Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

CBS: Republican platform to be LGBT friendlier

Saturday, July 9th, 2016


Donald Trump presidential campaign logo

COGwriter

Various ones have hope that the Republicans, including Donald Trump, will reverse the trend in the USA to support the LGBT agenda.  A report from CBS today helps explain why this seems to be a false hope:

July 9, 2016

With the Republican National Convention less than two weeks away, moderate Republicans are drafting an amendment that would soften the GOP’s official position on gays and lesbians, CBS News has learned.

The party’s official stance on LGBT issues will be debated during next week’s meeting of the RNC’s platform committee, a 112-member group of Republican activists from around the country.

Outside Republican groups have been publicly pushing the party to modify its stance on same-sex marriage for over a year, but multiple sources told CBS News that the effort has officially taken hold among a group of platform committee members who are furiously polishing their amendment ahead of the party gathering in Cleveland.

It’s unclear if Donald Trump, the party’s likely nominee, supports the changes or is actively involved in shaping the platform.

Perhaps more surprising than the effort itself is the fact that staunch social conservatives from the Midwest and South are prepared to accept rhetorical tweaks. …

But the compromise that some delegates are expecting is the addition of “equality language.”

“Equality for all people,” is how one member of the platform committee described the language to CBS News. “That would be a hard thing for Republicans not to vote for.” …

Trump has positioned himself as a pro-LGBT candidate, especially since the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando in June.

“Ask yourself who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community. Donald Trump with actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words?” Trump said after the shooting, during a speech on terrorism and national security in New Hampshire, a state that has legalized same-sex marriage.

His self-described ties to the gay community pre-date the 2016 election, by virtue of decades of socializing in celebrity circles and doing business in New York City. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/moderate-republicans-propose-softening-official-gop-position-on-lgbt/

Neither the Democrats or most Republicans seem to appreciate how dangerous the LGBT agenda is.

Consider that the Bible tells of an early event that occurred in the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah between three thousand and four thousand years ago:

24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (Genesis 19:24-25)

And why did it happen?

7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

Homosexuality is a form of sexual immorality that involves going after “strange flesh.”

Why mention this in the 21st century?

Because God turned:

6…the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6)

Thus, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were to serve as an example to those who would live as they did. Yet despite biblical warnings, many modern leaders are endorsing so-called homosexual “rights” and “same-sex marriage.” The Bible, however, warns about such leaders:

12…Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths. (Isaiah 3:12)

16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed (Isaiah 9:16).

So, leaders that ignore what the Bible teaches are leading others toward destruction.

Of course, not everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexuals as those that strictly practice that could not reproduce. Yet, notice that the destruction that hit their cities destroyed all that were there and notice that something like this is to happen again according to Jesus:

26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-29)

Various ones can pretend that increasing “homosexual rights” is acceptable, but the Bible suggests otherwise. A marriage as the above indicates, as do other scriptures (e.g. Matthew 19:4-5), is between a man and woman (for more details see God Created Marriage). Not two of the same sex.

Homosexual acts are clearly prohibited in the Bible:

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.  (Leviticus 18:22)

13 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. (Leviticus 20:13)

Those who try to claim that the Bible does not clearly condemn homosexuality are intentionally misreading what it actually teaches. The Bible prohibits and condemns homosexual behavior–the Bible calls it an abomination!

But what about just accepting the LGBT agenda and not condemning it?

Consider that the New Testament teaches:

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:22-32)

If the Republican party, like the Democratic one has already done, approves the LBGT agenda, this is not good for the USA. Accepting the LGBT agenda will NOT help ‘make America great again.’

The USA needs the Kingdom of God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Donald Trump in Prophecy Prophecy, Donald Trump? Are there prophecies that Donald Trump may fulfill? Are there any prophecies that he has already helped fulfill? Could a Donald Trump presidency be apocalyptic? A related video is titled Could Donald Trump be Apocalyptic?
Hillary Clinton in Prophecy Prophecy, Hillary Clinton? Are there prophecies that Hillary Clinton may fulfill? Are there any prophecies that she has already helped fulfill? Could Hillary Clinton be apocalyptic? Could Hillary Clinton be the final Antichrist? A video of related interest is titled Hillary Clinton and Bible Prophecy.
Should a Christian Vote? This article gives some of the Biblical rationale on this subject. Would Jesus vote for president/prime minister? Is voting in the Bible? This is a subject Christians need to understand. A video of related interest is available titled: Should Christians Vote?
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2023 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives. A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermons Why Teach the Kingdom of God? and The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? In the Spanish language check out ¿Quién es el Rey del Norte? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
European Technology and the Beast of Revelation Will the coming European Beast power would use and develop technology that will result in the taking over of the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies? Is this possible? What does the Bible teach? Here is a related YouTube video: Military Technology and the Beast of Revelation.
Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? Some claim that these passages refer to a gathering of 10 currently existing nations together, while one group teaches that this is referring to 11 nations getting together. Is that what Revelation 17:12-13 refers to? The ramifications of misunderstanding this are enormous. A related sermon is titled Ten Kings of Revelation and the Great Tribulation.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
WTO/TTIP and the Babylonian Beast Will international trade agreements like WTO/TTIP/CETA lead to the fulfillment of end time prophecies concerning the Babylonian Beast power that the Book of Revelation warns against? What does the Bible teach? A related video would be WTO Trade Deal and the Rise of the European Beast Power.
Might German Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg become the King of the North? Is the former German Defense Minister (who is also the former German Minister for Economics and Technology) one to watch? What do Catholic, Byzantine, and biblical prophecies suggest? A video of related interest would be: Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Europe’s Future.
Germany’s Assyrian Roots Throughout History Are the Germanic peoples descended from Asshur of the Bible? Have there been real Christians in Germanic history? What about the “Holy Roman Empire”? There is also a You-Tube video sermon on this titled Germany’s Biblical Origins.
Germany in Biblical Prophecy Does Assyria in the Bible equate to an end time power inhabiting the area of the old Roman Empire? What does prophecy say Germany will do and what does it say will happen to most of the German people? Here are links to two sermon videos Germany in Bible Prophecy and The Rise of the Germanic Beast Power of Prophecy.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?

Cardinal says priests should pray to the east, but what does the Bible teach?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

PRAYER Book Cover - Front Final

COGwriter

The Catholic Herald reported the following:

July 5, 2016

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, has asked priests to begin celebrating Mass ad orientem, that is, facing east rather than towards the congregation.

The proposed reform is arguably the biggest liturgical announcement since Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum gave greater freedom for priests to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.

Speaking at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London on Tuesday, the Guinean cardinal, who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, addressed priests who were present, saying: “It is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – eastwards or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes”.

The cardinal continued: “I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible.”

He said that “prudence” and catechesis would be necessary, but told pastors to have “confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people”.

“Your own pastoral judgement will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend ‘the Lord who will come’ and ‘who will not delay’.”

These words were met with prolonged applause in the conference hall.

Cardinal Sarah had spoken on previous occasions about the merits of ad orientem worship, saying that from the Offertory onwards it was “essential that the priest and faithful look together towards the east”. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/07/05/cardinal-sarah-asks-priests-to-start-celebrating-mass-facing-east-this-advent/

So, the Vatican’s ‘liturgy chief’ says it is good for its priests to pray to the east.

Perhaps he and others may wish to read that the Bible objects to this. Here are quotes from the New Jerusalem Bible, which is a Roman Catholic translation of the scriptures into the English language:

15 He said, ‘Son of man, do you see that? You will see even more loathsome things than that.’

16 He then led me to the inner court of the Temple of Yahweh. And there, at the entrance to Yahweh’s sanctuary, between the portico and the altar, there were about twenty-five men, with their backs to Yahweh’s sanctuary and their faces turned towards the east, before the rising sun. (Ezekiel 8:15-16)

So, although the Bible warns against worship towards the east and associates with sun-god worship, the Church of Rome is encouraging this.

Why might the Church of Rome be encouraging something in conflict with the Bible here?

Well, sadly, many practices associated with sun-god worship, specifically Mithraism were adopted by the Church of Rome. Mithraism had priests pray towards the sun, which in the morning meant towards the east.  Notice the following report from the Catholic scholar F. Cumont (bolding mine):

The priest was the intermediary between God and man. His functions evidently included the administration of the sacraments and the celebration of the services. The inscriptions tell us that in addition he presided at the formal dedications, or at least represented the faithful one on such an occasion along with the Fathers; but this was the least portion only of the duties he had to perform; the religious service which fell to his lot appears to have been very exacting. He doubtless was compelled to see that a perpetual fire burned upon the altars. Three times a day, at dawn, at noon, and at dusk, he addressed a prayer to the Sun, turning in the morning toward the East, at noon toward the South, at evening toward the West. The daily liturgy frequently embraced special sacrifices.

the orthodox and heretical liturgies of Christianity, which gradually sprang up during the first centuries of our era, could find abundant inspiration in the Mithraic Mysteries… it appears certain that the commemoration of the Nativity was set for the 25th of December, because it was at the winter solstice that the rebirth of the invincible god,* the Natalis invicti, was celebrated. In adopting this date, which was universally distinguished by sacred festivities, the ecclesiastical authority purified in some measure the profane usages which it could not suppress. The only domain in which we can ascertain in detail the extent to which Christianity imitated Mithraism is that of art. The Mithraic sculpture, which had been first developed, furnished the ancient Christian marble-cutters with a large number of models, which they adopted or adapted…(Cumont, pp. 166, 193,196-197).

Many of the doctrines and practices mentioned above were NOT held by the original Christians. For articles related to them, please see Do You Practice Mithraism?, Sunday and Christianity, What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?, Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?, and What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?

Even Wikipedia realizes that worship towards the east does not come from Christianity:

The practice of praying towards the East is older than Christianity (East. Wikipedia, accessed 07/06/16)

Eastern worship is condemned in the Continuing Church of God booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?:

Notice what Jesus Himself taught:

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)

Many think that it does not matter what or how they worship, only that they make some attempt.  That is not what Jesus said that the Father wants.

Jesus also taught:

8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9)

People may pray out loud or silently, but notice that they can be worshiping God in vain if they are following the imaginations of their own mind or ‘traditions’ of human beings which are contrary to God’s ways. Intentionally praying to the east (Ezekiel 8:16) and certain holidays that many who claim Christianity observe, do not come from the Bible, but from compromises with pagan “traditions of men” (see also our booklet Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?). …

While some have said that having icons around reminds them to pray, the Apostle John wrote:

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1 John 5:21).

He did not say that idols/icons should be around to encourage prayer.  The pagans did that.  And the Bible teaches that the true God does not want to be worshiped as other gods have been (Leviticus 18:24-30; Deuteronomy 12:29-31).

The Bible points to God’s throne being in the far north (Psalm 48:1,2; Job 37:22; Isaiah 14:13; Ezekiel 1:4) and when I pray, I tend to look towards the heavens to the north, presuming God’s throne is above that (cf. Isaiah 40:22).  This helps remind me that God rules the expanses of the universe (Thiel B. Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? Nazarene Books, 2015).

To learn more about what the Bible teach about prayer, check out our freeonline  booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related sermon is available and titled: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer?
What Should I Pray About? An old article by Lynn Torrance on prayer. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 我应该祷告什么?
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?

Faith for those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido.Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was their Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Peter taught many doctrines that most who claim succession through him do not

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016


Artist portrayal of the Apostle Peter preaching

COGwriter

Mike Gendron had the following in one of his newletters:

The apostle Peter played a prominent role in the early church. Soon after he abandoned his career as a fisherman to follow Christ, he became a fisher of men. Several of his sermons were recorded in the Book of Acts, and his two epistles are included in the divinely inspired Scriptures. Since Catholics have been taught that Peter was their first pope, I have developed some questions to shed some light on his theology, ecclesiology, and soteriology. All of the answers come directly from his writings and sermons…>

Peter, were you the first pope and the supreme head of the first century church?
“As a fellow elder, I exhort the elders among you… to shepherd the flock of God.” (1 Pet. 5:1-3)

Are you the rock upon which Jesus would build His church?
Jesus is “a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God, chosen and precious… The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense. They stumble because they disobey the word.” (1 Pet. 2:4,7-8)

Were you infallible?
Paul opposed me to my face because I was not in step with the truth of the Gospel.(Gal. 2:11,14)

Should we confess our sins to priests?
Repent of your wickedness and pray to God that your sins may be forgiven. (Acts 8:22)

Should we pray to Mary and the saints?
Pray to God. (Acts 8:22)

Can anyone be saved apart from the Lord Jesus Christ?
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

What would you say to Pope Francis who teaches that atheists can follow their conscience into heaven?
“There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” “The ignorant and unstable twist Paul’s letters to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” (2 Peter 2:1; 3:16)…

Is it possible for God’s grace or indulgences to be purchased for the remission of sins?
God ransoms us “not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:18-19)…

Should Jesus Christ be made a sin offering during the sacrifice of the Mass?
Christ suffered “once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18)…

Should Jesus continue to be pictured as a dead man hanging on a cross or as a baby in Mary’s arms?
The resurrected Christ has “gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” (1 Pet. 3:21-22)

What should we do in these days of great deception? Take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pet 3:17-18)

There is a profound contrast between the divinely inspired teachings of Peter and the fallible, ungodly opinions of Pope Francis. The enormous disparity between the instruction of these two men Catholics call “pope” shows how far the Roman Catholic Church has departed from the faith of the apostles. May God give us all a greater compassion for the many victims of religious deception.

Most who claim some tie to Roman Catholicism do not realize how much that church has changed. An article that documents this in great detail is available: Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?

As far as ‘apostolic succession’ goes, notice the following definition from a Roman Catholic priest and scholar:

Apostolic Succession...In its strict sense, apostolic succession refers to the doctrine by which the validity and authority of the Christian ministry is derived from the Apostles…In its broader sense, apostolic succession refers to the relationship between the Christian church today and the apostolic church of New Testament times. Thus, apostolic succession refers to the whole church insofar as it is faithful to the word, the witness, and the service of the apostolic communities. Understood in this way, the church is not simply a collectivity of individual churches; instead, it is a communion of churches whose validity is derived from the apostolic message that it professes and from the apostolic witness that it lives (McBrien R.P. Apostolic Succession. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txo/apossucc.htm 12/09/06).

In other words, according to the above priest, apostolic succession is actually related to the acceptance of the succession of biblical truth, as taught by the original apostles–spiritual apostolic succession is the most important factor to consider when it comes to the subject of apostolic succession (though the ‘laying on of hands’ is also a factor).

Jesus said:

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)

True successors of Jesus’ disciples would worship God in spirit and truth–”the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).  Yet, the Church of Rome has made many changes, including many that disagree with positions held by many it considers to be early ‘saints.’

I would add that it is not just Roman Catholics that made changes that disagree with the views of the original apostles.

Some details are in the free online booklets Continuing History of the Church of God and Where is the True Christian Church Today?

Some items to assist in your studies may include:

Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom? How should Matthew 16:18-19 be understood?
The Apostle Peter He was an original apostle and early Christian leader. Where was Peter buried? Where did Peter die?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a version in the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Feast of the Immaculate Conception? Did early Christians teach Mary had an immaculate conception and led a sinless life?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

GMO labeling: Thank you Vermont

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016


COGwriter

The State of Vermont now has a labeling requirement for foods which contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs):

Vermont becomes 1st state to label GMOs

July 3, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined other Vermont leaders Friday to celebrate the state’s newly implemented law requiring labels on genetically modified food and blast proposed federal legislation that could pre-empt the state requirement.

Vermont became the first state Friday to require the labeling of food containing GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

“Vermont had the courage to say … ‘If it’s the right thing to do, what are we waiting for,’” Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin said to cheers from a rally audience of about 150 people on the Statehouse steps.

This is fantastic news for the USA.

Much of the world already requires GMO labeling as can be seen in the chart below:


Green: Mandatory labeling required; Red: Ban on import and cultivation of genetically engineered food

Finally, a part of the USA also has a requirement to tell the truth about foods. It turned its back on Monsanto agriculture to allow its residents be able to make an informed choice.  Thank you Vermont.

Perhaps this will set a trend in the USA.

However, it is not likely that this will be enough to eliminate the massive threat to the food supply that GMOs pose to the USA.

Last century, I started to get published for my positions against genetically-modified foods (Thiel R. Labeling of genetically modified foods should be a fundamental consumer right. HealthKeepers, 2000; 2 (3):16-19; Thiel R. ANMA’s official position on genetically-modified foods. ANMA Monitor, 1999;3(4)5-8). And since then, more and more information has come to light suggesting dangers to the environment and health related to GMOs.

Furthermore, over six  years ago, I warned:

In the “Great Depression” most Americans and Brits had skills in growing food. This is no longer the case. Furthermore, modern crops have gotten more complicated as so many seeds are hybrids that they will not actually grow the type of foods most in the USA and UK are used to having. The coming food problems will also get worse once one or more genetically-modified crops suffers from some type of pestilence. The USA, to cite one example, could lose virtually all of its wheat or corn because of the dependence on genetically modified versions (which is especially true for crops like corn and soy). Prophecy for famines will be fulfilled (Matthew 24:7-8). (From China Buying USA Food, In Depression Will Chinese Eat While Americans & Brits Starve? May 21, 2010)

Notice something that Ezekiel was inspired to write:

15 ‘So it shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the Lord, have spoken. 16 When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread. 17 So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the Lord, have spoken.’” (Ezekiel 5:15-17)

Notice that this shows famine, then pestilence, and then the sword. The above sequence seems to be slightly different than that Jesus listed as part of the “beginning of sorrows” (Mathew 24:7-8) as the sword comes afterwards. But since the sword should begin the Great Tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), this may be part of how the beginning of sorrows ties into the Great Tribulation–this also may suggest hunger and disease problems for the Anglo-nations prior to the start of the Great Tribulation.

The increasing use of genetically modified organisms for many of the grain crops in the USA is putting parts of humanity at major increased risk of unintended consequences such as famine and disease pestilences. Most of the corn and soy beans produced in the USA are genetically-modified. Soon, much of the wheat will be. Directly and indirectly, the USA and its Anglo-allies will cause most of the problems that it will be experiencing in the next several years.

As Jesus said:

37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch! (Mark 13:36-37)

Tougher times are coming. And for some parts of the world these tougher time may be here now. People who can prepare, should: both spiritually and physically. (From Super Wheat: Solution or Disaster Awaiting? June 10, 2011)

So, it may be that the Anglo-nations will experience some real hunger as well as disease and/or other pestilences (that could possibly at least partially be triggered by excessive reliance on genetically-modified organisms as part of their agricultural production) that will weaken them enough so that the USA and its Anglo-allies will then be considered attackable by some of their enemies…

Because of sin, greed, and ignorance, America has been into producing genetically-modified foods. These “foods” are genetically identical which makes them susceptible to total elimination via famine-causing pestilential organisms. I have long suspected that the time will come when some type of pestilence will hit America’s genetically-modified grain crops like corn and wreak havoc on the land. Enough so, that this may embolden its enemies to attack Britain and/or the USA to begin the Great Tribulation.

Basically, I have long suspected that likely crop failures associated with GMO grains are putting the USA and its Anglo-allies at extreme risk of being destroyed. Most Americans do not like to accept this, but it is nonetheless true. The USA keeps developing more and more genetically-modified ‘foods.’ This is not good.

The time is coming when the USA will have severe food shortages. And at that same time, the USA may have to provide grain to China and other creditors that it owes when some Americans will be starving. The reliance on genetically-modified grain crops will likely contribute to disaster in the USA. It may even contribute to food inflation.

The step in Vermont is a good one, but is not likely to stop the increased dependence in the USA on genetically-engineered crops.

The Europeans are not near the risk for this, even though the USA has pressed them to accept GMOs (see TTIP: The USA hopes to crush Europe with GMOs?). The Europeans are also at less risk because of their animal husbandry practices (watch Are Americans & Asians setting themselves up for destruction from antibiotic use?).

Thousands of years ago, God inspired one of his prophets to pen the following, which encourages people to eat what is good:

2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. (Isaiah 55:2)

Intentionally eating GMOs, in my view, is not good (though in the USA completely avoiding all of them is close to impossible). Furthermore, as science disregards God, they are also creating living organisms that combine DNA from animals and even humans together.

This is not good and is an indication that many leaders in the world have truly lost many semblances of morality.  So, I applaud Vermont for at least allowing its residents to know what foods have been genetically-altered.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

GMOs and Bible Prophecy What are GMOs? Since they were not in the food supply until 1994, how could they possibly relate to Bible prophecy? Do GMOs put the USA and others at risk? Here is a related YouTube video GMO Risks and the Bible.
Chimeras: Has Science Crossed the Line? What are chimeras? Has science crossed the line? Does the Bible give any clues?
Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians. We all know the Bible prophecies famines. Should we do something? Here is a version in the Spanish language Escrituras sobre Preparación física para los Cristianos.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Reasons why Barack Obama is apocalyptic and reasons why Barack Obama is not the Antichrist. This article includes many biblical and non-biblical prophecies, from around the world, that seem to discuss Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist? Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests? Read it and decide for yourself if President Obama seems to be fulfilling various prophecies. Watch also the YouTube Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?

Sermon: Christians and the Environment

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016


COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:


1:11:07

Christians and the Environment

How should Christians view the environment? Does the Bible give any clues? Did God make the earth good? Does the Bible give clues to prevent environmental problems? What are some of the effects of air, water, and land pollution? What will happen to the earth? How will Christians be involved? Does the Bible have warnings for those that are destroying the Earth?Dr. Thiel addresses these and other points.

Here is a link to the sermon:  Christians and the Environment.

Some items of related interest may include:

The Bible, Christians, and the Environment How should Christians view the environment? Does the Bible give any clues? What are some of the effects of air, water, and land pollution? Is environmental pollution a factor in autism and death? Do pollutants seem to double the autism risk? What will Jesus do? A YouTube video is available titled Air Pollution, Autism, and Prophecy.
Weather Blessings and Sorrows Are weather problems a warning? What should be done? What does the Bible teach about weather? What about floods, droughts, heat, earthquakes, tornadoes, and solar storms? Here is a related YouTube video Does God Use Weather? A related item in the Spanish language would be Bendiciones y maldiciones del clima.
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? Two related videos include UN’s ‘New Universal Agenda’ is a False Gospel! and United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical is titled ‘Laudato Si.’ In it, he goes over his views related to environmental, economic, social, moral, agricultural, and spiritual issues. He advocates international cooperation to solve various problems he believes are affecting humanity. Is that Pope’s agenda the solution? What about the Kingdom of God? does the Bible teach? Two related articles include Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? and Laudato Si: A call for a one-world government?
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Where the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long? Here is a link to a sermon: Genesis, ‘Prehistoric man,’ and the Gap theory. Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cuán vieja es la Tierra? ¿Cuán largos fueron los Días de la Creación? ¿Teoría de la brecha?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 202x or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Record breaking ‘pride’ parade and what really is the monument to homosexuality?

Monday, June 27th, 2016


The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

COGwriter

To close out the last weekend of the so called ‘Gay Pride Month,’ there was a record breaking ‘pride’ parade in New York City:

New York Pride March

NEW YORK—“We are Orlando!” exclaimed the master of ceremonies, draped in U.S. stars and stripes, at the start of New York’s 46th annual Pride march.

The LGBT celebration, which extended more than 30 blocks along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Sunday, attracted a record breaking 32,000 marchers, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, civil rights leader Al Sharpton, and a surprise guest: presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. http://www.voanews.com/content/new-york-lgbt-pride-march/3393354.html

Yesterday, I heard a woman who attended the above parade make the following statement on national radio:

I am a homosexual girl.  I need everyone’s acceptance.

Well, she will not get it. Her lifestyle choice is wrong.

The Bible clearly teaches that it is, and the Bible also teaches that acceptance of this behavior is also wrong:

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:26-32)

People should not act like homosexuality is an acceptable behavior.  It is not.

Yet, the President of the USA took steps to make homosexual ‘rights’ a subject of national ‘pride.’ Here is something from a few days ago:

June 24, 2016

The Stonewall Inn has stood witness to countless events of pride and pain, of joy and sorrow, with plenty of dancing and drinking to keep it all going. Today, it gets another distinction as it becomes the anchor for the first national monument dedicated to the struggle for gay rights.

President Barack Obama declared the bar on Christopher Street in the West Village, where 47 years ago police mounted a raid and a diverse group of LGBT patrons fought back, and its surrounding area to be a protected National Park Service spot. The actual monument covers a 7.7-acre area that includes the bar, which remains a private business, as well as a broader section around Christopher Street and 7th Avenue, which was the heart of the city’s gay community for decades. http://www.bizjournals.com/newyork/news/2016/06/24/gay-pride-2016-obama-gives-stonewall-inn-national.html

As far as a ‘monument’ for homosexuality, consider that is what the memories of Sodom and Gomorrah are according to the Bible.

The Bible tells of destruction that occurred in the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah between three thousand and four thousand years ago:

24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (Genesis 19:24-25)

And why did it happen?

7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

Homosexuality is a form of sexual immorality that involves going after “strange flesh.” That is why those towns were destroyed.

Why mention this in the 21st century?

Because God turned:

6…the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6)

Thus, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was to serve as an example to those who would live as they did. Yet despite biblical warnings, many modern leaders are endorsing so-called homosexual “rights.” The Bible, however, warns about such leaders:

12…Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths. (Isaiah 3:12)

16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed (Isaiah 9:16).

So, leaders that ignore what the Bible teaches are leading others toward destruction.

The Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong and is dangerous (for more scriptures, check out the article The Bible Condemns Homosexuality).

Early Christian leaders who lived after the Bible was written, like Polycarp of Smyrna and Melito of Sardis, also condemned illicit sexual behaviors including homosexuality:

Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory …For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit; ” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

53. But in addition to this there were to be found among men many things still more monstrous and terrifying and brutal: father cohabits with his child, and son and with his mother, and brother with sister, and male with male, and each man lusting after the wife of his neighbor. (Melito’s Homily on the Passover)

Real Christianity does not approve of homosexuality.

Yes, there are some Protestant and other leaders who claim otherwise, but that is because they do not wish to accept what the Bible actually teaches on the subject.  More wrong arguments from Protestant leaders are dealt with in the video sermon: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?

Sodom and Gomorrah are God’s monuments to the homosexual movement. And He does not want people to have ‘pride parades’ indicating that homosexuality is acceptable to Him.

Having record homosexual pride parades does not bode well for the USA.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Can homosexuals change? A sermon of related interest is titled What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There is also a YouTube video on this, titled Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children.
Weather Blessings and Sorrows Are weather problems a warning? What should be done? What does the Bible teach about weather? What about floods, droughts, heat, earthquakes, tornadoes, and solar storms? Here is a related YouTube video Does God Use Weather? A related item in the Spanish language would be Bendiciones y maldiciones del clima.
Love, Marriage, and Sex It is important to get them in the right order.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
Abortion, the Bible, and a Woman’s Right to Choose Do you know what the Bible teaches on this? Has the Roman Catholic Church allowed abortions? What about the real Church of God? Some may also, or instead, wish to view the YouTube video Abortion, the Bible, and US Debt.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
British and American Moral Decay Public nudity is becoming more prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon lands. What are some of the consequences?
Can those in the USA/UK see the Handwriting on the Wall? Is everything fine in the USA/UK or is it like the days of Noah? Can we learn from the handwriting that appeared on a wall thousands of years ago? Here is a link to a related YouTube video Can you see the ‘Handwriting on the Wall’?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives. A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?
Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States This is a 200 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Hillary Clinton and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also discusses Republicans. The physical book can be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States, 2nd edition: Is Hillary Clinton Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Hopi, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Donald Trump? $11.99.
Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Amazon 2nd Kindle edition This electronic version of the 200 page print edition is available for only US$3.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Amazon 2nd Kindle edition.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Edition for Second Obama Term This is a 160 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Barack Obama and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled (which the book documents in detail) and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also has a chapter about a Republican choice. This book is available to order at www.barackobamaprophecy.com. The physical book can also be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Barack Obama Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Kenyan, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Republican Leaders? Second Edition for Second Obama Term.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition.

Shepherd’s Voice on certain consequences of sexual immorality

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

COGwriter

Norman Edwards has the following in an edition of Shepherd’s Voice magazine:

This is the first commandment God gave to Adam and Eve:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:24-25).

Mankind has, to a large degree, obeyed this command through the centuries, though too often out of order. Today, it is common for young people to do it backwards: get naked and have sex (“one flesh”), then think about getting married and/or being able to afford to leave mother and father. Such a practice is absolutely devastating to family and future. But it essentially taught in most public schools. Most secular counselors today teach sex between consenting adults (and maybe teens) is fine as long as love is involved. But what does God say?

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Ob – scene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes — these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do (Ephesians 5:1-7, NLT).

The goal of public school sex education is to help teens make “informed choices” and practice “safe sex”—avoiding diseases and unwanted pregnancy. But after decades of that kind of education, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention tells us there are still 110 million Americans with Sexually Transmissible Infections. Also, in round numbers, there are about 2 million unwanted babies born in the USA each year. Half of them are aborted, the other half are raised by somebody who may or may not love them: maybe both parents, but more likely one parent, a grand parent, a friend, a foster family or a combination of the above.

The Tough Lessons of Reality

These unplanned children are the focal point of family fights, custody battles, child support cases, abuse, government assistance cases, and so many other things that make their lives and our lives unhappy. This writer has worked in a ministry to homeless people for the past four years and has experience first-hand the children—some now adults—who grew up knowing they were unwanted by one or both parents.

In our brief experience helping homeless single women with unplanned pregnancies, we have experienced nearly the full spectrum of difficulties: The mother wants to keep her baby and her family wants him (babies are “him” for clarity) aborted. Her family wants the baby but her mother wants him aborted. The mother wants the baby and the father does not—and vice versa. A women wants a baby so bad they are willing to get pregnant by almost anyone—because she wants someone to love and hopes the baby will love her. The mother wants a baby to get his government assistance and child support. A woman wants a baby, but frequently leaves him with family and friends for extended periods of time— sometimes without warning. Some men do not care about child support because they never planned to work. Our courts often do become wise to these situations and terminate current and future parental rights to these irresponsible parents.

We have known people who told partners they were infertile so that they could have unprotected sex—but were actually lying. Our homeless ministry once housed three women who were all told a similar story by the same man—and who had all gotten pregnant by him. On the opposite side, we have seen women claim to be pregnant when they were not—either hoping a man would marry her thinking she had his baby, or simply because others would give things to a poor single mom. All of these lies just make it more difficult for people to practice the truth of God and to care for the real babies and mothers who honestly want help, and who often got into such a mess without knowing what they are doing. Indeed, some of them grew up with their parents frequently lying to them and having sex with whoever was convenient at the moment.

Men have long-term consequences as well as women. Once a court orders a man to pay child support, if he gets behind in his payments, he is likely to have his wages or bank account garnished or his driver’s license suspended—anywhere in the country. This is in some ways like the biblical requirement for a single man who has sex with a single women—me must pay the “bride price” no matter what, but the woman’s father can refuse him as a husband (Ex 22:16- 17). Needless to say, immoral men who are able to earn a good living do not like the prospect of paying child support for 18 years to someone they do not really care about.

One future-thinking immoral man we knew, when a girl friend told him she was pregnant by him, committed a burglary and used the proceeds to pay for their baby’s abortion. He was sentenced to a couple years in prison for the burglary, but the abortion was legal. Another woman who previously stayed with us had an immoral boyfriend who was not so future-thinking. She obtained court- ordered child support, so he moved to another state hoping to avoid it. When back child support payments caught up with him, his solution was to come back and kill their baby. He is now doing a life sentence in prison. This is just part of the mess that grows out of unmarried sex. Our nation, legislature and our courts will some day be judged for telling our mothers and fathers it is all right to kill their babies—as long as they do it before they are born. But so many young people simply do not think about any of these complications when they want sex without commitment.

Almost as sad, are some of the parents who decide to keep and love their unplanned children, but simply are not able to. Some of them have so little knowledge of the things they need: how to build good relationship, why a lifelong marriage is important, how to get a job, how to work hard at a job, how to keep their home organized, how to teach and train a child, etc. Most of them are running on the media’s teaching that sex and relationships are fun, and the “sex education” they had in high school.

Sex education teaches “informed choices”, but sometimes all of the choices are bad. A parent with an unwanted child is often left to choose between:

1) Abort (kill) the baby.
2) Raise the baby knowing one or more people will likely be forever angry at the baby (because of child support payments or because the baby will remind them of someone’s illegitimate sex).
3) Put the baby up for adoption (which may be a disaster for the parent who loves the baby—and a future nightmare when the child later decides to find out who are his or her real parents and who abandoned him or her).

The “sex education” method to prevent this problem is to better educate them to practice “safe sex”. But that goes against the nature of sex. It is so powerful; it is so emotional. When sex is awesome, one’s logical processes give way to one’s passion. And that is good. People should experience sex to the fullest. God said it was very good (Genesis 1:31). But that is why He said sex belongs in marriage—where there are loving, committed parents to raise any babies that come along— planned or not. But when sex is outside of marriage, when powerful passions cause people not to remember the pregnancy prevention they learned in high school, the result is millions of unplanned pregnancies and STIs. Sure, there are many birth control methods that boast over 95% effectiveness. This writer has met individuals who claimed to have gotten pregnant while using nearly every one of the different available “foolproof” methods.

Even if sex education programs had 10 times the budget and could become 10 times as effective, they would still be failures. 11 million Americans with STD’s and 200,000 unwanted babies born every year would still be way too many.

Many of those stories Norman Edwards relates are heartbreaking.

All need to heed the following from the Apostle Paul:

13 Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body… 1 Corinthians 6:18

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:13,18; KJV)

8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:8-13)

Jesus taught:

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

10 I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

The body and mind are not for fornication. That is a way that leads to misery and destruction.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Love, Marriage, and Sex It is important to get them in the right order.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? A related sermons is titled: Pornography, False Comfort, and False Religion. Here a shorter YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
Ashley Madison: Your Sins Will Find You Out A website promoting ‘secret’ affairs (adultery and fornication) was hacked. This video discusses some of the Bible’s perspectives on that.
Making Your Marriage Work Marriage is not also easy, but it pictures a divine relationship. How can you make your marriage work? Here is a link to the video sermon: You Can Make YOUR Marriage Work.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
British and American Moral Decay Public nudity is becoming more prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon lands. What are some of the consequences?to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
Can those in the USA/UK see the Handwriting on the Wall? Is everything fine in the USA/UK or is it like the days of Noah? Can we learn from the handwriting that appeared on a wall thousands of years ago? Here is a link to a related YouTube video Can you see the ‘Handwriting on the Wall’?

Do you understand your destiny?

Friday, June 24th, 2016

COGwriter

What is your destiny? Are you to rule the universe as a deified being with God? Might God’s plan include YOU?

A Church of God doctrine that many Protestant seem to indicate identifies a group as a “cult” is the teaching that Christians are to become deified. Or worded another way, Christians are to become God.

Although this belief is often considered to be “unorthodox” and outside of “mainstream Christianity,” it probably should be pointed out that the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches this doctrine (and there are around 200-300 million of them), so the term “unorthodox” seems not to fit (the Catholics of Rome and certain others also teach versions of it).

The reality is that both the Bible and writings of early professors of Christ demonstrate that the idea that Jesus became human so that humans could become part of the family of God is not new nor “unorthodox.” However, since most who claim to be Christian are not familiar with most of the early writings, they simply do not realize that deification is not an “unorthodox” view and it was held by many.

This brief article will attempt to provide documented proof that this deification is both biblical and historical and is the intended destiny for converted Christians (you can also watch the video titled What is Your Destiny?).

Does the Bible Teach That Humans Will Become Part of the Family of God?

Jesus taught deification:

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ‘? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? (John 10:34-36, NKJV throughout except if otherwise noted).

And this was not only referring to His deification as He quoted from Psalm 82:6 which also is in the plural:

6 I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High…” (Psalm 82:6).

God wants godly offspring, and that is why God made humans male and female and created marriage, as the Prophet Malachi was inspired to write:

14…she is your companion And your wife by covenant. 15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. (Malachi 2:14-15)

Paul also taught that we are God’s offspring:

28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. (Acts 17:28-30)

Additionally about real Christians, the Apostle Paul specifically taught “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16)–we do and strive to have that more.

Paul wrote that Jesus was to be the firstborn of many brethren:

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).

Notice that there are to be MANY brethren (see also Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis). The offer of salvation and deification are not going to be limited just to a few (Luke 3:6; though most will not receive their opportunity in this age, cf. Matthew 7:13-14).

As God is our Father, we are to be “conformed to the image of His Son,” Jesus is God, Jesus is our brother, are we not to be in the family of God and truly be deified?

Furthermore, the Bible teaches that “God is love” (1 John 4:8,16). Love is what life is all about (see also What is the Meaning of Life?).

Christians are to display the love of God towards their neighbor and strive to be perfect as God is perfect:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Christians are to live as God wants them and to have the love of God (see also Living as a Christian: How and Why? and here is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?).

God is also holy and His people are to be to be as well:

15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)

Notice what happened with Jesus is supposed to happen to us:

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures (James 1:18).

4 These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb (Revelation 14:4).

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches (Romans 11:16).

Christians are to be firstfruits like Christ. As a firstfruit, Christ is divine.

Notice something Jesus prayed:

10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. (John 17:10-11)

Since both the Father and Son are divine beings, Jesus prayed for His followers to be one as He and the Father are–which means part of the God family. Lest anyone wish to interpret the above scripture to mean something else, Jesus continued His prayer and also prayed the following:

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26)

Jesus prayed that His followers would become one in the same way. He and His Father are one. And they are one divine family.

Furthermore, notice that the Bible does teach that there is a whole family which is named after God the Father, and that we are to know the love of Christ so that we can truly have the fullness of God:

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19).

If one is filled with “all the fullness of God” does not that suggest that they will be also God as part of the Family of God?

The Apostle Paul also taught:

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (Romans 8:16-17, KJV).

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

18 ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15).

Notice that “the children of God” are to be “glorified together” with Christ as “joint-heirs” and are to be transformed into the same image as God. And God will be a Father to His sons and daughters.

The Apostle John taught:

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).

1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 2 Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God (1 John 3:1-2a).

The children of people are people, the children of cows are cows. What are the children of God?

The Apostle Peter taught deification:

3 His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Are not those that are “partakers of the divine nature” somehow deified? And fully partaking of this nature does not happen until after the resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50-53).

Ruling the Universe is Part of the Your Destiny

If you respond properly to God (either in this age, or if applicable, the age to come), then ruling the creation, the universe is part of your destiny. Notice:

21…the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Romans 8:21-22)

As joint heirs with Christ, resurrected converted humans are to rule the universe :

2:5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:

“What is man that You are mindful of him,Or the son of man that You take care of him? 7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:

“I will declare Your name to My brethren;In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”

13 And again:

“I will put My trust in Him.”

And again:

“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. 3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. 5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Hebrews 2:5-3:6)

Ruling the universe is part of the destiny that God has in store for the vast bulk of humanity.

Deification and Human Destiny

The Bible makes it clear that God’s plan included making humans in the image of God and that ultimately the universe would be put under the control of deified humans. And nearly all humans who lived will ultimately be converted after they have been truly offered salvation (see Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis). Deification and ruling the universe will be the destiny of the bulk of humanity.

But it needs to be pointed out that just as the Son is subject to the Father, Christians will not be above either the Father or the Son. The Father is greater than the Son (John 14:28) and both will always be greater than spirit-born Christians. Jesus also is King of Kings (Revelation 19:16) and High Priest (Hebrews 6:20), thus He will always be above deified humans.

Also, while God is eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27), all humans have had a beginning and thus will always have been around for a finite time. Thus, deification does not mean that Christians will be truly equal to God, but will be His true sons and daughters (without gender issues).

The Bible teaches deification from Genesis through Revelation if one will simply believe what the Bible is actually teaching. And those who professed Christ in the early centuries after His resurrection also taught that. As have certain others since.

And the Continuing Church of God teaches that today. The view that Jesus became human so that humans could be in the family of God and rule in the Kingdom of God is not a cultic view, but is a biblical and historical one.

You may be thinking, “well I have heard some of this before from some religion,” what is MY purpose? Who am I? Why me?

YOU are unique. You are one who can give love in a unique way. Ultimately God has special plans for YOU personally. YOU are not the same as everyone else–YOU can be a deified being that has unique insights and abilities.

The Bible makes it clear that we are not all the same and are not to contribute the same way, and it uses the analogy of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-23 to do so:

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.

Yes, YOU, whether strong or weak, are necessary. God’s plan includes a plan for YOU! Yes, you. This point is also referred to in Ephesians by the Apostle Paul, and involves love:

15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ– 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:15-16).

Yes, YOU have a part to do! You are important even if you are not sure what your part is–God’s word says it is!

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God? What is your ultimate destiny? What does the Bible teach? Is deification only a weird or cultic idea? What did early and later Christians teach? Are you to rule the universe? Here is a link to the video sermon What is Your Destiny?
Overcoming Sin
What is sin? How are Christians suppose to overcome it? There is also a YouTube video titled How to Overcome Sin.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it?
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’ Did early Christians confess their sins to priests?
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Christians are to Rule Are Christians really to rule? If so, how will that turn out?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Should you read the Bible literally?

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

COGwriter

Many people feel that the Bible should interpret itself and hence can be read literally. Should you read the Bible literally?

At theological schools they teach that there are various forms of biblical interpretation. Theological schools (and their graduates) tend to emphasize one or more styles of what they call biblical exegesis–some of them, such as an excessive emphasis on allegorization, which are vain and overlook what the Bible teaches.

One of the early men who pushed allegorical interpretation was an apostate named Cerinthus. Irenaeus indicates that the Apostle John was very seriously opposed to him:

There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4)

So, the Apostle John was not a fan of an early apostate allegorist.

A while back, I ran across a Catholic writer who espoused an odd form of “literal” reading of scripture. The writer is Mark Shea and he wrote:

Periodically, folks ask about whether we are supposed to read the Bible literally.

The Church does require a literal interpretation of biblical texts. But that does not mean what most Americans imagine it means. It does not mean we have to believe, for instance, that the universe was made in six 24 hour days, or profess faith in talking snakes. Rather, by the “literal sense”, the Church means we must read the text looking for what the author intended to say, the *way* he intended to say it, and distinguish from that what is incidental to what he was saying. That’s the literal interpretation…the Church also says we are not at all bound to read it *literalistically* as though it was always a newspaper account. So, for instance, CCC 390 says:

The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

Note that: Genesis describes a real primeval event (the fall) but it uses figurative, not newspaper, language to do it. Other times, of course, Scripture does uses something like newspaper language (“David hid from Saul in a cave.”) in order to tell the story. Common sense and the interpretive tradition of the Church help us discern what from what.

Likewise, the Church does not commit us to reading the account of Noah literalistically…

For a quick rundown on on the senses of Scripture, see CCC 115-119:

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”83

117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.84

But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/the-senses-of-scripture#ixzz2JqpQGS52

(Note: ‘CCC’ means the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) Mark Shea is not really advocating reading the Bible literally. Actually, when I personally started to read the Gospels, I realized that the Church of Rome was too removed from the Bible to truly represent the true church (they have made many changes that the true Church of God has not, for details, please check out Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

And let me add that although Mark Shea teaches that his “Church does not commit us to reading the account of Noah literalistically,” Jesus of the Bible did teach the account of Noah as did the apostles. Here are some of the words of Jesus:

37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:37-39)

26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-27)

Notice some additional writings from the New Testament about Noah:

7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. (1 Peter 3:18-20)

4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:4-5)

Those of us who actually believe the Bible believe the account of Noah–and the New Testament confirmed many of the literal events of the account of Noah in the Book of Genesis. Those part of the Church of Rome claim they accept the Apostle Peter’s authority, so perhaps they should believe the biblical account of Noah?

The Bible Supports the View that It Tends to Literally Interpret Itself

Notice what the prophet Isaiah taught:

Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message?…For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little”… But the word of the LORD was to them, “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little,” (Isaiah 28:9,10, 13 NKJV).

In other words, the Bible was supposed to be understood based upon what it says in many places.

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV).

In other words, scripture is given by God for doctrine and contains enough information that the man of God may be complete.

Notice what the Apostle Peter taught:

15…also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Thus, even back then people who would not learn from the apostles were twisting scriptures–claiming they meant something other than what they said.

Allegorizing May Have First Developed in Alexandria And Was Held By Followers of Simon Magus and Valentinus

Gnostic and pre-gnostic leaders took a different approach to biblical interpretation in the first and second centuries. They tended to accept allegory over what the Bible actually taught.

This practice may have first developed in Alexandria, Egypt. Here is some of what Eusebius said Philo (c. first century) taught about those who made some profession of Christ in Alexandria (any bolding mine) (Cerinthus was an Egyptian):

3. In the work to which he gave the title, On a Contemplative Life or on Suppliants, after affirming in the first place that he will add to those things which he is about to relate nothing contrary to truth or of his own invention, he says that these men were called Therapeutæ and the women that were with them Therapeutrides. He then adds the reasons for such a name, explaining it from the fact that they applied remedies and healed the souls of those who came to them, by relieving them like physicians, of evil passions, or from the fact that they served and worshiped the Deity in purity and sincerity.

4. Whether Philo himself gave them this name, employing an epithet well suited to their mode of life, or whether the first of them really called themselves so in the beginning, since the name of Christians was not yet everywhere known, we need not discuss here…

7. Philo bears witness to facts very much like those here described and then adds the following account: “Everywhere in the world is this race found. For it was fitting that both Greek and Barbarian should share in what is perfectly good. But the race particularly abounds in Egypt, in each of its so-called nomes, and especially about Alexandria

9. And then a little further on, after describing the kind of houses which they had, he speaks as follows concerning their churches, which were scattered about here and there: “In each house there is a sacred apartment which is called a sanctuary and monastery, where, quite alone, they perform the mysteries of the religious life. They bring nothing into it, neither drink nor food, nor any of the other things which contribute to the necessities of the body, but only the laws, and the inspired oracles of the prophets, and hymns and such other things as augment and make perfect their knowledge and piety.”

10. And after some other matters he says:

“The whole interval, from morning to evening, is for them a time of exercise. For they read the holy Scriptures, and explain the philosophy of their fathers in an allegorical manner, regarding the written words as symbols of hidden truth which is communicated in obscure figures.

11. They have also writings of ancient men, who were the founders of their sect, and who left many monuments of the allegorical method. These they use as models, and imitate their principles”…

15…Philo’s words are as follows:

16. “Having laid down temperance as a sort of foundation in the soul, they build upon it the other virtues. None of them may take food or drink before sunset, since they regard philosophizing as a work worthy of the light, but attention to the wants of the body as proper only in the darkness, and therefore assign the day to the former, but to the latter a small portion of the night.

17. But some, in whom a great desire for knowledge dwells, forget to take food for three days; and some are so delighted and feast so luxuriously upon wisdom, which furnishes doctrines richly and without stint, that they abstain even twice as long as this, and are accustomed, after six days, scarcely to take necessary food.” These statements of Philo we regard as referring clearly and indisputably to those of our communion.

19. For they say that there were women also with those of whom we are speaking, and that the most of them were aged virgins who had preserved their chastity…by their own choice, through zeal and a desire for wisdom

20. Then after a little he adds still more emphatically: “They expound the Sacred Scriptures figuratively by means of allegories. For the whole law seems to these men to resemble a living organism, of which the spoken words constitute the body, while the hidden sense stored up within the words constitutes the soul. This hidden meaning has first been particularly studied by this sect, which sees, revealed as in a mirror of names, the surpassing beauties of the thoughts”…

23. In addition to this Philo describes the order of dignities which exists among those who carry on the services of the church, mentioning the diaconate, and the office of bishop, which takes the precedence over all the others (Eusebius. Church History, Book II, Chapter XVII. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

So Eusebius claims that Philo (c. 1st century) reported that those in Alexandria were ascetic, had mysteries, seem to have been gnostics (ones who claimed to have special knowledge/wisdom was essential for salvation), had some promotion of celibacy, allegorized scripture, and had a bishop–and Eusebius seems to claim that they are part of the Catholic Church (see vs. 17 above)–even though the Roman Church did not have celibacy rules at that time (please see the article Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters?). This seems to have been where a major departure from the true faith occurred.

Hippolytus, who also appeared to be a Roman supporter, in the early third century, wrote this about the heretic Simon Magus:

Now Simon, both foolishly and knavishly paraphrasing the law of Moses, makes his statements (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book VI, Chapter IV. Translated by J. H. Machmahon. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Simon then, after inventing these (tenets), not only by evil devices interpreted the writings of Moses in whatever way he wished, but even the (works) of the poets. For also he fastens an allegorical meaning on (the story of) the wooden horse and Helen with the torch, and on very many other (accounts), which he transfers to what relates to himself and to Intelligence, and (thus) furnishes a fictitious explanation of them. (ibid Chapter XIV).

Simon Magus came on the scene about the same time Philo wrote about the Alexandrians.

Alexandria was also the original home of the heretic Valentinus (who later went to Rome), and it seems like some of the leaders in Alexandria adopted some of his traits. The historian HOJ Brown noted:

Alexandria was the home of the celebrated gnostic Valentinus. Valentinus adopted Philo’s method of allegorical interpretation…For a time, Valentinus and his followers existed with the orthodox Christians of Alexandria. (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 86).

Valentinus, even though condemned by Polycarp of Smyrna, when Polycarp visited Rome, ca. 155, was also tolerated by, and existed in, the Roman Church until at least the 170s A.D. when he was finally put out after he had greatly influenced the church there.

Speaking of Polycarp, in his famous Letter to the Philippians he uses essentially a literal, not allegorical approach to understanding scripture. The simple truth is that the actual early (prior to the third century) leaders of the church (outside of Alexandria), that the Roman Catholics consider non-heretical, did not try to promote an allegorical method of understanding scripture. But the heretics did.

While there are some passages in the Bible that are intended to be understood allegorically, God’s actual servants believe the word of God over opinions of men who do not truly have sufficient love of the truth.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood?
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Simon Magus, What Did He Teach? Sometimes called “the father early heretics” or the “father of heresies”, do you know what early writers claimed that Simon Magus taught? Sadly, most who profess Christ still hold to versions of his teachings.
Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he? Here is a link to a related sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Do scholars realize that the early church was binitarian, not trinitarian?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

As regular readers of this page are aware, the early church was neither trinitarian nor unitarian. The early church was binitarian.

That is, early Christians considered that the Father and the Son were God and that the Holy Spirit was the power of God. And while some dispute this, historically it is a fact.

Do any scholars realize this?

While there are many articles at the COGwriter website which document the binitarian beliefs of 2nd century Christians, I thought that a few quotes from modern theologians may be eye-opening for those who have had little exposure to the binitarian truth of the Godhead.

Modern scholars, like Larry Hurtado, have realized the Christians who claimed to be Nazarene including most considered to be “proto-orthodox” held a binitarian view of the Godhead:

…”Nazarene” Christianity, had a view of Jesus fully compatible with the beliefs favored by the proto-orthodox (indeed, they could be considered part of the circles that made up proto-orthodox Christianity of the time). Pritz contended that this Nazarene Christianity was the dominant form of Christianity in the first and second centuries…the devotional stance toward Jesus that characterized most of the Jewish Christians of the first and second centuries seems to have been congruent with proto-orthodox devotion to Jesus…the proto-orthodox “binitarian” pattern of devotion…(Hurtado LW. Lord Jesus Christ, Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. William B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, 2003, pp. 560-561,618).

Furthermore, it perhaps should be mentioned that the sacra nomina (generally two-letter abbreviations, perhaps intended to identify the documents as “Christian”) found on early documents associated Christianity is also believed to support the position that those that professed Christ in the second century were binitarian. Larry Hurtado also observed:

The Christian nomina sacra…differ in form from any Jewish scribal devices…Most significantly, the four earliest Christian nomina sacra are the two key words for God (Theos and Kyrios) and key designations for Jesus (Iēosus, Christos, and Kyrios).If therefore, as is usually believed, the nomina sacra practice represents an expression of piety and reverence, it is a striking departure from pre-Christian Jewish scribal practice to extend to these designations of Jesus the same scribal treatment given to key designations for God.That is, the four earliest Christian nomina sacra collectively manifest one noteworthy expression of what I have called the “binitarian shape” of earliest Christian piety and devotion (Hurtado LW.The Earliest Christian Artifacts.William B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids (MI), 2006, pp. 105-106).

Dr. Harold Brown, a Protestant trinitarian scholar, has admitted:

The language of the New Testament permits the Holy Spirit to be understood as an impersonal force or influence more readily than it does the Son…those who saw the Holy Spirit as a Person, were often heretical, for example, the Montanists (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 140).

Harold Brown also has admitted:

It is impossible to document what we now call orthodoxy in the first two centuries of Christianity (ibid, p.5).

And that is true. And he was specifically referring to doctrines like the trinity and other teachings that are contrary to what the Continuing Church of God holds.

What about Catholic scholars? The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches this about the 4th century binitarians, which it calls the Semi-Arians:

Semi-Arians…A name frequently given to the conservative majority in the East in the fourth century…showing that the very name of father implies a son of like substance…rejected the Divinity of the Holy Ghost (Chapman, John. Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter. Semiarians and Semiarianism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus it is clear that many held the binitarian view at that time (including no doubt, many who were not true Christians).

What about Orthodox scholars? Notice this frank admission from a bishop of the Orthodox Church about the late acceptance of the trinity:

…the councils defined once and for all the Church’s teaching upon the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith — the Trinity and the Incarnation. All Christians agree in regarding these things as ‘mysteries’ which lie beyond human understanding and language…the first two, held in the fourth century…formulated the doctrine of the Trinity…The work of Nicea was taken up by the second Ecumenical Council, held in Constantinople in 381. This council expanded and adapted the Nicene Creed, developing in particular that teaching upon the Holy Spirit, whom it affirmed to be God even as the Father and the Son are God…It was the supreme achievement of St. Athanasius of Alexandria to draw out the full implications of the key word in the Nicene Cred: homoousios, one in essence or substance, consubstantial. Complementary to his work was that of the three Cappadocian Fathers, Saints…(died 394). While Athanasius emphasized the unity of God — Father and Son are one in essence (ousia) – the Cappadocians stressed God’s threeness: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons (hypostasis) (Ware T. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, London, 1997, pp. 20-23).

So it took councils of men to change the predominant view that the Godhead was basically binitarian to trinitarian. Yet, as recorded in the New Testament, Jude wrote:

…contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered for the saints” (Jude 3).

The faith delivered once for all should not have been changed.

Such a doctrinal change to the trinity should never have been made and never has been adopted by the true Christian Church.

Regarding the New Testament, even a trinitarian scholar has admitted:

The binitarian formulas are found in Rom. 8:11, 2 Cor. 4:14, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:20, 1 Tim 1:2, 1 Pet. 1:21, and 2 John 1:13…No doctrine of the Trinity in the Nicene sense is present in the New Testament…There is no doctrine of the Trinity in the strict sense in the Apostolic Fathers…(Rusch W.G. The Trinitarian Controversy. Fortress Press, Phil., 1980, pp. 2-3).

Since modern scholars know that the early church was binitarian and not trinitarian, have you been taught this before?

If not, perhaps you had better look into this further.

Some items of related interest may include:

Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
What is the Holy Spirit? This is an article by Rod Reynolds.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD.
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?