Feb 05 2007
Who, and What, are the Christian Cults? And what do they believe?
Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry has accomplished some wonderful work in this area and much of the following material is available on their web site.
Please feel free to visit them when you get a chance: http://www.carm.org/
“The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon ‘the accursed tree,’ than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father’s business,” (Science and Health, 25:6-8).
What does Christian Science Teach?
The following doctrines are referenced out of the primary Christian Science work,
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. It is supposed to be a companion to the Bible. Science and Health together with the Bible are called the Pastor of Christian Science.
- God is infinite…and there is no other power or source, S&H, 471:18.
- God is Universal Principle, S&H 331:18-19
- God cannot indwell a person, S&H 336:19-20
- God is the only intelligence in the universe, including man S&H 330:11-12
- God is Mind, S&H 330:20-21; 469:13
- God is the Father-Mother, S&H 331:30; 332:4
- The Trinity is Life, Truth, and Love, S&H 331:26
- Belief in the traditional doctrine of the Trinity is polytheism, S&H 256:9-11
- Christ is the spiritual idea of sonship S&H 331:30-31
- Jesus was not the Christ, S&H 333:3-15; 334:3
- “Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared…” S&H 361:12-13
- Jesus did not reflect the fullness of God, S&H 336:20-21
- Jesus did not die, S&H 45:32-46:3
- The Holy Spirit is divine science, S&H 331:31
- There is no devil, S&H 469:13-17
- There is no sin, S&H 447:24
- Evil and good are not real, S&H, 330:25-27; 470:9-14
- Matter, sin, and sickness are not real, but only illusions,” S&H 335:7-15; 447:27-28.
- Life is not material or organic, “S&H, 83:21
- The sacrifice of Jesus was not sufficient to cleanse from sin, “S&H, 25:6.
- True healings are the result of true belief, “S&H, 194:6”
- Additionally, Christian Scientists prefer not to use doctors, medicine, or immunizations. Christian Science Practitioners are used to help people through the false reality of illness.
- Proper prayer and training are employed to battle the “non-reality” of illness.
- They have no ordinances like the Lord’s Supper or baptism.
- Church services are interspersed with Bible reading and readings from Science and Health.
- Mary Baker Eddy is highly regarded as a revelator of God’s word.
Christian Science History
Christian Science was founded by a woman named Mary Baker Eddy. She was born Mary Ann Morse Baker in New Hampshire in 1821. (She died in 1910.). She was the daughter of a New Hampshire Congregationalist church member. As a child, she was frequently ill and highly emotional. She is said to have been “domineering, quarrelsome, and extremely self centered.”1 At age 22, she married George Glover. He died seven months later. She then married Dr. Daniel Patterson, but that marriage failed in divorce. In 1862, while suffering from an illness, she visited a man named Phineas Quimby. He taught a system of healing dealing with the mind. He taught that the mind had the power to heal the body. He exerted a significant influence on her thinking regarding spiritual matters.
In 1866, she fell and was seriously injured and she was not expected to recover. She apparently read Matt. 9:2 (“And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee“) and experienced a miraculous cure. It was this experience that convinced her of the truth of Christian Science.
She first published “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” in 1875, when she was 54. She claimed it was the final revelation of God to mankind and asserted that her work was inspired of God. The word “Key” in the title of her book is in reference to her being the woman of Revelation 12; that she is the key to unlocking the Bible which she called a dark book. She claimed the Bible had many mistakes and that her writings provided the “Key” spoken of in Rev. 3:7.
She married Asa Eddy in 1877.
In 1879, four years after the first publication of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy and some of her students voted organized the church of Christ (Scientist) in Boston Massachusetts. Of course, like all cults, it claimed to be the restoration of the original New Testament Church.
In 1881 she opened a metaphysical college and charged $300 for 12 healing lessons.
The Church was reorganized in 1892, and the Church Manual was first issued in 1895 which provided the structure for church government and missions.
She died in 1910, a millionaire.
1The Religious Bodies of America, by F. E. Meyer. Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, Missouri. 1961. P. 532.
International Church of Christ
A strict, semi-controlling group that requires baptism for salvation.
What is the International Church of Christ?
The International Church of Christ (ICC) is a break-off of the Church of Christ denomination. The ICC is Christian in its basic theology but has some aberrant practices.
The ICC was influenced by the discipling movement on the 1950’s. Its roots can be traced back to 1967 to the Crossroads Church of Christ, in Gainesville Florida. The crossroads Church had a program on discipling which became known as the Crossroads Movement. It is out of this Crossroads connection that the present leader of the ICC, Kip McKeen, received his start. He and Roger Lamb were fired from the Houston, Texas, Church of Christ. Kip McKeen then found a Church in Boston MA, was asked to come on board and began what has come to be known as the Boston movement. The Boston Church grew by leaps and bounds due to its heavy discipling program. Soon other churches were being planted in the United States and then in England.
The ICC did not become known as the “International Church of Christ” until 1993 and its headquarters became Los Angeles, California. The ICC considers Christian denominations to be sinful. They will cite biblical passages that speak of the apostles establishing one Church per city, and claim that there should only be one Church in each city. Of course, the one Church should be an ICC Church. As of the year 2001, the ICC claims to have over 400 churches with a membership of 130,000 worldwide in over 150 countries.
The international Church of Christ considers itself to be “a family of Christian churches whose members are committed to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible.” This commitment to biblical living includes a very strong emphasis on discipling. In fact, it is this overly strong emphasis on discipling that has drawn much criticism from outside the church as inside from those who were once were members.
The ICC is Orthodox affirms the Trinity, salvation by grace, Jesus’ virgin birth and physical resurrection, His deity, the personhood of the Holy Spirit, heaven and hell, and much more. But, it deviates from orthodoxy in both its requirement of baptism as a necessary element for salvation and its heavy requirement of discipleship.
According to the ICC, baptism must be done in their church with the person being baptized having an understand that baptism saves. Combined with this, the ICC method of discipleship includes strong accountability to other members of the church as a necessary element to be considered a Christian. According to the ICC, one cannot be a Christian if he is not a true disciple, and being a disciple must precede baptism. Therefore, the International Church of Christ tends to be very legalistic and controlling. Many of its former members attest to requirements that they confess their sins to their disciple leaders, that they submit to the decisions of their disciple “leaders” regarding dating, frequency of sexual relations for married couples, jobs to take, places to move, and so on.
This discipling operation with in the ICC has drawn much criticism for its intrusive practices and has been labeled as a form of the brainwashing and psychological and emotional manipulation. There are numerous web sites on the Internet devoted to ex-members of the International Church of Christ who warn people not to be involved with the movement. There are also support groups to help those who have left to find healing and, hopefully, true Grace in Christ instead of legalism and bondage.
What does the International Church of Christ teach?
The international Church of Christ is Orthodox in most of its theology. It accepts and affirms the following doctrines.
1.The Trinity is one God and three persons: Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
2.The deity of Christ
3.The deity of the Holy Spirit.
4.The physical Resurrection of Christ
5.The Bible is the inspired word of God and the ultimate source of authority.
6.Baptism is for adults only.
7.There is a literal Hell.
8.Satan is a literal fallen Angel.
1.Baptism, by emersion, is essential to salvation.
2.Baptism must be as a true “disciple” or it is not valid.
3.Baptism must be performed in the International Church of Christ to be valid.
4.Being a disciple is necessary to be a Christian.
5.There should only be one Church in each city or town.
6.The ICC is the true remnant of God’s people as the true Church.
7.Only ICC baptized members are saved.
8.Sin lists of disciples are often kept.
9.Heavy influence into the personal lives of disciples.
“Only this organization functions for Jehovah’s purpose and to his praise. To it alone God’s Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book.” (Watchtower; July 1, 1973, pp. 402.)
What do the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach?
- There is one God in one person, Make Sure of All Things, p 188.
- There is no Trinity, Let God be True, p. 100-101; Make Sure of All Things, p.386.
- The Holy Spirit is a force, not alive, Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp.
- The Holy Spirit is God’s impersonal active force, The Watchtower, June 1, 1952,
- Jehovah’s first creation was his ‘only-begotten Son’. . . was used by Jehovah in
creating all other things”, Aid to Bible Understanding, pp. 390-391.
- Jesus was Michael the archangel who became a man, The Watchtower, May 15,
1963, p. 307; The New World, 284.
- Jesus was only a perfect man, not God in flesh, Reasoning from the Scriptures,
1985, pp. 306.
- Jesus did not rise from the dead in his physical body, Awake! July 22, 1973, p. 4.
- Jesus was raised “not a human creature, but a spirit.” Let God be True, p. 276.
- Jesus was born again, The Watchtower, Nov. 15, 1954, p. 682.
- Jesus did not die on a cross but on a stake, Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985,
- Jesus began his invisible rule over the earth in 1914, The Truth Shall Make You Free,
- Jesus’ ransom sacrifice did not include Adam, Let God be True, p. 119.
- Their church is the self-proclaimed prophet of God, The Watchtower, April 1,
1972, p. 197.
- They claim to be the only channel of God’s truth, The Watchtower, Feb. 15,
1981, p. 19.
- Only their church members will be saved, The Watchtower, Feb, 15, 1979, p. 30.
- Good works are necessary for salvation, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 1,
pp. 150, 152.
- The soul ceases to exist after death, Let God be True, p. 59, 60, 67.
- There is no hell of fire where the wicked are punished, Let God be True, p. 79, 80.
- Only 144,000 Jehovah’s Witness go to heaven, Reasoning from the Scriptures,
1985, pp. 166-167, 361; Let God be True, p. 121.
- Only the 144,000 Jehovah’s Witness are born again. Reasoning from the
Scriptures, 1985, p. 76.; Watchtower 11/15/54, p. 681.
- Only the 144,000 may take communion,
- Blood transfusions are a sin, Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp. 72-73.
- The Cross is a pagan symbol and should not be used, Reasoning from the
Scriptures, 1985, pp. 90-92.
- Salvation is by faith and what you do, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 1, pp.
- It is possible to lose your salvation, Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp.
- The universe is billions of years old, Your will Be Done on Earth, p. 43.
- Each of the 6 creative days of God in Genesis 1, was 7000 years long.
Therefore, Man was created toward the end of 42,000 years of earth’s
preparation, Let God be True, p. 168.
- They also refuse to vote, salute the flag, sing the “Star Spangled Banner,” or
celebrate Christmas or birthdays. They are not allowed to serve in the armed
- Satan was entrusted with the obligation and charged with the duty of
overseeing the creation of the earth, Children, p 55
Jehovah’s Witnesses in a Nutshell
According to Jehovah’s Witness’ theology, God is a single person, not a Trinity, who does not know all things and is not everywhere. He first created Michael the Archangel through whom He created all “other things,” including the universe, the earth, Adam and Eve, etc. This creative work took God 42,000 years. At one point, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society taught that God ruled the universe from somewhere in the Pleiades star system. They have since modified this to say that the “Pleiades can no longer be considered the center of the universe and it would be unwise for us to try to fix God’s throne as being at a particular spot in the universe.”1 Such changes and even contradictions in teaching are frequent in the Watchtower organization and when a doctrine changes, they tell their followers that the light of truth is getting brighter.
After Adam sinned, the paradise which God had created for them, was ruined. So, God instituted a system of redemption which was revealed in the Bible and would ultimately lead to the crucifixion of Jesus the messiah. But, in the meantime, God needed to have a visible, theocratic organization on earth to accurately represent Him. Throughout history, this true organization had a remnant of faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses (Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc.) but it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that Charles Taze Russell formerly began what is now known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society which is run out of Brooklyn, New York. This organization claims to be the only true channel of God’s truth on earth today and that it alone can properly interpret God’s word since it is the angel directed, prophet of God on earth.
When it came time for the savior to be born, Michael the Archangel became a human, in the form of Jesus. Jesus grew and kept all the laws of God and never sinned. Finally, when Jesus died, it was not on a cross, but on a torture stake, where he bore the sins of mankind — but this did not include Adam’s sins. Jesus rose from the dead as a spirit, not physically (his body was dissolved and taken by God) and during his visitations to people on earth, he manifested a temporary physical body for them to see and touch. Thus began the true Christian church of Jehovah’s followers.
Throughout history there have been faithful Jehovah’s witnesses who have managed to keep The Truth in spite of the “demonic” doctrine of Trinitarianism that has permeated the Christian church in “Christendom.” Christendom is filled with pastors who are antichrists, in churches run by Satan, and who support the earthly governments which are all of the devil. In other words, all of Christianity is false and only the Jehovah’s Witness “theocratic” organization lead by several men in Brooklyn, New York, is true.
In the late 1800’s, a young man of 18 years, by the name of Charles Taze Russell, organized a Bible class in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1879 he sought to popularize his ideas on doctrine so he co-published The Herald of the Morning magazine with its founder, N. H. Barbour and by 1884 Russell controlled the publication and renamed it The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, and founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society (now known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society). Russell served as the teacher and guide for the organization which taught that Jesus returned invisibly in 1914 and is now reigning in heaven. When Jesus finally returns physical to earth, which will happen at the time of the Battle of Armageddon, He will set up his earthly 1000 year kingdom. During this 1000 year period, people will be resurrected and have a second chance to receive eternal salvation by following the principles of Jehovah’s Organization on earth known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. After the millennium, those who reject God and His organization will be annihilated; that is, they will cease to exist. The rest of the Jehovah’s Witness who have faithfully followed God’s organization on earth will be saved from eternal annihilation and reside forever on Paradise earth. Heaven, however, is a place for a special group of 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses — the only ones who are “born again” and who alone are allowed to take communion in their annual communion service. These are the ones who have “immortal life,” all other Witnesses have “everlasting life.” Those with immortal life do not have resurrected bodies. They have “spirit bodies.” Those on Paradise Earth have everlasting life and consists of a resurrected body that must be maintained through eating, rest, etc.
When you study with the Jehovah’s Witness, you agree to attend five meetings a week where you are taught from Watchtower literature. You cannot be baptized until you have studied their material for at least six months and have answered numerous questions before a panel of elders. Men are not supposed have long hair or wear beards and women are to dress in modest apparel. They refuse to vote, salute the flag, sing the “Star Spangled Banner, celebrate birthdays or Christmas, won’t take blood transfusions, and they can’t join the armed forces. A schedule of door-to-door canvassing is required where you distribute the Watchtower literature, acquire donations, and forward all monies to the headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.
If you ever leave the Jehovah’s Witness organization, you are considered an apostate and are to be shunned.
1. Watchtower 11/15/53, page. 703.
“…A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet,” (Joseph Smith, HC, vol. 6:408-409).
What does Mormonism teach?
The doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are very interesting. Most of the ‘odd’ ones are not initially taught to potential converts. But they should be. Instead, “they are revealed later as one matures and gains the ability to accept them.” The LDS Church tries to make its official doctrines appear Christian but what underlies those Christian sounding terms is far from Christian in meaning.
Following are the teachings of its officials throughout the years. Please note that these teachings are documented from Mormon writers, not anti-Mormon writers.
Finally, many Mormons respond that most of the citations below are not from official Mormon writings, as if that disproves the doctrines they teach. If they are not official, fine. But, if not, then why have the Mormon apostles and high officials taught them, written them, and why are their books sold in Mormon bookstores? The truth is, the following is what Mormons are taught.
A.“Jesus paid for all our sins when He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane,” (Laurel Rohlfing, “Sharing Time: The Atonement,” Friend, Mar. 1989, 39.) B.”We accept Christ’s atonement by repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and obeying all of the commandments,” (Gospel Principles, Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1979, pg. 68.)
.Baptism for the dead, (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. II, p. 141.) This is a practice of baptizing each other in place of non-Mormons who are now dead. Their belief is that in the afterlife, the “newly baptized” person will be able to enter into a higher level of Mormon heaven.
.“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. . .” 8th Article of Faith of the Mormon Church. A.”Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.” (1 Nephi 13:28).
- Book of Mormon
.The book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible, (History of the Church, 4:461.)
- Devil, the
.The Devil was born as a spirit after Jesus “in the morning of pre-existence,” (Mormon Doctrine, page 192.) A.Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163.) B.A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the Father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus’ plan was accepted. In effect the Devil wanted to be the Savior of all Mankind and to “deny men their agency and to dethrone god.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 193; Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, page 8.)
.God used to be a man on another planet, Mormon Doctrine, p. 321. Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, Vol 5, pp. 613-614; Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol 2, p. 345, Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333.) A.”The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s…” (D&C 130:22). B.God is in the form of a man, (Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 3.) C.”God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345 D.God the Father had a Father, (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 476; Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 19; Milton Hunter, First Council of the Seventy, Gospel through the Ages, p. 104-105.) E.God resides near a star called Kolob, (Pearl of Great Price, pages 34-35; Mormon Doctrine, p. 428.) F.God had sexual relations with Mary to make the body of Jesus, (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p. 218, 1857; vol. 8, p. 115.) – This one is disputed among many Mormons and not always ‘officially’ taught and believed. Nevertheless, Young, the 2nd prophet of the Mormon church taught it. G.”Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones.” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38).
- God, becoming a god
.After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 345-347, 354.) A.”Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them,” (DC 132:20).
- God, many gods
.There are many gods, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163.) A.”And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light: and there was light (Book of Abraham 4:3)
- God, mother goddess
.There is a mother god, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 443.) A.God is married to his goddess wife and has spirit children, (Mormon Doctrine p. 516.)
- God, Trinity
.The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. “That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man.” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35.)
- Gospel, the
.The true gospel was lost from the earth. Mormonism is its restoration, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 182-185.) A.Consists of laws and ordinances: “As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements — ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.'” (Articles of Faith p. 79)
.There are three levels of heaven: telestial, terrestrial, and celestial, Mormon Doctrine, p. 348.
- Holy Ghost, the
.The Holy Ghost is a male personage, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, (Le Grand Richards, Salt Lake City, 1956, page 118; Journal of Discources, Vol. 5, page 179.)
.The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus, (Mormon Doctrine, page 129.) A.Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163; Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15.) B.Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, (murder and repeated adultery are exceptions), (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 247, 1856.) C.”Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones.” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38). D.”The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood – was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8: p. 115). E.”Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers” (Mormon Doctrine,” by Bruce McConkie, p. 547). F.”Christ Not Begotten of Holy Ghost …Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!” (Doctrines of Salvation, Joseph Fielding Smith, 1954, 1:18). G.”Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh …” (First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, 1916, God the Father, compiled by Gordon Allred, pg. 150).
- Joseph Smith
.If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation [the context is the full gospel including exaltation to Godhood] outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670.)
.We were first begotten as spirit children in heaven and then born naturally on earth, (Journal of Discourse, Vol. 4, p. 218.) A.The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus, (Mormon Doctrine, page 129.) B.The Devil was born as a spirit after Jesus “in the morning of pre-existence,” (Mormon Doctrine, page 192.)
.We need prophets today, the same as in the Old Testament, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 444-445.)
.“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.” (Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, p. 206.) A.A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the Father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus’ plan was accepted. In effect the Devil wanted to be the Savior of all Mankind and to “deny men their agency and to dethrone god.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 193; Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, page 8.) B.Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, (murder and repeated adultery are exceptions), (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 247, 1856.) C.Good works are necessary for salvation, Articles of Faith, p. 92.) D.There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 188.) E.”The first effect [of the atonement] is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 78-79.) F.”As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements — ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.'” (Articles of Faith p. 79). G.”This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts” (LDS Bible Dictionary, p. 697). H.”We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do,” (2 Nephi 25:23).
- Trinity, the
.The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. “That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man.” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35.) A.”Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God [anyhow]–three in one and one in three. . .It is curious organization… All are crammed into one God according to sectarianism (Christian faith). It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God–he would be a giant or a monster.” (Joseph Smith, Teachings, 372). Some Mormons may disagree with a few of the points listed on this page, but all of what is stated here is from Mormon authors in good standing of the Mormon church.
They deny the Trinity, require baptism for salvation, are legalistic, and do not preach the true gospel.
What is Oneness Pentecostal theology?
Oneness Pentecostal theology affirms that there exists only one God in all the universe. It affirms the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. However, Oneness theology denies the Trinity. The Trinity is the doctrine that there is one God who manifests Himself as three distinct, simultaneous persons. The Trinity does not assert that there are three gods, but only one. This is important because many groups who oppose orthodoxy, will accuse Trinitarians of believing in three gods. But this is not so. The doctrine of the Trinity is that there is one God in three persons.
Oneness theology denies the Trinity and teaches that God is a single person who was “manifested as Father in creation and as the Father of the Son, in the Son for our redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our regeneration.”1 Another way of looking at it is that God revealed himself as Father in the Old Testament, as the Son in Jesus during Christ’s ministry on earth, and now as the Holy Spirit after Christ’s ascension.
In addition, oneness theology also maintains that baptism is a necessary part of salvation; that is, in order to be saved, one must be baptized, by immersion. If you are not baptized you cannot be saved. However, not only must baptism be by immersion, it must also be administered with the formula “In Jesus’ name” rather than the formula “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” which is mentioned in Matt. 28:19. Finally, this baptism must be administered by a duly ordained minister of a church that maintains oneness theology: United Pentecostal, United Apostolic, etc.
Oneness churches also teach that speaking in tongues is a necessary manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Since a person cannot be saved without the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9), it follows that only those who have spoken in tongues are really saved. There is, therefore, an emphasis that Oneness church members speak in tongues to “demonstrate” that they are saved and have the truth.
Oneness groups are decidedly Arminian in the doctrine of salvation. They deny predestination and maintain that it is completely up to the individual to decide whether or not he wants to be saved. They also teach that it is possible to lose one’s salvation.
There is within the Oneness movement an attempt to represent themselves in a modest and holy manner. This is to be commended. However, sometimes it tends to become legalistic in that women are required to abstain from wearing makeup and pants. They also must have their heads covered. Likewise, men should be well dressed, preferably in ties (this has been my experience with them). Such practices are not wrong in themselves, and are good examples of propriety. However, when they become requirements for acceptance in a church, it is legalistic. Legalism leads to bondage and the requirements of keeping the law to maintain salvation. It then becomes a means by which a person’s spirituality is judged. Oneness churches strongly imply that if you go to movies, or have a TV, or wear makeup, etc., then you are not “really” a Christian.
I am not saying that the Oneness Theology necessarily leads to legalism, but it seems to be quite evident that it has taken over much of Oneness practice.
What does Oneness Pentecostal teach?
Oneness Pentecostal people are many and varied. The two main groups that hold to Oneness theology are the United Pentecostal Church International (the largest) and the United Apostolic church. There are others like the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Bible Way Churches of Our Lord Jesus Christ as well as a host of independent Oneness churches scattered throughout the United States.
The following points of doctrine are generally held to by the Oneness Pentecostal groups.
- There is only one God in all existence
- The Bible is God’s inerrant word
- Jesus was born of a virgin
- Jesus had two natures.
- Justification by faith
- Baptism must be by immersion.1
- The elements of communion are bread and wine and are only for believers.
- Foot-washing (John 13:4-5), is a divine institution to be practiced by church members.2
- Abstain from joining secret societies (James 5:12; 2 Cor. 6:14-18).
- There will be a future rapture of the Church where the Christians will be transformed (1 Thess. 4:13-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; Phil. 3:20-21).
Outside of Orthodoxy
- Denies the doctrine of the Trinity.
- Denies justification by faith alone by stating that baptism is also required for salvation.
- Jesus is God the Father.
- Jesus is the Holy Spirit.
- The name of God is “Jesus.”
- Baptism is necessary for salvation.
- Denies pre-existence of the Word as the Son. Teaches that the He existed as the Father.
- Being born again means repentance, baptism, and speaking in tongues.
- Baptism must be administered by an ordained Oneness minister to be valid.
- Baptism must be administered with the phrase, “In the name of Jesus” instead of the phrase, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).
- Speaking in tongues is a necessary requirement to demonstrate that a person has been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and is, therefore, saved. It is claimed to be the initial sign of the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
- Restitution of all things, though the devil and the angels will not be restored.
- Women may be pastors.3
- Only Oneness people will go to heaven.
1. Orthodoxy allows for sprinkling as well.
2. Many Christian churches practice foot-washing. But it is not a required practice according to the Bible.
3. Many Oneness people deny that women can be pastors, but the UPCI (United Pentecostal Church International) does. Also, there are many Trinitarian churches that practice women ordination and eldership. But generally speaking, women are not to hold these positions. If you are interested in more on this issue, please see Can women be pastors and elders?
Seventh Day Adventism
The Seventh Day Adventist Church has one foot in orthodoxy and the other outside. Is it Christian?
Seventh Day Adventist History
Modern Seventh Day Adventism traces its origins back to the early 1800’s to Mr. William Miller (1782-1849) of Low Hampton, New York. Mr. Miller had converted from deism to Christianity in 1816 and became a Baptist. He was an avid reader, dedicated to God’s word, and sought to reconcile apparent biblical difficulties raised by deists. He relied heavily on the Cruden’s Concordance in his studies and developed a focus on the imminent return of Jesus. He began preaching at the age of 50.
The time was right. America was hot with discussions on the return of Christ. As a result, many thousands (called Millerites) accepted his idea that Jesus would return in the year covering 1843-1844. He had arrived at this date based upon a study of Daniel 8:14 which says, “And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored.” He interpreted the 2300 evenings and mornings to be years and counted forward from 457 BC when the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem was given (Dan. 9:24-25).1 When his initial predictions failed, he adjusted his findings to conclude that Jesus would return on March 21, 1844 and then later on October 22, 1844. After these too failed, Miller quit promoting his ideas on Jesus’ return and the “Millerites” broke up.
On the morning following the “Great Disappointment” of October 22, 1844, a Mr. Hiram Edson claimed to have seen a vision. He said that he saw Jesus standing at the altar of heaven and concluded that Miller had been right about the time, but wrong about the place. In other words, Jesus’ return was not to earth, but a move into the heavenly sanctuary as is referenced in Heb. 8:1-2.
Mr. Joseph Bates (1792-1872), a retired sea captain and a convert to “Millerism” then began to promote the idea of Jesus moving into the heavenly sanctuary. He published a pamphlet which greatly influenced James (1821-1881) and Ellen White (1827-1915). It is these three who were the driving force behind the SDA movement.
Numerous reports state that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) saw visions from an early age. Such was the case shortly after the Great Disappointment. Mrs. White claimed to see in a vision of a narrow path where an angel was guiding Adventists. Subsequent visions resulted in interpretations of the three angels in Rev. 14:6-11 as being 1843-1844 as the hour of God’s judgment; the fall of Babylon signified by Adventists leaving various churches, and admonitions against Sunday worship.
- 1849 – First paper, the Present Truth, was printed in Middletown, Conn.
- 1850 – First issue of the Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, printed in
- 1860 – Name of Seventh-day Adventist adopted by the church.
- 1863 – First General Conference and formation of the SDA church on May 21, 1863.
- 1871 – First college opened which became Andrews University.
- 1871 – J. N. Andrews sent to Switzerland as a missionary.
- 1885 – Missionary work begun in Australia.
- 1915 – Ellen G. White dies on July 16, at St. Helena, CA.
- 1941 – Opening of Theological Seminary at Takoma Park.
- 1942 – Voice of Prophecy radio show begins broadcasting coast to coast.
- 1950 – Faith for Today TV show begins.
- 1955 – SDA membership hits 1 million.
- 1986 – SDA membership hits 5 million.2
Today, the SDA church is very evangelical with mission efforts world wide, numerous publications, and many educational facilities. It claims over 8 million members world wide and is growing rapidly with its educational, TV, Radio, and publication based outreaches._________
- Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter Martin, Bethany House Publishers, Minn. Minnesota, 1977.
- 1. Religious Bodies in America, by F. E. Mayer, 4th ed., Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, Miss. 1961, page 439.
- 2. Taken from The Seventh Day Adventists: A History, by Anne Devereaux Jordan, Hippocrene Books, New York, 1988.
What does Seventh Day Adventism teach?
- The Bible is inspired and the word of God.
- Trinitarian: The Father, Son, Holy Spirit are all one God in three persons.
- Jesus is God and has always existed with the Father.
- The Holy Spirit is a person.
- Jesus’ sacrifice was vicarious.
- Salvation is by grace, not works.
- Jesus rose from the dead physically in his glorified body.
- Jesus ascended bodily into heaven.
- Baptism is by immersion
- The literal, visible return of Jesus.
- Jesus will return to set up a millennial kingdom. They are Premillennial.
- Literal six day creation, not long periods.
- Denies the doctrine of predestination
- Denies baptism by sprinkling
- Denies infant baptism.
- Denies the immortality of the soul.
- Denies the eternality of hell fire.
- Denies any use of alcohol (as a drink) or tobacco.
- Our sins will ultimately be placed on Satan – The Great Controversy, p. 422, 485.
- Jesus is Michael the Archangel.
- Worship must be done on Saturday (the Sabbath).
- On October 22, 1844 Jesus entered the second and last phase of his atoning work.
- Investigative Judgment – the fate of all people will be decided based upon this event in the future.
- The dead do not exist anymore — soul sleep.
- The wicked are annihilated.
- Ellen G. White, the “founder” of Seventh Day Adventism, was a messenger from God gifted with the spirit of prophecy.
- There is a sanctuary in heaven where Jesus carries out his mediatorial work.