Chapter 16: Pagans in the Pulpit (page 2 of 4)



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Section  Title



Ancient Adversaries



The Coming of Christianity



The Catholic Church



The Rise of Dissension



The Reformation



The Rise of Denominationalism



Like Mother, Like Daughter



The Arrival of Modern Christianity



The Doctrines of Modern Christianity



The Clergy of Modern Christianity



The Structure of Modern Christianity



The True Church


Scriptures: The Reconciliation of All Men


3. The Catholic Church

       With its new found power the Catholic church declared itself the supreme dictator of all Christian knowledge. The Catholics became the sole interpreters of the divine will. They called their doctrines orthodoxy, and any who disagreed with them were labeled heretics.

       The name Catholic comes from the Greek word katholikos which means “universal.” This name was adopted by the first organized church as early as AD 170. The idea of universality meant that their doctrine was founded upon the consent of the majority, and not necessarily upon truth or scripture.

       The Catholic beliefs were based on a consensus of carnal minds. According to the EDT their creed, “sometimes goes beyond biblical data, but Catholic scholars contend that the church’s doctrines are suggested by a ‘trajectory of images’ in the NT.” Via this trajectory the truth of God soars through the air, and where it lands, is of course dictated by the Catholic church.

       The Holy Roman Empire allowed the explosive growth of mystical idolatry known as Catholic doctrine. Borrowing from their Roman roots, Catholicism began to venerate the dead Christians. Just as the Hindus and pagan Rome had worshipped many different gods, each charged with a specific function, so Catholicism followed suit with patron saints for every location, illness, and activity. At first the saints were honored only at their respective graves. But by the fourth century, images were used to invoke the personal presence of the dead saint so that he could be worshipped anywhere. Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.

       The official Catholic catalog of saints now lists about 20,000 names. Many of these have gathered large followings and annual festivals. As in pagan Rome, the Catholic religious calendar became choked with obligations. The EDT states that, “By the twentieth century there were over 250 feasts. It was feared that the feasts of the saints were overshadowing the celebration of the mysteries of Jesus Christ.” In 1970 the Catholic calendar was curtailed to include 58 obligatory and 92 optional feast days of saints, in addition to those of Christ, the Virgin Mary, Joseph, and the apostles. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven.

       In the early years, the Catholic bishopric at Rome assumed a prominence by association with the imperial capitol and with the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul. Seeking to solidify their power, these bishops decided that church authority was an entity, much like kingly sovereignty, that could be passed from one individual to another in succeeding generations. Disposing of any personal calling or anointing of God, they created the idea that priestly ascendancy resided in a city, and was conferred by man.

       In AD 190, Bishop Victor claimed that his religious authority could be traced back to Peter, who had received it from Jesus Christ. In the power struggles of the fourth century between rival church leaders and meddling emperors, the bishops at Rome all asserted their supremacy by claiming their “primacy” was derived from Peter. They which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you.

       This primacy gave rise to the papacy, and by the sixth century the name pope was reserved for the Catholic bishop at Rome. Pope is derived from the Greek word papas, which means “father,” just as Catholic priests are still called “father” today. Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

       In 1302 pope Boniface VIII decreed that all earthly powers were subject to the spiritual, and therefore submission to the Catholic pope was “absolutely necessary” for salvation. The papacy then adopted for itself the new title, “Vicar of Christ.” Vicar means “placeholder.” Armed with this new moniker the popes proclaimed themselves God’s representatives on earth.

       In 1870 the council of Vatican I declared that the pope’s teachings on matters of faith and morals were not subject to the consent of the entire church. The pope was declared to be “infallible” (immune from human error) when he chooses to be, and when speaking in his official capacity.

       The Catholics now believe that the bishop at Rome (the pope) is the infallible emissary of God. According to the EDT, modern Catholicism is defined by, “the faith and practice of Christians in communion with the pope.” And this of course, in lieu of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

       By the middle ages the Catholic church had discarded the teachings of Jesus and invented a system of seven rituals called “sacraments.” These sacraments were Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing the Sick, Marriage, and Orders. The Catholics taught that these ceremonies had a virtue inherent in themselves, and believed that they produced “grace” in the recipient which was independent of any personal merit. The sacraments were elevated to divine status and most are still considered to be requirements for your salvation.

       The sacrament of “Orders” is the bedrock of the system. It asserts that by ordination a Catholic priest magically becomes a bottomless cistern of flawless grace. According to Schaff, “Ordination confers an indelible character upon those admitted to any of the orders. Its virtue is not affected by the character of the person ordained.”

       This elevation of the clergy to godlike status is pivotal to Catholic theology. It is required in the Catholic system because those who are ordained are empowered to administer the other six sacraments, by drawing from their own holiness. According to Schaff, the potency of a sacrament rests not with Jesus Christ, but “resides chiefly with the person dispensing the sacrament. From him grace is transmitted.” From the EDT: “Supernatural life is mediated to Christians through the sacraments administered by the hierarchy, to whom obedience is due.”

       Orders then, is the philosophy that exalts a ruling clergy, and the sacraments themselves are the fetters that enslave the masses to the system. Since the sacraments are required for eternal life, and only the priests can dispense them, the people must go to the priests to get them. By this cunning deception, Jesus Christ is dropped from the loop, and the people are brought into servitude to the Catholic church. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones.

       The sacrament of Penance requires that certain works be performed to receive forgiveness for sins committed after Baptism. Once performed, it further asserts that forgiveness flows from a Catholic priest. Accordingly, the people are commanded to routinely confess their sins to him. As Christ’s vicar he then “absolves” them from all punishment. His absolution effects the deletion of sin. According to Schaff’s History, “The formal sentence of absolution pronounced by the priest ... opens and shuts the kingdom of heaven to immortal souls.” This idea obviates the need for any personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and deposits all his redemptive work into the checking account of Catholicism.

       The repugnance of Penance is made even more painfully graphic by the Catholic sale of “indulgences.” An indulgence is the Catholic remission of the guilt and punishment of sin by the payment of money. By building a church, killing in a crusade, or paying cash, absolution for the worst offenses can be secured. Even the dead in purgatory can be redeemed. Full remission of any sin can be purchased, carte blanche, even for a year in advance. This is lawlessness for sale, and the practice continues to this day in the Catholic Church.

       Another sacrament is Eucharist. This sacrament includes the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Transubstantiation claims that when the priest prays over the cookie and wine of communion, they are physically changed into the muscle tissue and liquid blood of Jesus, although the appearance, taste, texture and smell, remain unaltered! If any cookies or wine are leftover after having been blessed, they are to be worshipped as the Living God himself. One can just imagine a plate of leftover cookies, surrounded by a circle of Catholic priests falling to their knees and proclaiming, “Thou art my God!” Furthermore, if they withhold this cookie from anyone for any reason, that person is denied salvation. As troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness. I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.

       In addition to the sacraments, the Catholic church invented an innumerable quantity of “sacramentals,” which are ritualistic paraphernalia. These include baptismal water, holy oil, blessed ashes, candles, palms, crucifixes, and statues. All of these are thought to create grace in those who use them. Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

       In AD 325, Emperor Constantine convened the first ecumenical gathering in the history of the church, the Council of Nicaea. At this meeting of more than three hundred Catholic bishops, the concept of a Christian Trinity was officially adopted. By that time the Hindu triune god, Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, was already ancient. So also, the Roman trinity of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva had been ingrained into the people for centuries. Additionally, the Egyptian trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus was still flourishing in Rome. The Council of Nicaea incorporated these pagan Trinitarian concepts into Christianity as a permanent doctrine.

       According to the EDT the Trinity is, “The term designating one God in three persons ... who are neither three gods on the one side, nor three parts or modes of God on the other, but coequally and coeternally God. ... God is one, yet in himself and from all eternity he is Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the triune God.”

       This pagan idea made God a deviate with multiple personalities, and it also erased the personal existence of Jesus Christ. The Trinity asserts that Jesus is Yahweh, rather than the Son of Yahweh. The Trinity denies that Jesus Christ is an autonomous being, with an existence separate from his Father. Like the Hindu’s Nirvana, Jesus has been absorbed back into the great goo of the godhead. And if Jesus cannot exist as an independent Son of God, neither can you.

       The Trinity was a masterful stroke in Satan’s scheme to obscure God’s truth. It obliterates God’s plan to bring forth a cadre of Sons who will each possess a self-sustaining life, just like their Father. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? After the council of Nicaea, any Christian who continued to believe the truth of Sonship was threatened with excommunication, banishment, or death.

       After the Trinity was established, Mary rocketed to stardom. From earliest times the Catholics sought to worship Mary, but after the Trinity the church realized that if Jesus and his Father are the same person, then Mary is the mother of both! Accordingly, at the Council of Ephesus in AD 431, Mary was declared to be the Mother of God as well as the mother of Christ.

       Mary was then installed as a sympathetic mediator between you and Jesus Christ. By the seventh century the Catholics celebrated five annual feasts to Mary. By the twelfth century the known world was praying to Mary. It was then that the Rosary was invented, which is three groups of fifty Hail Mary prayers, counted on beads. By then the “Angelus” had also appeared, which requires a prayer to Mary at morning, noon, and evening, commenced at the sound of a bell. When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

       By 1685 most Catholics believed in the Immaculate Conception, which is the notion that Mary, like Jesus, was sinless from the moment of her conception in her mother’s womb. Her earthly life was declared immune to the slightest sin and her virginity was pronounced endless. In 1854 Pope Pius IX made the Immaculate Conception an official doctrine of Catholicism. All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

       In the seventh century, the Catholic church invented the Assumption of Mary. This doctrine claims that on her death she was, “raised body and soul to the glory of heaven, to shine refulgent as Queen at the right hand of her Son.” There she is seen to have assumed the role of intercessor, mediator, and co-redeemer.

       In 1950, Pope Pius XII described Mary as the “New Eve,” and made belief in her Assumption a requirement for your salvation. According to the EDT, “Mary, who enabled God the Savior to be born, has a position more exalted than any other creature. She is the Queen of Heaven. Moreover, since her motherhood was indispensable to God’s redemptive activity, Mary is essential to the final, spiritual perfection of every creature.” We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her.

       The last Egyptian temples to Isis were closed in the middle of the 6th century AD, but by that time her worship had been passed to Christianity. Today Isis-Ashtart is called “Mary” and she is worshipped by the Catholics.

       A statue of Mary ninety feet high now stands in the USA. It is called “Our Lady of the Rockies” and it is situated on the Continental Divide, overlooking the town of Butte, Montana. Recently, on city-wide billboards in the United States, Mary was proclaimed “The Queen of Heaven,” and there was an 800 telephone number given so that you can call her! The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

       In the sixth century the Catholics invented the doctrines of Damnation and Eternal Torment. The understanding that God’s plan for the earth includes the ultimate salvation of all men was common knowledge to the earliest Christians. According to the EDT, “Belief in universal salvation is at least as old as Christianity itself and may be associated with early Gnostic teachers. The first clearly universalist [ultimate salvation] writings, however, date from the Greek church fathers, most notably Clement of Alexandria, his student Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa.”

       The ultimate salvation of all men is intrinsic to the plans of an all-sovereign God of love. But the knowledge of God’s wisdom, power, and saving grace was not conducive to the aspirations of papal tyranny. Thus Damnation was invented by the Catholics and the truth of universal salvation was declared to be heresy at the Fifth Ecumenical Council in AD 553.

       Through subterfuge, intrigue, and the lust for power, the adversaries of God gained control of Organized Christianity and made its doctrines lethal to the true message of Jesus Christ. At the Council of Trent in 1545, all this dreadful Catholic dogma was reaffirmed and declared to be equally authoritative with scripture. This council declared that the interpretation of both scripture and doctrine was the sole preserve of the Catholic Church. According to their arrogant claim, “sacred tradition, sacred Scripture, and the teaching authority of the Church ... are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others.” In their blind and evil pomposity, Catholicism embraced a delusion that their church is, “a reality imbued with the hidden presence of God ... [and] mediates the presence and action of Christ.”

       But the truth speaks otherwise. For the Catholic worship of Mary is the worship of Ashtart. Praying to Mary at the sound of a bell is repugnant idolatry. The repetitious Rosary is the chanting of Hindus. The Immaculate Conception and Mary’s Assumption are the putrid concoctions of man.

       The sacraments are vain rituals performed by sinful men. They are powerless to convey grace, forgiveness, life, or any other spiritual merit. Ordination does not impart sanctity, but imposes six separate levels of clergymen between the people and their God. Transubstantiation is sorcery with a Christian label. Penance is salvation by works, rather than grace. The invention of the papacy, Orders, and Absolution, unveil the egotistical clergy as the usurpers of the place of Jesus Christ.

       From Egypt came the Catholic Trinity. From the polytheism of pagan Rome came the veneration of saints. Indulgences are the money-grubbing sale of iniquity. The Infallible Papacy is humanism, the veneration of man. Damnation and Eternal Torment are the ridicule of God’s supreme wisdom, power, and plan.

       Catholicism is the eradication of God. It is the desecration of his truth and the denial of Sonship. It is the exaltation of a priestly class and the enslavement of human spirit. And yet, incredibly, in 1990 there were 995 million Catholics worldwide. This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

       This was the Devilish apostasy of the lifeless Christianity embraced by Constantine, and with the backing of the Roman Empire, the mutant Catholic Church suddenly became master of the world. Any who then pursued God according to individual conscience were declared heretics and enemies of the new theocracy.

       In 632 AD a second front of religious deception opened with the inauguration of Islam. Islam was founded upon the teachings of Muhammad, who purportedly received the revelation of God through the angel Gabriel. After Muhammad’s death, his writings were assembled into a book called the Koran. According to Islam, “Muhammad’s miracle is the Koran, the like of which no human can produce.”

       Islam was a bitter-sweet gift of sorts, from God to Ishmael. The Ishmaelites of today are the Arab peoples of the Middle East. Their father Ishmael was Abraham’s first son. Ishmael was not allowed to share in the inheritance of Isaac and Jacob. Instead, God made Ishmael the progenitor of the Arab peoples and gave them the delusion of Islam. Behold, I have blessed him [Ishmael], and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

       Islam is a monotheistic religion that espouses a strict code of ethics. As such, it is far better than the putrefaction of heathenism. But Islam denies the seed of life that is available through Jesus Christ, and thus falls far short of the SonPlacing that is found in Christianity.

       Today Islam remains a spiritually dead, repressive structure of liturgical ceremony. The Ishmaelite Arabs comprise the main contingent of the 935 million Muslims worldwide. Like all theocracies, their stated goal through “holy war” is, “the assumption of political power in order to implement the principles of Islam through public institutions.”

       The Organized Religions of man are avaricious, envious, and destructive. With the rise of Islam, Catholicism felt threatened. It could not abide the competition for power, wealth, and turf. With a thirst for blood this hydra raised her vile head. Moving to consolidate her position, flexing talons and sinew, her scales rippled to the destruction of her adversaries.

       In 1095 the Catholics conceived an ingenious scheme to eliminate their rival, Islam, and consolidate their power. In the city of Clermont, France, Pope Urban II preached a sermon outlining his plan for a Crusade against the Muslims who then controlled Palestine. By this plan the Catholic church could raise an army, conquer foreign lands, and take the spoils of war- all with minimal expense and no risk.

       The Crusades appealed to the base nature of man, using religious fervor to legitimize greed. Armies were summoned with promises of adventure, plunder, and eternal salvation. The church hoped to gain treasure, to solidify its grip on the minds of men, and to strengthen its credibility by an association with the Holy Land. According to the encyclopedia, the crusades served, “the ambitions of 11th-, 12th-, and 13th-century popes who sought to extend their political and religious power. Crusading armies were, in a sense, the military arm of papal policy.”

       The response was overwhelming. Over the next 175 years, eight Catholic armies were sent against the Muslim Saracens, spreading Christian pillage and slaughter from Egypt to Turkey. The First Crusade caught the Arabs by surprise and made the greatest gains. Pressing toward Jerusalem, the Crusaders took it by storm on July 15, 1099. They then massacred every inhabitant, supposedly purifying the city by washing it in the blood of the infidels.

       The Arabs regrouped and united behind Saladin. In 1174 Saladin reclaimed Palestine and ruled a potent Muslim state that stretched from the Libyan desert to the Tigris valley.

       In 1187 the Third Crusade, which included the English king Richard I Lion-Heart, was unable to recapture Jerusalem but did take some cities along the Palestine coast. In 1202 the Fourth Crusade attacked and plundered Constantinople, which had earlier been their ally.

       While preparing for the Sixth Crusade of 1228, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II was excommunicated by the pope for moving too slowly. While he was gone, the pope declared a crusade against Frederick and attacked his possessions in Italy.

       In the end, all this frenzied commotion became dry as human ambition and blew away as dust in the wind. For by 1291, all of Palestine was again under strict Muslim control. With the final Muslim victory, the bloody sacrifice of countless thousands could be seen only in the ghostly castles and abandoned churches the Crusaders left behind.

4. The Rise of Dissension

       As early as the third century AD, many individuals and small Christian groups had begun to question the authority of the Catholic Church, but these dissenters had always been quickly stamped out. By the twelfth century things began to change. Independence of thought crept from its crypt, and freedom made bold to bloom.

       By 1238 there were about one hundred and thirty dissenting sects with over four million adherents, spread across one thousand European cities. Main centers were in northern Italy and southern France. Many of these groups took the general name, Cathari, which is derived from the Greek word for pure. The Cathari included the Novatians, Paulicians, Bogomils, the Patarines and many others.

       Their theology aside, the Cathars were courageous seekers of truth, risking life, family, and property, to disagree with the global Catholic monster. The Cathari began as reform movements, the actions of lay people against a corrupt clergy. According to Schaff’s History, “The dissenting movement started with the people and not with the schools or princes. ... The exciting cause of this religious revolt is to be looked for in the worldliness and arrogance of the clergy, the formalism of the Church’s ritual, and the worldly ambitions of the papal policy. ... Underneath all this discontent was the spiritual hunger of the masses.”

       The Cathars envisioned the whole of existence to be a struggle between Jesus Christ and Satan. They considered material things abhorrent- wealth, food, even the body itself. They taught that the soul had been imprisoned in the human body and the only hope of salvation was to live a good and spiritual life. According to Schaff, “The Catharan doctrine seems to have highly exalted Christ, though it denied the full reality of his human nature. He was created in heaven and was not born on the earth, but passed through Mary as through a pipe. He neither ate material food nor drank material drink.”

       The Cathars were uneducated people, common men and women, who rejected the ceremonies and oppression of Organized Christianity. They said that the true church has no dignitaries, cardinals, or archdeacons. They believed that the traditional Catholic church with its corrupt clergy and immense material wealth was the agent of Satan and to be avoided.

       To the Cathars, Christianity was not a philosophy, but a daily faith and practice. These radical ideas qualified the Cathars for destruction. To prove that the Cathars were evil and the Catholics were good, the pope simply raised an army and killed them all.

       Roman Catholicism had already established warfare and annihilation as its policy toward rival religions. As given in the encyclopedia, the Crusades were, “wars against pagan peoples, Christian heretics, and the political foes of the papacy.”

       Non-Catholics were considered vermin, “heretics,” and enemies of the state. Schaff’s History says, “A heretic, that is, one who dissented from the dogmatic belief of the Catholic Church, was regarded as worse than a Saracen and worse than a person of depraved morals.”

       The Catholic Church was not pursuing truth, but power, and thus had no intention of allowing the Cathars to live in peace. In 1208 the pope called for a crusade against the Cathars, beginning with the Albigenses in southern France. This war continued for twenty years.

       According to the reports of a Catholic observer at the city of Beziers, “Ours spared neither sex nor condition. The whole city was sacked, and the slaughter was very great.” The wild soldiery followed the papal legate’s command, “Fell all to the ground. The Lord knows His own.” Twenty thousand were killed in this single city, seven thousand inside the church building itself.

       At Montsegur, two hundred of the Albigensian leaders were burned. At the city of Minerve, a hundred and forty were burned, and those spared had their ears, noses, and lips cut off. The invading army plundered the towns and were granted title to what they conquered, along with the papal assurance of heaven. From Schaff’s History: “Languedoc at the opening of the wars had been one of the most prosperous and cultured parts of Europe. At their close, its villages and vineyards were in ruins, its industries shattered, its population impoverished and decimated.”

       Those who seek to know God personally, and refuse to bow to the majority, have always paid for their freedom with their own blood. The Cathars were proof of this. As a result of the Catholic crusades against them, they were eradicated from the earth.Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And then came the Inquisition.

       The Catholic Inquisition was formally established as a church institution at the Fourth Lateran council of 1215. The Inquisition was an organized system for the suppression and extermination of “heresy.”

       According to Schaff’s History, the Inquisition “presents what is probably the most revolting spectacle in the annals of civilized Europe. The representatives of the Church appear, sitting as arbiters over human destiny in this world, and in the name of religion applying torture to countless helpless victims. ... The principle was that those who were baptized were under the immediate jurisdiction of the Church and the Church might deal with them as it saw fit.”

       Pope Innocent III taught that heretics had fallen under the power of Satan and that they should be deprived of all their possessions; he demanded that secular princes should draw the sword against them. Even the bodies of the non-Catholic dead were to be dug up from consecrated ground and burnt.

       Astoundingly, these concepts were readily accepted by the civil governments of the time. Princes, kings, and governors took oaths to seek out and kill any who dissented in the slightest measure from the Catholic system. Legislation was passed, municipal books inscribed, and constitutions amended to prescribe the burning alive of heretics in the sight of all the people. And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

       Zealous in their inhuman evil, in 1231 the Catholic church established a new class of priests known as Inquisitors. The Inquisitors were terrifying, formidable creatures, who operated under the immediate jurisdiction of the pope and held the power to excommunicate even princes.

       The Inquisitors traveled in pairs with an army of underlings, regularly visiting every city in Europe and demanding that all guilty of heresy present themselves. After thirty days grace, the accusations began and the accused were dragged to the tribunal by Inquisitorial police. Suspicion and public rumor were sufficient grounds of complaint and seizure. The testimony of any two witnesses was considered proof of guilt.

       At the trials the utmost secrecy was observed and the names of accusers were not divulged. The right of asylum did not apply to heretics- once arrested, they were all but helpless. Compelled under oath to answer all charges against them, they were forced to condemn themselves. Those thought to be lying were imprisoned.

       In 1252 Pope Innocent IV officially sanctioned the use of torture to extract the truth from the accused. Penalties for minor offenses consisted of a pilgrimage, public scourging, a fine, or the wearing of a cross. More serious heresy was punished by having the tongue ripped out, the confiscation of property, perpetual imprisonment, or consignment to the local civil authority for execution.

       From Schaff’s History, “The centres of heresy in Germany were Strassburg, as early as 1212, Cologne, and Erfurt. The number of victims is said to have been very large and at least five hundred can be accounted for definitely in reported burnings. Banishment, hanging, and drowning were other forms of punishment practised. In 1368 the Inquisitor, Walter Kerlinger, banished two hundred families from Erfurt alone. The prisons to which the condemned were consigned were wretched places, the abode of filth, vermin, and snakes.”

       One Inquisitor was the Frenchman, Robert le Petit. According to Schaff, in 1233 “He had hundreds of victims in Western Burgundy and the adjoining regions. In one term of two or three months, he burnt fifty of both sexes ... he also buried victims alive. At Cambrai he burnt twenty, at Douai ten.” His last deed was to burn more than one hundred and eighty at Mt. Aime. A contemporary chronicler called it, “a holocaust very great and pleasing to God.” In 1239 le Petit himself was consigned to perpetual imprisonment for his atrocities.

       In 1478, King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I of Spain requested papal assistance to deal with heresy in their own country. From this deadly alliance came the Spanish Inquisition, history’s most infamous slaughter.

       According to the encyclopedia, “This Inquisition was to deal with the problem of the Maranos, Jews who through coercion or social pressure had insincerely converted to Christianity. After 1502, it turned its attention to similar converts from Islam, and in the 1520’s to persons suspected of Protestantism.”

       The dread efficiency of the Spanish Inquisition was due to its superior organization and the consistent support it received from the Spanish monarchs. From Schaff’s History, “Its decisions fell like the blow of a great iron hammer, and there was no power beneath the sovereign that dared to offer them resistance. ... Heresy was regarded as a desperate disorder and to be removed at all costs.”

       Informing on suspects was considered meritorious. Children were told it was their duty to inform on parents, and the slaves of convicted heretics were set free. Confiscated properties were used to pay the Inquisitors, for personal gifts, or were applied to the national treasury. Greed was a prime motive for accusation.

       In the first 46 years of this nefarious barbarism, 14,344 people were burnt alive and 195,937 condemned to other penalties. And these were not lawless evildoers. Rather, they were simply people who disagreed with Catholic doctrine.

       The Spanish Inquisition finally ended in 1834, closing a reign of Catholic horror that stretched for 350 years. From Schaff’s History, “Spain’s Catholic orthodoxy was assured, but Spain placed herself outside the current of modern culture and progress. By her policy of religious seclusion and pride, she crushed independence of thought and virility of moral purpose. ... Heresy she consumed inside of her own precincts, but the paralysis of stagnation settled down upon her national life and institutions.”

       Spain succeeded in remaining staunchly Catholic and to this day regards Protestantism as heresy. But this addiction to Catholicism has filled her land with darkness. Today she remains a second-rate nation, excluded from the enlightened achievements of commerce and science. Catholicism is the cause- spiritual and intellectual death is the result.

       The Inquisition was sponsored by the adversaries of spiritual truth. It was another vile attempt by Satan’s horde to crush the life from Sonship. Yet in 1542, the pope made the Inquisition a permanent institution of Catholicism, establishing in Rome the Congregation of the Inquisition, known also as “the Holy Office.” This directorate continued to vigorously pursue heretics throughout the Catholic world, and in 1633 even condemned Galileo for saying that the earth revolved around the sun.

       According to Schaff, “So far as we know, the Roman Catholic Church has never officially revoked the theory and practice of the mediaeval popes and councils, but on the contrary the utterances of Piux IX and Leo XIII show the same spirit of vicious reprobation for the Protestants and their agencies.”

       In 1965 Pope Paul VI, responding to many complaints, reorganized the Holy Office and renamed it the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” Under this pseudonym the Inquisition still exists today.

       But while the Catholic church spued its vile venom, the secret plan of God was still on track. In 1170, Peter Waldo had a personal experience with God. A prosperous French merchant, Waldo witnessed the sudden death of a friend and was struck by the fleeting, tenuous nature of earthly life. He then paid to have most of the New Testament translated into French. Following that, he gave away his goods and sending his two daughters to a convent, took a vow of poverty and embraced a life of asceticism and piety towards God.

       Waldo traveled, preaching in the streets and villages. His followers learned the scriptures well, committing whole gospels to memory. They were called the Humiliati, the Poor Men of Lyons, and eventually the Waldenses.

       Unlike the Cathari, who lived completely apart from the established church, the Waldenses accepted Catholic doctrine but objected to the corruption within the clergy. They also refused to submit to the authority of the pope and his prelates.

       According to Schaff’s History, “The Waldenses, leaning upon the Scriptures, sought to revive the simple precepts of the Apostolic age. They were the strictly biblical sect of the Middle Ages.” This refreshing breath of spirit was eagerly received by the people, and by 1315 they claimed 80,000 believers in a single district of Austria.

       At the synod of Verona in 1184, the Catholics condemned the Waldenses for preaching without the authority of the bishops. In 1190, according to Schaff, “They were charged with being in rebellion against the ecclesiastical authorities and with daring to preach, though they were only laymen.” As usurpers of the church’s function, they were declared heretics and excommunicated by the papacy.

       After the Cathari were crushed, the Waldenses became the prime victims of the Inquisition. In 1487 Pope Innocent VIII organized a crusade against them. A Catholic army of eighteen thousand plundered and destroyed whole villages; the leaders were burnt alive at the stake. These papal butchers were not attacking villains, vandals, or reprobates. Rather, they were attacking the spirit of truth and personal conscience. Once again Organized Christianity proved itself the champion of tyranny, terror, and death.

       Many Waldenses took refuge in Germany and in the Alps of Switzerland, where they eventually merged with the Hussites and the Bohemian Brethren. These fugitives formed the roots of the fast approaching Protestant Reformation.

       Besides the Waldenses there were also other dissenters, men enlivened by the spirit of God. In 1378 John Wycliffe translated the Vulgate or Latin Bible into English and the following year repudiated the doctrine of Transubstantiation. In 1382 he was declared a heretic and his followers, the Lollards, were persecuted and burnt until the Reformation.

       In Bohemia, John Huss condemned corrupt church officials and their doctrines. He demanded freedom for the priests to teach from the Scriptures, Holy Communion for the laity, and the return of most church lands to secular owners. In 1410 he was excommunicated. In 1415 he was summoned to the Council of Constance with a safe conduct from the emperor. But arriving at Constance he was seized, imprisoned, falsely tried, and burnt at the stake.

       The Catholics then dispatched their armies against his followers. From 1419 to 1436 the Bohemian Hussites were invaded by five separate Catholic crusades. Each time the Hussites prevailed, but whole provinces were desolated. In the end, the Hussites were defeated when the noble faction defected to the papists. The turning point was marked by the massacre of 22,000 faithful Hussites in the city of Prague.

       The gospel of torture, greed, and murder, was not the message of Jesus Christ. Those who seek human prestige and worldly authority are not the Body of Christ. Those who offer their doctrines with intimidation, threats, and cruelty, are not the church of God. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. The true church endures persecution, it does not dispense it. Those who financed the Crusades with their own avarice, and who invoked the Inquisitions from their own despotic ambition, are the henchmen of Satan’s adversarial horde.

       The Catholic church does not have the message of Sonship. It is blind to the glad news of spiritual liberty, and knows nothing of a personal relationship with God. To the contrary, the Catholic system has obliterated these truths. Catholicism is a black-hearted counterfeit. It provides an endless stream of activities, vows, fasts, icons, pilgrimages, saints, rituals, relics, rosaries, doctrines, and works, but no life for the spirit. Like a noxious swarm it pervades the land, poisoning and enslaving its own. It is a malignant ruse of self-exaltation, greed, and oppression, proffered under the guise of Jesus Christ.

       Religious structures can be known by their fruit, and the bloody fruit of Catholicism is physical and spiritual death. In the Christian world, it is the Devil’s antithesis to Sonship. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

5. The Reformation

       Though much of the early dissension against the Catholic church terminated in heartrending futility, it evidenced an awakening of thought unknown in a thousand years. As men struggled for spiritual freedom, shock waves of inquiring individualism rippled into the liberty of the Renaissance.

       From 1300 to about 1550, men fought for relief from the ecclesiastical system, and the spin-off was an abundant harvest in art, literature, culture, government, and education. According to Schaff’s History, the Renaissance achieved, “freedom from the intellectual bondage to which the individual man had been subjected by the theology and hierarchy of the Church. ... The tap-root of the Renaissance was individualism as opposed to sacerdotal authority.”

       In the fourth century the Catholic church had banned the study of all ancient books, authors, and institutions. Jerome, who had been trained in the classics, pronounced them unfit for the Christian eye. By Catholic edict, reading, learning, and questioning were lost to the human race, until revived by the courage of spiritual dissension.

       The bravado of the Renaissance rescued the literary treasures and accomplishments of ancient Greece and Rome from the dust of centuries. New schools appeared wherein Aristotle, Cicero, science, and the Roman law were discovered and explained. This period saw the paintings of Da Vinci, the sculpture of Michelangelo, and the writings of Dante.

       It was the rebirth of individuals searching for liberty that produced the light of the Renaissance. This brightness soon became a gleaming blade that pierced the dark pall of Catholicism, and slashed it away to welcome the fresh morning of the Reformation.

       In 1517, God finally acted to disarm the Catholic doctrine that had incarcerated Christianity. As Europe emerged from the Renaissance, Martin Luther rebelled against commercialized religion and defied the authority of the Catholic church. At first Luther merely sought to challenge the sale of indulgences. But the bold posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church sparked a spiritual revolution that transformed the Christian world.

       Luther extricated himself from the Catholic quagmire of Devilish theology to declare that, “The righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith.” Luther translated the New Testament into German and proclaimed the Bible to be the sole basis for truth and the judge of church traditions.

       As the Renaissance rescued classical literature from its prison, so also the Reformation rescued the Bible from the clutches of a vicious and totalitarian clergy. According to the Handbook of Denominations in the United States, “In studying the Bible for himself, Luther ‘discovered’ the gospel, the message about forgiveness by divine grace through human trust, and he insisted that the church must place its ministry and authority in the service of that message.”

       In 1521 at the Diet of Worms, Luther was ordered to recant. From the encyclopedia, “Papal authorities ordered Luther to retract and submit to church authority, but he became more intransigent, appealing for reform, attacking the sacramental system and urging that religion rest on individual faith based on the guidance contained in the Bible.” Luther was declared an outlaw, but the freedom in his ideas had already swept through Germany, firing the hearts of half the population.

       At the Diet of Speyer in 1526, the Papists finally agreed that German princes wishing to practice Lutheranism should be free to do so. This relief was short lived, however, for at the second Diet of Speyer in 1529, the Catholics abrogated this agreement. The Lutheran minority protested this action and became known as “Protestants.”

       In 1522, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V burned Luther’s books, and in 1546 in alliance with the pope, attacked the Protestants of Germany. But the war came too late. The notion of Protestant spiritual liberty was unstoppable, and the war ended with the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. With this peace, Lutheranism “finally gained official recognition, and the ancient concept of the religious unity of a single Christian community in Western Europe under the supreme authority of the pope was destroyed.”

       In 1545 the Catholics convened the Council of Trent in response to the Reformation. This council continued for eighteen years. During this time the papists licked their wounds and consoled one another by reaffirming the goodness of their doctrines.

       Meanwhile, Martin Luther’s courage was echoed by other great men. In 1518 Huldreich Zwingli initiated reform in Switzerland. In 1536 Protestantism was established in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland by edict of the king.

       In France, Lefevre d’Etaples embraced justification by faith and denied the doctrine of Transubstantiation. In 1523 he translated the entire New Testament into French. The French Protestants, known as Huguenots, were mercilessly persecuted by the papists. In August 1572, at the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, 100,000 Huguenots were murdered in the city of Paris by order of the Catholic King Charles IX. The Protestants were finally completely routed from France in 1685.

       In 1536, the Protestant John Calvin fled persecution in France and established Calvinism at Geneva. The Calvinists were known as the Reformed Church and have become the Presbyterians of today. In the Netherlands, Calvinism was welcomed by the educated nobles and the northern region of Holland became staunchly Calvinist. In 1560 John Knox persuaded the Scottish Parliament to adopt Calvinism as the national religion and they created the Scottish Presbyterian Church.

       In 1534, King Henry VIII severed the English church from papal authority. By his decree and act of Parliament, the English kings were declared the supreme head of the Church of England. This established an independent, national, Anglican church.

       But Henry VIII retained the theology of the Catholics and agreed that Lutheranism was heresy. Thus Henry fought against the papists and also burned the Lutherans at the stake. In 1549 the Book of Common Prayer was issued to provide uniformity of service in the Anglican church and its use was enforced by civil law.

       By God’s grace, the Reformation was an idea whose time had finally come. The Protestant reformers repudiated Catholic doctrine and defied the authority of the corrupt church structure. They rejected five of the seven sacraments, retaining only Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The egotistical church was toppled from its pretended role as sacramental dispenser of salvation. Religion escaped the grip of a highly privileged clergy and came to express the beliefs of the people. The new churches valued the individual, and incorporated ideas of democratic government.

       This produced a fresh new wind of political, religious, and cultural freedom. The EDT states: “The Reformers claimed to be renovators, restorers of the primitive face of the church. Such a church was not dependent on communion with the papacy or hierarchical succession but was constituted by its election and calling in Christ.”

       According to the encyclopedia, the Reformation “ended the ecclesiastical supremacy of the pope in Western Christendom and resulted in the establishment of the Protestant churches. ... It completely altered the medieval way of life in Western Europe and initiated the era of modern history.”

       The Reformation was understandably quite frustrating to Satan. Since the fall of Adam he had labored to enslave the hearts, minds, and bodies of men. At the Reformation Satan suffered a major defeat. His Catholic monster was splintered into many smaller factions. But do you think he then gave up?

6. The Rise of Denominationalism

       When the Reformation released human spirit from the Catholic dungeon, freedom of thought rejoiced as a calf loosed from its stall, and threw off the fetters of authoritarian doctrine.

       But the leaders of the Reformation were not all happy about this liberty. Already they had succumbed to a pride that reached unto dictatorial autocracy. Though the Reformation had opened the door to Protestantism, it did not change the vile nature of fallen man. The carnal mind was still alive and well. It was still an idolater. It was still fitted with an insatiable greed. It was still the enemy of God.

       After the Reformation as before, men sought to justify their actions regardless of how immoral, and to defend their own ways, while numb to their own errors. As individual conscience took root and began to grow, stretching tall and reaching for the blue skies of bright truth, it was struck down by the self-exaltation of the newly forming clergy.

       According to Schaff’s History, “Luther had a sense of superiority, and claimed the credit of having begun the work of the Reformation. He supposed that the Swiss [the reformers Calvin and Zwingli] were indebted to him for what little knowledge they had of the gospel; while, in fact, they were as independent of him as the Swiss Republic was of the German Empire, and knew the gospel as well as he.”

       The defensive ego of Luther led to grievous controversy over the Eucharist. All the reformers rejected the doctrine of Transubstantiation. But Zwingli, the father of the Reformation in Switzerland, believed that the bread and wine were only symbols of Christ’s body. Luther on the other hand could not totally free himself from the theology of his youth, and charged that Christ’s body and blood were still some how physically present in the bread and wine.

       Zwingli believed that Christ was imbibed by the spirit. Luther believed that Christ was imbibed by the mouth. The rift became bitter and deep, and Luther became tyrannical. Reverting to his Catholic roots he stated, “How can we unite with people who strive against God and the sacrament? This is the road to damnation, for body and soul.”

       In 1529, only twelve years after the Reformation had begun, a conference was called in Marburg in an attempt to prevent a sectarian fracture. But because of the Eucharist the Lutherans told the Zwinglians, “You do not belong to the communion of the Christian Church. We cannot acknowledge you as brethren.”

       Luther later called the Zwinglians heretics, hypocrites, liars, blasphemers, soul-murderers, sinners unto death, bedeviled, and said that Zwingli’s tragic death was God’s righteous judgment.

       Arguments of logic and reason had led Luther to revolt from the Catholic church in 1517. But just before he died, as logic was being applied to the argument of the Eucharist, Luther denounced reason as, “the damned whore of the Devil,” and the Eucharistic controversy permanently split the Lutherans from the rest of the Protestant world.

       Besides the Swiss, many others also knew the Bible, and these began to seek God personally and to question the despotic doctrines that had so long been their taskmasters. The next question that erupted into controversy was baptism. The major reformers all held to the Catholic tradition of infant baptism. But some rejected this, maintaining that baptism requires a decision for Christ which can only be made as an adult. These people became known as the “Anabaptists.” According to Schaff, “Their fundamental doctrine was, that baptism is a voluntary act, and requires personal repentance, and faith in Christ. They rejected infant-baptism as an anti-scriptural invention.”

       Advocating the personal decision that is evidenced in adult baptism, the Anabaptists split from both Lutheranism and Calvinism. In 1533 the Anabaptist, Jacob Hutter, founded the Hutterites, and in 1536 Menno Simons started the Mennonites. From these roots, John Smyth organized the first English Baptist Church in 1609.

       The Anabaptists believed in religious liberty, nonviolence, and the absolute separation of church and state. But the fathers of the Reformation decided that adult baptism was “heresy.” Accordingly, the Anabaptists were persecuted and killed by both Catholics and Protestants alike. From the encyclopedia, “Because they rejected the hierarchy of the church and the authority of civil bodies in religious matters, they were accused of sedition and heresy, persecuted, and often martyred.”

       Other Protestants disagreed with the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. These became known as Antitrinitarians. The Antitrinitarians spread across Europe and evolved into the Unitarians and Socinians.

       When one of the Antitrinitarian leaders, Michael Servetus, was discovered in Geneva, John Calvin had him burned at the stake. From Schaff’s History, “To the great humiliation of the Protestant churches, religious intolerance and even persecution unto death were continued long after the Reformation. In Geneva, the pernicious theory was put into practice by state and church, even to the use of torture and the admission of the testimony of children against their parents, and with the sanction of Calvin. Bullinger, in the second Helvetic Confession [AD 1564], announced the principle that heresy should be punished like murder or treason.”

       In England, those unsatisfied with the incomplete reforms of the Anglican Church split off and became the Puritans and Quakers. It was then that the English burnings for heresy really began. According to Schaff’s History, “Cranmer persuaded Edward VI to burn women. Elizabeth saw the death penalty executed upon Puritans. The spirit of intolerance was carried across the seas, and was as strong in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the American colonies, with some exceptions, as it was in Europe. The execution of Quakers in Boston, and the persons accused of witchcraft in Salem, together with the laws of Virginia and other colonies, were the unfortunate survivals of the vicious history of the Middle Ages.”

       Like the Catholics before them, the Protestants were infected with a malignant and pernicious disease: the belligerent, blind, self-justifying pride, of the carnal mind. Feeling arrogant and threatened, the leaders of the Reformation defended their own ideas, became sightless, grew dogmatic, and denounced those with a continuing revelation. The Protestant movement then shattered into a spray of competing denominations.

       Once divided into warring factions, the adversaries of Sonship moved in to conquer them, one by one. Counting the Catholics as already irretrievably ensnared, Satan’s vile brood hastened to invade each new Protestant church, to continue their proven work of corruption from within.

       Before the last chapter was written on the pages of the Reformation, the seeds of failure were already sown. Just as the new denominations were learning to walk, they were crippled by the Devilish limitations and doctrines of Modern Christianity.

7. Like Mother, Like Daughter

       When the pristine liberty of the Reformation died, the various denominational structures stepped in to fill the void.          Subtle as self-righteousness, Satan and his horde roved through the new Protestant denominations to infect each with carnal ambition and delusions of infallibility. As these zygotes matured, the denominations all grew into the same autocratic authority, defensive posture, benumbed mind, and imprisoned spirit, that they had detested in their Catholic mother.

       According to the encyclopedia, “The episcopal organization and ritual of the Anglican church is substantially the same as that of the Roman Catholic church.” From the Handbook of Denominations in the United States (hereafter abbreviated HDUS), “Lutheranism retains much from the tradition of the ancient and medieval church. ... The Episcopal Church and the Orthodox Church in particular take their places squarely in the catholic tradition.”

       Following his Catholic recipe, the Devil’s throng fitted each new Protestant denomination with a supreme pontiff, an unalterable system of exalted doctrines, and a ruling structure of carnal clergy. Every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. Thou art thy mother's daughter, that lotheth her husband and her children.

1.    The Supreme Pontiffs of Protestantism.

       The supreme pontiffs of Protestantism are the founders of each denomination. In days gone by, these visionaries discovered new truths and shared unique perspectives on the Bible. As they did so, they attracted large followings which congealed into the various sects.

       Over time, each sect came to revere their particular founder as the oracle of God. As Catholicism traces its authority through the pope back to Peter, so also each Protestant denomination now traces its authority back to an esteemed founder as the supreme revelator of God’s truth.

       Today the Lutherans laud the inspiration of Martin Luther. The Presbyterians claim the legacy of John Calvin. The Mennonites immortalize Menno Simons. The Methodists worship the wisdom of John Wesley. The Mormons marry the dictums of Joseph Smith. And the Worldwide Church of God adores the memory of Herbert W. Armstrong.

       Like the popes of Catholicism, these names are honored as the holy fathers of God’s truth. To their proselytes they are above reproach and beyond questioning. Accordingly, these proselytes are not subject to new revelation. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided?

2.    The Unalterable System of Exalted Doctrines.

       The problem with these denominational founders is that they all died. And when they did, the source of revelation died with them.

       To minimize this loss, each sect codified its beliefs in catechisms, creeds, and articles of faith, aiming to preserve its precious truth. At the founder’s death these written instruments lost their mechanism for change, and the people were left with a rigid system of doctrines that attempted to approximate the original, living revelation.

       This can be clearly seen in the Anglican church, which adopted its present thirty-nine articles of faith in 1563, under Queen Elizabeth I. So also, the HDUS states that modern “Lutheranism dates from Martin Luther’s theological ‘discoveries’ between 1513 and 1530.” And again, “In 1739 Wesley drew up a set of general rules, which are still held by modern Methodists.”

       The EDT bears further witness to this present scheme of unalterable denominational dogma: “The Articles of Religion as adopted by the 1784 Christmas Conference have remained intact throughout the history of the Methodist Episcopal Church and its successor bodies.” The HDUS continues by describing the Foursquare Church as, “a tribute to the organizing genius and striking methods of its founder. ... The teaching of the church is set forth in a 21-paragraph Declaration of Faith written by Mrs. McPherson.”

       Without a visionary to lead them, the denominations were cut off from new ideas, and the denominational converts clung to the founding truth which had brought them together. Stagnation led to defensiveness. As sectarian rivalry increased, each church magnified its own particular creed and this soon degenerated into an elitist belief that they alone possessed the gateway to heaven.

       Soon the fixed doctrines of the Protestant denominations became revered as the divine prerequisites for salvation, much like the sacraments of Catholicism. New truth became viewed as errant because it differed from the old standard. In a very short time the denominations became as sun baked shells washed up on a beach- the life was gone but the structure remains.

       There is no retreat from this indictment of unalterable doctrines, even for the relatively new Christian denominations. All are bound to the errors of their past. From the EDT, “Those free churches, particularly in America, that claim to stand on Scripture alone and to recognize no traditional authorities are in some sense the least free because they are not even conscious of what traditions have molded their understanding of Scripture.”

3.    The Ruling Structure of Carnal Clergy.

       As the Protestant churches took form, they sought out men and women who could recite the teachings of the founder. These were set into positions of authority called bishops, pastors, deacons, and elders. These people were charged with preserving and perpetuating the founder’s revelation, using the codified articles of faith.

       These leaders took the oversight of their less enthusiastic brethren, and parroting what they were taught, evolved into a ruling clergy. And one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter.

       Today, the priestly structure of Protestantism has grown into a system no less heinous than the Catholic monster it thought to replace. According to the EDT, “Most Protestant groups formed traditions nearly as binding as the Catholics and established similar sets of authorities: ecumenical councils, confessional creeds, synodical legislation, church orders, and theologians (especially founders) of a particular church.” From the HDUS, “Methodist churches in the United States are highly and rather centrally organized. Bishops and district superintendents exercise considerable authority over pastors and congregations.”

       Just like the Catholics, the ruling Protestant clergy of today are trained in denominational schools. But as students, they can only echo what they have been taught, and their promotion is based upon unwavering commitment to the established creed. Accordingly, these carefully trained puppets tenaciously espouse the doctrines and limitations of centuries past.

       It is this clerical structure that effectively prevents any new revelation of God from reaching the people. To the clergy, new understanding is error and serves only to confuse the ignorant masses. Obsessed with denominational dogma, the clergy act as an umbrella, deflecting any new revelation away from the plebes in their care.

       According to the HDUS, “Christian doctrines and ethical principles are held to be solid and essentially unchangeable ... [being] defined by the teaching authority (the magisterium) of the institutional Church.”

       Like the Catholics before them, the Protestant clergy have become the dictators of theology for the common man. Under their tutelage thought is pressed into molds, new ideas are denounced as “heresy,” and a personal relationship with God is once again thwarted. The founder’s doctrine produced the clergy, the clergy rule the people and perpetuate the doctrine. And on it goes in endless cycle.

       The founders of each Protestant denomination established their church when they encountered some new or unique truth in the Bible. But finding it, it seems they put down roots and stopped in their spiritual tracks. Believing that their new morsel was the mother lode of heaven, they drove a stake in the ground to mark the spot, chained themselves to it, and began to run in circles.

       By solidifying their doctrine and having their ministers repeat it every Sunday, the denominations have halted their spiritual progress. The pursuit of new truth has been abandoned and anathematized. The old founder and his creed have been lifted in reverence at the expense of ongoing revelation.

       Accordingly, each sect now clings to a tiny narrow slice of Christianity, while believing that they have the whole. From the HDUS, “Each subtradition- Lutheran, Pentecostal, Methodist, Evangelical, Calvinist, for example- latches on to a particular emphasis, configuration, priority, or central theme of Christianity.”

       The Lutherans found salvation by faith and haven’t learned anything since. The Seventh Day churches discovered the Saturday Sabbath, and now orbit that singular truth. The Adventists have made a career from the tidings that Jesus Christ will soon return, which news they supplement with health foods.

       The Worldwide Church of God discovered that the Anglo-Saxons of today are the lost tribes of Israel. The Mennonites canonized separation from worldly pursuits. The Baptists grabbed-hold of adult immersion and thought they had it all. The Presbyterians went to seed on liturgical church government. The Unitarians rejected the Trinity, then sat down on a pew, fell asleep, and fell off.

       According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, at the beginning of the twentieth century there were an estimated 1,900 different Christian denominations. In 1982 there were about 22,000. And every one exalts its own system of faith, defends it against change, obeys its priestly hierarchy, and believes that its creed is the ultimate revelation of God. Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

       This denominationalism is the reemergence of Baal. Just as in Canaan there were many Baals and each was considered to be the landlord of a local district, so also now each denomination venerates a different local god, who is in charge of their little patch of theology. The denominations all have different concepts of God, and today they each worship their own little Baal, give fealty to his doctrines, and pray to him for their own fertility.

       In return, these little deities love, protect, and teach their own. But they are powerless to affect any of the other congregations. The Baptists worship a god who loves only the Baptists. The Presbyterians worship a little Baal that controls their lives, but he cannot do a thing with the Catholics. The Catholic’s god tolerates only Catholics, and hates everyone else.

       Each denomination has a Baal whose sway does not extend over the others. And within this denominational tangle each local church also acknowledges a regional Baal who is king of their plot, lord of their city, guardian of the block where their building resides.

       And so it goes. Each denomination sits with its pygmy god, the provider of spiritual fertility, impotent as an idol of stone. The followers worship his written system of doctrines, and for this, the little god loves only them and mutely ignores the rest of the world.

       This type of worship has always been an abomination to the one true God, for he is a supreme being and demands a personal relationship with each of his subjects.

       In Canaan the Israelites should never have bowed to any Baal, for Yahweh had already given them divine legal title to the entire land. By their acceptance of a lesser Baal’s authority, Israel renounced their ownership of Canaan and became squatters on their own property. I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession.

       And so it is today. Those who join a denomination subscribe to its limitations, and renounce their claim to all of God’s treasures. By accepting denominational dogma and authority, they acquiesce to a little religious Baal, become subservient to his doctrines, and forfeit their own spiritual inheritance.

       In exchange for this bending fealty, the denomination takes charge of their followers’ spiritual fertility. Baal worship is your acceptance of a denomination’s “Articles of Faith.” When you bow down to a code of limited doctrines, you despise God’s ever expanding revelation, and his personal leadership in your life.

       Church membership is the denial of an all sovereign God. The supreme founder, rigid doctrines, and ruling clergy of any denomination are the cataracts of spiritual vision. They make you blind to that portion of God’s plan that exists beyond denominational walls. Yielding to their authority is the numbing of your personal conscience. It is your acceptance of serfdom and your abdication of Sonship. When you bow to a denominational Baal, you can never move beyond the little patch of salvation that he controls.

       As a Methodist, Anglican, Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist, or Presbyterian, you disavow your position as crown prince. You relinquish personal responsibility, cast away your birthright, and return to servitude.

       Still, most Christians today prefer to be tenants of a denominational Baal, settled in the comfortable vassalage of being told what to do, rather than to walk alone with God and develop into spiritual Kings. Most people relish the repose of worshipping some strong local deity, church, pastor, ministry, or TV evangelist. But those who bow to these denominational Baals have refused an intimate communion with the one true God. And far from the fertility they seek, they make themselves the willing subjects of spiritually sterility. Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.

       The purpose of Adamic life on earth is to bring forth the spiritually begotten Sons of God. Satan was assigned a commission to malign this truth. When God sent Adam, Satan infected him with perversion of morality and pollution of race. When God sent the Law, Satan poisoned the Israelites with paganism. When God sent Christianity, Satan permeated it with Catholic idolatry. When God sent the Protestant Reformation, Satan shattered it into the stunted, sectarian vanity of the modern denominations.

       As God shared his plan for Sonship, Satan has always corrupted and trampled it from inside the very institutions that were called to receive it. So it is that the Protestant denominations of today have been fitted with the same system of supreme pontiffs, exalted doctrines, and ruling clergy, that was first found in Catholicism. As with their idolatrous Catholic mother, so it is with the Protestant denominations of today.

8. The Arrival of Modern Christianity

       The rise of thousands of Christian denominations brought as many different religious perspectives. Each sect produced its own view of Christ, the Bible, salvation, the sacraments, and the intended result. Each of these pretenders sported themselves as the “true Christianity” and this variety produced stiff competition among the denominations. Accordingly, each sect found their beliefs increasingly under attack.

       But religious opinions are as fragile as ego and precious as breath. Nobody wants to be found lacking or mistaken. And yet few Christians will undertake the fearsome toil of exposing their doctrines to fresh scriptural scrutiny. Fewer still have the confidence to honestly consider new interpretations, to follow the Holy Spirit in the lonely paths of spiritual revelation.

       Fearing change and incrimination, the denominations found it easier to simply defend their old beliefs. Craving the solace of familiarity, they shut out new ideas and banded ever closer together, seeking the reassurance of like-minded mortals.

       Soon the security of friendly faces at the meeting hall began to provide more comfort than the denomination’s doctrines. The social aspects of church became more important than its teachings. The congregation of believers took-on a new preeminence in the religion, and a relationship with “the body” eclipsed any need for a personal relationship with an intangible God. Fellowship grew infinitely more important than truth, and entertainment became the essence of Christianity.

       Now, as in the days of Balaam, the truth of Christianity has been blended with sensual desire. The denominations of today draw their converts, not from a pious hunger for the deep things of God, but from an urge for respectable social interaction. The churches pander to those with a voracity to visit, a need to be noticed, and an appetite for amiable amusement.

       To feed this craving, Modern Christianity employs every device of social addiction known to man. Today it has become a common carnival of fleshly entertainment, hailing the carnal with choirs, jugglers, fund-raisers, bake sales, games, pageants, plays, sports teams, spectacles, gaudy singers, lurid women, and entertaining speakers who have nothing to say. Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.

       Food, fun, and fellowship are the new doctrines, and feasting has been canonized in the creed. Taco night, pot lucks, and Sunday brunch have become the new sacraments for salvation. This people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.

       Having huddled together and forsaken God’s ongoing revelation, the denominations fear and denounce any renegades who still crave a personal relationship with God. Any who seek a deeper, living truth, are considered a threat to the church’s longevity. Within the rigid doctrines and massive priestly structures of Organized Christianity, the teaching of Sonship is considered an act of war. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

       Seeking to reassure themselves that they need nothing more, the denominations find their comfort in numbers. From this has grown the Adoration of the Attendance Roll, and the doctrine of Sanctification by Showing Up. More people on Sunday morning somehow signifies the approval of Almighty God. Group assembly has taken on a fanatical flavor, and individuals who dissent are once again denounced as heretics. Today most denominations actually have the demented audacity to assert that regular assembly with their group is a requirement for your salvation. You and Jesus Christ, they say, are not enough. Now you need social interaction with “the Body” at their particular church.

       Modern Christianity has set Jesus Christ aside and built an elaborate social lifestyle from Hebrews 10:25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. With these persuasions, “gathering” has now been exalted to divine status. According to the EDT, “The word of God ... comes alive through the Spirit in the context of gathered believers who make up Christ’s church.”

       Like the Catholics before them, the hirelings of Organized Christianity erroneously believe that you need their domineering clergy, rigid doctrines, and social ritual, to attain the approval of God. Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?

       The actions of Modern Christianity show that in spite of what they say, these Christians do not believe that the Spirit lives within individuals. They fail to realize that the church is a person, not a building. And they ignore the fact that you and Jesus Christ alone are a quorum. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst.

       Modern Christianity has removed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and replaced it with a dependence on a pastor. And with this dependence comes an onerous social duty to his group. In this they have made assembly an obsession, which they offer as an excuse for perpetual spiritual infancy.

       This substitution produces Christians that never grow up. As babes at the breast, they are ever dependent on a suckling church. They can never feed themselves or stand alone. Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

       The Christians of today need always the comfort of fellowship, as many candles clustered on a cake. But true fellowship can never be found amongst candles. Intimate, abiding fellowship, can only exist in the light the candles would produce, if they were ever lit.

       Autonomous spiritual strength is a concept virtually unknown to those in Organized Christianity. They cannot conceive of ever being a self-perpetuating source of spirit life. In their Trinitarian depiction of Jesus Christ, even he is not afforded an existence independent of his Father.

       Being unable to imagine anything better for themselves, Modern Christians remain content to languish in a state of spiritual welfare. And assembled in their fearful groups, they must be constantly replenished to survive. Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

       This gathering together for comfort, fellowship, and strength, is much like the lemmings march to the sea. If you are trusting in a gaggle of feathered friends, you are heading for the cliff, along with the rest. For even if Noah, Job, and Daniel were at your church next Sunday, they could save none but themselves. Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

       Spiritual maturity is not contagious. It is not a spectator sport. It will not rub off or transfer by close contact. It must be birthed inside you, individually and alone. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

       During this present dispensation, God is developing a cadre of individual Sons. These Sons will come to possess the likeness, capacity, and substance of God their Father. To pursue this goal you do not need any church, pastor, doctrine, fellowship, or sacrament. You need only an absorbing, solitary walk in a consuming desire to know God, thoroughly, intimately, and only.

       You cannot participate in this calling while frequenting the local Christian bordello. Repetitive assembly with the clandestine adulterers, whoremongers, liars, naysayers, and carnal failures who attend church every Sunday will never make you perfect. Organized Religion will but anesthetize your heart with her delicacies, then infect you with her social doctrines of vanity.

       This is not to say that meeting with other believers is worthless. Far from it. When Moses was commanding the armies of Israel against the Amalekites, he needed help in holding up his hands. Aaron and Hur came to his aid, and their assistance made it possible for Moses to bring forth victory. All Christians will need strengthening during their trek to individual spiritual maturity. As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his [Jesus’] cross.

       But assembly is not a recipe for spiritual maturity. It is not an alternative to study, self discipline, and personal holiness. Group interaction is not a substitute for the transformation of your character. Nor is it an excuse for the absence of personal overcoming. Though Christian fellowship may help get you to your Calvary, you are the one who will be nailed there, and when it happens, you will be all by yourself. Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.

       True Christian assembly is with believers, not institutions. Believers are individuals, searching for God by revelation, perseverance, and personal conviction. They worship in spirit and in truth, not in Articles of Faith, dogmatic ritual, or by unction from a hireling clergy. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand.

       Believers revere no founder but the Eternal God. They recognize no priest save Jesus Christ his firstborn Son. Being guided by the Holy Spirit, they are not restrained by the craft of men. Instead, they are free to develop into all the spiritual dimensions envisioned by their Heavenly Father.

       Fellowship with these individuals will refresh the spirit and at times impart some bit of wonderful understanding. But even these are only small components of spiritual growth. Assembly with other believers is but an occasional inn, on the long road to autonomous spiritual strength. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

       God never does anything really important in a crowd. If there are lots of others clustered around you in your spiritual walk, it is far more likely that you are about to be dismissed with the multitude. Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him.

      Modern Christianity has diluted God’s truth to accommodate the disinterested. Their doctrines are appeasing rather than challenging. The parishioners are made to feel comfortable, rather than convicted. Salvation has been compacted into a momentary experience, purchased with lip service. Heaven has become naught but a rich man’s paradise. Gained without regard to spiritual condition, it is simply a fleshly reward for regular church attendance.

       In the modern church, the goal of growing into spiritual maturity is unknown, having been replaced by the doing of churchy things. Conversion of character has been dropped from the agenda, being disagreeable to the manicured. Judgment has been removed from the carnal nature and retained only for those who challenge church dogma.

       The modern church is defensive, fearful, social, and stunted, which things are Satan’s finest work. Today through the vehicle of Organized Christianity, the truth of Sonship, the reality of Jesus Christ and his Firstborn Brothers, has been all but obliterated. And his [God’s] breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.

End of Section 8.

Continued on next page.


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