Sunday, January 7, 2018


By Dave Hunt
On the day of Pentecost, when the church was established, national Israel did not cease to exist. Israel remains God's special people and is the beneficiary of particular promises which apply to her alone and which are in the process of being fulfilled. Yet there is a growing movement today which identifies the church as Israel, denies any place for national Israel in God's future plans, and declares that all of the promises and unfulfilled prophecies that once referred to Israel now belong to the church. Earl Paulk, one of the leaders in this movement, writes,
Some of the strongest fundamental churches still preach that Christ will return to gather national Israel unto Himself, and I say that is deception and will keep the Kingdom of God from coming to pass! 
In almost any Christian bookstore, about 99% of the books will say that "God's time-clock is Israel" and that "God's covenant is still with Israel."...[I say that] prophecies about Israel as a nation [are] now transferred to spiritual Israel, which is the people of God [i.e., the church]...1
Christians in the West have traditionally been the major base of support for Israel. With the new "the-church-is-Israel" movement gaining a wide following, however, a drastic change is developing in the attitude of many Christians, especially charismatics, toward Israel. While those promoting this belief deny the charge of anti-Semitism, the increasingly bold use of sarcasm, ridicule and openly displayed antagonism by some is ominous. This trend is only in the beginning stage and is growing rapidly. Gary North writes,
When Israel gets pushed into the sea, or converted to Christ, Scofieldism dies a fast death. Rest assured, I have a manuscript ready to go when either of these events happens.2
We are witnessing a revival among Protestants of the traditional anti-Semitism of the Roman CatholicChurch. Many people have forgotten that the Church which claimed as its first pope a Jewish fisherman, whose alleged founder, Christ himself, was a Jew, as were the apostles and the entire church in its infancy, very early became a persecutor of Jews. Most Catholics are probably not aware that anti-Semitism was made the official position of the Catholic Church and it remains so to this day. As a reminder:
The Council of Vienne (1311) forbade all intercourse between Christians and Jews. The Council of Zamora (1313) ruled that they must be kept in strict subjection and servitude. The Council of Basel (1431-33) renewed canonical decrees forbidding Christians to associate with Jews, to serve them, or to use them as physicians, and instructed secular authorities to confine the Jews in separate quarters, compel them to wear a distinguishing badge, and ensure their attendance at sermons aimed to convert them. 
Pope EugeniusIV...added that Jews should be ineligible for any public office, could not inherit property from Christians, must build no more synagogues, and...any Italian Jew found reading Talmudic literature should suffer confiscation of his property, etc.3
No wonder Hitler felt that he had good precedent for his sanctions against the Jews. The Vatican was understandably silent during the Holocaust and has not yet, after 40 years, recognized the nation of Israel.
Anti-Semitism, like infant baptism, was one of several carry-overs from Catholicism from which Luther never broke free. His pamphlet Concerning the Jews and Their Lies (1542) was in fact filled with lies about Jews: that God hated them, that the Talmud encouraged lying, robbery and even the killing of Christians; that they poisoned springs and wells in order to accomplish this; and that they used the blood of murdered Christian children in their rituals. Providing Protestant confirmation to match Catholicism's justification of much that Hitler would do to the Jews, in later life Luther
...advised the Germans to burn down the homes of Jews, to close their synagogues and schools, to confiscate their wealth, to conscript their men and women to forced labor, and to give all Jews a choice between Christianity and having their tongues torn out.4
Such extremes are not yet openly expressed among evangelicals and charismatics, and hopefully will not be in the future. Yet the above shows what anti-Semitism can develop into in the name of Christianity. Those presently speaking out against Israel carefully vent their animosity only against the Jews as a nation, while professing a love for them as individuals. Earl Paulk even writes, "I have no disagreement with any who teach that national Israel is important to the fulfillment of end-time prophecy." He says this in spite of having gone on record (as quoted above and elsewhere) that the church is now Israel and that Israel has no place in prophecy.
Instead of "God is dead," we are now told that "Israel is dead." There is little difference, however, in the two attitudes, since He is so often identified as "the God of Israel." David Chilton's Days of Vengeanceattempts to justify the astonishing reconstructionist/kingdom/dominion thesis that Israel was "excommunicated" by God in a.d.70 when the armies of Titus destroyed Jerusalem.6 Under the title, "The Church Is Israel-A Vital Teaching," McKeever has written,
We love the Hebrews who the nation of Israel. We support them and thank God for such an ally in the Mideast. However, the Lord has shown us clearly that in no way are they IsraelIsrael is composed of all believers in Jesus Christ.
It is vitally important for the body of Christ to realize that they are Israel and that the unfulfilled prophecies concerning Israel are theirs to participate in.7
Speaking in Oklahoma City on April 11, 1988, Rick Godwin, a long-time associate of James Robison and popular speaker on Christian media, delivered the type of anti-Israel rhetoric that is becoming so typical in charismatic circles: "They are not chosen, they are cursed! They are not blessed, they are cursed!...Yes, and you hear Jerry Falwell and everybody else say the reason America's great is because America's blessed Israel. They sure have. Which IsraelThe Israel—the church. ...That's the Israel of God, not that garlic one over on the Mediterranean Sea!"8 Earl Paulk's criticism of national Israel and those who look favorably upon her includes the ultimate accusation:
The hour has come for us to know...that the spirit of the antichrist is now at work in the world...[through] so-called Holy Spirit-filled teachers who say, "If you bless national Israel, God will bless you."
Not only is this blatantly deceptive, it is not part of the new covenant at all!9
Paulk and Godwin were recently lauded and endorsed by Paul and Jan Crouch as guests on their internationally televised TBN "Praise The Lord" show. Paul asked Paulk some of the questions that critics have raised, and the latter did a masterful job of sidestepping the issues and presenting himself as not claiming that the church is Israel (in spite of the quotes above), as not rejecting the Rapture (in spite of having written entire books against it), and other such deceit. Paul and Jan have now added Earl Paulk to their whitewash of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland and Robert Schuller. They endorsed him enthusiastically, promoted his latest two books (and by implication all of his other writings), and, addressing Hal Lindsey and Dave Hunt directly (in case they were watching out there somewhere), asked them if they had heard Paulk's answers and promised to give them a copy of his newest book, which would correct their false ideas.
If we are to believe the leaders in this "church-is-Israel" movement, then one of the greatest events in the history of the world—the return of the Jewish people to their own land and the rebirth of Israel in 1948—is a freak accident with no significance. On the other hand, if this astonishing occurrence of undeniably great importance is, in fact, the fulfillment of biblical prophecies that the church has so long believed it to be, then here is an indisputable modern miracle of international prominence to which Christians can point—an event which gives irrefutable validity to the Word of God. "The-church-is-Israel" advocates would rob the church of the most convincing available witness to God's existence, righteous judgment and faithfulness: the remarkable history of the Jewish people, their prophecy-fulfilling odyssey and return to their historic homeland, and the prophesied climactic future events yet to occur there.
The rejection of Israel is essential to the unbiblical Reconstruction/Kingdom/Dominion teaching that a Christian elite has a mandate to take over the world and set up the Kingdom, (a theocracy), as a condition of Christ's return. Only Jesus Christ himself can be trusted with such power. That is why it is so distressing to hear the Paulks, Norths, et al. laying claim to this absolute theocratic power in Christ's name. This is but one of many reasons why King Jesus himself must set up His kingdom and personally rule over it—a teaching increasingly rejected in the church today. C.S. Lewis said it well:
I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to the rulers and to the subjects.
Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant, a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point be sated; and since he dimly knows he is going wrong he may possibly repent.
But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely, because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.10
Whether men are ready to admit it or not, the only choice is really between Christ and Antichrist. Nothing less than an absolutist theocracy will hold in check the evil and bring about the radical solution which the world's ills require. World events point inexorably to the establishment of such a regime. It will either be under the false world religion of Satan and his personal incarnation, or under the truth of God and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. No mere man could qualify, all of the good intentions of COR and the Reconstructionists and assorted other dominionists notwithstanding.
It is quite clear from Luke:24:47-48 and other passages that the disciples were not expected to inaugurate the Kingdom but to be witnesses concerning the King and His future coming. There will be no kingdom of God without the King present and ruling in power. All Christians admit this to be the case when it comes to the spiritual kingdom in our hearts—Christ must reign there. The same is true of the outward manifestation of His kingdom upon earth during the Millennium—He must personally reign there as well.
Currents of change are sweeping through the world and the church. In the crucial days ahead, the evangelical church could well suffer a division over the Rapture and the related issue of Israel comparable to that experienced by the Catholic Church as a result of the Reformation in the 1500's. Nor would it be surprising if, as a result, in the cause of "unity," the larger faction in Protestantism moved much closer to ecumenical union with Catholicism, which not only has been traditionally anti-Semitic but discarded the Rapture about 1,600 years ago.
Please do not rest with taking my word for what I say. Check it out for yourselves. Be students of God's Word, lovers of truth, and prayer warriors!   TBC
  1. Earl Paulk, The Handwriting on the Wall (booklet self-published by Paulk's Chapel Hill Harvester Church, Decatur, GA 30034), 17,19-20.
  2. Letter to Peter Lalonde, dated April 30, 1987.
  3. Will Durant, The Reformation (Simon and Schuster, 1957), 729.
  4. Durant, op. cit., 727.
  5. Paulk, Thy Kingdom Come (Nov. 1987), 4.
  6. Chilton, Days of Vengeance, 443, etc.
  7. End-Times News Digest (James McKeever Ministries Newsletter, Dec. 1987), 3.
  8. Rick Godwin, "Rick Godwin No. 2" audio tape (Sunday evening sermon at Metro Church, Edmond, OK, April 11, 1988).
  9. Handwriting, 17,19-20.
  10. C.S. Lewis, "A Reply to Professor Haldane," in Of Other Worlds (Harcourt, Brace, World, 1967), 81.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Guest Post: Reconciliation

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight...
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians:5:18-20
There are a number of things that God our Creator desires for His created humanity, and certainly at the top of that list is reconciliation. First and foremost, He wants His created beings, all of whom have been separated from Him through sin, to be brought into fellowship with Him. That separation began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The penalty was death (Gen:2:17)—spiritual death, immediately, and physical death, eventually. In both cases death involved eternal separation (Mt 25:41).
Scripture tells us that all have sinned, a fact that no one can honestly deny, although the attempts are widespread. Yet the Bible reveals mankind’s condition with absolute clarity: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom:5:12); “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom:3:23). The consequences of sin are likewise given: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa:59:2).
The penalty for sin is eternal, therefore the reconciliation must be eternal: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb:9:12). Reconciliation with humanity’s Creator is impossible for a man or a woman to achieve through his or her own efforts. Why? Divine justice demands that the penalty must be paid and the penalty is infinite—endless. Finite humanity itself cannot bring about reconciliation by satisfying divine justice because the punishment is without end, i.e., “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess 1:8-9). What is impossible for man, however, is possible for God (Mk 10:27).
Jesus, who is God, and who became a man—a perfect, sinless man—could (and did) pay the eternal penalty for all of mankind. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn:2:2). “But we see Jesus…that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man”
(Heb:2:9). As God, He could experience and pay that eternal penalty; as Man, He could die physically—all of which He did on the cross. Although His complete payment for the sins of humanity is beyond our ability to comprehend, Scripture proves that the reality of His atonement is undeniable. Christ’s final words as He hung on the cross are both clear and certain: “It is finished.”
The Greek term used for “finished” is tetelestai. One lexicon explains: “The word tetelestai was also written on business documents or receipts in New Testament times to show that a bill had been paid in full…. The connection between receipts and what Christ accomplished would have been quite clear to John’s Greek-speaking readership; it would be unmistakable that Jesus Christ had died to pay for their sins” (
Christ’s sacrifice for all has only one requirement in order to bring about reconciliation between God and every human being. His death, burial, and resurrection according to the Scriptures must be believed and received as Christ’s payment for a person’s sins. Faith alone brings about God’s free gift of salvation, and anything added to that is a rejection of Christ’s unfathomable gift that brings about reconciliation.
As I said, being reconciled to God is first and foremost. What then of reconciliation in our personal lives with others once the “first and foremost” takes place? “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor:5:18). That ministry, which all believers have been given, has to do with simply explaining the good news of the gospel to everyone with whom God provides the opportunity. Sharing the good news of the gift of eternal life that we have freely received should be one of the easiest things for Christians to do but, sadly, too many believers are reluctant to do it. There’s another aspect of reconciliation that some Christians find terribly difficult, and it has to do with our
personal relationships.
Scripture gives us instructions and commands regarding how we, as believers, are to effect reconciliation in our relationships. Matthew:5:23-24 gives us a sense of the priority of personal reconciliation with others before God: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” It seems that God won’t accept one’s service to Him when we are at the same time disobedient to His commands.
Obviously, reconciliation between individuals is very important to God and examples are found throughout the Bible. The brothers Jacob and Esau were reconciled (Gen:33:4). After terrorizing believers, Saul, aka Paul, was accepted by those Christians whom he had terrorized! The Corinthians separated themselves from the young man who had his father’s wife, but after he repented he was reconciled to them. Regarding that situation, Paul wrote: “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow” (2 Cor:2:6-7). Paul’s letter to Philemon consists primarily of his exhortation to receive back his escaped slave Onesimus. Paul himself had issues with John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas, which caused Paul to separate himself from him. However, those issues must have been resolved, for Paul later declared, “Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Tim:4:11).
Perhaps the greatest obstacle to reconciliation among believers is reluctance, even refusal, to forgive an offending individual. That’s why the Lord, knowing the heart of man, underscores the necessity of forgiveness throughout the Scriptures: “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven” (Mt 18:21-22); “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mk 11:25-26).
So what are the factors that prevent us from obeying the commands of God’s Word? Pride…self…our old nature…to name a few. Because pride is a major factor, it keeps us from availing ourselves of God’s grace, because “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Pet:5:5).
Who is ever eager to admit that he or she is to blame—or willing to reconcile when not guilty? All of the things that keep us from reconciling with others can be overcome by simply doing what the Scriptures tell us to do. If we’re willing to do things God’s way, He’ll enable us to obey Him. If that sounds too simple, let’s consider a few ideas that might help a person to turn from his own way to God’s way. Although those justifications shouldn’t be necessary, the examples are much like the deterrents listed in the Bible itself, warning readers of the dire consequences of disobedience.
Just what is to be gained by being unwilling to reconcile or forgive? Nothing good! It’s all about self. But pride blinds one to the fact that unwillingness to forgive is self-destructive. Rarely does it have an effect on the person against whom the grudge is held. For many who refuse to reconcile, it conjures up feelings that feed their prideful sense of superiority. Yet Proverbs:12:1 calls the person who rejects biblical instruction and correction brutish, or stupid. Furthermore, the longer that such feelings are sustained, the easier it will be for a root of bitterness to take hold. At the very least, a bad attitude will prevail, affecting others, especially the family members who have to live with the individual. So we see that nothing is gained, but much is lost.
Worst of all, refusing to reconcile injures a believer’s relationship with the Lord. God certainly does not change or go back on His declaration that He will never leave nor forsake a believer (Heb:13:5), but those who disobey God will hardly draw closer to Him! By choosing their own way, they’re in the process of drifting away from Him (Heb:2:1Rev:2:4), or worse. Verses such as Ephesians:4:32 and Colossians:3:12-13 are not suggestions but rather commands that must be obeyed: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Those who claim to be believers but refuse to comply need to take to heart the admonition given by Jesus: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Lk 6:46).
Throughout the Word of God believers are exhorted to deny themselves, putting Christ first and then others: “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor:5:14-15); “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself” (Rom:15:2-3); Love “seeketh not her own” (1 Cor:13:5); “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph:4:1-3). An unforgiving heart stands in direct opposition to those verses and many more.
In my four decades of being a biblical Christian, I had to learn about reconciliation the hard way, which meant through my own experiences rather than by simply obeying what the Scriptures clearly present. I lost a number of friends during that time for a number of reasons, whether through what I did, or said, or wrote. Early on, my approach was to engage them in communication, mostly to defend myself, regardless of whether or not I was at fault. That attitude never brought about reconciliation, even when I made my case using scriptural support. More often than not, it worsened the relationship.
So what did I learn? I needed to do what the Word of God commanded. When convicted of my own wrong in a situation, I needed to repent of whatever it was and try to make amends. What about when I wasn’t at fault, or when I was biblically correct in what I had written, but a brother took offense? I would often respond in order to better explain my point of view or to clarify what I had written that would provide a better understanding. It appeared to be the right thing to do, as long as I could make reconciliation my goal rather than my defense of myself. But even when I did what I could to reconcile, rarely did my attempts meet with success, at least for a while.
What I learned over the years helped, however. First of all, it takes two to reconcile. Both parties must be willing to obey the Bible’s teachings and do things God’s way, which may involve the instructions found in Matthew 18. If, however, I’m willing but the other person is not, we can’t be reconciled. That doesn’t excuse me from doing all I can to obey God’s Word regarding the matter. To not do so doesn’t please the Lord, nor does it help to bring about the possibility of a resolution to the situation. What I’ve also learned is that when I’ve attempted to dispute the issues of disagreement, no matter how meekly, more often than not I’ve unintentionally created obstacles that thwart resolution. The more I “debated,” the greater the disagreement seemed to grow. In other words, I realized that I was hindering what might have been an eventual reconciliation.
On the other hand, I have experienced a few truly miraculous reconciliations! How did they happen? I believe they were all helped by my getting out of the Lord’s way, meaning that I stopped defending myself. Instead, I turned the circumstances over to God, doing what His Word said, with His help, and committed those situations to continual prayer. It was the Lord who turned the hearts of those in opposition toward reconciliation, which only He could do. As it says in 2 Timothy:2:25 regarding those in opposition, “if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”
God knows everyone’s heart and what needs to be done to effect change, which only He can do. Others, however, cannot know or do anything about our hearts, but they can see how we as Christians handle things. God’s Word instructs us to “Be not wise in your own conceits,” not repaying “evil for evil,” but rather do good to others “in the sight of all men” striving to “live peaceably” (Romans:12:16-18). That’s God’s way, and anyone who wants to experience peace in his own life but has departed from God’s way must begin the reconciliation process first and foremost with Him.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Guest Post: Knowing What We Believe And Why

We’ve seen over and over that the New Testament defines and defends the true gospel and condemns all false gospels. We also can see why this is the case: the battle for souls is between God’s truth and Satan’s lie. Thus, each person’s eternal destiny depends upon what he or she believes. One cannot believe both the Truth and the lie. Even though one believes in God (who is He?) and that Christ is our Savior (what does that mean?), if God’s truth has been compromised or perverted, such a gospel doesn’t save but eternally damns those who believe it.
Why is this so? Doesn’t such condemnation seem harsh? Why is what one believes so vital? Isn’t it enough to be sincere? Yet how can one be sincere and believe Satan’s lie instead of God’s truth? Surely God has given each of us the capacity to know the difference! Thus, those who reject the Truth condemn themselves.
Among the most solemn and terrible verses in the Bible, we must include 2 Thessalonians:2:10-12. There we are told that when the Antichrist controls the earth, to all who “received not the love of the truth” God will send “a strong delusion that they should believe the lie: that they all might be damned.” Can anyone complain if God helps them to believe the very lie that they insisted upon embracing? The damned are caught in the net of their own rebellion and left for eternity with the lie they loved. How horrible! Yet how just! From such a fate Christ died to save us.
Our rebellion against the infinite God requires an infinite penalty that we as finite creatures could never pay. We would be separated from God eternally. He could not simply make a “bookkeeping entry” in heaven and forgive us, for that would violate His justice. God so loved mankind that He came down through the virgin birth and became a member of our race in order to be, on the Cross, the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Having paid the penalty in full demanded by His own justice, God can righteously forgive all who admit their guilt and accept the pardon He graciously offers.
When the Philippian jailer cried out, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”, Paul and Silas gave a simple answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts:16:31). Surely that means more than simply believing that someone called Jesus Christ existed. Who was He? Lord means “God”; Jesus means “Savior from sin”; Christ means “Messiah,” the one promised in the Scriptures. His very name indicates that He is God who became a man to die for our sins in fulfillment of what God’s prophets foretold.
The Old Testament repeatedly presents God as the only Savior. He offers to save Israel from her enemies, and he also desires to save all men, both Jews and Gentiles, from the judgment sin brings. God declares, for example, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else” (Isaiah:45:22). Thus, when Christ said that He had come “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke:19:10), He was declaring that He was God the Savior—exactly the name that the New Testament repeatedly calls both Christ and God the Father.
Paul wrote, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.” He went on to explain why they were not saved, though they had “a zeal of God”: “For they...[seeking] to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end [goal] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans:10:1-4). Despite their zeal for God, the Jews were lost because they would not come to God on His terms.
Suppose one claims to believe that Christ died for man’s sins but that one must add to their beliefs good deeds, trust in Mary to intercede, suffer in purgatory, belong to a certain church or keep certain rules or sacraments in order to be saved, or that Christ must be sacrificed again in the Mass. Is that man saved? The Bible says no. To believe that anything else is necessary for salvation is to deny that Christ paid the penalty in full, thus rejecting the gospel. How can those who trust in a church for salvationbe trusting only in Christ and His finished work? Or what about those who agree to accept some church’s interpretation of God’s Word? Can it be said that they personally know God and are believing in Him?
Many who claim to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” have attached their own meanings to the seemingly biblical words they use. Thus are manufactured the many false gospels that usually include false concepts of “Christ.” The Science of Mind cult, for example, teaches, “We do not deny the divinity of Jesus, but rather we affirm the divinity of all people....” They call Jesus a Savior, but add, “Any world teacher [Buddha, Muhammad, Freud, et al.] who helps mankind to be free from material, intellectual, or emotional bondage is a spiritual ‘savior.’” Yet Robert Schuller put a picture of Della Reese, a leader in Science of Mind, on the cover of his Possibilities magazine and featured her as a Christian.
Mormonism teaches that “God” (who has another “God” over him and so on endlessly) was once a sinful man redeemed by a “Christ” on another planet. The “Christ” of our planet (Satan’s half-brother in a pre-earth spirit world) was conceived when “the God of this world” came to earth in his physical body and had sex with Mary. Mormonism’s “Christ” was not God who became man, but a spirit entity who came to earth to get a physical body so he could become a “God,” a metamorphosis that is the ambition of every Mormon male (females become goddesses). To a Mormon, eternal life is not a free gift of God’s grace but must be earned and culminates in one’s becoming a “God,” who manufactures another world with another Adam and Eve, another Satan, another fall, another Jesus, and so on, ad infinitum absurdum.
Yet Robert Schuller has Jack Anderson, a leading Mormon, as a guest on his Hour of Power and passes him off as a Christian—and our four living ex-presidents [as of 1991] and President Bush, all professing Christians, along with Billy Graham and other leaders, praise Schuller for his Hour of Power. Earl Paulk likewise calls Mormons “Christians.” The Church Council of Greater Seattle apologized to American Indians for Christianity’s opposition to traditional Native American spiritual practices (i.e., their pagan religion). The “formal apology” was read to a group of Indians by Episcopalian Bishop Robert Cochrane. Pope John Paul II has likewise endorsed the same paganism. Ecumenism is both appealing and appalling.
In Catholicism, everyone, no matter of what religion, is somehow “saved” through some mystical association with the Roman Catholic Church. Summarizing this doctrine in a popular Catholicnewspaper, Fr. Benjamin Luther writes, “The Catholic Church has not and cannot change its teaching that it is itself necessary for salvation....” This priest then goes on to explain how Catholics can, nevertheless, deny that Rome teaches that outside of her there is no salvation. One need not be a member but can be saved through “some form of participation in the life of the Church. Pope Pius XII spoke of ‘hidden bonds’ joining nonmembers [with the Church]. So, the Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and even those following the great pagan religions, such as the Hindus and Buddhists, can share in the supernatural life—and the grace—found solely within the visible boundaries of the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, through the Church alone they [all] can gain salvation” (Catholic Twin Circle, Jan. 8, 1969, p. 15). Amazing! Although opposing God’s truth and persisting in their pagan practices, all religions can be united under the Vatican! What a perfect setup for the apostate world religion under Antichrist!
St. Olaf (a Lutheran college) in Northfield, MN, features courses in Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Hinduism. Anantanand Rambachan, a Hindu scholar who has taught at St. Olaf for five years, argues that “the biggest barrier to creating understanding among the great religions is the Christian claim that there is only one way to be saved.” In agreement, Lutheran pastor Clark Morphew declares that “Worldwide religious harmony [is] hampered by ‘one way’ dogma.” Christ’s claim that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John:14:6) is brushed aside by professing Christians in the interest of “religious harmony.” Tolerance for Satan’s lie has become the one virtue! How prophetic were Gorbachev’s words: “Tolerance is the alpha and omega of the new world order.” Truth is not a factor!
With the growing apostasy and popularity of New Age ideas, of ecumenism and disdain of doctrine even among evangelicals, the distinctions between the Truth and the lie are being ignored as if what one believes makes no difference after all. Standing for truth is considered to be “negative,” and letting those who believe false gospels go to hell without telling them the truth is considered an act of “love.” After all, that’s what Mother Teresa, the ultimate exemplar of loving one’s neighbor, has been doing for decades. Rather than giving the gospel to recipients of her charity, she has encouraged Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, et al., to draw closer to their gods—and has been praised by evangelical leaders for launching those in her care from a clean bed into hell!
Souls are being lost eternally! It has never been more important than now to be ready and able “always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter:3:15). Why a reason? Because “faith” is not blind; it is not a “leap into the dark” but is based upon solid evidence. Why must there be evidence? Isn’t it enough simply to “believe”? Believe what? One would be a perverse fool to believe anything and everything. Then what and in whom is one to believe? Obviously, there must be a sound reason for believing “x” and not believing “y.”
The gospel is the “good news.” We have great news to rejoice in, to be excited and happy about, and to share gladly with others. But we must know how to explain it so that the issues are made crystal clear. We owe it to those around us to present the gospel so clearly that they have every fact necessary for making the right choice. And that includes soundly refuting Satan’s lies. As Paul exhorted Titus, “In all your teaching show the strictest regard for truth, and [for]...the seriousness of the matters you are dealing with. Your speech should be [so] logical...that your opponent may feel ashamed...” (Titus:2:7-8, Phillips trans.).
One of the greatest needs in the church today is for training in sound apologetics not only to counter atheism (which is the real “faith” of very few) but false religions, which have ensnared so many more. Why do young people so often “lose their faith” or get caught up in cults when they go off to college or university? Those who “lose” it never had genuine faith—didn’t know why and in whom they believed—or it would have stood every test.
Parents often worry that their children will be persuaded by their peers to abandon their “faith” and to indulge in evil. Peer pressure in school, however, can only destroy a faith that was itself the product of peer pressure in church or family and lacked sound reason. It may have been pressure from parents, spouse, or friends to “believe” in order to gain their approval. Or pressure from pastor or preacher to “go forward” in order to be accepted into the group and enjoy the benefits of belonging. Or it could have been the call to “come to Jesus” for the wrong reasons: perhaps for healing and prosperity instead of cleansing from sin.
Many Christians who reject the false gospel and know the truth are yet afraid to have their faith challenged by non-Christians at work or at school. We dishonor God if we fear that our faith will not survive the battle that comes from witnessing boldly for Him. As a young man at UCLA I read everything I could find written against the Bible by atheists, agnostics, or skeptics. It strengthened my faith to see what pitiful arguments they had in comparison to God’s truth! We must put what we believe to the test, especially in daily life, living triumphantly for Him rather than for self.
It isn’t how intelligent we are that counts but whether what we believe is the truth. Our Lord promised, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John:8:31-32 [emphasis added]). It is a freedom from the fear that others may embarrass us if we proclaim the gospel, with the freedom that it offers from the power of sin to deceive and attract us. What we really believe not only determines our eternal destiny but our conduct here and now. Thus, God’s truth guards us from evil.
As an 18- to 20-year-old in the armed services during World War II, I saw those around me indulge in every sin imaginable, and they tried to persuade me to join them. Yet I was never tempted even in the slightest to conform. Is that to my credit? No, for according to what I believed about the eternal consequences of such behavior I would have been a fool to join in. What you and your children will do depends upon what each one really believes.
An entire generation is being lost because a false psychological gospel of self-esteem and a lack of sound doctrinal teaching that explains why God’s way is best is robbing them of the Truth that is worth living and dying for. Let us be “lovers of truth” and effective witnesses with our lips and lives for our wonderful Savior. Be enthusiastic and bold! What good news of freedom in Christ we have to proclaim to those who are enslaved by Satan’s lies!

By Dave Hunt (First published August 1991)