Thoughts to Ponder

The Growing Apostasy.

The word fundamentalist has become a derogatory term in our day. Whether you are a Christian fundamentalist or an Islamic fundamentalist it is regarded as a bad thing. But what does being a fundamentalist mean? Does it not mean following the fundamental tenets of your religion?

I am proud to be a Christian fundamentalist, who believes God's word is inerrant and should be taken literally whenever possible.

Sadly, there are many churches and denominations out there that no longer regard themselves as fundamentalist, not really because the word has taken on a derogatory aspect, but rather because they no longer believe the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

Take the United Church of Christ for an example. I am not trying to pick on them, there are many other examples I could use, but I want to use them because they are in the news right now. The denomination is struggling with whether to declare Jesus' divinity or not.

That is right, they are struggling with the question of whether Jesus is God or not. You can read the story here:

I want to quote two short quotes from the article:

"The whole point of this is that many of these people have a very fuzzy idea of faith in God," said the Rev. Albert W. Kovacs of the Hungarian Reformed Church. "We have significant numbers of clergy who don't believe in God."

Many Christians, they say, reject a literal interpretation of the Bible and lead full spiritual lives.

Read those two quotes carefully, they say a lot about what is going on. How can a person be a Christian if they don't believe in God? That one may seem like a no brainer to most of us, but apparently you can be a pastor in this denomination and not believe in God. But it is the second quote that I want to deal with most. The second quote would also cover the first quote, since you cannot believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible if you don't believe in God.

Once a church is willing to throw out the Bible or even a literal interpretation of the Bible they have thrown out Jesus Christ. I am sure there are people who will disagree with me, but let me allow God to speak for Himself:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [NIV]

Have you ever wondered why John called Jesus the Word? Simple, He is the Word of God. When you reject God's word you reject God's Word, who is Jesus Christ. You can't throw away the Bible and still hold on to Jesus Christ. You can't even throw away a literal interpretation of the Bible and retain Jesus Christ. Why? Because if you get rid of the literal interpretation of the Bible you have thrown away the foundation that Christianity stands on.

If you don't take the Bible literally, then who decides what you should believe and what is just allegory? This is a slippery slope with rocks at the bottom which have destroyed many people's faith.

If the Bible is not taken literally, then it is a small matter to question Jesus' divinity. It is small matter to question the Virgin birth, the death on the cross and the resurrection. What is left? Nothing that can save us.

Paul say it all here:

1 Cor. 15:16-19 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. [17] And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. [18] Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. [19] If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. [NIV]

But of course if you don't take the Bible literally it is easy to dismiss what Paul said too, so you could fool yourself into thinking that you are saved even if you don't believe in the resurrection of Jesus.

You cannot separate God's word and Jesus Christ, because He is the Word. Many churches have fallen by the wayside because they decided that the Bible was not the finished, perfect, literal word of God. The United Church of Christ is certainly not the only example.

All you have to do is read the news and you will see the apostate church all around you. Churches that not only condone homosexuality and deny that it is a sin, but ordain homosexuals as pastors. If they believed God's word they could not hold the belief that homosexuality is not a sin:

Leviticus 18:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. [NIV]

Romans 1:27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. [NIV]

God calls homosexuality detestable, indecent acts and perversion, yet churches who don't take the Bible literally will claim that what God really means is that sex without a committed relationship is a sin. That is nonsense, God's word says what it says and it means what it says.

There are many other examples that I could give, but I don't think there is a need. Either people see that God's word is the foundation of our faith, or they reject it and open themselves to whatever comes along.

Many cults have their own Bible translations in which they change subtle words to fit their doctrine. Some examples are those who believe that Jesus is a created being, either the half-brother of Lucifer or Michael the archangel. Other cults will tell people that they can't understand the Bible unless they are told what it means by the cult leaders. But the bottom line is always the same, they do away with the literal authority of God's word and end up throwing away the true gospel.

Paul made another very important statement:

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. [NIV]

We are saved by faith, but if you don't believe God's word, which is the word of Christ, then how can you possibly have true saving faith?

2 Tim. 3:12-17 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, [13] while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. [14] But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, [15] and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [17] so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. [NIV]

All Scripture is God-breathed. Of course it is easier to do away with a literal interpretation of God's word. If you don't speak out about homosexuality you won't be persecuted for your stand. If you accept unbiblical doctrines that other churches proclaim and welcome those apostate churches with open arms, you won't be persecuted. But if you stand on God's word and reject those who deny it and thereby deny Christ, you will be persecuted.

The apostate church is into ecumenicalism. They embrace churches and religions which are totally off base. They claim that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Again you can only believe that if you are either ignorant of Islam or ignorant of God's word. Islam claims that Allah has no son, God claims He sent His only Son to die for our sins. Jesus, claims that He is the only way for a person to be reconciled with the Father. Islam claims that Jesus was a great prophet but nothing more. They can't even get that right, either Jesus was the Son of God or He was a liar and a liar is not a great prophet. Yet Christians will continue to claim that we worship the same God. Why? My bet is that they don't want to be persecuted, or called intolerant.

Ecumenical churches will refuse to give the gospel to the Jews, because they claim that the Jews have another way to be reconciled to God. While it is at least true that Jews and Christians do worship the same God, it is not true that the Jews have another way of being reconciled to God. I repeat Jesus said He was the ONLY way to be reconciled to the Father. Jesus was a Jew, He was also the Jewish Messiah, which in Greek is the word Christ. A Jew who dies without knowing Jesus Christ personally will spend eternity in hell, separated from God. You can only believe they have another way to God if you reject God's word.

Ecumenical churches open their arms to Catholics and call them brothers in Christ, ignoring the unbiblical doctrines that the Catholic Church has. There are many, but here are just a couple. They worship Mary, oh they say it is not worship, but they bow down to her statue and they pray to her and they claim she was sinless. They also claim that she is a co-mediatrix which Christ. But that is not what God's word says:

1 Tim. 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [NIV]

Luke 1:46-47 And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord [47] and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, [NIV]

Mary admitted that she needed a Savior, but the Catholic Church denies that, and in so doing they deny God's word. Just as they deny God's word when they claim that she is a co-mediatrix with Christ.

They deny the finished work of Christ on the cross with their doctrine of punishment for believers in purgatory. If we have to pay for our own sins, no matter how 'small' those sins are, then we are lost and without a Savior because we cannot save ourselves. Yet the ecumenical church opens its arms and refuses to refute false doctrine.

The list goes on and on, but the bottom line is always the same, first the literal interpretation of Scripture falls by the wayside and then Christ is lost in the shuffle. You can't have the Word without Christ and you can't have Christ without the Word. They are one and the same.

Rev. 22:18-21 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. [19] And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. [20] He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

[21] The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. [NIV]

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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June 2005