Position on Other Churches and Other Religions
by COGwriter

Because of my writings on various churches, some have asked me my position on them.

First, I do not believe that people who were brought up as Hindus, Muslims, Buddists, animists, etc. are condemned to eternal torment because they were brought up that way (see Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis)--but nor will they receive eternal life as long as they are Hindus, Muslims, Buddists, animists, etc.

Second, I do not believe that people who were brought up outside the true Church of God are condemned to eternal torment because they were brought up that way (see also Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants and Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

Thirdly, however, as the Bible shows that it is only under the name of Jesus that any will be saved (Acts 4:12), those who are not true Christians will not be saved in this lifetime, but (presuming that they have not committed the unpardonable sin and intentionally rejected the truth, see What is the Unpardonable Sin?) will have an opportunity for salvation in the age to come (cf. Matthew 12:32, Mark 10:29-31, and Universal Offer of Salvation).

For those interested in my own situation, I am part of the Continuing Church of God. The group that I believe is most faithful to the teachings of the Bible of all groups that profess Christ.

Who Are True Christians?

True Christians have the Holy Spirit of God:

9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:9-11).

True Christians hear the gospel message, accept that they have sinned and need God, have repented of their sins, accept God's calling, declare and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, have been properly baptized, and possess God's Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39; Romans 8:9-11). (Here is a link to an article Living as a Christian: How and Why? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?)

God knows who His own are:

9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God (Galatians 4:9)

3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him (1 Corinthians 8:2-3).

11...we are well known to God (2 Corinthians 5:11)

77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins (Luke 1:77).

Thus, it is God who truly knows who the true Christians are.

True Christians strive to walk as Jesus Christ walked:

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1 John 2:6).

Most religions, however, that profess Christ chose to walk a different way than Jesus did.

To learn more about how Christ and the original Christians walked, please go The History of Early Christianity page.

The following represents my personal position on other churches:

I believe that the continuance of the Philadelphia work to proclaim the gospel as originally began through Herbert W. Armstrong, the holding fast to all of the “restored truths” of that era, accepting biblical governance (1 Corinthians 12:12-28; Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:11-16), striving to truly live by every word of God, and the showing of Philadelphia love towards others characterizes the remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God. As I have written for at least 14 years, Philadelphians are not limited to one corporate COG organization (as I wrote for both the old Global Church News in 1998 and then later the Living Church News in 2001) and the simple attendance of at a Philadelphia-leaning COG, of itself, does not make one Philadelphian.

Currently, I believe that those outside the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God are either not part of the Church of God or are parts or remnants of the Thyatira, Sardis, and Laodicean churches.

Hopefully, this clarifies what my personal position is. As far as what COG that I believe is the most faithful, that is the Continuing Church of God. Here are Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

Herbert Armstrong and the Church

The late Herbert W. Armstrong understood that the true church is a spiritual organism (cf. Romans 8:9-11; 1 Peter 2:5) that should be doing the work of God. Here is some of what he wrote about it:

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (I Cor.12 : 13)...Notice, now, the FOUNDATION upon which the Church is built…“…upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone”  (Eph. 2:19-20).

Thus you see how the one and only true CHURCH is NOT an ORGANIZATION OF MEN, but a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM…This spiritual organism is the "Body of Christ" existing for the PURPOSE of carrying on THE WORK OF GOD.

The resurrected, eternally living Jesus Christ is the HEAD of the Church…Now I have shown that the true Church of God is NOT a human organization or corporation, but a spiritual organism, composed of all who have and are being led by the Holy Spirit of God abiding in them. Yet the Church is ORGANIZED. (Armstrong HW.  Just what is the Church?  Tomorrow’s World magazine, July-August 1970, pp. 3-6)

In the same article he wrote:

And Jesus has set ORGANIZATION - government - order - in the Church, under Him. God compares this organized Body of Christ to a BUILDING: “Now therefore ye . . . are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22).

The living Christ, Head of the Church, has PUT the various administrators, officers, and members into the Church AS HE HIMSELF CHOSE. Not as a man chooses for himself.

Now notice more about the spiritual GIFTS God gives those in His Body, doing HIS WORK, in I Corinthians 12: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant."

Yet most people are in total ignorance of these gifts and their meaning and uses. (Ibid, pp. 5-6)

In an earlier article, he wrote:

"HOW does God say we must worship Him?  You see signs and slogans in the world to this effect:  “Let every man worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.”  But that is contrary to God’s instruction.

To a woman of the world, Jesus said: “Ye worship ye know not what.”  Then He said:  “God is a SPIRIT:  and they that worship Him must worship Him in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.”  (John 4:22,24).  God will not accept worship “according to the dictates of man’s conscience.”  To be acceptable to Him you MUST worship Him in SPIRIT—that is, you must have within you His Holy Spirit, which He gives only to them that OBEY Him (Acts 5:32) and you must worship Him IN TRUTH.  What is TRUTH?  Jesus said “Thy Word is truth.”  You must worship Him according to the BIBLE!

With whom are we to have FELLOWSHIP?

The Apostle John, in his first letter, declared God’s TRUTH in order “that ye also may have fellowship with us…” showing we can have fellowship ONLY with those who know and obey the TRUTH…

YOU are to have fellowship only with those who know and obey the TRUTH! (Armstrong HW. Should We Listen to Others? Good News, May 1960)

Those interested in more of Herbert W. Armstrong's views may wish to read Being Separate: What Did Herbert W. Armstrong and the Bible Teach About Where Not to Fellowship?

For more information on a highly faithful remnant of the true church, please click on Continuing Church of God.

Thiel B. Position on Other Churches and Other Religions. www.cogwriter.com/position-on-other-churches.htm (c) 2008/2009/2011/2012/2013 0331

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