Is God Against Christianity?
Is God Against Christianity?
Thoughts on the Pope's Reassertion
That The RCC Is The Only True Church
The other day, A-O covered the news story about the Pope reasserting the Roman Catholic Church as the only true church. This story provoked my to considering what may seem unthinkable. It also prompted me to consider the prophetic ramifications of the Pope's comments as well as the over riding question of religion, Christianity, and God's views regarding organized Christianity as a religion. Before, delving into the theistic aspects of religion, Christianity and God's views on both, let me take a moment to comment on the Pope's remarks and the potential prophetic impact.
In an alleged era of "koombaya" the Pope may have just slit his own throat with the NWO/Illuminist crowd by claiming the Roman Catholic Church as the only true church. Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday (July 10th) which claims that the Orthodox churches were/are defective and that other Christian denominations were/are not true churches.
Such a statement by the Pope is not likely to endear him to the One-World Religion crowd that wishes to bring about a New World Order united with a One-World religion as the glue which holds a New World Order together. Of course, its all about religion and bringing organized Christianity under the fold of a Ooe-World religion.
Fortunately, for humanity whether humanity realizes it or not, God has rejected religion and also organized Christianity as being no different than any other religion.
God, through his prophets, including in particular, Isaiah has noted that HE HATES RELIGION, which is surely what organized Christianity has become. What do I mean by organized Christianity?
Religion defined from God's perspective
In Isaiah chapter 1 God announces his rejection of Israel's "religiousness."
Verse 11. "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
Verse 12 . "When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
Verse 13. "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
Verse 14. "Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
Verse 15. "And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
Verse 16. "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
Verse 17. "Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Verse 18. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Verse 19. "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
Verse 20. "But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Verse 21. "How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
Verse 22. "Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
Verse 23. "Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
Verse 24. "Therefore saith the LORD, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:
Verse 25. "And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:
Verse 26. "And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.
Thru the prophet Isaiah God tells Israel that Israel had taken God's commands and had turned them into a "religion" which He detests. The fact of the matter is that God hates religion because by its inherent nature, religion always attempts to approach God on the basis of "human merit" (as in "good deeds") and that human merit or "good deeds" equates to "righteousness."
Here is how God viewed Israel's righteousness - i.e. Israel's good deeds.
See Isaiah 64:6
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Now in this last verse, it should be noted that Israel's good things, their "good deeds," or if you will "their religiousness" and or "righteousness" are considered and treated by God to be like "filthy rags." The term here is very colorful but also very shocking in the orginal Hebrew because the term is literally a reference to an old, used woman's menstrual cloth. Allow me to explain.
The term "filthy rags" consists of two Hebrew words.
"filthy" = Strong's Code # 5708 = "ed" or "ayd" = the definition comes from an unused root word which meant "to set a period." The word itself means "menstrual flux" or "menstrual soiling."
"rags" = Strong's Code #899 = "begh-ed" = defined as a covering, a cloth, a garment, a rag,
In the context of Isaiah 64: 6 these 2 terms joint together to describe an old, used menstrual cloth.
In our culture and society of today, feminine hygiene products are made of disposable paper products and are sometimes referred to by their brand name such as "Kotex" or whatever brand is the dominant of a given culture. This use of paper products for a feminine hygiene application is a recent development of the last century. Prior to that development of paper feminine products, 'spun cloth' was used.
In Isaiah 64:6, It should be noted that the KJV translators chose to "clean up" the phrase so that it wouldn't be so highly offensive in polite or "mixed gender" company, yet in the original Hebrew this verse was a highly offensive statement written with the intention of conveying offensiveness in order to express to the reader that human righteousness is as highly offensive to God as an old, used, smelly feminine hygiene product is offensive to a human nose. The phrase carries not so much the idea of looks, as it does, smell.
The term in verse 6 if put into the modern 21st century vernacular would go something like this:
"all of our righteousnesses are as an old, used smelly
(smelling to high heaven)
Kotex or feminine hygiene product."
The problem as stated by God through Isaiah is that :
human good deeds - human actions
wrapped in human religiousness
are exceedingly offensive and nasty smelling
before God and thus are REJECTED by God
Religiousness does away with faith even if or when it attempts to embrace faith and mix it with good deeds. Religious ceremonialism equates to a used, smelly feminine hygiene product.
So, when you or I attend a church's "worship service" we are engaging in a ceremonial action that is highly offensive before God. How can we say that?
Remember Isaiah chapter 1. Israel performed relgious ceremonialism and God rejected it because it was done with the wrong attitude. The attitude was that by "doing something" God would be pleased.
God is never pleased by our attempts to
please Him by becoming "performing seals."
God is not pleased with "performance"
He IS PLEASED BY FAITH ALONE
I had a Seminary professor in school who loved to quote the following:
A right thing - done in a wrong way - IS WRONG
That statement certainly applies to how God views human actions and God has made this known in His written word, but ufortunately, few of us pay much attention to His written words.
Only actions that flow from a mental attitude of total
reliance upon faith in Him is pleasing to Him.
Salvation is by faith alone,
not by works of any sort
and not by any human action
Salvation is only by what God has done,
not by us
Being religious gains us eternal damnation.
Religion is defined from the Biblical perspective as: "Acting a certain way, being a certain way and by what one does, one gains "brownie points" or "favor" with the God of the Universe.
Religion flies in the face of Ephesians 2:8-9
Verse 8. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
Verse 9. "Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Hebrews 11: 6
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
"But without faith it is impossible to please him"
Hebrews Chapter 11 is a chapter that defines faith by examples of faith in action.
Salvation is by grace alone, not by human merit, as stated in Ephesians 2: 8-9 but that is not the only instance in scripture dealing with this issue. In fact the entire epistles of Romans and even more so to the point in the epistle to the Galatians do we find that anything added to faith cancels faith.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians warns them of the heresy of mixing works with faith for salvation. Paul states in Chapter 1 verses 6-9 that those who proclaim a different Gospel than Grace alone are eternally damned.
Verse 6. "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:"
Verse 7. "Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ."
Verse 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."
Verse 9. "As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
It should be noted that "accursed" is the KJV translator's more polite term for the word which means eternally damned.
The Galatians were being taught by false teachers that salvation required more than faith - it required human actions. Paul addresses this in chapter 3: 1-4
Verse 1. "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?"
Verse 2. "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"
Verse 3. "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"
Verse 4. "Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain."
Paul is asking the Galatians how they accepted salvation - was it by the Spirit of Works or by the hearing of faith?
He then asks how is it that they think they can become perfect by "the flesh" i.e. by human acitivity. He equates such a concept as utter foolishness.
The term foolishness would be better translated as unintelligent or unwise, i.e. "stupid" is another word that works well in the context and in the 21st century vernacular. Basically Paul is telling the Galatians that they are "stupid idiots" if they think its okay to mix works with faith for living the Christian life. Works is to be but a by-product of faith and not equated with faith as a means of garnering favor with God.
Please, do not misunderstand and think that this is simply carte-blanche to do as we wish. Our lives should reflect our faith by the things we do, but what we do is not to be motivated by the idea that we do something and God is obligated to respond as a payment or reward. God is not obligated on the basis of what we do. We are to do something because its the right thing to do, not because we're going to get something in return. Good things that we do are to be done solely as a result of our faith/reliance upon God's actions on our behalf and that such actions are simply the right thing to do, not on the basis that we gain something in return.
This then applies to how we are to live and relate to other's who also are relying on salvation on the basis of grace through faith.
We do not please God by going to church
and acting like trained seals performing
taking part in religious ceremonies
Unfortunately, the churches of our day
are wrapped in religious ceremonialism.
Most churches have a Sunday morning "worship" service which starts out with a set order of activities just like Israel had although those activities themselves were totally different - the core principles remained - do something to please God.
Church "services" are nothing short of religious ceremonialism, with lip service to the idea of "faith." They insidiously mix human actions and human merit with "faith."
In most, if not all cases, the worship service becomes an avenue of "works" built on a foundation of good intentions - pleasing God - but unfortunately God is not pleased by religious ceremonialism, because it inevitably is done for the wrong reasons and with a false attitude and often times results in self-worship.
What is the definition of worship?
The very definition of "worship" is to give worth to something, "worth-ship."
Genuine worship from God's perspective though is something genuine that by its essence is spontaneous and not something that can be "scheduled." It is also a personal thing, not a corporate concept conducted by a group with a "hive" mentality.
A worship service is designed to give worth to something or someone. Yet its very nature is a scheduled event. In Christian churches today, the goal is to give worth or recognition to God. However, the "works" mentality inevitably creeps into the equation, usually in the most insidious and unnoticed ways.
Church services although theoretically well-intended result in an outcome-based performance that in reality gives more worth to the humans involved in the ceremony than it does to God.
Think about it. Think about human nature.
It's hard for me to put into human words just how insidious, human pride is and how it enters into any religious ceremonialism, but its there, just the same. It manifests itself easily in religious ceremonialism and as it does so, it blinds the participants into thinking they're doing the right thing when in reality, they're doing the wrong thing because it actually becomes self-worship.
Genuine heartfelt worship, by its very nature is almost impossible to accomplish in the midst of a group, when the whole group is trying to "worship."
Worship by its very nature is a solitary, personal, logical matter. It is a response to what one recognizes about something or someone, in our case, it is supposed to be about God. It is truly a personal matter. Public, group "worship" on planet earth by sinners living with a sin nature is exceedingly difficult if not impossible because participating individuals minds are not sharply focused on the sole idea of giving worth to God.
For example: An individual standing outside in creation may observe and note a particular aspect of how great God's creative handiwork is - that thought from observation - is in itself - genuine worship because it is genuinely giving worth to God.
The same may be true in a a moment of healing, be it at home or at work or in the hospital when the sudden realization is reached that someone has been healed by God and that conclusion is then reached that He did it. That too is giving worth to God - genuinely.
Worthship does not come by singing with a group in a song that was part of a scheduled event. Worship is spontaneous and nothing in a scheduled series of events is by nature spontaneous.
I've found only a handful of churches where there is little or no ceremonialism on a Sunday morning. These are churches which almost defy description because they don't:
#1. Have a choir
#2. Have a set structure of events/activities
#3. They don't even sing a song.
#4. Some don't even take up an offering
#5. There is no preacher - no sermon - just a teacher
#6. The atmosphere is like a college classroom - devoted totally to learning and understanding of the written words of the Bible
#7. There is only teaching, scholastically presented. No oratory, no sermon, no manipulation of emotions, no flowery words, no tickling of the ears, just a simple/complex presentation of a portion of the written text of the Bible and or related subject content such as a Biblical geography, archaeology, or some other element to help the attendee to better understand what is written in the Bible.
In other words these few churches are merely educational classrooms, conducting higher education meetings focused solely upon God's written words and issues surrounding the study of God's Word.
Of these churches, the ones that are really, really serious, about studying God's written word, do not even have church pews!
A church that is really serious about studying God's word would have chairs with writing arms like you would find in a college classroom or chairs with tables to write down notes. The speaker would use teaching tools like perhaps the use of an overhead projector and writes out study notes as he teaches what amounts to a "class" on a Biblical passage or Biblical concept. Some others might use a power point presentation for the notes. The whole idea though revolves around the idea of studying and learning the mind of God through His written Words.
Such churches which focus on studying and teaching are the only ones that I know of that actually are worshipping because the total focus is on giving worth to God and His written Word and then responding in amazment at what He has communicated in writing.
In such churches, there is no focus on a musical special. No announcements about brother (or sister) so and so's latest achievements with a Sunday school group or achievements of a group or the need for $$$ for some sort of church project or some other "country club" type of activities.
Once in awhile, such churches may conduct a very brief re-enactment of the Last Supper and they try to do so without religious ceremonialism, but yet there remains a smattering of ceremonialism.
Some churches avoid the ceremonialism all together by simply having a meal and remembering the Last Supper for what it was, a Last Meal of Christ reflecting upon His being a substitutional atoning sacrifice and fulfilling the Passover symbolism in the salvation process. Such an activity is open to anyone who professes to believe in salvation by grace through faith in the substitutionary atonement crosswork of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection. It's not a matter of church "membership."
From time to time, such churches engage in a brief baptismal events again without fanfare or ceremony, but aside from baptism and communion, there is no religious ceremonialism - just a total focus on studying and learning God's mind through what He had men write down.
Such churches are few and far between to the point of almost being non-existent.
Most Churches Are Religious
The rest of the Protestant church world seems to have become polluted one way or another, or in many ways with some form of ceremonialism and more often than not are also nothing more than glorified country clubs for socializing, and usually break down into social cliques which opens up another can of worms with snobbishness whether it is intentional or unintentional. It's just human nature.
All sorts of actions are mixed into a religious ceremonialism usually as a way and a means to make the attendee "feel" something, either through the religoius activities (singing, dancing, testimonies, drama presentations are some examples) or through an emotional speech from the pulpit by a "pastor" or often times by a mix of everything. In fact, for many attendees, the whole concept of "worship" is about their own "feelings" and how they "feel." Yet, giving worth to something shouldn't be a matter of feelings - it should be a matter of fact - recognition of a fact, which isn't a matter of feeling but a matter of mental attitude based upon knowledge.
In some cases, the ceremonialism is mixed with teaching and not preaching. Such teaching may even be doctrinally sound, but yet, it is marred by the envelopment of religious ceremonialism. Normally though, most churches just engage in ritualism with a sermon given by man or woman who means well perhaps but is total vanity and merely the expression of human viewpoint.
Sermons are nothing but opinions and asserted as if fact, without scholarly documentary proofs. The sermonizer expects his/her statements to be accepted as fact without providing textual proof. This approach leaves a congregation wide open to being led into doctrinal error.
Needless to say, I've not really given much description to the Roman Catholic Church ceremonialism, primarily because the RCC is nothing but ceremony and religion. The Roman Catholic Church is nothing short of being Galatian-like. The Roman Catholic Church mixes works with faith and as a result, suffers the same eternal damnation as Paul warned the Galatians. Yet, there are those in the Catholic Church who are relying solely on the crosswork of Jesus Christ for salvation by Grace through Faith alone and not by any of the RCC's dogmas and activities nor by membership in the RCC. Yet such individuals are few and far between within the Catholic Church.
Thus, I find it more than a bit ironic to read of the Pope's latest rendering that the RCC is the only "true church." The reality is that the RCC is the total antithesis of what genuine saving belief was all about orginally in the New Testament era. Indeed, the RCC ceremonies and Protestant church ceremonialism are antithetical and anathema to God's plans and intentions for true believers.
The Early Church Was Different
In the early New Testament era, believers in Yeshua ha'Meschiach simpliy met in homes and had mutual fellowship together as believers, jointly sharing the scriptures in study and remembering the stories about the life of Jesus and the acts of the Apostles and their doctrinal teachings. They had no church buildings in which to meet. They had no ceremonial pitfalls to be avoided. Their activities resulted in genuine mental attitudes of giving worth to God. Of course, they were usually undergoing severe persecution, too.
Today, the "churches" are but a shadow of what was intended. It reminds me of Christ's prophetic warning ...
"Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)
As I contemplate the state of the "churches" of our day, both in America and around the world, I believe He will return to find most churches practicing religion and will find few if any churches having the faith. Instead He will find and save only individuals, which is as it was in the early beginnings of the church in the first century.
The reality is that the church is simply composed of individuals. It is "the body of Christ." The real church is not a structured human organization, but try telling that to those who are wrapped up in church organizations and are convinced that organized churches are God's intent. Try telling that to the Pope.
The purpose of the Church is to equip individual believers for a successful spirit-led life, nothing more, nothing less. God's purpose for a saved individual is to "grow in grace" not grow in works or deeds. The purpose of the church is to equip that believer with knowledge of God's Word, everything else flows from that but without the teaching and the absorbtion of the knowledge given by the teaching all else is emptiness and vanity. How many churches are truly doing that?
Most churches have fallen into the trap of religiousness and those that do are anathema to God and will find God opposed to their efforts whether they be named as The Roman Catholic Church, The Anglican/Episcopalian Church, The Lutheran Church, The Methodist Church, The Presbyterian Church, The Baptist Church, The Church of God, The Christian Church, The Nazarene Church, or some variant non-denominational or independent Church.
The name makes no difference, nearly all if not all churches and denominations are guilty of some form of religiousness, works plus faith orientation (i.e "the brownie point system) and ceremonialism. This correlation to "works" and "earning something" from God doesn't have to blatant or obvious in a church, in fact, it's often very insidious and well-hidden.
For many, if not most church organizations, such an approach will gain them eternal damnation leaving only individuals in their midst as being truly saved with eternal life. Fortunately, the real church is "the body of Christ" composed of individuals and not an organization nor an organized religion.
So, Is God against Christianity? You'll decide for yourself but when time is done, a lot of people are going to be very surprised to find out the answer.
For more on the Pope's remarks, read the newswire story - .