Deception in Christianity

Matthew 24: 4-5

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many (KJV). 

 

II John 7

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

 

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

 

2Peter 2:1-22  

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false word

 

I Timothy 1: 18-19

18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

 

Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.

 

We are to Go out and Teach Regardless of the Environment!

 

Matthew 10: 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;

 

II Timothy 3: 5

having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.  Avoid such people.

 

Proverbs 9: 7-9

Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more (NLT).

 

2 Corinthians 11:14


No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

 Know Them By Their Fruit:

The Fall of Adam by Hugo van der Goes Cir 1479

The Fall of Adam by Hugo van der Goes Cir 1479

One of the tactics of anti-Christian, religious based cults is their ability to “spin” negative incidents to give the target plausible deniability of various biblical doctrines. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine a subject’s basic consciousness, reality awareness, worldview, emotional control, and defense mechanisms. The subject is guided to reinterpret his or her Christian history and adopt a new version of belief. This seemed to be especially true when it came to the leaders of most of these new religions who are most often characterized as “prophets and apostles”. The cults make a person re-evaluate the most central aspects of their Biblical Christian beliefs, with a focus on their negative experiences in the Church.

The foundation of any cult is to make it difficult for a target to leave. They convey hurdles to leaving which are either real or imagined downfalls of exiting the cult. The cult’s goal is to increase the “leaving cost” of real or imagined downfalls one will incur if they leave the cult. For example, you can say once you become a “Genuine Christian” (their version), you are one for life. If you stray from their version of “Christ”, you are doomed to a Lake of Fire. The “leaving cost” is easy to see: Leave us and you will suffer. Since most churches do not teach the Bible as authoritative, the cult’s missionaries have a wide range of targets to aim at to destabilize a believer. Therefore when a local congregation or denomination removes the Bible as authoritative they enable the cult to prevail and make it politically difficult for people to leave: BEWARE!

One unbiblical tactic is where the preacher tells the congregation what they expect to hear. By continually appealing to their ego, boosting their pride, and self-esteem, as well as simply reassuring them that they are correct in what they believe; they lull the listener into believing their version of the “correct” ideology to accept. This results in a “GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT INSTEAD OF WHAT THEY NEED” mantra. Another tactic is to appeal to people’s laziness and intellectual complacency. They do not wish to be challenged and want to live according to what is important to them. Some who call themselves “Christian” prefer intellectual laziness, and even hide from learning anything about the Bible. As long as they know nothing about the Scripture they are happy with the skewed view the cult church teaches them because it seems correct even though they are swayed away from the truth.

Examples of Anti Christian Cultic Beliefs

Liberalism:

Liberalism in theology is similar to liberalism in politics. Both want to secularize their respective societies to match the Humanist tenets. They put their faith in evolution, historical relativism, progress through science, the “benevolent” state, and getting someone else’s money. To do this they must quiet the Bible fundamentalist and their revealed truth. The liberal refuses to believe the miracles of the Bible regardless of the evidence for them. Liberalism promotes Christianity without the Spirit or the power of God.

Modernism:

Modernism is a more subtle and increasingly popular idea to reframe the Bible in a way that makes Biblical writers present God according to their own superstitious world view.  The most prominent is the “Bible contains the Word of God, but is not the World of God.” This means that man wrote it and therefore it has no authority.  Modernists say “Glean the good stuff and don’t worry about the negative”.  For example, the Israelite’s tribal god was Jehovah, who is no different from the Canaanite’s tribal gods such as Moloch, Baal and others.  Of course at the time of Christ, paganism abounded with a firm belief in what we call mythology.  Relatively few pagans exist today that still worship Zeus, Ares and the other “titans”, however modern thinkers point to the fact that all deities of the day interacted with humans and produced half-god, half-human offspring.  So, they say Jesus is no different, he is just another myth that hung on long after the others fell pray to modernism.  they say people today no longer believe the old fairy tails and archaic religion of a mean God with a half-human son.   Jesus was about love, not judgment so let’s just forget all the “righteousness stuff” and accept anything that makes others happy.

Secularism:

According to secularists, Christianity and God should be forced out of everyday life and be kept behind the closed doors of the home or church where it belongs.  We see this attitude in our schools and now in our governments.  Secularism puts pressure on people to keep religion private and out of the public eye.  It is anti-evangelism and as a religion, has its own doctrine.

Universalism

Popular books like The Shack and other similar fictitious “Christian” books are promoting a theology called Universalism.  Universalism basically says since Jesus died for everyone, everyone will be saved.  The extreme brand of Universalism, called Ultimate Reconciliation, teaches that even Satan will be reconciled to God in the end.  Universalism’s appeal is that God loves everyone.  After all who doesn’t want a loving God?  Forgiveness comes without repentance and the Christian relationship with God is without discipline or strength of character.  If we all make it to heaven in the end, why bother living a Christian life?  This doctrine is more insidious than it seems and is affecting many people today – even if they do not know it by its theological name.

Politicalism:

Politicalism seeks to enforce certain religious viewpoints through political power, either in a church or secular government.  Those with this viewpoint cringe in fear when they hear a news story about Islamic fundamentalists wanting to force a country and its entire population to adopt Islamic religious law as the law of the land.  Yet they will do the exact same thing in America.   It is the idea that America is like Old Testament Israel and if we can just make enough Christian “laws”, God will bless us.  The problem is that there are no Christian nations – only Christian people.  If America was birthed with Christianity it was because she had Christians, not Christian laws.  When will the church learn that political power will not save a soul?  Yet if we save a soul, we will probably get that person to follow in the moral lifestyle we promoted in the first place. The Church- that is individual Christians – will have to deal with these issues more and more in the coming days.  If there ever was a time to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints,” it is today.

Americanism:

This subject can be much misunderstood. We love America and are blessed that the Lord saw fit to place us here. We have the most freedoms of any nation on earth but we must be cautious to not place Americanism before our Christianity. Jesus said that He is the way the truth and the life (John 14: 6). He did not say that any country on this earth is to replace Him. Many that claim Christ as their savior seem to think that our salvation comes from the United States of America. For example, they believe that since the first amendment to the US Constitution provides religious freedom, all religions are equal. That is not what it says, here is what it says:

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 Cults That Promote Themselves as Genuine Christian

 

Anti-Christian Cults stealthily attack Christianity from a doctrinal viewpoint. So, those cults that are nearest to Christianity are viewed as just another denomination with some differences but are not considered destructive. We are led into believing that it is inappropriate to speak out against them because it causes division in the Body. We simply do not know enough about these different groups to adequately prepare to speak out against them and prevent others from embracing these corrupt theologies. We fall for the lies because we do not know the truth of the Bible and therefore the false doctrines of the Christian Cults. Dr. Donald Campbell expressed the problem very succinctly when he said, “When the gospel message is corrupted, the way of salvation is confused and people are in danger of being eternally lost.” [1]We must realize this and strive to warn of the dangers of the Christian Cult’s doctrine.

Mormonism:

Joseph Smith the founder was greatly influenced by his father, who searched for buried treasure using occult methods. His life changed in 1820 when he supposedly received a vision from God the Father and the Son, who told him that all other religions were an abomination, but that he was the prophet to bring restoration.

In 1823 another vision from the angel Moroni convinced Smith that God was calling him. Moroni said he would find some golden plates requiring translating. Smith discovered these plates, inscribed with what he called “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics,” outside Palmyra, New York. He was able to translate them with a huge pair of spectacles that he called the “Urim and Thummim.” According to his story, between 1827 and 1829, he “translated” the plates, and in 1830 published The Book of Mormon. The plates were purportedly taken to heaven by Moroni.[2]

Many people flocked to Joseph Smith’s new theology. Within a decade he had thousands of followers. A principle reason for this rapid rise in popularity was Mormonism’s startling and distinct contrast with the beliefs of the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and various other Christian denominations. To begin with, Smith taught that most of the beliefs of Christianity were hopelessly corrupted, including the Bible, and this had been supernaturally revealed to him in order to restore “God’s truth”. The main attraction, however, was theological novelty. Today the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church has taken a different tactic involving new name preferences (play down “Mormonism,” play up “Church of Jesus Christ”) and other strategies (create an image of being a part of mainstream Christianity through advertising campaigns). It’s working. After Islam, Mormonism is now the fastest growing religion in the world, although little has changed doctrinally from it’s novel beginnings.

  • Mormonism teaches that God has a physical body and lives on a planet near a star called Kolob.
  • He is but one of an infinite number of gods, each ruling over his own world located somewhere in the universe. Supposedly, each god has untold numbers of goddess wives who produce millions of spirit children. Amazingly, these spiritual offspring of god and his goddesses must then be birthed through physical beings (non-gods) on earth. This obtains for them the physical bodies necessary to become gods and goddesses, who create and rule over their own worlds.
  • Polygamy was a major part of Mormonism. It met the need for producing bodies for the spirit babies birthed by multiple mother goddesses. It is still practiced among some Mormon sects today. The Latter Day Saints’ focus on the family has more to do with the Church’s biblically unorthodox theology than with domestic well-being.
  • According to LDS teaching, Jesus was one of those spirit babies (as was his spirit brother Lucifer, who became Satan).
  • The conception of Jesus was unique but not virginal; God, who is physical, had intercourse with Mary.
  • Since producing children is critical to a Mormon male’s progression to godhood, Jesus had children through the women (the sisters Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene) who accompanied him. Supposedly, he married them at the wedding feast of Cana.
  • Mormonism’s salvation accommodates nearly everyone in one “heaven” or another. The death of Jesus on the cross was redemptive only in that it provided physical resurrection (bodies) for all.
  • Obeying the commandments and performing Church duties and rituals are necessary in order to reach the Celestial Kingdom.
  • Those who fall short of such requirements may still enter in as Celestial servants, and, if not, they can abide in the Terrestrial Kingdom.
  • Moral non-Mormons may spend eternity in the Telestial Kingdom.
  • Hell is a purgatory-like place and is eternal only for those few who commit an “unpardonable sin,” such as apostasy. Nearly everyone has a chance to improve his eternal status after death.

We have opinion leaders and high-level politicians who are Mormons and as 1st Amendment Americans we accept them as just another denomination teaching the truth. Anyway there are many ways to heaven, aren’t there?

Christian Science:

Christian Science is not Christian in terms of biblical doctrine. Only the name itself is Christian. The idea of Christian Science came in 1866 when Mary Baker Eddy said she discovered the “Science of metaphysical healing”. She organized it in 1879 and it was founded on her book, “Science and Health (with Key to the Scriptures)” the last part of the title was added later.

  • They believe there is no such thing as sin, it is an illusion.
  • They believe there is no such thing as sickness, it also is an illusion.
  • They believe that sick people must be convinced that they are not sick, then they will get well, since sickness is an illusion and does not really exist.
  • There is no such thing as death, a person gets old and dies because they believe that is what is supposed to happen. This stems from the fact that they believe that the whole universe is an illusion.
  • Their god is not the personal God of the Bible. Everything is god and god is good. Therefore, there is no sin, disease, or death because all is god and god is good. The whole universe is falsehood – an illusion.
  • They claim that there is healing from Christian Science. Their method of healing is denying the disease itself, e.g., “I am not sick. I do not have cancer.” This is not prayer but simply talking out loud to yourself. In fact, Christian Science says that prayer to a personal God is a hindrance.
  • They believe women can become pregnant by a supreme effort of their own minds, a man is not needed for procreation.
  • Man is not made of the dust of the earth as in Genesis 2 because matter does not exist, therefore Eddy calls Genesis 2 “a lie”. They take her word over the Bible.
  • They believe that Jesus is not God, he was the highest human concept of the perfect man, but not to be worshipped.
  • They believe that Jesus was never tempted by the devil. Eddy says, “He was tempted by the false beliefs in His own mind.”
  • They believe that Jesus never died because death does not exist; He just thought He was dead.
  • They believe the blood of Jesus has no atoning value and since sin is an illusion we are not guilty.
  • They believe that salvation is deliverance from delusion and entrance into Christian Science.

Mary Baker Eddy claimed that her teachings guaranteed health; however, she suffered considerably at the end of her life, requiring large doses of morphine to cope with her pain.   [3]

Jehovah Witness:

Charles Taze Russell officially founded Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW), also known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York), in 1884. Originally called the Zion’s Watch Tower and Tract Society, or the Zion’s Watch Tower (1879), they officially adopted the name of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. In 1870, Russell originally denied the doctrine of Hell, and would go on to reject nearly every other Christian doctrine, as well as add many physically and spiritually dangerous doctrines of his own making. Many of these unique and bizarre teachings were to be found in his six volume series titled, Studies in the Scriptures.[4]

  • Source of Authority. JWs claim the Bible as their final authority, but Russell’s writings, especially Studies in the Scriptures,are considered “the light of the Scriptures.” JWs have their own translation of the Scriptures (New World Translation, published in 1961), which reflects the binding interpretations of the group’s leaders.
  • JWs believe that God is not a triune God, but only “Jehovah God” (Let God Be True, pp. 100-101); they teach that Trinitarianism is a belief in three gods, and thereby, Satan-inspired polytheism.Joseph Rutherford, the JW’s second president wrote: “… sincere persons who want to know the true God and serve him find it a bit difficult to love and worship a complicated, freakish-looking, three-headed God.” [5]
  • Jesus Christ.Since JWs do not believe in the Trinity, they also do not believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. They add the word “other” four times to Colossians 1:16,17, teaching that Christ was God’s first creation, i.e., the reincarnation of Michael the archangel created by Jehovah, rather than the Creator. The “Watchtower” teaches that Jehovah God created Michael the Archangel before the foundation of the world; Michael was His only begotten son by virtue of the fact that he was the only creature directly created by Jehovah. It was this created Michael who became the JW Jesus (i.e., a denial of the eternality of Christ). JWs say that “Since actual conception took place, it appears that Jehovah God caused an ovum or egg in Mary’s womb to become fertile, accomplishing this by the transfer of the life of his first born son (Michael) from the spirit realm to the earth”[6] Marvelously, Jehovah transferred the life-force and the personality pattern of his first born heavenly son (Michael) to the womb of Mary. God’s own active force, his holy spirit, safeguarded the development of the child in Mary’s womb so that what was born was a perfect human” [7] JWs also add an “a” in John 1:1, making the verse read, “the Word was a god” (which in essence, makes the JWs guilty of the same polytheism of which they accuse Trinitarians).
  • Use of Name Jehovah.JWs use the name “Jehovah” only for God (in order to distinguish between God and Jesus Christ), while failing to recognize that Jesus is the fulfillment of “Jehovah” in Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3.
  • Resurrection of Christ. JWs deny the bodily resurrection of Christ through their teaching that the body of Christ was annihilated by God — not risen — but rather a new one was createdthree days after His death. This they call the “resurrection” of Christ. Thus, Jesus was “resurrected” as a “glorious spirit creature” and does not now have a glorified physical body. Instead, they claim Jesus arose spiritually and only “materialized” at various times after His resurrection so He could be seen alive.

Seventh Day Adventism:

Ellen G. White plays a central role in the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church. One of the “27 Fundamental Beliefs” of the SDA Church is that Ellen White manifested the gift of prophecy and her writings are “authoritative” for the Adventist Church They say:

The Gift of Prophecy: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth that provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.

According to Adventist leaders, the writings of Ellen G. White are “inspired” by the Holy Spirit in the same way as the Biblical authors were inspired. Mrs. White was a prophet to the church of Christ today. And the same as the messages of the prophets were received in old days, so her messages should be received at present times. The Following quote is directly from the Seventh Day Adventist Review and Herald October 4, 1928.

“Seventh Day Adventists hold that Ellen G. White performed the work of a true prophet during the 70 years of her public ministry. As Samuel was a prophet, as Jeremiah was a prophet, as John the Baptist, so we believe that Mrs. White was a prophet to the church of Christ today.”[8] Here are four practices that are divergent from the genuine teachings of Scripture:

  • Add to the BibleEllen Gould White is credited to have written 25 million words that are quoted by Adventists just like Bible Scripture. Adventists that have grown up in the church have familiar quotes that come to mind, but they often do not know if the imbedded information is from the Bible or Ellen Gould White.  Adventists have also taken to printing their own Bibles with the messages of Ellen Gould White hidden in the verses of Scripture.
  • Subtract from the person of Jesus Christ or His Deity. Ellen Gould White claimed Jesus did not come in the flesh when he walked the earth some 2000 years ago, as the Bible warns some evil people would do. Ellen Gould White also claimed Jesus was an Angel from Heaven.
  • Multiply the requirements for Salvation. Adventists have published many hundreds of books that contain what they call “Testimonies”, which are full of thousands of commandments directed toward their members. If you do not follow these commandments, you are not following the counsels of God, the Adventists claim.  These books contain over 25 million words of Ellen Gould White, and it would take a lifetime to read them all. SDA members are expected to purchase and read as many of these books as possible, and they teach from these books in their Churches like most denominations teach from the Bible. One of the teachings of the Church is to not eat meat, in order to obtain Salvation Other doctrines they hide from new members are: eating pork causes leprosy. Wearing wigs damages the brain. Wearing bonnets indicates satanic control. Drinking coffee, tea or some soft drinks is a sin Having butter, eggs, or meat on your table keeps your prayers from reaching heaven
  • Divide the loyalty of the follower between God and other Christians.  Adventists claim all other churches are “Babylon” and will be lost when Jesus comes back to earth.  Adventists are taught to convert as many people to Adventism as they can, and quickly, because the people in other churches are lost. Adventists spend little time converting the truly lost because they spend most of their effort debating people in other churches, telling them they are in a fallen church and not in the true church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Ellen Gould White also worked at separating people inside her church, teaching that church members should not pray for each other when they are sick if those sick people are not loyal tithe payers to their church.

Daniel Woodhead

End Notes:

[1] Campbell, D. K. (1985). Galatians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.pg 591

[2] Eckman, J. P. (2004). The truth about worldviews: a biblical understanding of worldview alternatives. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. pp. 98–99

[3] Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. pg. 388

[4] Vonderlack, R. (1992). Russell, Charles Taze. In J. D. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian history. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House. Pg. 600

[5] Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Let God Be True, Second Edition, Published by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Brooklyn, NY USA 1946, pgs. 100-101

[6] JW Organization Web Site accessed February 20, 2015 http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/who-is-michael-the-archangel/#?insight[search_id]=7251be95-903f-4bb1-818b-96eebd27beae&insight[search_result_index]=0

[7] Ibid. http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102005134?q=Jesus+born+a+perfect+human&p=par

[8] Morey, R. A. (1989). How to keep your faith while in college (p. 129). Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers.

 

Referenced Works:

 

Berry, Harold J. (1990) What They Believe, BTTB: pp. 51-70

Branch, Rick, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society,” (accessed February 20, 2015) (Watchman Fellowship Profile, 1993)

Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (Eds.). (2005). In The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev., p. 870). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Eckman, J. P. (2004). The truth about worldviews: a biblical understanding of worldview alternatives (p. 4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia,

Grolier’s 1995 Multimedia Encyclopedia,

Lowery, K. (2007). Numbers in the Bible. In T. Cabal, C. O. Brand, E. R. Clendenen, P. Copan, & J. P. Moreland (Eds.), The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. xxxiv). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Martin, Walter, (1985) The Kingdom of the Cults. Published by Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN 55438

Morey, R. A. (1989). How to keep your faith while in college. Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers.

Morey, R. A. (1980). How to answer a Jehovah’s Witness. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship.

Sin, Jack, Examining & Exposing Cultic & Occultic Movements. , “Focus on JWs,” April 2000, pp. 16-20.

Vonderlack, R. (1992). Russell, Charles Taze. In J. D. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian history (p. 600). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.

Watchtower Online Library, Research tool for publications in various languages produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses accessed February 20, 2015

http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/h/r1/lp-e