ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES
All False Religions DENY Essential Christian Doctrines
When Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthian Church, he was aware that the forces of darkness were already sending out deceiving demon spirits to promote false doctrine.
Paul tells the young Corinthian church, "But I fear lest somehow as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted - you may well put up with it!" (2 Corinthians 11:3,4).
In this passage Paul was rebuking the Corinthian church for tolerating false teachers who were promoting error. These false teachers, motivated by the spirit of the antichrist were preaching:
* Another "christ" - not the Christ born into our world and revealed in Scripture;
* Another "spirit" - not the Holy Spirit, Who is the third Person of the Trinity (the Holy Spirit is fully God) Who dwells within those who surrender their lives to Jesus Christ;
* Another "gospel" - not the Gospel preached by Jesus and the apostles and revealed in the Scriptures.
False religions of today are still preaching the same kind of error.
The teachings of the world's largest false religions, various pseudo-Christian cults, and a wide variety of lesser-known religions, vary greatly in their doctrines and practices. Yet, all of them share in common the denial or distortion of foundational Christian doctrines.
It is of utmost importance that if you happen to be a church leader or missionary, study the following information and become very familiar with the basic Christian doctrines presented here. You study and knowledge of these key doctrines will provide a solid foundation for both tour faith and your ministry to others. This study will enhance your ability to discern false religions and the cults that attempt to masquerade as genuine Christianity. Knowing the truth will keep you from bondage of error (John 8:32).
The Bible exhorts, "be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). Church leaders and other believers should become "diligent workers" who study the Word of God daily and Thoroughly. When they are very familiar with the real truth, false teaching or error will be immediately recognizable.
To illustrate this concept: A bank clerk needs to know how to discern whether money is genuine or "counterfeit." He or she is trained to do this by spending hours and hours handling genuine money. Then when a counterfeit bill is slipped in, the bank clerk can readily spot that it is not right. The more familiar he is with the "real thing", the harder it is to be fooled by a fake.
In a simular but much more important way, being familiar with the genuine truth of the Bible will help you more readily spot heresy and error that contradict the Bible.
Regarding sound doctrine, take special note of Paul's exhortations to Timothy: "Till I come, give attention to reading (the Scriptures), to exhortation, to doctrine" and "take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1 Timothy 4:13,16).
(For further study, read John 7:16,17; Acts 2:42; Romans 6:17,18; John 3:3-13; Acts 2:34; 1 Cor. 15:47, Eph. 4:9; 1 Timothy 1:3-11; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; Titus 2:6-10).
For almost two thousand years true Christians have held to Bible-based, orthodox Christian beliefs which are agreed upon by true believers in Jesus Christ. Though small points of difference among believers might still exist, these are insignificant compared with the extreme and heretical differences found in the false doctrines of cults and false religions.
Presented below are some biblical foundational doctrines that conservative Christians ALL hold in common.
There is not enough room or time to present every detail; neither is it possible to discuss every Christian doctrine. But this list does reflect the basic core beliefs held by and essential to historic Christianity and can be used to help compare and discern the erroneous teaching of false religions and cult groups.
1) The Doctrine of the Scriptures
The Holy Bible is the only true revelation given by God to the prophets and apostles of the Old and New Testaments. However, false religions and cults:
* Attempt to promote their own writings as equal or superior to the Bible.
* Claim that they have a "newer revelation" that replaces the Bible.
* Claim that there are errors in the Bible or that it is incomplete. They assert that their beliefs, doctrines, revelations or writings "correct" the supposed errors or add the missing parts.
The Bible (the Old Testament and New Testament) is the ultimate authority because the Scriptures were given to us by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16). The Holy Bible, the Word of God, has been revealed by God into the hearts and minds of men who faithfully and carefully recorded those words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The foundation of the Bible's authority is God Himself. All true authority is ultimately based upon and derives from God (Romans 13:1). The Bible has its ultimate origin with and from God. Because God is the Author, the Bible has authority. It is considered to be authoritative (trustworthy) concerning God, salvation, and the Christian life. To accept the Bible's authority means that we should believe and practice what the Bible teaches. There are three principles that are key to the Doctrine of the Scriptures:
a. The Inspiration of the Scriptures - All Scripture is "God-breathed (inspired by God), given to us by God (2 Timothy 3:16; read also 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20,21)
The Bible is not the invention of men or a collection of men's opinions, ideas or mythical stories.
b. The Inerrancy of the Scriptures - The Bible is completely trustworthy because it is inerrant, which means the Bible contains NO mistakes or contradictions. It must be remembered that whatever God speaks is the truth - and without error! That is because He is the "God of truth"
(Isaiah 65:16), Who "cannot lie" (Titus 1:2; see also Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18).
Therefore, since God is true (John 3:33), His Word is also true (John 17:17). The Bible is a completely trustworthy guide for our faith (belief in God) and practice (life and behavior).
Jesus Christ, Who quoted from the Scriptures repeatedly throughout His ministry, bore witness to the fully divine authority and trustworthiness of the Scriptures (Matthew 5:17,18; Luke 4:4,8-10; Luke 24:27,44,45; and many others).
c. THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE BIBLE - The Bible, God's Holy Word, is totally trustworthy for all that we need to know for doctrine, salvation and the Christian life. That is why the Scriptures exhort us to "be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15; read also 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:16,17).
The Word of God - the Holy Bible - is complete as it is written. Nothing is to be ADDED to the Bible. No part of the Bible is to be ALTERED or DISTORTED. Many historical documents have been found that clearly prove that the Bible has been preserved accurately for thousands of years. The last book of the New Testament warns of the seriousness of altering the Scriptures (Revelation 22:18,19; read also Deuteronomy 4:2,12,32; Proverbs 30:6)
Many false religions and cults have removed portions of the Bible that they did not like. Some have added "new revelations" that were NOT from God, creating new "bible" texts or books. While that is true of the cults, not all Christian books fall in that category. The New Life Mission Christian books when compared with God's Word are in complete harmony, as sermons on the Bible. Check it out at http://www.bjnewlife.org You can request a free Christian book from them, in your language! They are in complete harmony with the discussion that follows.
2. THE DOCTRINE OF GOD
God is infinite. The human mind, however, is finite and therefore cannot fully comprehend God; nor can human language adequately describe God (see Job 11:7-9; Isaiah 55:8,9; Romans 11:33). Yet God, through His Word, has revealed to us everything we need to know in order to appruach, love, worship and serve Him (see Exodus 34:6,7; John 1:18; Bebrews 4:14-16; 1 John 4:9,10).
Though the entire Bible is a revelation of God and Who He is, let us look at some very specific Scripture references about the nature and character of God.
a. GOD'S NATURE
All Knowing - Isaiah 29:15,16; 40:27,28; 1 John 3:20.
Everywhere-Present - 2 Chronicles 6:18; Psalms 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:24
All Powerful - Jeremiah 32:17-18
Infinite (not limited by time, space or the physical universe) - 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Peter 3:8
Eternal (without beginning or end) - Psalms 90:2; Isaiah 57:15; 1 Timothy 1:17
Self-Existent ("I AM) - Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 43:10-13; Revelation 1:8
Unchanging in Character -
A while ago I was given a magazine issued by the religious cult known in the Philippines as, Eglesisa Ni Christo. In it, they made some blasphemous statements about Jesus, and denied the Triune God. The information that will be provided here will show them of what they really are; Eglesia Ni Diablo! (Not church of Christ, but the church of the Devil)
Yes, God is Unchanging in Chracter - Malachi 3:6; James 1:17
Transcendent (apart from and above creation) Psalms 14:2; Isaiah 6:1,2; Collossians 1:17.
Immanent (near and personal) - Jeremiah 23:23,24; Psalms 139:7-10; Acts 17:27,28.
Creator of All - Genesis 1:1; Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 11:3.
The Only God - Deuteronomy 4:35,39; Psalms 86:10; Isaiah 44:8; Isaiah 46:9; Jeremiah 10:10.
Spirit - John 4:24.
One (in being and substance) - Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29-32; 1 Corinthians 8:4.
Three (as Persons equally God and equally eternal) Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14.
* God the Father - Matthew 11:25; John 6:27; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6.
* God the Son - Luke 5:17-26; John 1:1; John 5:18; John 20:28; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter1:1.
* God the Holy Spirit - Luke 1:35; Acts 5:3,4; Hebrews 9:14.
B. God's Character
Holy - Exodus 15:11; Habakuk 1:13; Revelation 4:8; 15:4.
Just and righteous - Deuteronomy 10:17; 32:4; Psalms 145:17; 1 John 2:29.
Good and merciful - Psalms 25:8-10; 34:8; 100:5; Matthew 5:45.
Love - 1 John 4:8.
Truth- Numbers 23:19; Deuternonomy 32:4; Isaiah 65:16; John 14:6.
Faithful - Deuteronomy 7:9; Isaiah 49:7; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 10:23.
3. The Doctrines of Mankind and Sin
Only the Scriptures can adequately and accurately describe who mankind is and what his current spiritual condition is. In the Genesis account of mankind's creation, Scripture states that mankind (male and female) are created in the image (likeness) of God (Genesis 1:26,27). This is not a physical "image" because God is Spirit and does not have a physical body (John 4:24). This "image" can be expressed in the following Characteristics of people Iincludes both men and women):
A. People are personal beings, just as God is (Genesis 2:7).
B. People are moral beings, with an inbuilt "conscience" and sense of right and wrong. This gives them the ability and responsibility to choose between right and wrong (Amos 5:14,15; Romans 2:14,15; 12;9; Hebrews 9:14).
TO BE CONTINUED....