Seven Men Named
Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 8:30pm
Dr. Luke tell us, in the story of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the
whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud
voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: BLESSED IS THE
KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the
highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher,
rebuke Your disciples." But Jesus answered, "I tell you,
if these become silent, the stones
will cry out!"
few years ago, I received a scathing letter from my one of my sisters.
It started out very gently ... "Hey
Pete. Quit Preaching."
Now, I have heard this before, and not
just from this sister. :) I even phoned her (out of state) and we had a
lively conversation for maybe a half an hour, until she hung up on me.
There were several email messages back and forth over the period of a
couple of weeks, all cordial. In the last installment, her tone was
sweet, non-confrontational and friendly.
there were biblical
worldviews she expressed which are light-years apart from historic,
orthodox Christianity. These demanded a response.
have removed names and deliberately not offered the actual emails for
her privacy sake. But to frame a context for what this is generally all
about, I'll give you the quotes, made by my sister, that I am responding
to. She said:
see in the scriptures are different than what you see. BUT---We both
believe in the same God and Jesus Christ. We both believe in the Holy
all is a matter of interpretation. We do not study and learn from
forward to that time to learn from the One who knows the whole truth."
this is a matter of interpretation. Believe me - I have studied and am
proven what I believe straight from the Bible."
What follows is based on my reply (1).
You said "I look forward to that
time to learn from the One who knows the whole truth."
1 Corinthians 2:10-13, the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God
(verse 11), which He reveals (verse 10) and teaches (verse 13) to those
whom He indwells. This activity of the Holy Spirit (the third person of
the Trinity) is called illumination. You don't accept that. I have shown
you my verses (What
is the Godhead?) that
there is only one God. And that
the Holy Spirit is God. Not
just a force.
But, until you have been born again, you will never understand that
God the Holy Spirit wants you to
receive Him now.
Right now, "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the
desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does
not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he
speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the
father of lies."
If / When you become a Christian,
you will have been "adopted" by God,
and He therefore will be your new
adopted Father (Gal.
4:5). But just because you are adopted, it doesn't negate
the fact that your original father was
Nor will you discard your
sin nature when you became
I John 1:8 "If we say
that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in
This means Christians
have two natures from which to choose -- bad and good. Satan,
totally understanding the bad/sin nature,
entices humans every day with 6000
years of practice.
Paul, our example of a person we should aspire
to emulate in Word and deed, declared he sinned everyday (Rom.
But the Holy Spirit
also lives in us and convicts us of our sin (John
16:8). He wants us to
choose the good/righteous.
I Cor. 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you but such as
is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be
tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide
the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it."
sister said to me ... "All of this is a matter of
interpretation. ... Believe me - I have studied and am still studying."
My response is ...
Well, good for that. ... But, I choose
to believe God.
Have you ever suspected, while talking with someone, that you may have a
Then as you get further into the conversation you realize
that you are describing two different
people who happen to have the same name? So it is with
discussions of Jesus. The name’s the
same but the descriptions vary widely.
Which Jesus do you know?
Jehovah’s Witnesses have a Jesus too.
He’s a son of Jehovah, but He’s not
God. Rather, he was a perfect man just like Adam originally was.
Before he became a man he was the
Archangel Michael, who The Witnesses believe to be
Jehovah’s first created being.
Just believing in Jesus is not
enough to save us. We also have to become a Jehovah’s Witness, be baptized, and
obey God’s laws all of our life to prove ourselves worthy. Their
Jesus wasn’t physically resurrected,
but came back to life in Spirit form. He returned to Earth in Spirit
form in 1914 and will become a physical being again at
Mormonism teaches a different Jesus, and a different Gospel.
... But, aren't they the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ...
and, they speak out of the same bible
as you and me. Is this
all just a matter of interpretation? They came in my house a
few weeks ago to tell me about how they will become gods. The
Jesus of Mormonism, they say, is the
spirit brother of Lucifer. Both are sons of a god who was once a
man and one of his many wives. Mormons believe God has not always
been the Supreme Being of the universe, but attained that status through
righteous living and persistent effort.
Unitarian Universalist, Jesus was a good moral teacher, but nothing
He is not considered to be divine,
and every miracle associated with Him
is rejected as being outside of human reason. Most sayings of
Jesus recorded in the Bible are regarded as
embellishments on the part of the
authors. Among the Universalists' beliefs:
Jesus did not die to save mankind from
sin, as man is not a fallen
sinner; emphasis is placed on
humankind's capacity for goodness;
sin is completely relative, and
the term (sin) itself is rarely used;
man saves himself through personal
improvement, salvation being a purely worldly experience, a
"waking up" to the world around oneself. This is very important, for
death is final. Most Unitarian
Universalists deny the existence of an afterlife, so all we have on
earth is all we'll ever get. Adherents of Unitarian Universalism
base their beliefs primarily upon their own experiences and are
not committed to any one religious
system. They believe that individuals have the right to decide
for themselves what to believe in and that others should not infringe
upon this right. As a result, one such believer might lean toward
liberal Christianity, while another might lean toward New Age
spirituality. There is no real
dogma beyond tolerance—for everything except biblical Christianity.
They reject the Bible as a book of
myths—denying it is the Word of God—equating it with barbaric
writing that has little to do with modern man. As such, they reject the
Bible's portrayal of a Triune God, leaving the concept of God up to each
individual's imagination. Same
Bible, but not inspired, inerrant, infallible. Is this just another
Jesus the same as the Jesus of Islam?
They say He was a prophet and teacher
on a par with Mohammed. His role was to help prepare people for
the great leader from Allah coming at the end of time to judge the
world. Is your God the same as Allah?
Your president says he is.
Jesus the same Jesus of Judaism?
Jesus in our bible affirms the OT scriptures. Of course WE know He
fulfilled those OT laws and gave us a NEW COVENANT. The Jesus of Judaism
is known in Jewish writings as the illegitimate son of Miriam (Mary). He
lived in the first century CE (they don’t use AD) and led people away
from main stream Judaism into a cult. Jews who admit to believing He was
their Messiah are often considered dead to their families. Jews don’t
believe in a second coming because they don’t believe there’s been a
old Worldwide Church of God of Herbert
W. Armstrong (who died early in 1986)
claimed to believe in only one God.
Armstrong defined "God" as a
One of the
worst of the damnable heresies of Herbert Armstrong was the
demonic lie that men could become
"God, as God is God."
In case anyone is really in doubt over what
Armstrong taught on this
subject, notice these very unambiguous
passages from pages 18-19 of his booklet 1957, 1972 edition,
Why Were You Born?(2):
Armstrong wrote “The
PURPOSE of life is that in us God is really re-creating His own kind —
reproducing Himself after His own kind — for we are, upon real
conversion, actually begotten as sons, yet unborn, of God...we shall be
instantaneously CHANGED from mortal to immortal —
we shall then be BORN of God — WE
SHALL THEN BE GOD! ... Do you really grasp it? The PURPOSE of
your being alive is that finally you will be
BORN into the Kingdom of God.
In the 1951 version
he said: "So I've said, and truly, the PURPOSE Of your being alive is
that finally you be BORN into the Kingdom of God, when
you will actually BE GOD, even as
Jesus was and is God, and His Father, a different Person, also is God!
... You are setting out on a training to become CREATOR — to become GOD.”(3)
taught that this "God family" consists
of two members, God the Father and Christ, but it is their plan to
reproduce themselves in human beings and so add millions or even
billions to the God family.
Is your Jesus a created offspring, the first of many more to be?
Armstrong taught a different Jesus. That is what cult leaders do. Not
just a matter of interpretation.
gave lip service to the idea
that people were not saved
by law-keeping but by the grace of God through faith in the death and
resurrection of Christ, ... yet
he also taught that
would finally save only those who obeyed him, including obedience to WCG
teachings such as observance of the Saturday Sabbath and the annual holy
days. His teaching
minimized the sufficiency of the saving work of Christ and
emphasized the coming millennial kingdom. He often
characterized Christ as little more than a divine messenger.
Adding any works for salvation
... to salvation by Christ alone - makes
Christ’s sacrifice of no effect and is therefore an attempt at salvation
solely by works. “You
have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by
law; you have fallen from grace. ” (Galatians
For those without
cognitive dissonance, there can be no believing in both
salvation by Christ alone and in salvation by works. The two are
... the GOOD NEWS is ... there is one more man named Jesus.
The Real Jesus. He is
not a created being. On the contrary,
He is our Creator. As Paul
Colossians 1:16, "For by Him all things were created,
both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones
or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things were created through
Him and for Him." He’s not an
angel and he’s not a mere man, because He created both.
The archangel Michael might be the
first created being, but if he is, Jesus is the one who created him.
And Lucifer may have many brothers,
but if he does, Jesus created them all.
This is the Jesus of the Bible.
He claimed to be God in the form of
14:9). Men who knew Him agreed.
Paul taught the Deity of Jesus
Colossians 1:15-16. So did John (John
1:1-3). The writer of the Book of Hebrews also agreed (Heb
1:3) and included a quote from
Psalm 45:6-7 that shows
God Himself addressing Jesus as God (Heb
1:8). And this is not just
a New Testament idea. In his
prophecy of the Messiah’s birthplace,
Micah said He was an eternal being
whose goings forth were from days of eternity. Literally from before
time and perpetual. (Micah
5:2) He is the eternal
Here’s where your knowledge of Scripture becomes really important,
because in order to be all the
Bible claims, Jesus has to be both 100% man and 100% God. If
He isn’t a man He couldn’t have been made like us in every way and
suffered our temptations as
Heb 2:17-18 claim; he couldn’t be our
Heb 4:14-15 ; and he can’t be our
redeemer because he wouldn’t be
our next of kin as
Lev. 25:47-48 and
Rom 5:18-19. If He isn’t God He couldn’t be King David’s
22:41-45) He couldn’t be
3:20) and He couldn’t be our
1 Pet 1:18-21).
The need for Christians to exercise discernment as never before is
evident in some of the examples above of false teachings.
The cults deny the doctrine of salvation by grace alone. You have to
earn at least part of the salvation they offer.
deny the notion of
eternal punishment for sin.
Everyone goes to some kind of Heaven.
And most importantly, they
deity of Jesus. They portray
Him as a great man and role model; a great teacher, a prophet, even a
social revolutionary, but certainly not God.
In truth, Jesus
was all of that. But He was also much more.
He was God in the form of man; the
Father dwelling in the Son (Col
1:19). To think of Jesus
as anyone other than God is to reject the truth concerning Him revealed
through out His Word, and to put yourself at risk of trusting in the
wrong Jesus for your eternal destiny.
The Jesus of the Bible is the only one
of the seven men named Jesus who is able to save you.
Christians are charged with learning scripture.
We are to know our Bibles well
enough to be able to accurately answer both Christians and
non-Christians in questions of doctrine, or application of doctrine.
always being ready to make a defense
to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you,".
I Pet. 3:15
God holds us personally accountable
to the doctrinal positions we hold. On Judgment Day we can't point
fingers and say, "my pastor said . . ." or "my denomination believes . .
." or "my Bible teacher said . . ." (or what Uncle Pete says), as
an excuse for incorrect doctrine. The Bible says it is up to the
individual to determine if they are being taught truth.
they received the Word with great
eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things
God wants us to have correct
". . .
speak the things which are fitting for
So don't take everything you hear
for granted, regardless of who's teaching you.
Compare what you're being taught to other scriptures. Take the time to
understand what you believe and why you believe it.
God wants you to get it right
because you are representing Him!
"In all things show yourself to be an example .
. . with purity in doctrine,".
My sister said to me ... "I have proven what I
believe straight from the Bible."
I say to her ... "Maybe to yourself." ...
Cult members never think that they are in a cult.
False religions profess to be the “One True Faith.”
Sadly, just the opposite is true. They are really on the outside of
God’s will and don’t even know it!
they think that anyone who is not in
their cult is lost!
No one wants to be made a fool of. No one
wants to admit that they have been tricked. If a cult member realizes
that she has been fooled, she feels humiliated. No one says, “Oh thank
you for showing me that I have made a fool of myself.”
These people are
very hard to reach. They have been
inoculated with a dose of false
Christianity which makes them immune to the real thing.
One of the most amazing statements Jesus made was that not everyone who
calls Him Lord, speaks in His name, performs miracles, etc., is going to
heaven. There will be multitudes that think they are going to heaven but
Jesus will say to them on judgment day, "I never knew you, depart."
The difference between those that
go to heaven and those that go to hell is what they are believing or
trusting in. Simply stated, their "doctrine."
Just because it's always done that way is not correct doctrine. In fact,
traditions are not worth much.
Jesus said: " ...
in vain do they worship me, teaching as
doctrines the precepts of men."
addition to traditions that are of no use, there are many false
doctrines in the world as well:
". . .
we are no longer to be . . . carried
about by every wind of doctrine.
". . .
doctrines of demons.
I Tim. 4:1
The Holy Spirit, both in the Old and the New Testament, spoke of a
general turning from the faith of Christ, and the pure worship of God.
This should come during the Christian dispensation, for those are called
the latter days.
forbid as evil what God has allowed, and command as a duty what He has
We are commanded to be "nourished
on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine" (I
So, determining what is sound is
one of our charges as Christians.
Opinions don't matter.
What you feel doesn't matter.
The only thing that does matter is
whether or not it agrees with scripture. Is it of the Lord? (I
The only sure way to protect
ourselves from false teaching is to measure every word that is taught
against Scripture itself. Does the message come from the
Word? Does the teacher's interpretation fit within the greater context
of Scripture, or does it make sense only when isolated from the rest of
the Bible? If a teaching requires you to turn a blind eye to any other
part of Scripture, you can be sure that the message is not true to the
whole, inerrant Word of God.
You say "This all is a matter of
interpretation. We do not study and learn from another Bible."
You say: "We both believe in the same God and Jesus Christ."
We're not all the same Christians because we all read the same Bible.
Please note what Peter calls false teachings and prophesies ...
there were false prophets also
among the people, even as there shall be
false teachers among you, who
privily shall bring in damnable
heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and
bring upon themselves swift
Peter 2:1) KJV
Many will insist that we all have the right to practice Christianity as
our conscience dictates.
We have the privilege of living out
a faith based on absolute truth as given to us by the "Author and
Finisher" of that faith without error or omission in His written word.
If we want to invent our own
religion, we are "free" to do so, "free" to reap the consequences and
"free" to call it anything we want ... except Christianity.
Don't call yourself a Christian if
you are going to deny essential doctrines.
P.S. Some Closing comments:
I'm am so glad we have
unchanging Word of God
This is important to us because when you talk to a follower of
Armstrongism, they often come back with things like
"You don't know anything about what Mr. Armstrong taught." ... or
"Those things people say Armstrong taught weren't taught in OUR
Recently, I have been noticing a new phenomenon. I'm starting to read
and hear ...
"We don't teach Armstrongism in the United Church of God" (UCG/AIA)"
Have they "thrown Herbie under the bus"?
To this I say in Latin ... "Id est quod id est" ... ("it is what
it is"). :>)
Source: Based on letters to my sister. ... phh
(2) An online version of the booklet "Why Were You Born?" by
Armstrong. It is in PDF format, so the page numbers are a little
(3) This reference to the 1951 version of the booklet "Why
Were You Born?" by Armstrong illustrates how Armstrong "evolved" his
doctrinal beliefs and teachings.
If I were to keep quiet, the stones would cry out !
or email me if you have questions.