Why Are You What You Are Religiously?
by Kenneth E. Thomas
July 18, 2000
Are You What You Are Because You Were Taught That, Or
When it comes to religion, many are like the baby bird in the nest, who, depending on its parents for food, takes in whatever is put into its wide open beak with no thought as to what it may be. This is fine in the case of baby birds. However, in religion, even when parents have their children's best interests at heart, this practice of blind acceptance may well be fatal to human beings!
What Is The Problem?
If all parents merely passed on the pure and simple teaching of God's holy word, there would be no problem. However, most parents are not passing on to their children that which is taught in the will of Christ; rather, that which their parents taught them. If what we were taught by our parents is the truth of the word, fine! But if not, then there is a serious problem!
Even if what we "inherited" from our parents, religiously, is true, still at some point in time we must determine for ourselves if we believe it because "that's what we've always believed," or if we believe truth because of our own investigation of those truths? Second generation Christians are not the result of inherited religion. They are the result of children being influenced by the same divine truths that influenced their parents.
What Made the Bereans "Noble?"
The Holy Spirit through Paul called the Bereans of old "noble" because of their attitude toward God's word. They were willing to give Paul a hearing, but they compared what he taught them with the law of Moses to see if those things were so (Acts 17:11). In another epistle, Paul exhorted folks to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We should be like each of these cases today. Those who resent their listeners comparing their teaching with the word of Christ must have something to hide.
The Lord Himself, along with other New Testament writers said the same as the above. "Beware of false prophets (teachers ket), which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matthew 7:15). "Beloved, believe not every spirit (teacher ket), but try (prove) the spirits whether they be of God:" (1 John 4:1).
The Most Often Taught Perversion:
I could cite this doctrine from several Creeds, Catechisms, Manuals, and Articles of Faith of major Protestant denominations, but surely this isn't necessary. A great man in many ways, "Dr" Martin Luther, popularized this doctrine. He ran to an oposite extreme of the Catholic doctrine of "merited salvation." Having a difficult (in fact an impossible) time reconciling the book of Romans and that of James, he added the little word "only" to such passages as (Romans 3:28). As a Bible believer, I accept every passage teaching salvation by faith. There is none where it says "only." If so, we would believe and teach it. The fact is, the only place where "faith" and "only" are found together, they are preceded with another little word; the word "not" (James 2:24)!
What Happens When Error Is Accepted As If It Were The Truth?
It becomes next to impossible to convert one to Christ who is convinced that when he felt "conviction," he was "converted." These people have been influenced by what is taught in the Protestant Creeds, from pulpits, on radio and television. Renouned men like Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell regularly champion this doctrine, and many are affected by it. Few can be turned back to the Bible's teachings who have had what they sometimes refer to as "an experience of grace." Their reasoning is displaced by their strong emotional experience. They have little interest in "study." After all, "what good is 'study' when you have had a religious 'experience?'"
There is a sense in which what one accepts as truth becomes truth to that person. For example if someone playing a prank, although a sick one, on you, should see you up town and say something like, "You had better get home, your house is on fire." If you had no reason to doubt that person, your fear and emotions would be just as real as if your house was on fire and your family was in grave danger. You would hasten home to be of whatever assistance you could be, only to learn that you had been given false information.
A Biblical Case In Point
Joseph's jealous brothers once allowed their father Jacob, to reach the false conclusion that Joseph had been devoured by a wild beast. They had sold Joseph to a band of Ishmaelites traveling from Gilead to Egypt, for twenty pieces of silver (Genesis 37:17-28). The brothers had killed a kid of the goats, dipped Joseph's many colored coat in the blood and showed it to Jacob who said, "It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces." We read further: "And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard" (Genesis 37:31-36). While Jacob mourned, believing his favorite son was dead, that son was doing quite well down in Egypt serving Potiphar. Were Jacob's tears and his anguish any less than if Joseph had really been dead? No! Why? Because Jacob's conclusion was false. He had been deceived by a lie! Have you been deceived?
Untold millions will face the judgment seat of Christ who have accepted an "experimental religion" for true conversion to Christ. In the judgment, after it is too late for them to do anything about it, they will find out that they were deceived! This is depicted by Christ in Matthew 7:13-14, 21-29:
"Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work lawlessness (iniquity kjv). Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who builds his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it" (Matthew 7:22-27).
Billy Graham On "Salvation"
Billy Graham Says, "The Moment You Believe, You Have Eternal Life" (Crusade N.T. Pg. 8). The Bible teaches that Christ will only save obedient believers (Hebrews 5:9; Matthew 7:21).
Have you been taught that you may be "saved first, and baptized later?" If you are a Protestant, the odds are that you have. Mr. Hiscox says, in his (Manual For Southern Baptist, Pgs. 20-21), "Baptism is essential to obedience, but not to salvation." Which is the same as saying that obedience isn't essential to one's salvation. Yet, Jesus said that the only ones who will enter into the kingdom, His church, are those who "do the Father's will" (Matthew 7:21). The Hebrew writer said of Christ, "He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9; James 1:18-25; 2:14-26).
I PETER 3:21
WHO IS RIGHT:
Paul said : "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar.." (Romans 3:4a). Let us look at Mr. Hiscox's full quote from the Baptist Manual as noted above. "Baptism is not essential to salvation,...but is essential to obedience, since Christ has commanded it. It is also essential to a public confession of Christ before the world, and to membership in the church which is His body. And no true lover of his Lord will refuse these acts of obedience and tokens of affection." There you have it in the words of a man who wrote the book used by those associated with the Southern Baptist. Occasionally one who is a member of that denomination will say to me, "I don't agree with everything the Baptist teach, nor what is written in the Creed. In fact, I didn't even know about that Creed; I have never even seen one." But my friend, you are a member and this represents their position. By membership in the Association, and by sending delegates to the conventions from the local church of which you are a member, you are endorsing by your membership and financial contribution, everything they teach whether you believe it or not! See (2 John 9-11; Romans 16:17-18; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). You should obey the gospel of Christ and associate yourself with those who honor Christ's word in all of its particulars.
Some Conclusions From The Quote By Edward T. Hiscox, D.D.
First conclusion already noted is: Obedience is not necessary to one's salvation.
Second: You do not have to publicly confess Jesus before the world.
Third: Membership in the church which is His body is not necessary.
Fourth: One doesn't have to be a true lover of the Lord. These are the things they say that baptism shows, but if one doesn't have to be baptized, then one doesn't have to do all of these things attributed to baptism by Mr. Hiscox himself. Think my friends.
by Kenneth E. Thomas
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