Making Sense of Religious Confusion

January 3, 2022

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I have written a book which I consider to be vital in today's unstable world.  I was not thinking about money when writing it, and have no interest in dealing with the hassels associated with publishing a book using the usual procedures and publishers.  They are only interested in money and I am not.  My motive in writing "...I Never Knew You!!" was to be sure that all those people who are sincerely interested in being included in God's Eternal Kingdom understand what Jesus had to say about who WOULD and WOULD NOT be accepted into that glorious Kingdom. I have zeroed in on a particular passage of Scripture most people, even most of those who consider themselves followers of Christ have probably never heard.  Or, if they have read it, have never really considered the significance of it.  It is a passage I have never heard preached from the pulpits or on the radio or seen in Christian publications and periodicals.  Yet, I believe it is probably the most important utterance of Christ with eternal implications that will have an impact on all of us and therefore must be considered by every one of us!  I feel that the Holy Spirit prompted me to write this book!

"I Never Knew You!!" is going to be controversial because I expose many erroneous beliefs long held to be truths by people who have embraced the concept of Christianity, and are unwittingly envolved in what I call "easy believism"  HERE, I  share in its entirety--12 Chapters and 278 pages.  The final two chapters suggest a plan for Christian action and provide an in depth STUDY in the Essentials of Discipleship.   I hope you will read at least the main text in chapters 1 through 10 and consider whether you are truly ready to stand before Jesus' Throne of Judgement. I apologize for  the lack of consistency in font and formatting.  I did the best I could with the limits I had to work with in the Simplesite word processor.  The text had to be copied and pasted from my own computer's Microsoft Word, which proved to be quite a challenge.

1Deciple--Arthur Bruce Robertson



Herein, you will read and hopefully respond to the

reflections of one grateful disciple who finally

understood and responded to the Gospel of Jesus

Christ.   Now, realizing how easily it has been

misunderstood and even hidden from those who truly

want to be in a saving relationship with God,

I lovingly share with you the material in these pages

to make certain you are exposed to suffficient truth

so that you never hear these words of rejection  when you

stand before Jesus, and to be sure--that's one

appointment we all must keep!

Arthur Bruce Robertson—1deciple

                                Table of Contents:

Introduction: Keys for understanding this book

Chapter 1— An Accurate World View Is Essential  

Chapter 2— Other World Views and the Errors In Them

Chapter 3— The Curse of Denominationalism

Chapter 4—Mega Movements without The Gospel

Chapter 5—“Name it and Claim it” the prosperity Gospel

Chapter 6—The Original Christian Cult Hides the Gospel

Chapter 7—Comparing Human Assumptions to God’s Truth

Chapter 8—Understanding the Character and Attributes of


Chapter 9—Knowing Your Enemy—Satan!

Chapter 10--The simple truth simply explained, with final


Chapter 11—Friends of Jesus—Getting Back to Basics.  A

                    plan of action for obedient Disciples.

Chapter 12—Essentials of Discipleship—Spiritual Growth

                   exercises for the seriously engaged Church

Introduction: Keys for understanding this


       Early in my Christian life I came upon a disturbing truth that continues to haunt me to this day.  It is the statement Jesus made concerning the nature of entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, or Eternal Life.  Jesus admonished his followers, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven….”  Matthew 6:33.  For years I did not do that.     In Matthew 7:13-14 He says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and MANY there be which go in thereat! Because strait is the gate, and NARROW is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that find it!”

     What was so disturbing about it was the almost exclusive overtone it carried about who will be in God’s  Eternal Kingdom and even more frighteningly, who will NOT BE. Adding to the alarm it set off in my spirit is the fact that until I read it, I had never heard it taught in church. Worse, and what has driven me to write this, is the fact that nothing seems to have changed today.  I honestly don’t believe this theme is being preached in the churches of the 2000s.  Therefore, the eternal implications of that concept of exclusivity has taken on an even greater level of urgency in my sense of priorities in life and my purpose for being here.

   Here, we have Jesus speaking about God’s Eternal Kingdom, saying there is a way into it, he refers to as a ‘gate’ that leads to ‘life’, and there is at least one other gate available to be entered into that deceives and misleads people and leads them to ‘destruction’.  Making His description of the contrast between ‘destruction’ and ‘life’ even more relevant, a few verses later Jesus describes the consequences of the wrong choice of gates in their journey through life:

     “Not everyone that sayeth unto me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father, which is in Heaven.  Many will say unto me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, ye that work iniquity!” (vss 21-23) 

     Now, THAT’S TERRIFYING!! Jesus is actually warning that MANY who expect entrance into His Eternal Kingdom on the basis of their RELIGIOUS deeds and righteous acts will NOT be accepted!! This entire concept MUST be understood because it is central to the Eternal Destiny of each one of us! We MUST NOT GET THIS WRONG!! Choosing the RIGHT gate, determines our eternal destiny!  I spent sixteen years assuming I was OK when I wasn’t!!

     In the final analysis, I’ve found advancing age and realization of my own mortality are prime motivators for me to write this book.  I realize how fleeting life can be.  I could drop dead at any moment.  As someone has said, “tomorrow is promised to no man”.  People die every day who never expected yesterday to be their last!

     I cannot escape the sense that I am uniquely positioned by time and experience to contribute to the pursuit of those searching for clarity in forming reasonable and accurate conclusions and making informed decisions that will assure a productive and happy life.  Today, that sense of responsibility to others compels me to write.   I am like one who has discovered a vast source of nourishment in the midst of a prolonged famine.  Human compassion drives me to share my discovery with those around me who I know will surely perish unless they are fed life giving truth that I am equipped to share with them;  truth essential for eternal life.   Not only that, but I am painfully aware of a modern concept rampant in our culture today that has opened the door to compromise that reveals a dangerously flippant attitude toward God and the absolute, unchanging authority of His Word.  I feel there is a very real need to address that social stumbling block and will do so in the latter chapters, so be looking for it when I describe the attributes of God as He reveals himself to us in the Bible.

       During my 80 plus years.  I’ve suffered disappointment, disillusionment, distress, confusion, conviction, shame, heartbreak, discovery, enlightenment, joy and finally peace, the result of God’s love and Divine intervention.  I have many regrets but nothing to prove.  Just about every emotion and mental challenge common to man, has been a part of my history and has assured me there is an answer to the basic questions, “Who am I, is there a meaning to life, and what is my purpose for being givin life?” 

     Life lessons, hard learned, have helped me realize that truth is not relative or subjective.  Rather, and this is important to understand, truth is both absolute and  immutable. (Meaning, Truth does NOT change with time) I now find myself motivated entirely by a driving sense of obligation to share a few very important truths with those who are still struggling to make sense of it all.  Great danger exists in ignorance.  Eternity is at stake.  Therefore, TRUTH is VITAL!  Understanding this, I cannot simply go about my life and remain silent, in mindless disregard of the spiritual welfare of others. To do that would be the ultimate act of selfishness and an unforgivable act of disobedience for me.

       Some insist that what is true for one may be anathema for others.  Even so, I feel that I am responsible to publish the truth which I know is critical in determining our eternal destinies.  Aware of a pervasive and potentially destructive void of essential understanding, I must identify erroneous assumptions by which many, presently mis-guided, will come to the end of their lives, only to suffer unexpected and unnecessary consequences of their erroneous assumptions.  Truth can be known, and must be shared!  To remain self-content and silent is not an option for me.  Doing that would be presumptuous indeed, not to mention irresponsible, mean, selfish and absolutely immoral.  In my value system, honesty and true charity trump political correctness. 

     I do not wish to hurt anyone’s feelings.   I am never intentionally abrasive or contentious.   I am, by nature, non-confrontational, comforting and even conciliatory.  Personal and painfully honest observations are the basis of the conclusions I have drawn and will share in this book.  While I am not on a crusade to ‘debunk’ anyone’s cherished belief system, I absolutely  must point out the ‘less than true’ or totally untrue ideas and concepts which I recognize to be inconsistent with the sound world view essential for personal peace with God.   By no means do I consider myself flawless, or some sort of “Super Christian”.  Quite to the contrary: like Isaiah of old, I am “a man of unclean lips”, having a corrupt heart full of shameful thoughts and sinful tendencies—regrettably, the curse of sin we all must struggle with.  The Apostle, Paul discusses this issue in Romans, Chapter Seven, where he explains that even though one has become a new creation of God, he must continue to struggle against the sinful human nature we are born with.  That nature isn’t removed, unfortunately.  Paul called his sin- weakness a “thorn in the flesh”.  It does not matter what you call it, it’s always there to trip you up and thank God, Jesus gives you the strength to overcome it when you realize it’s a force you cannot deal with alone. 

     I have a number of character traits that are constantly getting me into trouble: like speaking in anger or frustration before thinking through what I’m about to say, and hurting feelings in the process, and sometimes sounding as though I think I’m always right.  I don’t.  I cannot deny, however, I’ve spent over 50 years in Scripture and on my knees seeking God’s understanding, and I am certain that what He teaches me is true and reliable.  His help in dealing with sin’s weakness is another of God’s faithful promises!  James 4:7-10 tells us to resist the devil and he will go away!

     The fact is, I am a forgiven sinner holding a priceless treasure, which I am commanded to share. Speaking the truth can often engender the deepest kind of resentment, even hate.  Especially from those who feel their own judgments and conclusions are being challenged or even brought into question.  I am asking you to be objectively open to truth and as you read, honestly ask yourself whether crucial adjustments to your own assumptions may be in order.

       I do not expect my words here to be warmly received by everyone.   I only seek to share valuable truth, and to provide a springboard for discovery and inspiration for any who will receive it.  If this book prevents one soul from hearing Jesus say, “Depart from me …. I never knew you”, then writing it will have been worthwhile.   Arthur Bruce Robertson-1 disciple.

Chapter One—An Accurate World View Is Essential

       It is important to understand ‘where someone is coming from’ in attempting  to sense their mindset and objectively interpret their statements.  You will find it much easier to follow my words and to understand my conclusions if you know the background leading to the mindset that now makes me who I am.  Realizing that the years have expanded my understanding and awareness of the world I live in, I feel obligated to benefit those behind me by sharing this profound truth;  The eternal destiny of every one of us hangs on developing a sound World View.

     Therefore, I must spend a little time talking about World Views.  The term carries the idea of defining the perspective from which one identifies himself and determines how he will behave and practice his citizenship in this world.  Many factors are involved in developing one’s world view and whether they realize it or not, everyone has one.  Our world view is a product of life’s experiences, relationships, personal observations and exposure to ideas and the teaching we've been subjected to.  Since our world view determines our destiny, it is crucial for each one of us that we make every effort to be certain we have it right.  I’m sure no one would question the wisdom in that statement.  ‘World view’ is a term most people never hear and therefore, have no concept of its meaning. Relatively few people have been exposed to an academic discussion of World Views and even the term itself tends to be somewhat mysterious to most people. 

      I had never heard the term until I was in college.  It required a semester of exposure to the academic study of ‘Sociology’ for me to fully grasp the dynamics involved in developing and holding a world view.  As simply as I can state it, the term is descriptive of how one sees reality, distinguishes the real from the unreal, determines truth, identifies falsehood, and understands the answers to the basic questions of life we are all predisposed to ask, including  “Who am I?”, “how did I get here?”, and “what is the meaning of life?”.  Our world view is foundational to our assumptions, the arbiter of our decisions, the basis for our entire belief system and what we find relevant for navigating life.  It could accurately be said that our world view pretty much determines our behavior--our actions and reactions to the conditions and circumstances we encounter.  The level of our understanding and attitudes we develop about all of the above become the substance or foundation of our individual ‘world view’.   All of it is subject to the influence of the culture we grow up in, as well as other social structures we may subsequently embrace or merely brush up against.

      Our worldview also determines our guiding ‘values’—morality issues such as what is right and what is wrong-- what is good and what is evil, including basic beliefs regarding God, sin, salvation, and eternity.   These concepts, while common to America and many other civilized countries around the world, may be totally foreign to those of some cultures.  I may as well say it now; this entire work is based on a worldview derived from a socio-economic culture founded on the Judeo-Christian tradition of values and beliefs contained in the Holy Bible.  I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and will do my best to explain what that means, presently and in every way possible.

         Typically, a personal world view is a ‘work in progress’.  As we age, we encounter an enormous variety of new and different ideas and experiences, resulting in adjustments to our thinking, one way or another.  How we react to the events, encounters and information we are exposed to is determined by our ability to think critically, analyze facts, draw reasoned conclusions, respond rationally and act responsibly in concert with what we know.  Innate wisdom, or lack of it, plays an important role in shaping our perception of life and reality.

           Most people reach a more or less ‘settled’ world view by the time they are thirty years old, some sooner.  It has taken me much longer, perhaps because of the added element of an “outside intervention” I experienced at age 28 and which became the foundation of my own World View.  Our World View ultimately determines the degree of importance we assign to the cultural pressures we encounter and how we respond to them.  It becomes the validation for our personhood and substantiates our knowledge.  The level of our wisdom is revealed in how rationally we act on the knowledge we gain and the consistency of our actions for achieving results beneficial to ourselves and others.   

      World View and wisdom are related, and work together to explain our actions in terms of how effectively we make practical application of acquired knowledge.  In my childhood, I remember cartoonists depicting wisdom as an ancient, long bearded figure in a hooded robe, holding a staff and sitting in a cave located somewhere on an almost inaccessible mountain top.  In the picture, “Old man Wisdom” is being consulted by someone who has labored tirelessly and nobly to reach him, seeking a precious jewel of guidance about some life crises or other.

        There is more truth in those depictions than, perhaps, even the cartoonists  knew.  Wisdom is always regarded as a rare commodity, and one to be acquired from someone older.  Almost never considered: What is the source of the ‘wisdom’ possessed by the person who has it?  Often implied, is that wisdom is an almost ‘god-like quality which is somehow mysteriously bestowed on a chosen few, to be shared with others only when they have made an epic quest to find it.  I don’t see wisdom that way at all.  Wisdom is an attribute that develops over time, and is available to all. I believe it is a gift meant to be freely shared for the benefit of others.  Indeed, it must be shared, for to hoard it in smug self-satisfaction is selfish and socially irresponsible.  

      For many years, my World View was badly flawed.  This led to confusion and uncertainty about many things that affected my own peace of mind.  Natural curiosity is basic to the human spirit and we are designed to pursue understanding.  We have an innate thirst for knowledge.  All too often, the hardships and harshness of life’s realities and the selfish behavior modeled to us by other human beings lead to development of cynicism, skepticism and the inability to accept anything that confronts us without testing it first, intellectually.                                                             

  "I Never Knew You!!”

    Something you never want to hear Jesus say!

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     One of the greatest hurdles we face growing into adulthood with optimism and peace of mind is overcoming the intellectual obstacles placed in our path along the way.  We tend to doubt what cannot be empirically proven, and are unable to trust our own predisposition of childlike faith that gave us unreasoned but tangible joy as children.  Inevitably, our innocence is confronted and most of our original assumptions about life are challenged by the culture we grow up in.  Such a challenge isn't necessarily bad.  Often, such challenges of our fundamental belief system is an incentive to reexamine ourselves, sort out and solidify that which should be retained, while leaving behind those ideas and concepts we recognize as invalid or counterproductive to our becoming a well-balanced and stable adult member of society. Great care and selectivity is crucial in adjusting our thinking and attitudes, and reason must guard against erroneously casting aside values and convictions simply because someone attacks them as invalid for any number of reasons…silly, ridiculous, archaic, outdated, childish.

     A dogma is defined as ‘a system of tenets, put forward authoritatively’.  Many such dogmas are associated with science and alleged scientific ‘fact’.  Still others are the brainchild of some religious body.  All tenets of this sort rely on the credibility of the body from which they originate, which assumes the authority to insist they be embraced.  The problem is, many such ‘tenets’,  long held to be true, either already have been or can be proven to be based on erroneously drawn assumptions,  often by a substantial body of contradicting evidence.  

     For example, Darwin’s ‘theory of evolution’, the central dogma of the ‘scientific community’ and used to remove God from the study of science, has recently been replaced in the reasoning of a growing body of scientists with the much more logical concept of ‘intelligent design’.  For very sound reasons, the idea of a ‘creator’ has returned to the thinking of many in the scientific community.  A number of ‘dogmas’ have for centuries been enforced on millions of Roman Catholics, only to be ‘dropped’ as no longer relevant to a given period, another example of the transitory nature of dogma.  Consequently, most people’s World View becomes a composite of doubt and uncertainty, riddled with false assumptions and a totally distorted concept of truth and reality.  Such a World View leads to dangerously erroneous ideas about life and to values that cannot work to make us productive members of a civilized society or provide the foundation for a saving relationship with God. 

     Under such circumstances, life becomes tedious, responsibility becomes drudgery, and we find little or no fulfillment in an existence devoid of discernible meaning or purpose.  Often, what we don’t know is much more destructive to our sense of tranquility and actual security than what we do know.  We are born with a basic need to be recognized, to belong, to be loved, and to be understood and appreciated by someone outside ourselves.  We need to be assured that we matter, that our existence is not without significance.  Such assurance is essential to our mental and emotional well being.  This is the social nature of the human spirit, the glue that keeps us together through the storms of life.  The confusion and pain we are often subjected to would at times overwhelm us, minus the anchor of that innate sense of self worth that sustains and assures us we embody meaning that transcends us and we do represent purpose which justifies the space we occupy on this planet. 

     It is imperative, therefore, that we come to a level of understanding about ourselves and the world we live in that provides a sense of the aforementioned meaning or purpose sufficient to satisfy our need for social identity and personal significance.  Recognizing the yearnings of the human spirit as I’ve just described them, serves to better understand the development of my own world view.  I previously mentioned the evolutionary nature of developing a ‘settled’ world view.  I said that many people come to a settled world view fairly early in their adulthood and more often than not that world view is badly skewed and out of sync with reality.  Now, I want to be specific about the evolution of my own world view, which I believe is not unique to me, but is probably common to a great many people with life experiences similar to my own.  The most important truth in this discussion is to recognize the fact that a sound worldview must be in complete harmony with the truth revealed in The Word of God, the Bible.  Otherwise it is invalid.

       Until I reached twenty eight years of age, my worldview was a composite of many invalid assumptions, based largely on the human logic of my own mind and reasoning I derived from others, all of it very much out of sync with truth and reality as I understand them today.  The month following my twenty eighth birthday I discovered an entirely new dimension of conscious awareness that transcends our natural being.  Following many years of confusion, nagging skepticism, self-doubt and conflicting ideas about truth and reality, I came to a crises moment of decision.  I found myself seriously doubting whether God was real, the Gospel was true and whether all I had been taught about religion was relevant to life.  The truth is, I had never fully understood 'the Gospel' message of Christianity, although for years I assumed that I understood it.                                                                                                                                

        At this point, skeptics will deny my credibility, saying my claims are ‘subjective’, based entirely on psychological and emotional factors that are mine alone.  They will say that the things I cite as “experiences” are unverifiable and therefore not credible.   That’s OK though, because I’m going to share my experience of discovery here anyway, hoping the truths I've discovered will make a difference to someone,  perhaps even help them to reach a realistic, life-altering world view.  I can tell you now, doing so can bring peace of mind and tranquility of spirit that cannot be produced any other way. This is my goal in writing, after all.  I’ve called it a crises moment of decision, but it was actually a lot more than that.  What I experienced was an undeniable ‘awakening’ to new understanding.  It was a moment in which I suddenly knew I was not alone in my confusion and despair, but that something or someone beyond myself  had taken note of my dilemma and had reached out and taken my hand—an ‘outside intervention’, that forever changed my perception of reality—my world view.

     Raised to believe in God and to respect Him as Supreme Sovereign over my life and destiny, in that crises moment I came to realize that I did not know Him, had never known Him and stood in serious danger going forward of not ever knowing Him.  This realization produced in my spirit a desperate sense of hopelessness and despair.  A feeling of condemnation and fear of God’s judgment overwhelmed me.  For the first time, I felt totally lost, alien to God and without anyone to intercede for me with Him.  For the first time, I knew I desperately needed a savior.  For years I had heard Jesus described as a ‘personal savior’, but had never really been able to relate to that terminology.  My understanding of  'accepting Christ' was that it simply involved a 'public' confession that I believed there was a historical Jesus, and that he had, in fact been God's special Son who died and was raised from the dead, and that I could not make peace with God until I acknowledged that--intellectually.  Suddenly, it was clear to me; I was lost and only Jesus could save me.  In that crisis moment, I cried out to him for mercy and He heard me! In my heart I knew He had touched me, supernaturally!

     Amazingly enough, I had retained enough Scripture through the years for God’s Spirit to press it into my consciousness and convict me with it.  I now understand this crises moment I’ve just related to you as God’s way of convincing me of my need for Him, and of causing me to recognize that Jesus was reaching out to take my hand and bring me into personal relationship with Himself.  This is exactly what happens to any person who recognizes his/her hopeless and helpless condition of alienation to God and who, seeking reconciliation, in childlike faith reaches out to Him.  Jesus referred to the result of this act of faith as being ‘born again’.  John 3:3

     In a conversation with Peter in which Peter acknowledged Him as his savior and Lord, Jesus declared Peter’s recognition of his own ‘lostness’, and of Jesus’ power to save him would become the foundation upon which He would build his church. The term—church—simply means “a called out body of followers” and has absolutely no relation to the various sects of “institutionalized” and extremely ritualized fraternities of religious practitioners which have come and gone over the past two thousand years, and which are still numbered in the hundreds today.  The “church” Jesus spoke of is extant in spite of the great numbers of organized “religions” which have tragically managed to mongrelize and all but destroy the true nature and life of discipleship to Jesus Christ and what being a “child of God” really entails.       

     It begins with mutual recognition.  The dynamic involved in Peter’s conversion was as follows: On the one hand Peter, when he recognized and embraced the truth of his spiritual bankruptcy, reached out to Jesus.  Jesus, recognizing Peter's attitude of repentance and seeking of redemption, reached back to take his hand in loving acceptance and forgiveness.   I call this the 'transaction of salvation'.   It has absolutely nothing to do with status, position, race, color or ‘religion’ of any sort.  Each of us has the opportunity to make it and it involves a literal encounter with God.  “Acceptance” is the vital activator that completes the transaction. The supplicant seeker of peace with God “accepts” the following tenets of the Gospel: That all men come into this world with a sinful nature, separated and alienated from God and are therefore lost, without the capacity within themselves to please and make peace with him.  That God, not willing that any should perish,  provided a Savior, Jesus Christ His only Son, whose death on the cross satisfies God’s wrath against sin, and activates the possibility of reconciliation with God.  That by accepting the gift of His Son, Jesus, and believing that God alone can cleanse us of our sin stains and has paid our sin debt with the blood of Jesus, we have assurance of salvation and peace with him when we accept Him as Lord.  Jesus, recognizing our repentance and surrender to Him as Lord, accepts us into His Family as an adopted Son, with full privileges as heirs to the promises of His Eternal Kingdom!  That IS the Gospel!                                                                                                        

     Incredible as all of this may sound, my encounter with Jesus was a very real ‘happening’ that has completely changed my life.  This experience led to total transformation of my view of reality, my understanding of myself and of the world around me.  I could never quite relate to terms like ‘conversion’, “new birth” or 'getting saved' in my various experiences of ‘religion’. Growing up, I was exposed to both Methodist and Baptist Sunday schools, a bit of Presbyterian and even some Catholic teaching but still never understood the Gospel.  I even had a close relative who was "one of Jehovah's Witnesses", as she liked to identify herself, but that raised more questions for me than it provided answers.  In none of these religious experiences did I ever grasp the message of The Gospel.  It simply was not taught in terms I could understand, and that is shamefully true of much of Christianity.

     I need to be clear about this; The word Gospel has been used in ways that unfortunately have obscured its meaning. The word, as it appears in the New Testament means, “good news”, but in some religious cultures,  the word gospel is used simply to refer to a particular portion of  New Testament Scripture, primarily Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  The deeper connotation of “good news” has been lost to many, because the elements involved in making it so have been obscured. 

     The truth is, ‘good news’ implies the revelation of previously unknown  information.  It is a revealing of heretofore unrevealed truth which allows overcoming of circumstances once seen as BAD news, due to the unavoidable consequence of a tragic and condemning status quo. We come into this world alien to God, without the resources within ourselves to correct that alienation, a truth that too often receives far too little attention in many churches.   Understand, I don’t use the word to describe a reading from one of the books of the New Testament.  I use the word ‘gospel’ in the way it was originally used, referring to God's good news, which provides salvation and full reconciliation to God from the condition of alienation and condemnation that fell upon all mankind with the curse imposed against Adam and Eve following their rebellion against God.  This great salvation is a 'gift' from God and is effectual now, once and for all, through the sacrifice of Jesus' life for anyone who believes it, repents of their alienation, and confesses their need of Him.  It is received by faith, which means you accept it as truth and act upon it with repentance and confession, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with God.  When viewed in its entirety, the ‘Gospel’ of Jesus Christ embodies recognition of a fatal condition involving all persons and the process God has provided for correction of that condition.  Let me summarize again what The Bible teaches about the gospel. 

     Generally, these are the conditions and circumstances with which the Gospel concerns itself;

1.    As a result of Adam’s (and Eve’s) rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden, All Mankind is lost and alienated from God, whom we must face in judgment.  We are born with a sinful nature, and are unable to do anything within our self or by our self to save our self from God’s judgment.  This is the ‘bad news’ in search of some ‘good news’. 

2.    The ‘good’ news starts with this: God Himself gives us hope by providing a savior, His own Son. (See Ephesians Ch. 2 for a Biblical synopsis of these truths)

3.     Christ came at a time appointed by God, and paid the sin debt which is the cause of our alienation. By the sacrifice of himself on the Cross, the barrier to reconciliation has been broken down, making possible establishment of an intimate, personal relationship with God, something He wants to have with everyone. This is the very life and essence of true Christianity. By Christ’s intercessory and substitutionary death, we who were once lost and without hope of eternal life, are given the authority to become God's children, with full and free access to Him as our Heavenly Father! (See John 1:12) This relationship has absolutely nothing to do with the practice of “religion”, but is the reality central to a correct world view.

4.    Man is given the option of recognizing his lostness and the provision of payment for his sin debt by the blood of Christ. Then, by calling on Him to be included in his finished work on the Cross, one can thus be reconciled to God and become his child. (Ephesians 2:4)  Only through this process does one become a “child of God”, contrary to the often heard declaration that “we are all God’s children”.  Born the children of our human parents, we ‘becomeGod’s children when we are born again, spiritually. Not before!

5.    There is an eternity ahead of us, in which ‘born again believers’ (Christ’s Church), will receive the rewards promised  them, and those who’ve rejected Him will suffer eternal separation from Him. The circumstances of that dread fate are described in the Book of the Revelation, while Jesus’ rejection of pretenders is described in Matthew 7, and is the theme of this book.

          So, The Gospel is the good news about the hope of reconciliation with God.  It reveals a process which first convicts us of our lost estate, then shows us God’s remedy and offers each of us the option of accepting freely the gift of forgiveness and salvation through faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross.  The shedding of Jesus’ blood on my behalf satisfied God’s wrath against the sinful nature I inherited from Adam, and the moment I accept and believe it, I am reconciled to the Father by my confession and surrender to Jesus for his saving work in me. 

      Following the crises moment I just described, when I fully recognized that I was lost and needed to be saved, literally acknowledging Christ as my only hope of salvation, I entered a new phase in the process of developing that settled World View which has been evolving ever since. It is extremely important that I make perfectly clear that I AM NOT SAYING I’VE BEEN LITERALLY MADE PERFECT AND WITHOUT SIN! That will not happen until I leave this world.  As long as I’m in this fleshly body, with the spirit of Adam still alive and well within me, I will be subject to the sinful influences of that Adamic Spirit, and will fail many times to allow God’s Spirit control of my behavioral tendencies. That is to say, I will remain an imperfect but redeemed soul, with an Adamic predisposition to SIN! The degree to which I manifest the Godly behaviors of the New Creation’s influence depend on the degree to which I am successful in submitting myself DAILY to God’s control of me. This continues to be an ongoing struggle I must deal with DAILY for the rest of my life. The Apostle, Paul explains this struggle in Romans 7:13-25, a very helpful concept to understand.

        It would be more accurate to describe my evolving World View as a process of spiritual ‘growth’.  Once my human spirit was married to the Divine Spirit in that supernatural moment I call the transaction of salvation, at that crises moment my entire perspective of life and eternity was launched into ‘transition’ mode.  According to Scripture, I became a ‘new creation’.  The original spirit I was born with, no longer controlled me and the new spirit that was quickened in me began to live in full awareness of the reality of God’s presence in my world and in my everyday life. (IICor 5:17-20)  I now understand it as a process of washing and regeneration, a renewing of the mind. (Titus 3:5)  Ever learning, always moving forward and upward, with each new experience, each encounter with the people and events God brings into my life.  Again, this is a summary of the facts related to my experience, described by Jesus as being ‘born again’.  (John 3:5-9)

          So, now you know.  My World View, and the understanding I've derived which is the foundation of all that I believe and accept as reality, has its genesis in that crises encounter with God a few weeks after my 28th birthday.  It was a moment of reconciliation and regeneration. From God's perspective it was a moment of new birth, forgiveness and adoption. Subjective claims, I know, but very, very real nonetheless.  I have since discovered many undeniable truths that reinforce and validate the reality of that crisis moment which, for me at least, leaves no doubt about the events I’ve described.  For one thing, there is an undeniable sense of quiet confidence,  or serenity of spirit—you could call it the peace of God that transcends human understanding— which now fulfills that basic human need I spoke about before. 

     I now understand who I am, where I came from, the meaning of life and the purpose of my own existence. These all become clear as we become involved with Scripture and a daily awareness of God's presence in our life. Thus, I am able to experience a level of satisfaction and peace of mind never before possible.  It’s a treasure beyond measure.  It brings unspeakable joy to my soul.  At this point, you might be thinking, “why you”?  Why did God intervene in your life in this way, and why doesn’t he do it in everyone else’s life”? The fact is, I can think of only one reason; He looked on my heart and could see that HE had become the most important thing in life to me.  NOTHING else mattered to me at that point as much as establishing relationship with Him and being forgiven and accepted by Him!  I think Jesus makes this clear in his statements about what it takes to be worthy of Him. (Luke 14:26-33)  (Matthew 10:37-39)  Nothing else can precede Him as a priority in our life.  I had literally come to that point in my own experience.  Knowing him and sensing His approval meant more to me than anything or anyone else. I believe that is the primary prerequisite for establishing a saving relationship with Him.

          Conversely, it is precisely this very understanding which has brought awareness of the destructive nature of a skewed World View and which now drives my concern for the welfare of those who continue to search or have given up hope of finding it for themselves. You see, I am now governed and motivated by a new and dynamic ‘life force’, different than the one I was born with.  It is called ‘agape’—Divine Love—an endowment of God’s Spirit energizing my spirit with a measure of the love HE feels for his Creation, especially those who are yet to become His children as described in John 1:12 referenced above, and which he now commands me to share my experience with others. (Mark 16-15) 

     This is only one of many changes to my World View that has shaped the person I am today.  I have no lingering doubt concerning what to believe or how to find meaning and purpose in life.  The absolute truth I once doubted even existed, I now recognize and joyfully embrace.  Once lost, I now am found.  Once blind, now I see by God’s generous enlightenment.  I have learned to respect God’s Word, the Bible, as true and reliable in all it affirms.  I fully accept its precepts and authority as God’s standard upon which to base a successful relationship with Him.  I have found its teachings to be true and uplifting.  I am encouraged and strengthened by the truth contained in its pages.  All confusion and uncertainty of what is true and questions about why the world is the way it is and people the way they are have been answered by learning the history of mankind from the inspired writings of Holy Scripture. 

     There are many things I can now be certain about, which once were uncertain concepts or complete mysteries to me. Likewise, I now can discern that which is contrary to God’s Truth and identify it as error and believe me, Satan has been very busy in providing plenty of that to confuse and obscure the simple Truth that can restore a broken relationship with God.  Because it is my intention to share some of these absolute truths with you who are still seeking Truth, it is important for you to understand this: the opening of my own understanding by the act of God and the influence of Scripture in development of a new perspective has given me the assurance of knowing  I have something of life changing importance to share with you and God has added to me the boldness necessary to declare it.  I can now validate what I say to you with, “So help me God!”.   I speak not from supposition, but with the authority of actual, personal experience.

       Having read the account of my very personal ‘encounter’ with God, you must decide if my story is one you can believe or not.  It is important going forward that you accept the truth I’m sharing with you as just that—truth.  Otherwise, you’re going to have a lot of trouble with accepting, even tolerating, some of the thingsI’m compelled to say as I continue.  It is precisely because I know that I KNOW what I know, and have received it as the result of a continuing process of spiritual growth, not of myself or any church dogmas or religious indoctrination of men, but as an outside intervention of Divine enlightenment, a gift of Holy Spirit doing the job Jesus sent Him to do, that I am now compelled by God’s love to continue at this keyboard.  It is not for myself that I write, because I have no need of further validation.  I know that I am going to say some things that will be very hard for some people to take. You may even find yourself wanting to throw this book against the wall, or into the fire at times, because you will find it hard to endure some of the statements I will make that may challenge your present belief system.

     It is common to believe that YOUR opinion is just as good as mine and you would be absolutely correct. But, beloved, it’s NOT about our OPINION!  It’s about what sayeth the WORD of GOD!  Opinion has NOTHING to do with it!  Opinions come from the Adamic mind and human reason neither of which is aligned with the Laws and Precepts God establishes in The Bible. In fact, our opinions more often than not are directly opposed to God’s truth.

          Before you read further, it would be helpful for you to read and try to digest I Corinthians Ch. 2, vs 1-16, which explains the prerequisite of a mind which has been regenerated and equipped by Holy Spirit to understand and correctly speak God's truth.  Sometimes, the truth can’t be articulated without offending someone, as Jesus himself would readily attest.  He spoke truth and they wanted to kill him for it.  No, I’m not comparing myself to the Lord in regard to the issue of offending, but the fact of the matter is, it was always the truth, boldly spoken by Jesus that brought the harshest and most violent reactions from his detractors.

        So, I know full well that truth isn’t always well received, especially when it challenges long held beliefs or OPINIONS that often were formed as a result of what was considered to be diligent reasoning employed in drawing conclusions which satisfied the mind about an issue being considered.  Beliefs developed that way are naturally the hardest to hear challenged by anyone or anything.  Unfortunately, until enhanced by Holy Spirit, human reasoning alone falls short of fully comprehending or explaining God’s deep eternal truths .  There is nothing quite so treasured by the ego of man as his beliefs, and he will fight hardest to defend them no matter who is challenging them.  Change of mind can be extremely hard, but a wise person will do so when it becomes clear that his settled beliefs, regardless of how derived or how highly cherished, can no longer be justified.  I confess that I have abandoned many ideas and beliefs I had held for years. God’s corrective enlightenment demanded nothing less of me. My OPINIONS had to be brought into harmony with God’s TRUTH and I can honestly say they have been.

        One thing I have learned while climbing the mountain of spiritual growth through the past fifty plus years, is that I have had to change my view or opinion or belief about some things in order to think with the mind of Christ in contrast with the carnal, limited, prejudiced, selfishly oriented, entirely human mind of the man I see in the mirror each day.  In fact, being able to learn and change my thinking has been one of the most rewarding elements of the process.  I’ve come to realize that healthy changes in my way of thinking, and the gaining of new perspective is an important part of becoming a more well adjusted person and a practicing disciple of Jesus Christ.   He teaches that total devotion to Him and obedience to his commandments are non-optional conditions of true discipleship. Those verses I quoted above (Luke 14:26-27 and John 14:21) are spiritual truths you seldom hear taught in most churches today and I fear few people are aware of them.

     Remember what I’ve said about world views and right or wrong perceptions of God and his design for us to know and have fellowship with him.  There are many alternate approaches to making peace with God being claimed in the world we live in, some very simple and others painfully complex. Many, especially in super ‘religious’ America constitute an insidious ‘easy believism’, employing a ‘works’ approach to God and totally disregard the recognition of our inherent ‘lostness’ which requires an intercessor, or Savior to put us right with God, which IS the Gospel.

      Finally, let me summarize:  Here's my view of reality--my world view:  God created the world, just as described in The Bible.  Humans are created to bring honor and glory to God, but because of the curse God pronounced following the Eden incident, we must be reconciled to Him before we can know him and become His children.  He has provided The Bible to guide us back to Himself, and His Holy Spirit dwells among us to aid in that process. Although many other ‘belief systems’, based on man- made ‘religion’ or ‘dogma’ have served to confuse and obscure God’s Truth, The teaching of Jesus Christ is unmistakably clear. He is not simply one among many optional ‘religious’ figures with a unique philosophy of how one may approach God. He did not come to establish another ‘religion’, but to demonstrate to us a RELATIONSHIP with God. 

     Christianity itself is NOT a religion, but a ‘relationship’ that is only made possible by the embrace of Jesus’ claim that man comes to The Father but by me!” (John 6:44-47 and 14:6). Institutionalized ‘religion’ has nothing to do with it!  There is no religious system that can save anyone, and there never has been.  With these statements, Jesus claimed to be the one and only ‘begotten’ Son of God, (begotten means natural childbirth from a human mother) through whom and by whom, exclusively, authentic Salvation/restoration to fellowship and peace with God is possible.  All others, he said, are ‘thieves and robbers’, seeking to deceive and steal those seeking relationship with God.  Jesus claims that He alone is the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation for fallen Mankind, making all other philosophies and religious teaching tools of Satan designed to draw men away from God and the rewards of eternal life promised to followers of Christ.  What this means is, all who embrace some ‘other’ religious system in an attempt to make peace with God are tragically rejecting God’s singular plan of Salvation when they refuse to acknowledge their alienation to God and accept Jesus Christ!

     Regrettably, this must include all who have forsaken Christianity for some other ‘more appealing’ belief System. Especially applicable in this regard are many in today’s world who have rejected Christianity and declared themselves to be followers of Mohammad!  (More about this later) Christ stands at the door of every human heart, knocking. (Rev 3:20) The choice to open that door and receive Him is ours to make. There is an eternity into which we will enter, either as God’s free children or as Satan's condemned captives.  The consequences of our choices are clearly explained in Scripture.  How we respond is up to us, and our response determines our eternal destiny!  And that, dear Reader, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that CAN save you if only you will accept it, believe it, and respond in obedience to it!

       Having now declared my confidence in the authenticity and authority of the Bible, I will be using Scripture passages liberally throughout the remaining chapters.  I realize that some do not recognize the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God and my use of them will, therefore, be like pouring water on a rock.  Even so, I cannot apologize for speaking truth as I’ve experienced it, and I unashamedly attest that I find the authority to declare truth directly from the Holy Bible, the source that now defines me and makes me who I am.  Jesus himself said that God’s Word is truth.  (John 17: 17)       

     That is what I believe and affirm to you with confidence, knowing that my personal encounter with God fifty-plus years ago is the firm foundation of my reality in this life and my unreserved hope in the life to come.  The very faith that gives me that assurance is a gift from God.  I could not generate it from within myself.  God’s Holy Spirit interacting with my spirit is the power that feeds my faith.  It is truly amazing to know I am loved by my Creator, have intimate fellowship with my Savior and the certain hope of a continuing relationship with them both, now and throughout eternity (Jn.14:23).  Even though I consistently falter in behaving as His Disciple, He knows me, forgives my sinfulness and has granted me acceptance as his Adopted Son!  It doesn’t get any better than that!

     My final conclusion for this chapter has to be: DON’T ever be satisfied with your OPINION about any matter God has already stated HIS truth about, because UNLESS that OPINION is in full harmony with what God’s Word says, IT IS WRONG!      You will never make peace with God by stubbornly clinging to your own OPINION!  Matthew 6:33 is good advice.  Also Proverbs 3:5,6,12:15, 14:12 and Romans Chapter Six would be good to review regarding your cherished OPINIONS! Anything that gets in the way of your complete SURRENDER to God and HIS stated position on the behaviors of men, will KEEP YOU FROM EVER MAKING PEACE WITH HIM!

     Remember, what we are talking about here is avoiding having to hear Jesus say, "Depart from me….I never knew you!” when you stand before him on that day. You MUST surrender your OPINIONS to the absolute authority of the Word of God.  That most likely may require CHANGING them!  I’ve done a lot of that and have absolutely no regrets for doing so. Some of the statements you will read in this book may be repeated several times, for emphasis.

Chapter Two—Other World Views and the Errors In Them

      As I’ve indicated, my journey of Faith for over fifty years has been marked by continuous upward progression, moving from milk to meat in knowledge of The Word, and finding the Lord faithful in providing Holy Spirit guidance, just as He promised: 25 These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.  (John 14:25-26)so that my growth in understanding has been continuous.  I have discovered many serious contradictions and grievous errors being propagated by various 'religions', sects and cults alike, each of whom insist that they are “Christians”, teaching ‘truth’.  When I make a statement like that, the first reaction is to ask, how can I be sure what is error and what is truth?  Who am I to determine that?  Well, I will tell you.  As I’ve already stated, I believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God, accurate, equally trustworthy and authoritative, a reliable source for gaining knowledge and building on the ‘faith relationship’ I have established with Jesus Christ.  Many have been led to believe that there are no absolutes, that truth is relative and no one can be sure about anything. This concept is central to a world view native to the philosophy of “Humanism”.   Herein is Satan’s biggest lie, right behind his questioning of God’s motives. (Read the account of the first lies ever told in Genesis 3:1-5 and notice particularly Satan’s questioning of God’s motives, calling him a LIAR and a SCHEMER)

        From the earliest days of Christian history, men have almost maniacally sought to add their own flavor to ‘The Faith that Christ delivered, complete and in perfect form to His disciples’.  (A paraphrase of Jude 1:3)  Too many of the teachings and practices found in much of “traditional” 'Christianity' today are deviate forms and gross corruptions of that perfect Faith.  God’s enemies have concocted and continue to perpetuate false teachings, causing some to live in a constant state of fear and uncertainty, believing they will not know until the afterlife whether they will be part of God’s eternal kingdom.  Usually, such a belief system is associated with the equally destructive lie that we must ‘work our way to Heaven’ by good deeds and diligent adherence to certain prescribed rituals and dogmas of religion.  The fact is, the Bible is perfectly clear about this; NO ONE can ‘work’ their way into God’s good Graces, or ‘earn’ Heaven as a REWARD, although many have been taught that eternal life must be earned. But the Scripture says,"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5-6.  Those who think salvation is earned are offended by anyone who claims to be sure about his security with God, and who claims to know that he will be in God’s eternal kingdom.  After my own encounter with God, I was amazed to find such wretched world views, even within my own family. On the other hand, there  are those who have embraced one of the man-made religious ‘systems’, which Jesus warned can take them even farther away from the truth than they were before they became followers of one of those systems.  Here are the words of Jesus about that:

.15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!1For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering togo in. For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation!

(Matt 23:14-16 The New King James Bible.) 

Paraphrasing that first line, we hear Christ saying to the religious leaders who cling to their own traditions and inventions of religious ritual and dogma, You are condemned, because you prefer your man-made religion and refuse to accept and promote the simple plan of salvation I have provided the world with my Gospel.  Not only so, but you withhold the truth that alone can result in the redemption of the lost and thus bring condemnation upon all those who, in ignorance of the truth, embrace your cultic belief system!” 

     In the highly anti-religious culture of today, the choices seem to be either bad religion or no religion at all.  But, there’s the common error:  it’s not about ‘religion’ at all!  It never was.   Keep that statement in mind as we continue.  Of even greater concern in the modern world are so called ‘Christian’ groups  who absolutely fail to teach and preach the ‘Gospel’ that Jesus gave us the command to go into the world and share!  (Matt 28:18-20) They talk about God’s love, presume if you believe in it you have become a Christ follower and are in fact a ‘Child of God’ destined for an eternity with Him. They emphasize ‘Praise’, while working very hard at hiding the ugly truth that makes the Gospel necessary. They avoid talking about SIN, which is what has separated us from GOD (Is. 59:2) and MUST BE REPENTED OF! (Lk 13:3) Positive thinking is their main theme, while ‘repentance’ and commitment are underemphasized or ignored altogether.  Being lost isn’t taught at all.  I fear most for those who’ve been insulated from the entirety of the Gospel message, which begins with being lost, needing a Savior, (Jesus being that Savior) and our acceptance of Him as Lord being the one essential for salvation and relationship with God!  It’s oh so simple, yet unpopular and therefore NOT taught, putting at risk the eternal destinies of thousands of precious souls!

      Concerning the circumstance of no religion; our culture has been digressing for a century or more, slowly and steadily becoming a ‘godless’ society.  There have been a great number of factors involved in this digression, from wicked, God hating politicians to atheistic educators who have successfully nationalized the country’s educational system, to the anti-Christ scientists, so called, who are determined to eliminate God from everything that once revered Him.  In one of his Newsletters, Tom DeRosa, Executive Director, of the Creation Studies Institute speaks about the decline of Christianity in America.  He finds that the public schools have had much to do with it:   “There is a dangerous and unseen war taking place in our society.  It is not being waged with guns, bullets, hand-grenades or loud bombs, but it proceeds unceasingly, daily, all around us.  This war is different.  While it leaves no visible bodies sprawled across the battlefield, it imprisons and endangers the eternal souls of millions every year.  I experienced this warfare first-hand as captive of our secular education system.” CSI Newsletter, Jan. 2012

        DeRosa tells the all too common story of being raised in a Christian home with all the usual Christian, Bible-based values taught at church and faithfully modeled–at least to some degree--by traditional Christian parents, only to have his faith and Christian World view challenged and eventually destroyed by diabolical, atheistic instructors.  He says many college professors project a contagious enthusiasm for ‘debunking’ traditional Christian beliefs.  This is particularly true of college level Biology instructors.  DeRosa says he was ‘mesmerized’ by the passionate devotion to scientific theory and discovery, so called, and displayed by his charismatic Biology professor:

          “..caught up in a whirlwind of ideas and information…I was challenged by new friends who questioned my intelligence for believing in the Genesis account of creation, Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel and the miracles of the Bible.”  He goes on to say, “Like so many others in the class, I was soon convinced that evolution was a settled fact, accepted by virtually everyone in the scientific community.  In just one month at college I was denying and even mocking my Creator, who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins.  Completely contrary to my 12 years of parochial religious education, I quickly found myself headed down the road to being a professed atheist.”

       DeRosa eventually became a public school science teacher and part time community college Professor where he, like his predecessor, prided himself in doing daily battle with the beliefs and convictions of Christian students in his classrooms, something that repeats itself thousands of times every day in public institutions across AmericaImagine the irony of well-intentioned parents spending thousands of dollars to send their precious kids off to college, only to have the very professors who instruct them destroy twenty years of devoted, loving instruction in the way to live a God honoring and productive life! 

DeRosa continues: “Utilizing our hard-earned tax dollars, they are propagating a godless world view, which includes evolution, sex before marriage, the so-called ‘gay’ agenda, and secular humanism (worship of man and the environment).  Parents, who have raised their kids to believe in Divine Creation, Jesus Christ and the teachings of The Bible, are having their Constitutional rights routinely violated by the very institutions charged with the responsibility of educating their youth.  Their faith has been censored out of America’s school rooms, being replaced by a godless agenda deeply imbedded in the curricula and teacher training”.

       I have lived long enough and began my academic studies far enough back to personally validate what Dr. DeRosa said, having witnessed for myself the gradual transformation of school curricula and the learning environment from traditional, uniquely “American based” perspectives to the current watered down world view of revisionist historians and young educators who have themselves embraced the “modernization” of our educational system.  This is certainly not a good thing for America’s future citizens, as has already been demonstrated by the current generation of high school and college graduates who’ve become the “New”, allegedly “progressive” liberal minded and anti-religious influencers of modern education and politics. They are correctly identified as ‘revisionist historians’ and the results of their indoctrination has become painfully obvious on our campuses and in our streets across America in recent years!

         The good news, concerning Dr. DeRosa, is that he eventually began to see through the lies and false assumptions upon which all the alleged ‘scientific’ evidence was based, and finding it woefully inadequate to support the test of true science, he rediscovered his original world view and values.  Returning to his roots in Faith and the teachings of The Bible. Dr. DeRosa has for the past twenty years been one of America’s foremost ‘Creation’ Scientists, writing books and conducting lectures on the fallacies of alleged scientific support for the theory of evolution. He is now a leading advocate of the growing ‘intelligent design’ view of a majority of the 'scientific community'.

       Considering the life experiences of Dr. DeRosa is a clear illustration of the importance world view plays in determining who we are and what we do with the lives we are given.  I want to state emphatically and unashamedly that the ‘Christian’ world view, in which God is recognized as Supreme Sovereign and Creator of the universe and everything in it, was deeply involved in the founding of America.  In spite of modern day claims to the contrary, in the beginning our nation was very much of ‘Christian’ orientation.  Originally, the Founders and leaders who formed and created The United States of America, with its Declaration of Independence, Constitution and unique Bill of Rights were themselves very much dedicated to the values and teachings of The Bible.  Even though some of them may never have thought about it, and some had faulty ideas about racial matters, they all shared a decidedly ‘Christian’ World View.  An honest and objective review of history and their writings confirms this conclusively in spite of what revisionist historians want their young charges to believe.

       This is not to say they were all ideal Christians, in the strictest sense of what that means.  Just as men today are imperfect, they too were at times less than true to their own standards, as many today are delighted to point out.  Nonetheless, that being said, they were all guided, generally by a ‘Christian’ World View.  The words of the founding documents clearly embrace the concept of God as Creator and Benefactor of men and the values and precepts of Scripture are everywhere present in them.  Listen to these lines from the Declaration of Independence:

          “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are CREATED equal, and that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Clearly, a strong reference to belief in God!

       Throughout the early history of America, and even up until the late forties and early fifties, the institutions of both Federal and State governments acknowledged The Deity and held the laws and statutes of The Bible in the highest esteem. This is clearly demonstrated by the very tone and tenor of most of the laws enacted by both Federal and State legislatures since America’s founding, many of them containing actual references to God.  It wasn’t until the last 45-50 years that we began to experience a steady decline in the Christian World View.  New ideas from the ‘scientific community’ and changes in our educational system both have played their part in corrupting America.  Even ‘mainline’ churches have been infiltrated by more liberal elements, influenced by the so called ‘Enlightenment’ coming from Europe, which seemed determined to cast doubt on the Divine origins of the Bible. So called ‘higher criticism’ of self-proclaimed scholars and theologians had their effect on the decline in reverence for the Scriptures and of belief in Divine inspiration of the Bible.  Many of the ‘churches’ in America, that once provided a united front for Godliness and the rule of law based on Judeo/Christian values taught in Scripture, have become so diverse and fractured that they turn people off rather than drawing them to Christ.  Sharp divisions between different ‘denominations’ are a constant barrier to those seeking stability and comfort from the Christian community.  Whereas it was once primarily a matter of sorting out the difference between Catholicism and ‘Protestantism’, there now are dozens, even hundreds of movements and ‘church’ congregations vying for the attention and allegiance of truth seekers today.  I will be dealing with “The Curse of Denominationalism” in the next chapter. 

    Early in the 1960s, I began to observe events and societal changes that marked an ever increasing antagonism for all things ‘religious’, which took hold and became a diabolical and widespread grassroots movement of the unchurched masses, designed to banish God and His Word from all public institutions, especially the schools and halls of government.  At one point in the late sixties, there was a jubilant claim by some intellectuals that God was dead!  Meaning, the  idea of a sovereign God was no longer an acceptable premise for a  ‘progressive’ America, one embraced only by fools and morons.  It was a liberating idea widely embraced by those seeking liberation from Biblical moral restraints. A liberalized culture became tolerant of sin, and sexual devience to ever increasing degrees!

     One of the greatest contributing factors to all this confusion and the fracturing of our once primarily Christian culture has been the tragic cultural upheaval brought about by radical, even diabolical decisions of our nation’s Supreme Court. The most destructive of many such Supreme Court actions was a ruling which has resulted in virtual removal of all “religious” influence in public life.  Most notably, the “separation of Church and State” crusades have all but destroyed the Christian World View that once provided a foundation for Government & Law in America.  Daniel L. Dreisbach, is a Professor of Justice, Law, and Society at American University in Washington, D.C.  He is the author of Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State (New York University Press, 2002).  Because I believe few Americans actually know anything about this drastic cultural change and how it affects people’s world view, as well as the very character of the nation, I’m going to share with you excerpts from an essay, based on his book.  It provides an outstanding summary of how the culture of America has been corrupted and religiously traumatized by what many Americans consider grievous judicial malpractice.  This information is not found in the curriculum of our nation’s public high schools or most colleges, although it certainly should be.  Let’s look, then at Professor Dreisbach’s  essay:       "The Mythical "Wall of Separation": How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse  By Daniel L. Dreisbach

No metaphor in American letters has had a more profound influence on law and policy than Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation between church and state." Today, this figure of speech is accepted by many Americans as a pithy description of the constitutionally prescribed church-state arrangement, and it has become the sacred icon of a strict separationist dogma that champions a secular polity in which religious influences are systematically and coercively stripped from public life.  In our own time, the judiciary has embraced this figurative phrase as a virtual rule of constitutional law and as the organizing theme of church-state jurisprudence, even though the metaphor is nowhere to be found in the U.S. Constitution. (Emphasis Mine)  In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the United States Supreme Court was asked to interpret the First Amendment's prohibition on laws "respecting an establishment of religion."  In the words of Jefferson, the justices famously declared, the First Amendment "was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State'...[that] must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach."

     In the half-century since this landmark ruling, the "wall of separation" has become the locus classicus of the notion that the First Amendment separated religion and the civil state, thereby mandating a strictly secular polity. The trope's continuing influence can be seen in Justice John Paul Stevens's recent warning that our democracy is threatened "whenever we remove a brick from the wall that was designed to separate religion and government."[1]

     What is the source of this figure of speech, and how has this symbol of strict separation between religion and public life come to dominate church-state law and policy? Of Jefferson's many celebrated pronouncements, this is one of his most misunderstood and misused. I would like to challenge the conventional, secular myth that Thomas Jefferson, or the constitutional architects, erected a high wall between religion and the civil government.[2] (Emphasis Mine)

(Dreisbach Contd.)

Building a "Wall of Separation"

     Jefferson was inaugurated the third President of the United States on March 4, 1801, following one of the most bitterly contested elections in history. His religion, or the alleged lack thereof, was a critical issue in the campaign. His Federalist Party foes vilified him as an infidel and atheist.

     On New Year's Day, 1802, President Jefferson penned a missive to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut. The Baptists had written the President a "fan" letter in October 1801, congratulating him on his election to the "Chief Magistracy in the United States." They celebrated Jefferson's zealous advocacy for religious liberty and chastised those who had criticized him "as an enemy of religion, Law & good order because he will not, dares not assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ."

     In a carefully crafted reply, Jefferson endorsed the persecuted Baptists' aspirations for religious liberty:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion,or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.[3]

(Author Note: I must interject here: the very wording of the First Amendment itself makes it clear to any honest person that Jefferson’s answer to the Danbury Baptists was not intended to be a prohibition of any and all religious expression or recognition by literally all civil governments, from cities and counties to states and the Federal Government or any agency or branch thereof!  But, this is precisely how the great man’s words have been wrested from their context to virtually forbid any kind of religious statement, reference, expression or depiction. The anti-Christ, God haters of our beloved America have almost wiped God completely out of any form of public life that touches a governmental entity in the slightest way. (end Author’s note)

(Dreisbach Contd.)

     Although today Jefferson's Danbury letter is thought of as a principled statement on the prudential and constitutional relationship between church and state, it was in fact a political statement written to reassure pious Baptist constituents that Jefferson was indeed a friend of religion and to strike back at the Federalist-Congregationalist establishment in Connecticut for shamelessly vilifying him as an infidel and atheist in the recent campaign. James H. Hutson of the Library of Congress has concluded that the President "regarded his reply to the Danbury Baptists as a political letter, not as a dispassionate theoretical pronouncement on the relations between government and religion."[4]  (emphasis mine)

 Jefferson's Understanding of the "Wall"

     Throughout his public career, including two terms as President, Jefferson pursued policies incompatible with the "high and impregnable" wall the modern Supreme Court has erroneously attributed to him. For example, he endorsed the use of federal funds to build churches and to support Christian missionaries working among the Indians. The absurd conclusion that countless courts and commentators would have us reach is that Jefferson routinely pursued policies that violated his own "wall of separation." Jefferson's wall, as a matter of federalism, was erected between the national and state governments on matters pertaining to religion and not, more generally, between the church and all civil government. (emphasis mine) In other words, Jefferson placed the federal government on one side of his wall and state governments and churches on the other. The wall's primary function was to delineate the constitutional jurisdictions of the national and state governments, respectively, on religious concerns, such as setting aside days in the public calendar for prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. Evidence for this jurisdictional or structural understanding of the wall can be found in both the texts and the context of the correspondence between Jefferson and the Danbury Baptist Association.[5]

     “In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the powers of the general [i.e., federal] government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of State or Church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.”

     These two positions were, in essence, Jefferson's own commentary on the Danbury letter, insofar as they grappled with identical issues. Thus, as a matter of federalism, he thought it inappropriate for the nation's chief executive to proclaim days for religious observance; however, he acknowledged the authority of state officials to issue religious proclamations. In short, Jefferson's "wall" was erected between the federal and state governments on matters pertaining to religion.

The Wall That Black Built (Dreisbach Contd.)

     The phrase "wall of separation" entered the lexicon of American constitutional law in 1879. In Reynolds v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court opined that the Danbury letter "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [first] amendment thus secured."[6] Although the Court reprinted the entire second paragraph of Jefferson's letter containing the metaphorical phrase, Jefferson's language is generally characterized as obiter dictum.

    Nearly seven decades later, in the landmark case of Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court rediscovered the metaphor: "In the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State'.... That wall," the justices concluded in a sweeping separationist declaration, "must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach."[7] Jefferson's words were woven neatly into the Everson ruling, which, like Reynolds, was replete with references and allusions to history, especially the roles played by Jefferson and Madison in the Virginia disestablishment struggles.

 (Dreisbach Contd.)

     Justice Hugo L. Black, who authored the Court's (1947) ruling, likely encountered the metaphor in briefs filed in Everson. In an extended discussion of American history that highlighted Virginia's disestablishment battles and supported the proposition that "separation of church and state is a fundamental American principle," attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union quoted the single clause in the Danbury letter that contains the "wall of separation" image. The challenged state statute, the ACLU ominously concluded, "constitutes a definite crack in the wall of separation between church and state. Such cracks have a tendency to widen beyond repair unless promptly sealed up."[8]

     The trope's current fame and pervasive influence in popular, political, and legal discourse date from its rediscovery by the Everson Court. The Danbury letter was also cited frequently and favorably in the cases that followed Everson. In McCollum v. Board of Education (1948), the following term, and in subsequ subsequent cases, the Court essentially constitutionalized the Jeffersonian phrase, subtly and blithely substituting Jefferson's figurative language for the literal text of the First Amendment.[9] In the last half of the 20th century, it became the defining motif for church-state jurisprudence.

     Another author’s interjection here: In my judgement, the ultra left-leaning,”progressive” Supreme Court of Hugo Black did more to damage the basic morality and character of America than anything before or since by elevating Jefferson’s metaphor to Constitutional status!  More evil has been unleashed on our exceptional nation resulting in destructive outcomes precisely because of the Court’s embracing of this awful mis-application of Jefferson’s metaphor.  In addition, the ACLU has played the role of chief antagonist to anything smacking of religion ever since, especially regarding the crusade to purge God from the American classroom.

(Dreisbach Contd. Last excerpts of his essay)

     The "high and impregnable" wall central to the past 50 years of church-state jurisprudence is not Jefferson's wall; rather, it is the wall that Black--Justice Hugo Black--built in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education.  (Emphasis mine)

     The differences between the two walls are suggested by Jefferson's record as a public official in both Virginia and the nation, which shows that he initiated practices and implemented policies inconsistent with Justice Black's and the modern Supreme Court's "high and impregnable" wall of separation. Even among the metaphor's proponents, this has generated much debate concerning the proper dimensions of the wall. Whereas Jefferson's wall expressly separated the institutions of church and state, the Court's wall, more expansively, separates religion and all civil government.  (Emphasis mine)

     Benefits (such as education vouchers) for religious entities; and excluding religious citizens and organizations (such as faith-based social welfare agencies) from full participation in civic life on the same terms as their secular counterparts. The systematic and coercive removal of religion from public life not only is at war with our cultural traditions insofar as it evinces a callous indifference toward religion, but also offends basic notions of freedom of religious exercise, expression, and association in a democratic and pluralistic society.

     The "high and impregnable" wall constructed by the Supreme Court inhibits religion's ability to inform the public ethic and policy, deprives religious citizens of the civil liberty to participate in politics armed with ideas informed by their spiritual values, and infringes the right of religious communities and institutions to extend their prophetic ministries into the public square. Jefferson's metaphor, sadly, has been used to silence the religious voice in the marketplace of ideas and, in a form of religious apartheid, to segregate faith communities behind a restrictive barrier. (End, Dreisbach excerpts)

     Dreisbach’s essay illustrates exquisitely the consequences of “getting it wrong”.  Our once beautiful, innocent, noble America has been adversely affected in the extreme by this pathway to almost total secularism, something never intended by our Founders, and in recent years one notable cause for development of a badly skewed world view by most Americans.  In my opinion, the saddest thing about all this is that, for me at least, the First Amendment was never intended to reach farther than to prevent Congress from establishing a State Church.  This point was important to the Founders because the American Revolution was partly brought on by rebellion against the State imposed Church of England, required for English citizenship and which most citizens hated.  The Pilgrims are one example of people attempting to escape regimented religious dogma, desiring to read the Scriptures and form their own Churches without being forced into one created by the state.

     While America’s own Judicial System has been a primary source of decline in the inclusion of God in public life, The Church Itself has contributed to weakening of Christianity in America!  Simultaneous with the educational/judicial assaults on our culture, the proliferation of worldly entertainment became popular, even fashionable, as increasing numbers of ‘church’ people adopted a more secular World View.  Religion and church attendance became less highly regarded by an ‘open minded’ and liberated culture.   Cults and false sects of Christianity proliferated, as people began to search for relevance and meaning in a religious vacuum.  What once was considered obscene began to be looked upon as art.  Behaviors once believed to be sinful or ‘unnatural’ were embraced as simply ‘alternate’ lifestyles.  Today, countless lives and families are destroyed by the instant availability of hard core pornography that permeates the Internet and Cable TV everywhere, including the workplace and even our homes.        

      God saw this coming and forecast it in His Word.  I’ve witnessed all these changes and radical social upheaval with my own eyes, and watched its steady development, beginning in the formative years of my young life and continuing today at even more accelerated levels, affecting marriages, family life and whole communities.  Many public officials no longer consider God or Biblical principles to be an important element in the conduct of their office. 

     As a result of the decline in reverence for God and respect for our need of His influence in an orderly society, America is sick, really sick!  Our political system, once a model for the rest of the civilized world, has become corrupt in the extreme.  Once valued tolerance of differing ideas is now looked upon as unacceptable compromise by highly partisan shapers of policy and political practice. Partisanship at the top has filtered all the way down to every city and hamlet in America, dividing and generating resentment and hatred among neighbors and even individuals within families. Politicians at every level have so severely mis-used the power of their positions to enrich themselves that one has to doubt whether they can trust anyone in government anymore. The Federal beauracracy has mushroomed in size as more and more ‘captive’ voters are added to the Federal payroll, and it’s the same with many state governments.  When you have time, visit the website of  It will blow your mind! 

     Where once a sober reverence for the Word of God, the dignity, responsibility and serious nature of being a disciple dominated the thinking and atmosphere of Christian gatherings, members of various denominational fellowships today seem more inclined to favor an increasingly entertainment orientated meeting, with ‘praise’ music that no longer contains the Gospel message as hymns always did in previous years.

     The loss of respect for and irrelevance of the institutional churches in American culture has similarly been the result of deviate variances in Christendom caused by “denominationalism”, a subtle evolution of divisive variations and interpretations of Scriptures which has splintered Christianity and created rampant disunity in Christ’s Church.  Members have taken more interest in defending certain ‘doctrines’ and emphasizing specific practices and rituals than winning the lost to Christ.  This is the topic of the next chapter. 

     One of the greatest anti-Christ influences in American culture today are those who’ve been indoctrinated by intellectuals who think by re-evaluating the Bible and its relevance for a modern America they are being realistic and true to their own understanding of God and His Word.  Regrettably, their ideas are in complete disagreement with the Inspired Scriptures, and are leading many people astray.  These are some who will hear Jesus say, Depart from me..workers of iniquity, I never knew you!”

Chapter Three—The Curse of “Denominationalism”

     With its almost kaleidoscopic “interpretations” and applications of Scripture, no one can honestly deny that while “denominationalism” allows a kind of “something for everyone” religious environment that conveniently provides some tolerance for diverse views, it most certainly is out of sync with Christ’s prayer for unity in his church recorded by John in Chapter 17 of his Gospel.  I’ve already alluded to some of the ‘doctrinal’ variations which plague Christ’s Church in today’s world.  I want to focus now on one particular body of theology which, I believe has been the root cause of great violence to Christianity since John Calvin introduced his system of religious belief and practice some 500 years ago. 

      I do not think my goals for writing this book would be served by allowing myself to get bogged down in a protracted discussion of Calvin’s teachings and how they have so badly mis-represented Scripture and bred confusion and error.  Having said that, I want to help seekers of truth who struggle to make sense of life and a confusing world, and I certainly don’t want to cloud a discussion of those issues with too much complex material.  For this reason, I will try to keep my overview of this topic as simple as possible. I do feel it necessary to at least make a general statement about my views on Calvinism, since it has become the foundational basis of many denominations within Protestantism today.  I have the utmost respect for the scholarship and spiritual motivation of John Calvin.  After studying his “Institutes of Religion” and giving prayerful consideration to the assumptions upon which he based his conclusions, I understand why his influence has had such a divisive effect on the Church of Jesus Christ through the years.                

      Looking closely at John Calvin's understanding/belief regarding God's sovereignty, I believe it was precisely a flawed assumption about that particular issue which became the basis of his five points, and were the foundations of his religious system.  Indeed, the assumption Calvin drew about the Sovereignty of God—if correct--required the conclusions stated in his “Five Points”.  What I’m saying is, I am convinced that one man’s erroneous assumption regarding God’s Sovereignty has generated hundreds of years of arguments and bitter fighting among Christians who accept his 5 point religious system, and those who find it to be scripturally unsound.  So, let me briefly offer a simple summary of “Calvinism”, as I understand it.  Let’s begin where Calvin did, assuming that God is sovereign-meaning that as Creator of the entire visible universe and everything in it, He has limitless power to know and do as he wills.  This basic assumption is true, unless you try to amplify it by ascribing to Him first cause responsibility for everything that happensNowhere in Scripture is THAT taught about God!  But, poor Calvin, being the consummate scholar, reasoned that for God to be truly sovereign, he HAD to be exactly that and nothing less.  Years of prayerful, diligent, Spirit-led study of God's Word and living in a warm, loving and rewarding relationship with Father God has led me to conclude that in spite of his piety and devotion, John Calvin's view of the Sovereignty of God and how He chooses to exercise it was dreadfully wrong, and necessarily led to the other so called 5 points of his religious ‘system’.  Here they are, the so called T.U.L.I.P. Religious System:

          (1) Total Depravity

To John Calvin, that means simply MAN is hopelessly and spiritually DEAD and unless the totally sovereign God ‘elects’ him for salvation, he must go to Hell, he is without choice. God’s total sovereignty demands it. To believe this, you must ignore or re-interpret all other Scripture that clearly teaches God’s Grace is available to all, and that He invites all to receive His GIFT of Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

           (2)  Unconditional Election

       This means simply: God chooses to give some people eternal life, before any man or woman is born -- in fact, before the world was made -- God decided who would go to heaven and who would not. Before they did good or bad, God chose some to be His people and rejected others.  That’s the hallmark of a totally sovereign God, says Calvin, disregarding all other Scripture that describes God as unwilling that any should perish but calls all men to repentance and saving faith.  This notion is terribly hateful and totally contrary to the loving and long-suffering nature of God, whose invitation to receive Christ is open to ALL, but to Calvin, God’s absolute Sovereignty requires it for the ‘elect’!  They literally have NO CHOICE!

            (3)  Limited Atonement

        Christ made atonement for man’s sins with His death, but that ATONEMENT is LIMITED to the ‘elect’ of God. Every sin of every one of Christ's sheep (the elect) is paid for. Those sins and those alone have been paid for.  Everyone else is out of luck because the sovereign God has chosen to elect those he wills to save.  An assumption which requires gross denial of Scripture which teaches us about the loving, patient nature of God.  He patiently awaits our acknowledgement of our need of a savior, while gently persuading us of our alienation to him and his provision of redemption through Christ. He allows us the choice to accept it or reject it.

            (4) Irresistible Grace

     The fourth in the five points of Calvinism teaches that God's grace to save a person cannot be resisted. Grace brings him to heaven who naturally would end up in eternal hell. That grace is irresistible. That means that if God gives  grace to you, there is nothing in the world that you can do to resist it and thwart God's intention to take you to heaven. This line of reasoning is essential to the idea of a totally sovereign God.  Of course, all Scripture teaching the free will of man must be cast aside to believe this.

          (5) Preservation of the Saints

The last of the five points of Calvinism teaches that God preserves His people so they can never be lost. To put it simply, it means this: "Once you are saved, you are always saved."  To think otherwise would be blasphemy, by questioning the total sovereignty of God!  Sin before salvation requires salvation but sin after salvation does not count according to this tenet of Calvin’s religious system. To believe this one would have to discard a huge portion of Apostles Paul and Peter’s warnings against apostasy, teaching that turning from God and rejecting the Lordship of Christ is always a possibility, since God NEVER forces his Grace on us but allows us free will to serve Him with true devotion or to rebel against Him and return to our former life without Him. Their stern warnings picture the dread specter of one who allows the allurements of SIN to drag a child of God back into the mire of Godless atheism, resulting in Christ’s Rejection of him in the Judgement. (Heb 10:23-31 and II Peter 2:20-22 & others) I believe one dreadful result of this teaching has been an easy believism and  a libertine attitude about sin, which brings reproach on Christ and his Gospel.

      Let me be perfectly clear here: These 5 points of Calvinism demonstrate the total absurdity and gross error of man trying to analyze God, especially without Divine inspiration and the gift of Holy Spirit’s counsel!  (Read again 1 Corinthians 2:1-16) They were founded in Calvin's erroneous assumption that God actively exercises total sovereignty over everything, and is therefore the first cause’ of all that happens. He made no allowance for the clear teaching of Scripture that God chooses to exercise Divine Sovereignty SELECTIVELY, thus Calvin’s entire system of Theology breaks down.  He created an image of God that is totally inconsistent with my personal experience of God in my own life.  I am not questioning whether Calvin was born again, only God knows that for sure.  I can say his intellect became a stumbling block for him in understanding God correctly, leading to some really tragic assumptions that have created schism in Christ’s Church rather than unity ever  since!

     Only by understanding that God must 'wave' (not exercise) absolute sovereignty when necessary to accomplish consistency between His Holiness, His Glory, His Plan of Redemption, His Grace and His judgment, can one rightly understand God.  Calvin's faulty understanding of God's Sovereignty and of the fact that He chooses when and how to exercise it, led to teachings that portray God in a manner CONTRARY to His character and purposes, as clearly taught in His Word and EXPERIENCED by thousands of "new creations", including MYSELF.

  The passages of Scripture that speak of 'predestination' have been interpreted by Calvinists to support his basic assumption regarding God's ABSOLUTE sovereignty, which insists that unless God exercises ABSOLUTE sovereignty in all things, at all times, and in all places, HE CANNOT BE SAID TO BE SOVEREIGN.  THIS SIMPLY IS NOT TRUE!  To attribute ‘first cause’ responsibility to God for everything is to make Him the author of SIN and confusion, pain and damnation and arbitrary selectivity, none of which is true of the loving, patient, gracious and tenderly intimate Heavenly Father I have come to know and love supremely!! 

One contemporary of John Calvin’s Reform movement, a religious scholar named Jacobus Armenius, found serious flaws in Calvin’s Scriptural assumptions, giving birth to the infamous, bitter Calvinism/Armenianism controversy that continues to this day. It has led to great confusion and schism in Christ's body.  It has given rise to numerous ridiculous notions about God’s involvement with the human race.  For instance, God is blamed for much that he has absolutely NOTHING to do with.  How often have we heard, “it must be God’s will” when it is nothing of the sort!?  To really believe that, we must believe as stated above that God is the author of Sin, confusion, pain, damnation and unjust arbitrary selectivity among other ugly negatives. This has produced weak and libertine minded Disciples, and probably caused many to flee organized religion completely. Countless others, unwilling or unable to accept Calvinism have tried to create alternate, more palatable ways to interpret Scripture and practice Christianity.

People such as Alexander Campbell (Churches of Christ), Mary Baker Eddy (Church of Christ, Scientist), Charles Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses), Joseph Smith, (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), Albert Simpson (Pentecostalism), William Miller(Seventh Day Adventism), and dozens more sects and cults have evolved under a broad umbrella of “the Christian religion” and abound today, confusing and dividing the Body of Christ while turning seekers away in a state of uncertainty and confusion, in despair of ever finding certain truth.  It may also be a factor in the self-damning decision of many who’ve rejected Christianity in favor of other ‘religious’ systems, particularly Islam!  Remember, I’ve already explained that Christianity is NOT a religion, like other systems which are nothing more than religions created by men. Christianity is the exclusive God-created RELATIONSHIP made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary.  This is the ultimate reality, the correct world view.  The most profound and eternally significant TRUTH which gives meaning to life occurs when our understanding of God becomes relational!

This proliferation of divisions within ‘Christianity’ is totally counter to the will and purposes of God.  One has only to revisit Jesus’ ‘pastoral’ prayer in John 17 to realize how far His followers have digressed from the unity He espoused and prayed to The Father for:

20Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, 21That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.22I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one:23I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me. (John 17:20-23 Amplified Bible) 

      God The Father himself makes it perfectly clear that He does not approve and is in no way responsible for the disgraceful schism characterizing many who name the name of Christ today.  One of the Bible’s most prolific writers, Paul The Apostle, wrote;

33For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches ofthe Saints. (I Corinthians 14:33)

        So, here is one of the most important truths I am compelled to declare:  denominationalism as we find it in Christendom today, is NOT the work of God, and it is contrary to the will of God.  Its what many religious skeptics often refer to as “organized religion”.  Furthermore, it brings great reproach upon the Church of Christ, and does terrible violence to The Gospel.  A weak and anemic ‘family’ of Christians, some of whom are totally unaware that they are only pretenders to that relationship, along with thousands who are confused, misled and frankly ignorant of the meaning and responsibilities of Discipleship to the Lord Jesus, now labor in disarray and confusion.  Why?  Denominationalism divides the Church and makes it an agency of divisiveness rather than the engine of evangelism Scripture teaches Christ’s Church was intended to be.

     Ironically, some of the largest religious bodies ever to be formed in the name of Jesus are among the worst offenders, in terms of doctrinal peculiarities and other man-made distinctives that have detracted from rather than contributed to the cause of Christ.  I will cover three of the largest religious bodies I feel to be contrary to the unity Jesus intended, in subsequent chapters. While it is not my intention to condemn or criticize for the sake of being critical, or of exalting anything or anyone, save The Lord Jesus, I must practice total honesty and absolute candor while God continues to allow me to draw breath. 

     And what is my motive in highlighting the negative aspects of any ‘religion’?  Simply this; I know there are many good people who, like myself, have labored for most of their lives in one church or another, doing the best they can to honor God with their lives, all the while being limited in various ways that affect them now and most critically, will affect them in eternity.  Deeming themselves ‘religious’ and assuming, therefore they are in good standing with God they plod along ‘doing their best’.  The limitations of which I speak are the result of what I can only refer to as ‘bad’ religion, or unsound doctrine, which generates unnecessary obstacles, in terms of their capacity for real discipleship to The Lord Jesus.  If I see someone in danger I must ask myself, do I have the right to ignore what I see and allow them to proceed without the warning I could give them? 

     As a child of God, with a heart for His agenda, can I simply turn the other way while people continue down a road that I know will lead them further away from God, rather than building the bridge of faith that will allow them to find peace with Him or to be more effective Disciples, ever growing in knowledge and understanding of the relationship they have with him?

     Someone will protest, “Why can’t you just mind your own business and let people do as they please?”  The answer lies in Jesus’ command to ...go ye therefore, into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature..”. ( Matt 28:19). With that kind of marching orders from our spiritual leader, who is Himself God of very God, can silence be an option for me?  I hear Him say, “I’ve brought you to spiritual awakening, and allowed you to walk with me on the narrow road that leads to eternal life.  Now, you are responsible to share what you know with those you observe going in the wrong direction, on a wrong road that you know will lead to their destruction.” “If you want to be my Disciple, you must Obey me! I have charged you with the ministry of reconciliation!” II Corinthians 5:17-18

     I realize that many well-meaning souls will be offended by my ‘presumptuousness’ and prefer to be left alone, undisturbed by me or anyone else who might disquiet them.  After all, Jesus himself said to expect that.  He pointed out that He was rejected by men and therefore His disciples could likewise expect to be rejected.

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  (John 15:19-20)

     I know He does not want His disciples to simply look the other way when they see a precious soul for whom He died going in the wrong direction.  He gifts us with a measure of Divine discernment and sensitivity to His own heart when we encounter anything contrary to his agenda, the agenda of reaching out to every soul, with the goal of drawing them to Himself.

          ..for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)  His agenda MUST be MY agenda.  That’s what Discipleship is!

     The same principle that applies to steering erring souls in Christ’s direction applies to erroneous teaching, a stumbling block for well-intended souls seeking the narrow way that will lead them to Christ.  Although I’ve always tried to avoid causing controversy or saying something that could potentially be offensive, I think there comes a time when the danger of  offending is trumped by the greater threat of negative eternal  consequences posed by a destructive doctrine going unchallenged.  Truth frees the captives.  Bad doctrine enslaves precious souls, and regrettably, there are MANY FALSE TEACHERS out there, building their own followings, perverting the TRUTH of Christ for their own selfish motives!

          I realize there are those who believe that all it takes to please God is that one ‘do their best’, or be ‘sincere’ in their practice of ‘religion’.  While it is true that God is understanding and patient, it is equally true that He has provided only one way for individuals to make peace with Him. They aren't given the option to make up their own way.  I realize that the concept of exclusivity offends many, but it’s true nonetheless.  Jesus was unashamedly clear on this point:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.(John 14:6)

      Please notice, He did not say “I am one of the ways”, or “I am a good way”.  Jesus said in no uncertain terms, “I am THE way”, singular, exclusive, distinctive.  All my life I’ve heard good people who mean well, say things like, “We’re all trying to get to the same place.  It isn’t really important HOW we go about it.  After all, it’s what is in the heart that really matters.”  I cringe when I hear someone say anything like that, because I know they haven’t met Jesus Christ yet, and if they continue to believe that way they will never know Him.  Jesus describes such persons in a very sobering statement recorded in Matthew 7:13, 21—it’s the theme of this book and you’re going to hear me say it several times in various chapters;

13 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it". (NIV)

And; 21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to themI never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’(NIV)

       Tragically, Jesus speaks of many ‘religious’ people who will be turned away in judgment.  The key phrase in this statement is, he who does the will of my Father in heaven”.  It’s another way of saying, those who accept salvation on God’s terms, subjecting themselves to His plan for the Salvation of men, not attempting to design their own or pick one of someone else’s design.  Sad to say, man has never stopped trying to craft a ‘better’ plan, one that suits his own fancy, but one which cannot work because it is part of the broad road and wide gate that leads to destruction!

          The stakes are too high, dear Friend.  At the risk of offending, I must do what Jesus told His disciples to do: preach the gospel (the good news) as He did, uncompromised by the ideas, dogmas and OPINIONS of unregenerate men.  There is both a positive and a negative application to Jesus’ command.  Positively, a disciple delivers the message that God is both Creator and Savior of humankind.  The Bible warns us we are born under the curse placed upon the world when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God’s authority in the Garden of Eden.  That curse positioned all men as aliens to God, separated from fellowship with Him by the SIN nature inherited from Father Adam.  The Prophet, Isaiah preached this message to his contemporaries.  Let me repeat it here:

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)  (NIV)

       There is the alienation that separates us from God and requires his intervention to save us from damnation.  All other world views, even those based to some degree in Scripture, fail at the point of providing redemption and reconciliation.  At this point, I feel it would be appropriate to share some loving thoughts with those who’ve chosen to embrace a “religion” rather than embrace Christ and his ‘Gospel’.  I know people who defiantly declare themselves to be adherents to the traditional religious dogmas of Judaism, thinking that since it bases its beliefs and practices on the God of the Old Testament and his laws and statutes, they are certain to please God by being faithful to orthodox Judaism.  But, alas, the truth is that it is God who planned the way of redemption and salvation in the life and death of his only Son (Jesus, born of a woman by the direct, miraculous intervention of God, without a human father, all according to millennia of Prophecy concerning ‘Messiah’). 

In declaring themselves ‘orthodox Jews’, these have haplessly rejected their Messiah, the very means God provided for them to become his ‘children’, redeemed and prepared to spend eternity with him.  Being ‘good people’ and keepers of ‘the law’, while rejecting Christ was the mistake made by the Jews of Jesus’ day which finds them, even today, still at enmity with God.  Because Jesus did not fit the image the Jews held of ‘Messiah’, and because his teachings deviated from their religious traditions, they refused to believe he was their promised ‘Messiah’.  They crucified him as a malefactor guilty of blasphemy, precisely because of his claims of fulfilling all God’s promises regarding the Redeemer to come.

  Now, I offer some thought (lovingly and with utmost respect) to those who identify themselves as ‘Muslim’, or adherents to the teachings of Mohammed.  This would include those born into that culture as well as any who’ve chosen to ‘become’ or convert to the Muslim ‘faith’.  Many contemporary Muslims point to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the originators of their basic belief system, declaring that the God spoken of in the ancient Hebrew Scriptures is the very God they call ‘Allah’, and that Mohammed was the final ‘Prophet’, whose authority was given to him by ‘Allah’ and whose calling was to affirm the monotheistic teachings and world view of their ancestors: that is, that ‘Allah’ is the only true God and Mohammed is his true Prophet.  Every Muslim you meet will proclaim that.

   These are the basic tenets of the ‘Muslim’ religion as seen by many well-meaning modern day Muslims.  These Muslims insist that Jesus was merely another ‘prophet’, a ‘good’ man and one of many who preceded Mohammed, worthy of mention and of respect for his devotion to the doctrine of monotheism. But this is in stark contrast with Mohammad’s teachings from The Koran and other early Muslim writings, which have been the basis of extreme hatred of Jesus and Christians through the centuries by extremist, radical followers of Mohammad.  One can easily see very sharp contrasts between the teachings of the Koran and the Bible, between Mohammed and Jesus and the other writers of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures that should cause serious questions for thoughtful followers of Islam. 

     For instance; love vs. wrath, peace vs. war, order vs. mayhem, Mercy vs. condemnation and fear, morality and regard for human life vs. plunder, rape and social terror/murder of innocents with total disregard for the sacredness of life and of individual worth. The contrasts are many and stark. It should be clear that the religion of Mohammed and the Deity of Islam, Alla, cannot be equated or compared to the Hebrew Scriptures and the relationship revealed between God (Jehovah) and the human race, especially those identified as ‘God’s people’ in the Old Testament then Jesus and God’s ‘Children’ in the New Testament. 

      Here are some facts to be considered regarding Christianity vs Islam in today’s world; Christianity is losing ground while  Islam is on the rise.  The deity they call "Allah", is NOT the true God of their ancestry, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob who identified Himself as Jehovah the one and only, unchanging, loving Savior of a fallen creation. The God who declares he is NOT the author of confusion, and who declared his redemptive plan was finished some 500 plus years before Mohammed burst on the scene with his claims of being God's last prophet, despite the warning against adding to or taking from the closed book was given by John the Revelator 500 years earlier.

     Of course Muslims hate Jews and they hate Christians even more. They know and fear the truth that exposes their religion as a huge fraud and the most evil cult Satan ever vomited onto the earth. Their growth in followers has been aided by the weakening of Christianity which I’ve outlined in my previous discussions of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the various negative influences that have come against it. This is exactly why it is so important what we believeTruth gives life, while error condemns souls to an eternity separated from God. The Muslim religious system is a device invented by Satan to divide and counter the growth of the Christian Gospel in the world!  I’ve been puzzled for years as to why I was seeing a decline in traditional Christianity while Islam, the religion of Mohammed, seemed to be gaining ground worldwide.   I’ve been reflecting on this question a lot and have come to this conclusion: the shift in followers between the two belief systems is actually related to satan’s war against God and the Gospel, and the implications are terrifying! I believe Islam is on the increase precisely because of the mongrelization of traditional Christianity by many so called ‘Christian’ movements popular today who have obscured the GOSPEL from their prectice of Christianity.

     The history of humankind, as recorded in the Hebrew Scripture contains the complete story of God’s involvement with the universe, the creation and population of the earth and all it contains, including mankind, his earliest dealings with man after creating them and placing them in the Garden of Eden.  The very beginnings of the human race and its fall from Grace with God, followed by thousands of years of preparation and prophecy regarding the ultimate restoration of fellowship with Him are recorded by those He chose to write down what we are given to understand.  His prophets were inspired to speak of a time and person God would bring into the world who would become the means by which man would be able to again become friends with God.  That time came and the person associated with God’s redemptive process was none other than Jesus Christ.  In the years following his sacrificial death on the Cross as “The Sacrificial Lamb of God” paying the sin-debt of those who would ‘receive him’, his apostles and disciples were moved to write histories and instructional treatises concerning the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the mission/instructions to his church in the years to come, including some enlightenment about God’s plan for Judgement and the end of the present world and beginning of a ‘New Heaven and a New Earth’.  At the very end of what God gave to the Church as His ‘Word’ (The Bible), Jesus instructed his writer (John the Apostle) to write the following:

          1The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

2who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

3Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

4John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,

5and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,

6and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

7Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”So shall it be! Amen.

8I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”  Rev 1:1-8 (NIV)

Notice that John identifies Jesus as “…the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood”.   Also, notice how John characterizes that which he is about to write: “1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” 

        If one is to accept the Bible as the ‘Word of God’, and I do, then this has to be the most profound and attention grabbing Scripture in the New Testament. Why? Because, according to John, it is the very personal ‘revelation’ of Jesus Christ to his ‘Church’ about what “must shortly come to pass” regarding God’s plans for the ‘last days’ of the world and the fate of mankind.  It is also clear from the way John writes, that Jesus is the entire focus of his writing as well as director of what he writes.  Reading the entire book of the Revelation gives understanding of the end-time events and destinies of various beings who have been players in the history of mankind and his relationship to God.  I’ll get back to Revelation in a moment, but first a look back to some important dialog from Jesus earlier in his story.

      While Jesus was dying on the Cross to pay for my sins and the sins of the whole world, near the end of his life he said, “It is finished” speaking of God’s plan of salvation and redemption of the human race.  Just prior to his crucifixion, by the power of God he told his Disciples this:   

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-8. 

     Clearly, Jesus claimed to be one with the Father, God!  This is something no one else ever said, including Moses, or Abraham or anyone else.  One can only conclude that Jesus was much more than just another prophet, HE WAS AND IS, GOD!  In fact, it was this very claim that caused the Jews to crucify him!  But the fact of his resurrection is validation of that claim!  God validated all that Jesus said and did by raising him from the dead. This is the central truth which is foundational to our faith-relationship with Him!

         It must be noted that nowhere in the entire life of Jesus and in all the writings he ordained following his ascension back to the Father was it ever written that ‘another’ prophet could be expected before Jesus’ return to this earth.  Much is said about his return and about the acts of his Apostles and about the Church he established, but nothing about Mohammed or Joseph Smith or any other person who would come to validate once again that God was the one and only true God, which had already been firmly established by the Hebrew Scriptures which quoted God’s own statements regarding His singularity, even naming himself “The Lord” (Jehovah in Hebrew texts but not Allah see Deut: 32:36-39) and by Jesus Himself! Perhaps the most explicit Scripture declaring both the name and singularity of Jehovah is II Samuel 7:22: “Wherefore thou art great, O Jehovah God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God besides thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” ASV  (These same principles that invalidate Islam apply to Mormonism as well, since Mormons teach the “Angel” Moroni , an invention of Mormon Founder, Joseph Smith, will come to Earth first, preceding the return of Jesus to redeem his Church.)

        Now, back to The Revelation:  The last chapter declares the close of God’s   written Word and warns against any and all future tinkering with it (adding to or removing anything from it) To wit: 12 Behold, I come quickly; and my [m]reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. 14 Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have [n]the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the [o]gates into the city. 15 Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loveth and [p]maketh a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things [q]for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright, the morning star.17 [r]And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely”. (Notice also the reference to the free will given to us to choose God’s Savior or to embrace some other philosophy)

18 I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add [s]unto them, God shall add [t]unto him the plagues which are written in this book: 19 and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, [u]which are written in this book.  20 He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly”. Amen: come, Lord Jesus.

        With this final statement I cannot, nor should any true believer in God ever accept the authority claimed by a false prophet who came onto the scene some 600 years after these warnings were issued, claiming to be God’s only legitimate and final prophet.  The final Words of God to the human race came directly from the mouth of the Son of God, who was and is the singular figure given authority to reconcile fallen human beings to the one and only Lord God Almighty (Jehovah), and who does so on an individual basis, establishing with all who sincerely seek Him a personal and everlasting relationship.  The loving and kind, patient and forgiving Heavenly Father has kept his promises to provide a redeemer and Savior to intercede for us with him; his ONLY begotten Son (born supernaturally of a human mother but without a human Father), Jesus Christ.

          Mohammed can reconcile no one to God and never could. Anyone who rejects Christ and embraces this false prophet has sealed their doom.  I pray any Muslim soul who reads this will realize the truth here and turn to Christ for Salvation. Especially those who have never heard it before.  May God bless you with his loving enlightenment.  I realize that to hear the truth which contrasts sharply with what you have been taught since birth is very hard to reconcile in your heart. But Jesus said that to know the truth is to be set free, then he identified himself as the truth men must embrace to be reconciled to the Father.  If you have a sincere desire to be in a genuine, eternal relationship with God, I urge you to seek the counsel of another Muslim who has embraced the Lord, Jesus Christ and listen to their testimony of their encounter with God that convinced them Jesus was the true Son of God who alone could reconcile them to God.  If any person sincerely seeks the truth, Jesus promised you would find it.

     Therefore, examine your heart and determine if you really want to know God’s truth and desire a personal relationship with him whom you have never really known.  God will keep his promise to anyone who earnestly seeks him with all their heart.  He promised that you will find him!  Trust him and reach out to him in earnest prayer, asking for his enlightenment.  He will not cast out anyone who approaches him in such a contrite manner!  Seek out other converted Muslims who will be happy to testify of their experience with Jesus and the resulting JOY they now possess!

     Listen to how tenderly and plaintively Father God pleads with wayward, self-willed human beings to reach out to Him to receive the salvation He has made possible for them:  “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me". (Proverbs 8:17)   “Ye shall seek me and find me when ye shall search for me with your whole heart.” (Jer. 29:13)  And, again; “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit”. (Ps.34:18)  Jesus said, “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (Jn 6:37) 

     There are many other verses showing us, truly, Jehovah God is actively reaching out to all who will seek him from their sincere and contrite heart! His great love makes him open and available to all.  In the last book of the Bible, Jesus gives his invitation; “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me”. (Revelations 3:20)  I pray God will use this book to persuade someone to accept that tender, loving invitation, reach out to God from a heart that yearns for a saving relationship with Him more than anything in life.  He will respond in mercy and lovingkindness and your life will never be the same! I think it would be good to pause here and point out once again that a ‘simple prayer’ created lovingly by a well-meaning Christian leader or enthusiastic Disciple may be repeated every day for the rest of your life and if you don’ t realize the basic truths of the Gospel when you are reciting that prayer, and you are not aware of your alienated status IT AVAILS YOU NOTHING! 

     Here again are the elements of the Gospel; I came into this world LOST and therefore NEED a Savior, God sent his SON, Jesus, into the world to pay for MY SINS by DIEING ON THE CROSS, and I CAN HAVE MY SINS FORGIVEN AND MAKE PEACE WITH GOD BY CALLING ON JESUS TO SAVE ME, WHICH I NOW DESIRE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN LIFE…if these basic truths are NOT understood, AND part of your state of mind and heart, it renders anything you say just words without meaning!!   

     YOU MUST understand your peril and alienation to God or you are NOT REPENTANT, AND WITHOUT REPENTANCE, THERE IS NO TRUE CONVICTION WHICH IS THE BASIS OF GOD’S OUTREACH TO YOU, INVITING YOU INTO FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM AS HIS ADOPTED SON!  These are essential elements of the Gospel and unless they are present, regeneration or New Birth is not possible.  Remember, your OPINIONS are WRONG if they do not harmonize with SCRIPTURE!

Chapter Four--Mega-Movements Hide The Gospel!

       Much of what is called Christianity today has taken a left turn from the Church of the New Testament.  What has evolved is a body of would-be Christians, practicing various forms of ‘religious’ activity, ceremony, disciplines and ritual which they believe endears them to God.  As I’ve already pointed out, corrupted versions of Christianity and ‘other’ Religions claiming a relationship with Deity are keeping the truth-seeking souls in Spiritual darkness rather than bringing them to the Light of Jesus Christ!  Because of this tragic fact, This chapter nessicerily becomes the longest chapter in this book, including some forty pages devoted to a single movement.  It all dovetails into the whole concept of erroneous church movements that will wind up hiding the truth of the Gospel and deceiving millions, who will hear Jesus’ terrible denial; Depart from me…I never knew you”!  (Paraphrasing Matthew 7:23)

Although I don’t intend to examine the questionable teachings of each of the hundreds of religious groups who identify themselves as “Christian” today, there are at least three groups which I feel obligated to address, due to their growing and widespread popularity and the dangers they pose to obscuring the original doctrines and practices of the Christ-followers of the earliest days we read about in The Acts of the Apostles. These have done great violence to the application of Scripture and caused division and confusion regarding the purpose and scope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have reduced the Gospel message to a religious philosophy or completely abandoned it in favor of shaping a religion of convenience and popularity.  In this chapter I intend to carefully examine the first, which I will introduce by asking the question: 

Is the Charismatic Movement Really the Missing Ingredient of the Church?  

       For years now, those who embrace the "Charismatic" view of the work and person of the Holy Spirit claim to have found the missing "ingredient" of the Church, the absence of which  (in their view) has rendered the Church sterile and stagnant.  These maintain that the "gifts of the Spirit"  evidenced in the life of the Christian by "speaking in tongues"  are still valid aids for "life in the Spirit", and that God means for them to be used to empower the Church and provide needed vitality.  Regardless of how we view the Charismatic's assessment of the condition of the Church and their approach to correction, we must agree with them that the Church has lost vitality since Pentecost and today is floundering in a sea of confusion.  It has digressed into something quite different from the Church described in the Acts of the Apostles as I’ve already pointed out.  These have virtually abandoned the GOSPEL!

     The problem, however, does not lie in the abandonment of the spiritual gifts.  Nor is the solution to revitalization of the Church to be found in restoration of their use.  I will prove that both the problem and its solution lie elsewhere.  I will also identify the true significance of the Charismatic philosophy as it relates to the Church of Jesus Christ.

     Let us analyze the Charismatic Movement by examining the glaring disunity within it's own ranks, and by making some observations about its effects on the Church today.  To begin with, the sharp divisions among scholars over the Charismatic philosophy should sound an alarm of question in the minds of thinking Christians as to whether a genuine move of the Holy Spirit would have such divisive results (I Cor.14:32 33).  If absence of spiritual gifts is the problem and restoring their use were the solution, as Charismatics claim, such division would not exist.  Instead, a real revival of spiritual fervor and unity among all brethren would follow.  Such, however, has not characterized the Charismatic "solution".   

     Within the Charismatic Movement itself, many "grassroots" Charismatics are being rebuked by their own scholars for blatant abuse of Scripture in their exercise of the so called "spiritual gifts."  For instance, Charismatic writer Chuck Smith says, "Some people say they have no control over their outbursts in tongues, and so many times they just start speaking in tongues, interrupting the sermon".  He then cites I Corinthians 14:32 which teaches that "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets".  Smith then concludes, "there is no Scriptural basis at all for these types of interruptions.  When a person stands up and interrupts God’s messenger, he is putting the Holy Spirit in the awkward position of interrupting Himself".

     Such un-Scriptural use of the "gift of tongues", he says, is another form of what he refers to as "Charismania" (Smith 128)  Smith honestly admits that one of the greatest weaknesses of the Charismatic Movement today is its lack of sound Biblical teaching.  He says, "There seems to be an undue preoccupation with experience which is often placed above the Word.  As a consequence, Charismatics have become a fertile field for strange and un Scriptural doctrines proliferating their ranks".  He points out that when experiences are allowed to become the criteria for doctrine or belief, Biblical authority is lost and confusion results.

      While exposing such un Scriptural notions as “being slain in the Spirit”, exorcising of demons, preference of “tongues speaking” over the preaching of God’s Word, exploitation of the congregations for big offerings, the “what you say is what you get” teaching (“Name it and claim it”)  he still defends basic Charismatic philosophy as God’s answer for Church revitalization (113 114).  How can anyone so clearly see the abuses mentioned and continue to believe the source to be the Holy Spirit?  Incredible!      

       My first argument, then, is focused on exposing the confusion wrought in the Church by the Charismatic philosophy—a destructive fact graphically demonstrated, even within their own ranks.  Surely, such is not authored by God, who abhors confusion (I Corinthians 14:33).  It is not, therefore, His "gift of Power" to revitalize His Church.

     Let us now delve more deeply into the divisive aspects of the Charismatic philosophy..  Incidentally, it should be apparent to the reader that my use of the term "philosophy" relative to Charismatic belief is intentional, although I have not used quotation marks to so indicate.  This provides some indication of how I view this "movement" and its effect, which I shall discuss later.

     Writing on the "Pentecostal experience", Assemblies of God professor William G. MacDonald says, "We assert forthrightly, on the basis of Biblical precedent and our own experiences that all believers do in fact speak in tongues, subsequent to their being submersed completely in the Spirit". (italics mine)  He insists that their glossalalia is "evidence of what has taken place in them" (Perspectives on the New Pentecostalism Edited by Russell P Spittler page 65).

     Another Pentecostal professor, Dr. J. Rodman Williams, speaking of "Spirit Baptism" says, "It is an additional work beyond that of a new life in relation to Jesus Christ, and one that many Christians may not yet have experienced,   Hence, there are both Christians and Spirit Baptized Christians". (italics mine) Williams continues, "The emphasis on conversion is good and important, but there is particular need today to supplement this with the gift of the Holy Spirit" [Emphasis mine] (7-13 79).

     Do we not find in these doctrines of traditional Pentecostalism the seeds of divisiveness, presently perpetuated in the Charismatic phenomenon?  Human nature being what it is, the poor Christian brother or sister who has failed to experience such a marvelous "evidence" of Divine Blessing is left to conclude there is something wrong with him or her, else, they too would have "received the Baptism".  Conversely, the one so privileged cannot but think he is in some way superior to those having never had the "Pentecostal experience".  Such distinctions have led to a sense of "class" or levels of spirituality (more pious / less pious) resulting in pride and exulting in the flesh.  The Apostle Paul taught that we are all Baptized by one Spirit into one body and that all are equally significant in the economy of Christ's Church (I Corinthians 12).

     In the previous arguments, we have considered the confusion and the divisiveness of Charismatic philosophy in order to show that such cannot be God’s answer for the loss of vitality in the Church of Jesus Christ.  Another very solid argument for a problem and solution other than the "Charismatic" one is the weight of Scripture cited by numerous Scholars clearly invalidating Charismatic claims.  Of the many authors who might have been quoted to make this point (see Bibliography of Works Consulted), I have chosen the  comments of three of the most widely known and frequently quoted Scholars in the Christian world as representative commentary relative to Spiritual gifts.  First, The keystone of Charismatic philosophy: Herman Bavinck, Dutch Theologian—

   "When the Revelation of God in Christ had taken place, and had become in Scripture and Church a constituent part of the Cosmos, then another era began.  As before everything was a preparation for Christ, so afterward everything is to be a consequence of Christ.  Then, Christ was being framed into the Head of His people.  Now, His people are being framed into the body of Christ.  Then, the Scriptures were being produced. Now, they are being applied." (Quoted in An Evaluation of Claims to the Charismatic Gifts, page 37 from Douglas Judisch, speaking of “that which is complete" I Corinthians 13:10—)

   'We conclude that the "complete" thing of verse 10 is, specifically, the complete Revelation of God through the medium of the prophetic gifts that the Lord Jesus bestowed upon his thirteen Apostles.  And if the Apostolic revelation be complete, then prophesying, tongues speaking, and prophetic knowledge can no longer exist according to the Apostle Paul ... Holy Scripture, therefore represents the complete and final Revelation of God for the Christian Church to the end of time." (Judisch, 49)

        Perhaps the most insightful comment comes from the third Scholar quoted.  In his book,   “Tongues, Then and Now”, George W. Marston says this:

     "We recognize the sincerity of most of the professing Christians who engage in glossalalia, the fact that they really believe that they are (exercising the Biblical gift of tongues), also, that they find pleasure in the sense of euphoria it produces.   However, since the Holy Spirit ceased to give the Biblical gift of tongues at the end of the Apostolic Age, those who engage in this practice... have permitted Satan to delude them into substituting a non language for a real language as the medium through which God in Holy Scripture speaks to and through His people, and the media through which we are to draw nigh to God in prayer through Christ." (Marston, page 117)

     To these scholarly comments refuting the Charismatic philosophy, I offer now, using the King James translators, a summary of my own study of the word, "tongues", and a reasonable and completely harmonious exposition of some greatly misunderstood Scriptures which, because they were misunderstood, have become the foundation of error-riddled Charismatic thought. 

     Following is a word study on the word, TONGUE(S) as translated from Greek in the KING JAMES version of the Bible, followed with a commentary on select verses contained in Paul's discussion of Spiritual gifts found in I Corinthians, Chapter 14 and others.  I would point out that I have attempted to be completely objective in this work, both in the word study and in the exposition of Scripture-verses relating to the subject of study. 

       The word "tongue" (singular) is used 32 times in the N.T.

       The word "tongues" (plural) is used 27 times in the N.T.

   In the original, the same Greek word (GLOSSA) is used variously to indicate the organ of the mouth OR a human language.  Even though CONTEXT clarifies which made no distinction, translating it TONGUE(S) each time it appeared in the GREEK manuscript.  

FOUR times, the plural form is used to speak of the organ of the mouth  the INSTRUMENT OF COMMUNICATION (as indicated by the CONTEXT) cf I Cor. 14:21, a quotation of Isaiah 8:11 12 where the Hebrew word LAWSHOWN, describes the organ of speech.

22 times, the plural form is used in a CONTEXT clearly denoting language,  the  MEDIUM OF COMMUNICATION.

Once, it is connected with the prefix, HETERO, to specify "other", or foreign languages (Utterances of non Hebrew peoples)

THREE TIMES, (John 5:2; Rev. 9:11; 16:16) the word is connected with the qualifier,  HEBRAISTI, to specify the HEBREW LANGUAGE, making a distinction between Hebrew and any non Hebrew form of language.

In Mark16:17, the word includes a prefix denoting a "new", or "fresh" concept or