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Recognizing the false Christian cults.

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  • tabibito
    replied
    Peter answered to the council in Jerusalem. Paul acknowledged that others were as much apostles as he was, and expressed a reluctance to build on another apostle's work. There was no claim within the early church that there could be only one human "president" of the church. A refusal to acknowledge the validity of a congregation with faith in Christ except by acknowledging the supremacy of an individual who had nothing to do with establishing that congregation arrogates the position of Christ as the head of the church.
    God's objection to Israel having a king stands as a testimony that God wants no single man to be head of the church, just as God's appointment of Judges in pre-monarchial Israel stands as a testament to God's preferred procedure of having a distributed hierarchy.
    Last edited by tabibito; 11-26-2021, 05:15 AM.

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  • Rushing Jaws
    replied
    Originally posted by Leonhard View Post

    The first point is flawed, in as much as its not clear enough to distinguish a visible Church with a visible human head (the pope) and Apostolic Succession, but which is institude by Christ (the true head) and lead by the Holy Spirit. What do you think the earliest Church was under the apostles? There was already hierarchy among them, the Apostles had the right to teach and define doctrine, to interpret scriptures and bind people to certain readings of them, which is what they do in the letters we have, etc... That authority can't just be waved away, or justified in light of scripture, because most of scripture didn't exist back then, and even then hadn't been collected, and even if collected, was so scarce, expensive and rare that they had to be chained to the pulpits to prevent them from being stolen.

    Your second point is merely sola scriptura.

    Your third point is against just protestant doctrine. Oddly enough Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do not deny that we're saved by grace alone, and that any merit we have is imputed by grace and that without grace our works have no merit. What we deny is the Gnosticism that its merely enough to intellectually recognize that Christ is Risen, and "the essentials".

    So I'm pretty much right, I think, that with those three extra points you're targeting all the older forms of Christianity, from Catholics, to Coptics, to Eastern Orthodox.



    What He says is true of course. The Catholic Church has always been, and will never fall.

    I'm still not sure how you'd maintain the truth of this saying of Christ, against the reality that baptists, or Protestantism in any codified form didn't exist until around the 16th Century. Either you'll have to accept that what the Roman Catholic says is true or is merely heterodox (and so one could firmly believe all of it without loss of salvation), or you'd be forced to accept that not only did the Holy Spirit neglect to maintain the truth in Christians so much so that basically all of them fell into grievous error pretty much immediately, and didn't make this broadly known until more than a millennium afterwards.
    It seems to me that, by the logic of post 1, if the true Church claims to be the true Church, that makes it a cult, or cultish-thinking.

    So when St Ignatius of Antioch distinguished the καθολικη εκκλησια, the church universal, from the sects of his time, that means he was thinking cultishly.

    Which means that the heretical sects, & the church universal, are equally scuppered or not scuppered. Which means that being a cult or sect has no effect on whether one is valid as a Church. Which makes distinguishing between cults & Churches unnecessary & meaningless; and a good deal of the NT, pointless. So why worry over whether Jesus was a space alien, a woman, an invention of the Roman Empire, a guru who died in Kashmir, or went to France with Mary Magdalene ? There is no way of truly knowing anything about the Jesus-entity, so why bother with the Jesus-entity ?

    How has Protestantism historically not claimed for itself greater validity as a Christian communion than it has allowed to the CC ? Does that not make Protestantism cultish, if making such a claim is mark of cultishness ?

    If it is wrong to call other bodies cults, in contradistinction to the true Church (howsoever defined) then there is no distinction between Christian truth and sectarian falsehood. That satan is the brother of Jesus or that God is a spaceman, become no less tolerable as Christian teaching than the proposition that Jesus is Lord.

    How is it any more cultish to claim X is the true Church, than to claim Jesus is the Messiah ? Jesus as represented in the Gospels has some cultish traits. Not leas His us-versus-them attitude, His accusations of Hus theological opponents, His breaking up of families, His obsession with His own person, His unilateral correction of past teaching. Take off the Christian blinkers, see Jesus as a mere man & the NT as the propaganda of the sect of Christians, and Jesus is very similar in signficant ways to modern cult-leaders. Like some of them, He allegedly made end-time predictions - which like theirs, were falsified by not being fulfilled. And, like the predictions of cult-leaders, the falsified predictions made by Jesus have been explained away ever since. Take away Jesus' pedestal, and He shrinks enormously, into a failed Jewish cult-leader who came to a sticky end, largely thanks to Himself.

    It is only by faith that He looks to anyone as Christianity claims He is. If one reads the Gospels without faith in the validity of the Christian claims for Him, He comes across as very flawed and unimpressive. IOW, He looks no more credible, Divine, etc., to non-Christians, than the main non-Protestant Churches seem to many Evangelicals.

    The CC is not theologicslly special, as Catholics believe, but a cult, as many Evangelicals believe.
    Jesus is not theologically special, as Christians (including Evangelicals) believe, but a failed doomsday prophet and sectarian, as many non-Christians believe.

    But if Jesus is theologically special, despite the evidence if read in a non-Christian way; then maybe the CC is also, theologically special, despite the evidence if seen in a non-Catholic way.

    To deny the uniqueness, & specificity, and visibility, & perpetuity, of the Church founded by Christ, makes Christ deluded, or a deceiver (even if unwittingly) - perhaps the greatest deceiver ever - or the Gospels deceptive: and Evangelical concerns about cults and cultishness meaningless.

    The Church is one, holy, universal, apostolic, unique, specific, visible, perpetual, because Christ & His Kingship/Reign/Kingdom have these qualities. The Church of Christ is a reality even on Earth; and exhibits, imperfectly, what Christ & His Kingship/Reign/Kingdom in Heaven are in an eschatologically perfect manner.

    If the Church is a people, it cannot be an abstraction; it must be embodied in specific human lives & persons. As was the Incarnate Life of the Divine Word. It is therefore a visible thing.
    It is also a body of human persons, and therefore, a communion of human persons - its members are not isolated & unconnected units. It is therefore both visible, and a society.
    Its perpetuity is a quality of the union between Christ & His Church, which is unbreakable by any power in creation.

    The Church has its invisible aspect, but this is not in denial of its life as a visible society on Earth, or of its Heavenly communion of the Saints with God.
    It is invisible, not in denial of its life as a visible communion upon Earth, but because it has an interior life, as well as an externally visible one.

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  • tabibito
    replied
    Faith alone?

    Ephesians 2:8 doesn't even say that we are saved by faith, much less "faith alone." If that claim is doubted, look at verse 5.
    Ephesians 2:8 does not say that faith is the gift; the state of being saved is the gift.

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  • Rushing Jaws
    replied
    Originally posted by Leonhard View Post

    1) That the is not a Church is a visible, apostolic hierarchy.
    2) Sola Scriptura.
    3) Salvation by faith alone.
    With a bit of generosity, Salvation by faith alone could be taken in a catholic sense, while including what Protestants affirm by it.

    1 could also be taken in a catholic sense - most Protestantism allows for the visibility of the Church in some sense. Like Catholics, they do not equate the Church with its empirically verifiable Earthly form. There is more to the Church than that.

    Even the difference between Sola Scriptura and the Catholic doctrine is, in practice, rather fuzzy.


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  • Hypatia_Alexandria
    replied
    Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    His opening post is a bit awkwardly worded, but I don't think he intended to imply that all false cults existed in the first century CE - merely that false cults were recognized as such by the apostolic church and should be recognizable as such today.
    Perhaps it would be more correct to state that there were other views that Paul did not care for and other leaders whom he felt were "stealing his thunder". As with any cult leader he wanted his beliefs, and his beliefs alone, to remain the only recognised views to be adopted.

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  • One Bad Pig
    replied
    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
    Given that the Roman Catholic Church did not exist in the first century CE, why would it?
    His opening post is a bit awkwardly worded, but I don't think he intended to imply that all false cults existed in the first century CE - merely that false cults were recognized as such by the apostolic church and should be recognizable as such today.

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  • Hypatia_Alexandria
    replied
    Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    In your opinion, would the Roman Catholic Church fit your definition?
    Given that the Roman Catholic Church did not exist in the first century CE, why would it?

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  • 37818
    replied
    Originally posted by tabibito View Post
    If you don't want to accept that Abraham was not declared righteous because he believed - despite the scriptural record - there is nothing to be done on that account.

    So on to the next point:

    Where does the scripture say that a man is deemed righteous just because he believes?
    ". . . But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. . . ." -- Romans 4:5.
    ". . . Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. . . ." -- Romans 3:25-26.
    ". . . Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. . . ." -- John 5:24.
    ". . . Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. . . ." -- John 6:47.
    Then there is John 3:16, John 3:18, 1 John 5:13 and more.

    Those to whom Jesus declares "I never knew you" clearly had faith - they were able to perform mighty deeds in his name.
    No. Jesus argued that they were NOT doing God's will, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. . . ." It was their claims of doing works, saying, "have we not?" Jesus argued, "ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23.)

    Those who did not believe (the seven sons of Sceva, for example) could not perform mighty deeds in Christ's name.
    (Acts 19:13-17.)

    Where does scripture declare that faith gives rise to good works?
    ". . . For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. . . ."


    Does it not rather say that works perfect faith?
    (James 2:22-23, Genesis 22:12.)

    You see, the works of sin prevent works from counting. (". . . wages of sin . . . " Romans 6:23.) Only after forgiveness as an unmerited gift can any good works have any merit.
    Last edited by 37818; 01-11-2018, 09:45 AM.

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  • tabibito
    replied
    If you don't want to accept that Abraham was not declared righteous because he believed - despite the scriptural record - there is nothing to be done on that account.

    So on to the next point:

    Where does the scripture say that a man is deemed righteous just because he believes? Those to whom Jesus declares "I never knew you" clearly had faith - they were able to perform mighty deeds in his name. Those who did not believe (the seven sons of Sceva, for example) could not perform mighty deeds in Christ's name.

    Where does scripture declare that faith gives rise to good works? Does it not rather say that works perfect faith?

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  • 37818
    replied
    Originally posted by tabibito View Post
    I do not think that Genesis 15:6 says what you want it to say.

    Q: According to Genesis 15:6 is Abraham righteous, or is it belief that is righteous?
    And flowing from that answer, is Paul in saying "faith was reckoned for righteousness" (Rom 4:5,9), making a claim that "a person's faith makes him righteous," or is he making a claim that a person, whether circumcised or not, can be righteous?
    Rom 4:9 ελογισθη τω αβρααμ ηπιστις αυτου εις δικαιοσυνην - to Abraham, his faith was reckoned unto/for/toward righteousness ... Nothing is directly reckoned righteous in that statement: not faith, and certainly not Abraham.
    λογιζεται η πιστις αυτου εις δικαιοσυνην (v4) ... faith gets evaluated
    (v9) ελογισθη τω αβρααμ η πιστις εις δικαιοσυνην (v9) faith got evaluated
    Romans 4:1-5, ". . . What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [Genesis 15:6 is being referenced] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. . . ." Genesis 15:6, ". . . And he believed Jehovah; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. . . ."

    The record stands in evidence. And without righteousness being counted to Abraham by faith without works - Abraham's later work (Genesis 22:12) could not to had merit, but it did in fulfillment of that faith (James 2:23). Not the other way around. The faith without works preceded its work. (Genesis 15:6 prior to Genesis 22:12).

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  • tabibito
    replied
    Originally posted by 37818 View Post
    You need to get the contexts right. And then we can discuss this.

    The contexts are Genesis 15:6 and Genesis 22:12. Many years apart. Abraham faith without works (Romans 4:4-5) came years before his works (Genesis 22:12) in fulfillment (James 2:23, Genesis 15:6).
    I do not think that Genesis 15:6 says what you want it to say.

    Q: According to Genesis 15:6 is Abraham righteous, or is it belief that is righteous?
    And flowing from that answer, is Paul in saying "faith was reckoned for righteousness" (Rom 4:5,9), making a claim that "a person's faith makes him righteous," or is he making a claim that a person, whether circumcised or not, can be righteous?
    Rom 4:9 ελογισθη τω αβρααμ ηπιστις αυτου εις δικαιοσυνην - to Abraham, his faith was reckoned unto/for/toward righteousness ... Nothing is directly reckoned righteous in that statement: not faith, and certainly not Abraham.
    λογιζεται η πιστις αυτου εις δικαιοσυνην (v4) ... faith gets evaluated
    (v9) ελογισθη τω αβρααμ η πιστις εις δικαιοσυνην (v9) faith got evaluated

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  • 37818
    replied
    Originally posted by Bibleuser View Post
    James 2:20-23
    But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works after he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that his faith was active along with his works and his faith was perfected by his works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled that says: “Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he came to be called Jehovah’s friend.

    Please get the context right!
    BU
    You need to get the contexts right. And then we can discuss this.

    The contexts are Genesis 15:6 and Genesis 22:12. Many years apart. Abraham faith without works (Romans 4:4-5) came years before his works (Genesis 22:12) in fulfillment (James 2:23, Genesis 15:6).

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  • Bibleuser
    replied
    Originally posted by 37818 View Post

    ". . . And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: . . ." -- James 2:23.

    ". . . For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. . . ." -- Romans 4:3-5.
    James 2:20-23
    But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works after he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that his faith was active along with his works and his faith was perfected by his works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled that says: “Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he came to be called Jehovah’s friend.

    Please get the context right!
    BU

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  • Bibleuser
    replied
    Originally posted by tabibito View Post
    The word under immediate review was "justify" BU - "righteous" has been discussed before.
    Romans 5:9
    Much more, then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath.

    OK.

    Still one cannot be Justified or declared righteous if one does not put faith to work, e.g. Jesus said to preach at Matt 24:14 & Acts 1:8 so if one does not do that (a work of faith) then one is not obeying Jesus, thus not justified or declared righteous. Or stop telling lies, or stop stealing or stop being immoral (a work of faith or obeidience to God) etc. etc..
    BU

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  • 37818
    replied
    Originally posted by tabibito View Post
    Which is to say; you have admitted that he was justified by his works, and not by faith alone. The time delay doesn't affect the basics of the claim.
    So - justification by faith alone ...
    Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law [are] just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Did Paul say this? Surely not. Or is it possible that there are two groups of law - the one being the law of Moses, the other; the law of Christ?
    Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (faith doesn't even rate a mention here as a factor in justification.)

    Romans 3: 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (not, "without deeds of any kind" but "without deeds of the law".
    16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Justified by faith, not our own, but that of Christ Jesus.

    Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. And here, we are said to be justified by his blood.

    The picture is VERY complex, but even in these few verses, the claim that we are justified by faith ALONE is demonstrated to be false.
    Then you are in danger of having your name removed from the book of life (Revelation 20:15; Matthew 7:23; 1 John 1:8, 10; Ezekiel 18:4; Psalm 69:27-28; Romans 6:23a; Ezekiel 18:32;James 5:20).

    ". . . And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: . . ." -- James 2:23.

    ". . . For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. . . ." -- Romans 4:3-5.

    ". . . And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. . . ." -- Genesis 15:6.

    ". . . For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works . . . ." -- Ephesians 2:8-10.

    What you are failing to understand, is that, unless one is first counted as righteous without works, sin will negate any works (Matthew 7:22-23). Under unforgiven sin (Romans 3:23) works of righteousness cannot be credited! (Matthew 7:23.)

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