Saturday, August 24, 2013

HOW DO WE DETERMINE TRUTH VS. ERROR?


              By Ada Brownell

      In anguish, Martha wept about her brother Lazarus's death. Can you imagine Jesus instructing her, his disciples and others about eternal life by starting with the resurrection beliefs of the Sadducees, Pharisees, Egyptians, Romans and various other religions?

     No, instead Jesus just spoke the truth: "I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25--26).

    Then, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

    Yet, frequently I hear theologians who find it necessary to teach more about beliefs of other religions and denominations than they do about fundamentals for faith. Now this is beginning to permeate our Christian education classes in the church.

  I’m Assembly of God, and our forefathers and the theologians who established Pentecostal churches came out of denominations that didn't believe in miracles, the imminent unexpected return of Jesus Christ, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. In my experience, these pastors and evangelists never wasted time teaching about those who don't believe as we do. They stuck to the Word.

   As a newspaper reporter, I've interviewed the president of the U.S. Unification Church (the Moonies), the Yahwehs which had a commune near our city, cult members, Hindus, Jews, a pastor of the Worldwide Church of God (Armstrong's church),  atheists, agnositics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, modernists, and leaders of almost every large Christian denomination. Each interview almost always revolved on, "What do you believe about Jesus?"

 I hate it that young people seeking to learn more about God are sitting under teachers who teach more about unbelief than they do reasons for faith. It might not hurt youth to know some of what they'll face out there, but if they don't know enough of the Word to know why we don't believe as others do, it's almost an abomination.

P.C. Nelson, the founder of Southwestern Assemblies of God University, in his book, "Bible Doctrines," writes in his chapter on "The One True God," "The Bible is against Polytheism," and followed with Bible teaching showing why we don't believe that way. He goes on to Pantheism, Christian Theism, and other false doctrine, followed immediately by scriptures that refute the beliefs. He didn’t start out teaching all the tenents of each false doctrine just to make his students wiser about different religious points of view.

In his book, "Handbook of Today's Religions," (Campus Crusade for Christ, Here’s Life Publishers) Josh McDowell wrote in the introduction, "This volume is intended to be a general reference work for those who are interested in knowing what various groups believe and why those beliefs are not compatible with biblical Christianity." (Italics mine).

 How does McDowell define a cult? “One characteristic that is found in all cults is false teaching about the person of Jesus Christ in the light of historical biblical Christianity,” he said, and then quoted 2 Corinthians 11:4 where the Apostle Paul talks about those who believe in ”another Jesus.”

 McDowell said, “The ‘Jesus’ of the cults is always someone less than the Bible’s eternal God who became flesh, lived on earth, and died for our sins.... The Jesus of the cults is not the Jesus of the Bible (page 22).” 

The Jesus of the Bible?

·        “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

·        “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

·        “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19KJ).

·        “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

·        Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” John 10:10.

·        Jesus answered Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight.” (John 18:36).

"Who do you say that I am?" Jesus asked.

 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. “And I tell you that you are Peter,” and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:15-18).

·       
According to my Strong's Greek dictionary, Simon's new name,  Peter, is  Petros or Petrus,  "piece of rock".  Protestant theologians interpret this scripture to mean the church will be built on the principle that Christ is the Son of the living God--Petra, a mass of rock.

At His trial the high priest said, “I adjure you by the living God that you tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus spoke up for the first time in the proceedings. “You have said it yourself” (Matt. 26:64). This is an affirmative reply in the original language. “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied (NIV). “Plainly, I am” (Mk. 14:62).

Then Jesus quoted the Old Testament prophet Daniel to give evidence to the declaration. “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heavens” (Matt. 26:64).

We need to know these scriptures, and there is so much more. Why bother will error when there is so much truth to explore?

  ©Copyright  Ada Brownell August 2013