Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Perfect Example of an Apostate Church

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy;  having their conscience seared with a hot iron.  1 Timothy 4:2 (KJV)

I am directing this article to the American church in general and having found a perfect example of the apostasy that abounds these days, I will use The New Church (General Church of the New Jerusalem) as a glaring example.
 Their website states, “The teachings are immediately practical and deeply spiritual: It is a religion to be lived not just believed.”  “The New Church is based on the teachings of the Bible as illuminated by Emmanuel Swedenborg, an 18th century theologian and scientist.  He teaches that all people who live good lives, regardless of their religion, are welcomed into heaven.”   Well now, ain’t that just precious!
Let me first define apostasy.  It means ‘to fall away from the truth.’  An apostate is someone who once believed and then rejected the truth of God.  It is a rebellion against God because it is a rebellion against truth as found in the Word of God.   The Bible warned us that in the last days, many false teachers and prophets would rise up and pervert the truth of the gospel and these folks are a spectacular example.  This trend is very real and very dangerous!
2 Peter 2:1-3  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And as many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (KJV)
Let me share, from their website, the foundational beliefs of this so called ‘church’: 
God’s gift of salvation is a process of coming to love and want what the Lord wants.   We shouldn’t worry about whether we are ‘saved’.  There is no real ‘finish line’ to cross because we can never truly say we are done in this life, but God does ask that we keep trying.  Even angels in heaven strive and work to be better ‘people’ just as we do on earth.  Salvation is about God making us into angels, slowly, quietly.  God cares more about our freedom and happiness than our salvation.  The recipe for salvation is truth, love and work.  We need to know what He wants (word of God); we need to decide to do it (love), and then we need to do it (work).  The teaching of the New Church brings us the “good news” that we can choose to do what God wants, even when a part of us resists.  As we progress, He helps us want what He wants.  (These beliefs are straight off their website and most of it is word for word.)
Devotion of the week:  “The Lord never judges anyone except for good; for He desires to raise all into heaven…for the Lord is mercy itself and good itself, this can never condemn anyone; but it is the man who condemns himself, because he rejects good.”   Arcana Coelestia 2335:3          WHAT?! 

 Yes, let’s cherry pick out of God’s Holy Word what sounds pretty to our sinful nature and bypass all that yucky crucifixion and blood stuff that tells us the only way to salvation and God, is His Son’s death on the cross in our place.  Ah, so many scriptures…so little time!

First of all, I don’t know what Bible these paragons of the faith are using, but it isn’t the same one I read!  Because they have obviously missed several key points, I’ll start at the beginning.
Because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, mankind is cursed with a sin nature that infects every person born thus we have ALL fallen short of the glory or perfect standards of God.  We are helpless to restore the perfect relationship we enjoyed with God in the Garden of Eden.  Because God is absolutely holy, he will not tolerate any sin, however small, to be in His presence.  Sin equals an automatic death sentence, so blood must be shed.  When blood is shed and death occurs, God’s holy justice is satisfied.  Nothing less will do.  
Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (KJV)
Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls:  for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (KJV)
Now, a lot of people don’t like this side of God.  The ‘god’ they have fashioned in their mind would never judge or condemn anyone because he is a god of love and acceptance.  He is a namby-pamby wuss who is politically correct and doesn’t want anyone’s self-esteem to suffer, the poor little darlings. If that is how you view Almighty God, you only have half the story. He is also a God of perfect justice and wrath and NO one is allowed into His presence unless they are clean and sinless in His sight. How do you accomplish that?
Romans 5: 8-10 says, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (KJV)
Ephesians 2: 8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved by faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (KJV)
So, we are cleansed from sin, justified, made perfect and acceptable to God by His gift of grace in the form of Jesus’ bloody death on the cross in our place. Get that? God’s gift.  By His grace, which is undeserved favor.  Nothing we can do, no good works or charitable giving can come close to making us perfect and acceptable to God.  In fact, in Isaiah 64:6, the Bible states, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags.”  (KJV)
If we were able to erase our sin by being kind, or giving enough money to the poor, or serving in food lines, etc., then the horrific death of the Son of God on that cross was for nothing. Think about it. Jesus agreed to leave His throne and the glory of heaven to come down here, put on skin, live among us teaching and healing then allowing Himself to be falsely accused, tried, tortured and killed in the most barbaric way possible by the very creatures He created. And, of course, to prove His triumph over death and hell, He arose from the grave. So, what a slap in the face of a Holy God for us to offer our pathetically inadequate ‘ good ‘works in place of the ultimate sacrifice, the blood of His Son! How dare any of us ever do that!
Jesus paid our death sentence for us because we could never do it ourselves. We would have just gone to hell where, even the best of us deserves to be. Now, all we have to do is admit our sin, agree that we cannot save ourselves and accept the pardon Jesus paid for by simply believing (this is called faith) He is the Son of God who died in our place.
Because of our gratitude and love for God, when we accept Christ, our hearts and attitudes are changed and we want to give the rest of our lives to serve Him and tell others how they can escape hell. This is the only purpose for the good works we do.
Let’s get back to the heretical teaching of the New Church. You will remember that they say God is changing us into angels and that even the angels already in heaven are trying to be better people.
Wrong! God is Holy, remember? Nothing imperfect can be in His presence.  Luke 9:26—“For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father’s and of the holy angels.” (KJV)  They’re already holy or they wouldn’t be in God’s presence.  And NO where in the Bible does it state that we humans will become angels when we get to heaven.
I will now directly address the ‘teachers’ of this ‘church.’
 You have taken it upon yourselves to be in spiritual authority over the people in your congregation. The people who attend your services are obviously not familiar with their Bibles and they look to you for guidance and truth.
You. Are. Teaching. Them. Lies.   And you will be accountable to an Almighty God for leading them away from the eternal life provided by the cross and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. You are hiding behind your big buildings, wonderful community outreaches, huge offerings and your appearance of Godliness but you are being used by Satan to deceive those in your care. Listen Up! You are leading them straight to HELL! Their blood is on your hands.
Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7: 15-16, 19  “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruit.” “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (KJV)
Of false teachers, Jesus warned in Mark 9:42, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for  him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (KJV)  In other words, your false teaching is causing those in your congregation to miss the “good news” of the gospel, and being drowned in the sea would be far better than the punishment that awaits you.
Oh, you’re only doing the Lord’s work?  

Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7: 21-23 (KJV)   

The ONLY source for truth you can trust is the Bible, God's inspired word.
Lest anyone should be offended by my righteous indignation and call me a ‘hater’ or accuse me of judging, know that the Bible instructs Christians to call out and correct their own to prevent this kind of false teaching. If they refuse to return to the teachings of the Bible, we are to have nothing to do with them!



Cossy said...

Spot on, DW!

Anonymous said...

Spot on, DW!