Doctrine

REDEFINITION OF GNOSTICIMS AND PELAGIANISM- How this can affect YOU and God's Church!

POPE REDEFINES GNOSTICISM AND PELAGIANISM A recent article written by Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese titled: “Pope Francis warns of two paths to holiness” was published this month concerning “gnosticism” & “pelagianism”. This article states:

As a spiritual guide to those seeking to be better Christians, Pope Francis recognizes that many are tempted to follow the wrong paths to holiness. These are not bad people following the path of sin, but good people getting lost in the woods without a map. Francis believes that it is especially important to warn Christians of two false paths to holiness. In Chapter 2 of Gaudete et Exsultate, an apostolic exhortation released in March, Francis explains that these are not new temptations. Christians through the centuries have been so tempted, and spiritual writers have labeled these false paths Gnosticism and Pelagianism. These are old temptations repackaged for a new age.
In Gnosticism, perfection is measured by information and knowledge or by some special experience, not by one’s charity. The Gnostic takes pride in understanding everything, in having special knowledge. “Gnostics think that their explanations can make the entirety of the faith and the Gospel perfectly comprehensible,” explains Francis. “They absolutize their own theories and force others to submit to their way of thinking.” They “reduce Jesus’ teaching to a cold and harsh logic that seeks to dominate everything.”
Notice, Pope Francis is RE-defining what a Gnostic is. If someone, let’s say a man with God’s Holy Spirit, teaches what the Bible says and makes it easy to understand for the reader or listener(as Herbert W. Armstrong was used by Christ in doing), the Pope here is labeling such a man of God a “Gnostic”. If such a man of God says that Jesus’ teaching is “everything”, he is labeled by the Pope as “Gnostic”. This is RE-defining by the Pope.
Francis considers Gnosticism one of the most sinister ideologies because, “while unduly exalting knowledge or a specific experience, it considers its own vision of reality to be perfect.” Gnostics “domesticate mystery” and think they know everything.
I am reminded of “The Mystery of the Ages” book written by Herbert W. Armstrong. In this book, Mr. Armstrong goes to the Bible to make plain the “Seven Mysteries” that so many do not understand! It is an astounding book, unlike any other! Now, many dissenters have argued, that when they struggle to disprove the teachings of God’s apostle, that Mr. Armstrong and those of the Worldwide Church of God(called by enemies: “Armstrongites”) “think they know everything” and that “they think their teachings are perfect”. So who is the Pope, leader of the Catholic Church, speaking against? Things begin to add up as you progress through this article, and there is no doubt whom they are talking about and against.
“When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road,” according to Francis. “God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises,” explains Francis. “Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence.”
God’s Word says: “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”(1 Peter 3:15). Pope Francis says that if someone has an answer, and wants everything to be clear and “sure” is sharing a character trait of a “Gnostic” So those like Peter and Paul, are like Gnostics? “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”(2 Tim. 2:19) “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”(2 Peter 1:10-11) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”( 2 Peter 1:19-21)
The Gnostics’ conviction that they alone have the truth leads them to claim that their way of understanding the truth authorizes them to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives.
“No one on earth has this truth but this Church.” (Herbert W. Armstrong, “Congress of Leading Ministers” Worldwide News Special Issue, March 6, 1981)   Study what the original apostles, and the apostle Paul wrote to the brethren concerning WHO had the truth and was preaching it.   “Mr. Armstrong, it becomes clearer with every passing month what an enormous debt we owe you!” (He owes it to GOD.)  “When I reflect on the precious truths of God’s Word – the knowledge of what man’s future is, the coming Kingdom of God, the spirit in man, the history of the angels, the origin of human nature, what God is, and on and on, then I am truly grateful that God has called me into HIS Church – the only church on this earth that has the truth.  “But, Mr. Armstrong, this Church- has the truth only because” Christ gave it to us through you. You are Christ’s chosen and ordained apostle, and it is through you that I have learned and understood all these things.” (Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong’s article: “How Did You Come To Know The Truth”, Good News Magazine Oct. 1979) The argument from the Pope sounds familiar as God’s apostle and the Worldwide Church of God has received similar accusations from dissidents and enemies. This is similar to the accusation of Korah and his 250 ministers against Moses and Aaron, the servants of God. “And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?”(Numbers 16:3) His argument is “You think because you have the truth, and preach your “way of understanding” you have authority to govern the Church”. Notice the Pope is speaking against “the way” the apostles of Christ taught! THE WAY OF GOD IS A WAY OF LIFE! The unconverted Saul persecuted those who were walking in the “way” of God, until Jesus Christ struck him down on Damascus road and showed him what he was doing-persecuting Jesus Christ! What the Pope is saying is not far from Korah’s accusation! Notice, the Pope is saying that the Gnostic believes that “his understanding” is the basis for authority to govern the lives of others. And that is true of a Gnostic but not of God’s true Church. This is what is being mixed. The enemies of the Church accuse God’s apostle and God’s true Church of teaching “their way of understanding”, saying that there is “many ways” to Christ. Notice what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote: “God’s Word alone is truth “That is why I have said the experience I was painfully subjected to in this six-months’ intensive study was UNIQUE in human life and conduct. I know of no world religious leader who arrived at his teachings in such manner. Perhaps that is why GOD’S INSPIRED WORD alone – as I proved – is TRUTH. Only GOD is infallibly correct! “I was brought, by the spring of 1927, to a complete MIND-SWEEPING – my mind swept clean of previous assumptions and beliefs – surrendered to the WORD OF GOD, which by then I had proved TRUE, and the SUPREME AUTHORITY. “More, I had been brought to realize my own inadequacy and nothingness. I had been brought to a real repentance – CONQUERED by the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD – and with a solid rock-based FAITH in Jesus Christ. I was baptized, and the infilling of God’s Spirit opened my mind to the Joy UNSPEAKABLE of knowing God and Jesus Christ – of knowing TRUTH and the warmth of God’s divine LOVE! “What I once hated I now LOVED. I found the greatest and most absorbing joy of my life in continuing to dig out those gold nuggets of TRUTH from God’s Word.”…”Seeking an obedient Church I knew now that when I found the one and only true Church, I would find a Church obedient to God – keeping His commandments – having the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the TRUTH of the Scriptures. “I had been much impressed by a description of the true Church, as it is to be found in our time just before the second coming of Christ. It is found in Revelation 12. It is the time when Satan is filled with wrath against God’s Church, “because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12). Satan is making war with “the remnant of her seed.” The remnant means the very last generation in this age. The Church is definitely described. It is those “…which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12: 17). “My intensive study had revealed one thing plainly: “The commandments of God” mean “Sabbath keeping” to most traditional denominations. They say, “The commandments are done away!” They reject “the commandments of God.” “That automatically ruled out all churches observing Sunday. So far as I could learn, it reduced the search to three small groups – the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Seventh-Day Baptists, and a little, almost unheard-of church called the Church of God, which maintained a small publishing-house headquarters at Stanberry, Mo. So I examined Seventh-Day Adventist teachings – just as I did those of many other denominations. I obtained their magazines, their booklets and pamphlets, their large book of Bible readings or Bible “home instructor.” “The true Church is the one that lives by EVERY WORD of God – the words of the BIBLE!” (Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong, “HOW THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD CAME INTO BEING”, Good News Magazine November 6, 1978)
Francis, on the other hand, believes that “in the church there legitimately coexist different ways of interpreting many aspects of doctrine and Christian life.” Our understanding and expression of doctrine “is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries.” He cites Pope John Paul II, who warned of the temptation on the part of those in the church who are more highly educated “to feel somehow superior to other members of the faithful.” Gnostics can think that because they know something, or are able to explain it in certain terms, that they are already saints, perfect and better than the “ignorant masses.”
Now, doesn’t this sound familiar? When we come into contact with people propagating “different doctrines”, “heresies”, trying to sway members of the Church(while claiming to be Church members themselves), we confront what they say with God’s Word and with quotes from God’s apostle(who has authority from Christ). They often will accuse us, when we show them how their “strange teaching” is in fact wrong and heresy, of “feeling superior” and “filled with self-righteousness”. All we did was direct them to the instructions and teachings of God’s Word and God’s true apostle Herbert W. Armstrong. We don’t believe we are “superior” in knowing a truth that someone else doesn’t have. The very reason we share the truths that God’s apostle taught, is to help the other person(claiming to be a member of the Church). So this false accusation does ring familiar.
While Gnostics take pride in their knowledge, Pelagians take pride in their personal efforts. Gnostics stress the intellect, while Pelagians stress the will.
Remember, one of the accusations against God’s apostle and God’s true Church, is that “they believe they only have the truth”, and God’s Church does. The Holy Spirit is only given to a relative few now. The rest of the world is blinded by Satan the Devil, unable to understand the spiritual knowledge of God. The few God has called today has been called to become teachers of “the way” of God in the World Tomorrow, after Christ has returned to establish the Government of God on this Earth. A thousand years after this establishing of the Government of God on this Earth, All who has ever lived will have their eyes opened to the TRUTH, and will be given a second chance to live the way of God. Those who seek their “own way”, contrary to scripture, contrary to God’s way, seek to accuse those who stay faithful and true to Christ and God’s Law, angry with them because they will not “compromise”.
Pelagians “ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style,” reports Francis.
“Certain rules”? What is law? It is the “rules of conduct”. The laws of a basketball game are the “rules” of the game. Now, those who “observe certain rules”, or God’s law,  are added to the accusation.
While Pelagians speak of grace, it is often just an add-on to the all-powerful human will. “When some of them tell the weak that all things can be accomplished with God’s grace,” writes Francis, “deep down they tend to give the idea that all things are possible by the human will, as if it were something pure, perfect, all-powerful, to which grace is then added.”
Rather, “in this life human weaknesses are not healed completely and once for all by grace,” Francis explains. “Grace, precisely because it builds on nature, does not make us superhuman all at once.” Not acknowledging our limitations “prevents grace from working more effectively within us,” he writes. “Unless we can acknowledge our concrete and limited situation, we will not be able to see the real and possible steps that the Lord demands of us at every moment, once we are attracted and empowered by his gift.” Francis reminds us that “The Church has repeatedly taught that we are justified not by our own works or efforts, but by the grace of the Lord, who always takes the initiative.” We cannot buy God’s friendship with our works, “it can only be a gift born of his loving initiative.”
James 2:17-26 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” What the Pope says is contrary to scripture.
This truth should affect the way we live. It invites us “to live in joyful gratitude for this completely unmerited gift” of his friendship. We can only celebrate this free gift if we realize that our earthly life and natural abilities are his gifts.
“This Truth” he speaks is contrary to scripture, and a “lie”. It does affect the way that they live. They believe that they are the friends of God, without obeying God. This is the Gnostic teaching of Simon Magus, the first Pope, of giving a “license to sin”. They believe the more this life gives you, God is giving you “His gifts”. So they take unto themselves, believing the more they “GET” & “RECEIVE” the more God loves them. This is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which was the belief that the more you “sinned” the greater God’s grace was in forgiving such sin. So their belief is, if you seek to GET more in this earthly life and receive more abilities, you receive God’s gifts, and God’s grace abounds greater in you.
Yet some Christians today seek justification through their own efforts. “The result is a self-centered and elitist complacency, bereft of true love,” writes Francis. “This finds expression in a variety of apparently unconnected ways of thinking and acting: an obsession with the law, an absorption with social and political advantages, a punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige, a vanity about the ability to manage practical matters, and an excessive concern with programs of self-help and personal fulfilment.”
“An obsession with the law”? You mean, submitting to God’s Law in every aspect of our lives, and being careful and diligent in not breaking that law- you know…the Christian walk? Remember what Tkach and others accused God’s Church of being! “Obsessed with the law”. “fundamentalism” etc. A  “punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige”??? What does “punctilious” mean? It means: “showing great attention to detail or correct behavior.” What does “Liturgy” mean? From Wikipedia- “Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group, according to its beliefs, customs and traditions. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy is a communal response to and participation in, the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. Ritualization may be associated with life events such as birth, coming of age, marriage, sex and death. It thus forms the basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy. Methods of dress, preparation of food, application of cosmetics or other hygienic practices are all considered liturgical activities.” So according to the Pope, if someone pays great attention to Church doctrines they are “Pelagian”. If someone pays great attention to certain things, like on “makeup”, or proper dress, or length of hair,  they have a trait of “Pelagianism” the Pope says. Now, a Liturgy is essentially a ritualistic practice, used by and associated mainly with the Catholic Church. God’s true Church has had to deal with problems concerning proper dress, hair lengths of women and men, “make-up”, even smoking etc, and had to make official decisions on what is “proper” according to God and His Word. This argument from the Pope, strengthens those who opposed God’s apostle and God’s Church and their decision on these things, and is a false accusation against the Church of which the Catholic Church is in fact guilty of. Because if you argue what God’s Church teaches on these “doctrines & teachings”, then you’ll be accused of “paying greater attention to Church liturgy & doctrine & prestige(placing these teachings above other teachings)” and therefore a “Pelagian”, and therefore must be removed. I wonder who he is speaking against? Those who are staying faithful to God, Christ, His Truth which was preached by His apostle Herbert W. Armstrong.
Rather than spending their time and energy on these things, Christians should let themselves be led by the Spirit in the way of love. If the church does not follow the promptings of the Spirit, it “can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few,” says Francis. “This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting. The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its simplicity, allure and savor.”
Don’t spend time and energy on these things says the Pope! Don’t HOLD FAST, let go, and LOVE LOVE LOVE! He talks about the Church being led and prompted by “the Spirit”. Which Spirit? We must discern the spirits! He says if you don’t allow yourself to be  SWAYED by this “spirit” he is speaking of, such teachings will be the possession of a select few, a museum piece to be looked at.(Remember, wwcg-archives.com is an archive of the publications of God’s true Church and God’s true apostle. “museum”? You go to a museum to LEARN of past teachings. Who is he really speaking about? “This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting.”, Francis says. There is that “certain rules”, or God’s Law again! And that WAY of life the Bible talks so much about! It’s becoming clearer about whom he is talking about!
This form of Pelagianism explains why groups, movements and communities so often “begin with an intense life in the Spirit, only to end up fossilized or corrupt,” writes Francis. “Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channeled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace.”
Let’s put this in a more relatable way. The Worldwide Church of God was raised up, and look at how God was working through those who were led by God’s Holy Spirit! Look at the WORLDWIDE WORK that was done! AMAZING! Now, after Mr. Armstrong’s death, a different Church rose up among the membership of the Worldwide Church of God. They seized control of the WWC INC organization, and began installing NEW doctrines and teachings, contrary to God’s Word, heresies, and began building a NEW membership, kicking out and persecuting the true membership of the Worldwide Church of God. Soon, the recognizable work which showed so much “intense life in the Spirit”, became “corrupt”. This is the story against the Worldwide Church of God. These “splinter groups”, these COG churches are teaching their congregations the same thing. They teach “The Worldwide Church of God apostatized, left Christ, was destroyed!”  Sound familiar? It is the same thing Pope Francis is saying. Pope Francis says, “Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channeled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace.” So, if you or me consider that obeying God, keeping faithful and true to God and His truth as taught by His apostle and Church, is “everything”, we complicate the Gospel and become “enslaved to a blueprint that leave few openings”. You mean, if you don’t compromise you can’t be led astray or deceived!!! They are saying that if you don’t compromise with God’s Truth you are a slave, and they are “promising liberty” from such enslavement! The first time I heard about a “blueprint” concerning the Church, was from a minister of the UCG. He was teaching that God didn’t have “one blueprint” for His Government, but had several government structures He worked through. That is diabolical and demoniac and comes from Satan the great deceiver!
The way to avoid these wrong paths, says Francis, is by reminding ourselves of the primacy of the theological virtues, the center of which is charity. What truly counts, according to St. Paul, is “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). Or as Paul says elsewhere, “The one who loves another has fulfilled the law … for love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8, 10).
Talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Francis reminds us how Jesus showed us the face of God “in every one of our brothers and sisters, especially the least, the most vulnerable, the defenseless and those in need.” Loving our Lord and our neighbor is what Christianity is all about, a point missed by Gnostics and Pelagians alike.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! If you LOVE your neighbor, you “permit” their sin, and so in order to LOVE those who speak contrary to God’s Word and contrary to the doctrine we have learned from Christ through His apostles, WE HAVE TO PERMIT, ALLOW these people to continue inside God’s Church with these contrary and demoniac teachings! That is what this Pope and others who have left God’s Church are crying out! God says man of himself cannot love His neighbor as God loves. In order to Love your neighbor as God loves, you must FIRST obey God and show love towards God through obedience to His Law! Then God gives His love through His Holy Spirit, and with that love in us, we are then able to pass that love onto our neighbor, and love our neighbor and brethren as God loves. His twisting of Jesus’ teaching when He blessed the children, is a perversion, a half-truth. Yes, if you don’t show love towards the weak, the defenseless, the widow, the orphan, the children etc, not clothing the naked, the starving, those within need, you are doing the same against Christ. But this is in relation to what he has been talking prior to this. If you keep God’s Law, and are concerned with Church doctrine, and such, are won’t allow compromise to God’s Truth, Pope Francis is saying you don’t love your brethren or neighbors! That is straight from the Devil, mind you! Now, this article ends with this “directive”. I say “directive” because it appears to be an order the Pope  telling His fellow Jesuits and Catholics what must be done. They must DO this, and they believe they do God a service in doing this. Notice:
Francis ends Chapter 2 with a prayer: “May the Lord set the Church free from these new forms of Gnosticism and Pelagianism that weigh her down and block her progress along the path to holiness!” He asks each of us to reflect and discern how these aberrations may be present in our lives.
THAT IS AGAINST GOD’S TRUE CHURCH! He is issuing out an order to “set the Church free from these NEW forms of Gnosticism and Pelagianism [He is redefining them]” He says such people are WEIGHING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOWN and BLOCKING HER PROGRESS! That shows God’s people have been doing a WONDERFUL JOB in staying FAITHFUL, and now the Pope is sending out an order to GET RID OF THEM! Since this directive, we personally have seen a greater initiative of attacks against this website and against us personally. Remember in Revelation 12. “And to the woman[The True Church of God who have been FAITHFUL] were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent [the DEVIL] cast out of his mouth water [armies] as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. Satan issued out an order, worked through the military armies under his control, to GET RID OF GOD’S TRUE CHURCH- to “set the church free” from such people whom they say are weighing the Catholic Church down and blocking their progress! Remember, as Mr. Armstrong taught, this coming UNITED STATES OF EUROPE will STOP THE PHILADELPHIAN WORK! Could this be the orders being sent out from the Pope to do just that? Notice God’s Promise!  It is SURE TO HAPPEN! Yes we may see this happen very shortly! ARE YOU READY BRETHREN? Below are quotes from Mr. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God on Gnosticism, and things being talked about above in the article about the Pope.
“Now in the actual history of the first two centuries of the professing church, we saw it was divided into many different sects, many denominations, in one division, the Gnostics alone, there were more than fifty divisions, fifty different sects. But now let’s look into the history of the true Church. Remember that the largest book of prophecy in the New Testament, the book of Revelation, the one great prophetic book in the New Testament pictures the church in the future and it shows TWO CHURCHES, not one. I’ve explained to you that the word church comes from the Greek word, since the New Testament was written in the Greek language, the Greek word ecclesia and it means a crowd, a group, an assembly of people, that’s all. There’s no sanctity in the word church. And so if you have a world church, of this world, that’s not the Church of God. Then there is the Church of God mentioned in the Bible. Now we find in the book of Revelation is a great world church pictured here, and it is not the Church of God at all. This is the FALSE church, the DECEIVING church, the FALLEN church, and this pictures what we saw beginning in the history that we’ve read to you, and I have read to you from various histories, various encyclopedias, but primarily from Gibbon’s Rome in the past several broadcasts.” -Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong, World Tomorrow Radio                                                                Program titled: “I Will Build My Church”(True Church 4)  
“THE CONCEPT OF GNOSTICISM Simon Magus was the first Gnostic teacher of Christian times. The religious philosophy of Gnosticism became common during this time. Gnostics, from the Greek word Gnosis, which means “to know,” had a religion based on an esoteric form of knowledge. Gnostic religions existed well before the time of Christ, but during the first century A.D., they adopted many Christian titles and blended them with their existing religion. They taught that matter was evil and spirit good and that salvation was attained through secret knowledge. It is possible that the Apostles Paul, Peter and John were inspired to write some of their letters in response to the influence of this false teaching and pagan heresy. The Apostle Paul warned about gnosticism. Summarize Colossians 2:18-23 on the lines below. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Just how powerful these false groups were is demonstrated by what the Apostle John wrote in the 90s A.D. “I wrote unto the Church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not … and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church” (III John 9-10). Some of these false teachers had become so influential that they put God’s true people out of the Church. Yet they called themselves “Christian” and claimed to be ministers of Jesus Christ. In actuality, they were Gnostics who unobtrusively came into the Church of God, and subtly introduced the elements of Simon’s teachings. At approximately the same time, Jude wrote, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Jude also admonished the Church: “______ ye the words which were _____ before of the _______of our Lord _________ __________; How that they told you there should be _______ in the _______, who should _________ after their _______ ungodly ________”(verses 17-18). Paul wrote in A.D. 52: “Let no man deceive you by any means…. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (II Thessalonians 2:3,7). About a year later, Paul wrote the Galatians, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Teachers, claiming to be sent from Christ, preached a “gospel.” But it was not the same Gospel Christ brought. It was not the same Gospel Peter, Paul, James, John and Jude taught. It was a false gospel that used Christian names but was not the same message. It blended the Babylonian mystery religion, Gnostic philosophy and Christian-sounding names into a false religion. It gained so much influence that by the 50s A.D., Paul had to warn against it. By the 90s A.D., John and Jude spoke out against it. By the second century A.D., it had more adherents than the true faith had. For more information about the Gospel message that Christ brought, write for our free booklet What Is the True Gospel? “                                                                       -Quote from “Youth Bible Lesson, Level 9, Lesson 9” Published by the Worldwide Church of God  
  “Early writers often referred to Simon as “the father of the Gnostics” and Gnostic writings mention that in order to become “all things to all men” he claimed to be God the Father, in Samaria; God the Son, in Judea; and God the Holy Spirit among the Gentile peoples. Simon, it seemed, really believed in a “holy trinity.”   Perhaps the most damaging and far reaching of Simon’s new “Christian” doctrines was that the grace or free pardon of God gave a person the license to continue in sin.   The epistle of Jude speaks of “certain men” who “crept in unawares” and turned “the grace of our God into lasciviousness …” (Jude 4). Simon had been dead for some time when this was written, but Jude almost certainly had in mind Simon’s followers when he wrote this, who were attempting to introduce this doctrine into the true church.   “At the head of all the sects, which disturbed the peace of the church, stand the Gnostics, who claimed ability to restore to mankind the lost knowledge of the true and supreme God… even in the first century, in various places, men infected with the Gnostic leprosy began to erect societies distinct from the other Christians.”5   William Cave gives further details concerning the progress of this insidious attempt to subvert the true Church:   “The first ringleader of this heretical crew was Simon Magus, who not being able to attain his ends of the apostles, by getting a power to confer miraculous gifts, whereby he designed to greatly and enrich himself, resolved to be revenged of them, scattered the most poisonous tares among the good wheat they had sown, bringing in the most pernicious principles; and as the natural consequence of that patronizing the most debauched villainous practices; and this under a pretense of still being Christians.   “But besides this, Simon and his followers made the gate yet wider, maintaining a universal license to sin; that men were free to do whatever they had a mind to; that to press the observance of good works was a bondage inconsistent with the liberty of the gospel; that so men did but believe in him and his dear Helen.”6   Helen was Simon’s mistress, and it was said that his relationship with her was used by his followers as an example, which they followed in their own grossly immoral lifestyles.   Justin Martyr says of her that “A certain Helen, also, is of this class, who had before been a public prostitute in Tyre of Phoenicia, and at that time attached herself to Simon, and was called, the first idea that proceeded from him.”7   The second century writer Iranaeus adds that “they lived in all lust and filthiness, as indeed whoever will take the pains to peruse the account that is given of them, will find that they wallowed in the most horrible and unheard of bestialities.”   These obscene orgies of Simon and his followers soon attracted the attention of the Romans, who rarely took the trouble to distinguish between the true Christians and the false. Tacitus and other writers of the period relate that Christians brought to trial were often accused by the authorities of taking part in secret orgies.   Peter seems to have had this in mind when he wrote that “many will follow their impurities; on account of whom the way of truth will be reviled” (II Pet. 2:2).” -Quote from “Incredible History of God’s True Church                                                                                          by Ivor C. Fletcher(1984 Edition)  
“Fading Back Into Normalcy Under such circumstances something was bound to give. As the early apostles passed from the scene, the visible church began to accommodate itself to many of the Hellenistic philosophies and doctrines then in vogue. Some felt such a maneuver was essential for the future survival of Christianity. According to Arnold Toynbee: “Even Christianity might have found it hard to make headway in the Hellenic world if it had not, like its competitors, presented itself in Hellenic dress” (Hellenism, p. 277). Toynbee went on to say: “The Christian propagandists of the second century sought to commend Christianity to the educated minority of the Hellenic public by presenting it as the crown of all known philosophic systems. And this minority could not be won for Christianity without translating Christian beliefs into Hellenic philosophy’s technical terminology…” (ibid., p. 228). Edwin Hatch, author of The Influence of Greek Ideas on Christianity, also described this process: “It was impossible for Greeks, educated as they were with an education which penetrated their whole nature, to receive or to retain Christianity in its primitive simplicity” (p. 49). So the process of Hellenization began in earnest. Visible Christianity took on a completely different form as Greek elements flooded into the visible church. James Shiel explains what happened: “On their [the Greek’s] conversion many of them retained current preoccupation with the religious concept of ‘salvation,’ mingled with a host of similar concepts from the Oriental mystery religions. Salvation was to be achieved by perfect knowledge (gnosis). They insisted that there were hidden truths in the Scriptures which only the true Gnostic could discern” (op. cit., p. 51). The heavy influence of Greek philosophical concepts on Christianity was also apparent from the writings of the post-apostolic fathers. Origen, for instance, even urged that Hellenistic philosophy be used as a basic primer for Christianity: “I am therefore very desirous that you should accept such parts even of Greek philosophy as may serve for the ordinary elementary instruction of our schools, and be a kind of preparation for Christianity” (Philocalia of Origen, p. 57). Clement of Alexandria echoed these sentiments: “The philosophy of the Greeks, partial and particular though it is, contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human, which is engaged upon purely intellectual objects, even upon those spiritual objects which eye has not seen…. until they were made plain to us Christians by our Great Teacher…” (Shiel, op. cit., p. 3). Compromise and Defeat Visible Christianity was well on the way to becoming just another version of a modern, updated Oriental mystery religion. Elaborate ceremonies were instituted, an intellectual priestly caste began to assert itself, and esoteric doctrines were kept back from the multitudes. Many of the major tenets of competing pagan religions readily found a safe haven within the walls of a changing Christianity. Pagan divinities were transformed into Christian saints, martyrs and angels. The cult of the Oriental mother goddess was revitalized in the veneration of the Virgin Mary. And pagan temples were often transformed into “Christian” houses of worship. Hellenistic dualism centered around the concept of an immortal soul; and an evil, corrupt material creation loomed large in post-apostolic thinking. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas also drew deeply from these same philosophical wells. Augustine was probably the staunchest advocate of Greek otherworldly concepts since the Stoics. Writing in The City of God, he was quick to eulogize ascetic ideals: “For that vision of God is the beauty of a vision so great and is so infinitely desirable that Plotinus does not hesitate to say that he who enjoys all other blessings in abundance and has not this is supremely miserable” (book X, chapter 16). Aquinas, for instance, took a dim view of earthly pleasure. In his monumental Summa Theologica, he wrote: “The religious state requires the removal of whatever hinders man from devoting himself entirely to God’s service. Now the use of sexual union hinders the mind from giving itself wholly to the service of God” (p. 655). He continued: “First, as regards the practice of perfection, a man is required to remove from himself whatever may hinder his affections from tending wholly to God… Such hindrances are…. First, the attachment to external goods, which is removed by a vow of poverty; secondly, the concupiscence of sensible pleasures, chief among which are sexual pleasures, and these are removed by the vow of continence…” (p. 659).” -Quote from “The White Horse- False Religion”                                                                                         Published by the Worldwide Church of God  
“Eusebius claims they rejected the virgin birth and pre-existence of Christ, and the writings of Paul. But this was not true of all. The next age of God’s True Church-revived in the place where migrating Ebionites disappear – accepted these truths! Their very distinguishing name became Paulician! It was the elaborate theology of Catholicism and Gnosticism which most “Ebionites” rejected! The interminable arguments whether God is one Person or three-whether Jesus Christ was God or man (He was both-God in the Flesh)! And a false version of “Pauline” theology which claims the Law was abolished! (Using Paul’s name to put over false doctrine began early – II Thes. 2:2.) A rigid splinter group, also called Ebionite, was indeed antagonistic to Paul. It was composed of carnal-minded Jews who could plainly perceive Jesus was no ordinary man. But they could never forgive Paul for having put Gentiles on the level of Jews by offering them salvation. Irenaeus (about A. D. 180,in the area of modern France) wrote they used only the Gospel of Matthew. A third group labeled “Ebionites” had accepted some Gnostic doctrines. As the second century ended a considerable number had exchanged the simple creed of Jesus Christ for a strange blend of Christianity and Essenism. Some of these became Elchasaites, so called after their leader, a false prophet led astray by demon visions. About A. D. 220. Alciabides propagated their false doctrine at Rome. Quite possibly this was the real origin of the “pseudo-Clementine” Homilies (composed about 170 A.D.) and Recognitions – (written later, but based on the former) -whose perverted ramblings betray knowledge that Simon Magus, not Simon Peter, founded a church at Rome! All these were carnal-minded sects labeled by the same name in church history as God’s church. In every age the Church has its unconverted “members.” But there were a few faithful, who really constituted the Church. “                                                         -Quote from “Ambassador Bible Correspondence Course (58 Lesson version) Lesson 49”
“That VISIBLE organization calling itself “Christian” and ruling over the nations during the Middle Ages was not God’s Church. It was the church of Satan.   The True Church continued all those years, a tiny “little flock,” unnoticed by the world, almost unknown to later historians. It was composed of the few who were led by God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:14). Now understand, in this lesson, HOW God’s Church survived the Middle Ages.   1. Does the sure word of prophecy tell us some among — and pretending to be part of — God’s people would depart from the faith and accept doctrines taught by demons? I Tim. 4:1.   COMMENT: This is a prophecy for “the latter times” — not of Paul’s own day when the original apostacy occurred. In era after era of God’s Church, it is a repeated fact that after a few generations the local congregations are no longer generally composed of truly converted brethren, but of unconverted children and halfhearted believers of whom many go astray into error.   Such were those among the Paulicians in the eighth century who began to accept demon-inspired visions they called “the new prophecy.” Some were also in touch with Gnostic sects.   Why were such heretical sects found associated with (and often confused with) God’s people? Because God’s Church can only exist where there is a significant measure of religious freedom, including freedom for all kinds of heresy to exist also. For example, today, God’s Church is mainly in countries where no state religion is in absolute control.   Thus the Paulicians of the Pergamos Era of the True Church, and their Slavic-speaking brethren called Bogomils, included, at a later time, several groups with a medley of doctrine. All these false opinions migrated where religious freedom was allowed. And there, too, God’s Church found freedom to preach. This spirit of religious freedom spread into western Europe, where those who fell away from the truth became known as Cathars.   2. Why does God allow such heresies to tempt the weak of His people? I Cor. 11:19.   3. Do those who teach the doctrines of demons really know better — as a result of their association with God’s faithful? I Tim. 4:2.   4. What are the demon doctrines Paul mentions? I Tim. 4:3.   COMMENT: Cathar “PERFECTS” did not marry though their “HEARERS” did. The result, of course, was rampant fornication (I Cor. 6:18; 7:2). Neither would they eat meat, milk or eggs. In our day OTHER, and false, churches teach these same demon-inspired doctrines. “   -Quote from “Ambassador Bible Correspondence Course                                                                                      (58 Lesson Version) Lesson 51″  
True Christians Forced Out   Although numerous deceivers, called Gnostics, left the Church, drawing away disciples after them, there was an even more dangerous apostasy which infiltrated the true Church.   In instructing the Evangelist Timothy, the apostle to the Gentiles instructed him to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts” — the congregations wanting to do what they please — “shall they heap to themselves teachers” — elect ministers who will preach what they want to hear — “…and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:2-4).   This was in the days of the apostles and evangelists. MANY who fellowshipped in the local congregations of the early Church, after about two generations, did not endure sound doctrine because they had not repented and received the Holy Spirit. They elected teachers who, for the sake of money, pleased their wishes by preaching fables — the enticing fables of mysticism and sun-worship that were engulfing the Roman Empire. The letters of Paul were twisted by them to give another meaning than intended (II Peter 3:15-16).   But instead of leaving the local congregations and forming their own sects, as some Gentiles did at first, the false preachers remained within the congregations and soon began to expel the true Christians.   In the letter of the Apostle John to Gaius, we read: “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, AND CASTETH THEM OUT OF THE CHURCH” (III John 9 and 10).   The true Christians, who alone comprised the true Church, were being put out of the visible, organized congregations. They were the SCATTERED ones of whom John said: “Therefore the world knoweth us not” (I John 3:1). In the Western Roman Empire, where Paul died, the state of Christianity was even more advanced along the paths of error. The name Christian was being borne away by leaders who crept into the fellowship of the Church of God and who, in the name of Christ, deceived the MANY into following their false teachings. “ -Quote from “WHY SO MANY DENOMINATIONS?                                                                       by Herman Hoeh, Good News Magazine May 1985    
Who Taught Celibacy?  If early Christians were mainly married folk, where did the tradition of “Christian” celibacy come from? Who regarded sex as evil and marriage as merely the lesser of two sex evils? Scholars admit that the Judeo-Christian ethic of the Bible is a “naturalistic” mode of right sexual expression WITHIN MARRIAGE. This contrasts to pagan “dualism,” the belief that an evil body is inhabited by a righteous immortal soul, and that all works of the body (including sex) are to be rejected by the “soul.”  The Gnostics of Greece borrowed this concept of dualism from Egypt. The Gnostics had various conflicting beliefs about marriage, all negative. Some indulged in extramarital sex to the extreme, believing that this made marriage unnecessary. Others abstained from all forms of sex.  The Essenes of Qumram segregated men and women strictly, allowing no physical contact. Some mistakenly believe this sect was the ancestor of modern Christianity. Another philosophical sect of the first century housed men and women in a commune together, but they kept “hands off” to devote themselves totally to philosophy, unencumbered by “baser carnal drives” (Philo of Alexander, On the Contemplative Life).  The church fathers (few of whom were physical fathers!) were noted for their tormented sex lives. The doctrine of celibacy was actually an outcome of their personal repression. Origen (c. 220 A.D.) had severe hang-ups about sex, extreme guilt pangs, and he eventually castrated himself to avoid temptation — or perhaps to avoid fatherhood. Jerome (c. 400) led a monastic life, yet always stayed around women — whom he never touched apparently. He had wildly erotic dreams, the details of which he related to his women, glorying in how he had been “delivered.” Augustine of Hippo (c. 400) lived with a mistress early in life, later had extreme guilt pangs, and eventually heavily influenced church ideas on celibacy. Later doctrinaires, such as Thomas Aquinas, basically repeated these earlier church fathers in matters of sexual morality.  Amazingly enough, many of the Protestant “reformers” continued to teach the dualistic approach to sex and marriage, even though they allowed their ministers and laity to marry. Sexual intercourse was still considered at least partially “evil,” even within marriage.  But Christ and His Apostles NEVER taught celibacy, nor did they denigrate marriage. Enforced celibacy was a “doctrine of demons” to these apostles, and in God’s eyes it remains so. Nevertheless there are sometimes physical, psychological, environmental, and even religious reasons for postponing or refraining from marriage. Jesus referred to “eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” in Matthew 19:12.  Some few have the need AND the ability to abstain from marriage, but Paul added, “It is better to marry than to burn” with desire (I Cor. 7:9). In most cases, however, stubborn, purposeful denial of a pure, clean first marriage of a compatible couple who love each other, solely based on a “religious” belief in celibacy is a doctrine promulgated by a god who cannot marry, a sexless spirit named SATAN the devil.  Again, sex in marriage is NOT a sin. It is the wrong use of sex that is a sin. And to get married is right and good in the sight of God. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). “… And a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov. 19:14).” -Quote from “Is Sex Sin” booklet, published by the Worldwide Church of God  
In such a world is it any wonder that the great minds doubt whether there is any real Higher Power working out His intelligent PURPOSE? Is it any wonder that some dim-brains gave the world a fresh shock with the ridiculous slogan “God is dead!” To state that God is dead is to confess there really was a God—and if God was, God still is—for unless He is the Eternal—the Ever-living—He never was GOD!   In the second and third centuries we had gnosticism—meaning “we know.” Today most educators, scientists and great minds are AGNOSTIC, meaning “we don’t know—we are IGNORANT”! And this IGNORANCE they glorify in the guise of “KNOWLEDGE”!   As a BASIS for knowledge—as a FOUNDATION for education, we start with two alternatives. Right here is the CHOICE between fact and fancy; between true knowledge and ignorance; between TRUTH and error. Is there a Higher Power with design working out intelligent PURPOSE, or are we mere accidents of the blind, unintelligent, purposeless force of nature, descended from a single-celled amoeba sparked to life by “spontaneous generation,” “electrochemical action,” or other unknown accidental process?   The only truly scientific method is to PROVE a proposition before accepting it as scientific FACT. But has either science or education PROVED the evolutionary theory? Emphatically they have not! By its very nature it is a theory not subject to proof. Has either science or education PROVED the nonexistence of a personal Supreme God, of supreme intelligence, wisdom, and POWER to create? Emphatically they have not! WHY, then, do so many great minds who profess knowledge and wisdom doubt or deny God’s existence? Simply because of something inherent in human nature—something of which they are ignorant—a spirit of vanity, coupled with hostility and rebellion against their Maker and His authority!   Is it, after all, rational or intellectual to willfully assume fables, unproved and unprovable, to be fact, while ridiculing provable truth, branding it folklore?   But what of the other two basic ALTERNATIVES as one’s approach to knowledge?   There is a Higher Power! And at Ambassador College this is not carelessly assumed, but definitely, rationally, scientifically PROVED! And there is PURPOSE! Humanity was put here for a PURPOSE of such transcendent magnitude that even the great minds, in their carnality, cannot grasp it! And there is A WAY to peace between individuals, groups and nations, but tragically none of this world’s leaders were taught it! There is A WAY to happiness and abundant well-being, but modern education does not teach it.   So it all boils down to this crucial point: There are the two alternatives as a starting point—a BASIS—a FOUNDATION for knowledge. This world and its education have adopted the fictional, false foundation. And this erroneous foundation is the concept which becomes its approach to knowledge. It got off on a false start. Hence it is axiomatic that this world and its leaders are not being taught the true values, but pursue the false. The world is left without knowledge of life’s PURPOSE and meaning and is devoid of right goals, in utter ignorance of THE WAY to every desired blessing!   What an indictment against a complicated, highly organized, monumental system of education that has become DECADENT!   This gigantic system is ready to topple! It will soon fall, along with the civilization it has spawned! But a better day is soon coming! The happy is soon to dawn! It will be a world of PEACE, of PLENTY, of HAPPINESS. “ -Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong, “FOUNDATIONAL POLICY                                            RESTORED TO AMBASSADOR COLLEGE, Plain Truth Magazine                                            (September 1978 Issue)   GOD SPEED THE DAY WHEN IT WILL BE FINALLY SAID: BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN! The first Pope, was Simon Magus, who was a Gnostic! Today, Satan through the Pope redefines a Gnostic and Pelagian to mean God’s people and accuses God’s people of being something they are not! The successor to that man, is Pope Francis. Is it any wonder why the redefinition? And while Satan is accusing God’s true Church(as he always has done), and is stirring up a deceived mankind through RELIGION, those of God’s Church rejoice in its sufferings with Christ, and have FAITH that Christ will fulfill His promises which is written in the Holy Bible. IT IS SURER THAN SURE! We shall see the WORLD TOMORROW!]]>

Is the Church named AFTER "Doctrines"?

“We have just covered the truth that God set officials to serve on the human level under Christ, in the Church. Members do not elect them. Yet in the churches of this world some believe in government by the entire congregation—“democracy”—and call themselves “Congregational.” Others have organized themselves into government by ministers or presbytery and call themselves “Presbyterian.” Some follow Luther and call themselves “Lutheran.” Some follow Wesley, who was strong on “method,” and call themselves “Methodist.” Some learned God’s truth about baptizing and call their church after the name of that one doctrine, “Baptist.” One wanted complete universal world dominion, and called itself “Catholic,” which means “universal.” What is the name of the Church Jesus founded? “
 
 
“Notice that Paul did not call the true Church “Catholic” or “Protestant.” Nowhere is the true Church called after the name of a MAN or after the name of a doctrine.”
 

Michael Venish of the “Vigilant Church of God”, in his video “Our Commission” explaining the name of his church group “The Vigilant Church of God”.
 
“Oh by the way, “The Vigilant…” , the word “vigilant” means “keeping careful watch”. And that is EXACTLY what Jesus Christ and Herbert Armstrong said we should do!”
 
Nowhere in God’s Word is the Church named AFTER a doctrine! Yet men name their churches after doctrines. “Vigilant”, “continuing”, “United”, “Philadelphia”, “Restored”, “Living”, etc,etc.
 
Let’s not be deceived!
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OPINION: S.T.P Implemeted in modern "Church of God" organizations.

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The Systematic Theology Project, or S.T.P that slipped it’s way into the hands of the ministers of the Worldwide Church of God during the 1970’s is being implemented into modern churches!
[NOTE: this is ANTI-STP not PRO-STP] A look into the modern “Church of God” organizations will shock older members of the Worldwide Church of God members!
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