Presentation on theme: "What False Religions Have in Common The Common Attack: 1. The Word of God 2. The Son of God 3. The Gospel of God The Common Issue: Unbelievers The Common."— Presentation transcript:
What False Religions Have in Common The Common Attack: 1. The Word of God 2. The Son of God 3. The Gospel of God The Common Issue: Unbelievers The Common Solution: Evangelism Separation
What False Religions Have in Common The Common Attack: 1. The Word of God 2. The Son of God 3. The Gospel of God The Common Issue: Decieved or poorly taught believers The Common Solution: Discipleship Church discipline/Separation
1 Corinthians 15 (New American Standard Bible) 1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
THE WORD OF GOD IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF TRUTH JESUS IS GOD, HOLY, VIRGIN BORN, AND HAD A HUMAN BODY YOU ARE A SINNER, BORN WITH IT AND SIN WILLINGLY SIN CAUSES DEATH- SEPARATION YOU ARE INCAPABLE OF ANY REMEDY YOU MUST REPENT BELIEVE JESUS DIED FOR YOUR SINS BELIEVE JESUS ROSE AGAIN
Understanding Cults: Warning: Acts 20: Peter 2:1-3; 3:17 1 Timothy 4:1-3,6,7 2 Timothy 3:13-17 Be ready to give a defense 1 Peter 3:15 Titus 1:9 2 Timothy 2:24-26 Galatians 2:11,14
Understanding Cults And False Religions: A false belief system which deviates from the foundational, historical, Biblical beliefs of Christianity. When Compared to the Bible, they have a wrong view of God, Jesus, man, sin, the solution to mans problem, the source of their authority, meaning & value of human life, and ultimate end to this life. They mainly teach works righteousness and leave the Seeker with no real assurance of their eternal destiny.
Understanding Cults: Deify Man I can become like God. Genesis 3:5 Isaiah 14:14; Ezekiel 28:2 2 Thessalonians 2:4
Understanding Cults: Humanize God God was once like me. Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5 Psalms 90:2 Romans 1:21-25 Numbers 23:19 Hosea 11:9 Job 9:32-34
Understanding Cults: Minimize Sin Man is basically good natured No original sin Romans 3:23; 5:12 1 John 1:8-10; 3:4,5 Ecclesiastes 7:20 Isaiah 64:6; 53:6 Romans 3:9-12 James 2:10
Understanding Cults: Distort or Replace The Authority of Scripture or Teach False Doctrine Contrary to the Bible. We have additional revelation The Bible is corrupted 2 Peter 1:3,12,19; 3:16,17 Jude 3 2 Timothy 1:13,14; 2:15 1 Timothy 6:20 Rev. 22:18,19; Prov. 30:5,6; Deut. 4:2; 12:32 Matthew 5:18; 24:35; Isaiah 40:8 Acts 17:2,3,11
Understanding Cults: Present a different Gospel Galatians 1:6-9 2 Corinthians 11:3,4,13-15 Present a different Jesus - not God (Col. 1:15; 2:9) - not man (Heb. 2:14,17) Works Righteousness - faith + works = heaven Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5 Romans 4:5; 10:2-4; 3:20; 9:30-32 Galatians 2:16,21; 3: Philippians 3:9 2 Corinthians 5:21
Understanding Cults: Present a different spirit Let the force be with you… Acts 5:3,4 1 Corinthians 3:16,17; 6:19,20 Romans 8:9,14 Psalms 139:7,8
Understanding Cults: Present a different Final State Everyone goes to heaven (Universalism) No one goes to hell Hebrews 9:27 Hebrews 10:26,27 Matthew 10:28 Revelation 20:11-15
Understanding Cults: Follow an authoritative leader without question Leaders have absolute power We have a modern day prophet What he says goes- no question Acts 17:11 1 Corinthians 3:4,5,10,11 Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:18-21 Jeremiah 28:9 1 Corinthians 14:29,36,37 1 Peter 5:1-3
Understanding Cults: The Only True Church Exclusive source of truth - Christian Apostasy - Need for Restoration - The Organization rules - A Temple is essential 1 Peter 2:9 Matthew 16:18
Understanding Cults: Hidden Secrets Temple practices Restricted Central doctrine hidden Closed History Colossians 2:8 2 Peter 3:17 Acts 20: Thessalonians 2:10-12 Once you join, you cant leave
Understanding Cults: Feelings dominate faith I just feel it is true Subjective faith Jeremiah 17:9 Proverbs 28:26; 14:12 Faith is only as good as the Object you place your faith in.
GENERAL......LOVE HUMILITY HUMILITY LESSONS LEARNED FROM THEM LESSONS LEARNED FROM THEM KNOW THEIR TECHNIQUES KNOW THEIR TECHNIQUESSPECIFIC.... TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH OF GODS WORD PROVE THE SOURCE OR YOUR AUTHORITY PROVE THE SOURCE OR YOUR AUTHORITY DEFEND THE MAJOR DOCTRINES DEFEND THE MAJOR DOCTRINES FOLLOW UP FOLLOW UP KEEP PRAYING KEEP PRAYING
Implication: Stay on topic! Dont let them take you down rabbit trails! You control the discussion. Dont let them talk much.
A cult will always attack two things: 1. The Person and Work of Christ 2. The Authority and Truthfulness of Gods Word Remember that! No matter what they say or how they say it they will be attacking Jesus and the Bible.
Atheism The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Psalms 14:1 April 1: National Atheists Day
Witnessing to an atheist or agnostic Atheists: Atheists do not believe in the existence of any god. Atheists usually believe in the process of evolution. Atheists usually do not accept the concept of an afterlife. Atheists usually hold to some sort of moral code. Note: This is where atheists are inconsistent. Although they don't believe in a moral lawgiver (God), they do believe in morals (i.e., "murder is wrong"). However, if there is no God, there are no morals!
Witnessing to an atheist or agnostic Agnostics: Agnostics vary from person to person in their belief system. Agnostics believe no one can know if God exists. Agnostics hold to some sort of moral code. (Although they don't know if a moral lawgiver (God) exists, they do believe in morals (i.e., "murder is wrong"). However, if there is no God, there are no morals!) (Although they don't know if a moral lawgiver (God) exists, they do believe in morals (i.e., "murder is wrong"). However, if there is no God, there are no morals!) Note: The word "agnostic" literally means "one without knowledge."
Witnessing to an atheist or agnostic Approach: I treat them the same Rom 1:18-22: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (inside) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (outside) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (outside) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools Professing to be wise, they became fools
Five Question Method A. Are you sure there is no God? If No: Then you are not classic atheist, youre an agnostic. (you simply don't know if there is a God) If Yes: jump to question C (#3). If No: Then you are not classic atheist, youre an agnostic. (you simply don't know if there is a God) If Yes: jump to question C (#3). B. Are you an open-minded agnostic or a close-minded agnostic? Closed: means…you absolutely can't know if there's a God. Open: means you simply don't know if there's a God. (Most will say open minded. Even atheists dont want to come off as closed-minded. No matter which one they answer, proceed to question C/#3.) C. How much of the world's total knowledge do you possess? (anything more than about 1-3% would be a ludicrous answer!!) (anything more than about 1-3% would be a ludicrous answer!!) D. Isn't it possible that God could exist outside of your realm of knowledge? Illustration: Say you are blind, and are obviously unable to see the Big Dipper…does it still exist? Just because you havent experienced it/can't see it doesnt mean that it doesn't exist. Illustration: Say you are blind, and are obviously unable to see the Big Dipper…does it still exist? Just because you havent experienced it/can't see it doesnt mean that it doesn't exist. E. If there were a God, would you be willing to do whatever is necessary to know Him (this God)? From here go into whatever gospel approach you typically use to share Jesus with someone. From here go into whatever gospel approach you typically use to share Jesus with someone.
Cult Beliefs: 1.Emphasis is laid upon the teaching that the Sabbath day is on Saturday, and if a person does not keep Saturday as Sabbath, he cannot be saved. There is no salvation outside the SDA church.Sabbath day is on Saturday Ellen G. White taught that all other churches except the SDA church were teaching lies from the Devil. They believe that in the last days just before Christ returns, only those worshipping on Saturday will be saved. Worshipping on Sunday will be the mark of the beast.
Cult Beliefs: 2.They believe that Jesus is Michael the Archangel and this is the name used for him (Jesus) in the Old Testament; yet also believe that Jesus is God. 3.They believe that the atonement through Jesus is not complete until He comes again, only your past sins are forgiven by grace up to that point. 4.They believe in the "sanctuary teaching" that Jesus is now cleaning the sanctuary in the heavens before he can return to the earth. 5. They believe you will have to stand in the presence of the living God for judgment without a mediator.
Cult Beliefs: 6.The believe you can be sinless, also known as "sinless perfection". 7.The early Adventists expected the literal second coming of Christ in 1843 and They believe that Christ really came, but INVISIBLY in heaven. 8.They believe the doctrine of soul sleeping, which states that the souls of believers in Christ are not in heaven, but are sleeping in the graves. 9. They believe in the final and total annihilation of the wicked, where they will simply cease to exist after the final judgment. This doctrine is in harmony with the Jehovah's Witnesses.Jehovah's Witnesses
Cult Beliefs: 10. They do not believe in the eternal punishment of Satan and his fallen angels. They believe that the penalty for sinning against a Holy God is merely annihilation. Satan is the scapegoat; the sins of the believers are laid upon him, and he and these sins are finally burned up. 11. They believe in and demand vegetarianism. 12. They believe you should revere their founding prophetess, Ellen G. White, viewing her as having the "spirit of prophecy" referred to in the book of Revelation. Ellen G. White's writing are considered as inspired as the Bible and are used as a authoritative source of truth. In spite of revering her, they wont ordain women as ministers.
Witnessing to Jews Myths and Facts There are several popular myths which keep people from sharing with their Jewish friends. Some of them include: Myth FactMyth: All Jews are well versed in the Old Testament. Fact: Most Jews have a strong cultural identity with a very limited knowledge of the Scriptures. Myth FactMyth: I can just invite my Jewish friend to my church. Fact: Many Jewish people might be hesitant to attend church. There is no substitute for you personally sharing your faith Myth FactMyth: I may not be able to answer their questions. Fact: That's true. But it does not change the truth of the gospel. This gives you an opportunity to have further witnessing opportunities. Myth FactMyth: I need to wait for the Holy Spirit's leading. I don't want to lose my friendship. Fact: God has already told us we are to be his witnesses. (Mt.28:19-20) If you are friendly and forthright you will gain your friends respect for genuinely caring even if they don't agree to discuss the matter at length.Mt.28:19-20 Myth FactMyth: I will let my life be a testimony and wait until they ask me about Jesus. Fact: That will likely be a long wait. Most Jewish people feel that religion is a private matter and might be uncomfortable asking.
The Annual Holiday Cycle The chief holidays are the following: The High Holy Days, observed in September or October, are the most solemn days on the calendar, centering on atonement from sin. They consist of Rosh ha-Shanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Rosh ha-Shanah is marked by the blowing of a rams horn, the shofar. Yom Kippur, 10 days later, is characterized by fasting and praying to God for the forgiveness of sins. In November or December falls Hanukkah, a holiday that commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the pagan desecrators of the Temple in the year 165 B.C. The New Testament mentions this holiday in John 10:22. During the week of Hanukkah, the menorah (candelabrum) is lit each night and potato pancakes are eaten.John 10:22
The Annual Holiday Cycle In February or March, a carnival-like holiday called Purim is observed, recounting the events of the Book of Esther. Passover, the most popular of all the Jewish holidays, falls in March or April and commemorates the Israelites deliverance from slavery in Egypt as narrated in the Book of Exodus. This holiday is characterized by the eating of matzoh (unleavened bread) during the entire week and the observance of the Seder, or Passover meal, at the beginning of the week. The Last Supper of Jesus and the disciples was a Passover meal. Finally, the holiday of Shavuot (Weeks) falls in May or June, with themes of springtime and harvest. Traditionally, this holiday was the day when God gave the Law to Israel at Mount Sinai.
How Jewish People View the Gospel There is one underlying, unspoken objection that almost all Jewish people have to placing their faith in Jesus: it is not a Jewish thing to do. They believe that they will cease to be Jewish if they believe in Jesus that becoming a Christian means turning ones back on ones people, history, and heritage. In addition, many Jewish people fear the social consequences that they would experience should they come to faith in, or even consider, Christ. Most other objections are rooted in the same unspoken objection: Christianity is for the Gentiles. This is an objection based on identity. Jewish people believe they neither need to nor should consider Christ.
How Jewish People View the Gospel Jewishness Is a Way of Life. To a Jewish person, Gentiles can seem puritanical in dress and behavior, subdued in interpersonal communication, and overly conservative in politics and lifestyle. Furthermore, church services differ considerably from synagogue services. Jewish People Presume a Standing with God. Jewish people do not speak of "salvation," for there is nothing to be saved from. If there is a God, then Jewish people already have a relationship with Him. Jesus is superfluous for Jewish people.
Some Things to Avoid in Witnessing Remember: The gospel may offend because of the message of the cross, since none of us like being told we are sinful. Yet there are other points at which Jewish people can take offense or exception. First, avoid Christian jargon in general. Some Christians speak in a language that carries little meaning for the unchurched, whether Jewish or not. Second, avoid certain terms and utilize others. "The Jews" or "you Jews" sounds anti-Semitic on the lips of a non-Jew; it is better to say "the Jewish people" or "a Jewish man." "Convert" implies leaving behind ones Jewishness. It is better to speak about "becoming a believer (or follower) of Jesus." But it is appropriate to explain that biblical conversion was spoken of by the prophets as meaning "turning back to God" rather than "changing ones religion" (see Isa. 44:22; Jer. 4:1; 24:7; Joel 2:12).Isa. 44:22Jer. 4:124:7Joel 2:12
Some Things to Avoid in Witnessing Some suggest replacing the name "Jesus" with the Hebrew equivalent of "Yshua." People will not realize that you are referring to the historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, unless you also use "Jesus"! Above all, remember that the gospel can be inherently offensive. Give it in love, but you must give it. Dont succumb to the fallacy of showing only love. Christians should always show love to people but we cant "love someone into the Kingdom." Rather, one must verbalize the gospel.
Some Things to Do in Witnessing Witness to friends who are Jewish. It is a good idea to witness primarily to Jewish people with whom youve established a friendship. Move to Spiritual Topics. Often a holiday season is an excellent time to initiate a witnessing conversation. Then you might try to initiate a conversation that can lead to the gospel in a way that is natural for you. Use a Jewish frame of reference. If you receive a positive response, you can continue to talk about the gospel in a Jewish frame of reference. For example, you can tell a Jewish friend how, when Jesus observed the Last Supper. Passover seder (Luke 22:7-20). Or when you speak about sin, you may find a more positive reception during the time of the High Holy Days.Luke 22:7-20
Some Things to Do in Witnessing Be clear on foundational doctrines. The gospel is based on the understanding that we are sinners in need of salvation by a savior. Though rooted in the Old Testament, these three concepts sin, salvation, and savior are foreign to most Jewish people and need to be properly conveyed. Sin: Jewish people think of sin in terms of individual deeds, not as a deep-seated characteristic of humankind. The label "sinner" is thought to apply only to notoriously decadent and evil people. You need to point out that all people sin, using the various biblical analogies. Even the great King David confessed his sin. Salvation: This is another foreign term to most Jewish people. They are more concerned about how to live right here and now. Most Jews dont believe in an afterlife. Savior: This is the third term not understood by Jewish people. It can be helpful to speak of a "redeemer" instead and certainly helpful to use the term "Messiah."
RESPONDING TO OBJECTIONS Undoubtedly the time will come when a Jewish friend will put up objections to the gospel. Raising objections such as the following might be a reflex action or represent an "official line" rather than a personally held viewpoint. "Christians believe in three gods but Jews believe in one God." What is meant may be no more than, "Our religion teaches one God. Jewish people think the Trinity somehow implies multiple gods. You may also wish to point out that even the Old Testament teaches a plurality within the being of the one God, as when God says, "Let us make man in our image" (Gen. 1:26).Gen. 1:26 "Theres no proof that Jesus was the Messiah." This is typically a stereotyped response; the person may never have investigated any of the reasons for faith. You might start by asking, "What kind of proof would convince you? "If Jesus is the Messiah, why isnt there peace on earth?" One answer is that we first need to have peace with God before there can be peace on earth. Jesus first coming accomplished the former and, in proper order, His second coming will establish the latter.
RESPONDING TO OBJECTIONS "How can you expect me to believe in God after all the persecution weve been through, not to mention the Holocaust? And it was Christians who did it!" People can misuse any good thing. For example, tyrants misuse freedom and justice. Yet that doesnt make freedom and justice any less important to seek after. Likewise, people like Hitler have misused the gospel to oppress the Jewish people. They were certainly not Christians. "The New Testament is anti-Semitic." Ask which parts and which passages. Isaiah was a Jew grieved by the sins of his people, and so was Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus is saddened at the sins of all people, not just Jewish people. Point out that you feel similarly about Gentiles who do not turn to God. All have sinned, and Gods response to sin is the same for all people. "Jews dont proselytize." This objection usually means, "I dont think people should push their beliefs on others." You can point out that Isaiah said Israel was to be a light to the nations (Isa. 42:6; 49:6).Isa. 42:649:6
RESPONDING TO OBJECTIONS "Im happy with my own religion." You can appropriately respond, "Its OK if you dont want to talk about spiritual things, but just remember that the goal of life is not to be happy but to know God. Ultimately, knowing the truth about God is what brings complete and lasting happiness and joy. "If Jesus was the Messiah, why dont the rabbis believe in him?" The answer is, because they wouldnt be allowed to be rabbis much longer! With the kind of community responsibility and weight that a rabbi has, not many rabbis will allow themselves the freedom to ask if Jesus might be the Messiah. Be encouraged that many Jewish people have come to faith in Jesus through the loving witness of a Gentile Christian. Ask God for an opportunity to share your faith with a Jewish person. If you are willing to make yourself available, dont be surprised when God answers that prayer!
seven increasingly detailed "circles of certainty" 1. Messiah's humanity (Genesis 3:15). 2. Messiah's Jewishness (Genesis 12:1-3; 28:10-15). 3. Messiah's tribe (Genesis 49:10). 4. Messiah's family (2 Samuel 7:16; Jeremiah 23:5-6). 5. Messiah's birthplace (Micah 5:2). 6. Messiah's life, reception, and death (Isaiah 52:13; 53). 7. Chronology of Messiah's appearing (Daniel 9:24-26).
"circles of certainty" Circle 1: The Circle of the Messiah's Humanity Scripture says that the Messiah had to become a human being. This circle is obviously a very large circle. The Messiah's humanity is prophetically spoken of in Genesis 3:15, when God is pronouncing judgment against the serpent following the fall of Adam and Eve: And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. The word "offspring" refers to descendants. The Messiah would be a descendant of the woman - that is, He would be a human being. We find this fulfilled in Galatians 4:4-5: But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
"circles of certainty" Circle 2: The Circle of the Messiah's Jewishness Scripture says that the Messiah had to be Jewish - that is, He had to be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This narrows the circle considerably. Point the Jewish person to Genesis 12:1-3, where God makes a covenant with Abraham (the "father" of the Jews): The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Then point the Jewish person to Genesis 28: These Bible passages indicate that the promised seed (in Genesis 3:15) was to come through the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Circle 3: The Circle of the Messiah's Tribal Identit The circle gets even narrower when it is demonstrated that the Messiah had to come from the tribe of Judah. This is demonstrated in Genesis 49:10: The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. Here Jacob is on his deathbed. Before he dies, he affirms that the scepter (of the ruling Messiah) would be from the tribe of Judah. Circle 4: The Circle of the Messiah's Family Scripture tells us that the Messiah had to be from David's family. This narrows the circle still further. We see this affirmed in 2 Samuel 7:16: Your [i.e., David's] house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever. We also read in Jeremiah 23:5-6: "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. Clearly the ruling Messiah had to come from the family of David. "circles of certainty"
Circle 5: The Circle of the Messiah's Birthplace Scripture clearly prophesies that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 tells us : "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. So far we have seen that the Messiah had to become a human being, had to be a Jew, had to be from the tribe of Judah and the family of David, and He must be born in Bethlehem (a small, insignificant city in ancient times). Failure to fulfill any one of these conditions disqualifies a person as a possible candidate. Circle 6: The Circle of the Messiah's Manner of Life, Rejection, and Death Regarding the Messiah's manner of life, rejection, and death, point the Jewish person to Isaiah 53. Note from these verses that: (1) The Messiah was to be despised and rejected by His fellow Jews. (2) He would be put to death following a judicial proceeding. (3) He would be guiltless. Obviously these facts about the Messiah narrow the circle still further. "circles of certainty"
Circle 7: The Circle of Chronology Point the Jewish person to Daniel 9:24-26: "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens', and sixty-two 'sevens'. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens', the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. Regarding this passage, note the following facts: (1) The city would be rebuilt, as would the Temple. (2) The Messiah would come. (3) The Messiah would be "cut off" (die) but not for Himself. (4) The city and the Temple would be destroyed. Note especially that the Messiah had to come and die prior to the destruction of the second temple, which occurred in A.D. 70. "circles of certainty"
Clearly, this narrows the circle of potential candidates incredibly. Is there anyone who has fulfilled all these conditions? Is there anyone who was a human being, a Jew, from the tribe of Judah and the family of David, born in Bethlehem, was despised and rejected by the Jewish people, died as a result of a judicial proceeding, was guiltless, and came and died before the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70? Yes there was, and His name was Jesus! "circles of certainty"
The Old Testament verses are the prophecy; the New Testament verses proclaim the fulfillment. Check them all out for yourself! Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21-23) A descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16) Of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23, 33; Hebrews 7:14) Of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 1:1) Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7) Taken to Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15) Herod´s killing of the infants (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18) Anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16-17) Heralded by the messenger of the Lord (John the Baptist) (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1-3) MESSIANIC PROPHECIES FULFILLED IN CHRIST
Would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 9:35) Would preach good news (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:14-21) Would minister in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-16) Would cleanse the Temple (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 21:12-13) Would first present Himself as King 173,880 days from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25; Matthew 21:4-11) Would enter Jerusalem as a king on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:4-9) Would be rejected by Jews (Psalm 118:22; I Peter 2:7) MESSIANIC PROPHECIES FULFILLED IN CHRIST
Die a humiliating death (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) involving: –rejection (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:10-11; 7:5,48) –betrayal by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:3-4; John 13:18) –sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-15) –silence before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14) –being mocked (Psalm 22: 7-8; Matthew 27:31) –beaten (Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 27:26) –spit upon (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:30) –piercing His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:31) –being crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38) –praying for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34) –piercing His side (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34) –given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21, Matthew 27:34, Luke 23:36) –no broken bones (Psalm 34:20; John 19:32-36) –buried in a rich mans tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60) –casting lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24) MESSIANIC PROPHECIES FULFILLED IN CHRIST
Would rise from the dead!! (Psalm 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31) Ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Acts 1:9) Would sit down at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3) MESSIANIC PROPHECIES FULFILLED IN CHRIST
570 A.D. Muhammad was born in Mecca.(an orphan) Mecca became the religious center. (Kabah- polytheism) In 610 A.D. Muhammad received his first of revelations from the angel Gabriel. Initially doubted the origin of the revelations. He thought he had been possessed by demons. (jinn) He preached strict monotheism. Muhammads revelations became Islams sacred scripture. (Koran - Quran) Forced to flee from Mecca to Medina in 622 A.D. (Hijrah) Military take over of Mecca in 630 A.D. Muhammad successfully unified the Arabian tribes. Muhammad died in 632 A.D.
Islam has seven fundamental beliefs: 1."Belief in God" (who, in Arabic, is named "Allah") 2."Belief in the angels" (both good and bad) 3."Belief in the revealed Books of God 4.Belief in God's many prophets" (including Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, and other Christians and Jews are familiar with) 5."Accepting that there will be a Last Day 6.Belief in the divine measurement of human affairs 7. Belief in life after death" Muslims also believe in Satan and in a Day of Judgment on which God will send people to either heaven or hell. They believe that Ishmael, not Isaac, received the promise from God through Abraham.
All Muslims believe Jesus was born of a virgin and that he was a great prophet--yet he was only a man. They believe he was sent by God to help people obey God. Islam claims Jesus spoke as a baby, healed the sick, and raised the dead. The Quran refers to Jesus as the breath of God, the spirit of God, the life of God and the word of God. Muslims do not think Jesus died on the cross. They believe that right before he was to be killed, God took him up to heaven and someone else (probably Judas) replaced him on the cross. They trust that Jesus will return to the earth again to usher in the final judgment from God and confirm that Islam is the true and final religion for all mankind. (Yes, Muslims believe in the second coming of Christ!)
Sunni (80%)Shiite (20%) Leader based on election Leader based on bloodline of Muhammad Emphasize the authority of the Authority based on one man written traditions(Sunna/Hadith) (Imam/caliph)(Ayatollah Khomeini) Decisions based on consensus. Await 12th Imam/Mahdi/prophet Separation of church/state One man controls religious & political Sufism: monastic/mystical part of Islam. Islam means submission to the will of God (Allah). The person who submits is called a Muslim The religion of Islam can be divided into beliefs and obligations. Minor sects: Wahhabis (Saudi), Druze (Lebanon, Syria), Alawites (Syira), & Ahmadiyas (Pakistan). Similar to Sikhism and BahaI faiths.
Islamic Jesus was created and not eternal 1. Islamic Jesus was created and not eternal Biblical Jesus who is eternal Islamic Jesus is a created human 2. Islamic Jesus is a created human Biblical Jesus is the Creator of everything that is Islamic Jesus is not the Lamb of God who was slain 3. Islamic Jesus is not the Lamb of God who was slain Biblical Jesus is the Lamb of God Islamic Jesus which will not return until Judgment Day 4. Islamic Jesus which will not return until Judgment Day Biblical Jesus appeared to the Apostle Paul (Saul)
Islamic Jesus sent Mohammed (not the Holy Spirit) 5. Islamic Jesus sent Mohammed (not the Holy Spirit) Biblical Jesus sent the Holy Spirit (Comforter) Islam which says Salvation is found only in the Five Pillars of Islam 6. Islam which says Salvation is found only in the Five Pillars of Islam Biblical Jesus: Salvation is found in none other than himself Islamlic Jesus which is an involuntary Slave to Allah 7. Islamlic Jesus which is an involuntary Slave to Allah Biblical Jesus made himself a voluntary servant Islamic Jesus was never crucified and therefore was not resurrected 8. Islamic Jesus was never crucified and therefore was not resurrected Biblical Jesus which (by his death and resurrection) saved his people from their sins
Islamic Jesus is not the God in the flesh as the Messiah 9. Islamic Jesus is not the God in the flesh as the Messiah Islamic Jesus can not be worshipped Biblical Jesus who is the Word Made Flesh and dwelt among us and is the Son of God 10. Islamic Jesus can not be worshipped Biblical Jesus who is commanded be worshipped (by both men and angels) Islamic Jesus not fit to be intercessor 11. Islamic Jesus not fit to be intercessor Islamic Jesus will judge by the Law of the Quran and not by the Gospel Biblical Jesus is the ONLY mediator between God and Man 12. Islamic Jesus will judge by the Law of the Quran and not by the Gospel Biblical Jesus will judge by both the Old and New Testament (Gospel)
Islamic Jesus is simply another prophet 13. Islamic Jesus is simply another prophet Islamic Jesus Returns in yellow garments Biblical Jesus who is the name above all names 14. Islamic Jesus Returns in yellow garments Islamic Jesus lands near a Minaret in Damascus, Syria Biblical Jesus returns in arrayed in white light 15. Islamic Jesus lands near a Minaret in Damascus, Syria Biblical Jesus descends and lands on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem
1.Our Attitude and the Spirit of our Approach to Muslims. First, we need is a right approach. Second, we need a keen sensitivity towards Muslims. Third, we need to be charitable in our witness, speak graciously and courteously, and be truly Christian in all our ways when discussing with Muslims. 2.The Christian's Attitude to Muhammad and Islam. 2. The Christian's Attitude to Muhammad and Islam. We should avoid trying to prove that Islam is false and that Christianity is true. It is far better to show that Christianity is superior to Islam and that the absolute perfection of its founder and the standards set by him are far higher than the character of Muhammad and the laws he sanctioned. Above all, Muhammad should never be stigmatized by the Christian as a false prophet.
Have a humble attitude. (1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:23-25) Have a humble attitude. (1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:23-25) Pray for them. (Eph. 6:19; Col. 4:2-5) Pray for them. (Eph. 6:19; Col. 4:2-5) Give personal testimony (emphasize your assurance of heaven/relationship w/ God.) Give personal testimony (emphasize your assurance of heaven/relationship w/ God.) Ask probing questions. Ask probing questions. - Who was Jesus Christ? - How can a man become right before God? (Job 9:2,14,15,20) (be at peace with God) - Is the Bible trustworthy? - Can you know if you are going to heaven? - Can you know God personally? - Can anyone keep the 10 commandments perfectly?
Tell them the truth. (2 Cor. 4:2; 1 Cor. 2:1-5) Tell them the truth. (2 Cor. 4:2; 1 Cor. 2:1-5) Key in on Gods Mercy, Love, and Grace found in Christ. Key in on Gods Mercy, Love, and Grace found in Christ. John 3:16; Titus 3:4,5; 1 Tim. 1:15,16; Rom. 9:15-23 Key in on the fallacy of works righteousness. Key in on the fallacy of works righteousness. Rom. 4:2-6; 10:2-4; Gal. 2:21; 3:3,10,11; Ezek. 33:12,13 Ask them to read the Gospel of John. Ask them to read the Gospel of John. Be sensitive in your choice of words/criticism of Islam. Be sensitive in your choice of words/criticism of Islam.
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Understanding & Reaching Mormons For Christ
I say to the whole world, receive the truth, no matter who presents it to you. Take up the Bible, and compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 16:46) Convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, logical argument, or by the Word of God, and we will ever be grateful... that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings. (Orson Pratt, The Seer, p.15)
Understanding & Reaching Mormons For Christ LDS History LDS Doctrinal Error LDS False Gospel
Mormon History Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was on of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an imposter cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures. (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1:188,189; 10 th President Joseph Fielding Smith, 1954)
Mormon History Our entire case as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision... nothing on which we base our doctrine... nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life. (President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Magazine, Nov. 1998, p. 70,71)
Mormon History 1820 Revival Discrepancies: date, time line, churches involved, pastors Vision #1 Discrepancies: who came, what was said, age of Joseph, past prophets cant agree (Journal of Discourse) LDS Official Version: Both God the Father and Jesus Christ came bodily Vision # Discrepancies: Moroni or Nephi Josephs questionable lifestyle Treasure deception, Trouble with the law, Occult involvement, Polygamy (34+ wives), Joining forbidden churches, Tall tales Family: sought visions, against organized religion
Golden plates were allowed to be translated in 1827 Discrepancies on method of translation Published in 1830 False history of Americas: (location?) – Jaredites (2200BC) – Nephites (600BC) – Lamanite (American Indians = Jewish) (see B of M introduction) Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel… – Jesus visited the Americas and set up a Church – Final battle on hill Cumorah, Palmyra, New York Testimony of three and eight witnessed rejected Unknown reformed Egyptian language Changes, Plagiarism, & Absurdities Central doctrine found else where (DnC; PofGP) Book Of Mormon
There is no archeological evidence: (no cities, names, inscriptions, copies of scriptures, maps, artifacts) (No Iron, steel, glass, silk, horses, chickens, donkeys, elephants, wheat, barley, cattle, pigs - until 1492.) (Smithsonian statement) The Quetzalcoatl legend (the great white god rumored died around 1000AD/not virgin born/pagan worship practice/seduced a maiden/sacrificed human hearts/name means feathered serpent) could not be said to be true of Jesus Christ. Roberts, Director of Bureau of American Ethnology stated, There is no evidence whatever of any migration from Israel to America and likewise no evidence that pre-Columbian Indians had any knowledge of Christianity or the Bible. Archaeologist Michael Coe, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1973, p as far as I know, there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the (Book of Mormon) to be true... absolutely nothing... has ever shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon... is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere. Dee F. Green said, The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists... no Book of Mormon location is known with reference to modern topography... Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, BYU Summer 1969, p.77,78)
False Prophecies (Civil War – DnC 87, Jesus Second Coming before generation of 1832 dies, Temple built in Independence Missouri – DnC 84; 57; 115, David Patten – DnC 114, Oliver Granger – DnC 117, Zion unmoved – DnC 97; 101; 57; 62, government overthrown, Canadian revelation failed) Changes (from Book of Commandments) Major Doctrines different from Book of Mormon -Baptism for the dead (124,127,128:5,17,18) -Celestial marriage (131) -Gods physical body (130:22) -Polygamy (132:1,37-39,61) -Plurality of gods/godhood(121, 132) -Three heavens (76:43,70-112) -Exaltation (132) -Word of Wisdom (89) -Spirit world missions (138) -Preexistence (93:23,29-33) Declarations: 1890 discontinuation of plural marriage/1978 blacks able to receive priesthood. Doctrine & Covenants
Book of Abraham (Egyptian funeral directions) – Ch. 3: Preexistence – Ch. 4,5: Plurality of gods – 1918 addendum on vision of redemption of dead – Kolob Book of Moses – Creation account – rework of Genesis 1-5 – Account of the fall – Doctrine of preexistence Matthew Articles of Faith Joseph Smiths history (short version) Pearl Of Great Price
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 Deuteronomy 18:18-22 Jeremiah 28:9 Ezekiel 33:33 1 Samuel 3:19 * 100% accuracy – no exceptions **Amos 3:7 Context: Judgment The Test Of A Prophet
Feelings dictate truth – D n C 9:8,9 …then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. – B of M; Moroni 10:4,5 that ye ask God… if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you… – LDS Testimony ** Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 28:26; 14:12; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15 Doctrinal Differences
Polytheism (many gods – Acts 17) – J. F. Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p ,345, 346,349 I will preach on the plurality of Gods. The head of the Gods appointed one God for us (Elohim)... Many say there is one God... I say that is a strange God - 3 in 1/1 in 3. All crammed into one... It would make the biggest God... he would be a giant or a monster... – Pratt, Journal of Discourse, V. 2, p. 345) If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds. – McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 576,577 A plurality of Gods exist......each of these persons is a God... There are an infinite number of holy personages.... worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus Gods.... ** Isaiah 40:14,25,28; 43:10-13; 44:6,8,24; 45:5,6,14,21,22; Hebrews 6:13 Doctrinal Differences
God the Father has a physical body and is an exalted man – Joseph Smith, The King Follett Funeral Discourse, pp. 8-10) God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man... We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea... he was once a man like us... dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did... (He is) like a man in form - like yourselves... You have got to learn to be gods yourselves... the same as all gods have done before you... by going from one small degree to another... from exaltation to exaltation... until you arrive at the station of a God... the same as those who have gone before... I will take (my Fathers) place and become exalted myself. ** John 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16; Jeremiah 23:23,24 Man can become God with time by obedience to law. -As man is God once was, as God is man may become. -B. H. Roberts, The Mormon Doctrine of Deity, p What is God? He is a material intelligence, possessing both body and parts. He is in the form of man, and is in fact of the same species; and is a model, or standard of perfection to which man is destined to attain; he being the great Father, and head of the whole family. If we are all the same species as God, then the only difference between them (God, Jesus, Lucifer) and us are time and level of progression. **Genesis 3; Isaiah 14:14; Ezekiel 28:2; Hosea 11:19 Doctrinal Differences
The Law Of Eternal Progression – Hunter, Gospel Through The Ages, p ,12) Our Eternal Father has attained His position of exaltation and Godhood by obedience to the great law of progression. – Hunter, Gospel Through The Ages, p. 114,115) God... took advantage of every opportunity to learn the laws... righteously obeyed it... through absolute obedience... until He attained the status of Godhood. * LDS: Law, Intelligence, & Matter are eternal – but god is not. ** Psalms 90:2; 93:2; 102:97 Question: If man came first, who created the first man? Woman? Doctrinal Differences
Jesus is the literal offspring of Elohim and Mary – McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1979, p. 743; 546,547)Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being... he was born in the same literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. He was begotten, conceived, and born in the normal and natural course of events... – Young, Journal of Discourses, 11:268) The man Joseph... (had but) one wife, but Mary, the wife of Joseph, had another husband... – McConkie, A New Witness For The Articles Of Faith, 1985, p.67) All men were born as the sons of God in the spirit, one man (Christ only) was born as the Son of God... He is the only begotten in the flesh. God was his Father; Mary was his mother. His Father was an immortal man; his mother a mortal woman. He is the Son of God in the same literal, full, and complete sense in which he is the Son of Mary. * Jesus did not have a beginning. (Colossians 1:16-19; Hebrews 1:2,3) **Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:27,31,34,35; Matthew 1:18,20 Doctrinal Differences
The Atonement Took Place In The Garden – Wrong! It took place on the cross! Christs Atonement Was Limited – Wrong! Christ death paid for all sin! – Doctrines of Salvation, V. 1, p.135) Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent... (Mormon Doctrine, p.92,93) ** 1 John 1:7; Hebrews 9:14; Romans 5:9; Revelation 1:5; 1 Peter 2:24; Colossians 1:13,14 Doctrinal Differences
The Nature Of Man Is Basically Good - Wrong! Man is totally depraved! ** Psalms 51:5; Romans 3:9-12; 5:12,19; Ephesians 2:1-3; Jeremiah 13:23 The Fall Brought Joy - Wrong! The Fall was a disaster! (original sin was imputed to us) ** Genesis 3; Romans 5:12,19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22 Doctrinal Differences
A Different Salvation – McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 669) Unconditional or general salvation, that which comes by grace alone without obedience to gospel law, consists in the mere fact of being resurrected... – Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, V.2, P. 4,5,9) Immortality and eternal life are two separate things, one distinct from the other. Every man shall receive immortality, whether he be good, bad, or indifferent, for the resurrection of the dead shall come to all. Eternal life is something in addition. None shall receive eternal life save it be those who keep the commandments of the Lord and are entitled thus to enter into his presence… Very gladly would the Lord give to everyone eternal life, but since that blessing can come only on merit – through the faithful performance of duty– only those who are worthy shall receive it… Christs sacrifice and death did two things for us: it brought unto us unconditional salvation (immortality) and conditional salvation (eternal life). Gospel Differences
John 3:15,16 That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. John 5:24 He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 6:40,47 Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day. He who believes in Me has everlasting life. Faith & Eternal Life
Works Righteousness – Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 206,207,208) One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God... that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation. If by the word salvation is meant the mere salvation or redemption from the grave, then the grace of God is sufficient. But if the term salvation means returning to the presence of God with eternal progression, eternal increase, and eventual godhood, for this one certainly must have the grace of God… plus personal purity, overcoming of evil, and good works… The doers of the law shall be justified. Immortality has been accomplished by the Saviors sacrifice. Eternal life hangs in the balance awaiting the works of men. Gospel Differences
Works Righteousness – Kimball, Journal of Discourse, V.3, p.269) I have the power to save myself... – The Miracle Of Forgiveness, Spencer Kimball, p ) …the saving grace of Christ brings exaltation to no man who does not comply with the works of the gospel. Immortality has been accomplished by the Saviors sacrifice. Eternal life hangs in the balance awaiting the works of men. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through that perfection… He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal. Gospel Differences
Works Righteousness – Article 3: We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. – Book of Mormon - 2 Nephi 25:23 It is by grace that we are saved... afterall we can do. – Book of Mormon - Mosiah 4:30 This much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith... even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish... – Book of Mormon - Mosiah 5:5 We are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things... all the remainder of our days... – Milton R. Hunter, Gospel Through the Ages, p. 178 The atoning blood of the man of Galilee washes away the sins of all mortals who through faith, repentance, and baptism, and through living every other Gospel principle to the best of their ability, have done everything within their power to bring about their own redemption. Gospel Differences
Romans 10:2-4...they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of Gods righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 3:20,28 By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight... We conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Fallacy Of Works Righteousness
Romans 4:2-6 If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God... Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace, but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness... the man whom God imputes righteousness apart from works. Fallacy Of Works Righteousness
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. Galatians 2:21; 3:3,10,11; 5:4,5 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain... Are you now being made perfect by the flesh? All who rely on observing the law are under a curse. Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them. No one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for the just shall live by faith. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ. Fallacy Of Works Righteousness
Conditional Forgiveness – Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 166, 167,168,170) The Lord cannot save men in their sins but only from their sins, and that only when they have shown true repentance. How could he live the lords commands, attend his meetings, pay his tithing, serve his fellowmen? All these take time. …transform yourself and repent. The mere display of death-bed faith or repentance is not sufficient. Repentance is inseparable from time. No one can repent on the cross, nor in prison, nor in custody…(nor) the man as he drowns or as he dies. Until he learns to overcome the flesh… he cannot come into the celestial kingdom… he must overcome either in this life or in the life to come. When one quits, he must quit. Gospel Differences
Conditional Forgiveness – Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 324, 311) Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon total repentance and meeting all the requirements... it depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven... that depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works... – Doctrine and Covenants: 1:31,32 He that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven. – Gospel Principles, p. 126,253) The balance of your lives is to live the commandments of the Lord so he can eventually pardon you. If they repeat the sin they are held accountable for their former sins. Gospel Differences
Conditional Forgiveness – Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness p. 164,165,176,204, 206,207) Trying is not sufficient. Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin. This connection between effort and the repentance which attracts the Lords forgiveness is often not understood. Discontinuance of sin must be permanent. Doing the commandments includes the many actives required of the faithful. To by-pass such opportunities is to fail that extent to pile up credits against the accumulated errors and transgressions. However powerful the saving grace of Christ, it brings exaltation to no man who does not comply with the works of the gospel. Gospel Differences
Ephesians 2:19 You were dead in your sins…but because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in sins – it is by grace you have been saved… (Matt. 1:21) Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his love for us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 1 Timothy 1:13-16 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief… Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy to that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Acts 16:14 …the Lord opened her heart to respond to Pauls message… (Jn. 6:44,65) Complete Forgiveness:
1 John 1:7 the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (David: Psalms 32; 51; 16:10,11;49: 15; 73:24,25; Romans 4:4-8; Hebrews 10:18) Colossians 2:13,14 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us, he took it away, nailing it to the cross. Complete Forgiveness:
Reaching Catholics With Biblical Truth
Central Irreconcilable Differences: Question of the Gospel What must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30,31) How does a person become right before God? (Job 9:2,14,15,20; 25:4) *Faith alone in Christ alone! (Phil. 3:9; 1 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 1:16,17; 4:5) Example: Luke 18:9-14 (Pharisee or Tax Collector/ merit or mercy/self-righteousness or Christs righteousness) Question of Authority (Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 3:16) Who has the final authority? *Scripture alone is our authority/it is sufficient!
Baptismal Regeneration Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ and are incorporated into the Church… Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213) - instrumental cause of justification (CCC 403,790,977, , ) - necessary for salvation (infant baptism) (problem: Luke 23:43; 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Peter 3:21) - infusion of sanctifying grace (CCC 654,1266,1987, ,2019,2023) Eph. 2:8,9; Acts 13:38,39; John 1:12; Rom. 4:3-5 Acts 2:41; 8:12,35-38; 9:17,18; 10:47,48; 16:14,15,30-34; 18:8; 19:4,5
Works Salvation It is a universally accepted dogma of the Catholic Church that man, in union with the grace of the Holy Spirit, must merit heaven by his good works… we have to earn heaven. (Dogmatic Theology for the Laity, p.262) It must be believed that nothing more is needed for the justified to be considered to have fully satisfied Gods law, according to this state of life, by the deeds they have wrought in him and to have truly deserved to gain eternal life in their time, provided they die in a state of grace. (Council of Trent, session 6, Canon 16,32) If anyone says that the faith which justifies is nothing else but trust in the divine mercy which pardons sins because of Christ; or that it is that trust alone by which we are justified; let him be anathema. If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning thereby that no other cooperation is required for him to obtain the grace of justification …let him be anathema. (Council of Trent, session 6, Canon 12,9) He who says that the received righteousness is not preserved and even increased before God by good works… let him be accursed. (Council of Trent, session 6, Cannon 24,10)
Fallacy Of Works Righteousness Romans 10:2-4...they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of Gods righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 3:20,28 By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight... We conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Romans 4:2-6 If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God... Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace, but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness... the man whom God imputes righteousness apart from works.
Fallacy Of Works Righteousness Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. Galatians 2:21; 3:3,10,11; 5:4,5 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain... Are you now being made perfect by the flesh? All who rely on observing the law are under a curse. Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them. No one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for the just shall live by faith. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ.
Faith Alone Saves Ephesians 2:8,9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy… having been justified by his grace… John 3:15,16 That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. John 5:24 He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 6:40,47 Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day. He who believes in Me has everlasting life.
Paid In Full Hebrews 10:10,12,14,18 we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…he offered for all time one sacrifice for sins… by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy…and where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. John 19:30 It is finished! 1 John 1:7; 2:1 the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin… if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 Peter 2:24 He bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness, by his wounds you have been healed.
Full Assurance Of Eternal Life 1 John 5:11-13 And this is the testimony that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son of God has life, and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe... that you may know that you have eternal life. Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water…
Unbiblical Doctrines Penance (1215AD) – One can lose justification with mortal sins – Every sin credits temporal punishment and must be satisfied. – The Priest has the power to absolve sin Bible says: * All sin is mortal: Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 6:23; 1 Jn. 3:4; 5:17; Gal. 3:10; Ja. 2:10; Is. 64:6; Rev. 21:8,27; 22:15. * Confession is always to God/not an Individual: Ps. 51:4 * Christs blood was sufficient to forgive all sin: 1 Jn. 1:9; 2:1,2; Ps. 32:5; Acts 10:43; Heb. 9:16; Mk. 2:7 * Only Jesus is our Mediator: 1 Tim. 2:5; Matt. 27:51; Gal. 3:20; Col. 1:13,14; Heb. 9:14,24; Gal. 3:13; Is. 53:6; 1 Jn. 2:1,2; Job 9:32,33; 16:19-21 * Jesus is our only High Priest: Hebrews 3:1; 4:14-16; 5:1-3; 6:19,20; 7:11-28; 9:6-28; 10:1-22; Ps. 110:4; Zech. 6:13
Unbiblical Doctrines Purgatory (1274AD) – Christs atonement was insufficient for some sins – There is a temporary place of punishment Dogmatic Theology for the Laity, 1967, p.434 People who have done many sins… who have never done penance… have a heavy load of punishment to atone for. he demands that satisfaction be made after death most… are not good enough for heaven and still not bad enough for eternal damnation… The Bible says: * Eternal life is a free gift. Salvation is secure not probational. * Payment for sin is through the cross, not purgatory. Hebrews 9:27; Luke 23:24; Hebrews 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:9,10
Unbiblical Doctrines Worship Of Mary - the Mother of God - Immaculate Conception (added 1854 AD) Sinless nature (immune from sin/holy) - Exalted veneration - Perpetual virginity - Assumption of Mary - Mary dispenses all grace The Immaculate Heart/Co-redemptrix The Bible Says: -- Jesus is our only redeemer and mediator/access to God is through Christ alone. (1 Tim. 2:5; Matt. 27:51; Gal. 3:20; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; Acts 4:12) -- Mary was a sinner (Lk. 1:47; Rom. 3:9-12,23) -- We should worship God alone (Luke 4:8; Jn. 5:23) -- Jesus did not set the record straight (Lk. 11:27,28) -- Mary had other sons/daughters (Mk. 6:3) -- Mary eventually died (Rom. 3:23)
Unbiblical Doctrines The Eucharist (The Miracle Of The Mass) Transubstantiation (1215 AD) As sacrifice, the Eucharist is offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead. The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice… in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered Himself once in a bloody manner on the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. In the Eucharist… the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained. There takes place a change of the whole substance… into the body and blood of Christ… (Catechism of the CC 1106,1414,1366,67,1323,1374,1376)
Unbiblical Doctrines The Eucharist (The Miracle Of The Mass) Transubstantiation (added 1215 AD) The Bible Says: Mosaic Law prohibited (Lev. 17:10-14; Deut. 12:16; Acts 15:29; 10:14) Jesus was using an analogy that eternal life is through believing in Him, not eating his flesh. (Matt. 26:29 – Jesus again referred to literal wine) John 6 is not a reference for Communion. Communion had not been instituted yet/far before the Last Supper. Jesus was physically present with disciples (they understood it figuratively) Matt. 26:26 this is my body - How could he be both at the table and on the table? Christ died only once for all. (Heb. 7:27; 9:12,22,25-28; 10:10,12,14,18; 1 Pet. 3:18; Col. 1:20; Rom. 6:9,10) Jesus said, It is finished. (Jn. 19:30)
Unbiblical Doctrines Apostolic Succession/Papal Authority (interprets/governs/infallibility) * Peter never exercised authority over apostles. (Matt. 18:18) * Bible speaks nothing of Peter being Bishop of Rome, ruling the universal church, having a successor, or Rome being the center. Matt. 16:18; 18:18 23:8-11; Jn. 20:23; Gal. 2:6,9 Peter (petros=small stone) and rock (petra=boulder) are two distinct words with separate meaning. Christ is the foundation (1 Cor. 3:11; Acts 4:11) * At Jerusalem Council James (not Peter) made final decision Acts 15:7-13,19,20 * Paul does not mention Peter in most of his epistles (especially Romans) * Peter was in Jerusalem (Gal. 1;18,19; 2:8) not Rome. The Bible says: 1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:3-7; Eph. 1:22; 2:20; 5:23; 1 Cor. 12:27,28; 3:11; Rom. 9:33; Mk. 7:7,8,13 * Christ is the head of the church ( 1 Pet. 5:4; Heb. 7; Col. 1:18; 2:6,7,19; Eph. 1:22; 2:20; 4:15; 5:23; 1 Cor. 3:11; 10:4) * Priesthood of all believers ( Rev. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:5,9; 4:10; Eph. 4:12; Heb. 10:19; 4:16) * Elders are responsible for leadership/church ( Acts 14:23; 20:28; Titus 1:5; Ja. 5:14; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)
What About Good Works? True saving faith will inevitably produce the fruit of good works. Good works are the byproducts of genuine faith, not the basis. Two Views: 1. Religious Lost view: faith + works = justification 2. Protestant: faith = justification + works Hebrews 6:9 things that accompany salvation 2 Corinthians 9:13 obedience that accompanies your confession Romans 1:5,15 call people... to the obedience that comes from faith. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel to you... John 15:5 He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit… James 2:14,17,19,22,24,26 What does it profit... if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead...even the demons believe... Do you see that faith was working together with his works and by works faith was made perfect? You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Faith without works is dead. (Abraham justified? Genesis 15:6; Romans 4)
The Origin of Buddhism Buddhism began as an offspring of Hinduism in the country of India. The founder was Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha Gautama was born in approximately 560 B.C. in northern India. Gautama experienced the highest degree of God- consciousness called Nirvana. Gautama then became known as Buddha, the "enlightened one."
The Way of Salvation The question Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, sought to answer was, Why is there pain and suffering? Also, he held to the Hindu belief of reincarnation: after death one returns to earthly life in a higher or lower form of life according to his good or bad deeds. This belief prompted a second question that needed to be answered, How does one break this rebirth cycle? The basic teachings of Buddhism, therefore, focus on what Gautama believed to be the answer to these questions. These basic tenants are found in the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Path. Let us begin with the Four Noble Truths.
Four Noble Truths First Noble Truth The First Noble Truth is that there is pain and suffering in the world. Gautama realized that pain and suffering are omnipresent in all of nature and human life. To exist means we will all encounter suffering. Birth is painful and so is death. Sickness and old age are painful. Throughout life, all living things encounter suffering. Second Noble Truth The Second Noble Truth relates to the cause of suffering. Gautama believed the root cause of suffering is desire. It is the craving for wealth, happiness, and other forms of selfish enjoyment which cause suffering. These cravings can never be satisfied for they are rooted in ignorance.
Third Noble Truth The Third Noble Truth is the end of all suffering. Suffering will cease when a person can rid himself of all desires. Fourth Noble Truth The Fourth Noble Truth is the extinguishing of all desire by following the eight-fold path. "The eight-fold path is a system of therapy designed to develop habits which will release people from the restrictions caused by ignorance and craving."
THE BUDDHAS FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS EXPLAINED The universality of suffering - People discover through rebirth, aging, and death that life is full of sorrow. We suffer this sorrow until deliverance is achieved. The origin of suffering - Suffering is caused by the false desires of the senses that have been deceived into clinging to the impermanent world. The quest for immortality further aggravates human suffering The overcoming of suffering - If false desires cause suffering, then the desires need to be suppressed, abandoned, or rejected in order to nullify their effects. Ignorance of the way of deliverance and the delusion that there is a permanent self are the primary cause of suffering. The way leading to the suppression of suffering - The noble eightfold path is a sacred path with eight branches called right views of understanding, right aspirations, right speech, right conduct or action, right livelihood, right effort or endeavor, right mind control or concentration, and right mindfulness. These eight branches are not stages that can be lived out in succession or isolation from one another. They are different dimensions of a total way of life. While Buddha did not deny the existence of gods, he taught that the worship of gods obstructed one's quest for nirvana. How then are Buddhists to believe in a nirvana when there is no God powerful enough to orchestrate the birth, death, and reincarnation process?
Here are the eight steps in following the eight-fold path. Because Buddhists think a good life consists of following the Eightfold Path, the stages of the path can be used to introduce them to Christ as follows: Right Views Step one is the Right Views. One must accept the four noble truths. Right views: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and there is salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12). Right aspiration: Fights and quarrels come from selfish desires and wrong motives (James 4:1-3); right desires and motives honor God (1 Corinthians 10:31).John 14:6Acts 4:12James 4:1-31 Corinthians 10:31 Right Resolve Step two is the Right Resolve. One must renounce all desires and any thoughts like lust, bitterness, and cruelty. He must harm no living creature. Right Resolve: The sinful mind cannot submit to Gods law (Romans 8:7), and disciples of Christ must orient their minds as He did (Philippians 2:5).Romans 8:7Philippians 2:5
Right Speech Step three is the Right Speech. One must speak only truth. There can be no lying, slander, or vain talk. Right speech: A day of judgment is coming when God will hold men accountable for every careless word they have spoken (Matthew 12:36).Matthew 12:36 Right Behavior Step four is the Right Behavior. One must abstain from sexual immorality, stealing, and all killing. Right Behavior: The one who loves Jesus must obey Him (John 14:21), and those who live by Gods wisdom will produce good acts/fruit (James 3:17).John 14:21James 3:17 Right Occupation Step five is the Right Occupation. One must work in an occupation that benefits others and harms no one. Right Occupation: God will care for those who put Him first (Matthew 6:31,33), and all work must be done for Gods approval (2 Timothy 2:15).Matthew 6:31,332 Timothy 2:15
Here are the eight steps in following the eight-fold path. Right Effort Step six is the Right Effort. One must seek to eliminate any evil qualities within and prevent any new ones from arising. One should seek to attain good and moral qualities and develop those already possessed. Seek to grow in maturity and perfection until universal love is attained. Right effort: Like runners in a race, followers of Christ must throw off every hindrance in order to give Him their best efforts (Hebrews 12:1-2).Hebrews 12:1-2 Right Contemplation Step seven is the Right Contemplation. One must be observant, contemplative, and free of desire and sorrow. Right contemplation: The secret of true success, inner peace, self-control, and lasting salvation is submission to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and setting your heart and mind on things above where He now sits in glory waiting to bring the present order of sin and suffering to an end (Colossians 3:1-4).Colossians 3:1-4
Right Meditation The eighth is the Right Meditation. After freeing oneself of all desires and evil, a person must concentrate his efforts in meditation so that he can overcome any sensation of pleasure or pain and enter a state of transcending consciousness and attain a state of perfection. Buddhists believe that through self effort one can attain the state of peace and eternal bliss called Nirvana. Right Meditation: The secret of true success, inner peace, self-control, and lasting salvation is submission to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and setting your heart and mind on things above where He now sits in glory waiting to bring the present order of sin and suffering to an end (Col. 3:1-4).
Karma, Samsara, and Nirvana Three important concepts in understanding Buddhism are karma, Samsara, and Nirvana. Karma refers to the law of cause and effect in a person's life, reaping what one has sown. Buddhists believe that every person must go through a process of birth and rebirth until he reaches the state of nirvana in which he breaks this cycle. For a Buddhist, what one will be in the next life depends on one's actions in this present life. Buddha believed, unlike Hinduism, that a person can break the rebirth cycle no matter what class he is born into.
Karma, Samsara, and Nirvana Three important concepts in understanding Buddhism are karma, Samsara, and Nirvana. The third key concept is Nirvana. The term means "the blowing out" of existence. Nirvana is very different from the Christian concept of heaven. Nirvana is not a place like heaven but rather a state of being. What exactly it is, Buddha never really articulated.
God and Buddhism The concept of a personal God does not fit into the Buddhist system of religion. In general, Buddhists are pantheistic in their view of God. (Care should be used when attempting to share the gospel to Buddhists using the Eightfold Path. It could easily be seen as just making Jesus part of the Eight-Fold Path rather than showing him to be the unique Son of God and Savior of the world. While using the above concepts, be careful not to reduce Christian truth to a form of Eastern Religions. They have been good at accommodating other religions. Do not say "Buddhism is good, but Christianity is easier.")
1. Avoid terms such as "new birth," "rebirth," "regeneration," or "born again." Use alternatives such as "endless freedom from suffering, guilt, and sin," "new power for living a holy life," "promise of eternal good life without suffering," or "gift of unlimited merit. 2. Emphasize the uniqueness of Christ. 3. Focus on the gospel message and do not get distracted by details of Buddhist doctrine. 4. Understand Buddhist beliefs enough to discern weaknesses that can be used to make the gospel appealing. 5. While using bridge concepts, be careful not to reduce Christian truth to a form of Buddhism. Buddhism has been good at accommodating other religions. Do not say "Buddhism is good, but Christianity is easier. 6. Share your own testimony, especially your freedom from guilt, assurance of heaven (no more pain), and personal relationship with Christ. 7. Prepare with prayer. Do not witness in your own strength. WHEN WITNESSING TO BUDDHISTS
The gospel can be appealing to Buddhists if witnessing focuses on areas of personal need where the Buddhist belief system is weak. Some major areas include: Suffering: Buddhists are deeply concerned with overcoming suffering but must deny that suffering is real. Christ faced the reality of suffering and overcame it by solving the problem of sin, which is the real source of suffering. Meaningful Self: Buddhists must work to convince themselves they have no personal significance, even though they live daily as though they do. Jesus taught that each person has real significance. Each person is made in Gods image with an immortal soul and an eternal destiny. Jesus demonstrated the value of people by loving us so much that He sacrificed His life in order to offer eternal life. Future Hope: The hope of nirvana is no hope at all - only death and extinction. The hope of those who put their trust in Christ is eternal good life in a "new heaven and new earth" in which God "will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things [suffering] has passed [will pass] away" (Revelation 21:4).Revelation 21:4 WITNESSING TO BUDDHISTS
Moral Law: Because karma, the Buddhist law of moral cause and effect, is completely rigid and impersonal, life for a Buddhist is very oppressive. Under karma, there can be no appeal, no mercy, and no escape except through unceasing effort at self- refection. Merit: Buddhists constantly struggle to earn merit by doing good deeds, hoping to collect enough to break free from the life of suffering. They also believe saints can transfer surplus merit to the undeserving. Desire: Buddhists live a contradiction - they seek to overcome suffering by rooting out desire, but at the same time they cultivate desire for self- control, meritorious life, and nirvana. WITNESSING TO BUDDHISTS
History In 1870, Charles Taze Russell began an independent Bible study, focusing on the second coming of Christ and biblical chronology. He published his views in several books and began lecturing in In 1879, Russell founded the monthly publication Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence which were used by study groups he established. Zion's Watch Tower and Tract Society was incorporated in 1884 with Russell as president. From 1886 until his death in 1916, Russell wrote a series of books called Studies in the Scriptures. Their contents formed the basis of Jehovah's Witnesses' unchristian theology. Russell was succeeded as president in 1917 by his legal assistant, Joseph Franklin Rutherford. Rutherford continued Russell's authoritarian leadership style. He was imprisoned briefly in 1918 for preaching against military service. He was a charismatic speaker who often railed against Christian churches and biblical scholars. He died in 1942.
BEFORE YOU GO…. Make sure you know what you believe as a Christian. (Bible, Trinity, Jesus, Salvation) Make sure you know what Jehovah's Witnesses believe. Make sure you pray for them. Make sure you are seeking guidance from the Lord. Make sure you are showing genuine love.
What do Jehovah's Witnesses believe that is different from what Christians believe? 1.Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God is only using the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Organization to guide His people today. The Scriptures say nothing about this, but the Scriptures teach that God's people are lead by the Holy Spirit moving through His people. It is true that God has used the Apostles and Prophets for guidance & authority and God works through the body of Christ, but nothing in the New Testament teaches there will be only one religious organization for guidance and truth.
What do Jehovah's Witnesses believe that is different from what Christians believe? 4. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Holy Spirit is God's power surge or active force, not a distinct person. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is used to accomplish things, but in no way does the Bible teach that the Holy Spirit is not a personage. 5. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that a person must be a part of their religious organization in order to be saved and have eternal life. The Scriptures do not teach you have to be a part of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for eternal life, but the Scriptures teach that if a person comes to know the Jesus of the Bible and put their trust in Him they will have eternal life.
What Jehovah's Witnesses Believe After Death Why Evil? Salvation After Death No soul remains after death. Soon, Jesus Christ will return to resurrect the dead, restoring soul and body. Those judged righteous will be given everlasting life on a paradise earth. Those judged unrighteous will not be tormented, but will die and cease to exist. Why Evil? The original sin caused humans to inherit death and sin. Satan and his demons pervade the earth as spirits tempting all to sin, which God allows as a test of faith in Him. Salvation You must show faith in God and in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Adhere to the practices, requirements, commandments, laws, and sacraments of the faith. "Witnessing" and active sharing of their faith with others is fundamental. Avoid behaviors that God dislikes, including celebration of birthdays and holidays originating from false religions.
What Jehovah's Witnesses Believe Undeserved Suffering Contemporary Issues Undeserved Suffering Much suffering is caused by the inheritance of mortality from Adam and Eve, which includes vulnerability to illness and disease. He has allowed Satan to cause suffering to challenge Satan's claim that God's creation, humans, would turn from and curse God under pressure. Contemporary Issues Abortion is wrong. Homosexuality is a serious sin. Gender roles are defined: Men are the head of the household and women are loving caretakers who assist the husband in teaching the children. Divorce is permitted under certain circumstances, but Jehovah hates remarriage unless the divorce occurred as a result of adultery. Service in the armed forces or any form of allegiance to government is prohibited; one must show allegiance only to the Kingdom of Christ. Blood transfusions, along with ingesting blood, are considered wrong, as God said the soul is in the blood. Bone marrow transplants are left to the individual conscience. (Note: all other forms of medical treatment are acceptable.)
The Watchtower departs from Biblical teaching when it comes to many important truths such as: 1. The Trinity (they say it was invented by the Catholic Church) 2. Salvation by grace (they believe works are necessary) 3. Jesus crucified on the cross (they say it was a stake) 4. Jesus deity (they believe He was the archangel Michael) 5. The bodily resurrection of Jesus (they believe he was raised a spirit) 6. Eternal judgment (they deny hell) 7. The need to be born again (they believe they cannot be born again).
The origins of Hinduism can be traced back to the polytheistic and ritualistic religions that began around 1500 B.C. in Indias Indus Valley. The Hindu scriptures known as the Vedas were written to instruct the priests in how to conduct the rituals. Because of how exclusive the priests became in appeasing the gods, they gained a power over the people that became unbearable. Around 600 B.C., the people revolted, and the form of Hinduism that emerged was more mystically oriented, focusing on the individual rather than the priest. Between 800 and 300 B.C. the Upanishads were written. They expound on the idea that behind the many gods stands one Reality, called Brahman an impersonal, monistic (all is one) force. The highest form of Brahman is nirguna (without attributes or qualities).
The Hindu concept of God continued to develop even after the Upanishads were written. Nirguna Brahman became saguna Brahman, which is Brahman with attributes, and is called Ishvara. According to Hindu tradition, Ishvara became known to humanity through the Trimurti (three manifestations) of Brahman. Those manifestations include: Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver), and Shiva (the Destroyer). Ishvara became personified even further through the ten mythical incarnations, or avatars, of Vishnu in the forms of both animals and persons. Beyond the principal deities of the Trimurti, it is estimated that there are 330 million other gods in Hinduism (Halverson, 87-89).
While Hinduism is certainly diverse, most Hindus hold to the following beliefs: The Impersonal Nature of Brahman. The Impersonal Nature of Brahman. Hindus see ultimate reality, Brahman, as being an impersonal oneness that is beyond all distinctions, including personal and moral distinctions. The Brahman-Atman Unity. The Brahman-Atman Unity. Hindus believe they are, in their true selves (atman), extended from, and one with, Brahman. Just as the air inside an open jar is identical to the air surrounding that jar, so our essence is identical to that of the essence of Brahman. The Problem Is Ignorance. The Problem Is Ignorance. Humanitys primary problem is that we are ignorant of our divine nature. We have forgotten that we are extended from Brahman, and we have mistakenly attached ourselves to the desires of our separate selves, or egos, and thereby to the consequences of their resultant actions as determined by the law of karma (cause and effect).
While Hinduism is certainly diverse, most Hindus hold to the following beliefs: Samara (Reincarnation). Samara (Reincarnation). Samsara refers to the ever-revolving wheel of life, death, and rebirth. Through the law of karma we are reaping in this lifetime the consequences of the actions we committed in previous lifetimes. A persons karma determines the kind of body ranging from human to insect into which he or she will be reincarnated in the next lifetime. Moksha (Liberation). Moksha (Liberation). The solution to the problem of attachment and karma is moksha to be liberated from the wheel of life, death, and rebirth. This can only occur when we truly realize that our separate self is actually an illusion and that only the undifferentiated oneness of Brahman is real. We must therefore strive to detach ourselves from the desires and actions of our ego in order to attain true enlightenment.
the incarnation of Jesus really the same as Vishnus incarnations? Consider the differences. VishnuJesus At least ten incarnations (some claim more) in both animal and human form The only incarnation of the Son of God in human form. While the stories of the avatars, or incarnations, of Vishnu might have some remote historical basis, their historicity is not essential. They are primarily mythical in nature. Even if it were shown that there is absolutely no historical truth to the stories, it would have no affect on their meaning and influence. The historicity of Jesus life is extremely important to the veracity of Jesus claims and to the salvation that He accomplished on our behalf (1 Cor. 15:14, 17; 1 John 1:1-3). If Christ did not actually live, die, and rise from the dead, then Christianity is built on a lie and the gospel is without foundation One of the purposes of Vishnus incarnations was for destruction of evil- doers (Bhagavad Gita 4:8; Edgerton, 23) The purpose of Jesus incarnation was to seek and to save what was lost (Luke 19:10). For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17; see also John 10:10
The avatars pointed to a way by which we can attain enlightenment over a period of many lifetimes: But striving zealously, with sins cleansed, the disciplined man, perfected through many rebirths, then [finally] goes to the highest goal (Bhagavad Gita 6:45; Edgerton, 37, emphasis added). Jesus pointed to Himself as the way by which to receive eternal life immediately (John 6:29, 40; 10:9- 10; 14:6; 11:25-26). Vishnu incarnates periodically as an avatar when the need arises, and then the avatar dies and is reabsorbed back into Brahman. Hinduism makes no claims concerning the bodily resurrection of the avatars Jesus incarnation was a unique event. His sacrifice was once for all (Heb. 9:26); He died and rose from the dead; and His individual identity is maintained before, as well as after, the Incarnation VishnuJesus
Specific Suggestions 1. Ask and Listen. Hinduism is a vastly diverse religion in which adherents share similar beliefs but do not have a common doctrinal creed. As such, it is in some respects a tolerant religion, allowing some latitude for individual Hindus to choose their own set of beliefs. 2. Be Aware of Differing Definitions. Be aware of biblical terminology or concepts Hindus might misunderstand. For example, Hindus understand being born again as referring to reincarnation, a bondage from which they are striving to be liberated. In Christian terminology, however, being born again means to be made new or to be regenerated by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It is something to be desired.
3. Offer Jesus Forgiveness. Bakht Singh, a convert from Hinduism and an Indian evangelist, once said, I have never yet failed to get a hearing if I talk to [Hindus] about forgiveness of sins and peace and rest in your heart. Forgiveness is certainly a need for Hindus because it is not available in their karma-based belief system. The law of karma is like a law of nature every cause has its effect and there is no place for mercy. The fact that forgiveness is not available in Hinduism troubles many Hindus, for they are aware that the actions that bind them to this illusory realm keep accumulating, and the prospect of escape is hopelessly remote. 4. Keep Gods Personal Nature in Mind. When discussing your beliefs and those of your Hindu friend, always keep Gods personal nature in mind. Here are three examples that show how this is relevant.
First, the image of a personal God will help you find ways to communicate the Christian perspective on spiritual issues. Consider, for instance, illustrating the various aspects of sin through the image of a personal God: What is the meaning of sin? Sin is the breaking of a moral law: ultimately it is rejecting and rebelling against a personal God. Why? Because only persons not impersonal forces such as Brahman are able to make moral distinctions. Only a God who is by nature personal is sufficient to sustain the foundation necessary for moral law to have validity. What are the consequences of sin? Even on the human level, we are aware that sin breaks relationships. How can sin be resolved? Through confession and forgiveness. Forgiveness is possible only in the context of God being personal, for only persons are capable of forgiving. Brahman, an impersonal oneness, is incapable of forgiving.
Second, the fact that God is personal has implications for the destiny of the individual after death. To know the impersonal Brahman of Hinduism is to merge into the oneness of Brahman and to lose ones identity as a distinct and separate individual. There is a drive within each of us, however, that makes us want to cling to our existence as personal beings with all our might. Is your Hindu friend really willing to stand by his or her belief that such a drive is nothing more than the ignorance of our separatistic egos? Moreover, is it not true that we are most fulfilled as persons when we are in a friendship or love relationship? Since that is where we are most fulfilled, think of how much greater our fulfillment is when we are in fellowship with a personal, holy, and loving God! Such a fulfilling relationship is precisely what the God of the Bible offers, and its a relationship that will last for eternity (see John 14:2-3; 17:3; Rev. 21:3).
Third, probably the most common Hindu objection to Christianity concerns the Christian belief that there is only one way to God. Hindus believe that each person can choose whatever way is best suited for him or her. Why is that? Because most Hindus see Ultimate Reality – Brahman – as being an undifferentiated oneness. If such a view of God were true, then it would follow that there are many ways to God, because God would be an underlying force, then sin is nothing more than a matter of ignorance; it carries no real consequences with respect to our relationship with God, for it would not be possible for us to sever our connection to such a source.
Fourth, The Objection That Jesus Christ Is Unique. The Hindus see their gods and avatars (incarnations) as manifestations of the impersonal Brahman. These manifestations come through Vishnu, the preserver deity. Hindus view Jesus as merely one of a number of avatars. Your Hindu friend might be wiling to incorporate Jesus into his or her pantheon, but would not be willing to accept Jesus as the exclusive incarnation of God.
Lastly, The Inclusiveness of Jesus. While you want the Hindu to see how Jesus is unique, you will also want to share how Jesus Christ is inclusive toward others. Point out that: Christ beckons all you who are weary and burdened to come to Him (Matt. 11:28, emphasis added). The inclusive Christ associated with the most unlikely of people, even the social outcast (Luke 19:1-10) and the sinner (Luke 15:1-7).
Intro. New Agers may have the hardest of beliefs to witness to, so here are some tips to help penetrate their relative thinking: –Define your Christian terms –Ask questions –Show contradictions and weakness in basic New Age beliefs –Be Prepared! – Explain your definition of God- as a personal and loving God –Dont forget the gospel!!!
Explain What You Say New Agers interpret the Bible to fit their beliefs (they believe the core of all religions is Pantheism) –i.e. Jesus was just an enlightened man (in touch with his inner godhood) and could tap into his power to heal others. They believe that Jesus was only a god in the sense that we are gods also Dont let them use Christian words and put them into an unbiblical context Question the terms that they use and make sure that when you use a Christian term, they understand exactly what you are speaking of
Questions to Ask If we are all God, then why do we act so badly? Why do our realities contradict each other? –i.e.if you could create your own reality…then would you want to go driving with me if I believed that red lights are really green?
Contradictions and Weakness New Age thought –Future Perfect World Order –All is one and all is God –Impersonal God Biblical Contradiction –2Tim. 3:1 But mark this and there will be terrible times in the last days. –Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made [diversity], and it was very go. –John 1:14 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only who is at the Fathers side as made him known.
Contradictions and Weakness (cont.) Evil is non-existent Spirit guides communicate universal truth to others (usually contradicts the Bible) Jesus is only one of many ways to God –Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness… –Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the on preached to you, let him be eternally condemned. –Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the only way to God
Things You Need to Know Be prepared for spiritual battle –An apologetic encounter involves clash between God and Satan –Remember the enemy is Satannot the New Ager! –Dont categorize New Agers as all the same Every New Ager is different so find out each ones personal opinions –Remember treat them with gentleness and respect! (1Peter 3:15)
Share the Gospel Show common ground between beliefs but make sure they know where they differ! Stress the logic and idea of a personal God that cares for them –Underline the difference of God and mankind –Focus on Jesus making sure to use scripture and tell them the truth about sin and salvation
Final Words Loveem Loveem- You gotta care Tell'em Tell'em- You gotta give them the Gospel Lead'em Lead'em-You gotta have a consistent life Follow'em Follow'em-You gotta keep track of them Reproduce'em Reproduce'em- You gotta tell them to tell others