False religions versus Bible Authority

There are many religions and churches today claiming to be of God. Some religions even make the exclusive claim that they are God’s “one true church” or they are God’s one true present dispenser of God’s truth.

Their common claim is that you as a reader of the Bible do not have the right and authority to judge the truthfulness of their claims by the Bible. They claim that you cannot go by the Bible alone. They claim you must submit to their teaching authority.

For example, in its publications the Watchtower bases its claim upon Matthew 24:45 as I recall. I placed many cross references for that verse in the The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.

Matthew 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

Matthew 24:45. Who then is. FS121I1, Ge +3:7. Lk 12:35-38, 41-44. *16:10-12. *19:17. Ac +*20:28. 1 C 4:1, 2. 1 T 1:12. 2 T **2:2. He 3:5. 1 P 4:10, 11. Re 2:13. faithful. Mt +*13:52. +*25:21. Ge +*18:19. 30:29. 2 K 12:15. Ne 7:2. Ps 101:2, *6. Je +*23:28n. Ezk %**13:7. *48:11. Ro 12:7. 1 C +*4:2, 17. Col +*1:7. 1 T 3:3. 2 T +*2:2. T 2:10. He *3:5. 1 P 4:10. 3 J 5. wise. Mt +25:2. Ex 36:4. Pr 14:35. Da +*11:33n. **12:3. 1 C 3:10-14. Col 1:28. servant. Mt +*10:24, 25. +*20:27. +*23:11. Ru 2:6. Mk 13:34. Lk 12:37. Ro *12:3. Ph *2:3. T 1:7. his lord. Mk 13:34. Lk 12:37. hath made ruler. Gr. kathistēmi [(S#2525g), to place down (permanently), that is, (figuratively) to designate, constitute, convoy (Strong): Rendered (1) make: Lk 12:14. Ac 7:10, 27, 35. Ro 5:19. He 7:28. 2 P 1:8. (2) make ruler: Mt 24:45, 47. 25:21, 23. Lk 12:42, 44. (3) ordain: T 1:5. He 5:1. 8:3. (4) be: Ja 3:6. 4:4. (5) appoint: Ac 6:3. (6) conduct: Ac 17:15. (7) set: He 2:7]. Mt *25:21. Ps +*149:9. 2 C %**1:24. 1 T *3:5. *5:17. 2 T 2:12. He *13:7, 17, 24. 1 P **5:1-3. Re 2:27. over. or, at the head of. Gr. epi (S#1909g). household. Jn 14:2n. Ro +16:5. Ga 6:10. Ep 2:19. He 3:5, 6. to give. Mt +*13:52. 16:19. **25:35-40. Ge 47:23. Pr 31:15. Ezk 34:2. Jn 21:15-17. Ac +*20:28. 1 C *3:1, 2. 2 C 4:1, 2. Ga 4:15. Ep +*4:11-13. 2 T 2:2. 1 P 4:10, 11. 5:1-3. meat. FS121D4. Meat put by the Figure Metonymy (of Cause) for all kinds of food. Mt 4:4. 6:11. 2 K 25:29. Jb 36:31. Ps +104:27. 145:15. Pr +27:27. 31:15. Je **3:15. Ezk 46:24. Da +*11:33. 1 C 3:2. Ja *3:11. due season. Mt +*21:41, 43. Ge *17:21 (+S#4150h). Le 23:2n. Nu 28:2n. 2 K 25:30. 1 Ch +*12:32. Ps *1:3. *104:27. Ec 10:17. Je %*8:7. Da *12:4, 7, 9, 10. Lk +*12:42. 2 T *4:2. He +*3:13. +*4:16.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses and their organization arrogate to themselves the position of being the “faithful and wise servant.” Their organization is the only organization on earth in this day authorized by Jehovah to dispense “meat in due season,” that is, spiritual truth from the Bible as correctly interpreted only by them. They alone are Jehovah’s designated “ruler over his household,” hence their claim to exclusive divine authority.

When such truth-claims are asserted, we must examine them in the light of what the Bible itself actually teaches. To understand what the Bible teaches at Matthew 24:45 it is necessary to carefully compare this verse with all the other verses in the Bible that shed light on it. I have furnished above as complete a collection of cross references as you are likely to ever find. If this is a matter of interest to you (and if you are a Jehovah’s Witness, or if you are reading their literature or are being visited by them from time to time you ought to be!), you are invited to search the Scriptures carefully by consulting these references. You will be surprised by just how much light is shed on this text by comparing each phrase or word with the related Scripture passages.

We are not obligated by Scripture to follow some supposed official “teaching authority.” I find no Scripture justification for such a notion. JWs themselves use Romans 14:12 to warn that we all must examine our religion carefully to be sure it agrees with the Bible. They need to subject themselves to the same examination. They are proven absolutely mistaken by considering carefully the cross references given for even one verse, Isaiah 55:3.

Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 14:12. every one. ver. 10. give account. Ec *11:9. Mt +*12:36. *+16:27n. 18:23, etc. +*25:19. Lk +*12:48. *16:2. 19:15. Ac 24:25. Ga *6:5. He 4:13. 13:17. 1 P *4:4, 5. of himself. Dt 24:16. Jb *19:4. Pr 9:12. Je 31:30. Ezk 14:10n. +*18:20n. Ga 6:5. Re 2:23. 22:12. to God. ver. 10. Jn *10:30.

Isa 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Isaiah 55:3. Incline. Is 51:1. Ps 78:1. 119:112. Pr 4:20. 15:31. 22:17. Zc 7:7. come. Mt *11:28. Jn **6:37, 44, 45. 7:37. He 11:6. 1 P 2:4. hear. Is 44:1. 48:12. 49:1. Dt 28:1. 30:10. 2 Ch 24:19. Ps 81:8. *95:7. Pr 1:33. 2:2. +**18:17. Mt 13:16. 15:10. 17:5. Mk +**4:24. Lk 6:47. +**8:18. *9:35. Jn **5:24, 25. 8:47. **10:27. Ac 3:22. He 3:7. 5:9. soul. Heb. nephesh, Ge +12:13. shall live. Ge +*15:6. 19:20. Le +*18:5. Pr 4:4. 7:2. Je 38:20. Am 5:4. Hab +*2:4. Jn **10:27, 28. and I will make. Is 54:8. 61:8. Ge 17:7. 2 S 23:5. Je 31:33, 34. 32:40. *50:5. Ezk 16:60. 34:25. 37:26. Da x9:27. He *13:20. everlasting. Heb. olam, Ge +17:7. Ge +9:16. Is +44:7n. covenant. Is 54:10. 56:4. 59:21. Ge 15:18. Ex 6:4. Le 26:9. Dt 28:1. Jg 2:1. 2 S **7:10-16. 1 Ch 16:17. Ps +*74:20. **89:34. 111:9. Ro 11:27. He 8:8. 12:24. the sure mercies. Is +*41:9. +*54:8-10. +*59:21. 2 S +**7:10n, 15. 23:5. 1 Ch 17:13. 2 Ch 1:8. 6:42. Ps +*89:3, 28, 33, 35-37. +*132:11. Je +*33:20, 21n, 25, 26. Ezk **37:24, 25. Ac +**>13:34. of David. FS181E, Ge +3:24. Is 38:5. 1 K 11:34. 2 K 20:5. Ps +*89:49. Je 30:9. Ezk 34:23. 37:24. Ho 3:5. Ac $+*13:23.

Jesus repeatedly challenged the religious authorities of his day as well as the common people by the question, “Have ye not read…” (Matthew 12:3). That question is recorded about ten times in the Gospels. Jesus expected people to know the Bible and to have read it. That, then, must be our authority.

Matthew 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

Matthew 12:3. Have ye not read. ver. 5. Mt 19:4. +21:16, 42. 22:31. Mk 2:25. 12:10, 26. Lk 6:3. 10:26. Jesus appealed repeatedly to the Bible alone as the source of spiritual authority. Notice the preceding cross references which document Christ’s repeated question, “Have ye not read?” Jesus expected his hearers to have read the Bible. He expects them to understand what they read (Mt 24:15n). His question, “Have ye not read?” is recorded ten times! Jesus referred to seven distinct passages (Ge 1:27 at Mt 19:4; Ex 3:6 at Mt 22:31, 32; Le 24:6-9 at Mt 12:3; Nu 28:9, 10 at Mt 12:5; 1 S 21:6 at Mt 12:3; Ps 8:2 at Mt 21:16; Ps 118:22 at Mt 21:42). Jesus appealed to the Bible as His authority many times, but never once did he appeal to the authority of the religious leaders in Israel (Pharisees or Sadducees), or to religious tradition. He commanded to “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39). Two dozen times Jesus cites the Old Testament Prophets as recorded in the New Testament (Lk 24:27n). Even during His temptation in the wilderness, Jesus cited the Scripture, not tradition, when he resisted the Devil successfully. It seems we could learn something from that (Mt 4:4, 6, 7, 10). That the New Testament was written by the authority of Christ may be legitimately inferred from the fact that: (1) John explicitly records that Jesus Christ commanded him to WRITE (Revelation 1:19). (2) Jesus directly promised that the Holy Spirit would guide his apostles into all truth and bring all things to their remembrance (Jn 16:12, 13). Thus, as they wrote the writings we now have in the New Testament we are assured of their accuracy for they were written under divine inspiration (2 T 3:16. 2 P 1:21). Peter called the letters written by Paul “Scripture” (2 P 3:16), and clearly possessed them as a well-known collection. Paul cites the words of Jesus, quoting them exactly, from Luke 10:7 in 1 Timothy 5:17, 18. The book of Revelation makes at least four direct quotations from the Gospels. By John’s death, the entire New Testament as we have it today was available and being read by or to all genuine Christians. Thus the claim by some Roman Catholics that Jesus gave us the Church, not the Bible, as our teaching authority and source of spiritual truth, the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 T 3:15n), is untrue, for Jesus himself appealed to the authority of Scripture, not tradition or the religious institution of his day. Mt 9:13. +*22:29. Le 10:16-20. Dt +17:19. Ps 119:139. Ac 13:27. what David did. 1 S *21:3-6. Mk 2:25, 26. Lk 6:3. and they. 1 S 21:1, 2.

Jesus never appeals to so-called Tradition (like the Roman Catholics do) or to an official teaching authority like both the Roman Catholics and the Jehovah’s Witnesses do. On that basis I think these groups are false to the Scripture, and possibly false cults, and were predicted as long ago as the warning Paul gave to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:27-30. See also 1 Timothy 4:1 and 1 John 4:1.

Act 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

I would particularly note that false claimants to spiritual authority started very early, being here spoken of in the book of Acts. Therefore, any claims based on the ability to trace an institution back to apostolic times are most suspect and actually invalid when their teachings do not match the apostolic record in the New Testament and the Bible as a whole. A good test of the truthfulness of any claim to supposed authority is to match the teaching of an institution, denomination, church, organization, theological system, or religious cult to the truth conveyed in Scripture as pointedly revealed by the cross references given for Isaiah 55:3 furnished above.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

The Watchtower denies the right of every individual to judge the correctness of a proposed (by them) interpretation of Scripture. Contrast 1 John 2:27 and 1 Corinthians 14:29. But Scripture plainly places the responsibility for judging the correctness of doctrinal teaching upon the believer according to Galatians 1:8.

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

1 Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

1 Corinthians 14:29. the prophets. ver. 32, 39. 1 C 12:10. Ac +13:1. 15:32. Ro 12:6. 1 Th *5:19-21. 1 J 4:1-3. two or three. ver. 27n. the other. Rather, the others, io alloi. judge. or, discern, or discriminate. Gr. diakrinō (S#1252g, Ja 1:6). 1 C 2:15. 10:15. 12:10. Jb *12:11. Is +*8:20n. Mk +*4:24. Lk +12:57. Ac +*17:11. 1 Th *5:20, 21. 1 J *4:1.

I doubt very much that this commanded practice is followed in very many churches or congregations today! The others (note the plural, hidden by the King James Version) were directed to judge of the correctness of the teaching presented, apparently then and there, on the spot! But that demonstrates that the hearers were judged fully capable and were authorized, even directed, to make such judgments.

Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:8. though we. or, even if we. FS102C, Mt +5:29. FS185B, Ga +6:1. ver. 9. Is 9:15. Je 16:20. *23:16. 1 C 16:22. 2 C *11:13, 14. 1 T 1:19, 20. T 3:10. Re **22:18, 19. an angel. 1 K *13:18n. Ro +*8:38. 2 C **11:14, 15. preach any other. T#1120. Individual Christian believers are here deemed competent to judge the doctrinal correctness of the preaching of an inspired apostle or even an angel from heaven, a very clear assertion of the Bible doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture (Ps 119:104, 105. Pr 8:9. Mt +12:3). This doctrine holds that, in all essential matters pertaining to faith and practice (Ps 19:7. 119:9, 11), the Bible is clearly understandable upon careful study to even the humblest believer (Ps 119:99, 100), without the interposition of an institutional or ecclesiastical authority to interpret the Scriptures for him (1 J 2:20, 27). Closely allied to this is the doctrine of the right and necessity of private judgment (Ac 17:11. 1 C 14:29. 1 Th **5:21n), which holds that the individual is responsible directly to God for his beliefs (Ro 14:12), and that God will hold him responsible only to believe what is taught in Scripture (Is 8:20), apart from the teachings of humanly devised creeds and institutions, or unwritten traditions however hoary with age. The doctrines of perspicuity and private judgment having been clearly established as scriptural (see the following reference passages and their notes), the conclusion to be drawn is that the ultimate authority in spiritual or doctrinal matters is the written word of God found in the Bible, not the teachings of any man or group of men. Thus there can be no “one true church,” for any church is only “true” insofar as its teachings rest squarely upon and are in accordance with the teachings of the inerrant and infallible verbally inspired word of God in the Bible. Ps +102:18 (T#49). **119:105, 130. Pr +*8:9. Is +**8:20n. Je +*23:28n. Da +*11:33n. Mt 7:15. +*15:14. Mk 7:7-9. Lk +12:57 (T#420). Jn +**5:39n. 16:13n. Ac 8:31n. 15:15. +**17:11. Ro **14:12. +*15:4. 1 C 10:15. 14:29. 2 C 3:14. Ep +*4:14. Col +*1:23. 2:18. 1 Th **5:21. 2 T +**3:15-17. 2 P **1:19, 20n. 1 J *2:20, 27. **4:1, 2. 2 J +*10. gospel. 1 Th 1:5. 1 P 5:12. than that. or, contrary to that. Dt *4:2. *12:32. *13:8. Jsh 1:7. Pr +*30:6. 2 C 11:4. Re **22:18, 19. have preached. FS147A, Ge +50:24. 1 K 13:20n, 21. let him. Ga 3:10, 13. 5:12n. Ge 9:25. Le +*15:8. Dt +*27:15-26. Jsh 9:23. 1 S 26:19. Ne *13:25. Pr 28:10. Je +**10:25. Mt +*15:14. 25:41. 2 P 2:14. accursed. Gr. anathema (S#331g, Ac 23:14). Ga 3:10, 13. Jsh 7:1, 12. Mk 14:71. Ac 23:14. Ro +9:3. 1 C +*12:3n. *16:22g.

Check out references at Isaiah 8:20; 1 John 2:27; Matthew 12:3 and/or Matthew 24:15; John 5:39; 5:46; Acts 17:11; Luke 16:29-31; Mark 12:24. Note that last reference: Jesus did not charge them with error because they failed to accept the teaching from the authorized teaching authority (those that sit in “Moses’ seat” as Mt 23:2), or because they failed to know the official Traditions maintained by the one true Church. He roundly denounced them because they “knew not the Scriptures.” For the criticism by Jesus to be valid, it must have been possible then and now to know the Scriptures. The Scriptures, therefore, must be the sole authority, not a supposed “one true church” (like Roman Catholics would claim for their institution), or one true God-authorized organization (like the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim for their organization). God’s word issues stern warnings against giving heed to false teachers and false prophets. See the notes in the New Treasury at Jeremiah 14:14 and Ezekiel 14:10. See also Jeremiah 23:23, 28.

Jer 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.

Jeremiah 14:14. The prophets. Je 5:12. 5:31. 7:8. 8:11. 18:18. 20:6. +23:25, 26, 30. 27:10, 14. 28:13. 29:21. 37:19. Dt **18:20-22. 1 K 22:6. Pr +4:18n. Is 9:15. La 4:13. Mi 2:11. 3:5. Zc 13:3. Mt *7:15. 24:5. Mk 13:6. 1 T **4:1-3. Re *13:13-15. in my name. Dt 18:20. I sent. Je 23:14-16, 21-32. 27:14, 15. 28:15. 29:8, 9, 31. Ne 6:12. Is 30:10, 11. 2 Th **2:9-11. commanded. Je 7:22. neither spake. Je *23:21. false vision. There are several marks of false cults. False cults typically: (1) Appeal to the wrong basis of authority, Is +*8:20n. (2) Make exclusive claim to the truth, Pr +*4:18n. (3) Claim superior experience or knowledge, Is 65:5n. (4) Distort the balance of Biblical truth, Is 43:10n; Jn 16:13n; Ac **2:24n. (5) Deny the perspicuity of Scripture, Is +*8:20n; Pr +*8:9. (6) Deny the sufficiency of Scripture, 2 T +*3:17. (7) Deny the right of private or individual judgment and interpretation, Pr 18:1n; Ro 14:12; 2 P %1:20n. (8) Deny the full, eternal deity of Jesus Christ as the Second Person of the triune Godhead, or Trinity, Pr 8:22n. (9) Add to the written word of God additional revelation, whether in the form of authoritative writings or publications, or unwritten traditions, or new revelation, as from supernatural dreams, and supposed revelation through supernatural gifts of the Spirit, Je +*23:28n. (10) Approach Scripture deductively with their closed system of belief, rather than inductively to learn its truth, 2 P 1:20n. (11) Possess an innate, tenacious inability to receive new or corrective spiritual insight based upon additional light received from the continuing inductive study of Scripture, Ps 25:9; 119:18; Pr +*4:18n; 2 P 1:20n. (12) Wrest Scripture, and handle it deceitfully, in a persistent effort to ignore, suppress, explain away, circumvent, or evade those texts which do not “fit” their deductively developed, arbitrarily imposed, system of belief upon Scripture, 2 C 4:2; 2 P 3:16. (13) Exert lordship over their follower’s faith, 2 C +*1:24, rather than encouraging submission to the Lordship of Christ, Ac +**10:36. (14) Fail to teach the obligation of each believer to carefully judge the truth of what is being taught, Ro 14:12; 1 C 14:29; Ga 1:8, 9; 1 Th 5:21. (15) Fail to encourage the right of each believer to independently submit to the written word of God, Ps 119:18, 105; Ac 17:11, 12; 2 T 2:15; +*3:15-17; 1 P 2:2. (16) Impose a uniform system of belief upon all followers, rather than allow for individual differences in depth of knowledge to be reflected in honestly held differences of interpretation of Scripture and doctrinal understanding, Jn 16:12; Ac 18:24-26; Col 1:10; He 5:12; 2 P 3:18. (17) Deny legitimate Christian liberty by restricting the reading of followers to their own group’s publications, providing no open forum for the discussion of doctrinal differences, and not allowing participation in Bible studies not conducted by their own group, Jn 8:31, 32; 1 C 14:29; Ga 5:1; 3 J 9. (18) Deny the Incarnation, that Jesus Christ is God come in flesh, the Second Person of the Trinity, 2 J 7n. (19) Have developed a very elaborate and quite convincing Biblical defense of their heresies, Pr 18:17. (20) Mischaracterize the nature of God by ignoring the attributes they do not like and which do not harmonize with their system of doctrine, Ge +**18:25n. (21) Accept and defend the materialist positions in theology in their denial of consciousness after death and eternal punishment, punishment that is eternal in duration not merely effect (Ge 2:17n; 3:4n; Mt +*10:28n; +*25:46; Lk 23:43n). (22) Are characterized by proselytizing individuals already in the fellowship of genuinely Christian groups rather than winning unevangelized lost souls to faith in Christ, just like the Judaizers Paul roundly condemns (Ga +*5:12; Jn 10:10; Ac **20:30). (23) Promote doctrinal distinctives which are generally not in accord with Bible teaching that properly follows the rules of interpretation (2 P 1:20n). Je 23:16. Is 28:7. divination. Je 27:9, 10. 29:8, 9, 31. Pr +16:10mg. Is +44:25. Ezk 12:24. 13:6, 7, 23. 21:29. Mi 3:11. Zc 10:2. and the deceit. Je 4:10. 23:26. Ge 3:5. Is 30:10. 56:10. La 2:14. their heart. Je 23:17. Nu +16:28.

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13 Responses to False religions versus Bible Authority

  1. ken sagely says:

    ac 17.11 these were more noble than those in thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those
    things were so. ( the bereans were a good example of how we should handle all
    teaching claiming it is from God.)

    there are some encouraging cross refs searching the scriptures!!
    1. pr 1.5 A wise man will hear, and will increase in learning: and a man of
    understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
    2. mt 13.23 but he received seed into the good ground is he that heareth
    the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth
    forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
    3. lk 10. 39 and she had a sister called mary, which also sat at jesus feet,
    which also sat at jesus feet, and heard his word.
    4. ac 2.41 then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the
    same day there were added unto them about 3,000 souls.
    5. dt 17.19 and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of
    his life: that he may learn to fear the lord his god, to keep all these statues, to
    do them.
    6. isa 34.16 seek ye out of the book of the Lord,and read: no one of these shall
    fall, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit
    it hath gathered them.
    7. jn 5.39 search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they
    are they which testify of me.

  2. We are not obligated by Scripture to follow some supposed official “teaching authority.” I find no Scripture justification for such a notion.

    Is that so? What do you call the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, then, if not Church authority? What do you do with Paul and Silas’s actions in Acts 16:4 (RSV)?:

    “As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem.”

    It’s pretty tough not to see that as “teaching authority” of the Church. But if you have blinders on and refuse to see certain things in Scripture because of false presuppositions, it’s possible to miss the glaringly obvious.

  3. Jesus never appeals to so-called Tradition (like the Roman Catholics do) or to an official teaching authority like both the Roman Catholics and the Jehovah’s Witnesses do. On that basis I think these groups are false to the Scripture, and possibly false cults, . . .

    So you equate Catholics with JWs, then you’re not sure that a non-trinitarian sect is a cult or not? I have no such uncertainty. But we’re lumped right in with ‘em . . .

  4. On June 19th last year, you were more sure of the status of Catholicism:

    Well, that is another subject I am looking forward to delving into more completely here in a future series on “The Catholic Answer Bible Answered.” I really do not like to step on people’s toes, but sometimes it is necessary in the interests of maintaining the truth of the Bible against heresy and false cults.

    So Catholicism isn’t Christian (unless you define “heresy and false cults” a lot differently than I do). But if you went from “heresy and false cult” last June to “possibly false cult” now, this indicates progress, and doubt as to whether we’re not Christian or not. Thus, I congratulate you on your progress on that point (except that you’re also not sure that JWs are a cult, which is a regression, not progress).

    You could save a lot of work and trouble by taking my word on this: JWs are a false cult and a heresy and are not Christians (being Arians). Catholics are not a false cult and are Christians.

  5. You were also more sure of your position on November 7, 2010:

    On the basis of what the Bible itself teaches, I believe the Bible officially declares the Roman Catholic Church to be a false cult, for the Roman Catholic Church directly denies what the Bible clearly and absolutely declares.

  6. I also found a fascinating comment of yours from August 31, 2012. I’d like to make a few comments:

    That study group resulted in the conversion of Dave Armstrong to Roman Catholicism. He had been an Evangelical Christian, well acquainted with the Bible, before this happened.

    And I’m far more acquainted with the Bible now than I was 24 years ago.

    In fact, shortly before his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith, he had presented on my former student Pastor Emery Moss’s radio program a very well-done apologetic defense of Biblical Christianity in answer to the Jehovah’s Witnesses which I happened to hear.

    Thank you! My first major radio appearance. My beliefs as to JWs have not changed a wit. I still think they are a non-Christian cult now, whereas you just stated you weren’t sure.

    It is my belief that while there may be some Roman Catholics who are genuinely saved because they have truly placed their faith in what our Lord Jesus Christ did for them on the Cross, I suspect most Roman Catholics have followed the teaching of their church, which I believe is utterly mistaken on salvation matters.

    This is classic, textbook anti-Catholicism. I’ve often described it as: “in order to be a good Christian, you must be a bad Catholic [i.e., reject several of its teachings]; if you are a good Catholic [i.e., accept all Catholic teachings] then you are a bad Christian [i.e., no Christian at all].”

    I wholeheartedly accept all Catholic teachings, that the Church decrees as binding upon Catholics. Therefore, according to you I can’t be saved and can’t be a Christian.

    Only the Lord knows the hearts, and Paul cautioned us to “judge nothing before the time” (1 Corinthians 4:5), but I am most concerned that for anyone to turn from Biblical Christianity to belief in the Roman Catholic faith is tantamount to committing apostasy.

    I haven’t turned from “biblical Christianity” because I am far more “biblical” now than I ever was as a Protestant. I accept the inspiration and truthfulness of all Scripture, not just carefully selected prooftexts, according to preconceived notions that were held before the Bible was ever consulted. I have come to believe that Catholicism is the fullness of the Christian faith, so in your eyes I must be an apostate.

    The Roman Catholic Study Group held at Dave Armstrong’s home resulted in the conversion of Mr. Al Kresta, a very popular and effective radio talk show host for the program, “Talk from the Heart,” on WMUZ-FM in Detroit, to Roman Catholicism.

    This is untrue. Al had been attending Catholic Mass for years before I had the slightest interest in Catholicism at all. He was closer to conversion than I was for many years, but was slower to take the final step. My study had some slight influence on him but was by no means the big cause. Those causes were detailed by him in a lengthy talk given at my house, that explained the reasons (and in his written account in Surprised by Truth, which never mentions me, as I recall). Many of them were related to his experiences as a pastor, and how Protestantism is a chaotic system. He mentioned one case of an elder at his church who was committing adultery. He asked him to step down as a result. Then he discovered that he went over to a large Presbyterian church (you would know the name) and was accepted as an elder there: no problem! This was after Al had informed the pastor of the adulterous shenanigans.

    This is Protestantism.

    So I wasn’t a major cause of his conversion, but I have been an influence — by God’s grace, as I am just a poor vessel — in many hundreds of conversions to Catholicism, based on the letters I receive.

    I believe Al Kresta was a pastor of a local Protestant church, but I do not know what denomination it was.

    It’s non-denominational; charismatic. It was called Shalom House. The founder of that outreach to young people, Joe Shannon, has also returned to Catholicism as well (no relation to me there, either). The pastor after both of them, remains firmly Protestant.

    It may be that Al Kresta was converted back to Roman Catholicism, for if I recall correctly, he had been raised in the Roman Catholic faith by his parents.

    That’s not the reason. There were many reasons: all valid and perfectly sensible. But for a thinker like Al, merely having been something at one time is not the reason he does things.

    One of my own Sunday school class members, who was raised Roman Catholic, but found Christ as his personal Savior, has returned to his former Roman Catholic faith.

    I found Christ as my “personal Savior” (a phrase never found in the Bible, though I would argue that the concept is, rightly understood) in 1977. Now I’ve also found the Church that He founded, which is how Christianity was always intended to be.

    I am very concerned that there is a lack of solid Bible teaching and apologetics in our Evangelical, Bible-believing churches.

    Yeah, me, too. It’s the same in the Catholic Church, which is why I’ve devoted my life to changing that, in both camps.

    I believe I should have done more than I did in teaching my high school Sunday school class about apologetics, for while I answered the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Christ most thoroughly, I did not delve as deeply into Roman Catholicism.

    I can see that. You have much to learn about it.

    I did share with my class some reading material pointing out the apostasy of Roman Catholicism, but I did not dwell on the issue.

    Good!

    In particular, I shared the content of a booklet titled “Why Protestants and Roman Catholics Must Forever Remain Apart,” or something very similar. The main point the booklet addressed had to do with the fact that Roman Catholicism has an entirely false salvation plan, for it teaches the grace of salvation is received only through the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church.

    This is untrue on several counts:

    1) We accept the validity of Protestant trinitarian baptism as a genuine sacrament, causing one to become part of the Body of Christ.

    2) We accept the validity of all the sacraments of Eastern Orthodoxy.

    3) We accept the sacramental validity of the marriage of two lifelong Protestants (not formerly married).

    4) We believe in a baptism of desire in some cases, whereby one can be saved without baptism. Martyrdom can also work the same way.

    5) We believe that “invincibly ignorant” non-Catholics can be saved.

    One would think that anyone who understood the difference between the two systems or plans of salvation would never fall prey to the false apologetic of Roman Catholicism. But this sacerdotal heresy still represents a very fatal danger to those who fall victim to its false reasoning.

    I’ve written 43 books and over 2,500 papers explaining why Catholicism is altogether biblical; harmonious with Scripture, and that Protestantism is not. That’s why I’m where I am, because I’ve loved and studied the Bible for nearly 37 years now.

  7. I transcribed Al’s “conversion talk” at my house:

    Why I Returned to the Catholic Church: Including a Searching Examination of Various Flaws and Errors in the Protestant Worldview and Approach to Christian Living

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/02/why-i-returned-to-catholic-church-al.html

  8. Jerry says:

    Dear Dave,

    Perhaps I should have worded this clearer. I agree with you, the JWs are a false cult without question. What I intended to mean was that while JWs are a false cult, the Roman Catholic Church may not be, though because the Roman Catholic Church adds Tradition to Scripture, and because Roman Catholicism does not appear to me in my limited studies so far to adhere to the world-view represented in the 27 primary source documents of our New Testament, I must conclude that the Roman Catholic faith preaches a “different gospel” than the New Testament does.

    I certainly concur with the Roman Catholic Church in believing the doctrine of the Trinity. I concur with the Roman Catholic Church in believing in the divine inspiration of Scripture. I concur with the Roman Catholic Church in believing that upon physical death the soul or spirit continues in a conscious state. I concur with the Roman Catholic Church that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.

    And by the way, I was asked by some very devout Roman Catholic participants at the TimeBomb2000 discussion site for help in defending their position on these matters, and I did so at length, and was thanked personally by them as well as their Catholic leader (I think he was above the level of a local parish priest; I gathered from discussion that he was a bishop–who also wrote me a PM (personal message) thanking me for defending their position against the resident Arians who were arguing to the contrary.

    But on the other hand, as best as I’ve been able to learn (as to the official position of the Roman Catholic Church), the Roman Catholic Church denies the doctrine of the literal pre-millennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ to reign upon this earth forever from Jerusalem. This doctrine is sometimes called Chiliasm. This is the doctrine of nearly the whole of the first three centuries of the Christian church as documented by the writings of the church fathers or early Christian writers. It certainly is the teaching of the New Testament, and the Old Testament as well. If I am correct about the position of the Roman Catholic Church on this matter, then it is clear that the Roman Catholic Church has departed from the original apostolic teaching of the first three centuries.

    I asked the Roman Catholic participants at TimeBomb2000 to clarify this for me. In fact, I asked the question very sincerely in response to their offer to find the answer for any question I might have about the Roman Catholic Church. They never responded to my question.

    If you know anything about this issue, I would sincerely welcome your input.

  9. Jerry says:

    Dear Dave,

    That was then. This is now. We have no living inspired Apostles among us now who have the kind of authority the original apostles possessed. What we all have now is an inspired Book, which they wrote under divine inspiration, now complete, which contains all we must know to be saved and to live the Christian life.

    Certainly every church and denomination has its system of authority which it exercises over its members. But should the exercise of authority violate the teaching of the Bible, in that case the Bible is the final authority.

    But note carefully here, the issue is not merely authority, but official teaching authority.

    I stand by my statement that today we have no such divinely authorized teaching authority inherent in an institution, only a Book, the Bible.

  10. Jerry says:

    Dear Dave,

    I think you may have missed my most essential point here: Jesus never appeals to so-called Tradition like the Roman Catholics do.

    I made an exhaustive study of what the New Testament teaches about tradition. In a nutshell, Jesus always condemns it. When the word appears in the epistles it has reference to teaching, teaching which the recipients of the epistle had heard when Paul was with them and teaching them.

    I find nothing in the New Testament which would justify the use Roman Catholics make of Tradition, the substance, or the term.

  11. To the last comment:

    Jesus condemns the traditions of men, not tradition per se. This is two different things n Scripture. One is good and extolled, the other bad, and condemned. Note in the following examples, that every time Jesus mentions tradition, He qualifies it (thus showing that He didn’t condemn all tradition, but only false and distorted versions of it). If tradition in and of itself were intrinsically a bad thing, I contend that He wouldn’t qualify it every time He used it:

    Matthew 15:3 He answered them, “And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”

    Matthew 15:6 So, for the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God.

    Matthew 15:9 “in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.”

    Mark 7:8-9, 13 You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.” [9] And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! . . . [13] thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”

    Now, you’ll say, “okay, but He doesn’t mention ‘tradition’ in a good sense in these passages, either.” Not the word itself, but He does mention the concept. He juxtaposes men’s tradition against the “commandment of God” and “the word of God” and “doctrines”. So you’ll say, “so? That’s still not tradition!” Ah, but it is, because these terms, upon close examination, are essentially synonymous. You basically admitted as much yourself, above: “When the word appears in the epistles it has reference to teaching.” Exactly! I showed this in my first book:

    Tradition / Gospel / and Word of God are Synonymous

    It is obvious from the above biblical data that the concepts of tradition, gospel, and word of God (as well as other terms) are essentially synonymous. All are predominantly oral, and all are referred to as being delivered and received:

    1 Corinthians 11:2 [RSV] . . . maintain the traditions . . . . even as I have delivered them to you.

    2 Thessalonians 2:15 . . . hold to the traditions . . . . taught . . . by word of mouth or by letter.

    2 Thessalonians 3:6 . . . the tradition that you received from us.

    1 Corinthians 15:1 . . . the gospel, which you received . . .

    Galatians 1:9 . . . the gospel . . . which you received.

    1 Thessalonians 2:9 . . . we preached to you the gospel of God.

    Acts 8:14 . . . Samaria had received the word of God . . .

    1 Thessalonians 2:13 . . . you received the word of God, which you heard from us, . . .

    2 Peter 2:21 . . . the holy commandment delivered to them.

    Jude 3 . . . the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

    In St. Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians alone we see that three of the above terms are used interchangeably. Clearly then, tradition is not a dirty word in the Bible, particularly for St. Paul. If, on the other hand, one wants to maintain that it is, then gospel and word of God are also bad words! Thus, the commonly asserted dichotomy between the gospel and tradition, or between the Bible and tradition is unbiblical itself and must be discarded by the truly biblically-minded person as (quite ironically) a corrupt tradition of men.

    * * * * *

    Moreover, we have the evidence of Matthew 23:1-3:

    Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, [2] “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; [3] so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.

    “Moses’ seat” is not an Old Testament concept. Thus, Jesus appeals to an extrabiblical tradition. Secondly, He appeals to the extrabiblical tradition: a sort of “succession of the teaching office” not unlike apostolic succession, to ground pharisaical authority even over His own disciples. Thirdly, He grants this authority even if the Pharisees are bad examples (He goes on to excoriate them for hypocrisy and legalism right after this).

    Thus, He appeals to tradition, and uses the same tradition to establish the authority even of Jewish leaders over Christians (whereas you claim that not even binding Christian authority is in the New Testament, and that Jesus totally dissed tradition). Paul also called himself a Pharisee twice and acknowledged the authority of the high priest during his trial.

    In my book, Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths (you’re welcome to a free e-book copy of that, too, if you like), I also demonstrated how there are other terms as well for the true apostolic tradition, besides gospel, word of God, commandment, and the faith. There is also the truth, the doctrine, teaching, the message, and new covenant.

    How you can miss all this in your exhaustive comparisons of biblical words is extraordinary. But I understand that one’s presuppositions so color one’s conclusions and methodologies, that it is quite possible to miss even though it is plain as day in Scripture.

  12. Jerry says:

    Dear Dave,

    My responses to your comments are not as clear as they might have been because I was responding to them from somewhere inside this site rather than here on this discussion thread, so I did not cite your statement with each of my responses.

    In your last comment, you indicate you have another e-book you can share with me:

    In my book, Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths (you’re welcome to a free e-book copy of that, too, if you like), I also demonstrated how there are other terms as well for the true apostolic tradition, besides gospel, word of God, commandment, and the faith. There is also the truth, the doctrine, teaching, the message, and new covenant.

    I would be most interested to receive a copy.

    You comment:

    How you can miss all this in your exhaustive comparisons of biblical words is extraordinary.

    I am still in the process of learning. That is why I appreciate your input. It is always good to upgrade my education.

    If I am able to find my saved TimeBomb2000 post where I presented a full analysis of the subject of Tradition in the Bible compared with how the term is understood by Roman Catholics, I’ll post it on this thread.

    Please do not feel offended if I criticize the Roman Catholic Church. It is my position that we are to commend those who are right as long as they are in the right, and correct or challenge those who are mistaken in a position taught by the Bible. There are many good things to be said about the Roman Catholic Church. So far, the Roman Catholic Church has maintained a very Biblical stance on the so-called “right-to-life” issue. It otherwise teaches a very high moral standard pretty much in accord with the Bible on related issues. I wish more Roman Catholics had heeded the pleas of their Bishops to not vote for a party that was restricting the religious freedom of the Roman Catholic Church and its related educational, etc., institutions with regard to “Obama Care” provisions requiring insurance coverage for practices utterly discountenanced by the Roman Catholic Church and the Bible.

    Somewhere in my collection here I hope I still have a little red booklet I bought from the literature rack at St. Bartholomew’s Roman Catholic Church when I was a teenager. The title of the booklet is “The Catholic Church Never Changes.” I remember the bright fall day when I rode my bicycle several miles to the church and bought the booklet.

  13. Jerry says:

    Dear Dave,

    Here is a post I wrote on TimeBomb2000 back on February 20, 2009.

    2/20/09 Tradition as used in the NT

    I think somewhere around here there was a complete study posted of the term “tradition” as it is used in the New Testament. The Greek word involved is Strong Number 3862. It occurs as follows (according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

    (1) Matthew 15:2. transgress the tradition of the elders
    (2) Matthew 15:3. transgress the commandment of God by your tradition
    (3) Matthew 15:6. made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition
    (4) Mark 7:3. holding the tradition of the elders
    (5) Mark 7:5. according to the tradition of the elders
    (6) Mark 7:8. laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men
    (7) Mark 7:9. ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition
    (8) Mark 7:13. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition
    (9) Colossians 2:8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
    (10) 2 Thessalonians 3:6. withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
    (11) 1 Peter 1:18. ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

    (12) Galatians 1:14. exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
    (13) 2 Thessalonians 2:15. stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

    I personally favor the modern English rendering of the New Living Translation for 2 Thessalonians 2:15, which reads “With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on everything we taught you both in person and by letter.” This rendering nicely removes this text from the usually mistaken notions associated with the word “tradition.”

    The New Living Translation renders the other positive mention of “tradition” found in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 to read “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from any Christian who lives in idleness and doesn’t follow the tradition of hard work we gave you.” This rendering nicely (and correctly) removes the term “tradition” from its usual mistaken theological context promoted by Romanism.

    All but two of the fourteen texts above use “tradition” in a most negative sense, as something NOT to be followed.

    All that Jesus himself said about “tradition” was negative: he warned not to follow it.

    (14) 1 Corinthians 11:2. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

    The New Living Translation renders 1 Corinthians 11:2 to read “I am so glad, dear friends, that you always keep me in your thoughts and you are following the Christian teaching I passed on to you.” This surely conveys the intention of the Apostle Paul as he wrote, and again removes the passage from the mistaken notions regarding “tradition” imposed on the Word of God by the false teaching of Romanism.

    While Roman Catholics assert that they have teachings of Christ and the Apostles preserved from their time by means of Roman Catholic Tradition, such alleged tradition remains a mysterious black box, and its contents remind me of the nursery rhyme, “nothing in it, nothing in it, but the binding ’round it.”

    No Roman Catholic has yet managed to provide a link to any additional words from Christ himself on the Internet that are not already found in the New Testament itself.

    All the words of Christ and His direct apostles of the first century are preserved in one place accessible to all: the 27 primary source documents which we call the New Testament.

    I recommend that we all benefit by reading and studying those primary sources God has graciously provided for us in His written Word found in the Bible. All else is folly and heresy, no matter how ancient its claim.

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