Rigid. Legalistic. Strict. Hardcore. Shunning. Members Only. Elitist.

These are words I have heard used to describe the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, of which I was apart of for 15 years, and I fervently rejected those labels as false while there. We weren’t rigid, we were Holy. We aren’t legalistic, we are keeping ourselves from sin. We didn’t shun people, outsiders, ex-members, backsliders – we avoided the influence of Satan to the saving of our families!

Of course, we had the only saving message, no one else spoke in tongues like we did, or dressed holy, or rejected the orthodox trinity, rolled on the floor, jerked and spasmed in worship, were ‘slain in the Spirit’, etc. We were the True Church, the Body of Christ. Others may have been sincere, but sincerely wrong and most importantly, lost. When Jesus came again for his Bride, we knew we were the only ones who were the ‘Five wise virgins.’ When others prayed, we called it ‘insincere’ or ‘so fake’. Christians that wore crosses were ‘following a false god’. Any preacher that sits on a stool in jeans and talks to his flock is a ‘hireling’ creating ‘two fold children of hell’. At least, that is what our preacher taught us.

Watch the video version of this article here.

My story began in 2002 when a charismatic sales manager at the company I worked for, who always seemed to have it all together (and I didn’t!) started talking to me about the Bible, lifestyle, growth, etc. (Isn’t that how all these cultist stories start?) I grew up slipping in and out of Sunday School as we moved every six months, but I still carried an old Bible around from my childhood and God wasn’t strange to me, but organized religious thought was. Soon this turned to Bible studies, promises that God would increase my income, my health, find me the ‘right’ girl, etc. Through coaching things started getting better, I dressed better, moved up in the job, made more money and eventually got involved in the Church. I even found the ‘right’ girl, and we have been married for nearly 11 years and have a beautiful family.

Like every ‘first timer’ I thought these Pentecostals were crazy. They were, and I was! Through time I ‘came in’ to the Church as they call it, which simply means I bought in to the message, got baptized, became an adherent. The fruits of the Spirit started showing up in my life, which to them means I conformed to the rules, threw out my TV, threw out my short sleeve t-shirts, never let any hair show on my face, etc. The indoctrination is slow, in baby steps, but the realities of the ‘requirements’ didn’t take long to sink in. I need to say that the church I attended was an independent (red flag word) church not affiliated to the more commonly known UPCI (United Pentecostal Church International) organization. When the UPCI started allowing wedding rings and television, the hard core fundamentalists broke away.

Just a few of those requirements…

  • No Television/Movies of any sort – Satan was in every show.
  • Strict dress standards, no short sleeve shirts, shorts, etc. women must wear dresses/skirts (Pants are mens apparel), no metal objects can be used in the hair, or metal tie clips, etc. A man must have very short hair, it can’t touch the ears…no facial hair is allowed, etc.
  • Controlled courting/dating, by the Pastor’s approval only (He alone has divine wisdom to know who is right for you)
  • Control of what you think, read, listen to or see
  • Control of who you can fellowship with, no outsiders should be ‘friends’

The list of requirements to maintain ‘holiness’ is far too long to list in a blog article, but suffice it to say they can be suffocating. In Toxic Faith, written by Stephen Arterburn, he says;

Conformity is paramount. So little room for individuality exists that the kids rebel by the droves. When they do, they are considered outcasts and of little importance compared to the few who are willing to stay inside the system, follow the rules and reproduce the addiction structure.

It took many years of spiritual discomfort before I had the courage to step out. Your entire social circle is based in the church. (Toxic Faith Characteristic #3, “Us vs. Them Mentality”) Your family that are strict believers will push you away (to be fair, when you do leave, you also tend to pull away from them), your friends that would invite you out to lunch suddenly can’t text you any longer, or find the time for a meal. Inside the church, we are taught to stay away from those who leave the Church, especially if they leave on bad terms. Of course, bad terms simply means they no longer obeyed the every command of the pastor. I know of a young family who simply moved to another town (Moving requires the pastors permission too) and since he didn’t wait for the pastors approval, only two people in the church will still talk to them. They are in rebellion and likely will be ‘lost’.

In my departing letter to the pastor, I wrote two lines that I go back and read again to affirm the reality that I was in a Toxic Faith church, and as such, had to leave immediately! If you read this blog post and think, “I’m going through that too..” regardless of the denomination, leave right now!

“This has taken years to gain the courage to do so, which proves the absolute necessity to do so.”

“It has taken me a long time to wrestle with the reality that I was in, and sinfully promoting an abusive, controlling and non-Christ focused Church, though Christ is mentioned as reason for obedience to a man.”

How was I sinfully promoting the church?

“…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

I had no faith in what I was doing. I was obligated, I feared ‘getting in trouble’, I did what I did to maintain status quo and to tow the company line. In a legalistic church you don’t question authority. In my church the Pastor was the absolute rule, he had no oversight. The so called ‘board’ was all hand-picked followers. If you questioned the Pastor you were in rebellion. If you asked to work in certain areas of ministry, you were scolded. Only he can choose what, if and when you are capable of serving God. If you felt called to Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it was only if ‘he’ said you could. The ‘he’ wasn’t God either. Today, celebrating 41 years in this small town, our church hasn’t produced a single preacher, missionary, evangelist, etc. Kings don’t like other Kings.

Not all Pentecostal Churches are the same, like any other denomination they have good and bad apples. Likewise, not everything in ‘my’ church was bad! I gained a lot of insight, I graduated from a three year Bible College with a 4.0 GPA, I met my wife and will cherish her the rest of my life! Without this step in my journey of faith, those things wouldn’t have happened and thus I cannot say this was a mistake. What I can say, is that staying as long as I did was the mistake.

In a short counseling session afterwards (yes, you’ll need counseling after 15 years in an abusive church, don’t be ashamed of it) I was explaining my fears and the counselor said, “You keep saying I’ll lose everything. With everything you are explaining, and as bad as it is, what are you really losing?”

You know what – that question was important in my healing process which is still on going. My entire mindset was that ‘being an outsider’ was evil, wicked, fearful and even shameful. I had to come to grips that ‘being an outsider’ meant I was leaving behind the spiritual abuse and all the trappings that came with it! How many times do we hear of a domestic abuse victim staying for fear of losing the only ‘love’ they have? It is very much the same brethren and you must get out. Abuse is often tendered with, and tolerated out of love.

In the book The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse written by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen, chapter six is titled ‘When you can not leave’ and some of the words are so applicable I must write them here.

In a place where authority is grasped or legislated, not simply demonstrated, persecution sensitivity builds a case for keeping everything within the system. Why? Because of the evil, dangerous or unspiritual people outside of the system who are trying to weaken or destroy “us”.

We have counseled many Christians who after deciding to leave their church, we were told horrifying things. “God is going to withdraw His Spirit from you and your family.” “God will destroy your business.” “Without our protection, Satan will get your children.” “You and your family will come under a curse!”

This is spiritual blackmail and it’s abuse. And it does cause people to stay in abusive places.

This is the very heart of the reason I had to leave and why you, if you are nodding your head reading this must also leave your toxic church! There are more loving places that will accept you and lead you to the real Christ. Leaving is difficult to say the least. If you are married and your spouse is still ‘buying’ the message, there will be some divide. I urge you to never use this against your marriage! In all things stay faithful, true, honest, open, loving and understanding.

That spouse will see you as the ‘outsider trying to pull them out’, and you will probably try to pull them out! However, let the real demonstration of spiritual authority, which is following Christ, not legislating others be the guide that brings them out. Jesus sent his disciples into the world to ‘show’ them who was that Light, not legalize them and make them follow Him.

Now, and finally, I do not want to be labeled as ‘one who causes division among the brethren’, but I want you to honestly search your heart, your church, your religion and your relationship to God. Ask yourself, “Am I following God in my heart, through Faith in Jesus, knowing His Word and seeking His Will, or am I following a structure, an organization and a set of rules or an absolute ruler that makes me feel holy and acceptable to Him by rigid compliance with threat of loss?”

In an article, The 10 Signs of Spiritual Abuse I found a mirror for what my church was, and it’s leadership. If you and your church identifies with these, make preparations to move. Find a loving Church that teaches simply what the Bible says. Meditate on Mark 7:7 before reading this list and comparing it to your church.

“Their worship of me is worthless, because they teach human rules as doctrines.” Amplified Bible

  • Personality Centric
    • Charismatic, Strong, Intelligent. Holds complete sway and power over the congregants and his/her authority cannot be questioned.
  • Operates Independently
    • No oversight, no governing body. The pastor of the local assembly answers to no one.
  • Engulfment (Isolation)
    • Members only, outsiders are only ‘loved’ if they ‘come in’ or are in the ‘process of coming in’. Otherwise they are heathens.
  • Busyness
    • Keep members so enslaved to the ‘work’ of the church, you can ‘never give enough’, spirituality is questions if members become tired and request a reprieve.
  • Stalking
    • Keeping tabs on members, checking their prayer times, givings, what they are reading, listening to, watching, hanging out with. This often involves cannibalization whereby members spy on and turn in other members when ‘bad behavior’ is spotted. Cult?
  • Coded Language
    • Members only jargon. If your preacher ever says, ‘Stop the recording’, you had a giant red flag waving in front of you.
  • Unrealistic Promises
    • God will give you a pay raise, ‘If’…
  • Courting Rituals
    • Pastor controls when, if and who you can date, who you can marry, how long you should date and when you can marry. Notice that ‘Should’ is never the case, and in these churches, choosing to date who you wish without permission is instantly labeled as ‘immoral’.
  • Shunning
    • In our church, any members who leave are not to be fellow-shipped. They are disfellowshipped. They taught ‘wave nice when you see them in the store, but don’t be spending time with them…’
  • The Ends Justify the Means
    • The above 9 stands are justified if it means ‘we make it to heaven.’ which is equated to following the rules of the church.

Let me end this with saying that this should not be used to attack people of the Pentecostal faith! They are just as sincere as those they mock. They are loyal (mostly) and are seeking God like most Christians do. The ‘abuse’ comes from the top of a Church. Even the Pastors may not be guilty of willfully abusing the flock. They are carrying a torch that started long before they took the reins. It only takes a cursory glance through the Bible, from Acts to Jude to realize that ‘legalism’, or obedience to a ruleset was rejected by Christ and his Disciples, yet authority requires obedience when authority is placed in a mans hands.

Rather, use this article is a dipping stick to see if your heart tells you that you may be in a legalistic church. My story is simply one of hundreds, thousands and perhaps millions. The Charismatic/Pentecostal movement is one of the fastest growing denominations right now because it is intense, loud, charismatic and exuberant. Many stay for the spirituality – some stay out of fear. If you fall into the latter case, examine whether the spirit of your church be ‘of God’. Pray, seek Him, seek guidance from outsiders and ask questions, with a right spirit. Most of all, follow Christ!

God Bless,

 

 

 

Posted by dividinghisword

I am the father of two, husband of one, and lover of Christ! I simply seek to spread the Word of God unadulterated, not filtered by denominational interpretation. I have a degree in Theology from Texas Bible College but more so I have His Word!

29 Comments

  1. Found your page recently and am findinf myself in your words. Thanks for providing this resource.

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  2. God bless you For your article I attended a UPC church for only a month and began to fall into legalism, and began to question are all these rules based off faith or man made religion? In fact, Jesus was never part of denominations so why do we have them? I left and I finally feel free

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  3. “No Television/Movies of any sort – Satan was in every show.”

    That’s what I’ve been going through since I hit my head on a doorframe in my house seven (going on eight) years ago. After that point, I could not enjoy anything without hearing a voice in my head (possibly that of Ralph Sexton, Jr., a TV preacher from Asheville, NC my mother listens to) yelling “Immoral!”.

    The reason why I say this is before that moment happened, my television choices were generally of the more classic shows of the past, and very little of the 90s and 2000s stuff (although I have liked one 90s series, that being Star Trek: Voyager [w/Kate Mulgrew as Capt. Kathryn Janeway]). After I hit my head, however, from that point forward, every single thing I even tried to enjoy (no matter how old, or how little/much sex/violence, B/W or color) triggered that voice in my head. I mean, I couldn’t even enjoy the 60s classic called The Fugitive (w/the late David Janssen) w/o hearing that voice. This led me to believe (perhaps wrongly) that not only was the 90s and 2000s stuff I was avoiding the sin, but that the medium in and of itself was the sin ever since it started (which is how I’m interpreting what you said about that UPCI rule).

    Over time, however, the voice quieted down and started to not be as bothersome, and I started to enjoy a few shows; I’ve even gotten into a few Westerns, which is a genre that before I wouldn’t touch with a 10-ft. pole (those Westerns have included Have Gun, Will Travel, Wanted: Dead or Alive, and even The Rebel [which I’ve most recently started on]).

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    1. That’s really too bad because my experience was just the opposite. When I came into Pentecost, our church didn’t preach against television. When I received the Holy Ghost, nobody preached against worldly music, television or sports. I wasn’t conditioned in any way to oppose such things. I was simply a teenager in love with the Lord. However, upon receiving the Holy Ghost, I felt dirty when I listened to worldly music, and I felt dirty when I watched television. So, without instructions from the pulpit, I simply quit doing those things. My family would watch TV while I stayed in my room and studied my Bible and listened to gospel music.

      What a glorious day it was when the rest of my family was baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost! Again, without guidance from the pulpit, my parents got convicted over television and worldly music. They threw those things out of our house, and what a relief it was! That was a very long time ago. My family is still in church and we haven’t missed TV or the world’s music. Thank God for setting us free from that bondage!

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      1. there’s some of us who listen to worldly music and watched TV, but I didn’t feel dirty because dude Paul did say according to Romans 14:22-23

        22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

        23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

        same thing with watching TV and listening to music because the only real bondage is not having enough faith in the lord and I haven’t gotten rid of any of my stuff because I knew that there was nothing wrong with watching TV or listening to other types of music and don’t get me wrong I do listen to some Christian music, but I pretty much listen to other types of music that I pretty much enjoy and I keep my TV because I watch the news and other favorite shows, but I only did that out of faith instead of fear because sure the fear of God is wisdom, but some people get the fear of God wrong they pretty much see it as religious paranoia, and what you just said was “relief from that bondage” which still kinda sounds like your in bondage of legalism to me even without the guidance of the pulpit because that holy spirit can be a counterfeit spirit a religious spirit and it can be dangerous and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be doing what your doing, but I’m just saying is to please don’t be like the Pharisees because they can act like they have it all together and try to act holy in front of everybody but Jesus condemned them knowing their hearts and realizing their hypocrisy that on the outside they appear righteous, but on the inside they are filled with dead men’s bones and greed because it’s not what’s on the outside that defiles a man it’s what’s on the inside that defiles a man. It’s your choice if you like to remain in bondage of legalism then I won’t interfere, but I would advise you to reconsider throwing stuff out of your house or probably avoiding anything that tells you that your doing wrong because that could probably be the devil counterfeiting the lord.

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      2. @Joseph

        I’ve been living for God for 40 years, and along life’s journey, many conversations will eventually get around to what was on TV the other night, or I’m asked if I watched this or that. Many times, I’ve simply stated that I didn’t watch whatever they’re talking about, but I’ve also many times simply told my interlocutor that I don’t have a TV. The vast, VAST majority of people I’ve told that to (who, by the way, did not attend any kind of church or perhaps went occasionally) replied with something like, “I don’t blame you,” or, “That’s good! Much of what’s on TV is garbage anyway.” The only kickback I’ve ever received is from backslidden Pentecostals who’ve made it their mission in life to fall all over themselves to justify TV.

        It’s funny that the people the world know instinctively what I’m getting at when I simply inform that I don’t watch TV, but so-called Pentecostals feign ignorance in that regard. I don’t tell them that I consider technology evil or that everything that comes across the TV screen is evil. I didn’t feel “dirty” watching nature shows or documentaries. I felt dirty because I was voluntarily inviting into my life things I knew I could not avoid seeing so long as I watched much of what I did. I’d be watching a cartoon when they’d cut to a commercial of a bikini-clad woman lying on the beach with the camera panning her whole body while the announcer said, “Wouldn’t you like to…….drink Diet Pepsi?” I’d be watching a movie trying to filter out the profanity, sexual innuendo and outright fornication and adultery. Almost everywhere I turned there was the promotion of secular humanism, agnosticism and atheism. The whole philosophical mindset of most of what I was viewing was antithetical to what I was being taught in church. So, I simply decided to quit watching TV and strove to develop a closer walk with God.

        Before you start pounding your keyboard with fiery refutations, be advised that I’ve heard it all before. I know I heard cussing at school and scantily clad women were everywhere. I know from billboard advertisements and from a simple shopping trip I’d be exposed to myriad “ungodly” things, so “it’s silly for you to focus on TV.” But objections like that are entirely without merit. You have to shop, you have to work, and you have to get an education. There’s no way for you to totally isolate yourself from what the world does. Indeed, we are commanded to reach the world with the Gospel, so that necessitates interaction. But that’s far different from inviting the world into your home and voluntarily subjecting yourself to its wickedness. That clearly indicates a mindset that is not purposed to please God and cultivate holiness.

        Television is the Devil’s campaign agent for worldliness and you’re trying to argue that he’s behind people getting rid of their TV’s?? Seriously?? Well, if that’s what the Devil wants, then he’s really been a miserable failure at it. Last I checked, well over 97% of households have television, so the Devil might as well quit and try something else. Actually, there’s no doubt in my mind that if we could ask him and if he’d tell the truth, Satan would say that he LOVES television, because it’s been the perfect propaganda tool for his message. Societies fed on continual diet of television are becoming more agnostic, more immoral and less churchgoing.

        Of course, “Pentecostals” are blind to all of that because they’re too busy fighting the “legalism” straw man. The reason they cannot see the threat of the world is because they’ve never really been transformed out of the world. They are of the world, therefore speak they of the world. Since the Church is not of this world, it’s never comfortable in the world. We are strangers and pilgrims on a journey to a better place.

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      3. Worldly things are frowned upon because they tend to hinder one’s spiritual progress and growth. Basically for some members the only book they thought was “safe” to read was the Bible, KJV of course, NO OTHER. A few Pentecostal books are grudgingly approved. Rock and jazz music were frowned upon, watching movies, TV, and reading novels was not approved of because it is part of worldly entertainment and fantasy, and not conducive to spiritual growth as a Christian. Sports and exercise were deemed “not necessary”. The problem is real, but one does not have to go to an extreme in order to accomplish the desired spiritual growth. Of course, I don’t belong to that church at all, and thank God I don’t, either. A person, for all PRACTICAL reasons, cannot just shut themselves off from the world and be completely separate. Some people have tried that, no wait matter of fact almost a lot of people from different Christian denominations tried that, even some who were called monks and nuns from different religions. They wanted to dedicate their lives to God’s service, and expected their children and family and friends to all join them. I’ve seen this, and it is a FAILURE. It doesn’t work.

        The vast majority of Christians are not suited to become monks and nuns. We are in this world, and part of it, regardless. And it is true that many things of this world, although not “sins”, are what’s called “carnal” or “worldly”, and can, in fact, hinder spiritual growth if not put in it’s proper place. This is not easy. I watched movies and TV, some pretty trashy, and had to avoid the majority of it. I limited watching TV and movies for some reasons too, just to special occasions. That was my choice, however, but still I didn’t have to throw my TV away like all those other so called Christians do because that’s stupid. The theory behind disapproval of watching TV in the Apostolic (and other) churches was founded on this. They wanted people to focus on dedicating their lives to God, and despite this being a noble ambition, unrealistic unless you really are going to join a monastery or nunnery.

        Many Christians struggle with the issue of whether or not to watch television and, if we do watch, how much TV should we watch? Television, like many other diversions we have in today’s society, has the ability to do both great good and great harm. On the plus side for the Christian, television can be a wonderful educational tool. News and weather reports have saved countless lives, and we have access to entertainment, sports, and information that can be helpful and uplifting. From a Christian standpoint, TV has been used to share the gospel to virtually every nation on earth (Matthew 28:19), and countless lives have been changed through Christian television broadcasts. On the negative side for the Christian, many people become addicted to television viewing or mindlessly sucked in to whatever show may be on at the moment. This takes people away from family, friends, and time in God’s Word. Many of the most popular shows today focus on the worst that mankind has to offer, and evil is glorified as good (see 2 Timothy 3:1–5 and Isaiah 5:20). Even on so-called Christian television, there are some men and women claiming to be ministers of God who are more concerned about money and prestige than saving souls (see 2 Timothy 4:3–4). The impact of television in our lives comes in what we do with it. Christians should not let TV control them; rather, they should use TV as the communication tool it was meant to be.

        A discerning Christian television viewer will ask some questions and prayerfully answer them:

        – What is my motive for watching this TV show? (See 1 Corinthians 10:31.)
        – Does this television show contain material that, as a Christian, I cannot hear or view with a pure mind? (See Psalm 101:3.)
        – Will watching this TV show further my understanding of my culture and therefore help me communicate Christ more effectively? Or am I seeking a thrill and secretly relishing scenes of evil?
        – Am I committed to obtaining truth from the Word of God rather than from powerful media forms such as television?
        – Can I separate the wheat from the chaff? Can I rejoice in biblical themes a TV show might present while rejecting its ungodly elements? Or do the ungodly elements overwhelm any good contained in the show?
        – Is there a better use of my time?

        It’s difficult to give a hard-and-fast rule about how much television a Christians should watch—or whether he should watch any at all. Ultimately, that decision is between the believer and God—or, in the case of minors, between their parents and God. Christians considering the issue of television should examine the Word, pray about it, listen to their conscience, and follow the Spirit’s leading.

        Here are some verses that may help in discerning what is appropriate TV viewing for a Christian:

        Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

        Matthew 6:22–23: “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

        Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

        Romans 13:13–14: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

        Philippians 4:8: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

        1 Thessalonians 5:21–22: “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”

        What this means is Watching TV doesn’t sent anyone to hell because that is a big myth made by false prophets like Angelica Zambrano for example Angelica Zambrano is a young Ecuadorian who claims that she was dead for 23 hours, during which time she met Jesus Christ and was led through hell and heaven and sent back to warn people about the realities of the next life. She claims to have visited heaven and hell four times and to have received numerous revelations from God. Angelica says that, as Jesus prepared her to visit hell, He told her, “‘Daughter, I will be with you. . . . I am going to show you that place because there are many who know that hell exists, but they have no fear. They believe it’s a game, that hell is a joke, and many don’t know about it. . . . When He said that, I could see tears streaming down to His garments. I asked Him, ‘Lord, why are you crying?’ He replied, ‘Daughter, because there are more that perish, and I will show you this, so that you will go and tell the truth and so that you will not return to that place.” It is absolutely true that hell is real and not a game or a joke, and it is also true that many people are going there (Matthew 7:13; 25:46). It is true that Jesus laments over lost people (Matthew 23:37). We know that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). However, the fact that there are some true principles in Angelica’s vision does not make her a true prophetess or her visions divine. Some of the elements of Angelica’s revelations are unbiblical. For example, Angelica says that, in her second visit to hell, she met a former Christian leader who was there because he did not tithe. In her first vision, she met someone in hell who failed to forgive. In her third vision, she saw people in hell for committing suicide and for playing secular music styles in church. There are many other sins that, according to Angelica, Jesus named as responsible for sending people to hell. It is true that sin is a symptom of an unsaved heart, and unrepentant sin will indeed result in an eternity in hell. But Angelica Zambrano clearly teaches that many people in hell were once saved but lost their salvation when they sinned, a doctrine that denies the believer’s security in Christ (John 10:27–30). One of the more bizarre claims that Angelica Zambrano makes is that, in her third visit to hell, “God showed me people’s spirits in Hell who are still alive on earth. These people are bound and appear to be in cells.” According to Angelica, someone “bound in sin” on earth is also imprisoned in hell—his or her spirit is already there. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible about people’s spirits being locked in hell before they are dead. A blatantly unbiblical detail of the visions of Angelica Zambrano regards the role of Satan and the demons in hell. In her second purported trip to hell, Angelica sees a ring of demons surrounding someone (who turns out to be Michael Jackson). As she watches, the tormented singer “extended his burning hands and was yelling, ‘Help! Help!’ . . . I could see how the demons would raise him up and force him to dance and sing as he did on Earth. The demons mocked him and threw him into the flames. They would pick him up and whip him. He screamed in terrible pain. Oh, how horribly he was being tormented.” In Angelica’s visions, Satan is the master of hell, and the demons are free to exercise their authority in tormenting the damned. This picture of hell directly conflicts with Jesus’ statement that “the eternal fire [was] prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Satan and the demons are not in charge of hell. They are not the tormentors, but they will be among the tormented. Any Bible-believing Christian should be wary of those who purport to have a new message or revelation from God. What’s at stake in Angelica Zambrano’s testimony is the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible is all we need to make us spiritually mature and fully equipped (2 Timothy 3:16–17). We do not need extra-biblical revelations in the form of dreams, experiences, or “testimonies” such as Angelica Zambrano’s to add to the Bible. We know the glories of heaven and the terrors of hell are real because the Bible teaches the reality of those places, not because someone went there and came back. Angelica Zambrano’s vision is not Scripture but is a dangerous mix of truth and error, an attempt to combine faith and works just like most cult leaders are doing and still are because there are people who take these false teachings seriously because to them it sounds true, it sounds like it makes sense, but paul did warn us according to Galatians 1 chapter 6-10 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. He also warned us about Satan as an angel of light according to 2 Corinthians 11:11-17 11 Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. 12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 16 I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. 17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. That’s exactly why Jesus also warned us about spirits even religious spirits counterfeiting the holy spirit according to 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

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  4. Leaving an extremely strict Holiness Pentecostal church after almost 20 years has been so hard for me and my husband (he was raised in it and was a preacher). We just seemed to wake up one day (like Saul on the road to Damascus) and say, “Why are we ok with new people in the church being run off when they don’t conform to our outward standards?”, Or “Why am I ok with being scared to death that my dress may he 1/2″ too short and my husband’s ministry will be ruined?” Everything from females in dress,no TV, no facial hair on men, uncut hair on females, no jewelry, no makeup, was a requirement for salvation. There are many other requirements according to this religion and now that we have left, I see such hypocrisy. And we were part of it, even preached it! It has been hard with some family members judging us and thinking we have backslid. And the “judgemental” attitude you are bred to have has been so hard to get over. I believe a woman and man should be outwardly modest, but pants will not send a woman to hell. Our hearts will be what’s judged. Praying God will lead us as we try to break away from this legalistic thinking that has been ingrained in us for so many years.

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    1. @Cport

      Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. What’s in your heart is what will be manifest in your life. You cannot separate the inward from the outward and please God. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandment.” And John said, “He that saith I know Him and keepeth not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him.” James said, “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

      The hypocrisy of others never justifies our course of action. Just because some people are hypocrites about lying does not legitimize our lying. Wrong is wrong regardless who lives or doesn’t live right.

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      1. Question: “What is the greatest commandment?”

        Answer: Jesus was asked this very question by a Pharisee who was considered to be “an expert in the law” (Matthew 22:34–36). Jesus answered by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37–40).

        Jesus gives us two commandments that summarize all the laws and commands in Scripture. The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 deal with our relationship with God and then our relationship with other people. One naturally flows out of the other. Without a right relationship with God, our relationships with others will not be right, either. The cause of the world’s problems is that man needs to be reconciled to God. We will never love our neighbor as ourselves if we do not first love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. All of man’s best efforts toward world peace will fail as long as men are living in rebellion against God.

        When asked by another Pharisee how one could “inherit eternal life,” Jesus answered that it is by keeping these two commandments (Luke 10:25–37). Only two commandments to obey, yet how often do we, like this Pharisee, try to “justify” ourselves because saying we obey these commandments is much easier than really living according to them.

        When carefully considered, Jesus’ answer was really a perfect response not only to the Pharisee of His day, but also to all modern-day “Pharisees” who try measure a person’s righteousness by how well he conforms outwardly to a series of laws or commandments. Both the Pharisees of Christ’s day and today’s many versions create a whole system of rules and regulations for people to live by and yet are guilty of breaking the most important commandments of all because they “cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but not the inside” (Matthew 23:25–26).

        When we prayerfully consider Jesus’ words and the fact that all the laws and commands in Scripture can really be summarized by these two commandments, we understand just how impossible it is for us to keep God’s commandments and how often we fail to do so and can therefore never be righteous before God on our own accord. That only leaves us with one hope, and that is that God “justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5). God’s law and our failure to keep it “brings about wrath” (Romans 4:15), but “God demonstrates His own love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

        While we will never keep God’s commandments or be righteous before Him by our own efforts, Christ did. It is His sacrificial death on the cross that causes our sins to be imputed to Him and His righteousness imputed to us (Romans 4—5). That is why “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9–10). After all, the gospel of Christ “is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes,” for “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16–17).

        Because Jesus answered this very question and His answer is recorded in Scripture, we don’t have to wonder or search for the answer ourselves. The only question left for us to answer is do we live according to these commandments? Do we truly love God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds, and do we really love our neighbor as ourselves? If we are truthful with ourselves, we know that we do not, but the good news is that the law and commandments were given as “a tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Only as we realize our sinfulness and hopelessness will we turn to Christ alone as the only hope of salvation.

        As Christians, we strive to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and as our hearts and minds are transformed by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit we are able to begin to love others as ourselves. Yet we still fail to do so, which again drives us back to the cross of Christ and the hope of salvation that stems from the imputed righteousness of Christ and not from any merit of our own.

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      2. @Joseph

        I’m very busy at the moment, but I’ll stop by just to say, for now, that vast majority of what you’ve written here has nothing to do with my arguments. So, don’t get your feelings hurt if I ignore most of it. I hope to have some time later this evening to reply to the meat of your posts.

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      3. My feelings are not hurt and what I wrote only has something to do with the arguments of:

        “Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. What’s in your heart is what will be manifest in your life. You cannot separate the inward from the outward and please God. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandment.” And John said, “He that saith I know Him and keepeth not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him.” James said, “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

        You were right about when you quoted scripture from Jesus, James, and John, but there’s more to all that when Jesus said “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45) This verse is from what is sometimes called the Sermon on the Plain. In this part of the sermon, Jesus tells us how we can judge a person’s character. We do it in much the same way we look at a tree or plant to tell if it is a “good” plant or not: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers” (Luke 6:43–44). If you want to know what kind of tree or plant you have, you have to look at its fruit. A pear tree sounds like a good tree, but, if you have a Bradford pear tree, you will get small, inedible pears about the size of marbles. What is on the inside—what the tree is really “made of”—will determine what kind of fruit it produces. Jesus says that the same is true of people. In Luke 6:45, Jesus says that people can be judged by what they say and do because these things reveal what is really inside the person: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” If you want to know what is on the inside of a person, you simply watch his actions; listen to what comes out of his mouth on a regular basis. This is not being judgmental; this is being realistic. If a person is angry, rude, lewd, or immoral on a regular basis, you can be assured that this is what he is like “on the inside.” If a person is consistently kind, encouraging, and polite, then you can be sure that is what he is like “on the inside.” Of course, it is possible that someone might put up a façade to deceive others regarding his character, but eventually what is inside will come out. The mouth speaks out of the abundance—the overflow—of the heart. The primary point of application in Jesus’ words seems to be this: when we see evil consistently coming out of a person in word and deed, we should not deceive ourselves by saying, “I think he really is a good person inside; he just has some bad habits” or “That’s just the way he talks, but he’s not really like that.” How many people fall in love and get married, thinking that the bad behavior they have observed is only an aberration? How many parents deceive themselves regarding the spiritual state of their children, thinking that they are true believers because of a childhood profession of faith, even though their lives demonstrate a heart of evil? When Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” He meant that consistently sinful words and deeds are indicative of a sinful heart. Rather than always giving people “the benefit of the doubt,” we would do well to recognize the “fruit” we observe and respond accordingly. Being a “fruit inspector” does not mean we consider ourselves to be without sin; it does mean that we are realistic about whom to trust and whom we allow to exert influence over us and the people for whom we are responsible.

        When Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments.” he was only talking about In place of the Old Testament law, Christians are under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). The key to understanding the relationship between the Christian and the Law is knowing that the Old Testament law was given to the nation of Israel, not to Christians. Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments, for example). Some of the laws were to show the Israelites how to worship God and atone for sin (the sacrificial system). Some of the laws were intended to make the Israelites distinct from other nations (the food and clothing rules). None of the Old Testament law is binding on Christians today. When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23–25; Ephesians 2:15). In place of the Old Testament law, Christians are under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). If we obey those two commands, we will be fulfilling all that Christ requires of us: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40). Now, this does not mean the Old Testament law is irrelevant today. Many of the commands in the Old Testament law fall into the categories of “loving God” and “loving your neighbor.” The Old Testament law can be a good guidepost for knowing how to love God and knowing what goes into loving your neighbor. At the same time, to say that the Old Testament law applies to Christians today is incorrect. The Old Testament law is a unit (James 2:10). Either all of it applies, or none of it applies. If Christ fulfilled some of it, such as the sacrificial system, He fulfilled all of it. “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The Ten Commandments were essentially a summary of the entire Old Testament law. Nine of the Ten Commandments are clearly repeated in the New Testament (all except the command to observe the Sabbath day). Obviously, if we are loving God, we will not be worshiping false gods or bowing down before idols. If we are loving our neighbors, we will not be murdering them, lying to them, committing adultery against them, or coveting what belongs to them. The purpose of the Old Testament law is to convict people of our inability to keep the law and point us to our need for Jesus Christ as Savior (Romans 7:7-9; Galatians 3:24). The Old Testament law was never intended by God to be the universal law for all people for all of time. We are to love God and love our neighbors. If we obey those two commands faithfully, we will be upholding all that God requires of us.

        John said, “He that saith I know Him and keepeth not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him.” but let me explain that John continues his emphasis on obedience as evidence of fellowship with Christ. He raises the stakes by stating that those who defy God’s commandments while claiming to know Him are liars. John has referred to liars already in this letter (1 John 1:10), and will repeat this theme several times. Only a liar says he has not sinned, or says he knows God while failing to keep His commandments. Only a liar denies Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:22), or says he loves God but hates his brother (1 John 4:20). The implications of this have to be taken seriously. In John’s Gospel, Jesus called Satan a liar (John 8:44). He referred to hostile, unbelieving religious leaders as liars (John 8:55). In Revelation 21:8, the “second death” of the lake of fire is the destiny of all liars. John says that those who claim to know God but do not obey Him are liars, and do not have the truth in them. Truth is used eight times throughout 1 John (1 John 1:6, 8; 2:4, 21; 3:18, 19; 4:6; 5:6). As a result, this reference to truth has been interpreted both to include “what is correct,” as well as the presence of Christ Himself. First John 5:6 calls the Holy Spirit truth: “the Spirit is the truth.” A person who claims to know God, but does not live like it, reveals he is liar and does not have the truth in him. In its immediate context, John is referring to our fellowship relationship to God. In a broader sense, this is often interpreted as an indicator that those who live in defiance of Christ’s commandments give evidence that they do not “know” Him—at all. Given the context of 1 John, and the rest of Scripture, this cannot refer to any and all instance of sin. All believers still sin. Even hatred for one’s brother is possible for a Christian (1 John 2:10). Rather, this points towards those who claim to walk with God but really do not. Whether or not such people have come to Christ is between them and God, but their actions show they are clearly not “walking with” God. For that reason, this verse has alternately been interpreted as a reference to fellowship with God, without implications of false conversion. Since Christians still have the ability to choose sin, it is possible for a Christian to choose wrong actions over right actions.

        As for what James said, “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” let me also explain that too: In the previous verses, James has been blunt: His readers have been living according to worldly wisdom. The wisdom of the world says that to be successful, we must do whatever it takes to get what we want out of life. We must provide for ourselves; nobody else is going to. We must be willing to fight for what we want. The wisdom of heaven calls us to a far different approach: Christians should trust God to provide all the good we need. That’s what He does (James 1:17). And because we trust His love and goodness and power to provide, we don’t have to abuse each other to get what we want. Instead, we are free to obey Him. This means serving each other. It means meeting each other’s needs. Because James’s readers were unwilling to trust God in this way, He now calls them adulteresses. He equates their choice to continue following the wisdom of world with the sin of a wife who sleeps with another man. Spiritually speaking, these Christians are cheating on God with the world. James says something which should be obvious to us, but it’s not: We can’t be friends both with the world and with God. Worse, anyone who continues to be friends with the world is living as God’s enemy. It’s important to understand what James is not saying here: He is not saying Christians should never be friends with non-Christians. Nor is he saying that Christians should never engage their culture, or with the people they meet. That’s not what this passage is about. James is clear: Christians who choose to continue to live according to the wisdom of the world, driven by envy and ambition, seeking what they want above all else, are not living as friends of God. They are living in adultery as God’s enemies.

        The hypocrisy of others never justifies our course of action. Just because some people are hypocrites about lying does not legitimize our lying. Wrong is wrong regardless who lives or doesn’t live right.” your right about that too because there are some people who are living like as if they really are living right, but on the inside they are just like those people Cport was talking about because Perhaps no accusation is more provocative than that of “hypocrite.” Unfortunately, some feel justified in their view that all Christians are hypocrites. The term “hypocrite” enjoys a rich heritage in the English language. The term comes to us via the Latin hypocrisies meaning “play-acting, pretense.” Further back, the word occurs in both classical and New Testament Greek and has the very same idea—to play a part, pretend. This is the way the Lord Jesus employed the term. For example, when Christ taught the significance of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving for kingdom people, He discouraged us from following the examples of those who are hypocrites (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16). By making long public prayers, employing extreme measures to ensure others noticed their fasts, and parading their gifts to the Temple and the poor, they revealed only an outward attachment to the Lord. While the Pharisees performed well their dramatic role as public examples of religious virtue, they failed miserably in the inner world of the heart where true virtue resides (Matthew 23:13-33; Mark 7:20-23). Jesus never called His disciples hypocrites. That name was given only to misguided religious zealots. Rather, He called His own “followers,” “babes,” “sheep,” and His “church.” In addition, there is a warning in the New Testament about the sin of hypocrisy (1 Peter 2:1), which Peter calls “insincerity.” Also, two blatant examples of hypocrisy are recorded in the church. In Acts 5:1-10, two disciples are exposed for pretending to be more generous than they were. The consequence was severe. And, of all people, Peter is charged with leading a group of hypocrites in their treatment of Gentile believers (Galatians 2:13). From the New Testament teaching, then, we may draw at least two conclusions. First, hypocrites do exist among professing Christians. They were present in the beginning, and, according to Jesus’ parable of the tares and wheat, they will certainly exist until the end of the age (Matthew 13:18-30). In addition, if even an apostle may be guilty of hypocrisy, there is no reason to believe “ordinary” Christians will be free from it. We must always be on our guard that we do not fall into the very same temptations (1 Corinthians 10:12). Of course, not everyone who claims to be a Christian is truly a Christian. Perhaps all or most of the famous hypocrites among Christians were in fact pretenders and deceivers. To this day, prominent Christian leaders have fallen into terrible sins. Financial and sexual scandals sometimes seem to plague the Christian community. However, instead of taking the actions of a few and using them to denigrate the whole community of Christians, we need to ask whether all those who claim to be Christians really are. Numerous biblical passages confirm that those who truly belong to Christ will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus’ parable of the seed and the soils in Matthew 13 makes it clear that not all professions of faith in Him are genuine. Sadly, many who profess to belong to Him will be stunned one day to hear Him say to them, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23). Second, while it should not surprise us that people who pretend to be more holy than they are claim to be Christians, we cannot conclude that the church is made up almost entirely of hypocrites. One surely may concede that all of us who name the name of Jesus Christ remain sinners even after our sin is forgiven. That is, even though we are saved from sins’ eternal penalty (Romans 5:1; 6:23), we are yet to be saved and delivered from the presence of sin in our lives (1 John 1:8-9), including the sin of hypocrisy. Through our living faith in the Lord Jesus, we continually overcome sin’s power until we are finally delivered (1 John 5:4-5). All Christians fail to perfectly live up to the standard the Bible teaches. No Christian has ever been perfectly Christ-like. However, there are many Christians who are genuinely seeking to live the Christian life and are relying more and more on the Holy Spirit to convict, change, and empower them. There have been multitudes of Christians who have lived their lives free from scandal. No Christian is perfect, but making a mistake and failing to reach perfection in this life is not the same thing as being a hypocrite.

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  5. Hi Ralph,

    I have thought about this, and read a lot of your posts, and even seen close friends of mine leaving what they perceive as legalism in Apostolic churches. What has concerned me most, is this idea and seeming reality that those who leave legalism end up swinging far to the other side of the pendulum. I had tried to verbalize this myself several times in conversations with those close to me, because whether I am still a part of a UPCI ministry or not, I do see the other side and sympathize. I was hurt in another UPCI church, where I poured myself out in ministry for years, only to encounter a whole new world of pastoral overreach and spiritual abuse when I tried to leave and return to my current (and original) church. That pastor even tried to sabotage my ministry when I came back to my home church… thankfully the weapons formed against me did not prosper; I stayed submitted to the Lord and stayed humble and things have worked out. The Lord brought us through it and while there are some emotional wounds that have had to heal over the past year, we are doing well and happy where we are.

    So anyway, what I have seen happen to my close friends who have left the Oneness Apostolic faith, is they just don’t seem concerned about God anymore. They don’t talk about Him. I am not the judge of their souls, but I’m also not blind, and it seems that they only care about current events, or video games, or sports, or whatever they are into (and I’m not bashing any of those things, I enjoy them too). And some went off to start churches where they teach that tattoos and piercings are OK, for example, with a complete disregard for any moral standards and principles put forth in the Bible. That seems like just another error to me.

    In Ezekiel 36:36-27, God says ” will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” I have always taken this to be an example / prophecy concerning the Holy Spirit that would be given to believers in the new covenant (although I do see from the context that this was given specifically to Israel, take it as you will). So is God’s plan really to have the Law just go away altogether? I would think not, but rather that the intention is for us to obey the principles that are revealed in the Law from the HEART rather than from fear.

    My main way of thinking now, is not that UPCI holiness standards are inherently bad. Some of them, I think, are good and respectable! (and others of course outdated / incorrect). The problem is that we put the cart before the horse. We try to modify behavior before letting God work on the individual’s heart. We think that a person is saved by “holiness” (which we somehow translate to our very specific standards), rather than allowing genuine faith to develop and provoke good works. I see this clearly as legalism, but it doesn’t discredit that many of the standards are a good thing to do, IF they are done from a willing heart out of LOVE and not fear.

    The challenge is that upon leaving legalism, it seems that many people fall into “antinomianism”, or the idea that we are not subject to any moral law and that God does not expect us to fulfill morality.

    I have tried to form the words to verbalize this, and I came across this article from R.C. Sproul (I believe) that deals with legalism VS antinomianism: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/one-genuine-cure-legalism-and-antinomianism/ that you may (or may not) find interesting.

    God Bless, thanks for reading. Let’s keep seeking truth first!

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    1. I agree with your post and glad to have read it. I myself have noticed people leaving strict legalistic churches and gone over to the other side of the road, into the ditch actually. It’s a shame they appear to have thrown everything out the window.

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    2. Interesting post. I would say in reply, however, that the principles you describe apply to every commandment, not just “standards” (Ro. 6:17). Whatever is not of faith is sin (Ro. 14:23), so everything we do must be unto the Lord from our hearts by faith.

      That said, I think you have fallen into the same trap as antinomians with respect to your version of “legalism.” Children are made to obey the “standards” their parents establish whether or not they understand them and whether or not they agree with them. Many standards are common in every household and many of them, perhaps, are not. Whether you like making your bed, brushing your teeth three times a day, taking out the garbage, dressing up when you go to town or mowing the lawn every Friday night, you’ll have to do those things if your parents want you to. That’s not legalism; that’s good parenting. Ditto for a Christian church. There are lots of things that we may not initially understand, but that doesn’t mean we’re free to ignore them.

      Good ministers have the authority to command, rebuke and enforce both explicit biblical standards and arbitrary ones in the same manner as parents. As with parents, they should exercise care that they do not become lords of God’s heritage or become so onerous that they end up discouraging people from living for God. A good minister will lead people into a closer relationship with the Lord, even though he’s considered a “legalist” by antinomians.

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      1. The word “legalism” does not occur in the Bible. It is a term Christians use to describe a doctrinal position emphasizing a system of rules and regulations for achieving both salvation and spiritual growth. Legalists believe in and demand a strict literal adherence to rules and regulations. Doctrinally, it is a position essentially opposed to grace. Those who hold a legalistic position often fail to see the real purpose for law, especially the purpose of the Old Testament law of Moses, which is to be our “schoolmaster” or “tutor” to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24).

        Even true believers can be legalistic. We are instructed, rather, to be gracious to one another: “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters” (Romans 14:1). Sadly, there are those who feel so strongly about non-essential doctrines that they will run others out of their fellowship, not even allowing the expression of another viewpoint. That, too, is legalism. Many legalistic believers today make the error of demanding unqualified adherence to their own biblical interpretations and even to their own traditions. For example, there are those who feel that to be spiritual one must simply avoid tobacco, alcoholic beverages, dancing, movies, etc. The truth is that avoiding these things is no guarantee of spirituality.

        The apostle Paul warns us of legalism in Colossians 2:20-23: “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Legalists may appear to be righteous and spiritual, but legalism ultimately fails to accomplish God’s purposes because it is an outward performance instead of an inward change.

        To avoid falling into the trap of legalism, we can start by holding fast to the words of the apostle John, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17) and remembering to be gracious, especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:4). “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat” (Romans 14:10).

        A word of caution is necessary here. While we need to be gracious to one another and tolerant of disagreement over disputable matters, we cannot accept heresy. We are exhorted to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). If we remember these guidelines and apply them in love and mercy, we will be safe from both legalism and heresy. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

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    3. Hello,

      Thank you for the comments on here, it is encouraging to see respectful dialogue. I too have written about this pendulum swing with those existing extreme legalism or high control systems/churches. I call it the Rubber Band Effect.

      For instance, a rubber band, when stretched to the extent its elasticity, it either breaks and conforms to the pressures upon it, or it overcomes the pressures and shoots away with incredible velocity and force. The problem with some of these comments, such as “It’s too bad they go too far”, is that they place all of the responsibility on the rubber band and fail to acknowledge that thing which is exercising force upon the rubber band that causes it to break or fly away.

      I too have seen and spoken to hundreds who had left faith all together, or are left so damaged they can’t find faith or are so untrusting now that to them, placing their spiritual well being into the hands of another ‘pastor’ is just too scary to accept.

      Furthermore, Scalia commented that pastors have the authority to create extra-biblical or ‘arbitrary’ standards. That is an incredibly frightful stance to take, perhaps as frightening as saying pastors have no value or are unnecessary, for it at once sets the stage for the abuse that pulls the rubberband to breaking points, but it outright flys against Scriptural commands of adding to or taking away from God’s holy commands. Take Mark 7 as a basis of example. In verse 7, Jesus said, “In vain you worship me, teaching mans commandments (standards) as if they were doctrines.”

      Matthew 23 deals with the self same issues and in thr Seven Woes of the Pharisees we see open condemnation by our Lord for this behavior. The pharisees were explicitly guilty of creating arbitrary standards and then causing people to be obedient to their ‘authority’ by convincing them that obedience to those standards was the same as obedience to God’s commandments.

      As a matter of fact, the UPC/Oneness system does precisely this. They call them Holiness Standards, and while some may be so bold as to say, “These standards are not salvific”, they are unfortunately and perhaps for some of them, unknowingly speaking lies. How? Because each and every attempt to teach these standards is accompanied with the reference, “Without Holiness no man shall see the Lord.” And while that Scripture is true, the falsity is that it has nothing to do with ‘arbitrary’ standards, but it also reinforces the teaching that if you don’t comply to said arbitrary standards, you will not see the Lord. Thus by proxy, they have specifically made ‘arbitrary’ standards equal to the Commands of God. And thus, fulfill Mark 7:7.

      No pastor has authority to create arbitrary standards. That very sentence should set off bells, whistles and red flags to any Bible studying individual, for that is what every cultic organization has convinced it’s peope of, that Pastors are the vicar of Christ and have Apostolic authority to lay the bed rock (doctrines, commandments) of the Church, and they, pastors, in fact, do not.

      Ezekiel 34 is a fantastic example of what false shepherd’s are, and why contrast, what a true shepherd should be.

      All of that is to say, we need Gods commandments and His Holy Word and Spirit, not Man’s Commandments.

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      1. dividinghisword states:

        Furthermore, Scalia commented that pastors have the authority to create extra-biblical or ‘arbitrary’ standards. That is an incredibly frightful stance to take, perhaps as frightening as saying pastors have no value or are unnecessary, for it at once sets the stage for the abuse that pulls the rubberband to breaking points, but it outright flys against Scriptural commands of adding to or taking away from God’s holy commands. Take Mark 7 as a basis of example. In verse 7, Jesus said, “In vain you worship me, teaching mans commandments (standards) as if they were doctrines.”

        If you’re going to reply to an argument of mine, even indirectly, you should address the entire argument. Your counter fails to address my argument and fails to engage the underlying scriptural reasons behind the argument. You should know those reasons since you were in Pentecost as long as you say you were.

        First, the Bible commands children to obey their parents. Nowhere in the Bible are children told to brush their teeth, make their beds, wash the dishes, mow the lawn, dress up when they go to town, or say, “Yes, sir” (or ma’am) when addressing adults. All of these commands are arbitrary yet they are within the scope of the legitimate exercise of parental authority. If the Smiths have a 10:00 p.m. curfew for their teenage children, their children are required on the authority of Scripture to obey their parents even though there’s nothing in the Bible about a 10:00 cufew. And the same Bible which commands children to obey their parents commands the saints to obey the ministry. A pastor has the authority to establish the times of general assembly, how many services to have in a week, what dress standards are appropriate for those on the platform, what the sancturary temperature is, and a host of other things essential to the running of a church. All of those things are equally arbitrary yet within the scope of his legitimate authority. If ministers don’t have arbitrary authority, then neither do parents, and you will have destroyed parental authority which in turn destroys the family unit. Ditto for the church.

        Second, the settling of controversies rests in those in authority, not the reverse:

        Deut. 17
        8 “If a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge, between degrees of guilt for bloodshed, between one judgment or another, or between one punishment or another, matters of controversy within your gates, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord your God chooses. 9 And you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge there in those days, and inquire of them; they shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment. 10 You shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you in that place which the Lord chooses. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they order you. 11 According to the sentence of the law in which they instruct you, according to the judgment which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left from the sentence which they pronounce upon you. 12 Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall put away the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act presumptuously.

        Eze. 44
        23 “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments.

        Thus, far from being “unbiblical,” it is in perfect accord with biblical precepts for ministers to settle controversies within their jurisdiction. From general matters of judgment to distinctions between the holy and the profane, they have the authority to make a decision in accordance with their view of biblical principles, and the children of God are required to obey the conclusions they draw—just as children are required to obey the precepts of their parents. This has NOTHING to do with adding or detracting form the word of God.

        It is typical for those who disagree to play the Pharisee card. We’re supposed to be teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, but they fail to note what Christ said in addition to that:

        Mat. 23
        2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,[a] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

        First, the Pharisees (not the Sadducees or the Essenes) were in the seat of authority, and because they were in that position, they had the authority to command observance of many things. Christ DID NOT say that the people were free to ignore them. Instead, they were required to obey with the proviso that they not practice the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Second, Christ specifically condemned the Pharisees for certain rules which contradicted express biblical teaching (e.g. corban, no healing on the Sabbath, etc.). Since He was and is the greater authority, He had the authority to condemn their hypocrisy, their excesses, and their false teachings. And by extension, we have the legitimate right to follow Christ where a minister contradicts express biblical teaching (e.g. telling my wife to sleep with him because he’s in authority).

        Arguing that a minister is without arbitrary authority is woefully unbiblical.

        However, as parents can be abusive and “discourage” their children, ministers can also be guilty of the same. An abusive parent will alienate h/er children, and an abusive preacher will alienate or scatter the flock. Neither of these things are the will of God.

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      2. Scalia did commented that pastors have the authority to create extra-biblical or ‘arbitrary’ standards, but here’s something he didn’t get right. A doctrine can only be considered truly biblical when it is explicitly taught in the Bible. An issue could be unbiblical (opposed to the teachings of the Bible), extra-biblical (outside of or not mentioned in the Bible), biblically based (connected to the teachings of the Bible), or biblical.

        An unbiblical doctrine is any teaching that stands opposed to the Bible’s clear teaching. For example, a belief that Jesus sinned is unbiblical. It stands in direct contrast to what the Bible teaches in many places, including Hebrews 4:15: “We have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

        An extra-biblical doctrine would be any teaching that is not directly taught in the Bible. It can be either good or bad. For example, voting in a democratic election is a positive practice, but it is not explicitly commanded in the Bible. To observe certain holidays is often neither good nor bad: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5). Any teaching about the observance of Lent, for example, is extra-biblical.

        Other teachings can be based on biblical principles, yet not directly taught in the Bible. For example, smoking is never mentioned in the Bible. Yet we can assert that the practice should be avoided, based on 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you. . . . You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” When a biblical principle applies, we can confidently teach it as a biblically based doctrine.

        Biblical doctrines, then, are teachings explicitly taught in the Bible. Examples of these include God’s creation of the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1), the sinfulness of all people (Romans 3), the virgin birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:20-25; Luke 1:26-38), the physical death and literal resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-11), salvation by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), the inspiration of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and many others.

        Problems occur when people confuse these categories. For example, to teach that the virgin birth is an optional doctrine that Christians are free to believe or not believe is to reject a core teaching of the Bible. It presents a biblical doctrine as non-essential. Then there are those who present extra-biblical teachings as if they were biblical doctrines. A person’s opinions and preferences are given the weight of God’s law; this happens sometimes in matters of clothing, music style, and food choice. When we “teach as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7), we become like the Pharisees whom Jesus strongly condemned.

        Our goal must be to speak clearly and firmly when Scripture is plain. In extra-biblical matters, we must be careful to avoid dogmatism. As many have said, in the essentials unity; in the non-essentials, diversity; in all things, charity.

        That is why Scalia has everything all wrong because Doctrine is “a set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true.” Biblical doctrine refers to teachings that align with the revealed Word of God, the Bible. False doctrine is any idea that adds to, takes away from, contradicts, or nullifies the doctrine given in God’s Word. For example, any teaching about Jesus that denies His virgin birth is a false doctrine, because it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture (Matthew 1:18).

        As early as the first century AD, false doctrine was already infiltrating the church, and many of the letters in the New Testament were written to address those errors (Galatians 1:6–9; Colossians 2:20–23; Titus 1:10–11). Paul exhorted his protégé Timothy to guard against those who were peddling heresies and confusing the flock: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3–4).

        As followers of Christ, we have no excuse for remaining ignorant of theology because we have the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) available to us—the Bible is complete. As we “study to show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are less likely to be taken in by smooth talkers and false prophets. When we know God’s Word, “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).

        It is important to point out the difference between false doctrine and denominational disagreements. Different congregational groups see secondary issues in Scripture differently. These differences are not always due to false doctrine on anyone’s part. Church policies, governmental decisions, style of worship, etc., are all open for discussion, since they are not directly addressed in Scripture. Even those issues that are addressed in Scripture are often debated by equally sincere disciples of Christ. Differences in interpretation or practice do not necessarily qualify as false doctrine, nor should they divide the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10).

        False doctrine is that which opposes some fundamental truth or that which is necessary for salvation. The following are some examples of false doctrine:

        • The erasing of hell. The Bible describes hell as a real place of eternal torment, the destination for every unregenerate soul (Revelation 20:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). A denial of hell directly contradicts Jesus’ own words (Matthew 10:28; 25:46) and is therefore a false doctrine.

        • The idea that there are “many paths to God.” This philosophy has become popular recently under the guise of tolerance. This false doctrine claims that, since God is love, He will accept any religious effort as long as the practitioner is sincere. Such relativism flies in the face of the entire Bible and effectively eliminates any need for the Son of God to take on flesh and be crucified for us (Jeremiah 12:17; John 3:15–18). It also contradicts Jesus’ direct words that He is the only way to God (John 14:6).

        • Any teaching that redefines the person of Jesus Christ. Doctrine that denies the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, His sinless nature, His actual death, or His physical resurrection is false doctrine. A group’s errant Christology readily identifies it as a sect or cult that may claim to be Christian but is actually teaching false doctrine. Even many mainline denominations have begun the rapid slide into apostasy by declaring that they no longer hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture or the deity of Christ. First John 4:1–3 makes it clear that a denial of biblical Christology is “anti-Christ.” Jesus described false teachers within the church as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15).

        • Teaching that adds human religious works to Christ’s finished work on the cross as necessary ingredients for salvation. This teaching may pay lip service to salvation by faith alone but insists that a religious ritual (such as water baptism) is salvific. Some groups even legislate hairstyles, clothing options, and food consumption. Romans 11:6 warns against attempts to mix grace with works. Ephesians 2:8–9 says we are saved by the grace of God, through faith, and nothing we do can add to or take away from it. Galatians 1:6–9 pronounces a curse on anyone who changes the good news of salvation by grace.

        • The teaching that presents grace as a license to sin. Sometimes called “easy-believism,” this false doctrine implies that all one must do for right standing with God is to believe the facts about Jesus, pray a prayer at some point, and then resume control of one’s life with the assurance of heaven at the end. Paul dealt with this thinking in Romans 6. In Matthew 7:21–23, Jesus warned those who adopt this doctrine that they did not know Him at all. Second Corinthians 5:17 states that those who are “in Christ” become “new creatures.” That transformation, in response to a believer’s faith in Christ, changes the outward behaviors. To know and love Christ is to obey Him (Luke 6:46).

        Satan has been confusing and perverting the Word of God since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1–4; Matthew 4:6). False teachers, the servants of Satan, try to appear as “servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15), but they will be known by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). A charlatan promoting false doctrine will show signs of pride, greed, and rebellion (see Jude 1:11) Just like other preachers on YouTube like the Peniel Ngonde Channel for example especially the westboro baptist church and will often promote or engage in sexual immorality like most preachers do, and sometimes Catholics. (2 Peter 2:14; Revelation 2:20). That is why False apostles are people who masquerade as Christian leaders, get other people to follow them, and then lead them astray. A true apostle is one who is “sent” by God as an ambassador of Jesus Christ with a divine message. A false apostle is a pretender who does not truly represent Christ and whose message is false. Sure half of everything Scalia is true about obeying your parents and obeying your church leaders, but the other half is some what nonsense with scripture to justify his viewpoint because incase you haven’t noticed Scalia there are some False teachers are given authority too because not all preachers are sent from God and not all preachers who preach the Gospel do it for the love of God, what they really are doing is preaching the Gospel as a means to an end, even parents can be hypocrites themselves because they don’t really care about the Gospel they really care about what their itching ears want to hear only to fall into the trap of legalism and put strict rules on their kids not like most normal parents do but like the pharisees did because some people go to church for the wrong reasons for control and always being right which is something only a selfish hypocrite would do like Steve drain from westboro baptist church for example so look him up on google or his daughter Lauren drain who he disowned for questioning the authority of the westboro baptist cult: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfHhqgrkAvg, but just think Scalia if Jesus said in Matthew 23 verse 3 “so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice” do you also believe that he would want us to do and observe whatever false teachers tell us? Jesus responded: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: … and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:3–8). The Apostle Paul warned of these days: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth” (2 Tim. 4:3–4). Paul also taught that the Lord “gave some, apostles; and some, prophets …“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, … “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:11–14).

        Brothers and sisters, the exact time of the Second Coming is known only to the Father (see Matt. 24:36). There are, however, signs that scriptural prophecy relating to that tumultuous day is being fulfilled. Jesus cautioned several times that prior to His Second Coming, “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:11). As Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is our duty to be watchmen on the tower, warning Church members to beware of false prophets and false teachers who lie in wait to ensnare and destroy faith and testimony. Today we warn you that there are false prophets and false teachers arising; and if we are not careful, even those who are among the faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will fall victim to their deception.

        In 2 Corinthians 11, the apostle Paul addresses the problem of false apostles invading the Corinthian church and even today false apostles are invading Pentecostal Churches, especially seventh day Adventists church (like Ellen G White for example who is also a false prophetess and she’s already got them). He describes the false apostles as “those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about” (verse 12). The book of 2 Corinthians is one of Paul’s more “sarcastic” letters, as he contends with the church to recognize the error that had crept into their midst. He contrasts his selfless service with that of the “super-apostles” (verse 5) who were seducing the church with their smooth speech and apparent wisdom. These impostors were pretending to be true servants of Christ, but they did not know the Lord. They were deceivers, preying on gullible Christians in Corinth to profit themselves and boost their ego. Paul chides the church that they “even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face” (verse 20). He even compares these impostors to Satan himself, who also “masquerades as an angel of light” (verse 14).

        Paul warned the Ephesian elders about false apostles as well: “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29). They must have heeded his words, because in Revelation 2:2, Jesus commends the church at Ephesus for spotting the false apostles in their midst and rejecting them.

        False teachers and false apostles have been plentiful throughout the history of the church. They still infiltrate unsuspecting churches and have even led whole denominations into heresy and apostasy (see 1 Timothy 4:1–4). Scripture gives us clear warning if we will pay attention. First John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

        The following are some ways we can identify false apostles:

        False apostles deny any or all truths about the identity and deity of Jesus Christ. In 1 John 4:3–4, John warns his readers against Gnostic teaching; the test, he says, is Christological: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” There are many ways a spirit may deny that Jesus is the Christ. From demonic cults to denominations that have veered away from the gospel, evil spirits are always behind the slander of Jesus. Any teacher who attempts to take away from or add to Jesus’ finished work on the cross for our salvation is a false prophet (John 19:30; Acts 4:12).
        False apostles are motivated by their greed, lust, or power. Second Timothy 3:1–8 describes such teachers in more detail: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

        “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.” Jesus said that an identifying mark of a false apostle/prophet is sinful behavior: “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16, 20; cf. Jude 1:4).

        False apostles distort or deny the Bible as God’s infallible, inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16). In Galatians 1:8–9 Paul counters legalism with these strong words: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” The inspired writings of the apostles are part of the Word of God, and no one has a right to change their message.
        False apostles refuse to make themselves subject to spiritual authorities, but consider themselves the final authority (Hebrews 13:7; 2 Corinthians 10:12). They will often adopt lofty-sounding titles for themselves, such as “Bishop,” “Apostle,” “Reverend,” or “Father.” This does not mean that every person carrying such titles is a false prophet, only that evil impostors love lofty titles and will self-title to gain a hearing.

        False apostles can arise anywhere the Word of God does not reign supreme. From organized churches to home Bible studies, we must always be on guard against “new teachings” or “revelations” that are not subject to the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

        We are wise to recognize how vulnerable we are to heresy and make it our habit to do as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11: “they . . . examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” When we make it our goal to follow the lead of the first church, we will go far in avoiding the pitfalls of false doctrine. Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Such devotion will protect us and ensure that we are on the path Jesus set for us. That is what most Christians have forgotten about because paul also mentioned that there will come a time where people will not endure sound doctrine, but turn to myths 2 timothy chapter 4 he also mentioned about The “super-apostles” who were false teachers who appeared to be superior to Paul in their manner and authority. Paul calls them “super” in a facetious manner.

        As Paul went throughout the Roman Empire preaching the gospel, others would come behind him and try to steal away the new converts. Often they would claim that the gospel that Paul preached was inadequate in some way and needed to be supplemented. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul wars against those who sought to add circumcision to the gospel and, in that context, he issues the following anathema: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6–9).

        In Corinth, it seems that the people who came after Paul were attacking his person as a way to cast doubt upon his teaching. We do not have any texts from these mudslingers firsthand, but from the defense that Paul gives we can discern the types of things they were saying about him. The reason Paul chose to defend himself was not to retain his personal honor but so that nothing would detract from the gospel that he preached.

        First Corinthians is a forceful letter with some strong rebukes for the Corinthian church. In 1 Corinthians 16:5–9, Paul tells the Corinthians that he plans to visit them in person. Apparently, he was delayed. He explains that he delayed coming because he did not want to have a confrontation with them, presumably giving them more time to correct the issues he addressed in 1 Corinthians (see 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2:1–11; and 7:5–9). Even though Paul was an apostle, he did not want to have to deal with them in an authoritarian way (2 Corinthians 1:24). Some of the opposing “super-apostles” were apparently saying that Paul was weak and unreliable, and that was the reason he delayed his visit.

        In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul explains why his ministry does not seem very successful. First, there is a spiritual war, and unbelievers simply cannot understand the gospel that he preaches on their own (verses 1–6). Also, Paul lacks all signs of outward success and blessing. He is afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down (verses 8–9). But he explains that this is only his outward condition. Spiritually he is not crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed. In fact, a state of weakness is common for gospel ministry, so that the glory will go to God, not to the human worker—Paul is simply an “earthen vessel” containing an incredibly valuable treasure (verse 7). Paul does not lose heart because he knows that, when this life is over, something incredibly greater awaits him (verses 16–18). The “super-apostles” seem to see glory for themselves and enjoy popularity.

        In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul says that he does not boast in his own ministry or accomplishments. He boasts in the response of the Corinthians and in their repentance that came about as a result of his first letter. In chapters 8–9, he also says he has boasts about their generosity and hopes that his boasts will not have been empty. He encourages the church to give generously to an offering for impoverished believers in other areas. He attempts to persuade them to give without demanding that they give. Again, Paul chooses not to act in an authoritarian way. In contrast, the “super-apostles” have no problem exercising authoritarian control.

        In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul addresses those who say he is so meek and humble in person, while his letters are bold and fiery (verse 10). That is, some were saying that Paul’s bark is worse than his bite. Paul defends his practice of being meek and humble in person. If anyone boasts, he should boast in the Lord (verse 17). If one boasts of himself, it means nothing. The real issue is what the Lord thinks of a person (verse 18). The implication is that, in contrast to Paul, the “super-apostles” were bold and boastful.

        So, much of 2 Corinthians highlights Paul’s humility and lack of what many in the world might think of as success. In chapter 9, he contrasts this approach with that of the “super-apostles.” In verse 6, Paul indicates that he is not a skilled orator. In the rest of the chapter he highlights some of his sufferings and even admits to having to sneak out of a city by night to avoid capture. He also notes in verse 7 that he preached the gospel to them free of charge. Paul took no money from the Corinthians for his own support or enrichment. But the “super-apostles” exerted authority and took money for their support.

        Based on Paul’s defense of his ministry, it seems that the “super-apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:5; 12:11) are false teachers claiming to be superior to Paul. Paul names them “super-apostles” in facetious irony. Compared to them, Paul looks like a very meager apostle. It is as if Paul is saying, “If I am an apostle, then they must be ‘super-apostles’—look at how much more powerful and successful they are than I am!” Paul is humble, timid, physically persecuted, self-supporting, unskilled, and physically ailing. The super-apostles were just the opposite—bold, talented, respected, healthy—and more than willing to take money from the Corinthians. They were not afraid to deal with the Corinthians in an authoritarian manner: “You bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face” (2 Corinthians 11:21). Paul calls the other teachers “super-apostles” because, from all outward appearances, they are the successful ones, while he is the failure.

        But Paul goes on to explain. He may not be a skilled speaker, but he preaches the gospel of Christ. He may be unsuccessful by all outward/worldly measurements, but he did perform the signs of a true apostle among them (2 Corinthians 12:12). It is not because he is weak that he does not abuse them or take their money; it is because he loves them (verse 14). He is motivated by love for them and love for the Lord.

        Paul’s meekness is similar to the example of Jesus and the way He instructed His followers: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave” (Matthew 20:25–27). A self-serving, boastful dictator may appear to be a “super-leader.” We have seen these types gain places of leadership in the world. However, they are only “super” based on worldly, outward appearances. To be truly great, they must serve the way Jesus did. To be true “super–apostles,” they would need to follow the example of Paul, who was following the example of Jesus.

        Even today, it is tempting to judge ministers as successful (or not) based on prosperity, popularity, oratory, and their ability to command respect and a following. This may make them “super-ministers” by the standards of the world but not necessarily by God’s standards. What the other half of Scalia’s comment doesn’t get is the understanding of apostasy. Apostasy, from the Greek word apostasia, means “a defiance of an established system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.” In the first-century world, apostasy was a technical term for political revolt or defection. Just like in the first century, spiritual apostasy threatens the Body of Christ today.

        The Bible warns about people like Arius (c. AD 250—336), a Christian priest from Alexandria, Egypt, who was trained at Antioch in the early fourth century. About AD 318, Arius accused Bishop Alexander of Alexandria of subscribing to Sabellianism, a false teaching that asserted that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were merely roles or modes assumed by God at various times. Arius was determined to emphasize the oneness of God; however, he went too far in his teaching of God’s nature. Arius denied the Trinity and introduced what appeared on the surface to be an inconsequential difference between the Father and Son.

        Arius argued that Jesus was not homoousios (“of the same essence”) as the Father, but was rather homoiousios (“of similar essence”). Only one Greek letter—the iota (ι)—separated the two. Arius described his position in this manner: “The Father existed before the Son. There was a time when the Son did not exist. Therefore, the Son was created by the Father. Therefore, although the Son was the highest of all creatures, he was not of the essence of God.”

        Arius was clever and did his best to get the people on his side, even going so far as to compose little songs that taught his theology, which he tried to teach to everyone who would listen. His winsome nature, asceticism, and revered position as a preacher also contributed to his cause.

        With respect to apostasy, it is critical that all Christians understand two important things: (1) how to recognize apostasy and apostate teachers, and (2) why apostate teaching is so deadly.

        The Forms of Apostasy
        To fully identify and combat apostasy, Christians should understand its various forms and the traits that characterize its doctrines and teachers. As to the forms of apostasy, there are two main types: (1) a falling away from key and true doctrines of the Bible into heretical teachings that claim to be “the real” Christian doctrine, and (2) a complete renunciation of the Christian faith, which results in a full abandonment of Christ.

        Arius represents the first form of apostasy—a denial of key Christian truths (such as the divinity of Christ) that begins a downhill slide into a full departure from the faith, which is the second form of apostasy. The second form almost always begins with the first. A heretical belief becomes a heretical teaching that splinters and grows until it pollutes all aspects of a person’s faith, and then the end goal of Satan is accomplished, which is a complete falling away from Christianity.

        A 2010 study by Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola called “Preachers Who Are Not Believers.” Dennett and LaScola’s work chronicles five different preachers who over time were presented with and accepted heretical teachings about Christianity and now have completely fallen away from the faith. These pastors are either pantheists or clandestine atheists. One of the most disturbing truths highlighted in the study is that these preachers maintain their position as pastors of Christian churches with their congregations being unaware of their leader’s true spiritual state.

        The Characteristics of Apostasy and Apostates
        Jude was the half brother of Jesus and a leader in the early church. In his New Testament letter, he outlines how to recognize apostasy and strongly urges those in the body of Christ to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:3). The Greek word translated “contend earnestly” is a compound verb from which we get the word agonize. It is in the present infinitive form, which means that the struggle will be continuous. In other words, Jude says that there will be a constant fight against false teaching and that Christians should take it so seriously that we “agonize” over the fight in which we are engaged. Moreover, Jude makes it clear that every Christian is called to this fight, not just church leaders, so it is critical that all believers sharpen their discernment skills so that they can recognize and prevent apostasy in their midst.

        After urging his readers to contend earnestly for the faith, Jude highlights the reason: “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). In this one verse, Jude provides Christians with three traits of apostasy and apostate teachers:

        First, Jude says that apostasy can be subtle. Apostates have “crept” into the church. In extra-biblical Greek, the term Jude uses describes the cunning craftiness of a lawyer who, through clever argumentation, infiltrates the minds of courtroom officials and corrupts their thinking. The word literally means “slip in sideways; come in stealthily; sneak in.” In other words, Jude says it is rare that apostasy begins in an overt and easily detectable manner. Instead, it looks a lot like Arius’s doctrine—only a single letter, the iota, differentiates the false teaching from the true.

        Describing this aspect of apostasy and its underlying danger, A. W. Tozer wrote, “So skilled is error at imitating truth, that the two are constantly being mistaken for each another. It takes a sharp eye these days to know which brother is Cain and which is Abel.” The apostle Paul also speaks to the outwardly pleasing behavior of apostates and their teaching: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13–14). In other words, do not look for apostates to appear bad on the outside or speak dramatic words of heresy at the outset of their teaching. Rather than denying truth outright, apostates will twist it to fit their own agenda, but, as pastor R. C. Lensky has noted, “The worst forms of wickedness consist in perversions of the truth.”

        Second, Jude describes apostates as “ungodly” and as those who use God’s grace as a license to commit unrighteous acts. Beginning with “ungodly,” Jude describes eighteen unflattering traits of apostates: they are ungodly (Jude 1:4), morally perverted (verse 4), denying Christ (verse 4), ones who defile the flesh (verse 8), rebellious (verse 8), people who revile angels (verse 8), who are ignorant about God (verse 8), those who proclaim false visions (verse 10), self-destructive (verse 10), grumblers (verse 16), faultfinders (verse 16), self-satisfying (verse 16), people who use arrogant words and false flattery (verse 16), mockers of God (verse 18), those who cause divisions (verse 19), worldly minded (verse 19), and finally (and not surprisingly), devoid of the Spirit/unsaved (verse 19).

        Third, Jude says apostates “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” How do apostates do this? Paul tells us in his letter to Titus, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:15–16). Through their unrighteous behavior, the apostates show their true selves. Unlike an apostate, a true believer is someone who has been delivered from sin to righteousness in Christ and who refuses to continue in sin (Romans 6:1–2).

        Ultimately, the sign of an apostate is that he eventually falls away and departs from the truth of God’s Word and His righteousness. The apostle John signifies this is a mark of a false believer: “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

        Ideas Have Consequences
        Every New Testament book except Philemon contains warnings about false teaching. Why is this? Simply because ideas have consequences. Right thinking and its fruit produce goodness, whereas wrong thinking and its accompanying action result in undesired penalties. As an example, the Cambodian killing fields in the 1970s were the product of the nihilistic worldview of Jean Paul Sartre and his teaching. The Khmer Rouge’s leader, Pol Pot, lived out Sartre’s philosophy toward the people in a clear and frightening way, which was articulated in this manner: “To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss.”

        Satan did not come to the first couple in the Garden with an external armament or visible weapon; instead, he came to them with an idea. And it was that idea, embraced by Adam and Eve, that condemned them and the rest of humankind, with the only remedy being the sacrificial death of God’s Son.

        The great tragedy is that, knowingly or unknowingly, the apostate teacher dooms his unsuspecting followers. Speaking to His disciples about the religious leaders of His day, Jesus said, “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14, emphasis added). Alarmingly, it is not only false teachers who go to destruction, but their disciples follow them there. Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard put it this way: “For it has never yet been known to fail that one fool, when he goes astray, takes several others with him.”

        Conclusion
        In AD 325, the Council of Nicea convened primarily to take up the issue of Arius and his teaching. Much to Arius’s dismay, the end result was his excommunication and a statement in the Nicene Creed that affirms Christ’s divinity: “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father.”

        Arius may have died centuries ago, but his spiritual children are still with us to this day in the form of cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who deny Christ’s true essence and person. Sadly, until Christ returns and every last spiritual enemy has been removed, tares such as these will be present among the wheat (Matthew 13:24–30). In fact, Scripture says apostasy will only get worse as Christ’s return approaches. “At that time [the latter days] many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another” (Matthew 24:10). Paul told the Thessalonians that a great falling away would precede Christ’s second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and that the end times would be characterized by tribulation and hollow religious charlatans: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be . . . holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:1–2, 5).

        It is critical, now more than ever, that every believer pray for discernment, combat apostasy, and contend earnestly for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.

        now you know why there is a reason why Jesus doesn’t want anyone to be deceived because of what other people including their parents believe because why do you think Jesus rejected his family for? Jesus was a warrior, and his prime enemy was the family. He advocates open rebellion of children against their parents. Take Matthew 10:34:

        “Think not that I have come to bring peace to the earth; it is not peace I bring but a sword. I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law; a person’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”

        Jesus says reject your parents, reject the lies they raised you on, and find the honest truth within yourself. That’s why they killed him, Jews and Romans, and even one of his own disciples. Jesus threatened their way of life, and created a new mold.

        Take his celibacy. This gave him the opportunity to avoid externalizing his internal conflicts. Few can handle the frustrations of conscious celibacy, and most who are celibate simply do so through unconscious defense, by splitting off and repressing their sex drive. This death-celibacy does not lead to enlightenment. It leads to disease.

        And take his lack of having children. He never recreated the cycle of bringing others into the world to rescue him. It is difficult, if not impossible, to attain enlightenment when one becomes a parent. Projection, that most basic defense mechanism underlying acting out, becomes too easy and comfortable when one has offspring. They’re like magnets for parental projection of denied material, for one’s own unresolved childhood traumas, and are a time-tested vaccination against healing.

        And take Jesus’s forty days and nights in the desert: his time of profound introspection – and temptation. Before Jesus could move forward cleanly he had to know who he truly was, where he was heading, and what was tempting him back. And his temptation was his family, their perks, and their ways. And once he’d figured this out he no longer had to mince his words.

        Take his line to his own biological mother and brothers when addressing a crowd of his followers, from Matthew 12: 48-50:

        “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

        Or this, from Luke 14: 26-27: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

        Jesus hated his family because they betrayed his soul, and he made a new true family for himself – a family of true soulful companions, people open to his new, true, honest self. He had to reject his old self as well, the false self that he created to survive amidst them, and hate all that went with it, all the parts of himself that were just like them. However, as to his line about hating one’s own children (assuming he’s talking about young children), he’s totally off there. No child deserves the hate of his parents. After all, Jesus wasn’t perfect. He went far, but he still had his emotional work cut out for him – and he agrees!

        Take John 14:12: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…” [italics mine]

        Jesus realized that even he was an evolving person who had not reached the pinnacle of man’s consciousness. He was a person of his time, and one who died young, at a mere thirty-three. What might he have become had he kept on exploring, maturing, growing, developing his thoughts?

        This he leaves to us to find out for ourselves…through our own lives, through our own healing processes.

        sure the bible tells us to obey, but that doesn’t mean that we should be like them or live the way they lived because some parents can be real hypocrites like a father neglecting his son/daughter or domestic violence or a bad divorce or worse the father being a controlling psycho who would do anything to make other people think he’s always right and everyone else is wrong even if it means finding religion and disowning anyone of his children who questions his authority, and/or worse if you open up to them about you being gay this is what happens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPrUW6W331M and as for legalism when it comes to having fun like going out to see movies or enjoying a special holiday with your friends and family, etc. Paul starts this new passage off with the word “therefore.” This means the upcoming thoughts are the result of his prior statements. In earlier verses, Paul explained that our relationship with God is through Christ, not through physical rituals such as circumcision. The salvation we have, through Christ, is complete and total. Not only does it remove the penalty of sin and restore our relationship to God, it also defeats the forces of evil which come against us (Colossians 2:13–15).

        This verse uses those prior thoughts to refute a claim made by false teachers. These deceivers were telling Colossian Christians that they must follow specific rituals, rules, and regulations in order to be saved. In the next verse, Paul will call these concepts “a shadow of the things to come,” or something much less important than Christ Himself. In contrast, Paul writes, “let no one pass judgment on you,” with regard to four specific areas.

        First, Paul notes dietary restrictions. The Mosaic law included many dietary aspects, such as not eating pork, an unclean food for Jews.

        Second, Paul mentions holidays and feast days. Jewish laws included many specific celebrations such as Passover and the Day of Atonement, which were referred to as “festivals.”

        Third, a “new moon” refers to the new moon celebrations in the Mosaic law (Numbers 29:6).

        Fourth, Paul mentions the Sabbath day. In Judaism, Saturday, the seventh day, was a holy day from sunset Friday till sunset Saturday, during which no work could be done (Exodus 20:8–11).

        Paul clearly states, in this verse, that these kinds of rules are not requirements for saved believers. The passage immediately before this verse explained that Christ removed all sin and penalty through His sacrifice. As a result, there are no possible works we can do, or need to do, in order to be made righteous with God. This is an idea Paul gave additional detail to in Romans chapter 14.
        Context Summary
        Colossians 2:16–23 is an application of the ideas Paul mentions in the previous verses. Verses 6 through 15 explained the supremacy of Christ over deceptive, human-based thinking. In this passage, Paul explicitly states that rules, rituals, and self-denial are not the path of spiritual growth. Trying to grow, spiritually, through these efforts is as impossible as a body part developing naturally while severed from the head! Living under severe rules might look good to others, but it’s not how God has called us to relate to Him as Christian believers.

        so I’m sorry if I offended you Scalia, but I’m just trying to tell you the hard truth, but I do this because I love you as a brother in Christ God bless you and God bless you too dividinghisword I’m really sorry about your mother and what happened at her funeral, but I’m sure she’s in a better place all we have to do is believe in the lord Jesus Christ and we will be saved and reunited with our loved ones. God bless.

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      3. Scalia did commented that pastors have the authority to create extra-biblical or ‘arbitrary’ standards, but here’s something he didn’t get right. A doctrine can only be considered truly biblical when it is explicitly taught in the Bible. An issue could be unbiblical (opposed to the teachings of the Bible), extra-biblical (outside of or not mentioned in the Bible), biblically based (connected to the teachings of the Bible), or biblical.

        An unbiblical doctrine is any teaching that stands opposed to the Bible’s clear teaching. For example, a belief that Jesus sinned is unbiblical. It stands in direct contrast to what the Bible teaches in many places, including Hebrews 4:15: “We have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

        An extra-biblical doctrine would be any teaching that is not directly taught in the Bible. It can be either good or bad. For example, voting in a democratic election is a positive practice, but it is not explicitly commanded in the Bible. To observe certain holidays is often neither good nor bad: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5). Any teaching about the observance of Lent, for example, is extra-biblical.

        Other teachings can be based on biblical principles, yet not directly taught in the Bible. For example, smoking is never mentioned in the Bible. Yet we can assert that the practice should be avoided, based on 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you. . . . You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” When a biblical principle applies, we can confidently teach it as a biblically based doctrine.

        Biblical doctrines, then, are teachings explicitly taught in the Bible. Examples of these include God’s creation of the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1), the sinfulness of all people (Romans 3), the virgin birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:20-25; Luke 1:26-38), the physical death and literal resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-11), salvation by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), the inspiration of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and many others.

        Problems occur when people confuse these categories. For example, to teach that the virgin birth is an optional doctrine that Christians are free to believe or not believe is to reject a core teaching of the Bible. It presents a biblical doctrine as non-essential. Then there are those who present extra-biblical teachings as if they were biblical doctrines. A person’s opinions and preferences are given the weight of God’s law; this happens sometimes in matters of clothing, music style, and food choice. When we “teach as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7), we become like the Pharisees whom Jesus strongly condemned.

        Our goal must be to speak clearly and firmly when Scripture is plain. In extra-biblical matters, we must be careful to avoid dogmatism. As many have said, in the essentials unity; in the non-essentials, diversity; in all things, charity.

        That is why Scalia has everything all wrong because Doctrine is “a set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true.” Biblical doctrine refers to teachings that align with the revealed Word of God, the Bible. False doctrine is any idea that adds to, takes away from, contradicts, or nullifies the doctrine given in God’s Word. For example, any teaching about Jesus that denies His virgin birth is a false doctrine, because it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture (Matthew 1:18).

        As early as the first century AD, false doctrine was already infiltrating the church, and many of the letters in the New Testament were written to address those errors (Galatians 1:6–9; Colossians 2:20–23; Titus 1:10–11). Paul exhorted his protégé Timothy to guard against those who were peddling heresies and confusing the flock: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3–4).

        As followers of Christ, we have no excuse for remaining ignorant of theology because we have the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) available to us—the Bible is complete. As we “study to show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are less likely to be taken in by smooth talkers and false prophets. When we know God’s Word, “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).

        It is important to point out the difference between false doctrine and denominational disagreements. Different congregational groups see secondary issues in Scripture differently. These differences are not always due to false doctrine on anyone’s part. Church policies, governmental decisions, style of worship, etc., are all open for discussion, since they are not directly addressed in Scripture. Even those issues that are addressed in Scripture are often debated by equally sincere disciples of Christ. Differences in interpretation or practice do not necessarily qualify as false doctrine, nor should they divide the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10).

        False doctrine is that which opposes some fundamental truth or that which is necessary for salvation. The following are some examples of false doctrine:

        • The erasing of hell. The Bible describes hell as a real place of eternal torment, the destination for every unregenerate soul (Revelation 20:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). A denial of hell directly contradicts Jesus’ own words (Matthew 10:28; 25:46) and is therefore a false doctrine.

        • The idea that there are “many paths to God.” This philosophy has become popular recently under the guise of tolerance. This false doctrine claims that, since God is love, He will accept any religious effort as long as the practitioner is sincere. Such relativism flies in the face of the entire Bible and effectively eliminates any need for the Son of God to take on flesh and be crucified for us (Jeremiah 12:17; John 3:15–18). It also contradicts Jesus’ direct words that He is the only way to God (John 14:6).

        • Any teaching that redefines the person of Jesus Christ. Doctrine that denies the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, His sinless nature, His actual death, or His physical resurrection is false doctrine. A group’s errant Christology readily identifies it as a sect or cult that may claim to be Christian but is actually teaching false doctrine. Even many mainline denominations have begun the rapid slide into apostasy by declaring that they no longer hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture or the deity of Christ. First John 4:1–3 makes it clear that a denial of biblical Christology is “anti-Christ.” Jesus described false teachers within the church as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15).

        • Teaching that adds human religious works to Christ’s finished work on the cross as necessary ingredients for salvation. This teaching may pay lip service to salvation by faith alone but insists that a religious ritual (such as water baptism) is salvific. Some groups even legislate hairstyles, clothing options, and food consumption. Romans 11:6 warns against attempts to mix grace with works. Ephesians 2:8–9 says we are saved by the grace of God, through faith, and nothing we do can add to or take away from it. Galatians 1:6–9 pronounces a curse on anyone who changes the good news of salvation by grace.

        • The teaching that presents grace as a license to sin. Sometimes called “easy-believism,” this false doctrine implies that all one must do for right standing with God is to believe the facts about Jesus, pray a prayer at some point, and then resume control of one’s life with the assurance of heaven at the end. Paul dealt with this thinking in Romans 6. In Matthew 7:21–23, Jesus warned those who adopt this doctrine that they did not know Him at all. Second Corinthians 5:17 states that those who are “in Christ” become “new creatures.” That transformation, in response to a believer’s faith in Christ, changes the outward behaviors. To know and love Christ is to obey Him (Luke 6:46).

        Satan has been confusing and perverting the Word of God since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1–4; Matthew 4:6). False teachers, the servants of Satan, try to appear as “servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15), but they will be known by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). A charlatan promoting false doctrine will show signs of pride, greed, and rebellion (see Jude 1:11) Just like other preachers on YouTube like the Peniel Ngonde Channel for example especially the westboro baptist church and will often promote or engage in sexual immorality like most preachers do, and sometimes Catholics. (2 Peter 2:14; Revelation 2:20). That is why False apostles are people who masquerade as Christian leaders, get other people to follow them, and then lead them astray. A true apostle is one who is “sent” by God as an ambassador of Jesus Christ with a divine message. A false apostle is a pretender who does not truly represent Christ and whose message is false. Sure half of everything Scalia is true about obeying your parents and obeying your church leaders, but the other half is some what nonsense with scripture to justify his viewpoint because incase you haven’t noticed Scalia there are some False teachers are given authority too because not all preachers are sent from God and not all preachers who preach the Gospel do it for the love of God, what they really are doing is preaching the Gospel as a means to an end, even parents can be hypocrites themselves because they don’t really care about the Gospel they really care about what their itching ears want to hear only to fall into the trap of legalism and put strict rules on their kids not like most normal parents do but like the pharisees did because some people go to church for the wrong reasons for control and always being right which is something only a selfish hypocrite would do like Steve drain from westboro baptist church for example so look him up on google or his daughter Lauren drain who he disowned for questioning the authority of the westboro baptist cult: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfHhqgrkAvg, but just think Scalia if Jesus said in Matthew 23 verse 3 “so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice” do you also believe that he would want us to do and observe whatever false teachers tell us? Jesus responded: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: … and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:3–8). The Apostle Paul warned of these days: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth” (2 Tim. 4:3–4). Paul also taught that the Lord “gave some, apostles; and some, prophets …“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, … “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:11–14).

        Brothers and sisters, the exact time of the Second Coming is known only to the Father (see Matt. 24:36). There are, however, signs that scriptural prophecy relating to that tumultuous day is being fulfilled. Jesus cautioned several times that prior to His Second Coming, “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:11). As Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is our duty to be watchmen on the tower, warning Church members to beware of false prophets and false teachers who lie in wait to ensnare and destroy faith and testimony. Today we warn you that there are false prophets and false teachers arising; and if we are not careful, even those who are among the faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will fall victim to their deception.

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      4. In 2 Corinthians 11, the apostle Paul addresses the problem of false apostles invading the Corinthian church and even today false apostles are invading Pentecostal Churches, especially seventh day Adventists church (like Ellen G White for example who is also a false prophetess and she’s already got them). He describes the false apostles as “those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about” (verse 12). The book of 2 Corinthians is one of Paul’s more “sarcastic” letters, as he contends with the church to recognize the error that had crept into their midst. He contrasts his selfless service with that of the “super-apostles” (verse 5) who were seducing the church with their smooth speech and apparent wisdom. These impostors were pretending to be true servants of Christ, but they did not know the Lord. They were deceivers, preying on gullible Christians in Corinth to profit themselves and boost their ego. Paul chides the church that they “even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face” (verse 20). He even compares these impostors to Satan himself, who also “masquerades as an angel of light” (verse 14).

        Paul warned the Ephesian elders about false apostles as well: “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29). They must have heeded his words, because in Revelation 2:2, Jesus commends the church at Ephesus for spotting the false apostles in their midst and rejecting them.

        False teachers and false apostles have been plentiful throughout the history of the church. They still infiltrate unsuspecting churches and have even led whole denominations into heresy and apostasy (see 1 Timothy 4:1–4). Scripture gives us clear warning if we will pay attention. First John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

        The following are some ways we can identify false apostles:

        False apostles deny any or all truths about the identity and deity of Jesus Christ. In 1 John 4:3–4, John warns his readers against Gnostic teaching; the test, he says, is Christological: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” There are many ways a spirit may deny that Jesus is the Christ. From demonic cults to denominations that have veered away from the gospel, evil spirits are always behind the slander of Jesus. Any teacher who attempts to take away from or add to Jesus’ finished work on the cross for our salvation is a false prophet (John 19:30; Acts 4:12).
        False apostles are motivated by their greed, lust, or power. Second Timothy 3:1–8 describes such teachers in more detail: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

        “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.” Jesus said that an identifying mark of a false apostle/prophet is sinful behavior: “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16, 20; cf. Jude 1:4).

        False apostles distort or deny the Bible as God’s infallible, inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16). In Galatians 1:8–9 Paul counters legalism with these strong words: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” The inspired writings of the apostles are part of the Word of God, and no one has a right to change their message.
        False apostles refuse to make themselves subject to spiritual authorities, but consider themselves the final authority (Hebrews 13:7; 2 Corinthians 10:12). They will often adopt lofty-sounding titles for themselves, such as “Bishop,” “Apostle,” “Reverend,” or “Father.” This does not mean that every person carrying such titles is a false prophet, only that evil impostors love lofty titles and will self-title to gain a hearing.

        False apostles can arise anywhere the Word of God does not reign supreme. From organized churches to home Bible studies, we must always be on guard against “new teachings” or “revelations” that are not subject to the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

        We are wise to recognize how vulnerable we are to heresy and make it our habit to do as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11: “they . . . examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” When we make it our goal to follow the lead of the first church, we will go far in avoiding the pitfalls of false doctrine. Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Such devotion will protect us and ensure that we are on the path Jesus set for us. That is what most Christians have forgotten about because paul also mentioned that there will come a time where people will not endure sound doctrine, but turn to myths 2 timothy chapter 4 he also mentioned about The “super-apostles” who were false teachers who appeared to be superior to Paul in their manner and authority. Paul calls them “super” in a facetious manner.

        As Paul went throughout the Roman Empire preaching the gospel, others would come behind him and try to steal away the new converts. Often they would claim that the gospel that Paul preached was inadequate in some way and needed to be supplemented. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul wars against those who sought to add circumcision to the gospel and, in that context, he issues the following anathema: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6–9).

        In Corinth, it seems that the people who came after Paul were attacking his person as a way to cast doubt upon his teaching. We do not have any texts from these mudslingers firsthand, but from the defense that Paul gives we can discern the types of things they were saying about him. The reason Paul chose to defend himself was not to retain his personal honor but so that nothing would detract from the gospel that he preached.

        First Corinthians is a forceful letter with some strong rebukes for the Corinthian church. In 1 Corinthians 16:5–9, Paul tells the Corinthians that he plans to visit them in person. Apparently, he was delayed. He explains that he delayed coming because he did not want to have a confrontation with them, presumably giving them more time to correct the issues he addressed in 1 Corinthians (see 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2:1–11; and 7:5–9). Even though Paul was an apostle, he did not want to have to deal with them in an authoritarian way (2 Corinthians 1:24). Some of the opposing “super-apostles” were apparently saying that Paul was weak and unreliable, and that was the reason he delayed his visit.

        In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul explains why his ministry does not seem very successful. First, there is a spiritual war, and unbelievers simply cannot understand the gospel that he preaches on their own (verses 1–6). Also, Paul lacks all signs of outward success and blessing. He is afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down (verses 8–9). But he explains that this is only his outward condition. Spiritually he is not crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed. In fact, a state of weakness is common for gospel ministry, so that the glory will go to God, not to the human worker—Paul is simply an “earthen vessel” containing an incredibly valuable treasure (verse 7). Paul does not lose heart because he knows that, when this life is over, something incredibly greater awaits him (verses 16–18). The “super-apostles” seem to see glory for themselves and enjoy popularity.

        In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul says that he does not boast in his own ministry or accomplishments. He boasts in the response of the Corinthians and in their repentance that came about as a result of his first letter. In chapters 8–9, he also says he has boasts about their generosity and hopes that his boasts will not have been empty. He encourages the church to give generously to an offering for impoverished believers in other areas. He attempts to persuade them to give without demanding that they give. Again, Paul chooses not to act in an authoritarian way. In contrast, the “super-apostles” have no problem exercising authoritarian control.

        In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul addresses those who say he is so meek and humble in person, while his letters are bold and fiery (verse 10). That is, some were saying that Paul’s bark is worse than his bite. Paul defends his practice of being meek and humble in person. If anyone boasts, he should boast in the Lord (verse 17). If one boasts of himself, it means nothing. The real issue is what the Lord thinks of a person (verse 18). The implication is that, in contrast to Paul, the “super-apostles” were bold and boastful.

        So, much of 2 Corinthians highlights Paul’s humility and lack of what many in the world might think of as success. In chapter 9, he contrasts this approach with that of the “super-apostles.” In verse 6, Paul indicates that he is not a skilled orator. In the rest of the chapter he highlights some of his sufferings and even admits to having to sneak out of a city by night to avoid capture. He also notes in verse 7 that he preached the gospel to them free of charge. Paul took no money from the Corinthians for his own support or enrichment. But the “super-apostles” exerted authority and took money for their support.

        Based on Paul’s defense of his ministry, it seems that the “super-apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:5; 12:11) are false teachers claiming to be superior to Paul. Paul names them “super-apostles” in facetious irony. Compared to them, Paul looks like a very meager apostle. It is as if Paul is saying, “If I am an apostle, then they must be ‘super-apostles’—look at how much more powerful and successful they are than I am!” Paul is humble, timid, physically persecuted, self-supporting, unskilled, and physically ailing. The super-apostles were just the opposite—bold, talented, respected, healthy—and more than willing to take money from the Corinthians. They were not afraid to deal with the Corinthians in an authoritarian manner: “You bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face” (2 Corinthians 11:21). Paul calls the other teachers “super-apostles” because, from all outward appearances, they are the successful ones, while he is the failure.

        But Paul goes on to explain. He may not be a skilled speaker, but he preaches the gospel of Christ. He may be unsuccessful by all outward/worldly measurements, but he did perform the signs of a true apostle among them (2 Corinthians 12:12). It is not because he is weak that he does not abuse them or take their money; it is because he loves them (verse 14). He is motivated by love for them and love for the Lord.

        Paul’s meekness is similar to the example of Jesus and the way He instructed His followers: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave” (Matthew 20:25–27). A self-serving, boastful dictator may appear to be a “super-leader.” We have seen these types gain places of leadership in the world. However, they are only “super” based on worldly, outward appearances. To be truly great, they must serve the way Jesus did. To be true “super–apostles,” they would need to follow the example of Paul, who was following the example of Jesus.

        Even today, it is tempting to judge ministers as successful (or not) based on prosperity, popularity, oratory, and their ability to command respect and a following. This may make them “super-ministers” by the standards of the world but not necessarily by God’s standards. What the other half of Scalia’s comment doesn’t get is the understanding of apostasy. Apostasy, from the Greek word apostasia, means “a defiance of an established system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.” In the first-century world, apostasy was a technical term for political revolt or defection. Just like in the first century, spiritual apostasy threatens the Body of Christ today.

        The Bible warns about people like Arius (c. AD 250—336), a Christian priest from Alexandria, Egypt, who was trained at Antioch in the early fourth century. About AD 318, Arius accused Bishop Alexander of Alexandria of subscribing to Sabellianism, a false teaching that asserted that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were merely roles or modes assumed by God at various times. Arius was determined to emphasize the oneness of God; however, he went too far in his teaching of God’s nature. Arius denied the Trinity and introduced what appeared on the surface to be an inconsequential difference between the Father and Son.

        Arius argued that Jesus was not homoousios (“of the same essence”) as the Father, but was rather homoiousios (“of similar essence”). Only one Greek letter—the iota (ι)—separated the two. Arius described his position in this manner: “The Father existed before the Son. There was a time when the Son did not exist. Therefore, the Son was created by the Father. Therefore, although the Son was the highest of all creatures, he was not of the essence of God.”

        Arius was clever and did his best to get the people on his side, even going so far as to compose little songs that taught his theology, which he tried to teach to everyone who would listen. His winsome nature, asceticism, and revered position as a preacher also contributed to his cause.

        With respect to apostasy, it is critical that all Christians understand two important things: (1) how to recognize apostasy and apostate teachers, and (2) why apostate teaching is so deadly.

        The Forms of Apostasy
        To fully identify and combat apostasy, Christians should understand its various forms and the traits that characterize its doctrines and teachers. As to the forms of apostasy, there are two main types: (1) a falling away from key and true doctrines of the Bible into heretical teachings that claim to be “the real” Christian doctrine, and (2) a complete renunciation of the Christian faith, which results in a full abandonment of Christ.

        Arius represents the first form of apostasy—a denial of key Christian truths (such as the divinity of Christ) that begins a downhill slide into a full departure from the faith, which is the second form of apostasy. The second form almost always begins with the first. A heretical belief becomes a heretical teaching that splinters and grows until it pollutes all aspects of a person’s faith, and then the end goal of Satan is accomplished, which is a complete falling away from Christianity.

        A 2010 study by Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola called “Preachers Who Are Not Believers.” Dennett and LaScola’s work chronicles five different preachers who over time were presented with and accepted heretical teachings about Christianity and now have completely fallen away from the faith. These pastors are either pantheists or clandestine atheists. One of the most disturbing truths highlighted in the study is that these preachers maintain their position as pastors of Christian churches with their congregations being unaware of their leader’s true spiritual state.

        The Characteristics of Apostasy and Apostates
        Jude was the half brother of Jesus and a leader in the early church. In his New Testament letter, he outlines how to recognize apostasy and strongly urges those in the body of Christ to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:3). The Greek word translated “contend earnestly” is a compound verb from which we get the word agonize. It is in the present infinitive form, which means that the struggle will be continuous. In other words, Jude says that there will be a constant fight against false teaching and that Christians should take it so seriously that we “agonize” over the fight in which we are engaged. Moreover, Jude makes it clear that every Christian is called to this fight, not just church leaders, so it is critical that all believers sharpen their discernment skills so that they can recognize and prevent apostasy in their midst.

        After urging his readers to contend earnestly for the faith, Jude highlights the reason: “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). In this one verse, Jude provides Christians with three traits of apostasy and apostate teachers:

        First, Jude says that apostasy can be subtle. Apostates have “crept” into the church. In extra-biblical Greek, the term Jude uses describes the cunning craftiness of a lawyer who, through clever argumentation, infiltrates the minds of courtroom officials and corrupts their thinking. The word literally means “slip in sideways; come in stealthily; sneak in.” In other words, Jude says it is rare that apostasy begins in an overt and easily detectable manner. Instead, it looks a lot like Arius’s doctrine—only a single letter, the iota, differentiates the false teaching from the true.

        Describing this aspect of apostasy and its underlying danger, A. W. Tozer wrote, “So skilled is error at imitating truth, that the two are constantly being mistaken for each another. It takes a sharp eye these days to know which brother is Cain and which is Abel.” The apostle Paul also speaks to the outwardly pleasing behavior of apostates and their teaching: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13–14). In other words, do not look for apostates to appear bad on the outside or speak dramatic words of heresy at the outset of their teaching. Rather than denying truth outright, apostates will twist it to fit their own agenda, but, as pastor R. C. Lensky has noted, “The worst forms of wickedness consist in perversions of the truth.”

        Second, Jude describes apostates as “ungodly” and as those who use God’s grace as a license to commit unrighteous acts. Beginning with “ungodly,” Jude describes eighteen unflattering traits of apostates: they are ungodly (Jude 1:4), morally perverted (verse 4), denying Christ (verse 4), ones who defile the flesh (verse 8), rebellious (verse 8), people who revile angels (verse 8), who are ignorant about God (verse 8), those who proclaim false visions (verse 10), self-destructive (verse 10), grumblers (verse 16), faultfinders (verse 16), self-satisfying (verse 16), people who use arrogant words and false flattery (verse 16), mockers of God (verse 18), those who cause divisions (verse 19), worldly minded (verse 19), and finally (and not surprisingly), devoid of the Spirit/unsaved (verse 19).

        Third, Jude says apostates “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” How do apostates do this? Paul tells us in his letter to Titus, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:15–16). Through their unrighteous behavior, the apostates show their true selves. Unlike an apostate, a true believer is someone who has been delivered from sin to righteousness in Christ and who refuses to continue in sin (Romans 6:1–2).

        Ultimately, the sign of an apostate is that he eventually falls away and departs from the truth of God’s Word and His righteousness. The apostle John signifies this is a mark of a false believer: “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

        Ideas Have Consequences
        Every New Testament book except Philemon contains warnings about false teaching. Why is this? Simply because ideas have consequences. Right thinking and its fruit produce goodness, whereas wrong thinking and its accompanying action result in undesired penalties. As an example, the Cambodian killing fields in the 1970s were the product of the nihilistic worldview of Jean Paul Sartre and his teaching. The Khmer Rouge’s leader, Pol Pot, lived out Sartre’s philosophy toward the people in a clear and frightening way, which was articulated in this manner: “To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss.”

        Satan did not come to the first couple in the Garden with an external armament or visible weapon; instead, he came to them with an idea. And it was that idea, embraced by Adam and Eve, that condemned them and the rest of humankind, with the only remedy being the sacrificial death of God’s Son.

        The great tragedy is that, knowingly or unknowingly, the apostate teacher dooms his unsuspecting followers. Speaking to His disciples about the religious leaders of His day, Jesus said, “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14, emphasis added). Alarmingly, it is not only false teachers who go to destruction, but their disciples follow them there. Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard put it this way: “For it has never yet been known to fail that one fool, when he goes astray, takes several others with him.”

        Conclusion
        In AD 325, the Council of Nicea convened primarily to take up the issue of Arius and his teaching. Much to Arius’s dismay, the end result was his excommunication and a statement in the Nicene Creed that affirms Christ’s divinity: “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father.”

        Arius may have died centuries ago, but his spiritual children are still with us to this day in the form of cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who deny Christ’s true essence and person. Sadly, until Christ returns and every last spiritual enemy has been removed, tares such as these will be present among the wheat (Matthew 13:24–30). In fact, Scripture says apostasy will only get worse as Christ’s return approaches. “At that time [the latter days] many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another” (Matthew 24:10). Paul told the Thessalonians that a great falling away would precede Christ’s second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and that the end times would be characterized by tribulation and hollow religious charlatans: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be . . . holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:1–2, 5).

        It is critical, now more than ever, that every believer pray for discernment, combat apostasy, and contend earnestly for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.

        now you know why there is a reason why Jesus doesn’t want anyone to be deceived because of what other people including their parents believe because why do you think Jesus rejected his family for? Jesus was a warrior, and his prime enemy was the family. He advocates open rebellion of children against their parents. Take Matthew 10:34:

        “Think not that I have come to bring peace to the earth; it is not peace I bring but a sword. I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law; a person’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”

        Jesus says reject your parents, reject the lies they raised you on, and find the honest truth within yourself. That’s why they killed him, Jews and Romans, and even one of his own disciples. Jesus threatened their way of life, and created a new mold.

        Take his celibacy. This gave him the opportunity to avoid externalizing his internal conflicts. Few can handle the frustrations of conscious celibacy, and most who are celibate simply do so through unconscious defense, by splitting off and repressing their sex drive. This death-celibacy does not lead to enlightenment. It leads to disease.

        And take his lack of having children. He never recreated the cycle of bringing others into the world to rescue him. It is difficult, if not impossible, to attain enlightenment when one becomes a parent. Projection, that most basic defense mechanism underlying acting out, becomes too easy and comfortable when one has offspring. They’re like magnets for parental projection of denied material, for one’s own unresolved childhood traumas, and are a time-tested vaccination against healing.

        And take Jesus’s forty days and nights in the desert: his time of profound introspection – and temptation. Before Jesus could move forward cleanly he had to know who he truly was, where he was heading, and what was tempting him back. And his temptation was his family, their perks, and their ways. And once he’d figured this out he no longer had to mince his words.

        Take his line to his own biological mother and brothers when addressing a crowd of his followers, from Matthew 12: 48-50:

        “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

        Or this, from Luke 14: 26-27: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

        Jesus hated his family because they betrayed his soul, and he made a new true family for himself – a family of true soulful companions, people open to his new, true, honest self. He had to reject his old self as well, the false self that he created to survive amidst them, and hate all that went with it, all the parts of himself that were just like them. However, as to his line about hating one’s own children (assuming he’s talking about young children), he’s totally off there. No child deserves the hate of his parents. After all, Jesus wasn’t perfect. He went far, but he still had his emotional work cut out for him – and he agrees!

        Take John 14:12: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…” [italics mine]

        Jesus realized that even he was an evolving person who had not reached the pinnacle of man’s consciousness. He was a person of his time, and one who died young, at a mere thirty-three. What might he have become had he kept on exploring, maturing, growing, developing his thoughts?

        This he leaves to us to find out for ourselves…through our own lives, through our own healing processes.

        sure the bible tells us to obey, but that doesn’t mean that we should be like them or live the way they lived because some parents can be real hypocrites like a father neglecting his son/daughter or domestic violence or a bad divorce or worse the father being a controlling psycho who would do anything to make other people think he’s always right and everyone else is wrong even if it means finding religion and disowning anyone of his children who questions his authority, and/or worse if you open up to them about you being gay this is what happens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPrUW6W331M and as for legalism when it comes to having fun like going out to see movies or enjoying a special holiday with your friends and family, etc. Paul starts this new passage off with the word “therefore.” This means the upcoming thoughts are the result of his prior statements. In earlier verses, Paul explained that our relationship with God is through Christ, not through physical rituals such as circumcision. The salvation we have, through Christ, is complete and total. Not only does it remove the penalty of sin and restore our relationship to God, it also defeats the forces of evil which come against us (Colossians 2:13–15).

        This verse uses those prior thoughts to refute a claim made by false teachers. These deceivers were telling Colossian Christians that they must follow specific rituals, rules, and regulations in order to be saved. In the next verse, Paul will call these concepts “a shadow of the things to come,” or something much less important than Christ Himself. In contrast, Paul writes, “let no one pass judgment on you,” with regard to four specific areas.

        First, Paul notes dietary restrictions. The Mosaic law included many dietary aspects, such as not eating pork, an unclean food for Jews.

        Second, Paul mentions holidays and feast days. Jewish laws included many specific celebrations such as Passover and the Day of Atonement, which were referred to as “festivals.”

        Third, a “new moon” refers to the new moon celebrations in the Mosaic law (Numbers 29:6).

        Fourth, Paul mentions the Sabbath day. In Judaism, Saturday, the seventh day, was a holy day from sunset Friday till sunset Saturday, during which no work could be done (Exodus 20:8–11).

        Paul clearly states, in this verse, that these kinds of rules are not requirements for saved believers. The passage immediately before this verse explained that Christ removed all sin and penalty through His sacrifice. As a result, there are no possible works we can do, or need to do, in order to be made righteous with God. This is an idea Paul gave additional detail to in Romans chapter 14.
        Context Summary
        Colossians 2:16–23 is an application of the ideas Paul mentions in the previous verses. Verses 6 through 15 explained the supremacy of Christ over deceptive, human-based thinking. In this passage, Paul explicitly states that rules, rituals, and self-denial are not the path of spiritual growth. Trying to grow, spiritually, through these efforts is as impossible as a body part developing naturally while severed from the head! Living under severe rules might look good to others, but it’s not how God has called us to relate to Him as Christian believers.

        so I’m sorry if I offended you Scalia, but I’m just trying to tell you the hard truth, but I do this because I love you as a brother in Christ God bless you and God bless you too dividinghisword I’m really sorry about your mother and what happened at her funeral, but I’m sure she’s in a better place all we have to do is believe in the lord Jesus Christ and we will be saved and reunited with our loved ones. God bless.

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    4. Legalism is the Worst Kind of Sin, sure It’s doesn’t look like sin! But at it’s core, legalism fosters pride, arrogance, judgmentalism, and self-righteousness and Literally. Satan is a legalist. We often think that Satan temps us to sin, but I think that sin is only “Plan B” with Satan. Satan’s primary goal is to turn us into legalists. Rather than turn someone into an outright sinner, Satan would much prefer to have everyone think they are completely obedient to the Laws of God, and are here on earth to get others to obey God also.

      Satan wants us to think that because of our obedience to the law of God, we are making God happy. That if we can just conform our lives to a set of rules and behaviors, then we are right with God.

      If you gave Satan a choice between an army of religious legalists and an army of Satan-worshiping anarchists, Satan will choose the religious legalists every time. Religious legalists do more damage to the cause of Christ than any anarchist has ever done. Worse yet, religious legalists perform their evil in the name of God, which makes it infinitely more evil.

      If you sin, and sin blatantly, at least you will recognize you have sinned, and can fall before God in repentance and confession. God would rather have this than self-righteous, devilish legalism.

      Jesus said that tax collects and prostitutes were closer to the Kingdom of God than were the legalistic religious leaders of His day.

      The same thing is true today. So called “sinners” know something about themselves and about God which no legalist will ever understand. “Sinners” know that they are sinners and that if God loves and forgives them, it is not because of anything good or Godly in themselves, but is purely out of God’s grace.

      Though legalists always pay lip service to grace, they don’t actually believe it. Though they may believe that they were originally saved by God’s love and grace, they believe that God’s continuing love and grace for them is based on their own personal godliness and holy lifestyle.

      But since life in the Kingdom of God is based on understanding God’s love and grace, then people who think they are living in the Kingdom according to strict observance of law are not actually living within the Kingdom.

      Again, those who the world considered “sinners” know that if they are to be accepted by God, they can depend on nothing but God’s unmerited grace. This is the position in which we should all approach God, but as long as a person thinks they are obeying God, they will never approach God begging for mercy and grace.

      Yes, Jesus said that “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). But Jesus was not calling His followers to become more righteous than the scribes and Pharisees. He was saying that when it comes to personal righteousness, you have to be more perfect than the scribes and pharisees, which is impossible! Therefore, don’t even try! (“Do or do not, there is no try” from the immortal words of yoda) Fall upon the grace, mercy, and love of God instead.

      no legalist ever believes they are a legalist. This is partly what makes this sin so insidious. While most sinners know they are sinners, no legalist ever recognizes their legalism.

      Instead, they are “standing up for truth!”, “defending God’s righteousness!”, “calling on people to return to God!”, “living as salt and light!”, or some other such phrase. As such, they are blind to the true condition of their hearts, and believe themselves to be champions of the truth and defenders of the Gospel, but in reality, they are whitewashed tombs, the blind leading the blind.

      In a strange turn of events, the sinner who can see God’s ways and God’s love and God’s forgiveness is better off than the legalist. The legalist, seeing only his own self-righteousness, thinks that in order to gain God’s love, everyone needs to be as righteous as he is. The sinner however, knows without a doubt that he can never attain that level of righteousness, and so despairs of ever achieving God’s love. They are left with beating on their chest and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” which is what God wants anyway (Luke 18:13).

      http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davis/William/Charles/Jr/1952/Pentecostalism.html

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  6. I Believe in the oneness teaching but do not agree with all the other legalism in the UPCI. Do you know of any other church that teaches the oneness without all the other legalism?

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    1. Hello James,

      The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, which was a co-split in Early Oneness Pentecostalism is primarily a black church, but it espouses the Oneness Doctrine, Jesus Name Baptism and seeking the sign of Tongues but lacks the majority of the legalism and authoritative dominance found in the Apostolic/United Pentecostal Church.

      https://pawinc.org/

      Hope that helps in your faith journey. Many blessings to you,

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  7. All this cult stuff resonate with my experience in the New Testament Church. This church is even worst than the UPC.
    All their pastors practice celebacy. They stay together in a place call faith home. You have to be literally separated from your family and if you are married and you want to enter into the ministry, you have to consecrate the bed (no sex). You don’t own anything . You are totally dependent on the church for your welfare.
    My elders were living for me. I spent 11yrs of my life in total deception. But thank God for His Mercy. Forgiveness helps me to heal rapidly.
    I accepted I was a victim. I forgive and move on with my life. Anytime the ill treatment surface, I just whispered Lord I forgive.

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  8. You write,

    When the UPCI started allowing wedding rings and television, the hard core fundamentalists broke away.

    The UPC has never officially prohibited wedding rings. Indeed, many if not most of their churches allow them. They have, however, prohibited television until quite recently. Perhaps your perception of the UPC was skewed by the church you attended.

    Your column contains very little scriptural reasoning. You simply didn’t like the environment you belonged to and are now rationalizing your break from the movement. Of course, everybody who jumps ship onto another has to marshal their reasons for doing so.

    My purpose here is not to debate the subject with you. I challenged you to discuss the Trinity under one of your columns and decided to check out your blog. I saw the “Leaving Pentecostalism” button and decided to read it. The only reason I’m commenting here is to correct your statement about the UPC.

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    1. The United Pentecostal Church is a Oneness Pentecostal denomination that was formed in 1945 when the Pentecostal Church Incorporated and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ merged. Their website says that they “grew from 521 churches in 1945” to “4,243 churches and daughter works in 2010.” The United Pentecostal Church claims to be “among the fastest growing church organizations since it was formed in 1945.” Because United Pentecostal Churches are normally congregational in government, there can be some differences among individual churches. As a self-governing church body, each congregation elects its own pastors and leaders. The denomination’s headquarters is in Hazelwood, Missouri.

      The roots of the United Pentecostal Church and what is known as “Oneness Pentecostalism” can be traced back to the early days of the Pentecostal Movement, which began in the early 1900s in Topeka, Kansas, based on the teachings of Charles Parham. In 1906 the Pentecostal Movement gained popularity during the Azuza Street Revival led by William Seymour. While it was rejected by mainline Christian denominations, the movement continued to grow and its followers began to form their own Pentecostal organizations or denominations. One of the first was the Assemblies of God, which was formed around 1914.

      The teaching that became the basis for Oneness Pentecostalism can be traced back to a Pentecostal camp meeting held in Arroyo Seco, California, either in late 1913 or early 1914. While at the meeting, a Pentecostal pastor named John Scheppe had what he believed was a divine revelation from God. As he meditated that night, he believed God revealed to him that baptism must be done in the “name of Jesus only” and not in the name of “the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Like most cult leaders, his revelation and “new doctrine” did not come as the result of the careful study of Scripture but instead was based on a subjective revelation he believed to be from God. Soon after, several other Assembly of God pastors began teaching this “new revelation” that would become the basis for Oneness Pentecostalism and “Jesus name only baptism.”

      As the new “movement” gained followers, it caused a division in the newly formed Assembly of God organization. Recognizing the unbiblical nature of this teaching, the Assemblies of God rejected this unbiblical doctrine and affirmed the biblical doctrine of the Trinity at its Fourth General Council in October 1916. This led to the Assembly of God banning approximately 150 pastors from the denomination, those who had been teaching this unbiblical doctrine. A few months later several Oneness Pentecostal pastors met in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and started their own organization known as the General Assembly of the Apostolic Assemblies. That was the beginning of the Oneness Pentecostal movement and eventually in 1945 two of the many Oneness Pentecostal organizations merged to form the United Pentecostal Church.

      Often referred to as “Oneness Pentecostals” because of their denial of the triune nature of God, the denomination was formed around a heretical teaching known as modalism. Because they deny the true nature of God as revealed in Scripture and embrace other unbiblical teachings, this group is best classified as a cult rather than a true Christian denomination. Like other cults such as Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses, this form of extreme Pentecostalism denies the true nature of God and in reality preaches a different gospel than true biblical Christianity.

      Claiming to teach “the apostles’ doctrine,” the teaching and doctrine of the United Pentecostal Church is based on poor exegesis of Scripture and the misreading and misinterpretation of certain Bible passages. This forms the basis for their heretical teaching on the nature of God and the doctrine of salvation. The heresies taught by this group include the denial of the triune nature of God as revealed in Scripture, as well as the teaching that one must be “baptized in Jesus’ name” to be saved and that true salvation is evidenced by speaking in tongues. These teachings come from a long history of misreading Scripture.

      While many false teachings have arisen out of the Pentecostal movement, Oneness Pentecostalism is certainly one of the most deceptive and heretical. Rather than embrace the triune nature of God as revealed in Scripture, Oneness Pentecostals, such as the United Pentecostal Church, create for themselves a God they can “understand” and in doing so end up with another gospel and a heretical concept of God. They hold to a form of modalism that, while correctly asserting the biblical truth that there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4), fails to recognize the plurality of the Godhead (Genesis 1:26; Matthew 28:19–20; Mark 1:9–11; John 1:1; John 8:17–18; John 14:16: John 15:26; John 16:13–15: 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Revelation 1:4–6).

      Modalism is basically the teaching that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are simply different ways God manifests or reveals Himself to humanity. It fails to recognize the distinctions that clearly exist between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as well as their eternal relationship that Scripture reveals to us. Contrary to John 1:1, Oneness doctrine denies the pre-existence of Jesus Christ despite the fact that this verse clearly teaches that Jesus is God and that He was with God, and was God from the beginning. They acknowledge that Christ is God but ignore the part of this verse that clearly establishes the pre-existence of Christ and makes a clear distinction between Christ and the Father as do many other verses of Scripture.

      Their false view of God’s nature then leads them to misunderstand what it means to be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). The result is that they make water baptism “in the name of Jesus” a requirement of salvation and thus teach baptismal regeneration. They also add to that troublesome teaching that one must be baptized a specific way using a specific formula or wording in order to be saved. By adding to the gospel these requirements, as well the false teaching that speaking in tongues is the evidence that one is saved, they end up with a convoluted gospel full of error and based on a misunderstanding of what Scripture really teaches.

      The United Pentecostal Church recognizes that its teachings are not in line with most Christian denominations. We know that because they state on their website that “in our day, the Apostolic Pentecostal movement is distinctive for its teaching of the Oneness of God, the New Testament plan of salvation, and aspects of practical holiness.” In other words, like other cults the leaders of this movement are fully aware that what they teach is not in line with what is normally referred to as orthodox or biblical Christian doctrine.

      Still another troubling teaching of the United Pentecostal Church is their concept of holiness and the legalistic standards they impose on people. For example, their view of holiness means that women cannot wear jewelry or make-up, that women must let their hair grow long, and that men must have their hair “noticeably short.” Also school students are forbidden from participating in shows, dances, dance classes, and theatre—and even prohibited from wearing gymnasium clothes. While Christians are called to be holy, the United Pentecostal Church’s definition of what is holy, like its other erroneous teaching comes from a misunderstanding of the basic principles of biblical hermeneutics.

      The UPC’s statement of faith makes it clear that there are areas where their beliefs are acceptable and orthodox in that they do agree with the teaching of Scriptures. However, they go astray in very fundamental and essential areas. They essentially deny justification by faith. They add baptism and speaking in tongues as requirements for salvation. For baptism to be effective it must be done using the phrase “In the name of Jesus” and must be administered by an ordained Oneness Pentecostal minister. This essentially means that only those who embrace Oneness doctrines and practices will go to heaven, again another typical teaching of this type of “Christian” cult.

      Like most cults, the United Pentecostal Church believes they are restoring biblical doctrine and biblical teaching that had been lost due to the corruption of the church throughout the centuries. Rather than recognizing that God in His sovereignty has preserved the true “apostolic doctrine” throughout the history of the church, they believe they are restoring biblical truths. The fact is all they are doing is reviving the ancient heresy of modalism that has been rejected by Christians every time another “new” group of false teachers begins to proclaim it.

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  9. This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Cheers!

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