Created Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005

There is
No One True Religion!
in Christianity


Sub-headings:

The Premise
Other Than The Bible?
Individual Interpretation!

It's God's Will!
He's Already Here!
Review


Related Articles

The Premise

Let's be honest. There are a lot of various Christian denominations and varieties out there and quite a few of them claim to be the one true religion of God. Mainstream Protestant religions all basically seem to have a similar message so they don't have too much to say about each other. Their main concern is that you are "born again." If you are, then they are satisfied. I address being born again but it is not a big issue with me. This article does not concern them.

This article points at anyone who thinks they have the only true path or group that you must belong to if you are to be saved. They think that God works very specifically through them and them only, due to some fulfillment of prophecy or that they alone, with their unique set of beliefs, are the only ones to fulfill God's requirements. They imagine that they alone understand God's law and understand it perfectly or that God is precisely guiding them in their efforts to follow Him correctly. Or they may say that God or His son has revealed additional material to them, outside of the bible, such as the book of Mormon.

So as I see it, there are ? main points to refute.

1. That God is to have just one particular group, all believing the same thing, and that any variance with that set of doctrines / beliefs will cause one to be left out of God's kingdom. The focus here being on God's demanding a very precise set of beliefs and understanding before He decides you are worth saving.

2. That He, God, works through exclusively just one group or channel and that you must belong to and work through in order to be saved / accepted by God. The focus here being more of the idea that God is gathering all of His people together here and now before anything really starts to happen. This as opposed to every bring brought together after God's kingdom takes over and unites every in belief and action.

3. That God has revealed additional material that was not in the Bible or was an addition to the Bible, as all fake works usually claim.

The first 2 are much more common that the last one. for those who believe the Bible only, no. 3 seems obviously wrong. But even if one believes only in the Bible, one can still misunderstand it to the point of not even being in harmony with God's real purpose and intentions. But with 3 being so important, I thought I would start with that idea first. Even of those who believe in the Bible only, they may not be aware of how to defend that idea as well as they could. And it is important to establish the Bible as the only true source or revelation and truth.

All the ideas I want to put in this article are expressed in pieces in other articles on my site. Some I will draw into here as they relate to different points in the other articles. But with some points, only an entire article will do, in order to really so a point or subject justice. We want to be sure to get this right, don't we?



Other Than The Bible?
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Can there still be additions to the Bible? Could there have been books left out back in the early centuries of Christianity or in the days of ancient Israel? These are very good questions that deserve a good answer. I think what is missing here is something that is often missing even among most Christians. So this is s topic we want to consider very carefully because in my opinion, any Christian worth a pinch of salt ought to be able to explain it to others so as to give them confidence to believe and trust in the Bible as the word of God and to believe in Him with accuracy and truth and live in harmony with His commandments. So with that I am going to introduce my first article which deals with this so extensively. You can read it now or wait and hit the link at the end under related articles. I am going to write a brief summary of it below it.

How We Got the Bible / God's Chosen Nation and Priesthood (bureaucracy.htm)

God purposely created a nation with a priesthood and temple worship. The priests would serve as a sort of bureaucracy that would maintain copies of the law and a depository for the scrolls of those who claimed to be prophets, as well as songs for worship and other sorts of records. All of Israel was to worship at the temple in Jerusalem and no where else. I repeat, this was all instituted by God. The priesthood would maintain the records of God for all to hear and consult. Eventually, copies of the law were made and kept in all the synagogues of Israel and Judah to be read on the Sabbath.

If a prophet was to be recognized as such, he had to have his words kept by the priests. The priests kept all the scrolls of those who claimed to be prophets. It was only after the passage of a large amount of time that they would know whether a prophet was from God or not by seeing whether the prophet's words came true or not. The priesthood, supported by all Israel and later just Judah, was the way that God would Have his words preserved among men. The Priests were the caretakers of all that was God's on earth. Yes, at that time, God's worship was through just one specific channel.

This channel would be preserved until Messiah should be introduced through the lineage and function of this lawful institution of this temple and priesthood. The Messiah would introduce a new covenant / deal and the temple and priesthood would no longer be needed or required as there would be another way to maintain what we have come to know as the Bible.

Both the first covenant that we call the law with its accompanied scriptures, and the new covenant with its books from the Apostles were given to us along with great powerful works of God. The miracles were provided so that we would know to listen to Moses, Jesus, and the Apostles and what they wrote. Any thing given or added would have to be accompanied by those miraculous gifts and works of God, most particularly bring people back from the dead. Prophets sometimes did it which is why we know we can trust those prophets. Anyone wanting to add anything has to be able to resurrect and perform various miracles or have his work / words / scrolls approved and endorsed by someone who can resurrect and do other miracles such as the Apostles or some prophets could do, as well as Moses and Jesus, of course.

So if a scroll was to be recognized in ancient times, it could not be done outside of Jerusalem such as alleged writings hidden in North America and later copied or rediscovered or revealed. It would have to be first recognized by God's only sanctioned and authorized bureaucracy in the whole world until Jesus and the Apostles. This would eliminate the so called works of Nephi or his sons alleged by the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints).

If a book were to be added in the days of the Apostles, it would either have to be an Apostle or someone an Apostle either dictated to or assigned to do, or that an Apostle approved of when he reviewed it. Examples would be the books of Mark, Luke, Acts, James, and Jude. Peter assigned Mark to do a gospel. Luke's gospel and his book of the Acts of the Apostles were blessed and approved. Luke was with Paul in most of his journeys and adequately qualified as Paul and the holy spirit saw it. James and Jude were approved. James was appointed as overseer in Jerusalem and was the brother of Jesus as well. He was absolutely recognized by all the Apostles. Jude later also became an overseer of the congregations in Jerusalem as well as a relative of Jesus and duly recognized as certified by the Apostles.

Both the first covenant that we call the law with its accompanied scriptures, and the new covenant with its books from the Apostles were given to us along with great powerful works of God. The miracles were provided so that we would know to listen to Moses, Jesus, and the Apostles and what they wrote. Any thing given or added would have to be accompanied by those miraculous gifts and works of God, most particularly bring people back from the dead. Prophets sometimes did it which is why we know we can trust those prophets. Anyone wanting to add anything has to be able to resurrect and perform various miracles or have his work / words / scrolls approved and endorsed by someone who can resurrect and do other miracles such as the Apostles or some prophets could do, as well as Moses and Jesus, of course.

The Bible is the only authorized source that has been verified by miracles and resurrections so as to prove the source of its inspiration. It is the only source we can afford to trust. This would be the thrust of the next article which covers how miracles authorize the books of the Bible.

Lying Signs and Wonders / Why We Can Trust the Bible Only (lying_signs.htm)

And this next one also shows how the "church" first got its start. It further reinforces why we trust only the Bible but also highlights the unique gifts possessed only by the Apostles and no other. When they died, so did certain special abilities, powers, and authorization. Some try to claim such authority and power today and they are liars.

The Authority of the Church (apostle-authority.htm)

When I say authority of the "church," I mean the faith, the religion, the whole of Christianity at its beginning. But in addition to what I already mentioned, this article also highlights something else that is misunderstood or deliberately misused. That is the idea that there was some sort of Apostolic succession whereby authority was passed on. This, too, is a lie. Also a lie is the idea that the Apostles formed a governing body which guided the ministry throughout the world. It was the holy spirit that guided and directed the ministry and gave each Apostle and those under them their assignments. They did not do it of their own accord. This can be clearly shown from the scriptures offered in this article.

Pay special attention to the sub-heading "Independent Authorities?" in this article! Galatians is a real eye opener!

People like Jehovah's Witnesses will be shocked to see how clear it really is and yet they never saw it previously. JW's, please make sure you are sitting down when you read this one.



Individual Interpretation!
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This is an idea that usually shocks and baffles nearly any Christian in our day and age. Most are of the opinion that we must all believe nearly the same thing. And it is true that there can only be one right view or way to believe on any particular subject brought up. But getting people or varying levels of intelligence and experiences to see every little point clearly is a big task. Some will immediately say, with the holy spirit's guidance it can be done. Yes, it can be done but is it God's will that it be done?

I propose that God's will is that we get the basics right and not sin in any extraordinary way and remain faithful (relatively speaking) to the end and then in God's Kingdom we will have all things cleared up (taught) so that we all believe and act the same. Until then there will be some differences due to individual conscience and understanding.

It is the importance of being guided and led by our own consciences and not that of our peers, or group, or church, or whatever, that really truly matters to God. We can not and should not ever violate or disregard our own conscience. That is what Adam and Eve did and where did it get them. So if we obey our conscience, based on what we learn and can understand for ourselves in the Bible, we will be OK and make it into God's Kingdom where all minor misunderstandings can be cleared up.

So this next article goes into serious depth and discussion about individual thinking, worship, and conscience. Every Christian must be independently motivated and guided. This too, will catch many off guard. The idea that Christians could disagree on some less important subject and yet still be accepted by each other is really novel in our time but if we don't, we may not be loving our brothers (and sisters) and would become accountable to Jesus when he finally returns.

The Christian Conscience / Tolerance and Individual Belief (conscience.htm)

Another article discussed what is important to believe and what is not. It is a work in progress but its a start. If you have any ideas to add, why not let me know. In my opinion, if we are to be a little off, either being too severe on what we insist upon, or a little weak, it might be better to be a little weak since he who gives mercy will be shown mercy.

Basic Christian Requirements (require.htm)



It's God's Will!
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This is an excerpt from my article "The Last Days Part 2 - The New Testament Visions Of the End." Since it is a rather unique aspect of those prophecies, I thought it should be here by itself rather than making you go through the whole article. My words are in purple/blue from here on in, in this sub-heading section.

>> When speaking of things pertaining to the end or judgment day and the like, Jesus refers generally to the subject as "The kingdom of Heaven" or "The kingdom of God." Matthew 13 introduces us to some aspects of that coming kingdom that we are to know about. Notice that Jesus does not speak of the matter directly or plainly, but in an illustration.

The subject might not be that dangerous in the hands of enemies but even simple messages are often cloaked in illustrations and symbolism so as to teach us how to think and speak in symbolic terms so that messages can be sent or relayed to us out in the open and no one else will know what it means, especially God's enemies who also happen to be yours and my enemies as well as we will no doubt see in not many more years if we don't see it already. It is and has been at work already.<<

Matthew 13:
24 He put before them another parable, saying: The kingdom of Heaven is compared to a man sowing good seed in his fields.
25 But while the men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed darnel in the midst of the wheat, and went away.

26 And when the blade sprouted and produced fruit, then the darnel also appeared.
27 And coming near, the slaves of the housemaster said to him, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then from where does it have the darnel?

28 And he said to them, A man, an enemy did this. And the slaves said to him, Do you desire, then, that going out we should gather them?
29 But he said, No, lest gathering the darnel you should uproot the wheat with them.
30 Allow both to grow together until the harvest. And in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers,
     First gather the darnel, and bind them into bundles to burn them, but gather
the wheat into my granary.

Matthew 13:
36 Then sending away the crowds, Jesus came into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying,
     Explain to us the parable of the darnel of the field.

37 And answering, He said to them, The one sowing the good seed is the Son of man.
38 And the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; but the darnel are the sons of the evil one.
39 And the enemy who sowed them is the Devil, and the harvest is the end of the age, and the angels are the reapers.
40 Then as the darnel is gathered and is consumed in the fire, so it will be in the end of this age.

>> Jesus is talking about the end of the age, translated in some bibles as the end of the world. And we read about the good seed that produces wheat and the bad seed that produces darnel, sometimes called weeds in some bibles. The sons of the devil, the weeds, will be consumed in the fire. It does not say preserved in the fire as some imagine happens in a so called hell. They are destroyed by this fire.<<

Matthew 13:
41 The Son of man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all the offenses, and those who practice lawlessness.
42 And they will throw them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth.
43 Then the righteous will shine out like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The one having ears to hear, let him hear.

>> You will note that Jesus often uses this phrase that I put in boldface above. But what has been described in this illustration is judgment day where the righteous of God are protected and spared and the wicked are destroyed, with angels carefully overseeing it all and carrying it out so that there are no mix-ups or mistakes wither way. Jesus uses another illustration below.<<

Matthew 13:
47 Again, the kingdom of Heaven is compared to a drag net thrown into the sea, and gathering together of every kind;
48 which, when it was filled, drawing it up on the shore, and sitting down, they gathered the good into containers,
     and they threw out the rotten.
49 So it will be in the end of the age: the angels will go out and will separate the wicked from the midst of the righteous,
50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth.

>> Though Jesus uses a different way to describe the coming kingdom, really, he is talking about the very same thing as the wheat and the weeds. You will find this done throughout the Bible. By changing the way it is described, those who do not believe will not discern that the same subject is being discussed in both places, even though they sound different. But we need to understand this so that we, too, do not miss what is being done to communicate with us.<<



>> Now comes another lesson for us. This one is a lot like the wheat and the weeds but with a slightly different twist. What determines what we are, good or bad, symbolized by sheep or goats, is how we treat Christ's little sheep, which he considers his brothers. Lets have a look.<<

Matthew 25:
31 But when the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32 And before Him shall be gathered all the nations; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates
     the sheep from the goats.
33 And indeed He will set the sheep off His right, but the goats off the left hand.

34 Then the King will say to those on His right, Come, the blessed of My Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you
     from the foundation of the world.
35 For I hungered, and you gave Me food to eat; I thirsted, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in;
36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.

37 Then the righteous will answer, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and fed You; or thirsting, and gave You drink?
38 And when did we see You a stranger, and took You in; or naked, and clothed You?
39 And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came to You?
40 And answering, the King will say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it to one of these,
     the least of My brothers, you did it to Me.


41 Then He will also say to those on His left, Go away from Me, cursed ones, into the everlasting fire having been prepared
     for the Devil and his angels.

42 For I hungered, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I thirsted, and you gave me nothing to drink;
43 I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.

44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungering, or thirsting, or a stranger, or naked, or sick,
     or in prison, and did not minister to You?
45 Then He will answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of these, the least, neither did you do it to Me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.

>> Really, the account is pretty simple. The sheep are the good guys who receive everlasting life for having cared for even the least of Christ's brothers as is it were Christ, himself. The goats are bad because they did not care for their fellow brothers in the faith who are also Christ's brothers. It is as if they neglected Christ, himself, and their reward is everlasting death from which there is no return. To not love our brothers is a serious crime and Jesus is making that quite clear to us. We must love if we are to receive everlasting life.<<



He's Already Here!
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OK, my words are back to black. What needs to be understood in the illustrations of Matthew 13 with the wheat and the weeds and Matthew 25 with the sheep and the goats is that the separation of the wheat and weeds, the sheep and the goats, does not take place until Jesus returns. It is the end, the "last day," although this gathering, this separation actually might last a few days, weeks, or months, as the governments act against Christ's sheep. Jesus does not gather them long before hand. They grow together with the liars and hypocrites of Christianity until near the very end. When they are finished being gathered, it will be the end and the wicked destroyed.

Now the way the JW's, among others, get around this is to say that Jesus has already returned in the spirit and has begun ruling and so have those on earth who he has appointed. But this would be contrary to the Bible. For one, Paul reminds us of this:

2 Thessalonians 2:
1 And, brothers, we entreat you, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together to Him,
2 for you not to be quickly shaken in the mind, nor to be disturbed, neither through a spirit, nor through speech,
   nor through letter, as through us, as if the Day of Christ has come.

3 Do not let anyone deceive you in any way, because that Day will not come unless first comes the falling away,
   and the man of sin is revealed
, the son of perdition,
4 the one opposing and exalting himself over everything being called God, or object of worship, so as for him "to sit in the temple of God"
   as God, proclaiming that he himself is God.

JW's, among others, do not understand that there is a particular man of sin, (they (translate) call him "man of lawless" which is fine), the antichrist, also known as the false prophet in Revelation, and a false Christ. True, 2 Thessalonians 2 as well as the antichrist of John's letters all have an immediate, or nearly so, fulfillment right in those days in which they were written. But they also have a more particular fulfillment in the last days that JW's and some others are not familiar with.

But there are many who do recognize it as well. I only found out because of reading the early 2nd century writers who spoke of the understanding of the coming antichrist, a false prophet who would mislead and play a big part of the final disaster. There are Old Testament prophecies that also deal with him and predict him but it is a long article that should be considered all by itself. But before I provide that link I must finish this point.

Christ's return is marked by the coming of this evil man. There is much to be discerned in understanding how the last days are to be fulfilled. It will suffice to say that JW's and others need to give this a lot more attention as they are not even close to understanding it correctly as far as I can see. Now here is the link / article:

The Antichrist (rev7_anti.htm)

I would also recommend reading my whole series on the last days as there is lots there that would further clear up the idea that God's needs to or wants to have everyone believing correctly on every single little issue of doctrine. If you avoid following the antichrist and being misled by him, you are doing fine. By if there has been no antichrist yet, then Jesus has not returned yet and so the sheep can not be separated from the goats yet and so there is no religion / umbrella to get under such as the JW's or whoever else is making their big claims and there are plenty of them doing so.



Review
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Now you review points 1,2, & 3 brought up at the beginning and see if you can understand what I am saying. There is no 1 true religion or body of doctrine in which everyone must be accountable for. If a religious body maintains doctrinal unity, they do so by force, threatening, and fear, not by love and the spirit of God. God works without fear, threatening, or force. "Love cast fear outside" (1 John 4:18).

Besides, the Bible makes it clear that it was the spirit of God that maintained the early church, and only for a brief time and then let the devil do his damndest and he certainly did. He sowed weeds among the wheat and the Great Apostasy began. And Jesus did say that the truth, the whole and absolute truth, would not be known until he should return again. For then and only then shall (Habakkuk 2:14 - GLT) "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea." Jeremiah 31: 34 - "And they shall no longer each man teach his neighbor, and each man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah. For they shall all know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest of them, declares Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more."

Further, Christ is our high priest and we do not need any mediator to approach him. He is the mediator between the Father and us. We have no need of any man or group in order to be saved. We only need a clean conscience. The Bible alone is sufficient for all our needs. I can say no more than that to help. Its up to you from here. Best wishes!


Related Articles

How We Got the Bible / God's Chosen Nation and Priesthood
Lying Signs and Wonders / Why We Can Trust the Bible Only
The Christian Conscience / Individual Belief required
The Authority of the Church
Basic Christian Requirements
The Antichrist


 

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