Original article courtesy of the Ignorant Fisherman with some additions by SimplyHeavenlyFood.tumblr.com.
It seems like everywhere you look these days while driving on the road – especially on college campuses – an odd-phrased bumper sticker with religious symbols spelling “COEXIST” can be seen. This phrase contains the spiritual ideologies of the major world religions.
Every letter in the “COEXIST” phrase has a symbol representing a religious system or spiritual ideology: “C” for the crescent and star (representing Islam); “O” being dotted with the Karma Wheel (Buddhism) “E” as energy in the relativity equation (Science); “X”illustrating the star of David (Judaism); the “I” representing the pentagram (Wicca/Pagan); “S” for the Tao symbol; and “T” for the cross for Christianity.
— Note from Simply Heavenly Food—
There are other “COEXIST” symbols which are slightly different but mean the same thing. The one below is the most popularly used of the two and on any given day, you will see bumper stickers of this “COEXIST” movement on cars. It’s a fancy movement that is basically the same thing as the church of “okayness” and very similar to the “Chrislam” movement where other “religions” are trying to lead Christians astray into a false doctrine where everyone believes in all different paths to heaven when in fact, there is only 1 way to heaven!!
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me” John 14:6
Do not be deceived into following this false doctrine just because celebrities and the world say to! Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven!
“Every letter in the “COEXIST” phrase has a symbol representing a religious system or spiritual ideology” The goal of this movement is the promotion of a pluralistic and universal utopian worldview. At the heart of this movement is the abandonment of core absolutes and values (moral and spiritual.) This movement seeks to undermine personal beliefs and practices for the supposed “betterment” of world unification. Its most damnable feature, however, is the staunch rejection of the sovereignty and reality of Almighty God, His authoritative Word (the Bible), and His Savior to all fallen men, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 2:22-23). The chief Promoter of this godless ecumenical movement is the godless music industry and the pop icon Bono from the band U2. Hollywood and the fashion industry also promote this movement with an array of clothing products, gear and bumper stickers.
A phrase from the Coexist website states, “Coexist is a concept brand for everyone, connecting people and planet, together we symbolize life, love and global harmony.”
The Coexist phenomenon is the product of the subjective secular Left. The majority of the Coexist followers are secular liberals. This ideology of religious pluralism actually intersects with all three political ideologies (liberal, moderate, and conservative), but it has its greatest hold in the secular liberal mind (Romans 1:18-32; 8:5-8).
The true core of the Left are secularists who wish to promote a delusional, pluralistic universe that combines all godless ideologies. However, their main goal and real agenda is to rid the world of all religious ideologies in favor of a secular, godless one.
“However, their main goal and real agenda is to rid the world of all religious ideologies in favor of a secular, godless one”.
Though at first glance the motivation behind this movement seems sincere, noble and virtuous, the very subtle hiss of Luciferian (Satanic) mass deception can be distinctly heard. This movement seeks to bring about a godless unification - while rejecting sound moral absolutes - of the scattered inhabitants of nations following the Tower of Babel rebellion ~4,300 years ago (Gen. 11:1-9; Dan. 2:31-35, 37-45; Rev. 13:12-14).
Lucifer is the Master Kool-aid maker and pourer when it comes to mass deception of unregenerate humanity. The taste of Lucifer’s Kool-Aid is sweet and satisfying to man’s fallen (i.e., unregenerate) humanity (John 3:19; Rom. 8:5-8; Gal. 5:17-21; 2 Cor. 2:14), while his poison brew of lies seeks to counteract the reality of the eternal and natural laws of Almighty God (Rev. 17:2-3). The final destiny of these Satanic Kool–Aid drinkers is physical and eternal death (Rom. 3:23; Rev. 20:12-15; 21:8). Lucifer’s master plan is the unification of all the scattered children of Babel (Gen 11:1-9; Rev. 13), and reigning over them as their fascist, despotic master (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:13-19; John 8:44; Rev. 13:8, 16-18).
“The true core of the Left are secularists who wish to promote a delusional, pluralistic universe that combines all godless ideologies. However, their main goal and real agenda is to rid the world of all religious ideologies in favor of a single secular, godless one”
Prior to the creation of the 1st and 2nd heaven (the earth’s atmosphere and the stellar universe) and earth (Gen 1:1), the fallen Angelic realm rebelled against Almighty God in eternity past abandoning all absolute truth and reality(Isa. 14:12-17, Ezek. 13-19, John 8:44, Jude 6; Rev. 12:4), causing evil (spiritual darkness) to first appear in God’s perfect creation. Fallen Humanity also follows suit in attempting to replace the Reality (truth) of Almighty God and His Eternal Absolutes with that of a temporal earthly delusional (false) one. All that remains to those who reject God’s absolutes is a decadent, delusional state of “universal pluralism” that ends in darkness and eternal damnation (John 3:19; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Rev. 20:12-15).
Pluralism and Universalism and The Whore
The philosophy of Pluralism stipulates that all religions or spiritual ideologiesexist on an equal footing.Universalism is the belief that any and all religions or philosophies lead to “God,” and everyone will be saved in the end regardless of what is practiced.Religion is the godless spiritual ideology of unregenerate (fallen) man.
The final outworking of the Coexistmovement of pluralism, tolerance and universalism will lead to a global unity of all “faiths” (the Whore of Rev. 17) after the Rapture of God’s Church, as God’s infallible Word declares. In the end this “godless morass” will be violently destroyed by the Anti-Christ (Lucifer’s secular servant) and his confederacy of 10 nations or global regions (Rev. 13:1; 17:12, 15-17). Following the destruction and removal of this Whore (the Coexist movement), the Anti-Christ will fill the global void with the worship of himself and Lucifer by way of a blasphemous, idolatrous Image (Dan. 11:37; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:4, 8, 12, 15, 18:2). This will be the fulfillment of Satan’s age-long plan to gain worship and sovereignty in his delusional reality without Almighty God and His Eternal Sovereignty.
“Lawlessness and absolute anarchy will be the fruit of his demonic agenda”
This short-lived reign will only last 3 1/2 years (Rev. 13:5), and his promise of “Peace and a Global Utopia” will be the furthest thing from the truth (Matt 24:21-22; 1 Thess. 5:3). Lawlessness and absolute anarchy will be the fruit of his demonic agenda until the God of Reality and Truth, the Son of Almighty God, comes to crush Lucifer’s godless rebellion and establish His Kingdom on earth in Reality and Truth for ever and ever! (Dan 2:44; 7:21-22; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:10)
True Coexistence is Only Possible through Jesus Christ
The Coexistence of fallen humanity can only come about through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ (John 17:20-23; Romans 10:4). He alone is Almighty God’s solution and remedy for His lost creation and the unregenerate state and condition of fallen man (Acts 4:12; John 14:6).
For any and all who place their trust in Him, Almighty God will deliver from the judgment, bondage and mortality of their fallen estate (Rom. 12:2; 1 Cor. 15: 42-44; Gal. 1:4; Heb. 2:14-15; 2 Peter 2:20).
Forevermore in the Kingdom age to come and in eternity future will they dwell in absolute righteousness to serve Almighty God in spirit and truth (John 4:23; Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14, 18). They will be permanently delivered from the bondage and presence of a sinful nature and a cursed world (Rom. 7:24; 8:21-23; 1 Cor. 15:42-44; Rev. 21; 22:1-5).
To those who choose to Coexist in a state of spiritual delusion and rebellion against the eternal absolutes and natural laws of Almighty God, they will die (i.e., be separated) in their trespass and sin, and ultimately assigned to God’s Eternal prison called the Lake of Fire(John 8:24; Roms 3:23; Rev 21: 8, 27).
The Two Different Cohabitations of Forever
Note the vastly different eternal destinies of those who by faith receive Almighty God’s remedy (solution) for their fallen estate, and those who by unbelief reject it.
The Redeemed:(see Matt 5:6; 25: 34; 1 Cor. 2:9; 1 John 3:2; Rev 21:1-7; 22:1-5). (Click for Picture example)
The Unregenerate:(see Isa. 66:24; Matt. 3:12; 25:41, 46; Mark 9:48; John 8:24; 2 Thess. 2:12; Rev. 14:10-14; 21:8). (Click for Picture example)
Where do you want to go? Heaven or hell? The choice is YOURS alone!
My friend, Almighty God in His goodness wants to pardon you from your trespasses against His Perfect Person and Nature. He created you to know Him and to enjoy Him forever. He loves you and sent His Son to die in your place. He reaches out to you even now. Don’t turn your back on Him. Don’t deceive yourself or harden your heart, which may be heavy laden with sin, bitterness, and hate, and allow unbelief to deprive you of God’s great love and tranquility. Place your trust in Him and His never-changing Word. You will be so glad that you did. My friend, God’s love will transform you such that you will never be the same! Let it be so for you.
In the midst of a secular, “pluralistic universalism” global movement which will soon engulf the whole world, be not deceived! Turn your heart to the One who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life,” even the Lord Jesus Christ!
Jesus said, Enter ye in at the strait (narrow) gate: for wide is the gate, and broad (wide) is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat (Matt 7:13).
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
The Kingdom of heaven is at hand!
David never ever danced naked. Here is what the Bible says:
The Ark Is Brought to Jerusalem
12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.” David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. 13 And so it was, that when the bearers of the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of the trumpet. 2 Samuel 6:12-15
In the Old Testament, the ephod has two meanings. In one group of passages, it signifies a garment; in another, very probably an image. As a garment the ephod is referred to in the priestly ordinances as a part of the official dress of the high priest. It was to be made of threads “of blue and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen” and embroidered in gold thread “with cunning work” (Exodus 28:4; 29:5; 39:2; Leviticus 8:7).
The ephod was held together by a girdle of similar workmanship sewed on to it. It had two shoulder pieces, which, as the name implies, crossed the shoulders, and were apparently fastened or sewed to the ephod in front. In dressing, the shoulder pieces were joined in the back to the two ends of the ephod. Nothing is said of the length of the garment. At the point where the shoulder pieces were joined together in the front “above the girdle,” two golden rings were sewed on, to which the breastplate was attached.
After His resurrection and before His ascension to heaven, Jesus promised the Spirit as a permanent guide, teacher, seal of salvation, and comforter for believers (John 14:16-18). He also promised that the Holy Spirit’s power would help them to spread the message of the gospel around the world: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The salvation of souls is a supernatural work only made possible by the Holy Spirit’s power at work in the world.
When the Holy Spirit descended upon believers at Pentecost, it was not a quiet event, but a powerful one. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:1–4). Immediately afterward, the disciples spoke to the crowds gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. These people hailed from a variety of nations, and therefore spoke many different languages. Imagine their surprise and wonder when the disciples spoke to them in their own tongues (verses 5–12)! Clearly, this was not something the disciples could have accomplished on their own without many months—or even years—of study. The Holy Spirit’s power was made manifest to a great number of people that day, resulting in the conversion of about 3,000 (verse 41).
During His earthly ministry, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15), led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14), and empowered by the Spirit to perform miracles (Matthew 12:28). After Jesus had ascended to heaven, the Spirit also equipped the apostles to perform miracles (2 Corinthians 2:12; Acts 2:43; 3:1–7; 9:39–41). The power of the Holy Spirit was manifest among all the believers of the early church through the dispensation of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophesying, teaching, wisdom, and more.
All those who put their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately and permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11)the Holy Spirit still works in and through believers to accomplish His will. His power leads us, convicts us, teaches us, and equips us to do His work and spread the gospel. The Holy Spirit’s powerful indwelling is an amazing gift we should never take lightly.
At the International House of Prayer, there is active prayer taking place, literally 24/7, without interruption, and this has been the case for many years. 24/7 prayer is a good thing. There is no such thing as “praying too much,” so, in this area, IHOP is to be commended. The problem arises, however, in the type of prayer that is taking place. The International House of Prayer has adopted many of the practices of the contemplative prayer movement, with much more focus on mysticism and contemplative spirituality than on worshipping the Lord in prayer and interceding for others through prayer. Some elements of the IHOP employ prayer in a Word-Faith manner, claiming things from God rather than submitting to God’s will in humility. There are also reports of prophetic prayer, praying in tongues, and other ecstatic practices. So, while 24/7 prayer is commendable, if the prayers being uttered are not biblical, there is no true value in them.
Another concern with the International House of Prayer is its connection with the prophetic movement in general, and the Kansas City Prophets specifically. Instead of a biblical understanding of prophecy, that is, declaring the truth that God has revealed, IHOP essentially views prophets as Christian psychics, with prophetic hotlines, prophetic readings, and an emphasis on personal prophecy. Many have been led astray by those claiming to be apostles and prophets with a “word from the Lord.” There have been many reports of spiritual abuse and prophetic manipulation within the International House of Prayer movement.
This misunderstanding of the gift of prophecy leads to another area of concern. The International House of Prayer has an extreme over-emphasis on the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Much has already been written on the cessation of the miraculous gifts, but IHOP’s use of these gifts goes far beyond what most Charismatics and Pentecostals will accept. At IHOP, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit are expected to be commonplace. Miraculous healings, visions, dreams, prophecies, tongues, words of knowledge, signs, wonders, etc., are claimed to be constant within the ministries of IHOP. IHOP’s claims regarding the gifts of the Spirit do not at all agree with what the Bible presents. In the New Testament, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit authenticated the teachings of the apostles (2 Corinthians 12:12). If miracles are normal, they cannot have an authenticating quality to them. IHOP’s claims regarding miracles do not agree with what the Bible teaches about miracles, signs, and wonders. We would all be wise to remember Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:24, “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.” With all of that said, clearly IHOP should not be considered a biblically-sound ministry/organization. The above concerns are only the “tip of the iceberg” in comparison to some of the things that have been reported by former IHOP members/participants.
The Lord Jesus Christ told the disciples and all who would believe upon Him through their testimony (John 17:20) that He had to go away to prepare a place for us but would not leave us comfortless or orphans but that the Father would send another Comforter. This Comforter is another of the same kind and quality as Christ Himself, and He would be with them and in them (John 14:17). Never is it said that He would come upon them and cause them to lose control of themselves. We are called to do “all things decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). Nowhere in Scripture do we see the Lord Jesus ever laying His hands on the disciples and producing manifestations of uncontrollable laughter, shaking, animal noises, twitching, the need to be restrained to protect oneself from harm, or the loss of bodily control. Rather, Jesus rebuked the demons or devils that caused these manifestations and healed those that were possessed of them (Matthew 4:24; 8:16, 28; 9:32; 12:22; 15:22).
Peter warns us in 2 Peter 2:1 about false prophets and false teachers, who would “introduce destructive heresies and even deny the sovereign Lord.” The apostle Paul said, “a little leaven, leavens the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9). As believers, we are to test the spirits and to be informed and not deceived by the false teachers that abound today, whom the apostle Paul warned of in his day (2 Corinthians 11:13; 2 Timothy 3:1-7). And these valuable lessons are left for us to use and apply in every age.
PROPHECY BEFORE OUR EYES… IDF Soldiers Warned Against Contact with Messianic Jews….. OOOH Watch Out They May Find Yeshua HaMashiach!!!
The citizens of Israel woke up this week to a special early morning announcement by the Israeli Army on news broadcasts all across the country: The Ministry of Defense has ordered that all soldiers staying in Jerusalem over the Sabbath are not allowed to have any contact with members of the sect of Jews who preach faith in Yeshua (Jesus).
Is faith in Yeshua such a threat to our national security that one of the most effective military organizations in the world feels the need to “protect” its soldiers from this “sect of Jews”?
It all started when a small group of Messianic Jews visited a hostel for lone soldiers in Jerusalem over the Sabbath. The army provides the hostel for soldiers who have no family in Israel. On the weekends, when they are off base, they can stay at “Beit Hachayal,” or Soldiers’ House. A group of Messianic Israelis were visiting soldiers at this particular Beit Hachayal on the Sabbath and talking about their New Testament faith.
Many soldiers enjoyed these visits, and some began reading the New Testament and other Messianic literature regularly. Soldiers were invited to visit with Messianics in their homes, where they were introduced to Messianic faith during Sabbath meals and Bible teachings.
The Jewish believers had built up many friendships with management and staff of the hostel, who appreciated the positive impact the visits had on the lone soldiers. One of the soldiers even came to faith in the Yeshua. No one at the hostel, or in the IDF, were bothered one bit by this, not until an “anti-missionary” organization stirred up trouble.
The so-called “anti-missionaries” became aware that a soldier had come to faith in Yeshua most likely from reading one of the many Messianic or Christian newsletters and websites they follow. So they reported to the Ministry of Defense and IDF authorities that “the cult of Jews who preach Christianity are running missionary activities at Beit Hachayal.”
The ultra-Orthodox authorities to which the anti-missionaries are attached carry a lot of political weight and can cause a lot of problems. So, without investigating the facts on the ground, the Ministry of Defense and IDF immediately put out the public warning against association with Messianic.
Messianic Jews also received a letter from the Ministry of Defense forbidding them from entering “Beit Hachayal without explicit permission including a description of intended activities.”
Years ago, Messianic Jews were considered something of a security risk by the IDF. Many were not allowed to serve in elite or sensitive units. Today, however, Messianics are highly regarded by military authorities, and are even sought out to serve as commanders and officers in every branch of the Israeli military, including Military Intelligence, which requires the highest security clearance.
One Messianic Jewish Sabra (native-Israeli born), a sergeant in the Israel Air Force, recently asked his commander if he could include the New Testament together with the Hebrew Bible in his pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel. “Yes you may,” returned the officer without blinking an eye. And so this young man joined the growing numbers of hundreds of openly Messianic Jewish soldiers proudly serving in the IDF.
So why is the Ministry of Defense now publicly opposing Messianic activity in Jerusalem? According to one combat soldier, who is not Messianic, it all has to do with politics. “The government passed a law recently to recruit religious (ultra-Orthodox) Jews, but most refuse to serve,” he explained. “The army is trying to appease the Orthodox community in Jerusalem by making this absurd announcement against Messianic faith. We are all here to serve our country and the army should not be involved in telling people which path of faith to follow.”
No they were not. You have been deceived. read your Bible. he ability to trace one’s church back to the “first church” through apostolic succession is an argument used by a number of different churches to assert that their church is the “one true church.” The Roman Catholic Church makes this claim. The Greek Orthodox Church makes this claim. Some Protestant denominations make this claim. Some of the “Christian” cults make this claim. How do we know which church is correct? The biblical answer is – it does not matter!
The first church, its growth, doctrine, and practices, were recorded for us in the New Testament. Jesus, as well as His apostles, foretold that false teachers would arise, and indeed it is apparent from some of the New Testament epistles that these apostles had to fight against false teachers early on. Having a pedigree of apostolic succession or being able to trace a church’s roots back to the “first church” is nowhere in Scripture given as a test for being the true church. What is given is repeated comparisons between what false teachers teach and what the first church taught, as recorded in Scripture. Whether a church is the “true church” or not is determined by comparing its teachings and practices to that of the New Testament church, as recorded in Scripture.
For instance, in Acts 20:17-38, the Apostle Paul has an opportunity to talk to the church leaders in the large city of Ephesus one last time face to face. In that passage, he tells them that false teachers will not only come among them but will come FROM them (vv. 29-30). Paul does not set forth the teaching that they were to follow the “first” organized church as a safeguard for the truth. Rather, he commits them to the safekeeping of “God and to the word of His grace” (v. 32). Thus, truth could be determined by depending upon God and “the word of His grace” (i.e., Scripture, see John 10:35).
This dependence upon the Word of God, rather than following certain individual “founders” is seen again in Galatians 1:8-9, in which Paul states, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Thus, the basis for determining truth from error is not based upon even WHO it is that is teaching it, “we or an angel from heaven,” but whether it is the same gospel that they had already received – and this gospel is recorded in Scripture.
Another example of this dependence upon the Word of God is found in 2 Peter. In this epistle, the Apostle Peter is fighting against false teachers. In doing so, Peter begins by mentioning that we have a “more sure word” to depend upon than even hearing the voice of God from heaven as they did at Jesus’ transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-21). This “more sure word” is the written Word of God. Peter later tells them again to be mindful of “the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets and the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:2). Both the words of the holy prophets and the commandments Jesus gave to the apostles are recorded in Scripture.
How do we determine whether a church is teaching correct doctrine or not? The only infallible standard that Scripture says that we have is the Bible (Isaiah 8:20; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 2:25; Galatians 1:6-9). Tradition is a part of every church, and that tradition must be compared to God’s Word, lest it go against what is true (Mark 7:1-13). It is true that the cults and sometimes orthodox churches twist the interpretation of Scripture to support their practices; nonetheless, Scripture, when taken in context and faithfully studied, is able to guide one to the truth.
The “first church” is the church that is recorded in the New Testament, especially in the Book of Acts and the Epistles of Paul. The New Testament church is the “original church” and the “one true church.” We can know this because it is described, in great detail, in Scripture. The church, as recorded in the New Testament, is God’s pattern and foundation for His church. On this basis, let’s examine the Roman Catholic claim that it is the “first church.” Nowhere in the New Testament will you find the “one true church” doing any of the following: praying to Mary, praying to the saints, venerating Mary, submitting to a pope, having a select priesthood, baptizing an infant, observing the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as sacraments, or passing on apostolic authority to successors of the apostles. All of these are core elements of the Roman Catholic faith. If most of the core elements of the Roman Catholic Church were not practiced by the New Testament Church (the first church and one true church), how then can the Roman Catholic Church be the first church? A study of the New Testament will clearly reveal that the Roman Catholic Church is not the same church as the church that is described in the New Testament.
The New Testament records the history of the church from approximately A.D. 30 to approximately A.D. 90. In the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries, history records several Roman Catholic doctrines and practices among early Christians. Is it not logical that the earliest Christians would be more likely to understand what the Apostles truly meant? Yes, it is logical, but there is one problem. Christians in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries were not the earliest Christians. Again, the New Testament records the doctrine and practice of the earliest Christians…and, the New Testament does not teach Roman Catholicism. What is the explanation for why the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th century church began to exhibit signs of Roman Catholicism?
The answer is simple – the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th century (and following) church did not have the complete New Testament. Churches had portions of the New Testament, but the New Testament (and the full Bible) were not commonly available until after the invention of the printing press in A.D. 1440. The early church did its best in passing on the teachings of the apostles through oral tradition, and through extremely limited availability to the Word in written form. At the same time, it is easy to see how false doctrine could creep into a church that only had access to the Book of Galatians, for example. It is very interesting to note that the Protestant Reformation followed very closely after the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into the common languages of the people. Once people began to study the Bible for themselves, it became very clear how far the Roman Catholic Church had departed from the church that is described in the New Testament.
Scripture never mentions using “which church came first” as the basis for determining which is the “true” church. What it does teach is that one is to use Scripture as the determining factor as to which church is preaching the truth and thus is true to the first church. It is especially important to compare Scripture with a church’s teaching on such core issues as the full deity and humanity of Christ, the atonement for sin through His blood on Calvary, salvation from sin by grace through faith, and the infallibility of the Scriptures. The “first church” and “one true church” is recorded in the New Testament. That is the church that all churches are to follow, emulate, and model themselves after.
The Roman Catholic Church sees Peter as the first pope upon whom God had chosen to build His church (Matthew 16:18). It holds that he had authority (primacy) over the other apostles. The Roman Catholic Church maintains that sometime after the recorded events of the book of Acts, the Apostle Peter became the first bishop of Rome, and that the Roman bishop was accepted by the early church as the central authority among all of the churches. It teaches that God passed Peter’s apostolic authority to those who later filled his seat as bishop of Rome. This teaching that God passed on Peter’s apostolic authority to the subsequent bishops is referred to as “apostolic succession.”
The Roman Catholic Church also holds that Peter and the subsequent popes were and are infallible when addressing issues “ex cathedra,” from their position and authority as pope. It teaches that this infallibility gives the pope the ability to guide the church without error. The Roman Catholic Church claims that it can trace an unbroken line of popes back to St. Peter, citing this as evidence that it is the true church, since, according to their interpretation of Matthew 16:18, Christ built His church upon Peter.
But while Peter was central in the early spread of the gospel (part of the meaning behind Matthew 16:18-19), the teaching of Scripture, taken in context, nowhere declares that he was in authority over the other apostles, or over the church (having primacy). See Acts 15:1-23; Galatians 2:1-14; and 1 Peter 5:1-5. Nor is it ever taught in Scripture that the bishop of Rome, or any other bishop, was to have primacy over the church. Scripture does not even explicitly record Peter even being in Rome. Rather there is only one reference in Scripture of Peter writing from “Babylon,” a name sometimes applied to Rome (1 Peter 5:13). Primarily upon this and the historical rise of the influence of the Bishop of Rome come the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching of the primacy of the bishop of Rome. However, Scripture shows that Peter’s authority was shared by the other apostles (Ephesians 2:19-20), and the “loosing and binding” authority attributed to him was likewise shared by the local churches, not just their church leaders (see Matthew 18:15-19; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 13:10; Titus 2:15; 3:10-11).
Also, nowhere does Scripture state that, in order to keep the church from error, the authority of the apostles was passed on to those they ordained (the idea behind apostolic succession). Apostolic succession is “read into” those verses that the Roman Catholic Church uses to support this doctrine (2 Timothy 2:2; 4:2-5; Titus 1:5; 2:1; 2:15; 1 Timothy 5:19-22). Paul does NOT call on believers in various churches to receive Titus, Timothy, and other church leaders based on their authority as bishops or their having apostolic authority, but rather based upon their being fellow laborers with him (1 Corinthians 16:10; 16:16; 2 Corinthians 8:23).
What Scripture DOES teach is that false teachings would arise even from among church leaders, and that Christians were to compare the teachings of these later church leaders with Scripture, which alone is infallible (Matthew 5:18; Psalm 19:7-8; 119:160; Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17; 2 Peter 1:19-21). The Bible does not teach that the apostles were infallible, apart from what was written by them and incorporated into Scripture. Paul, in talking to the church leaders in the large city of Ephesus, makes note of coming false teachers. To fight against their error does NOT commend them to “the apostles and those who would carry on their authority”; rather, Paul commends them to “God and to the word of His grace” (Acts 20:28-32). It is Scripture that was to be the infallible measuring stick for teaching and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17), not apostolic successors. It is by examining the Scriptures that teachings are shown to be true or false (Acts 17:10-12).
Was Peter the first pope? The answer, according to Scripture, is a clear and emphatic “NO.” Peter nowhere claims supremacy over the other apostles. Nowhere in his writings (1 and 2 Peter) did the Apostle Peter claim any special role, authority, or power over the church. Nowhere in Scripture does Peter, or any other apostle, state that their apostolic authority would be passed on to successors. Yes, the Apostle Peter had a leadership role among the disciples. Yes, Peter played a crucial role in the early spread of the gospel (Acts chapters 1-10). Yes, Peter was the “rock” that Christ predicted he would be (Matthew 16:18). However, these truths about Peter in no way give support to the concept that Peter was the first pope, or that he was the “supreme leader” over the apostles, or that his authority would be passed on to the bishops of Rome. Peter himself points us all to the true Shepherd and Overseer of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:25). God bless you!!! :):)
The issue of Catholics praying to saints is one that is full of confusion. It is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church that Catholics do not pray TO saints or Mary, but rather that Catholics can ask saints or Mary to pray FOR them. The official position of the Roman Catholic Church is that asking saints for their prayers is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for us. However, the practice of many Catholics diverges from official Roman Catholic teaching. Many Catholics do in fact pray directly to saints and/or Mary, asking them for help – instead of asking the saints and/or Mary to intercede with God for help. Whatever the case, whether a saint or Mary is being prayed to, or asked to pray, neither practice has any biblical basis.
The Bible nowhere instructs believers in Christ to pray to anyone other than God. The Bible nowhere encourages, or even mentions, believers asking individuals in heaven for their prayers. Why, then, do many Catholics pray to Mary and/or the saints, or request their prayers? Catholics view Mary and the saints as “intercessors” before God. They believe that a saint, who is glorified in Heaven, has more “direct access” to God than we do. Therefore, if a saint delivers a prayer to God, it is more effective than us praying to God directly. This concept is blatantly unbiblical. Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we, believers here on earth, can “approach the throne of grace with confidence.”
First Timothy 2:5 declares, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” There is no one else that can mediate with God for us. If Jesus is the ONLY mediator, that indicates Mary and the saints cannot be mediators. They cannot mediate our prayer requests to God. Further, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ Himself is interceding for us before the Father: “Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). With Jesus Himself interceding for us, why would we need Mary or the saints to intercede for us? Whom would God listen to more closely than His Son? Romans 8:26-27 describes the Holy Spirit interceding for us. With the 2nd and 3rd members of the Trinity already interceding for us before the Father in heaven, what possible need could there be to have Mary or the saints interceding for us?
Catholics argue that praying to Mary and the saints is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for us. Let us examine that claim. (1) The Apostle Paul asks other Christians to pray for him in Ephesians 6:19. Many Scriptures describe believers praying for one another (2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:19; 2 Timothy 1:3). The Bible nowhere mentions anyone asking for someone in heaven to pray for him. The Bible nowhere describes anyone in heaven praying for anyone on earth. (2) The Bible gives absolutely no indication that Mary or the saints can hear our prayers. Mary and the saints are not omniscient. Even glorified in heaven, they are still finite beings with limitations. How could they possibly hear the prayers of millions of people? Whenever the Bible mentions praying to or speaking with the dead, it is in the context of sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, and divination—activities the Bible strongly condemns (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-13). In the one instance when a “saint” is spoken to, Samuel in 1 Samuel 28:7-19, Samuel is not exactly happy to be disturbed. It is clear that praying to Mary or the saints is completely different from asking someone here on earth to pray for us. One has a strong biblical basis; the other has no biblical basis whatsoever.
God does not answer prayers based on who is praying. God answers prayers based on whether they are asked according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). There is absolutely no basis or need to pray to anyone other than God alone. There is no basis for asking those who are in heaven to pray for us. Only God can hear our prayers. Only God can answer our prayers. No one in heaven has any greater access to God’s throne than we do through prayer (Hebrews 4:16). God bless you!!! :):)
The origin of the Hare Krishnas (International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON) dates back to the fifteenth century (1486), when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu first taught that Krishna was the supreme Lord above every other god. Mahaprabhu advocated a devotional method of faith where adherents to Krishna entered into a relationship with Krishna expressing adoration to Krishna through dancing and chanting. His public displays of adoration earned a large following, in part, due to its sharp contrast with dispassionate and ascetic expressions which is common to Hinduism. This Hindu sect, however distinct it is in its unique adherence to Krishna, is still quite Hindu since even Krishna is but a manifestation (or “Avatar”) of Vishnu—one of the classic deities of Hinduism. Moreover, Hare Krishnas retain the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu Scripture, as well as the doctrines of reincarnation and karma.
The ultimate goal for Hare Krishnas is a transcendental, loving relationship with Lord Krishna. “Hare” itself refers to “the pleasure potency of Krishna,” similar to the Christian idea of man’s highest goal being to worship God and enjoy Him forever. Some Christian overtones should be obvious at this point, even though ISKCON is a distinctly Hindu cult. Due to the mystical “devotion” expressed in chanting and dancing, the Hare Krishnas can be compared to Sufi Muslims (“Whirling Dervishes”) and some mystical expressions of Christianity which emphasize ecstatic experiences and mystical transcendence.
In 1965, the Hare Krishna movement came to America by means of Abhay Charan De Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, an aged Indian exponent of the worship of Krishna. The Swami forsook the world in 1959 at the age of 63 to be a guru in total devotion to Krishna. At the age of 70 he traveled to New York to popularize his views. The Hare Krishna movement sprouted quickly in the ready soil of the 1960s. Western values were being questioned, and Eastern thought was becoming fashionable. The larger culture of the United States was shifting to a new religious paradigm of which ISKCON was another player. A tireless evangelist, the Swami founded ISKCON and remained its leader until his death in 1977. ISKCON is a wealthy organization today, having gained its wealth largely through soliciting funds and distributing its lavishly illustrated literature, including the Bhagavad Gita and its periodical Back to Godhead. During the 1960s and 1970s, Hare Krishnas were so prevalent in public places such as airports that laws had to be passed to prevent them from accosting people with their often aggressive and intimidating demands for money.
ISKCON is quite demanding of its adherents. Becoming a member involves choosing a guru and becoming his disciple. This guru is so critical that it is said, “Without [the guru] the cultivation of Krishna consciousness is impossible.” From the devotee’s side, “initiation means that he accepts the guru as his spiritual master and agrees to worship him as God.” (Ron Rhodes, The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions 2001, p. 176). And the whole of one’s life is to be encompassed by Krishna-centered practice and devotion. To attain this goal, ISKCON pulls its members into communal settings where all discussion and life is deliberately centered around Krishna. Very intricate rules are established in these communities to make sure that all activity is Krishna-centered. Much of Indian/Hindu culture is imported into these communes. It must be noted that these communities have been questioned by ex-members and outsiders alike who allege illegal and immoral practices within the safety of their relative isolation. ISKCON has been accused of great evils in this regard, even though such allegations, were they true, should not be hastily attributed to ISKCON doctrine specifically but rather to the practices of some Hare Krishnas. A similar example could be made, for Christians, with the moral downfall of certain Christian leaders and televangelists.
The beliefs of the Krishnas are typically Hindu and are largely incompatible with biblical Christianity. First, the view of God is basically pantheistic, meaning that they believe God is all and in all. For Hare Krishnas, God is everything and everything is God. For the Christian, God is transcendent—He is above all that He created. One of the tenets of ISKCON thought is that we actually achieve relational unity with God ourselves. Christians can relate somewhat to this idea since Bhakti Hinduism, to which ISKCON subscribes, is nearly theistic in its view of God and admittedly teaches that man can enter into a loving relationship with God. The Hare Krishna, however, is a little blurry on how relational this ultimate goal actually is. The goal of the Hare Krishna is to reach a “Krishna consciousness,” a kind of enlightenment. This is the deepest identification with Krishna. Insofar as ISKCON is truly Hindu, it can ascribe to a pantheistic view of God and therefore teach that man is ultimately identical to God. The Christian may recognize in these words a faint and deceptive whisper dating back to the Garden of Eden, “you will be as God” (Genesis 3:5).
Like all false religions, salvation for the Hare Krishna is reduced to a series of works. Yes, devotion and relationship are packed into their belief system. But these are built up from works. And, in practice, there remains a push to chant more, dance more, and always work harder lest one retain some bit of karmic debt and fail to enter into Krishna consciousness. Self-denial and sacrifice are also crucial for salvation in ISKCON. Salvation for the Hare Krishna is thoroughly entwined with the Hindu concept of karma, or retributive justice. This teaching requires belief in reincarnation and/or transmigration of the soul. One’s works, good and bad, are measured and judged either for or against him. He continues to be reincarnated into higher life forms if his deeds are good, or lower life forms if his deeds are bad. It is only when his good deeds have counterbalanced his bad deeds that he can cease the cycles of rebirth and realize his oneness with Krishna.
How different this is from the compassionate and merciful God of the Bible who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). No amount of good deeds can ever achieve salvation for anyone. And even where Hare Krishnas rightly assert that a loving relationship is necessary for salvation, Krishna is still the wrong object of devotion. Hare Krishnas, like all humanity, have only one hope for eternal life: Jesus Christ, crucified, resurrected and exalted forever. All other paths, sad to say, lead to destruction. Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6) for “there is salvation in no other one; for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). God bless you!!! :):)
Jesus tells us that we must be born again. What does it mean to be a born-again Christian? The classic passage from the Bible that answers this question is John 3:1-21. The Lord Jesus Christ is talking to Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of the Jews). Nicodemus had come to Jesus at night with some questions.
As Jesus talked with Nicodemus, He said, “‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again”’” (John 3:3-7).
The phrase “born again” literally means “born from above.” Nicodemus had a real need. He needed a change of his heart—a spiritual transformation. New birth, being born again, is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the person who believes (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1-4, 18). John 1:12, 13 indicates that being “born again” also carries the idea of “becoming children of God” through trust in the name of Jesus Christ.
The question logically comes, “Why does a person need to be born again?” The apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (NKJV). To the Romans he wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sinners are spiritually “dead”; when they receive spiritual life through faith in Christ, the Bible likens it to a rebirth. Only those who are born again have their sins forgiven and have a relationship with God.
How does that come to be? Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” When one is saved, he/she has been born again, spiritually renewed, and is now a child of God by right of new birth. Trusting in Jesus Christ, the One who paid the penalty of sin when He died on the cross, is the means to be “born again.” “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
If you have never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, will you consider the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your heart? You need to be born again. Will you pray the prayer of repentance and become a new creation in Christ today? “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).
God created us in His own image so we can know Him personally and have a joy-filled life. He did not make us as robots to automatically love and obey Him, but gave us a will and a freedom of choice. Since the beginning of time, we have chosen to disobey God and go our own willful way. We still make this choice today. This results in separation from God and ends in misery. The Bible says that disobeying God results in being separated from Him. Our attempts can never unite us with God. Through the ages, people have tried many ways to bridge this gap and reach God – without success. I believe that each one of us has a little puzzle piece in each of our bodies that only the love of God can fill. We try to fill it with all kinds of things like sex, boyfriends, children, drugs, alcohol, education, clubbing, partying and everything else that you can think of. The thing is nothing fits right in there. Only God can quench the longing of your soul.
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:3-6
If you want a new life in Christ Jesus, ask Him into your heart today. Simply pray this: Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that You took the pain and the sins of world on the cross to give me new life. I ask You to come into my heart and to give me Your peace and joy. I confess that I am a sinner that I have gone my own way and have done wrong. Please forgive me for my sins. I receive You now as my Lord and Savior. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Help me to follow You and to serve You all the days of my life. Thank you so much for loving me, in Jesus name I pray, Amen. If you prayed that prayer you are a new creature in Christ Jesus! You are Born Again! God bless you!!! :):)
This question is very difficult to answer because of the ambiguity of the feminist movement. The minimalist definition of feminism is the establishment and defense of gender equality in the political, social, and economic arenas. Basically, that women should have equal rights to influence and participate in government, to work in the marketplace, and to interact with the culture. The Bible neither promotes nor rejects these demands. Biblical law was designed to ensure the protection and support of women in a sometimes abusive patriarchal society. If those goals can be best met through equal rights, then the definition above is biblical. Unfortunately, those in the feminist movement have not always chosen what is actually best for women or society.
The feminist movement began in the mid-nineteenth century for many of the same reasons God enacted woman-protective standards in the Mosaic Law: women were not being protected or cared for at a legislative or cultural level. Many early feminists began as abolitionists who quickly saw the parallels between the plight of slaves and themselves. The misogynistic society viewed women as little better than property. If their husbands divorced them or died, they had no right to raise their children, and few ways to support themselves. Suffrage, the right to vote, was considered to be a practical way to ensure women’s issues were attended to in public policy.
The earliest feminists fought for suffrage not because they wanted to take men’s roles, but because they wanted the role of women to be respected and even celebrated. Abortion was common at the time because women could not financially provide for their children. Everything feminine, including the ability to become pregnant and bring life into the world, was marginalized. With political consideration and the right to education, feminists believed they could contribute positively to their world.
The direction of feminism took a turn in the early 1960s. Where the early feminists wanted biblical femininity celebrated, the “Second Wave” wanted it ignored. Socially, politically, and economically, they wanted no distinction between men and women. Gradually, lies crept in that convinced women that they were both no different than men and that they would be better living independently from men.
This second wave was not initially concerned with abortion. The fight against those social constructs that made abortion attractive was still paramount. It was two men who convinced the National Organization for Women (NOW) that abortion was a right of women. Their personal reasons (that the earth was over-crowded and that illegal abortions were unsafe) were either concealed or exaggerated. It wasn’t until the men lied and claimed 10,000 women died yearly because of unsafe abortions that women listened. The number was never that high, but the harm was done. Abortion rights has been a rallying cry for most feminists ever since.
The lie of abortion rights started noble-sounding but grew into a monster that still destroys lives and relationships. Women began to believe that their lives were meaningless unless they exactly replicated men’s. Education and career, unencumbered by children, became the standard. For those who wanted a family, the balance was nearly impossible to achieve. The early feminists wanted a say in their families; the later feminists found themselves in complete control of house and children, but still felt expected to conquer degrees and careers. Instead of joining men, they took control and rejected men.
The third wave of feminism began in the 1980s and again took things in a different direction. “Standpoint feminists,” having gained sufficient personal freedom, now look outside their own culture and strive to protect persecuted women and minorities around the world. “Difference feminists” believe that men and women are inherently different and have unique contributions to society—sounding closer to the original feminists of the Nineteenth Century. Others believe there is no difference between men and women, and that any claim otherwise is discrimination.
Feminism in the Bible
Believe it or not, the Mosaic Law and the teachings of Jesus were paragons of women’s rights in patriarchal societies. The Old Testament laws served the same purpose early feminists hoped suffrage would. They protected women from sexual attack, ensured women would be supported if their husbands died or divorced them, and then even gave women a place to worship within the Temple.
Jesus’ teachings and actions were no less radical. He forgave women of ill repute (John 8:1-11), spoke respectfully to a Samaritan woman (John 4:4-42), and willingly interacted with an unclean woman (Matthew 9:20-22). No rabbi, priest, or Pharisee would have dared do any of those things. Jesus ignored culture and the pressures of expectation to honor and show love to women.
The Bible did not go as far as most feminists wish, however. The Bible gives equal value to women, but it does not dictate that women must or should have equal rights. On the other hand, The Bible does not forbid women from having equal rights. It says that women must be submissive to their husbands and must ensure the home responsibilities are taken care of. After that, there is no law against women moving freely through the marketplace, the arts, or the government.
The Bible and Modern Feminism
Despite what many Christians believe, it is impossible to roundly condemn or confirm modern feminism via the Bible. The beliefs and convictions within feminism are too broad, varied, and contradictory to allow a succinct judgment. Feminist ideologies can be good, neutral, or bad.
The Biblical: Several feminist convictions, especially the earlier ones, are biblical. It is biblical to ensure mothers can support their children (that was the point of a bride-price—to provide a divorced or widowed woman with a nest egg). It is biblical to ensure mothers have rights to their children. It is biblical that women are supported after being widowed or divorced. All of these things are important enough to God that He set them into law.
Modern feminists have branched out into areas of justice that directly line up with God’s word. It is biblical to fight for the protection of others around the world, to encourage other governments to ban rape, female genital mutilation, and human trafficking. Feminism began with abolitionism, and seems to be going back to its roots in many ways.
The Good: Beyond the validation of biblical law, there are a few feminist ideals that are good enough that Jesus and Paul affirmed them through words and actions. It is good for women to have access to education (Luke 10:38-42), to receive medical care that addresses their needs (Matthew 9:20-22), and it is absolutely biblical to believe that women are equal to men in value (Galatians 3:26-28). It is good and proper that society sees to the needs of women.
The Neutral: Feminists, both early and late, also have ideals that are allowed but not prescribed by the Bible. Most of these are under the umbrella of “equal rights.” The Bible doesn’t talk about equal rights as we think of them, but it doesn’t discourage them, either. So it is that women are free to seek equal opportunities in education, business, arts, government, and every other secular arena. With this comes the caveat that, just as men may pursue interests if their families are provided for (1 Timothy 5:8), women must ensure their home is running smoothly (Titus 2:3-4).
The Unbiblical: Unfortunately, there are many feminist causes that are in direct violation of biblical truths. While birth control is a mostly neutral issue, abortion is absolutely sin. Any support of homosexuality is also sin. The belief that women are more valuable than or do not need men is unbiblical. And the movement toward female senior clergy is directly against God’s Word.
What then should be the view of a Christian about feminism? A believing woman, who is seeking to obey God and walk in peace and grace, should remember that she has equal access to all spiritual blessings in Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). A believing woman should not allow herself to be a pawn in the worldly agenda of the feminist movement. Men and women have a God-given privilege to fulfill the plan He has set for us. Rebellion against that plan and the arrogance that seeks to put self above God’s Word result in very difficult consequences. We see those consequences in the destruction of the relationship between husbands and wives, the destruction of the family, and the loss of respect for human life.
"For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world" (1 John 2:16). The principles of the fall are present in this verse. Eve believed the lie that eating the fruit would bring her wisdom. She lusted and she took or arrogated to herself something that was forbidden. This is the basis for the feminist movement. Women have bought into the lie that feminism will bring them what they want, what they think that they "deserve." However, the promise is empty for the premise is based in pride and pride goes before a fall. "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18).
In the last decades, there has been the rise of a society that is so concerned with political correctness and so sensitive to being “offended” that civility has lost its way. However, this is really nothing new for there has always been inequality in the world. It is sad but true that artificial barriers that have no basis in God’s Word have always divided humanity. There is only one race—the human race! Within that race are male and female, different ethnicities, different colors, and different national origins. It is sin in the heart that causes inequality. It is sin in the heart that causes men to treat women in ways that are meant to demean. It is sin that sets one person above another. And it is sin that seeks to use counterfeit solutions to counteract these inequalities. The only true cure for inequality is obedience to God’s Word. If men and women would walk in obedience to God’s Word, feminism would be unmasked for what it is, and the harmony that God has ordained for the relationship between men and women would result. God bless you!!! :):)
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a practice that has become very popular in the United States. For many Christians in the West who don’t understand the history behind it, yoga is simply a means of physical exercise and strengthening and improving flexibility of the muscles. However, the philosophy behind yoga is much more than physically improving oneself. It is an ancient practice derived from India, believed to be the path to spiritual growth and enlightenment.
The word yoga means “union,” and the goal is to unite one’s transitory (temporary) self with the infinite Brahman, the Hindu concept of “God.” This god is not a literal being, but is an impersonal spiritual substance that is one with nature and the cosmos. This view is called “pantheism,” the belief that everything is God and that reality consists only of the universe and nature. Because everything is God, the yoga philosophy makes no distinction between man and God.
Hatha yoga is the aspect of yoga which focuses on the physical body through special postures, breathing exercises, and concentration or meditation. It is a means to prepare the body for the spiritual exercises, with fewer obstacles, in order to achieve enlightenment. The practice of yoga is based on the belief that man and God are one. It is little more than self-worship disguised as high-level spirituality.
THE ORIGINS OF YOGA
The word yoga means “yoke” or “union,” union of the finite jira (transitory self) with the Brahman (external self). Brahman is a term often used for the Hindu concept of God, which follows that yoga means to be yoked with Brahman, the god of your higher self. That’s why meditation or concentration is involved. One’s spirit and mind is now open to a spiritual occupant. The goal and practice of yoga can be traced all the way back to a part of Hindu scriptures called Upanishads, probably written between 1000-500 B.C. Therein is written, “Unite the light within you with the light of Brahman”. Therefore, union with Brahman, a false god, is the ultimate goal of yoga.
Scripture is clear that when we participate in idolatrous philosophy or religions, we are fellowshipping with devils (demons) and have opened the door to them.
THE EIGHT (8) LIMBS (LEVELS) OF YOGA
In about 150 A.D. the yogi Patamjali systemized yoga into eight distinct “limbs” in his yoga sutras. These limbs are like a staircase, supposedly leading the yoga participant from ignorance to enlightenment. The eight limbs are:
Yama (self control)
Niyama (religious observance) which means there is worship involved.
Asana (posture) the physical body is in worship positions
Pranayama (breathing exercises)
Pratyahara (sense control)
Dhyana (deep contemplation)
All false religions offer some higher level of knowledge that promises peace, success, happiness and tranquility in life. Yet, Satan’s purpose is to deceive and drive mankind from the knowledge of God.
Yoga is an ancient spiritual discipline rooted in the religion of Hinduism. This being so, we may honestly wonder whether it’s really wise for a Christian to be involved in yoga practice. The practice of yoga incorporates fellowshipping with devils and therefore, participants are partakers of Satan’s nature (I Corinthians 10:9-22).
There are different types of yoga, but what they all have in common is they are a way to earn salvation. There are several practices within Yoga. These include, but are not limited to meditation, repeating the divine name, breathing exercises, performing acrobatic exercises, trying to put one’s own body in difficult postures. Meditation is central to all forms of Yoga. Meditation helps its practitioners to be able to find release from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth.2 “Yoga is a method of spiritual training whose purpose is to integrate or unite the self. A physical exercise, its goal is nonphysical-uniting with God. Yoga teaches that people should attempt to yoke the individual spirit to God, to atman-the individual soul or essence of a person-and to Brahman.”3 So we see that Yoga is essentially physical exercises in which one tries to work his or her way to God.
The question becomes, is it possible for a Christian to isolate the physical aspects of yoga as simply a method of exercise, without incorporating the spirituality or philosophy behind it? Yoga originated with a blatantly anti-Christian philosophy, and that philosophy has not changed. It teaches one to focus on oneself instead of on the one true God. It encourages its participants to seek the answers to life’s difficult questions within their own consciousness instead of in the Word of God. It also leaves one open to deception from God’s enemy, who searches for victims that he can turn away from God (1 Peter 5:8).
Whatever we do should be done for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), and we would be wise to heed the words of the apostle Paul: “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8, NLT).
We must first understand that yoga is taught within all sects of Hinduism, in which it is taught as a means to have salvation. As Christians we know that salvation is found only through Christ Jesus.
It is not recommended that Christians practice yoga since the intention of yoga is a path in order to attain salvation. Some Christians do practice yoga and say that all Christians can practice yoga. So let us answer a few basic objections.
Can a Christian practice yoga without getting caught up in the religious aspects of it?
The problem is that yoga is religious in nature. The point of the practice of yoga is to unite oneself with God. Take this quote from the Yoga Journal: “Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.” As one can see, Yoga is more than just a physical exercise. We as Christians do not want to leave our mind open to false teaching.
If there are medical benefits from practicing yoga, then why should Christians not be able to practice yoga? With any physical fitness, there are going to be some positive medical benefits. There are many other great physical fitness programs that are out there with great benefits. Such as practicing Pilates.
Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates (1880-1967), a German gymnast, diver and body-builder. Pilates called his method “Contrology,” because he believed his method uses the mind to control the muscles. The program focuses on the core muscles, those that surround the spine and internal organs, which help keep the body balanced and which are essential to providing support. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine and aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles. According to Pilates instructors, the goal of the exercises is to create a fusion of mind and body, training the body so that without even engaging the mind, it will move with economy, grace, and balance. Pilates is based on certain principles to condition the entire body: proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement.
From this description of Pilates exercises, there is nothing to alarm Christians or cause us to fear or mistrust Pilates. All Christians should be concerned with proper diet and exercise so that our bodies, which are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), are kept in as good condition as possible. All types of exercises are improved by controlled breathing, and strengthening the core muscles that support the spine, and therefore the entire body, is crucial to maintaining good health. All the Pilates principles mentioned above are commonly accepted methods of strengthening and conditioning the body.
Jesus is the only way in order to have salvation. Salvation is not found in any other religious system, practice or founder. Jesus told us that he was the only way to the Father in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Acts 4:12: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Pilates (pronounced pih-lah’-tiz) is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates (1880-1967), a German gymnast, diver and body-builder. Pilates called his method “Contrology,” because he believed his method uses the mind to control the muscles. The program focuses on the core muscles, those that surround the spine and internal organs, which help keep the body balanced and which are essential to providing support. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine and aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles. According to Pilates instructors, the goal of the exercises is to create a fusion of mind and body, training the body so that without even engaging the mind, it will move with economy, grace, and balance. Pilates is based on certain principles to condition the entire body: proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement.
From this description of Pilates exercises, there is nothing to alarm Christians or cause us to fear or mistrust Pilates. All Christians should be concerned with proper diet and exercise so that our bodies, which are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), are kept in as good condition as possible. All types of exercises are improved by controlled breathing, and strengthening the core muscles that support the spine, and therefore the entire body, is crucial to maintaining good health. All the Pilates principles mentioned above are commonly accepted methods of strengthening and conditioning the body.
We are not saved from any works that we can do ourselves. It’s all by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Ephesians 2:8-10: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
We as Christians are to be different than the world. We are not to do things the same way as the world.
Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
As Christians we are not to be conformed to this world. We are to be different and set apart from the world. When we try and use the methods of the world in order to get to God, then we are in direct disobedience to God. Even if a Christian can practice yoga without any of the religious practices getting involved, would you want to take the chance of hurting your witness with Hindus or those of the New Age who think that Yoga is religious in nature?
As Christians we are to meditate only on God and His Word. We are not to focus on ourselves or to clear our minds. The Bible never gives us a prescription to free our mind. The prescription that the Bible gives us is to only meditate on God and His Word.
Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
When one clears his mind, he is opening himself up to demonic powers. We are to only let our minds dwell on Godly things and meditate on Scripture. Again, we are not to clear our minds, empty ourselves and open ourselves up to anything but God.
We were bought with a very high price that Jesus paid at the cross…
The Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA) is the official organization of the Anglican Communion in the United States. Most of the earliest Colonists to America were Anglican Puritans, and the Anglican Church became the established church of Virginia, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia during the Colonial Period. After the American Revolution, the Anglican Church in America formed an independent body in 1789 and called itself the Protestant Episcopal Church. On their website, the ECUSA is described as a “middle way between Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.” Like the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church upholds the sacraments as essential to salvation, and like Protestant churches, it denies the supremacy of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ on earth.
The word Episcopal comes from the Greek word that is usually translated “bishop” and points to the church’s understanding that a bishop is the primary ruler of the church. Under the episcopal form of government, the bishop’s authority is equal to that of the apostles and follows a line of succession by the laying on of hands in ordination. Priests come under the authority of the bishops and are responsible for the teaching and administration of the local churches. Throughout the history of the ECUSA, their doctrine and practice have been generally in line with that of the Anglican Church.
Over the years, the Episcopal Church has gradually accepted changes that have strained its ties with the Anglican Communion and have even resulted in schisms. In 1873, the Reformed Episcopal Church was formed over disagreements about the freedom to worship with non-Anglicans. In 2006, Jefferts Schori was elected as the Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA, the first woman to hold that office. That election strained ties with the Anglican Communion, as no other church body recognizes the ordination of women as bishops. Bishop Schori has made history in other ways, as well. While the Bishop of Nevada, she allowed for the blessing of same-sex unions in her diocese. When openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson was examined for qualification to continue in ministry, Bishop Schori voted to confirm him. At the 2009 meeting of the House of Bishops, over which Schori presided, that body voted that “any ordained ministry” should be open to gay and lesbian members as long as they were in a committed relationship. As a result of these positions on homosexuals in the church, nearly 700 dissenting parishes have formed the Anglican Church in North America, which has been recognized in full communion by the Anglican Churches of Nigeria and Uganda, which represent about 1/3 of all Anglicans worldwide. Several dioceses have also severed ties or threatened to sever ties with the ECUSA over that same issue.
Though there may be genuine disciples of Christ within the Episcopal Church, it seems that the general characteristic of the church is like the people that Ezekiel ministered to: “My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice” (Ezekiel 33:31-32). God bless you!!! :):)
No it is not. It is a cult. Although Mormons profess to be Christians and say they believe the Word of God, there are many of their beliefs that contradict Christianity. In fact, Mormonism can be referred to as a cult, which can be defined as “a religious group that denies one or more of the fundamentals of biblical truth.” Mormons say they are Christians, but because they reject foundational truths from the God’s Word, they are not.
Joseph Smith, who referred to himself as “The Prophet,” founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the mid-1800s. He claimed to have seen a vision of God the Father and God the Son, in which they denounced modern Christianity and appointed Smith to reveal and restore “true” Christianity. Three years later, Smith alleged that the angel Moroni told him about some golden plates on which the Book of Mormon was written. In spite of Smith’s questionable background and proclivity toward bending the truth (see The Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism [New York, 1861], and Mormonism Unveiled [Painesville, Ohio, 1834]), many believed Smith, and a new “religion” was born. Today, the members of the Mormon Church number in the millions.
The Book of Mormon is purported to be a new revelation, one that Mormons say is part of the new covenant to Israel and “another witness” to the truth of the Bible. Aside from the many theological conflicts with the Bible and historical and archeological fact, the writing of the Book of Mormon was shrouded in mystery and false claims. For example, Joseph Smith and his associates asserted that one Professor Charles Anthony of Columbia University verified the Egyptian characters on the golden plates. However, this same professor wrote a rebuttal letter soon after, saying that he never did any such thing and had, in fact, found the characters to be a hoax. In addition, many verses in the Mormon scriptures have been changed over the years, as the church leaders attempt to cover up something embarrassing in their past and to defend themselves against criticism. These facts alone are enough to cast much doubt on the veracity of the Book of Mormon.
One of the many areas in which Mormons fall short of saving faith is their belief that God is merely an exalted man who earned his position by good works. This directly contradicts the Bible, which states that God has existed in His position as God of the universe from eternity past (Revelation 1:8; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15–16; Psalm 102:24–27). God was never a man (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hosea 11:9) and is the holy and powerful Creator of all things (Genesis 1; Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 37:16). Mormons also believe that they themselves can attain the status of gods in the afterlife through their works here on earth. However, no man can ever become like God (1 Samuel 2:2; Isaiah 43:10–11; 44:6; 45:21–22), despite what the serpent told Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:5).
Mormons also believe that Jesus was a god, but not God Himself. It is essential to Christian faith that Jesus is one with God and that He is God’s only begotten Son who became flesh (John 1:1, 14; John 3:16). Only Jesus’ oneness with God would have allowed Him to live a sinless, blameless life (Hebrews 7:26). And only Jesus Christ was able to pay the price for our sins by His death on the cross (Romans 4:25; Acts 4:12).
Those who follow the Mormon faith also believe that they can attain heaven through works. While they claim faith in Christ, they also rely on following the commandments of the Mormon Church and practicing good works in order to achieve salvation. The Bible is very clear on this point, stating that good works can never earn the way to heaven (Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5) and that faith in Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation (John 10:9; 11:25; 14:6; Acts 4:12). Salvation by grace is incompatible with salvation by human works (Romans 11:6).
Sadly, many in the Mormon Church are unaware of the religion’s shady past, amended scriptures, and even the full doctrine of their church. Many Mormons who have discovered these things have left the church and come to a true saving faith in Jesus Christ. As Christians, we must treat Mormons with love and understand that they are among those deceived by Satan himself (1 Peter 5:8). Satan’s goal is to distort the truth, produce false assurance of salvation, and extend a deceptive hope of godhood (2 Corinthians 4:4). God bless you!!! :):)
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