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    186
    A SURE FOUNDATION

    How to Not to Go Off-Course in the Christian Faith

    "5,4,3,2,1,...we have LIFT OFF!" The space ship rose majestically into the air, its engines roaring and its steel hull glistening in the sunlight. The specially selected group gasped in wonder and awe as this vast monster of human ingenuity defied gravity and hurtled upwards into space. This vast rocket, the product of decades of research and experimentation, was breaking new boundaries of space technology.

    But somewhere on board, in a tiny fuel pipe, things were going wrong. It was such a little thing but it was enough to send the rocket hurtling off course and into an orbit that would guarantee eventual disaster. After a few months the space ship burned up in the earth's atmosphere, scattering debris over a wide area.

    Over the last few years I have watched a church come into existence, change direction, and then spiritually destroy itself. It is the largest church in the country, attracting thousands of members, especially amongst the youth. It is now teaching doctrines so unscriptural and so shocking that the ordinary Christian wonders how such a church could make so many fundamental errors...errors that have, in effect, taken it out of the orbit of Biblical Christianity altogether.

    Some False Doctrines in the Modern Christian Church

    Here are some of the amazing doctrines that this Church is now teaching:

    • (1) The Acts of the Apostles is the only Biblical book relevant to Christianity today;
    • (2) Once a Christian has been born-again, he no longer sins. Thus the members of the Church do not sin at all -- every one of them;
    • (3) Anyone who criticizes his pastor will go to hell;
    • (4) We are no longer to preach the baby Jesus or the crucified Christ...only the resurrected Lord;
    • (5) Sickness and poverty are signs of God's displeasure and Satan's victory -- God's people will always have good health and lots of money;
    • (6) A person who does not speak in tongues has not been baptized in the Spirit;
    • (7) Visualize it, ask for it, and it's yours;

    These and other "new" doctrines are the fruit of a delusion that many new Christian churches have fallen into that has led them out of Biblical Christianity and into the murky waters of cultism and the New Age Movement.

    I learned, from the time I was a very small boy, that a spaceship that is only a fraction of a degree off course can, after thousands of kilometres traveling in space, find itself thousands of kilometres off course. From that I deduced that a tiny change in direction at the beginning of a life journey can lead to one being far, far away from one's destination at the end of the journey.

    The same is true of theology. It is a fundamental tenet of the New Covenant Church of God that God's Word is not to be compromised with -- not because we are "conservative" or "fanatics" (for we are neither, in the accept sense of these words) -- but because we have discovered that heavenly principles are as fundamental as the law of gravity; defy the law of gravity and you are likely to experience much discomfort.

    Essential Doctrines for the Modern Church

    Therefore we declare, most soberly, that God's Word is to be taken at face value and:

    • (1) All the Bible -- from Genesis to Revelation -- is relevant to modern Christianity today;
    • (2) Being born-again gives one a vision of the Kingdom of God; it cancels past, repented sins through the blood of Christ, but does not remove the propensity to sin. The blood of Christ must be applied for the rest of our lives so long as we live in the flesh. The day we stop sinning will be the day we are physically removed from the earth, as was Enoch;
    • (3) Hell -- inwardly and (finally) outwardly -- is the abode of those who refuse to accept Christ as their Saviour once they have had the Spirit bear witness of this truth, who willingly disobey the commandments having had a consciousness they were right at some stage in their lives, and those who refuse to repent when Christ personally reveals Himself in all His glory at His Second Advent. Christians have the right to criticize one another in a loving, forgiving and upbuilding way, irrespective of the office held in the Church so long as they are willing to receive the same criticism themselves. The office of a pastor is a sacred one and should be honoured because of the burdens the pastor must carry. But the pastor is not a demi-god. Criticism should be carefully considered beforehand being exercised, and avoided if possible. What can lead a person to an inward hell is the way they criticize, if that criticism is angry, bitter or rude;
    • (4) The Virgin Birth, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ are all essential parts of understanding Christ in order to imitate Him, and must all be preached. No one part can be fully understood without the other two, for they are all a part of the same divine process. The joy and glory of resurrection cannot be understood apart from the humiliation and agony of the crucifixion, and neither can be comprehended without the miracle and uniqueness of the Virgin Birth;
    • (5) Sickness and poverty are used as much to bring to pass the glory of God as health and wealth can be. Every soul has unique needs and is placed into unique circumstances that will prosper his or her soul. Sickness and poverty have been used to bring souls to repentance and enlightenment whereas health and wealth have more commonly led people away from God. Some of the greatest servants of God have been ill or poor all their lives, for this is what God intended. The Kingdom of God is not of this world, whereas health and wealth are. Whereas God is not disinterested in these things, and indeed certainly blesses people with health and wealth, He has spiritual priorities;
    • (6) Salvation or spirit baptism is not predicated on the expression of one particular gift only. Indeed scriptures say that different members of the Body of Christ have different gifts for the edification of the Body, each gift being like a part or organ of the human body with a special function. If this doctrine of mandatory tongue-speaking were true in some sense, then prophecy would have prior place, as this is consistently described as a superior gift. The only mandatory gifts described in the scriptures which are the fruits of spirit baptism are faith, hope and love, with love the most important of all;
    • (7) Visualizing something and, "believing" in it and then praying for it is not a Gospel teaching but is New Age in origin. Only if God has clearly expressed His will through the personal revelation through the written Word or through direct communication is visualisation valid. Even so, excessive visualisation is to be discouraged unless the object of our prayer is already clearly defined in pictorial terms otherwise one might end up praying for the wrong things. And many things cannot, and therefore, should not, be "visualized". God does not give us everything and anything we want but only what He gives permission for.

    I would hope that for the saints these things were self evident. To the false doctrines listed could be added many others, such as the erroneous belief that God can be more fully persuaded to give a blessing by jumping and screaming like a child throwing a tantrum. However, as so many inexperienced and na´ve Christians have been converted to such doctrines by deluded and silvery-mouthed leaders, it is important that the truth is stated clearly. For just as a space-ship can be sent far, far off course by a minute error in bearing, so too can the Christian find himself wandering in a world of spiritual darkness by an appealing yet nevertheless false doctrine and practice. Keep the spaceship of your life on target -- obey the Word of God! Amen.

    This page was created on 30 May 1998
    Last updated on 30 May 1998

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