Thursday, February 9, 2012

Today's Church - Fulfilling Prophecy by Edward Wood

Let me start off by defining my use of the term "church" as it
applies to this article. I am referring to "organized religion," which is not to be confused with the True Church that consists of believers in the authority of the Bible and the Jesus it reveals to us. The truth of the matter is that fewer and fewer nominally Christian churches have anything in common with the real Church. So let's take a look at what the Bible said about the general state of these churches in the Last Days of this age. In the Bible passages below, bracketed sections are added.

Revelation 3:14-18 [This is part of Jesus' message to be sent by John to the seven churches in Asia Minor, which is modern-day Turkey.] And unto the angel [messenger, either human or angelic] of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou are neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me
gold tried in fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white rainment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
There was a literal church in the city of Laodicea in the First Century A.D. as well as the six others mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. But many who study Bible Prophecy agree that in them were the characteristics which would predominate at different times of history, even though it is altogether possible than any specific church could have multiple characteristics, be they good or bad.
What is significant for us in this essay are the characteristics of the last, the one of Laodicea and how it so greatly resembles the state of the church right now. Most now have a similar preoccupation with worldly goods, accompanied by a spiritual blindness, which renders them incapable of recognizing good or evil, along with a corresponding lack of conviction or willingness to make a stand for the true Jesus.
Here are the warnings from Jesus himself of what Christians would face.  Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Matthew 24:4-5  And Jesus answered and said unto them: Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
This activity is to increase:
Matthew 24:11, 24-26 And many false prophets shall rise and deceive many . . . .For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto , Behold he is in the desert; go not forth: behold he is in the secret chambers' believe it not.
Backing up these prophecies (not that Jesus' own words require confirmation!) are other passages nevertheless. Below we will look at just a few.
From Paul to his young protégé Timothy we have: 1 Timothy 4:1-5
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times [last days] some shall depart the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and the doctrines of devils Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their consciences seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and
commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with Thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

2 Timothy 4:3-4  For the time will come when they [the people] will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned to fables.

Now let's look as some specifics.
For, but not exclusively limited to, Roman Catholicism, for example, there are mandates for the clergy to be unmarried. But what does the Bible say?
1 Timothy 3:1-2,12 [Paul wrote] This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of bishop ["overseer," which was at that time also the same as a "presbyter" or "priest" meaning ordained elder] he desireth a good work. A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach . . . . Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
In the Roman Catholic Church permanent deacons can be married but transitional ones who are to become priests may not.
There is also the concept of "papal infallibility" when the pope is speaking on matters of doctrine. Again, let us see what Paul had to say on that:
1 Corinthians 13:9,12 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part . . . For now we see through a glass darkly; but then [in the life to come] face to face [with God]:  now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 
If a giant of the faith like Paul, who saw Jesus, admitted to having a limited understanding about God, how can any church claim its leader is omniscient in anything?
There are also denominations, including the R.C. Church, which "venerate" Mary and other saints. Though it is a good thing to use their lives as example (some of them, anyway), when this turns into praying to them, I believe the line is crossed. Here is the evidence:
Exodus 20:1-5
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy  God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house  of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make  unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven  above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the  earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the  LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon  the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

There is also the premise that church tradition is just as, if not more authoritative, than Scripture. Here is what Jesus said to the Pharisees  about doing this very thing:

Matthew 15:1-3, 7-9
Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were  of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of  the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he  answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment  of God by your tradition? . . . 
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy  of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and  honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain  they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Now I am sure I have already rustled feathers of Roman Catholics in  particular, but I am only relaying what the Bible has said on these  matters. Now it is time to deal with the errors which have become so  ingrained of much of Protestantism. Having once belonged to the Episcopal  Church (TEC)for most of my life, I will concentrate on the specific errors  which caused me to leave in dismay in 2007, because many of their false doctrines have become common in much of the Protestant world.

The following is a sampling of TEC's presiding bishop Katharine Schori's theological views which have become adopted by most of this denomination.

1) "Mother Jesus." She used this term in her sermon at her installation as  presiding bishop. Here is what Scripture says:
John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of  his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and  that believing ye might have life through his name.

There are, of course many such references to Jesus as the Son of God  and none which ever address him as the mother of anything!

2) Homosexual behavior is not a sin. She has been consistent in putting  this belief into practice by allowing active homosexuals to be ordained  as clergy and being in support of same-sex rites in TEC. But what does the  Bible say about human sexuality? Here are some examples:

Genesis 2:23-24 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of  my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave  unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Matthew 19:4-6
The Pharisees also came unto him [Jesus], tempting  him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife  for every cause?
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read,  that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And  said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave  to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no  more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let  not man put asunder.

Paul said:

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the  kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor  adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  

Nor should we ignore that the acceptance of homosexuality which was very likely a contributing factor in God's decision to destroy those  cities (Genesis chapters 18 and 19).

3) Personal or individual salvation is a "heresy." This comes from her  opening remarks at TEC's Triennial Convention on July 9, 2009. Again, she  and the Bible are at odds:

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten  Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have  everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the  world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Acts 4:5-11
And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and  elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John,  and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest,  were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the  midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the  people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts:16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light,
and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.These passages also torpedo the growing heresy of "pluralistic salvation" espoused by Schori and most of the Protestant Church today.

In this essay I have tried to present not only the evidence that the condition of our modern church is precisely what the Bible had predicted for the "end of days" times, but the specific falsehoods which have now become accepted doctrines - lying doctrines at that!

As I said earlier, I expect there will be some, perhaps many, who read this essay and not like what it has to say. The truth of the matter is that I have freely used the Bible to challenge all what I believe are serious doctrinal errors in the Western Church today. In other words, I am not making these things up and I respect people enough to tell them the truth as I believe it to be.

By all means, do NOT take my word for anything here, but, do your own research, come to your own conclusions, just as the Bereans did in the beginning of the church age with Paul and Silas:

Acts 17: 10-11
And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night
unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
These were
more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all
readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.