the founder of a religion

Christ-spirit on many teachers & mediums besides Jesus

            Any just and perfect being is a ‘Christ’

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

No such thing

 

VIEW of SIN

No sin, fall, sin nature; sin is relative, evil does not exist (evil is a necessary part of God’s plan so is OK)

Deny evil spirits, divine justice, punishment

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Not necessary or possible, not even by works

Man becomes own Savior, becomes better by communication with spirits, not by submission to God

Man makes his own happiness by how he lives.

‘Salvation’= returning to God-consciousness by reincarnation, occult arts, spirit      communication, etc.

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No evil spirits, hell, heaven, resurrection, judgment, etc.

 

MODERN PROPHETS               By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

OLD TEST. PROPHET

1. Chosen by God, not a volunteer

2. Belong to God, “My anointed ones”

3. Servant of God – most common title, take orders only from God, accountable only to Him

4. Patriot and reformer

5. Fight sin, speak out against sin

6. Turn men to God – revivalists

7. In God’s confidence, God revealed secrets to them

8. Visions by God (not occult means)

9. God speaks to them, “Thus says the Lord”

10. Revelation from God passed on to men

11. Mouthpiece of God, not focus on self

12. God’s message given, not just human opinion or advice

13. Used preaching and parables to communicate

14. Controlled by Holy Spirit, who spoke through him

15. Did miracles to prove his message was from God

16. Character was very godly

17. Quality of message was to uplift, edify

18. Effect on hearers was to lead to holy life

19. Must agree 100% with Bible and other prophets

20. 100% Fulfillment proved the prophet true

 

FALSE PROPHETS

1. Immoral life, especially compared to a true prophet

2. Religious opportunists, say what people want to hear to benefit self

3. Prophecy comes from self or Satan, not God

4. Proclaim optimistic message of false peace and prosperity

5. Lie and deceive to mislead (by Satan)

 

TEST of a PROPHET

100% TRUE PREDICTIONS – Deut 19:20-22

GODLY INFLUENCE ON OTHERS – Deut 13:1-5

IF NOT: STONED TO DEATH – Deut 13:6-11

 

FRUITFUL FIELDS for FALSE PROPHETS

1. Sinfulness

2. Seared conscience

3. Ignorant of sound Biblical truth

4. Don’t stick to sound doctrine

5. Those open to deception

6. Those who willfully reject the truth

7. Those discouraged, lack patience & faith to go God’s way

 

1 Tim 4:1-3  The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.  They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

MAN

 

(& AN EVALUATION OF NEW AGE, BUDDHISM, HINDUISM, HUMANISM & BAHAI)

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

 

          An American Indian tells about a brave who found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life, the changeling eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did what the prairie chickens did. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and flurry of feathers no more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that’s how prairie chickens were supposed to fly. Years passed. And the changeling eagle grew very old. One day, he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings. “What a beautiful bird!” said the changeling eagle to his neighbor. “What is it?” “That’s an eagle–the chief of the birds,” the neighbor clucked. “But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him.” So the changeling eagle never gave it another thought. And it died thinking it was a prairie chicken.

          Many people are like that today.  Despite all the New Age claims that we are ‘gods,’ all those without Christ are living an empty, earthbound existence, not realizing the tremendous blessing that is theirs by God’s creation.  Just who is this ‘eagle’ that so often chooses to live like a chicken?

 

MAN’S CREATION  God created man in His own image (Gen 1:27).  This means that man, like God (and the angels) has a mind (rational intelligence), a will (free to make his own choices) and emotions (can feel and experience).  Man was created on the 6th day of God’s creative activity (Gen 2:7-25), about six or seven thousand years ago. 

 

MAN’S NATURE  Man is different from animals in many ways.  Only man is made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), only man had God breathe life into him, and only man has an immaterial part that will live forever.  Man is physical (body) but also nonphysical (soul, spirit).  Some see the soul and spirit as separate parts of man, the soul being the part that relates to man and the spirit that which relates to God and only comes alive at the new birth (I Thes 5:23).  Others feel that the soul and spirit are used interchangeably (John 12:27; 13:21).  Whatever the breakdown, there is definitely a part of man that will live forever, in heaven or hell.

 

          Man is created not just a little higher than the animals, but a little lower than the angels.  The Bible says:  “You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings” (Psalm 8:5; Heb 2:7,9).   Modern man’s “greatest dilemma” is an identity crisis brought on by the fact that man is no longer viewed as a little lower than the angels. We almost all think of ourselves as a little higher than the animals (or on an equal footing with them).   The central teaching of the Scripture about the dignity of man is that we have been imputed or infused by God with a nature that is not only a little higher than the animals, but — a little lower than the angels.   In our new bodies, when we rule and reign with God for all eternity, we will be superior to the angels (I Cor 6:3).     It’s this image of God spoken about in the Bible that makes the distinction between man and the animals.

 

MAN’S PURPOSE  God planned man’s creation even before He planned the creation of the world  (Eph. 1:4), because we are more special to Him than even the world (Psalm 139).  Man was created to have fellowship and communion with God, to walk and talk with God in Eden (Gen 2:15-17).  That ended when sin entered, for sin separates man from God, but it was God’s original intention (we could even say ‘need’) to have a close personal relationship with man.  God Himself left heaven and came to earth to pay for man’s sins on the cross so that close fellowship could be restored.  By accepting Jesus as our Savior we can know that we will have that fellowship with God in heaven for all eternity (John 3:3, 7).

          Satan caused this separation, this sin, by telling man he could be ‘like god’ (Gen 3:5) on his own, without God.  That is still Satan’s lie today, that all are ‘gods’ and don’t need God.  Yet without a real relationship with the living God, man continues to scratch around like chickens, only dreaming of soaring with eagles.

          Yet despite this separation between God and man, Christians can still bring honor and glory to God (I Cor 10:31; Eph 1:12).  This is our main purpose and goal in life, the reason we live.  It is not to please ourselves nor to get God to serve us.  It is for us to serve Him.  We are to do His will and work.

          Man was created to have dominion over the rest of creation (Gen 1:26,28).  By sinning, Adam turned over rulership of this earth to Satan, who is now the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Eph 2:2).  Jesus bought it back on the cross (Romans 5) and will one day come back and claim ownership of His creation by sending Satan and his forces to eternal torment in hell (Rev 20:1-3, 10). 

          When this happens born-again (John 3) people will be restored to his original state of innocence and fellowship with God (Rom 6:4; II Cor 5:20). 

          Man really only meets his potential when he humbles himself to serve and worship God.  Of all creatures, only man has this privilege.  Only in this way does he soar like the eagle he was created to be.  What a shame that so many continue to walk around like a chicken, not realizing the tremendous blessings God built into them if they would just acknowledge Him as creator and Lord and accept His free gift of salvation!

          One day God will give His children a new body, an eternal version updated and adapted to live forever (I Cor 15:42-44).  Then this old chicken will really soar like an eagle!

 

 

NEW AGE   By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

DEFINITION   

New Age Movement: A loosely knit group of individuals and organizations that fundamentally believe that persons will all evolve into God and achieve a global unity that will transcend religious, racial, cultural and political ideologies.

            New Age Magazine, “What is the New Age?” defines it as: “A form of utopianism thinking, the desire to create a better society, a ‘new age’ in which humanity lives in harmony with itself, nature, and the cosmos. 

            Various names are used: New Age, Aquarian conspiracy, Holistic Health Movement, Cosmic Consciousness, etc.  Buzz words include awakening, centering, consciousness, cosmic energy, enlightenment, force of life, global village, holistic, human potential, networking, world unity, planetary vision, spaceship earth, synergistic, transcendental, transformational and transpersonal.  Symbols include the rainbow, triangle, Pegasus, rays of light, unicorn, yin & yang, pyramid, and crystals.

 

 

DEVELOPMENT

            New Age beliefs are not new.  They are as old as man.  In the current form they go back to Humanism and Unitarianism with a lot of spiritism sugar-coated and thrown in.  In the current religious vacuum it has moved in as Satan’s lie of the last days, to set up his world empire.

 

 

BASIC PRINCIPLES

 

            A. MONISM (ALL IS ONE) “In J. D. Salinger’s short story, ‘Teddy,’ a spiritually precocious youngster recalls his experience of immanent God while watching his little sister drink her milk…. ‘All of a sudden I saw that she was God and the MILK was God.  I mean, all she was doing was pouring God into God.'”  Marilyn Ferguson, ‘The Aquarian Conspiracy’  Therefore all mankind is one big brotherhood.  “We are one!” they say (as mankind did at the Tower of Babel, too).  “We” here refers to man, animals, rocks, nature, etc. 

 

            B. PANTHEISM (ALL IS GOD)  “All boundaries and dualism have been transcended and all individuality dissolves into universal, undifferentiated oneness.”    Fritjof Capra, ‘The Turning Point’   Trees, snails, books, people are all of one divine essence — all are ‘God’.  This is pure Hinduism.  Thus today we worship “Mother Earth.”

 

            C. HUMANISM (MAN IS GOD)  “Each soul is its own God.  You must never worship anyone or anything other than self.  For YOU are God.  To love self is to love God.”  Shirley MacLaine, ‘Dancing in the Light’  This is what Satan promised Eve: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Reincarnation part of this (remember past lives – really is demon speaking, remembering).   New Age teaches that Lucifer is light and the one who brings unity & wholeness into life.  He is actually superior to Christ.

 

            D. A NEW WORLD ORDER  A coming one-world government (Age of Aquarius) will bring world peace.  This is Satan’s counterfeit to the Millennial kingdom of Jesus.

 

            E. MAYA – ALL IS ILLUSION  (MAN CREATES HIS OWN REALITY)  “If I created my own reality, then — on some level and dimension I didn’t understand — I had created everything I saw, heard, touched, smelled, tasted; everything I loved, hated, revered, abhorred….I was my own universe.”  Shirley MacLaine, ‘It’s All in the Playing’  They say we determine reality by our mind, so each mind can determine what is real and what isn’t, what is absolute and what isn’t, what is good and what is evil.  Thus abortion and homosexuality aren’t ‘wrong.’ Consciousness-raising & positive thinking seminars are popular.

 

            F. CONTACT WITH KINGDOM OF DARKNESS SOUGHT  “My own out of body experience…served to validate the answers to many questions — the surest knowledge being derived from experience.”  Shirley MacLaine, ‘Dancing in the Light’   Out of body experiences and altered states of consciousness are done by demons.  It is opening ones self up to be demonized.  Channeling by spirit guides is the same thing.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THIS

Let no one be found among you … who practices divination, or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or one who casts spells, or who is a medium, or spiritist, or who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord…” Deut 18:9-12  The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  I Timothy 4:1  The Devil … is a liar and the father of lies.  John 8:44  For Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  II Cor 11:14

THE PROBLEM WITH MAN – AS NEW AGE SEES IT

 

“The tragedy of the human race was that we had forgotten we were each Divine.”  Shirley MacLaine, ‘Out on a Limb’  They say man’s problem isn’t sin but ignorance — ignorance that we are each God.

THE SOLUTION FOR MAN – AS NEW AGE SEES IT

 

            A. SEEK HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS “spiritual disciplines are designed to attune the brain to … a wider sensory realm and the mystical dimension by altering the brain’s biochemistry.  Meditation, breathing exercises, and fasting are among the common technologies for shifting brain function.”  Marilyn Ferguson, ‘Aquarian Conspiracy’  The powers one tunes into in this are all demonic!

 

            B. AWAKEN THE GOD IN US  “The goal is to awaken the god who sleeps at the root of the human being.”  Theodore Roszak, ‘Unfinished Animal’

 

            C. CULTIVATE QUESTIONS “A teacher in the traditions of direct knowing encourages questions, even doubts.  This spirituality asks the seeker to drop beliefs, not add to them.”  Marilyn Ferguson, ‘The Aquarian Conspiracy’

 

            D. USE SPIRIT GUIDES  “In my own far-out experiences…I have come upon two guides….They may be entities in other spaces….They may be representatives of an esoteric hidden school….They may be members of a civilization a hundred thousand years or so ahead of ours.”  John Lilly, “Center of the Cyclone’

THE DANGERS OF NEW AGE THOUGHT

 

            A. AN IMPERSONAL, FINITE GOD            New Age turns God into a mere impersonal energy source and crowns mankind with deity.  This is a lie (Romans 1:25), God is distinct from the universe (Genesis 1:3 – 2:3), He is an independent person who communicates with man (Exodus 3:13-14).

 

            B. DEIFIED HUMANS           The Bible condemns men thinking of themselves as God (Genesis 3:2-7; Daniel 11:36-37; Acts 12:21-23).  God, not man is in control (Colossians 1:15-17).

 

            C. NO SIN  The Bible clearly says that man is dead in sin (Romans 1:18-32; 3:10-24; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Ephesians 2:1-3).

 

            D. LOSS OF INDIVIDUAL UNIQUENESS  Man will never merge into blissful cosmos oneness for man is a distinct individual from the rest of creation (Jer. 1:5; Psalm 139:13-16)

 

            E. NO TEST FOR EXPERIENCES  When the person himself is the final authority there are no absolutes.  God warns against Satan’s deception (Revelation 12:9; 20:7-10; II Corinthians 11:14). 

 

            F. ETHICAL STANDARDS ABANDONED  When there are no moral absolutes anarchy reigns.  History has proven that (Nazism, etc.).  God has given moral absolutes in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and Sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7).

 

            G. FAILURE IMPORTED  India has believed and practiced this same thing for 2,000 years and it is destitute

CHRISTIAN VS NEW AGE BELIEFS

 

 

BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY

NEW AGE PANTHEISM

God

Father (Personal)

Created all things

Force (Impersonal)

Is all things

World

Created out of nothing

Temporal, finite – will be redone by God

Emanated out of ‘god’

Eternal, will always remain just as it is

Man

Made like God, sinned & became evil

Resurrection after death

Is god and totally good

Reincarnation after death

Jesus Christ

God-Man

Died and resurrected

Jesus just a historical man

Christ is the god-force in all of us alike

Died and reincarnated

Problem

Sin against a holy God

Ignorance of innate divinity

Sin

Rebellion against holy God

Ignorance of personal divinity

Evil

Free choice in this life

Free choices in past lives

Solution

Trust in finished work of Christ in cross

Become conscious of  innate divinity

Salvation

From moral guilt by grace

From disharmony by human effort

Faith

Put it in Jesus

Put it in man

Power

Resides in Almighty God, uses it for man

Resides in man

Cross

Provides deliverance from sin

Example of man perfectly united w/God

End of evil

Removed by God

Reabsorbed into god, eliminating distinction between good & evil

Holy Spirit

God, 3rd person of the Trinity, personal being

Energy that can be used creatively or physically

Bible

Inspired Word of God

Incomplete, Inadequate book by men

Basis of Ethics

Grounded in God as revealed in Bible

Absolute

Grounded in man choices & decisions

Relative

Death

Separation of soul/spirit from body to live forever in heaven or hell

Time of merging with the energy force of the universe if enlightened (if not reincarnated)

Satan

Top created angel, real being , not god

Man his state of unrealized  potential

Heaven Hell

Real eternal states of being after death

States of consciousness in this life

Last Things

God-appointed end inaugurated when Christ reigns on earth as king

Human-realized end inaugurated when humankind realizes its inherent divinity

 

SHARING TRUTH WITH NEW AGERS

1. LOVE is the language of all effective evangleism. Don’t try to win arguments but reach souls

2. PRAYER is essential for all outreach

            This is spiritual warfre

3. DEFINE TERMS that we & new agers use

            Both use terms like “personally experience God” and even “born again”

4. SHOW THERE MUST BE A GOD OUTSIDE OF AND BEYODN MAN  (handouts “How we   know there is a God”)

5. TURN THEM TO THE BIBLE as the source of truth

6. KNOW THE BIBLE better than they do

            When they talk @ “channeling spirits” know what they mean – these aren’t angels as     some think (II Cor 11:14)

 

 

 

BUDDHISMJerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA, 600 BC (time of Ezekiel)

            Hindu, left rich family & son for monastery, very humble & religious, concerned for humanity

            Protest against rigid life & caste system of Hinduism

Strong in Ceylon, Thailand, Tibet, India, China & Japan

 

NAME

Siddhartha Gautama called BUDDHA (“enlightened one”) because of quest for and finding of Nirvana

 

AUTHORITY

Buddhism: clear, firm rules  (Hinduism: hard, vague teaching)

VEDAS (Hindu book) no help in finding way of salvation

TRIPATAKA (“Three Branches of Wisdom”) is its holy book (sermons, rules for priests, doctrines)

            Some written by Buddha, others by later writers

 

VIEW of GOD

No personal god, but deify Buddha (he never claimed to be God, just searching for God)

            After death followers said he was God manifested in the flesh (as we say of Jesus)

Panthiestic (god in all nature); Polythiestic – many gods (one for every person)

Atheistic – deny existence of creator or any being superior to man and the world (god limited to nature)

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

Own version of the Trinity:

            BUDDHA:  god overall

            VISHNU: god, revealed self 10 times (giant turtle, Guatama Buddha, Rama, Krishna, etc.)

            SHIVA: same as Caananite god of fertility

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Good teacher, less important than Buddha (not God in any way)

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

Disbelieve

 

VIEW of SIN

Anything which hinders man’s progress – up to man to overcome sin

 

VIEW of SALVATION

NOT from sin (no forgiveness, redemption, etc.)

Live life of self-denial to rid self of suffering (life = suffering)

     Suffering comes from selfish desiring, eliminate suffering by eliminating cravings, thus self-denial

Karma – escape cycles of endless reincarnation, absorption into passionless, painless & impersonal         state of existence – Nirvana

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No hell or heaven – search is for Nirvana (painless, passionless, impersonal state of existence)

Buddha: “I never tried to solve the question of eternity.  My message is to show man the way of   escaping the suffering of life, not to describe what he would find once he had been liberated.”

 

 

 

HINDUISMJerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

No distinct founder or definite date of origin, emerged with development of India

 

NAME

“Hindu” = “Religion of Persia”

 

AUTHORITY

VEDAS (2000 BC – time of Abraham) hymns to nature gods, guides for priestly & sacrificial ceremonies

MAHABHARATA – most loved, influential & widely read Hindu work “Song of the Lord” in this book

Many others, very lengthy and very inconsistent

 

VIEW of GOD

Impersonal – “Braham is formless, abstract eternal being without attributes”

Panthiestic (so old it has influenced many others to pantheism) – anything & everything is god

Polythiestic – everything is a god

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

Disbelieves in our trinity, has own counterfeit

   BRAHMA = Father-figure with 4 heads, creator, lives on Mt Meru with peacock-riding wife Sarasvati

   VISHNU = Jesus-figure, preserves all, rides thru heavens on garuda (man-bird), sometimes incarnate

                        as a porpoise or fish (was Buddha, Krishan, Jesus [some say])

   SIVA = Spirit-figure, promotes self-mutilation & starvation, destroyer; wife blood-thirsty goddess

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Good man, teacher (not God or Savior)

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

Don’t believe in at all

 

VIEW of SIN

All is relatives, whatever helps is good, whatever hinders is vice.  Can’t help stumbling sometimes.

            If can’t succeed in this life, can try again in next.

All is ultimately one: good & evil, truth & falsity, etc., so no real belief in sin

No absolutes, no right or wrong, ‘do your own thing’ mentality

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Deliverance necessary, not from sin but from endless cycles of reincarnation (transmigration of souls)

   Everything with breath has a soul which is part of the “world soul” – goal is soul reabsorption in             Brahma

       – then will cease to exist (usually takes about 9 million incarnations to make it)

            That’s why they don’t kill animals – bubonic plague from rats which aren’t killed

            If you kill a cow you will rot in hell for as many years as there were hairs on the cow

Karma = every responsible decision must have its determinate consequence (“reap what you sow”)

Way of escape cycles of reincarnation

            -Works (Marma Yoga), studying Vedas, hospitality, etc.

            -Knowledge (jnan yoga) deep meditation

            -Devotion (bhakti yoga) worship

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No heaven or hell, just reincarnation until absorption  (Hell symbolic of life now, not literal place)

 

OTHER DISTINGUISHING BELIEFS

Caste system very strong, harsh, binding (priests, warriors/noblemen, peasants, slaves)

EASTERN RELIGIONS                     Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

 

ZEN BUDDHISM

“This is the most irrational & inconceivable thing in the world.” No logical analysis

Not something you understand but something you do

Hui-Neng (700 AD), Chinese monk, stressed simple life & self-discipline

Concentrate on nonsense, free mind from normal, rigid pattern of thinking

          (How do you get a goose out of a bottle; think of sound of one hand clapping)

Goal: to free the will so that all things bubble along in one interrelated continual flow

No personal, living God – Panthiestic

Can obtain Nirvana NOW through meditation, drugs, etc. (Buddhism & Hinduism say it     takes many reincarnations

 

 

 

 

YOGA

Part of Hinduism, but taught on its own today

Union with divine through concentration & meditation,

          aided by Yoga’s well-known body postures.

Demands intense effort to free the self (god) within

 

 

 

 

TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (pupil of ‘god’ Guru Dev)

New method for an old Hindu result (after MM spent 2 years in cave to discover TM)

1960’s: Mia Farrow, Shirley MacLaine, Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc.

Claims not to be a religion but is

Goal: spiritual growth, peace & happiness through a system of deep meditation

          expand consciousness through levels of consciousness

Receive own personal Mantra (sounds without meaning) for meditation

          Purpose: to easier contact inner self (‘spirit guide’)

Repackaged under many names today (SCI = Science of Creative Intelligence, etc.)

          Taught to all big businesses and in most elementary schools

 

 

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT

FUTURE THINGS

 

            By Jerry Schmoyer      Copyright Ó 1997

 

            Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center report that one of the largest stars in our galaxy is about to self-destruct. Eta Carinae, which has a mass 100 times greater than that of our sun, is giving signs that its life is about over.  Researchers say that it could become a supernova — a blazing, exploding star — within the next 10,000 years.  What was especially interesting about the Science 82 report was the statement that since light from the star could take 9,000 years to reach the earth, the actual explosion could have already taken place.

            This striking fact reminds me of the nature of biblical prophecy. For example, the predictions found in Revelation 8 are often written in the past tense.  This is done because even though the prophet is writing of a future event, he has already “seen” it.  Also, in the mind of God it’s as if the events have already happened (Rev. 8:10).  The prophecy that means the most to Christians today is the next one in God’s timetable — the rapture.

 

THE PROMISE OF THE RAPTURE  John 14:1-3 says: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  Jesus’ promise is that He will literally and physically come back, the same as he left (Acts 1:10-11).

 

THE PLAN OF THE RAPTURE  I Thessalonians 4:13-18     “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.”  Paul’s order of events here are, first of all 3 sounds: Jesus’ shout of joy to finally be able to come for His bride, Michael and the angels battle cry against Satan and his forces, and God’s trumpet calling His people home.  This applies only to Christians in the Body of Christ (cross to the rapture).  Those who have died have gone straight to heaven where they have received a temporary body.  At the rapture their old body will be brought back together and restored to them, and then the living saints will be transformed so their bodies will be eternal bodies (we’ll never have to die).  Both groups will instantly be taken up to heaven where Jesus will appear.  Jesus won’t touch foot on earth at this time.

 

THE PARTICULARS OF THE RAPTURE  (I Corinthians 15:51-53)  “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  This whole event won’t take long — as long as it takes for light to travel from the eye surface to the retna (“twinkling of an eye”).

            Jesus says we are to watch and wait for this blessed event! (Titus 2:13; Matthew 24:42-43; 25:13; Micah 7:7).  Our absent Lord has given special commendation to those who not only WAIT for His return, but also earnestly WATCH for Him. The difference between these terms is illustrated by the story of a fishing vessel returning home after many days at sea.  As they neared the shore, the sailors gazed eagerly toward the dock where a group of their loved ones had gathered.  The skipper looked through his binoculars and identified some of them: “I see Bill’s Mary, and there is Tom’s Margaret and David’s Anne.”  One man became concerned because his wife was not there.  Later, he left the boat with a heavy heart and hurried up the hill to his cottage.  As he opened the door, she ran to meet him saying, “I have been waiting for you!”  He replied with a gentle rebuke, “Yes, but the other men’s wives were watching for them!”   Jesus wants us to be both waiting and watching, and we can’t do that if we are involved in the world or sin!

           

AFTER THE RAPTURE  After we are taken up to heaven, and that could happen at any time for there is no unfulfilled prophecy left to happen, we will be rewarded for the faithful service we did for God on earth (I Cor 3:12-15).  This will be a seven-year time of celebration (the marriage feast) called “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7-8).  On earth during this time will be a terrible, terrible time called the Tribulation (Revelation 4-18).  This will be God’s judgment on those who have rejected him.  At the end of this time Jesus (and His saints with Him) will return and end the battle of Armageddon by instantly destroying all opposition and setting up His kingdom on earth.  Then begins a thousand year reign of Jesus on earth called the Millennium.  After a short rebellion which is quickly put down, Satan, demons and all unbeleivers are consigned to hell for all eternity.  For God’s people, eternity with Him begins. 

 

AFFECT ON DAILY LIFE NOW   Seeing these things about to come, we should be motivated to make sure we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and make sure He is the Lord of our life.  We can find comfort and encouragement in these things as we remember that this life and everything in it is temporary.  It should help us to live for Jesus each moment of our lives.

            What a wonderful practical tie there is between this truth of the coming of the Lord and our appearing before Him, and the living of our daily life!  “Every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”  Let me illustrate that by the life of Martha Snell Nicholson who, for more than thirty-five years, was so transcendentally triumphant through those many weary years that she wrote some of the finest Christian poetry which has ever been written. A number of years before she died she wrote about her hope of the coming of the Lord.  This is what she says: “The best part is the blessed hope of his soon coming.  How I ever lived before I grasped that wonderful truth, I do not know.  How anyone lives without it these trying days I cannot imagine.  Each morning I think, with a leap of the heart, ‘He may come today.’ And each evening, ‘When I awake I may be in glory.’ Each day must be lived as though it were to be my last, and there is so much to be done to purify myself and to set my house in order.  I am on tiptoe with expectancy.  There are no more gray days — for they’re all touched with color; no more dark days — for the radiance of His coming is on the horizon; no more dull days, with glory just around the corner; and no more lonely days, with His footsteps coming ever nearer, and the thought that soon, soon, I shall see His blessed face and be forever through with pain and tears.”

 

 

 

JEHOVAH’S WITNESS’                               Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL – born 1852, Pittsburgh; became a pastor (uneducated)

            said all other churches wrong, only he was right, all other churches ‘anti-Christ’ (egotist)

            1879 started Watchtower (wrote 7 books)

            guilty of fraud, perjury, etc. 

 

NAME

“Russellites” at first, changed to Jehovah’s Witness’ to be more acceptable

Jehovah’s Witnesses = see under View of God

 

AUTHORITY

WATCHTOWER PUBLICATIONS, including own translation of the Bible (1961)

“Studies in the Scriptures” by Russell, claims inspiration

Bible – use own translation, say it is their authority but twist it badly, can’t understand it without Russell

            “People cannot see the divine plan by studying to Bible itself, need Russells writings.”

            “Better to leave the Bible unread and read his books, than read the Bible and neglect his books”

 

VIEW of GOD

Unrevealed and unknown

Jehovah only God (sovereign, not omnipresent, limited to heaven but His power reaches everywhere)

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

Doctrine of Trinity not of God but of Satan, not believed by Jesus or early Christians

Complicated, freakish-looking three-headed god

 

VIEW of CHRIST

“Michael” come to earth in the flesh

No virgin birth, just human like us

Not God, merely a man (God’s first creation) – John 1:1 “Word was A God.”

No resurrection – man Jesus dead forever (annihilated, cease to exist) spirit materialized in different        body during the 40 days (recreated)

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

Invisible, inactive force of nature; not a person, more like a radar beam (never capitalize ‘spirit’)

 

VIEW of SIN

Inherited can be removed, willful can’t be removed

World so evil must withdraw, not try to influence (don’t even vote, just ignore world)

Sin paid for by annihilation

Jesus to earth for selfish reasons, to vindicate His name (prove He is sovereign), not provide salvation

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Christ died only as a man, for sins done in ignorance (no redemption from willful, known sin)

Works (proclaiming Jehovah’s sovereignty – why JW go on so many visits) may earn salvation

            past: trying to be one of the 144,000 (Body of Christ); others who make it in ‘Paradise’

No assurance of salvation, don’t know until they die

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No such thing as hell; annihilation after death (body & soul cease to exist)

1874 was to be Second Coming, didn’t happen, so said came to ‘Heavenly Tabernacle’)

Second chance after Armageddon, dead recreated (easier to make it then than now)

SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS                          By Jerry Schmoyer  Copyright Ó 1997

 

FOUNDER

WILLIAM MILLER (born 1782) deist, saved in 2nd great awakening, Baptist minister, zealous Bible          student, focus on prophecy, return of Christ

     Oct 22, 1843 Jesus to return (didn’t, said off by one year) then said he was wrong

            never became Seventh day Adventist or shared their beliefs, his error was setting a date

            Some of his followers left to start Seventh Day Adventists, got new leader

HIRAM EDSON – said Jesus came Oct 23, 1844, but just to heaven to finish His work of atonement

            Jesus now in heavenly sanctuary investigating all, any unrepentant/unforgiven sin & blotted out

ELLEN WHITE – followed Miller as a little girl, very sickly & poor health, nervous system wrecked

            Neurotic, had visions which she claimed were divine

JOSEPH BATES, emphasized Sabbath worship, said only 144,000 would be saved

            (7th Day Baptists – Ephrata Cloisters)

2 groups above merged in 1855, changed names to “Seventh Day Adventists” (many split-off groups)

 

NAME

SEVENTH DAY = when they worship (Saturday, not Sunday)

ADVENTISTS = focus on second Advent of Christ

 

AUTHORITY

Writings of Ellen White (she claimed inspiration for herself) – much of her writing plagiarized

SDA today say don’t see her writings as inspired, but she did, and they believe her teachings

 

VIEW of GOD

Same beliefs as evangelical Christianity

 

VIEW of the TRINITY

Same beliefs as evangelical Christianity

 

VIEW of CHRIST

Partook of our sinful, fallen nature by inheriting a sinful nature (therefore couldn’t be God)

“Michael” another one of his many titles

Atonement not finished, goes on in heavenly sanctuary

Virgin birth, resurrection, etc. – same beliefs as evangelical Christianity

 

VIEW of the HOLY SPIRIT

Same beliefs as evangelical Christianity

 

VIEW of SIN

Forgiveness of sin at salvation, blotting out not until after investigative judgment (can lose forgiveness)

Arminian – can lose salvation

 

VIEW of SALVATION

Emphasis on good works: tithing, Sabbath worship, dietary laws, etc.  (144,000 applies to them)

Keeping the Sabbath important to earn/keep salvation – used to mislead poorly instructed Christians)

 

VIEW of HEAVEN & HELL

No hell (annihilation) – Soul Sleep – soul not separate from body

Resurrection = recreation

 

 

 

WHY WORSHIP ON SUNDAY, NOT SABBATH

 

 

I. SABBATH IS CEREMONIAL LAW

1. Sabbath wasn’t known before the law was given at Mt Sinai (Nehemiah 9:13-14)

2. Sabbath worship was commanded as a special covenant between God & Israel (Exodus 31:12-17;     Deut 5:15; Ezek 20:12,20)

3. Sabbath observance not written in the heart like moral law (Rom 2:14-15) – The ceremonial law was   only a shadow to teach spiritual truth – Col 2:16-17; Gal 4:9-11

4. Sabbath observance was only given to the Jews in Palestine who were under God’s rule, like

            -Death by stoning for breaking the Sabbath  Ex 35:2

            -No fires or heat in house on Sabbath (Palestine is in a warm climate) Ex 35:3

            -Must stay in home on Sabbath, can’t gather together  Ex 16:29

 

II. JESUS REPLACED THE SABBATH WITH SUNDAY

1. Christ broke the Jewish legalistic Sabbath observance often (John 5:17-18)

2. Eighth day is really first day of a new week = new day for new beginning of new people           belonging to a new creation (II Cor 5:17)

3. Sabbath only one of the Ten commandments not reaffirmed in the New Testament by anyone

4. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week (John 20:1)

5. Jesus appeared to the 10 disciples on the first day of the week (John 20:19)

6. Jesus didn’t appear after Sunday until the following Sunday (John 20:26)

 

III. THE EARLY CHURCH WORSHIPPED ON SUNDAY

1. The Holy Spirit came on the first day of the week (Lev 23:16 – Pentecost)

2. Peter preached on that same first day, many were saved (Acts 2:14)

3. Three thousand converts at start of church on first day of the week (Acts 2:41)

4. Baptism administered for first time that same first day (Acts 2:41)

5. At Troas believers gathered worship on first day of the week (Acts 20:7), Paul, who was trained in       the law, broke the Sabbath there and others times

6. Paul preached on the first day of the week (Acts 20:6-7)

7. Paul told the believers at Corinth to make contributions on first day of the week (I Cor 16:2)

8. The early church, in exercise of Christian liberty (Rom 14:5-6) voluntarily chose first day for    fellowship and worship (Acts 20:7; I Cor 16:2)

9. Sunday observed as day of memory of Christ (Mt 28:9), service (Mt 28:10) & spiritual rest (Heb 4:9-10

10. Early church warned not to submit to bondage of legalistic observance of days Col 2:16; Gal 4:9-11

 

IV. THE LATER CHURCH WORSHIPPED ON SUNDAY

1. Barnabas, companion of Paul, wrote in 100 AD, “We observe the 8th day on which Jesus rose.”

2. Ignatius, follower of John, wrote in 107 AD, “We no longer the Sabbaths but keep the Lord’s Day.”

3. John the disciple called Sunday the “Lord’s day”(Rev 1:10)

4. Justin Martyr testified to Sunday worship (145-150 AD)

5. Irenaeus’ testimony was to Sunday worship (155 – 202 AD)

 

C t O Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org
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