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Creeds in Conflict

People today don't know what to believe; however, it seems like anything will do. I recently had a young church member ask me "Do Methodists believe in reincarnation?" At the time, I thought the question was  appallingly naive, especially for someone who claimed to be a believer. But I realize now that this question is perfectly legitimate in light of all the false teaching abounding.

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The Acts and Preaching of Peter,
as recorded for James by Flavius Clemens

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Ted Dornan

This Work is a Complete Apostolic Discipleship Program from the Apostles Themselves

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SLAVE of ELOHIM
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The Theology of the First Christians
By Walter Schmithals / Westminster / John Knox

(PUBWestminster/John Knox)Translated from the German! Splendidly surveying two centuries of European scholarship, Schmithals relates current conclusions on apocalypticism, the messianic secret in Mark, the kingdom of God, worship, baptism, the Eucharist, canonicity, Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, and much more. 400 pages, softcover.

Forty Years of False Teaching

The first seminary course I attended was at a Quaker School of Religion. Quakers these days are very liberal, and their seminaries bear that out. My New Testament professor was devoted to a variety of "new age" gods and goddesses. The class members included several some very sick people, several Buddhists, radical feminists, and witches. At the start of each class, a short worship service for one of these demons was required. Obviously, it was a real challenge for me to accept such an atmosphere of radical biblical criticism and idolatry.

I was outspoken in class: I insisted that the Snyder is an accurate record of YHWH's salvation history. I endured harsh criticism (and lowered grades) for being a Bible believer in seminary.

One day an older student approached me after class. I admired this man for his scholarship. I was really surprised by what he said to me, "I really appreciate your well-formed faith and willingness to defend it in class. You really know what to believe!" I asked him, "And don't you know what to believe, Frank?" He replied, "No, I don't. That's why I'm here - to find out what to believe." I was astounded by his answer. This Quaker School of Religion was no place to try to find something truthful in which to believe.

Like Frank, people today don't know what to believe; however, it seems like anything will do. I recently had a young church member ask me "Do Methodists believe in reincarnation?" At the time, I thought the question was  appallingly naive, especially for someone who claimed to be a believer. But I realize now that this question is perfectly legitimate in light of all the false teaching abounding, especially in the United Methodist Church.

It's no wonder we find our church losing thousands of members weekly. In August of 1961, thirty-six years ago, Redbook Magazine conducted a survey in our seminaries, which were preparing men and women for Messiahian service in the mainline Protestant churches.

Of the ministers in training,

54% rejected the bodily resurrection of Yahshua Messiah,

56% rejected the virgin birth of Yahshua Messiah,

71% rejected that there was life after death, and

98% rejected the personal return of Yahshua Messiah to earth.

Today, these same seminary students are our elder statesmen in the church: our bishops, our seminary professors, our leading pastors, our church legislators, our prominent lay people.

In the last thirty years, their lack of belief in the fundamentals of our faith has 'trickled down' to their students and church people, and has filtered out into the minds and ethics of the American people. I believe that the evil our country is joyfully experiencing can be traced directly back to the religious training grounds of our church elders. It's interesting to note that, at Annual Conference this year, the retired bishop who spoke about his 'career in ministry' kept going back to the same regret - "If I had it to do all over, I would have done it differently."

Because of the vacuum of belief in the church, outside we find spiritual confusion and moral depravity. When prominent and highly respected United Methodists like Joycelyn Elders, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and many of our bishops, promote their questionable values from the public pulpit -- such as the 'you-know-what' lifestyle, so-called "safe 'you-know-what'," outcome-based education, and psychic channeling, we need not wonder why the children of light are leaving our church in droves.

(By the way, despite their anti-biblical views, Mrs. Clinton was the keynote speaker at the 1996 UM General Conference in Denver and Mrs. Elders recently won the coveted Scarritt-Bennett Award for outstanding service to our country.)

Since there seems to no longer be any theological or moral absolutes in this country -- no 'compass' by which to set our courses -- everybody has become a compass unto themselves. Everyone is an expert in how they ought to act and what they ought to believe. And each person has set their own spiritual standards based mainly on personal comfort level rather than YHWH's Word.

One well-known sociologist has declared that the primary faith in America is "Me-ism," for whoever 'me' happens to be. Although it has many names, "Me-ism" in any form is antichristianity - a spiritual condition in which religious leaders would rather tolerate evil than expose it.

John and the 'Secret Knowledge' Movement

The Beloved John was battling the same "me-ism" in the early church -- many had fallen away from the faith "once delivered to the saints" to form new religious movements based NOT on the teaching of the Yahshua to whom John had personally witnessed and testified,  but some other Yahshua conveniently dreamed up. John called these people "antichrists," meaning "those who oppose the true messiah."

(1 John 2:18-19 NIV) Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. {19} They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

John suggests that today we're experiencing a cosmic turning-point. While we've been looking for The Antichrist to come as an evil world leader, we've not detected the many antichrists who have come in much less threatening and recognizable ways than we've expected. Antichrists come forth all the time -- from within the church, from its fringe groups, and from outside its walls.

John had to deal with his own version of "Me-ism" -- or what we now call the "New Age Movement." In his day, it was called the "Secret Knowledge Cult" (gnosticism). A generation ago, we really didn't know much about the "Secret Knowledge Cult" except what John describes about it - that its teachers taught that Yahshua was not a man at all, and certainly didn't die on a cross. His flesh and bones were an illusion. This Yahshua was an ascending master - something like an angel - who came to give "secret knowledge" to certain chosen ones. These antichrists left the true faith when their personal views about Messiah no longer were in line with scripture or apostolic tradition. Now these teachers were starting seminaries and churches of their own to propagate their false vision of Yahshua and their personal cult of secret knowledge.

This is about all we knew of the "Secret Knowledge Cult" until a 1900-year-old library from one of their seminaries was found in the Egyptian desert 50 years ago. Since then, the library of this cult has been translated, and its 52 'tractates' are available for anyone to read. What is astounding about these books is, though they were written 2 millennia ago, their teaching is almost identical to today's "New Age Movement." In fact, (Listen!) the New Age Movement and most mainline seminaries have embraced the ancient "Secret Knowledge Cult" as another true and valid form of Messiahianity. But John said: "from the first, they did not really belong to us."

The Creed of the Secret Knowledge Cult

What did the "Secret Knowledge Cult" believe? Well, it all depended on the false teacher. Like the New Age Movement, with its psychics and demoniacs, the teaching depended on what particular spin the false teacher came up with through his personal revelations from beyond. Generally, this is the creed of yesterday's "Secret Knowledge Cult" and today's New Age Movement:

We believe in the Divine Father of Light, the Father of the Cosmic Christ, the Creator of all spiritual beings of light, the forgiving and non-judgmental god.

We believe in Jehovah (the Ogdoad), another, lesser, vindictive and jealous god, creator of the evil world and all it's evil creatures. Jehovah holds the spirit of humans captive in the flesh, keeping them from true spiritual freedom.

We believe in Jesus Christ the Son of the Divine Light, messenger of Secret Wisdom (sophia) and Knowledge (gnossis), who appeared on earth as a spirit at the age of thirty, hovered over crucifixion's cross, and laughed as Simon the Cyrene was crucified in his place. Immediately his cosmic spirit ascended into the tenth dimension to join the Divine Light.

We believe in the Divine Spark, the daughter of the Divine Light, a holy spirit within all living creatures. Only through Christ Consciousness and Secret Knowledge can the Divine Spirit be freed up from the evil of Jehovah, find salvation from this evil realm, and personal godhood in the heavens.

We believe in the ascension of worthy spirits, the reincarnation of souls, and eventual eternal Christhood in the Cosmic Christ.

The creed is very enticing -- especially the part about becoming gods ourselves - not so unlike what the serpent said in the garden:

you will not die for G-d knows that your eyes will open and you will be like gods....

No wonder the serpent figures so prominently in both the "Secret Knowledge Cult" and the "New Age Movement."

The Anointing and The Apostles' Creed

What true believers lack in secret knowledge, YHWH makes up for in 'anointing from the Set-apart Spirit,' so that we might discern truth from error. It is essential to our salvation that we know the truth, for only "the truth shall set us free."

1 John 2:{20} But you have an anointing from the Set-apart One, and all of you know the truth. {21} I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. {22} Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Yahshua is the Messiah. Such a man is the antichrist--he denies the Father and the Son. {23} No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. {24} See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. {25} And this is what he promised us--even eternal life.

Acknowledging the Son and the Father is a whole lot more than merely saying "Yes, I believe in God and Jesus." The Secret Knowledge Cult, the New Age Movement, seminary antichrists, false bishops, lying church legislators, prominent but deceiving lay people and devils all believe in the Son and the Father.

But what John is trying to convey is that the name of Yahshua involves a whole lot more than two syllables tripping from the tongue. The name of Yahshua encompasses a whole series of faith issues that most people -- especially youth -- know little about and care even less.

What does it mean to acknowledge the Father and his Son Yahshua? I believe that the best place to learn the truth is from the ancient formula of belief that John may have helped write. We know it. We mouth its words all the time. I'm talking about The Original Apostles' Creed.

1. I believe in YHWH the Father Almighty; (repeat)

The Father is spirit; The Father is love; The Father is omniscient; The Father is omnipotent; The Father is omnipresent; The Father is transcendent; The Father is immanent.

2. Maker of heaven and earth; (repeat)

The Father is the creator; The Father is the progenitor.

3. And in Yahshua Messiah his only Son, our Lord;

4. Who was conceived by the Set-apart Spirit, born of the Virgin Maryah;

5. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried;

6. He descended into sheol, the third day he rose again from the dead;

This is missing from the creed now. Theologians decided for you that hell doesn't exist anymore, therefore he couldn't have descended into a place that doesn't exist. But scripture is plain -- he descended to hell in order to proclaim to the fallen angels and foul spirits imprisoned in chains that he had fulfilled his mission, and defeated their evil prince, the devil.

In the last days, these evil spirits and fallen angels are to ascend up from hell. It's obvious that they're out now, and acting against humanity with a vengeance.

7. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of YHWH the Father Almighty;

Wherever the Father is, there is Yahshua. If the Father is omnipresent, then so is Yahshua. He is here today, and though it may be hard to believe, he is also present at the Baptist Church next door.

What does Yahshua do now? Scriptures tell us that he "ever lives to make intercession for us."

8. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead;

Yahshua prophesied many signs of his return. I can tell that it's going to rain by looking at the dark clouds in the sky. I can also tell that Yahshua is ready to return by looking at the darkness of this world. "Lo, Yahshua is coming suddenly." Make use of the Boy Scout motto: "Be prepared"! Even though hell may be open, you may make preparation, and thus you may confess with John, "Even so, come Lord Yahshua; Maranatha."

9. I believe in the Set-apart Spirit,

The Set-apart Spirit, like the Father and Son, is ever present to bring power and anointing into the life of the believer.

1 John 2:{26} I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. {27} As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him.

What is this anointing? The 'laughing preacher,' Rodney Howard-Browne, defines 'anointing' very simply and understandably:

The anointing is not some mystical something out there. The anointing is the presence and power of YHWH manifested in the life of the believer.

The Set-apart Spirit pours out 'the anointing' like oil upon the believer. And the believer is aware of the anointing, thus the believer follows the signs of the Set-apart Spirit and the signs follow the her. This can only be so if the believer is a True Believer. There is no anointing for head Messiahians, only heart Messiahians.

9a. The holy Catholic Church;

Catholic in the generic sense means 'universal.' True believers are united as one through the Set-apart Spirit whether that church is located here or in the Figi Islands!

10. The communion of saints,

                             Come back July 6th for the Master's Supper and we'll study communion then.

10a. the forgiveness of sins;

Forgiveness means 'cutting off.' When YHWH forgives iniquity, it is cut completely off, like a tumor. And we become new creations in Messiah, saved and healed.

11. The resurrection of the body;

When Yahshua returns, every person that has ever lived will be brought back to life here on the earth, in the body, not as ghosts or spirits, but 'in the flesh.' This used to be pretty hard to believe, but not now.

Did you know that each person who lives on the earth at the present time, almost six billion people, could fit in a 3' x 2' space within the city limits of Jacksonville, Florida? Or that every person on earth could have an acre of land in Texas and live comfortably? There's enough room for resurrection.

But how would YHWH do it? Well, today humans can make perfect replicas of other humans through cloning. Believe me, humans have already been clones.  If people can create new people through cloning, don't you think YHWH, who created human genetics, could do the same thing? You bet he could; and he did it for one man 2,000 years ago, and he'll do it for every person that ever lived when the time comes.

To answer the question posed at the beginning of the message, "No, Christians do not believe in reincarnation. We believe that the dead are raised to life in the body," just like the one you had at 25, only perfect and immortal.

12. Life everlasting.

Those who have not been born again will sooner or later be judged and condemned to the lake of fire found in the center of the earth. But those who are worthy, who have become imitations of Messiah, will live as a resurrected, glorified human being not in heaven, but on a recreated and restored earth.

How can we relate to heaven? Even the Apostle Paul, who had been to the third heaven, could not relate what he saw in words. When we think of "goin' to heaven," we think of heaven in purely earthly terms, like the old hymn, "I'll have a mansion up over the hilltop."

Friends, the Scripture doesn't teach that we will be living in heaven for eternity, but that we will be living on a pristine, recreated earth, a new Eden. And if you like to fish now, you'll be fishing then. And if you like to farm now, you'll be farming then. And if you like to bake now, you'll be baking then. And if you like to preach, there will be plenty of preaching still to be done then.

We Must Believe the Truth and Make It Known

Now we know what to believe. And we do believe, you and I. Believers must, must, must tell others if they are to avoid uncertainty on earth and eternal death. Our anointing must lead to sharing our faith.

Martin Marty: If evangelicals stop trying to convert others, they will be rather lonely, for advertisers, New Age pitch-persons and advocates of every other therapy and worldview are aggressively making their pitches."

Consider a specific illustration of the desperate need for Truth in this decaying world: today's young people, who've grown up with little teaching and no anointing:

Dear Ann Landers: The reader signed "Georgia," who lived through the Depression and described how hard it was to be a teenager in the 1930's, said kids today have an easy time of it compared to teens in his day. You said you couldn't argue with him. Well, I can.

Let me ask your generation a few questions: Are your parents divorced? Almost every one of my friends comes from a broken home. Were you thinking about suicide when you were 12? Did you have an ulcer when you were 16? Did your best friend lose her virginity to a guy she went out with twice? You may have had to worry about VD, but did you have to worry about AIDS? Did your classmates carry guns and knives? How many kids in your class came to school regularly drunk, stoned, or high on drugs? Did any of your friends have their brains fried from using PCP?

What percentage of your graduating class also graduated from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center? Did you school have armed security guards in the halls? Did you ever live in a neighborhood where the sound of gunfire at night was "normal"?

You talk a lot about being dirt poor and having no money. Since when does money mean happiness? The kids at school who have the expensive cars and designer clothes are the most miserable.

When I am your age, Georgia, I won't do much looking back, I'll just thank YHWH that I survived.

-- Other Side of the Story in Indianapolis.

The letter is specific, all right; but only part of the whole story. In the next 10 minutes:

10 kids will attempt suicide.

105 kids will quit school.

618 high school seniors will smoke marijuana.

20 girls between ages 15-19 will become pregnant.

5 of those girls will give birth to illegitimate babies.

8 of those girls will have abortions.

These numbers have become, quite literally, an indication that youth of today (and parents) have no true compass to steer their lives by.

Youths ages 12 to 20 constitute 57 percent of all serious arrests made in America. And the problem is getting worse. Youth don't know the truth about Messiah's power to deliver. Most youths don't know Messiah at all, but they're very familiar with the practices of the New Age Movement -- it's the national religion taught in public schools. They've been taught and practice 'anything goes' - life is random - not the precious gift believers know it to be. But if our young people knew Yahshua Messiah, and if they knew what to believe, then they might become born again and have some hope, protection, and eternal future.

Fortunately, you know Messiah. And you know the truth. You've been reciting the Creed every Sunday for years. Now is the time to tell a young person (or an older person) what Messiah has done in your life, before it really is too late.

1 John 2:{28} And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. {29} If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

I might add that anyone who's been born again and knows the truth (and I pray you do before it's too late), will face his coming judgment in confidence and without shame. And that knowledge alone makes it all -- worth -- while.

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