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The Adoption of Sons By Christ- Part 3

What is the adoption of sons discussed in Romans 8:16-23?

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Christianity: The Anointed Ones | Part 5

Having disowned the great apostate and him his ranks, and enlisted under the Messiah, and taken sides with the Lord’s anointed; Christ now proposes to put his Holy Spirit within us, to furnish us for the good fight of faith, and to anoint us as the sons and heirs of God!, so we can land on Mt. Ararat, safely!!

The purpose of this gift is to make as what we have become, not just in word, but in fact, Christians. It is truthfully said, that “no man can say Jesus is the Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” The spirit of God is a perfecter and finisher of all divine works. In the book of Genesis we have this statement: “the spirit of God moved upon the waters”; “the hand of the Lord has made me, the Spirit of the Almighty has given me life”; “by His Spirit He has garnished the heavens”, “His hand has formed the crooked serpent (the Milky Way)”; and again, “the Spirit descended upon Him; God bore himself witness by divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His will; then, the statement most acceptably known and understood, “holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” “When the Spirit of truth, the advocate, is come, He will convict the world of sin, because they believe not on Me, and of justification, because I go to My Father.” “God was manifest in the flesh and justified by the spirit.”

     The Spirit of God inspired all the spiritual ideas in the New Testament, and confirmed them by miracles. He is ever present with the word that He inspired!! He descended from heaven on the day of Pentecost, and has not formally asked ascended since. In the sense in which He descended He certainly has not ascended; for He is the inspiration that empowers the church.  We are “temple of the Lord.” “Know ye not, you Christians, that your bodies of the temples of the living God?” “The temple of God is holy, which temple you are; if the spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, God shall quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit to dwells within you.” The Spirit will cease His operation on the human heart when Christ ceases His reign!!

We cannot separate the Spirit and the Word of God. We cannot ascribe so much power to the one and so much to the other; this was not done by the apostles, so we have not that wisdom, today, if it exist, at all. Whatever the word does, the Spirit does; whatever the Spirit does in the work of converting men, the Word does. We neither believe nor teach the Spirit exist independent of the Word, but word and Spirit, Spirit and Word.

The Spirit is not promised to any persons out of Christ! He’s promised only to them that believe in and obey Christ through the communication given the apostles. These words actually and powerfully assist us in the mighty struggle for eternal life, if in us they have a resting place. Some think Christians need no more to gain eternal life than just to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. They think this is totally and wholly the work of conversion. Children are born, then be what they are taught.  Deity works the same.  The Holy Spirit in conversion and the work of the Holy Spirit in the sanctification are two subjects, but both works are from the same Deity!!  Which is the easiest to plant a crop, or to glean the field? Enlist in the Army, or be a good soldier, and fight the battles of the Lord; to start in the race, or reach the finish line, to enter the ship or cross the ocean? It is far harder to live what you have become, than to be baptized to become!!

Christianity: The Anointed Ones | Part 4

As was the sign of circumcision in the Old Testament, so is the gift of the Holy Spirit in the new. The term Holy Spirit is a descriptive term, not a proper name.  Yet, He is a mark, the seal, a verification of a covenant between God and those of us who will be baptized into Christ for the remission of sin. He is and possesses all the attributes that define the nature called God. Commensurate with all of His power, ability to create, and extreme intelligence beyond our comprehension; the Holy Spirit is defined as holy, that is the function given Him, by complete agreement, at the Council of Eternity, before the beginning of time, when the mystery of the gospel was introduced by God the Father to those of like nature. Both Old and New Testament show that people received the Spirit, and that they were of a special kind, type, to perform a special service to bring man to a knowledge of the coming Son. It is not then hard to understand, how that we who have been graduated into Christ by being baptized for the remission of sins, have been selected by our obedience, not some extra-terrestrial experience.

Although it is not considered mockery by those who act so feverishly insensitive to the nature of such a High Being, the falling backward, laughing uncontrollably, doing some kind of uncontrollable religious dance; speaking in a foreign gibberish, shows the depth of study and understanding of this great member of Deity!  A note: literally, the word glossolalia is a combination of old Greek nouns which referred to speaking in other languages. Glossa meant tongue, language, and lalia meant such things as talk and discussion. These are usually the words that are used to describe this denominationalism exaggeration(s). When the apostles received the “promise of the Father” on the day of Pentecost and were asked to explain why they could speak “to every man in their own native tongue the wonderful works of the Lord,” Peter standing up with the 11 said: “these are not drunken as you suppose, seeing this is but the third hour of the day, but this is that was spoken by the prophet Joel.” It shall come to pass in the last days sayeth God, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” These who received what Jesus called the baptism of the Holy Spirit, where those who were commanded to “tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until they were endued with power from on high.” Luke 224:47-49  Before He ascended He said: “but wait for the promise of the Father you heard from Me.  John truly baptized with water that you should be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.” Acts 1:4-5

Jesus had said to His disciples, those who had been with him during his three-year ministry: “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:13  The question then is how could they ask the Lord for anything if “God doesn’t hear the prayer of the sinner.” John 9:31, Isaiah 59:1-2 The answer is given in that He instructs those who will keep His commandments.  These are described as “worshipers of God who will do His will.”  99% of the religious people today who claim the Holy Spirit have never ever done what the Holy Spirit had the apostles write!! The day of Pentecost, on which the Holy Spirit came from heaven, was a first- fruits related harvest Festival in the Old Covenant ritual. It appears that amongst other things, that high day had symbolized and foreshadowed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which began as recorded in Acts 2. What began on the day of Pentecost and concluded 40 years later was the bringing in a new law from heaven. Every time something new was brought into existence, there was a season of miracles to usher it in, then a law of Providence to sustain that that was new!!

Christianity: The Anointed Ones | Part 3

“Because you are his sons, God is sent forth the Spirit of His Son in your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”  And if sons, it follows you we heirs of God through Christ-the heir of all things”!!   What manner of persons can we then become if we have such a gift?  How humble and devoted to the Lord must we be if we, the joyful and triumphant, who been washed in the blood of Christ.  We can claim the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as our older brother!!  As great as the opposition is to truth and salvation, we have no reason for despondency. Greater are our friends and allies, and infinitely more powerful, that all our enemies. God is on our side-Jesus Christ is our King-the Holy Spirit is on the throne room of our hearts. –His angels are our ministering servants-the prayers of all the prophets, apostles, saints, and martyrs who have gone on to glory are for our success-our brethren are numerous and strong-they have the Sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the artillery of truth, the arguments of God, the preparation of the gospel of peace.  -Our Commander and Captain is the most successful general that ever entered the field of war-He never lost a battle-He is wonderful in Council, excellent in working, valiant in fight-the Lord of Hosts is His name. He can still the false machinations of our enemies, control all the powers of nature, and subdue all of our foes, terrestrial and infernal. Under His conduct we are Mount Zion, that can never be moved. Indeed under Him we are “come to Mount Zion, the stronghold and fortress of the kingdom, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, the General Assembly and Congregation of the Firstborn, enrolled in heaven-to God, the judge of all-to the spirits of just men made perfect-to Jesus the mediator of the New Constitution-and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaks such peace, and joy, encouraging to the heart.” Hebrews 12:22-24

Ought we not, then, brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might? If in faith, and courage, and prayer, we put on the heavenly armor, and march under the King (according to the gospel trumpet), the walls of Jericho will fall to the ground, and the banners of the cross will overthrow the rulings of paganism, atheism, skepticism, and sectarianism.  “There is no despair under the guardianship of the Messiah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual.  They are mighty to the overturning of strongholds, to the overturning of all reasonings against the truth, and every high thing, raised up against the knowledge of God, and in leading captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5  The conversion of the world is our enterprise, infinitely worthy of all the effort that we have at our disposal.

Far greater than this that God has given us is something that the denominational world and mankind has never appreciated. That is the gift His Son has gained for us, the gift of the Holy Spirit!! He has left for us so little to do-nothing, indeed, nothing can defeat us, we have this power which will lead us to the eternal gates of Heaven!!  Some Bible translations use the phrase the Holy Ghost, instead of the Holy Spirit. Ghost was an earlier English word with the same meaning as the Latin-based noun “spirit.” In Old English, the word was gast, meaning breath, life, soul, spirit. In the Greek text of the New Testament, the relevant words are pnuema, which means breath, blowing, or wind. Hagios, which is defined as “holy”, the literal meaning perhaps something like devoted, dedicated, separated. Mark 3:29, Luke 12:10. What a gift, what a power within us.  We are never lacking, our destiny the eternal abode!!

Christianity: The Anointed Ones | Part 2

Of all the blessings that God has bestowed upon those who are members of the church of Christ, there is that privilege to have in our hearts the highest intellectual and moral enjoyments ever bestowed. This is called the gift of the Holy Spirit!!  Shall we not, then, fellows soldiers, appreciate the use, as we ought, of our present purity and happiness, to gain eternal honor and glory?  The light which the sun of righteousness has shed so richly and abundantly on us, far outshines the pale light of Judaism, built upon Moses and the Prophets.   Remember, that we stand up on apostles and prophets who guided by that eternal light, and sustained by Jesus, the light of the world, and the interpreter and vindicator of all of God’s ways to man in creation, Providence, and redemption. But to think that God would bestow upon we who are members of the body of Christ the presence of a fellow deity to live and reside in our hearts; is beyond “what could not see and ear could not hear; and what could have never entered into the heart of those who love the Lord.”  All we who are saints are stars; and He that is now given us in this life by the Sun of righteousness, will cause us to only look forward to our glorious future with the Bright and Morning Star and the Ancient of Days!!  Until the day of eternity and the day star of immortality arise in our hearts, we can always look to Jesus with an appreciation that is far beyond expression, for not he only did He buy with His blood, but He prayed the Father to give us the Spirit.

Superior heavenly light could not come from any other source. The personal, real and primary remission of all sin, which we enjoy through the blood of the Lamb of God, that which is bestowed on us through the demands of baptism, and the continual confession of sin; distinguish us from anything a  sacrifice under the law could, and did. Ceremonial offerings; could not go so far as to dissolved the guilt of the transgression under that law, as to give them a right to the continued enjoyment of the temporal promises of their national compact. Further Jewish sacrifices and ablutions could not reach that far. The comparison with the sacrifices of the Old Testament Law stop with one point: they could not reach the mind of the Father nor the conscience of the giver. The apostle Paul writes those sacrifices could not make him who did that service, perfect. Hebrews 10:1  The Jewish sacrifices could never answer the conscience, for they never could reach that high.  Their goal was to sustainand, never reach the possibility of re-entering fellowship with God!!  Show me, fellow traveler, where riding the road to eternity with the 10 Commandments as his law and guide, where any of the 10 Commandments would ever allow a person to have a free, clear, anticipation of total forgiveness of sin. But again, that is still not enough; in the Christian dispensation, not only do we have the absolute forgiveness of sin, we have as a bonus what is beyond reality and consideration, we have been blessed by God to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Superior light and knowledge and in larger conception of God, which puts us beyond being  called “a friend of God,” stop short if we do not understand, that we have formally been adopted into the family of God by adoption. The proof of our adoption is its guarantor, the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13. No higher honor could ever be vouchsafed the inhabitants of this earth.” Because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Galatians 4:6  And if sons, it follows we are heirs of God through Christ– the heir of all things. ThIs is not some romantic vision, but sober and solemn truth, that we are children of God, possessing the spirit of Christ, and constituted heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ of eternal inheritance!! Romans 8:17

Christianity: The Anointed Ones

We have never really understood what God has blessed us with, when He gave to us His Holy Spirit. True Christians are the anointed ones, their name intimates as much. We are anointed with the message of the plan of God, with gifts and spiritual endowments; that has been given as a blessing from our benefactor. We are anointed. We have a similitude of offices that are subordinate only to the Lord, without question, and are His subordinate prophets, priests, and Kings, under God. The Holy Spirit is compared to oil, as well as to fire and water; and the communication of His message gives us this anointing. The word itself, is defined as anything smeared on, unguent, ointment, usually prepared by the Hebrews from oil and aromatic herbs. Anointing was the inaugural ceremony for priests.
Our rank and standing under the reign of the Prince of Peace has never been surpassed, has never been equaled-by any portion of the human race. We have the visions and revelations of God-His being in perfection-developments of His wisdom and knowledge, of the initial council of His grace, and the purposes of His love; which give us an intellectual and moral superiority above all our predecessors in the patriarchal and Jewish ages of the world. Secrets of God, which were hid from ages and generations, have been revealed to us by the apostles by the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. What Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel, and all the prophets, down to John the Harbinger, rejoiced to anticipate, we have. The intellectual pleasures of the Highest are guaranteed us. We transcend the attainments of the ancient people of God, and beyond that, will be exalted to heaven, and may enjoy the days of heaven upon earth as long as are faithful in the Church of Christ. We have a book which contains not only the charter of our privileges, but explains a thousand mysteries. We have interpretations of God’s past providences in the affairs of individuals, families, and nations, as opened to us, thousands, for rational and sentimental enjoyment, from incidences and things which puzzled the perplexed the most intelligent and highly favored of past ages. Mountains are, indeed, leveled; valleys are exalted; rough places are made plain, and crooked ways straight to our comprehension and, from these, we are able to form more just conceptions of the present, and more lofty anticipations of the future, then fell to the lot of the most highly – favored subjects of the preceding dispensations. And, indeed, so inexhaustible are the deep and rich minds of knowledge and understanding of the Christian revelations, that the most comprehensive mind in the kingdom of heaven might labor in them until we reach the age of the Methuselah, constantly enriching ourselves with all knowledge and spiritual understanding, and yet leave at last vast regions and tracks of thought wholly unexplored. We, my friend as members of the Church of Christ have the gift of the Holy Spirit. This decided superiority over the most gifted Saints of former ages we unquestionably enjoy. Among all the living excellencies with which they were acquainted, they wanted a freedom from sin, we have been given. As His Bride, we have the virtues and excellencies an Abraham, a Joseph, a David, could never achieve, for they always had blemishes in their moral character that remained as a part of their legacy. They failed before their contemporaries, All the excellencies that can adorn the human nature. AND we have Jesus, “the image of the invisible God,” “the effulgence of His glory,” and “an exact representation of His characters; but as a man, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sin, exhibiting in the fullest perfection every excellence. And beyond this great favor, we have received, after our first resurrection, the anointing of the Holy Spirit: when we became PRIEST OF GOD. Galatians 4:6

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 23

When studying Roman Catholicism, one finds that the stock and trade is deceit.  There are many books that have been claimed to have been originals that never were heard of even in the mother language. They are most universally accepted as forgeries.  Of the early centuries, a work called the apostles Creed most Protestants accept.  It is recited as reverently as if it had really been given by one of the apostles.  The myths surrounding it would have us to believe that one apostle wrote one part and another apostle wrote a different part, when it is really a product of fourth century writing; according to the Catholic Encyclopedia: volume 1 page 629 and 630.  It is said to be legend and unhistorical, even by them.  It is a curious fact that it is very difficult to put your finger on anything a Catholic writers affirm to be an infallible utterance of a Pope!, yet they spend most of their time representing things that are not. Another writing called the Epistle of Barnabas is one of the earliest forgeries they use which figures prominently in Catholic writings and even in their works it is called pseudo-Barnabas.  Writing from a literary point of view, they state: “this epistle of Barnabas has no merit; the style is tediously poor in expression, deficient and vague in elegance and incorrectness.  The author’s logic is weak and his subject matter is not under his control.”  From this fact arise numerous expressions from other works.  Another of this type is the shepherd of Hermes.   Acknowledgment that this is a forgery is expressed as follows: “the writer wished to be thought to belong to the preceding generation.”  Again, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia number seven page 270.  We could go on and on listing more works like the “Apostolic Church Ordinances.”   One of the strangest forgeries is that which was not until the Middle Ages ever heard of and its true origin was forgotten, even by the most learned of that time. These apocryphal stories began to enter largely in the sacred legends and miracle plays, then in Christian art and poetry, and finally were accepted as established doctrine

Roman Catholics now glibly tell you that Mary’s mother and father were named Jochin and Anna.  The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has to do more with Mary’s mystical mother Anna than with Mary. One lie just necessitates another, doesn’t it?   Nobody is born with original sin!!  To do so Mary’s mother would be born without original sin, so that Christ could be born without original sin.  The  names of Jochin can and Anna rest on clumsy forgery and the doctrine called “Original Sin” rest on the doctrine of damnation.  It is told that Mary was donated to the temple worship at the age of three and stayed there till her womanhood.   The birth, education, and marriage of the Blessed Virgin are described in great extreme.  The truth of this was never and could never be verified and absolutely a figment of somebody’s fertile imagination.

The Rosary, wherein you say Hail Mary and Our Father between one of them is something that came into existence in the middle 1300’s.  It supposedly was brought into existence and published by a St. Dominique.  This is affirmed when as late as 1883 Pope Leo the 13th affirmed its doctrinal and biblical existence.  “Hail Mary seems to have some mythical miraculous way to solve problems, even for birds.  It is said that a bird was setting on a limb and a young boy was throwing a rock at it and the bird cried out “Hail Mary” and the rock fell short, right in front of the bird and the bird was not harmed!

Imagine an infallible, holy church perpetrating thousands of frauds for centuries and to add insult to injury, they continue to encourage the worship of these things because they enrich the Catholic Church!, while at the same time, they even admit them to be spurious.  No wonder the Scriptures speak of them as having “their conscience seared with a hot iron.” First Timothy 4:1-3

Then, there’s the “doctrine of mental reservation.”   Mental reservation is where if Catholicism was to be harmed you can mentally reserve to tell a lie and it not be a sin. It is a general law permitting Catholics to live if by so doing they can further the Roman Catholic Church.  Being asked if he is a Roman Catholic, he can deny that he is. They can even deny their faith if such answer is a fitting reply to an impertinent question.  There is a difference, so they teach, between religious and legal oaths; they can even make an oath without intention of keeping it!!

Then, there is the story of the three wise men which we will discuss next week!

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 22

In the days of persecution, there was a very perceptible slipping away from the original moorings.  Almost every detail of divine order was being gradually changed to conform to human ideals.  The New Testament predicted this.  Please read 1 Tim 4; 11Tim 4; 2 Peter 2; Galatians 1; 2 Thessalonians 2; and Acts 20.  The most outstanding thing in church history is the great apostasy.  Men were not satisfied with the work of the Holy Spirit and intended to mold and change His work into something the world could accept.  This increase in apostasy continued until the sixteenth century when the reformation movement started the main current of religion back toward the Bible, though by no means was this very desirable end attained in that day.  It was about three hundred years later, or about two hundred years ago, that men decided to go back to the original ground, and as yet only a small minority has decided to so do.  Even some of us who declare our intention to “speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent, do things in Bible ways, and call things by Bible names” have turned back toward Egypt (spiritually speaking) and desire the fellowship of “believers” instead of converted, convicted, disciples of the written Word.  The greater number of those who claim to follow Christ have chosen to pitch their tents at various points on the road from Rome to Jerusalem.  Most of those wearing the general title Protestant, are nearer Rome than Jerusalem in the doctrine they espouse.  They are indebted to Rome for their model of church polity and most of their faith and practice.

Creeds and manuals were written by uninspired men as vain attempts at unity.  When Constantine became Emperor of Rome early in the fourth century and saw the great numbers who were members of the Church of Christ while the paganistic religions were on the rapid decline, he nominally embraced Christianity; though in reality he was never a Christian.  While the New Testament meaning of the word heresy is party or sect, it soon began to mean anything contrary to the majority opinion.  Christianity had become the state religion.  Heathens were driven from their magnificent temples with their works of art hanging on their walls of a naked breasted woman with a baby in her arms with a halo around his head, were given to the Christians.  The Christians (?) covered her breast and re-naming them Mary and the baby Jesus.  Christianity was now popular and millions forsook heathenism and were soon prominent in the “new” Christian (?) cause.  For a while they who had been Jews and those who been worshippers of Baal relinquished many of their false beliefs but by and by they began to introduce these beliefs into Christianity.  Unconverted pagans flocked into the Church by countless thousands and began clamoring for the retention of their time honored “traditions.”  It only made sense to “save” the works of art which hung on the walls of the Pagan temples and after all, Mary and Jesus needed some representation, the Lord’s Supper just was not enough!!  This hybrid religion needed some credibility, so they changed the structure of the Lord’s Church into a power mongering institution where all the power in heaven and on earth would now be invested in the Church instead of the words of the Holy Spirit.  Becoming more like Judaism and heathenism, from which they had recently come, Christianity possessed none of the mysterious and pompous ceremonies so desirable in a state religion  A new religion needed to have tribute to men, worship in a fashion to which they had been accustomed. They dressed their new “leaders of worship” in the clothing of old mother Israel to make them visibly different as the priesthood of Aaron’s tribe and family had been.  They now would have value ONLY if “they were worshipped as god, in the temple of god opposing and exalting themselves above all that is called God, or is worshipped, so that as God, they could sit in the temple of God, showing themselves, that they were God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4

It was then that Constantine declared himself Pontifex Maximus, or high Priest of Christianity.  He called the Nicene Council to legitimize his new position and take over the controls of this new found political power he now held as a “Christian”?).  In order that he might have some power in this new found position, at this council they formulated a new “creed” called the “Nicene Creed” in which power was given him to force this down the necks of those who were humble followers of Christ.  After this, force began to be applied to those who did not readily subscribe to this “new” doctrine!!

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 21

It has been a long road from Jerusalem in the first century to Roman Catholicism of today.  No one could recognize they who claim to children of God and they who claim to be Roman Catholics were ever of the same beliefs and conviction, yet they were.  The early church had no creed except the sacred writings.  This continued until 325 AD, when the Nicene Creed was formulated, and an attempt was made to bind it upon Christians.  Through the ages other human creeds were written, or rather the old ones were remodeled which brought about denominationalism as we know it, today.  This effort saw a great increase in effort from the 5th to the 16th century when millions were tortured to death for simply believing the divinely written Word of God, only.  In the hazy travel this road took, primitive Christianity was equated with the doctrines and teachings of men who were never inspired by the Holy Spirit nor claimed to be.  Nothing is Christianity that the Bible does not teach but when men have been told it is a sin to read that book from our God, blasphemy and intolerance have to be expected.

At first, it was the Jewish nation which offered the most stubborn opposition to Christianity, but a generation after the establishment of the Church their capital city, Jerusalem, was taken by the Romans.  Their temple was destroyed, their form of worship made impossible, and their ancestry impossible to verify.  No man or woman could prove their genealogical past once the temple was taken down stone by stone by the Romans in AD 70.  After this, the Jews as a religious group were an unimportant factor.    There is still (the Seventh Day Adventist) some who claim to be Christians who try to bind the Law of Moses upon men.  For more than a hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, there existed a Judaizing party in the Church of Christ called Ebionites.

There came to be a college of Elders of equal rank governing each congregation, and one of the first steps, in the great departure from the divine pattern, was to make one of these men more important that the rest.  This began nearly a hundred after the beginning of the church on the day of Pentecost in the year AD 33.  These men soon began to meet together, from different congregations, at some central point, to discuss religious matters, and thus Councils began.  When they met in these Councils they couldn’t help themselves, they had to improve their position among equals.  Like true politicians, these brethren wanted to make a name for themselves and be greater in importance than any others among them.  Whatever was decided on in these councils or synods was bound upon the people with no recognition of the teachings or support of God’s written Word, and by this time it was “once delivered to the saints”. Jude vs. 3   they then dispensed with a plurality of elders in each congregation and brought about something never taught in God’s Word, the single elder, they called a bishop.

Christianity soon became widely scattered, and, giving way to local customs and notions, church leaders began to put in local “holy days” favored in their different countries that had been a part of religion before Christianity was ever born.   In those days there were three great theological schools; Alexandria, under Clement and Origin; Asia Minor, under Irenaeus; Carthage, in North Africa, under Tertullian and Cyprian.  These men had different ideas, and all were very noticeable different from the New Testament.  In the course of time, the preacher disappeared and evolved into a priest (Latin for elder), the Lord’s Supper gave way to the Eucharist, then the Mass; repentance became penance; and the meeting place became the building owned by the wealthiest members and those priest they favored that favored them and their pet sin.  Never think these changes came about quickly, they were gradual and most people seemed not to realize they were being led off in a direction the Holy Spirit had not authorized.  Greek soon ceased to be the common language; it became increasingly difficult if not impossible for those who could not read Greek to know the New Testament teachings.  The door was opened for men of determined desire for power to “translate” (interpret, alter to suit themselves), the Word of God into the language of the people without any consideration for the God’s Book from heaven.  The doctrine of hereditary total depravity began to be believed by the majority in the third century and the companion doctrine of Infant Baptism soon followed.  And we were off to the races!!

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 20

The assumption of Mary is a doctrine from the heart of Catholicism.  It involves the same subterfuge and theft of history that we have become accustomed to when they decide to teach a doctrine that will place themselves in the position as the “teachers of Christ” on the earth.  Pius XII made official what had been rumored among the Roman Church for over 12 centuries when on November 1, 1950 he exercised his “right to speak ex cathedra” making the assumption of Mary, official.  Papal Infallibility was made a part of Catholicism by the council called Vatican I, in 1870.  Papal Infallibility is when the Pope speaks for Christ making Law that that has never been obeyed.

It is taught that when Mary was born she had a “grace” given her.  Unfortunately, this “grace” is one she did not need.  It relieved her on in-born sin they tell us (which is another Roman Catholic lie; she never had sin when she was born).  August 15th is the date of celebration which they assigned, which, by the way was the date of celebration for Caesar Augustus.

Again, it is taught that Mary may have never died as men die, but was taken (the definition of assumption- it means a taking) immediately before death or immediately, thereafter, they cannot decide.   It is also taught that all the apostles were transported to her death bed which was in Jerusalem or Ephesus in the hour of her leaving this earth, except Thomas.  When Thomas arrived, the tomb was opened and was found empty, then miraculously, heaven was opened and Mary dropped an intimate piece of her clothing down to Thomas to prove she was in heaven.  What began as a teaching in the 3rd and 4th centuries, became a part of doctrine in the 5th finally made the status of “doctrine of the church” by the” ex cathedra” by Pius XII.  It took a long time for Mary to get situated, didn’t it?

They always like to give Mary the label “mother of God”!  Mary was only the mother of the humanity of Christ!!  Mary is not a mediator between God and man, either.  “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5   Mary is called the “favored one” (highly favored), Luke 1:28, but not because she was Christ’s mother but because she was chosen to bring the Christ into the world in a special way.

Did she sin?  I do not know.  Sin sometimes involves time to rebel, when there is no rebellion, repentance is the name of the act of obedience.  I know that if Mary had not repented and been baptized for the remission of sins on the day of Pentecost, she would have become a sinner, like the Roman Catholics!!  If she did not remain faithful unto death, she would have died a sinner.   The word translated “highly favored” is also used in Ephesians 1:6 for members of the Churches of Christ where the word is translated “accepted.”  It was Christ who said of Mary and His brethren when they came to shame Him into not preaching the gospel of preparation. “Matthew 12:46-49   the truth is, a man’s relations are as different and distinct as are his own flesh and spirit.  His blood-relatives are often not his spirit-relatives, unfortunately.  Blood relations are of time and for time; kindred spirits are of eternity and for eternity.  Natural life has its own associations, as does the Divine.  When the Divine life is quickened in a man, he enters into a new world of relationships.  In proportion to the reality and fervor of his new life will be his attachment to his new kindred, and his power of attaching them to him.

Mary had five sons, Jesus, Joseph, James, Jude, and Simon.  She also had at least sisters.  As the word for brothers so was the feminine for sisters, the Greek word adelphos (masculine) and adelphe (feminine).  Of these sons, Joseph was the father of the last four sons-they were half-brothers and daughters (Nicephorus tells us their names were Esther and Tamar).  Matthew 12:46; 13:55; Mark 6:3; John 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5; and Galatians 1:19   Jesus relates: “A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”  The word for “kin” is suggenes in the Greek language and is defined as “related by blood.”

Mary was a member of the Church of Christ, not Roman Catholic Church.  The Roman church had not come into existence at this time and when it did, it began in Rome, not Jerusalem.  She “repented and was baptized for the remission of sins and received the gift of the Holy Spirit as proof she was now a child of the King.”  She and Joseph were very special people and we thank God for them!!