Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations?

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 13

In a world of confusion and devastation, nothing has ever reached the realms of destruction for the creation of God, called man, like the Roman Catholic Church.  Satan has marshaled his forces, fighting against the Almighty through her offices and officers in an effort to damn the creation of God unlike anything in the history of mankind.  The far reaching destruction wrought in her began with the true Church of Christ not a decade after her founding in the city of Jerusalem and has continued until the present time.  The deepest recesses of Hell glory in her destruction and the writhing and anguish of the spirit of all men caught in her web can only show her in the depths of her rebellion to the Christ whom she adamantly abhors!!  There is nothing that has matched her quench for the souls of men and the overtaking of the place of Christ in the government of men.   She truly is the greatest enemy among men of man.  There has never been anything she would or would not do to reach her goals in the path of destruction she began in the first century.  There are many references to her in the Word of God which we will discover as she, like her master, Satan, began in deceit and disguise to take from the glorious Savior of mankind that which He gave His life to purchase, His Church.  “These are the true sayings of God,” Revelation 19:9

We see her beginnings not long after Christ had sent the Holy Spirit from heaven to bring the means of salvation to mankind.  To the Jewish people, by ancestry, Satan had begun an orchestrated effort working among their civil leaders to follow a pattern of control and devastation before the Church of Christ began.  Hearing the gospel and seeing its far reaching effects on the existing Law under which they had previously been in bondage, the first refusal to the authority of Christ, given to His apostles who spoke and wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was circumcision.  As an identifier of all Judaism, from which Christ had separated Himself because of disobedience, circumcision was the first place they put their strength.  It is not as though they had excuse in this rebellion, Christ had left a means for correction and instruction, reason and defense which would teach any who were worthy of His fellowship that physical circumcision could never be a part of the doctrine of Christ.  Circumcision, in the physical sense, is and was, the true “mark of the beast” as mentioned in Revelation 13:14-18 The “beast” was always the government as named in prophecy since the visions of Daniel.  The government of the Jews “marked“” its sons by physical circumcision on the eighth day after birth, kept in record by the Levitical priesthood, as their names were written as God’s separated.  Satan, the master of deceit, played his role.  What had made Israel as a nation, separated to Christ, was demanded, was brought back in as a tenant of salvation and without making it known as such, allowed it to be.  They began to preach the doctrine of physical circumcision as a demand on all Gentiles who had come into the liberty of Christ.  When the apostle Peter got home from Cornelius house, they jumped on him, demanding “their” pedigree be defended.  Acts 11:1-18 Peter could not withstand their doctrine, it had not been revealed by the Holy Spirit what position the Church of Christ would take on this issue.  It awaited the great debater and defender of the faith, Paul, to wage this war.  The meeting at Jerusalem, by the commandment of the Holy Spirit, was called.

Satan has always used someone or something in the flesh as his “workers of iniquity.”  Eve led Adam to his separation from God, Cain killed Abel, and on and on.  So Satan picked the greatest power with access and opportunity to the saints of the first century to begin the destruction which would end up as the Roman Catholic Church.  Unfortunately, Satan used one who was innocent yet beguiled, Simon Peter.  He always chose someone with enough influence to put the “seed” and His children, so that by deceit, back into spiritual death.  The battle of the Garden still rages!!  The Church of Christ was the picture of glory.  The King was on His throne, bondage to sin had ceased, and for the first time since Adam, all we who had lived before our Creator were in fellowship with Deity!!  The “father of sin” and his “man of sin” were on attack and would never retreat until the sublime and glorious Body of Christ would be severed and Christ divided.  The forces of Satan fawned “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves in the apostles of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:12-15

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 12

It got worse.  Joe Smith had another vision (by this time he was past getting those visions from Moroni) in which he declared Independence Missouri the “new Jerusalem” and commanded his people “if they had any faith” to gather in that place.  In 1838 just 8 years after the book of Mormon had gone to print, the “believers” began to congregate in Missouri around this town.  Their numbers outgrew the normal populace.  While hundreds of others were moving to that area, the town’s people began to get a little nervous with their presence and numbers.  Merchants began to refuse to sell and trade with them and those would have sold their farms under regular circumstances, refused to sell.  Joe Smith and Sydney Rigdon, who was yet another vision anointed Prophet, Seer, and Revelator by Joe, were not yet in the area.  (Smith and Rigdon were healing from being tarred and feathered in the Ohio and Pennsylvania area).

Sydney Rigdon was a late joiner to Mormonism.  (Sidney was the vice-presidential candidate and Joe Smith the Presidential candidate running for President of the United States!!)  He came from a background and discipline of the Baptist denomination who was “baptized into Mormonism” in around 1831.  Rigdon is accredited with writing most if not all of the writings as well as the authority behind the doctrines which taught crazy religious beliefs.  (Sydney was known to have mental problems which were reported by his immediate brothers and family).   He strongly disagreed with the “having all things in common” doctrine of Joe Smith.  Part of the “all things in common” was your wife, if you were a Mormon and if Joe wanted her!   (We don’t where or how Moroni got this “all things in common” doctrine.  Remember, Moroni was the last surviving Indian of the battle of extinction that told Joe where the plates and special glasses were and translated them to him, for a while)   No North American Indian nations ever practiced communal marriage that history records!!)   I hope you do not think I am making this stuff up; I am leaving out some of it that is even more ridiculous.

When Rigdon and Smith arrived in Missouri some of the Mormons had formed an army called the “Danites.”  This was a group that intended to hold their homes and properties which they had purchased which the locals were taking from the Mormons.  In 1838 there broke out what is called the “Missouri Mormon War.” (There was also an Illinois War with the Mormons).  The governor of Missouri failed to call out the militia and things got out of hand.  When the militia did arrive, the massacres and deaths had put fear in all that area.  The militia cornered the Mormons in a town called Far West.  Joe had arrived and tried to negotiate a peace.  His efforts failed.  The state of Missouri passed a law that all Mormons had to leave their state and the militia intended to enforce the law; so much for the “new Jerusalem”!!  They were allowed passage out of the state and established a town in Illinois called Nauvoo (Hebrew for “beautiful place.”).   In Nauvoo, Joe and Sydney’s association began to deteriorate quite rapidly.  Nauvoo had a different government because of the Missouri experience, Joe and the 12 apostles would be the city council, law, and judges.  After the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri, the governor of Missouri that ordered the revulsion had an attempted assassination.  Of course it was a Mormon.  And of course, history reveals by the direction of Joe Smith!!  This is some religion, isn’t it??  Nauvoo was a malaria infested area along the Missouri River where Joe and the boys built another Temple, a semblance of it still stands, today expecting Christ to show up any day.

Joe did not get to spend much quality time in Nauvoo.  From Nauvoo Joe sent out missionaries to Europe, South America, and the world.  From a town of 5,000 in 1839 it grew to a town of 12,000 in 1845.  Joe and his brother Hyrum were arrested and sent to Carthage, Illinois.  On June 27, 1844, a mob rushed the jail where they were being held.  Joe preached that Christ was coming back in the 1840’s, just like the Millerites, 7th Day Adventists, etc., and Joe was building a “New Jerusalem”.  This country (the Nephites had held since the 6th century B.C.  The Nephites practiced Judaism and were (as the Mormons claim) the sons of Lehi whom God commanded to leave Jerusalem in the 6th century, 1 Kings.   American Indians came from Asia, not Jerusalem and never spoke Hebrew or Greek.  No one corroborates the book of Mormon but a misguided Mormon.  In no way are they Christians!!

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 11

In Palmyra, New York in the early 1800’s lived the Smith family.  The father was worthless, a lazy man that never worked.  All he did was dig in the hills outside Palmyra when he finally got up each day looking for gold.  Joseph Smith was born in 1805 in Sharon, Vermont.  When he was a child, his family moved to Palmyra in western New York where there was a lot of revivalism and religious fervor due to the Second Great Awakening.  The wild enthusiasm and many denominations present confused Smith and he was uncertain of what to believe and how to worship.  As he writes in The Pearl of Great Price: “In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great was the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.”  Smith read James 1:5 which instructs those who lack wisdom to request it of God.  He immediately withdrew to a wooded area near his home to pray for wisdom.  One night Joe was visited by all three members of Deity who woke him up from sleep.  At the age of 14, He was told he was to restore the “Saints” that had not existed for 2 millennia, he claimed.

From this visit, Smith became convinced he had been called as God’s prophet.  While praying in his room, he received an angelic visitation.  This angel, named Moroni, told him that he had been chosen by God for a great work.  He told Smith about a book written upon gold plates that had been buried in the foothills and he was to go find it.  Moroni was the last existing member of a tribe of Indians that had existed in the 5th century B.C. that had been killed off.  Joe found the golden tablets.  The only problem was that the writing of the tablets was in a language Joe later called Reformed Egyptian.  Bet you never heard of this language, don’t worry, neither has nor had anyone else!!  Joe struggled mightily to read the writing but could not UNTIL the angel Moroni began to reveal to Joe what it said.  While Joe would read, the angel would translate.   WHEN JOE WOULD PUT ON THE SPECIAL GLASSES he found by the plates, his interpretations would be approved or disapproved by Moroni.  The story line on the tablets was of two tribes of Indians from the 5th to 6th centuries.  They had fought the final battle in Palmyra; the good Indians were all killed; only Moroni remained.  The actual novel written about 30 years earlier has been found.  Joe never paid the original author royalties!!  He just downright stole it!!

When he told his story, some believed.  Joe had a problem that always got him and his people run out of town.  They went to Ohio, then to Missouri, then to Illinois.  Joe and the angel fell out with each other.  “That did not bother Joe, he kept right on translating.”  In 1830 Joe published his work in a book called the Book of Mormon.  Everywhere Joe would go, he would have to leave.  He had a problem.  He liked to look at everybody’s wife or daughter, so he would go around “peeping in their windows” at night.  When he was caught, they would have to move.  Finally, he couldn’t move quickly enough.  In Missouri, Joe had found the “new Jerusalem”, BUT, was arrested and put in jail.  You guessed it, for peeping.  A mob formed and overrun the jail.  As Joe was trying to escape, he and his brother Hyrum were killed.  This made Joe a martyr.  The movement was taken over by Brigham Young, who took the sheep to Utah.

Joe was a liar, cheat, fraud, and a pervert.  His book was not about Jesus Christ, it was about the American Indian.  You guessed it, Indians, history never heard about.  Joe had the Church of Christ existing in the 5th century B.C.  500 years before Christ came to earth, he had his Indians using etc., 1600 years before it was ever used, he had green men on the moon eating cheese long before the space program could get to the moon and verify, but his main problem was that he was a pervert.  He liked everybody’s wife, daughter, or sister.  It finally killed him.

You would not think people would believe this junk, would you?  They did, he has more followers (they claim about 15 million) than most denominations.  We almost had one of his ilk as President.  His doctrine book is called Doctrine and Covenants.  The name of this illustrious company of deceived souls is the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 10

A few weeks ago I started a series of articles scanning the history of the followers of Christ from its earliest days all the way to the present time.  We have looked at some of the most notorious false teachers to date, but, there are yet others we will examine.  Along the way we have visited such figures as Arian, Ellen G. White, Pastor Russell, and soon we will discuss Joseph Smith of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Today, we will look at the life and legacy of a man who prepared the way for Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen, Oprah Winfrey, and the new wing of those who are apologizing for the Church of Christ who cite Norman Vincent Peale as an authority.  Mr. Peale has been successful even in our brotherhood by using an apologetic approach to preaching the gospel in a way that no one will be offended (and most want recognize as something different).

Mr. Peale was ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1922 and assigned a small congregation in Berkeley, Rhode Island.  Two years later he moved to Brooklyn, New York where he established himself as a gifted communicator so that in only three years he grew a church from 40 to 900 members.  He stayed a Methodist for a few more years before joining the Reformed Church in America.

Mr. Peale had a tremendous fascination with psychiatry.  Teaming up with a Sigmond Freud-trained psychiatrist, Dr. Smiley Blanton, He began a religious-psychiatric clinic in the church basement.  They wanted to respond to the psychological needs of their congregation and especially the deep=rooted effects of the Great Depression.  He began a program called “The Art of Living” which would exist for 54 years and founded a magazine called Guideposts which grew to 2 million subscribers.  His most successful written work was a book called The Power of Positive Thinking, published in 1952

Mr. Peale popularized what has become known as “positive thinking.”  He took existing ideas from Christian Science and other works and gave them a religious veneer.  His foremost contribution was this notion that thoughts are causative, that our thoughts can change our lives, our health, our destiny.  Readers were thrilled with the notion that if they believed it, they could have it, or be it, or do it.  Peale reduced God to a force and made Christianity self-centered rather than God-centered.  Very little is said of the sovereign mind and purpose of God; much is made of the things men can say to themselves and can do to bring about their ambitions and purposes.

Before Peale is was rare to hear of statements like “nothing is impossible,” or “be all you can be.”  The Bible makes it clear that the troubles we experience in this life are not merely the result of negative thinking that can be overcome by tapping into our potential through positive thinking.  They are the results of a deep-seated rebellion against God that involves not only the mind, but the will.  We simply cannot overcome the evils of this world or even the evil in our hearts, in our own strength.  Apart from Christ we can do nothing-John 15:5.  Apart from being born again, we are eternally dead in our trespasses and sins-Ephesians 2:1  Where Peale taught that our deepest problem is a lack of belief in ourselves and that our salvation comes with a simple shift in thinking, the Bible teaches that no man can save himself, regardless of how positive his thought may be!!  Salvation comes from outside, not inside one’s self!!  The glory of Christ is in the fact that He has “reconciled us in His body, the Church.” 2 Corinthians 5:18   There is a demand from God that we must obey His law without respect for any consideration  of how we may “feel” about what God has had to say!  They hope of eternal life is not in ourselves, it is in Him “with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13   Peale’s antagonism to “proofs” based on recitation of eternal inspiration, citing a book, chapter, and verse, will never change the sin we have committed into righteousness as our God has demanded.  There is a clear and definite wrong and an equal and sustaining right that will judge us, John 12:48, and that is not going to be based our positive thinking potential.  This religion is a modern day “double-talk,” a means of agreeing with those with whom we must disagree IF we stand up for the Lord, an affiliation of association based on “our positive outlook” on things we believe in and it matters not what others believe these aspirants  cannot bring themselves to contradict that “faith.”  BUT, the old truths are still truth no matter who now denies the power of that truth. 2 Timothy 3:5.  Jesus Christ is still the Lord, God Almighty, and the Lord of Host.

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 9

The basis of organization, for the Witnesses, rest in two Societies.  If what you are going to read does not sound like a Church of Christ, there is no wonder, IT IS NOT!!  The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania is the parent Corporation, and acts as the international Society.  The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., is simply the U. S. Branch headquarters of the Witnesses.  There are other Corporations formed by the Society around the world, but these two form the basic and most important ones.   The Pennsylvania Corp. is responsible for the worldwide work, directing the activities of all Branches in all nations.  It is the legal governing body of the Witnesses.  The Board of Directors of this Corporation is responsible for the spiritual oversight of the Witnesses.  Not all Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of the Watch Tower Society.  Membership is limited by charter to 500 members composed of men giving either full or part time to Society work, being devoted to the Society.  They can be nominated by another member, or make application for membership; the Board of Directors then passes on their application.  Most of these members of the Society are of the anointed class, the so-called 144,000.  The major problem they now have is that most of their original 144,000 have died off and gone to a place they do not think exist.  From the top down the Society is composed of the chief officers, the Board of Directors, then the Branch Servant, District Servant, Circuit Servant, Congregational Servants, Special and General Pioneers, and then the lowly Kingdom Publisher.  This religious body is highly authoritarian and is run like a dictatorship.

Little is known about the “boys in charge” in this denomination so I will give a brief description of its power base.  The Branch Servant is over an entire nation, or a group of small nations.  He is THE direct representative of the Society in that area and controls all affairs for the Society.  He must be appointed to this position by the Pennsylvania Corporation.  The local headquarters is called Bethel.  In New York, Bethel houses several hundred workers-from all administrative offices through the laborers and Gilead School students.  The make about $14.00 per month.  They all live in a large house, eat in one large dining hall and with their annual clothing allowance, do not feel or think themselves apart of the “144,000.”  There is no pension or health benefit received.  This makes a very cheap labor source for the Society.    The District Servant is appointed by the President but is subject to the Branch Servant.  Each time the District Servant visits a particular Circuit there is arranged a Circuit Assembly.  He files a detailed report of the activities at the Circuit Assembly as well as figures regarding progress for the past six months.  The Circuit Servant (each district is divided into circuits) is appointed by the President and is subject to the District Servant.  He takes the lead of preaching work in demonstrating to the members of the congregations how to more effectively carry on the ministry.  He takes his wife who does not make any talk when he visits the Congregation but does, of course, engage in the field ministry and goes out with the female members of the local Congregation, and herself being a proficient minister demonstrates and shows how to more effectively preach the “proposed message” in making door to door calls or presenting door to door oral sermons or in making back-calls.  The congregation is the basic unit.  They gather in buildings they have built or rented halls.  They refer to their meeting places as Kingdom Halls, but for tax purposes they will admit them to be “churches” in the usual denominational sense, meaning the building.  The buildings are paid for by the local company of Witnesses.  Their “area” is assigned geographically by the Branch Servant.  The Congregation Servant is seven in all.  A woman can serve here if there is no man available.  They, as a congregation can number from just a handful to up to 200 members.  The Congregation Servant must have been a Witness for at least one year, faithful in attendance and labor who shows in devotion to the Society.  Pioneers are special persons set apart in the ministry of Witnesses.  Both men and women may serve here.  They must have been baptized at least six months and have attended the Theocratic Ministry School for the same period.  They can perform weddings, and conduct funerals as well as preside over the annual observance of the Lord’s Supper.  They must put in over 150 hours of work and receive their books/ magazines at a special price and keep what they get for the book over that (a book selling for 50 cents they would pay 10 cents).

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 8

From Europe we pass to America, from men educated in the languages of the Old and New Testament to those who were not educated, by any standard, at all.

From 1831 to 1844 there appeared a farmer, justice of the peace, sheriff, and Baptist preacher, who preached the immanent return of Christ.  He was a self-educated man, we are told, attending school only for three months each winter between age of 9 and 14.  After conversion from Deism, Miller centered his studies on the Books of Daniel and Revelation.  He originated a principle of his own making that a day for a year in prophecy.  This meant that Christ would have to return to the earth sometime in the year 1843.  Miller did not set an exact month and day of the month.

Miller began preaching this message and many denominational preachers joined his message.  Miller finally set an ultimate time in the spring of 1843.  Some of his followers disagreed with that and changed this to October 22, 1844.  Ellen White, the co-founder of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination was an avid follower as was Pastor Russell of the group later called the Jehovah’s Witnesses (a name he had nothing to do with establishing).  At this time of their religious “direction” by visions and Holy Spirit-led information, none of these people worshipped on the Sabbath.  I don’t know how the Holy Spirit led this movement for 10 to 15 years and never got around to this teaching, guess He was a little slow thinking He had finished His job in A. D. 80; Jude verse 3.  Just a mistake on His part!!  After “the disappointment” of 1844, Miller went back and found he had overlooked a year.  Most of his “students”(?) had left religion and those that remained were the likes of Joseph Bates (co-founder of the Seventh Day Adventist and James White, soon to become Ellen’s husband.  In her visions (she was famous for these!!) Ellen saw that God had led Miller and he had fulfilled the purpose for which God had placed him on the earth (even though he lied publicly twice about it) and that “angels would watch the precious dust of this servant of God who could come forth at the sound of the last trump.”  Early Writings, p. 258 By the way, Miller never quit date setting, but it got too embarrassing for some of his followers to support him.  We have half of the denomination as Adventist, but not yet Seventh Day Adventists.

Joseph Bates read what T. M. Preble wrote on the Sabbath day in 1845, one year after the “disappointment.”  Bates traveled to study with him for himself.  One year later, he wrote his first tract about the Sabbath.  This tract came to the attention of James and Ellen White around the time of their marriage in August.  Bates taught the Sabbath begun at 6 p.m. Friday evening and even though Ellen had a “vision” establishing the accuracy of the Sabbath Day as the day of worship, her vision did not agree with other Sabbath keepers until November, 1855.  Ellen had a vision confirming the result of this position and all Sabbath keepers were now in unity. At a meeting in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1855 (notice this is not Heaven, nor is it the year A. C. 33 in Jerusalem, Isaiah 2:2-4).   In November J. N. Andrews presented a paper which taught the Sabbath was to begin at sunset.  Now we have the other part of this confused mess.   By the way, James Bates, Ellen, James White, nor Ellen’s husband were educated in any of the languages of the Old and New Testament, but that didn’t matter when you have a ready “vision arrangement” with God!!  Sounds like a return of the Urim and Thummim of the Old Testament (I didn’t think women could be High Priest!!).  Why, you could even leave out the Holy Spirit on this important stuff for 15 years!!  The Holy Spirit had directed Paul to write: “when that which is perfect is come, that which was in part shall be done away.” 1 Corinthians 11:10 There were three letters to the church at Corinth (which did NOT meet on the Sabbath) that were written in A. D. 60’s so one can see why the Holy Spirit would be so slow!!

When the White’s started their schools in Battle Creek, Michigan; two sons of the fabulously rich Kellog’s financed her “vision” work and the liar who confirmed all her doctrines with “visions.”   Although she never set any dates for the return of Christ, Ellen and James took the unlearned notions of a poor ignorant man and their cook books for healthy eating and spread this error all over the world.  The place, time, and design of the New Testament Church are ignored and Christ as head ever considered.

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 7

What begins to become apparent is the lack of necessity for the written Word of God in the preaching and teaching of the denominational founders who have gained acclaim as the religious leaders of our time.  Somebody did not get them to see the necessity of “study to show thyself approved unto God.”  They were and are so busy showing themselves!  They are preaching their story of salvation, not the story written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit!!  It seems they fail in how to show themselves approved—the answer is by rightly handling the Word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15   How natural is such a figure in the instruction of the apostle from the Holy Spirit. When one “presents” himself they must seek commendation from He to whom they present themselves.  What they present is called a “workman.”   This word is ergates in the Greek language it means one who is hired.   When we present ourselves, in a fashion, to get our paychecks at the end of the pay period, we are actually receiving accreditation for the work done.  The question has to arise; “who did the hiring?”  To commend our obedience and not the obedience to Him to whom we will present ourselves, is presenting something in the nature of a “creed of egotism,” not the humble submission to the God to whom this presentation is offered!!  Paul had heard from the direction of the Holy Spirit that which he had delivered to Timothy; “a form of sound words.” 2 Timothy 1:13  These words formed a summary of gospel truths, which was the deposit placed in the hearts of “them that hear thee”; and in committing this message to him, God had laid on Timothy the necessity of executing these words into a living instrument who would be “able to teach others, also.”  2 Timothy 2:2 Preachers do not seriously consider this demand!!   What is sad is the “passing on” on the baton without consideration of the results can be as damning as being a blessing.  When we “execute a deed of transfer” on land, it is necessary to make the transaction valid and complete!!  The gospel has been “committed,” that is it has been handed to us on deposit.”  “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings…” 1 Timothy 6:20  We MUST feel the weight of this load on our shoulders and process that which has been given us, faithfully!!

When following the lives of the men who have started denominations, we find that many of them did not do what they preached to their adherents.  Last week we mentioned Charles Spurgeon, one of the great Baptist preachers of the 18th century, this week we will get to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.  Spurgeon “got saved” in the assembly of a Methodist church building January 6, 1850 because he was unable to reach his destination because of a snow storm, later “got baptized” by the Baptist on May 3, 1850 to join the Baptist Church (seems like to me if I had attended the Baptist denomination for over 5 years as did Spurgeon, met Jesus in a Methodist church building, my best bet would be to stay where I met the Lord, at least I would be admitting the Lord had not presented Himself in any Baptist assembly in 5 years of attendance!)   And Wesley never ceased being an Anglican priest!  The founder of the Baptist church died a priest of the Church of England; the founder of the Lutheran church died a Roman Catholic!!  How does one explain this!!  Does this remind you of the Muslim clerics sending the women and children clothed with bombs to die and themselves hide in their places of safety?  Did Peter, James, Paul stay under the Law of Moses? Galatians 5:4

John Wesley and his brother Charles came from a family of 19 children, were Anglican (Church of England) priest who founded much of their teaching of their work on Jan Hus of the 14th century, the man who started the Moravian Church.  Advised on his trip to Savannah, Georgia when invited by General Ogelthorpe to become the priest of his new city,  was advised on his voyage not to marry Sophia Hopkey by a Moravian preacher, returned to England in distress, returned to the Moravians for a while before he broke off his own “band” and started his famous “open air preaching” that made him famous.  He rejected the predestination teachings of John Calvin and got his “warm feeling of the Holy Ghost” while in a service of the Moravians (like Charles Spurgeon, I believe I would have stayed where I got the Holy Ghost!!).  The mode of baptism was of no concern to him, the Church of England practices sprinkling.  From his efforts came the Nazarene’s, Pentecostal’s, and Christian and Missionary Alliance.

See how important that baton passing becomes?  We cannot afford not to qualify our faith!!

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 6

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12 “He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the Lord,” so translated the 70 elders of the second century B. C.  The Vulgate translates it this way: “He who walketh in the right way and feareth the Lord is despised by him who pursueth the path of shame.”  This our Lord spoke about in John 15: 20: “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than His Lord.  If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you, if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours, also.”  It is sometime difficult for we who follow the revealed written Word of God to understand the response we receive from those we try to teach.  Some act as though it is just our idea and one idea is as good as another, some take great offense and recoil in anger.  Others act as though it makes no difference, they can do what they will and God will be pleased with them, anyway.  Hiding our head under the sands of denominational thought and not “proving all things” is a remedy to nothing but destruction.

A man walking down the road thinks his journey is good as long as he puts one foot in front of another, but if the man is walking in the wrong direction, he is getting even further away from his intended destination with each step.  So is the case with the Baptist denomination.  In the 1700’s this denomination talked up the idea of following the Bible and the Bible only.  Their preachers and members spent hours preaching men were to be baptized, but they made no distinction as to WHY or Who is to be baptized.  Having obeyed that command (for whatever reason), they b ought into the deception of Satan thinking they had obeyed the Lord.  This presents a dilemma when co0nfronted with the idea that their obedience is not what the Lord commanded, no matter if they had been baptized in every pond of water from Michigan to Florida.  How many times have I talked to folk who have been baptized in a denominational church cry out; “Well, I have been baptized, haven’t, I?”   The REASON for being baptized is as important as the proper of mode.  Those who have had water sprinkled on them see quite clearly the command baptidzo in the Greek language is immersion (read Acts 8:38) and as quickly recognize they have not been baptized at all.  But-but, the person who has been immersed think it silly to repeat what they have previously been satisfied with!!   They respond with; “well, I thought!”  So did the apostle Paul, read Acts 26:9, or “I intended, ” Moses intended to help, Exodus 2:14-15,  or “in my heart, I,” again, this will not suffice, Romans 10:1-4.  The command is to be baptized FOR, or in order to, for the purpose of receiving the remission of sins.  This is exacting for it brings us into the blood of Christ which washes away sin. Acts 22:16   If a man courts a woman for the wrong reason, he still is courting her while the end result will be wrong.  “In his heart” he has the wrong motive.

In the 16th century the battle was over immersion, not the purpose of immersion. The Roman Catholic practice of pouring water on someone’s head was shown to be sin.  IN the beginning of the 17th century the PURPOSE of baptism began to be discussed.  Men like Alexander Campbell, in America and others in Europe began to write about the PURPOSE of baptism FOR the remission of sins.  This angered those who thought they were returning to the type of religion that required WORKS which had been so much a part of Catholicism.  The principle defender of this “no works” religion became the Baptist denomination.  Sometimes we are blinded by our own pre-determined prejudices.  In the New Testament baptism is NOT a work we do, it is a work of God. Titus 3:5   In baptism Christ “washes us by this act of regeneration (the new birth).”   Those who cry “grace,” and they cite Ephesians 2:8-9, do not understand what grace is!  Grace IS GODS PLAN TO SAVE.  Noah found grace; “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11 By God’s grace we “are justified” Titus 3:7   God’s plan, called grace was “prophesied by the prophets, “yet to them it was not revealed! 1 Peter 1:10-12.   Noah BUILT the Ark, sinners MUST be baptized, and salvation comes WHEN “washed in water.” Acts 22:16; Ephesians 5:26 Baptism saves, 1 Peter 3:21, Christ takes His blood and “cuts loose the sin from the soul.” Colossians 2:11-12 In baptism we are ACTED UPON, put “into Christ, by Christ.” Acts 2:47


Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 5

The history I recite you is from H. Leon McBeth, retired professor of History from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas.  He is one of dozens of honest men who could be cited for historical evidence about this denomination.

This movement began in earnest when King Henry VIII started the denomination called the Church of England in the 1550’s when he wanted to divorce his present wife and marry Anne of Boleyn.  Henry, a soldier of the Roman Catholic Church rebelled at the limits on his freedom and declared an insurrection, killed the cardinals of England and took the buildings and land belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.  Doing this, Henry declared that anyone who worshipped in another assembly other than the Church of England (in an America called the Episcopalian Church) would be killed, put in jail, and have all properties confiscated.  Before Henry could rest, men of good faith and firm conviction had begun to question the doctrines and lethargy of the Church of England and were fomenting a religious revolution against Henry and his church.

Founded in Amsterdam, Holland in 1608-09, a splinter group of zealots under John Symthe came together.   From 1603-1633, this movement practiced infant baptism, had no music in their assemblies at all of any kind, and constantly were changing and interchanging differing views on many topics of disagreement.  In 1630 they sent Richard Blunt to study with the Mennonites in Holland to learn about immersion (unfortunately, they did not consult the apostles of Jesus Christ!).  By 1650, immersion was the most common practice among two of the largest sects of this movement, the group known as the General Baptist and another group known as the Particular Baptist.  The name Baptist was given them by their adversaries, not the Word of God or any apostle of Jesus Christ.  The Particular Baptist was the part of this movement that espoused the doctrine that Christ died only for a particular group called the “elect” and not for all men.  It was the Particular Baptist that came to the Americas and were joined by a preacher named Roger Williams; he was to give this movement some notoriety.  It was not until a century later that the greatest preacher of this denomination, Charles Spurgeon, was preaching in London, England and having great success.  Not even Billy Graham had the success of Mr. Spurgeon.  Incidentally, Mr. Spurgeon preached a whole lot of truth; he would not fit in the modern Baptist movement.   The Mennonites were disciples of W Menno Simons, an unlearned, earnest person who acknowledged that he had never read much of the Word of God at that time.  John Calvin had started the Presbyterian division of the Roman Catholic in Switzerland.  Mr. McBeth acknowledges the fact that a church that was supposed to be started on the Word of God, finds great difficulty finding its doctrine in the Word of God.  John Smythe and Tom Helweys associates were both members of the Church of England and never were baptized, Baptist!   Mr. Smythe was at that time an ordained priest of the Church of England.  These men might have been sincere, but sincerity is not what saves.  Billions of souls have and are paying for their lack of determination to learn exactly what God’s Word teaches!!  This denomination has picked up teachings from many sources and centuries wherever it exist, but not from the inspired Word!!  Their doctrine of “believer’s baptism” has been the most constant strain of their teaching for 500 years.  The idea that one must be baptized without the proper reason has caused many fair minded souls to never suspect their obedience to God, thinking that part of their obedience had already been accomplished.

My question is what about the souls that pre-existed the denominations of our day.  If the Baptist were never heard about until the 16th century, what saved those before it came along?  Was Christ without representation in the world until THEY became an existing movement with their particular doctrines?  If Christ was without representation, and the gospel was not being preached, would it not be true that all those who lived BEFORE the modern denominations of today would be damned and doomed for eternity?  Would Christ not have a church in existence over which He was head?  Could Christ be King of the Kingdom IF no kingdom existed on the earth?  During this period of time there existed the Church of Christ.  Men and women were obeying the gospel FIRST PREACHED IN Jerusalem!!

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 4

In the middle of this confusion comes the Mennonite religion and the Quakers/Friends religion.

George For, a 19 year old dreamer, became disillusioned with all denominations and started a search for his own salvation.  At the age of 23 he received a “call from Jesus” to become a full-time “witness” of the “divine light” which he claimed was his from John 1:4.  His followers sought this light following their own inner feelings and when received became the “friends” of Christ of John 15:14.  He and his followers were anti-war, anti-slavery, anti-oath takers in court, and were one of the groups that participated in the Underground Railroad of the Civil War.  They teach that each has a “light within” and most meet in silence when they assemble until the Holy Spirit begins to move among them.  They practice no rituals like baptism and usually have no physical representatives of Christ (the Lord’s Supper) in their assemblies.  George, himself, was exiled from many societies and finally realized his “light” could not be communicated to any other human, or that no other human could experience the same “feelings” and declare doctrine based on written belief.

W Menno Simons, the founder and leader of what later became known as the Mennonites who believed in adult baptism after salvation.  Born in Friesland (the Netherlands) in 1496, Menno was ordained a Roman Catholic priest.  He left the Roman Catholic Church in 1536 after reading some parts of the Latin Bible.  His views were like those of John Calvin but insisted on “believers baptism” when the faithful reached understanding and maturity.  Associated many times with the Amish, Menno, strongly influenced the modern Baptist in many doctrines, considered by many in the Baptist faith the turning point of their religious beliefs.

About this time came along Roger Williams, himself a self-professed follower of Christ.  Roger was favored by the Narragansett Indians whose language he learned and used.  He intervened in the Pequot war and made the Narragansett Indians the strongest Indian nation in the northeast.  He was truly the first abolitionist of the Americas.  He was feared by the settlers of New England and often was in political trouble for his stand on the treatment of the Indians and freedoms for the African slaves (after his death this area became the beginning of slave trade in the Americas.)    In Providence, Rhode Island, Roger started the first Baptist Church in America.  He was later expelled from Rhode Island.  Roger became convinced that all must negate infant baptism and accept “believer’s baptism” after a profession of salvation.  He was a part of the Particular Baptist and is given credit for accelerating the spread of the Baptist denomination in the free world of America.

It isn’t hard to see how development of religion without the basis of the Word of God developed.  Religion became a whipping post of political leaders, Kings, and governments.  What they believed evolved from several “thinkers,” some with a semblance of “searching the scriptures” and others with their “light” of introspective illumination which could not be communicated, it could only be felt.  Doctrines in our modern-day denominations had their beginnings in their views, not in the Word of God, and have been continued in many of the modern churches of our time.  It is our plea that you reject all these “heart-felt” religious beliefs in favor of the inspired Word of God.  During all this revolution of religious thought there remained on this earth the Church of Christ which began in A D 33, in the city of Jerusalem, in the country of Israel.  Its doctrines and teachings have sometimes wavered, but the foundation being in the Word of God, these doctrines did not last long.  History records in every generation of mankind those congregations that taught the simplicity of the “faith once delivered to the saints.”  There is NO OTHER religious assembly of people that has continued this “search for the mind of God” that has not been rewarded with same teachings and principles that began some 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem.  As you see, and will continue to see if you will read on, the errors men have followed is because they have followed, men, NOT JESUS CHRIST.

It was the plea of our Master that “we all believe the same thing, that there be no division among us; that the world might believe that God had sent, Christ.” John 17:21 Church reformers might have made the history books, but did they and their followers make the “Lambs book of Life?” Revelation 21:27