There is an uprising in Christianity.? There is a move of God in the house of God, the Christian church organization.? What is this move?? This move of God is the move to Christ.? The Christian church has removed itself from Christ.? It has committed adultery in that it has joined to another.? What has it joined to?? It has joined to secularism, materialism, lust, greed, and the satisfaction of the flesh.? This was and is currently being accomplished by the perpetuation and proliferation of lies in the churches. Preachers have lied to the people and the people, not taking the time to know God for themselves and study the word personally, believe the lies they are told.? Thus Christianity has been hidden and the world sees Churchianity and it stinks.? No wonder so many resist Christianity to join another religion.? The truth of the matter is that they never saw Christianity for the covering of Churchianity.
I began to watch ministers on the television on religious broadcasts that I normally would not listen to.? I watched them because I wanted to know what people are hearing from the mouth of ministers and in particular the high profile ministers.? After all, these are the ministers that people travel long distances to see in conventions, rallies, and the like.? Some of these very men and women are the ones that are lying to the body of Christ and deceiving many.? I watched and was amazed at what I heard.? There was nothing about Christ. There was nothing about righteousness, salvation, the love of God, the Kingdom of God.? Everything, and I mean everything was centered on getting from God through the false teachings of prosperity.
I heard such statements as the following.
- ?God is trying to overtake us to prosper us?
- ?Without the knowledge of goodness, we will be cut off from goodness?
- ?Favor is for God to look good?
- ?We can speak God?s favor into our lives?
- ?Saying we have favor will manifest it in our lives.?
- Material prosperity comes from meditating and confessing the word of God
- ?Faith is released through words?
- ?We can change what we see by what we say?
- Wisdom operating in your life gets you what you want
One minister even declared that the congregation is out of debt.? He declared that the congregation is free from all financial disorder and that his anointing would come upon them.
Another ministry invited the television audience to call to receive a word from the Lord for financial blessings. ?You could call to receive power to get wealth gold medallion.
There were also many people who testified how THESE MEN were so important to them and how THESE MEN were a blessing to them.
Everything that these preachers preached centered on material wealth.? They bragged about how many cars they have, their jet, clothes, fine homes, and more.? What made matters worse were that the people (probably not all) were just as blind to the heresy and deception that these men were perpetuating.? They couldn?t see that nothing was about Christ.? They didn?t realize that there was nothing Christian about what was going on in those services.
These men fed off of the emotions of the people.? They manipulated the people to a state of stupor or something as they moved them into a realm of suggestion.? At one point, I recall people getting up out of their seats while the minister was preaching to put money in the baskets that were at the front of the church.? Of course the message was about material prosperity.? Now I remember why I stopped listening to these wolves.
I used to be in that mess.? I was once a proponent of the word of faith movement, though I didn?t quite know what it was at that time.? However, I was accustomed to studying the Bible and that is what eventually saved me from that mess.? I was fortunate enough, through the purposes of God, to share what God taught me through the Scriptures to others and some of them were set free from that bondage.? However there are so many more people deceived.? I?m sure that many honestly want answers to their questions and problems and they put their trust in the purported men and women of God, not realizing that these people are not representing God in any way.? They are instead representing the deceiver of the world and destroy the people slowly as they gradually suck them dry of their resources.
I became outrages that these men and women would have the audacity to deceive God?s people.? My heart goes out to these people because they are deceived and they don?t know it.? They give and give with nothing in return.? A few claim a cause and effect and proclaim God?s blessing because something happened when they did what the quacks told them to do.? The majority are left searching for answers and holding on to the blind hope painted by these ministers of Satan.
I care about these people.? I know how I have been deceived and robbed in the past.? I know how these same preachers drained me of my life until I was finally delivered from that bondage.? Praise God that I became free from that mess.? I could only think of the many people that were still in bondage and were proud of it.? I could only wonder how these men and women preachers could say such things in the name of Christ.
Well Pursuing the Truth Ministries is belligerent with regard to these false prophets.? We stand against such lies and heresy and preach the truth of God?s word.? We promote liberty through Christ.? We promote a personal relationship with God and we accomplish this mostly through the media of education, that is, knowledge of the Word of God.
This lesson is the beginning of a series of lessons that I hope will expose the lies that these men and women pawn to the people.? I hope that you will see what Christianity really is and how these men with their organized religion and false teachings have robbed you of months and years of a fruitful relationship with God.? We will compare the philosophy and teachings of both.? This series of lessons will be called, ?Christianity Versus Churchianity: Who is telling the Truth??
First of all, what is Christianity anyway?? What do you normally think of when you hear the term, Christianity?? Many associate Christianity with a local church or a particular way of life.? However, true Christianity is a system of faith in Jesus Christ.? Christianity is founded and centered on Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Christianity is not a legalist religion.? It is not based on rules and regulations that its members are supposed to follow.? Christianity is based on faith and that faith is in Jesus Christ.? The most important thing to remember about Christianity is that it is founded upon Jesus Christ.
The word Christian comes from the Greek word Christioanos, which means one who belongs to Christ.? The word ?Christian? is used three times in the entire Bible (except for the more paraphrase Bible, Ex: The Living Bible).
- Acts 26:28
- 1 Peter 4:16
- Acts 11:26
Basically joining ?Christ? and ?ian? in the English language forms the word ?Christian?.? Christ, means the anointed one, i.e., the Messiah.? The term ?ian? means one related to, belonging to, or resembling.? So as you can see, a Christian is one that belongs to Christ.? In Churchianity it is one who resembles Christ but does not necessarily belong to Christ.
The term Christian was first used in Antioch where the converted gentiles saw the believers as being a separate from the Jewish religion.? They began to call these followers of Christ Christians.? On another note, the Jew would not have called them Christians because that would have been affirming that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
Salvation comes through Jesus Christ and therefore Christians believe that they are saved by faith in Jesus Christ.? Jesus himself declared?
John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
See also Romans 10:9, 1 Corinthians 15:1-3.
Now Churchianity is very different.? The characteristics of Churchianity are as follows.
- Centers around a building
- Millions spent on ritual and materials
- Centers around dogma
- An alternate society
- Based on marketing, advertising, and business savvy
- The teaching and preaching are focused on the church
- Perverted Holiness
- Social gatherings
- Material growth
Michael Horton of ModernReformation.org writes, ?Christianity deals with the personal relationship with Jesus Christ and Churchianity deals with the attachment to externals.?
Mark Lawson of ?End Time Prophetic Vision? says, ?The church, with all its programs and activities has somehow helped create an alternate society, nearly impotent to bring life to those who are perishing, and completely unattractive to the lost.?
I think that the most appropriate way to describe Churchianity is organized religion.? Churchianity is a religious system created by men as a counterfeit to true Christianity.? Now keep in mind that I am not comparing Christianity with other religions such as Buddhism, Muslim, etc.? I am talking about the religious system that appears to be Christianity.
Consider what Jesus said.
Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV) ?Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep?s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
There will always be wolves in sheep?s clothing.? There will always be men and women of God that take advantage of others in order to fulfill their lustful desires.? These false preachers are the standard in Churchianity.? These men and women do not preach and teach the word of God, but rather preach and teach their own doctrine or the doctrine that they have been taught.? Consider what Paul said in his letter to the Galatians.
Galatians 1:6-9 (NKJV) I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
This same thing occurs today in the Christian community.? People are swept away by a new gospel or a new teaching.? Typically it is a teaching that appeals to self then to service to God.? This is why we have to be diligent to know the Word of God for ourselves and recognize when Christianity is not being promoted, but another Gospel or another message.
Discerning the Truth
The Christian community is under attack by those who claim to be followers of Christ.? The Christian church has been tainted with false teachings that come to deceive the body and render it ineffective in ministry.? Thousands of people have been deceived by the lies of Churchianity and they make valid the revelation that the Bible gives us.
Do you realize that many sermons and preaching today has little to do with Christianity?? For example, I heard a minister on the television say, ?The pastor is the Holy Hookup.? He is the one that will deliver your stuff.?? It is unthinkable that someone calling himself a preacher would make such a claim.? This exalts man.? The Bible specifically warns us about putting our trust in man.
Psalm 118:8 (NKJV) It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man.
Psalm 146:3 (NKJV) 3Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
Besides, the only Holy Ghost hookup that we need is the Holy Ghost.? We don?t need man to receive the things of God.? Another minister spoke derogatorily against those who would criticize the prosperity preachers.? He made the point that those who speak against the prosperity preachers are poor.? His point was that the prosperity of the prosperity preachers is proof that God is with them.? However, such is not the case from a biblical perspective.? For example, God was with Jesus but Jesus was not rich.? God was also with Paul, Peter, John, James, Elisha, Elijah, Samuel, and others and yet they were not rich.
There are many false teachings in the church today and the people are deceived more and more.? However, this is consistent with the narrow and broad way that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:13-14.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV) ?Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Who will find the truth?? Only a few will find the truth, i.e., the confined way.? The success of the prosperity preachers only shows that the broad way is where most people are traveling not realizing that their destination is destruction.? One could see how possible it is for an anti-Christ to come and deceive countless ?Christians.?? Many are already deceived.? I should add that this deception is due to the fact that most Christians do not study the Bible.
In this lesson we are going to look at the claims of both Christianity and Churchianity and contrast the two.? This will hopefully give you a clearer picture of what true Christianity is and what the false teachings of Churchianity are.? Hopefully this will guide you to the truth.
The purpose of this series of teachings is to expose both true Christianity and the false doctrines of Churchianity that are so prevalent in churches today.? It is my prayer that you would recognize the false teachings of Churchianity and be free from its deception.? Now this series of studies are not intended to investigate other religions, but we may discuss some of their doctrines in contrast with Christianity.
are run like a business.? You will notice that it is the top guy (or gal) that is the honorable one.? The focus is not on Jesus but on the head of the particular church.? Even if Jesus is brought into view, it is only for what he can do for you.? Churchians are concerned about self not others and that is one of the most prominent contrasts between Christianity and Churchianity.
I am going to contrast certain topics in Christianity with Churchianity.? However, before we can actually get into this, we need to understand the process by which we will make the contrast.? We are going to have to discern the truth regarding what we hear, see, or otherwise are presented with.? We need to be able to determine if what we are told is consistent with the biblical teaching or if it is merely a doctrine or dogma of man.
How can we determine the validity of a teaching given by a preacher?? Jesus gives us the answer, which is described below.
Recognizing the Fruit
Consider what Jesus Christ said regarding knowing the truth about a particular teaching (or the person promoting a teaching).
Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV) ?Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep?s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
The fruit is identified as that which grows from or is produced by the host (tree, vine, person, doctrine, etc.).? For example, the fruit of a human being would be a child.? The fruit of a minister would be changed lives, edification of the hearers, etc.? The fruit of a local church would be edification of its ?members?, edification of the surrounding neighborhood, etc.? The fruit could be anything and one object could have many fruit depending on the context.? For example, an apple tree produces apples, but it also produces perhaps shade, leaves (food for insects or whoever would eat or use them), and in general it produces food.? The fruit of Pursuing the truth ministries can be summarized by one word after evaluating the history of this ministry.? The fruit of Pursuing the Truth Ministries is liberty!? People become free from religious bondage when they are encouraged and see that they can know the truth.? As they learn the truth according to the Scriptures then they become free from the bondage of man?s religion and any other thing that would bind them and hinder them from serving the Lord. However, in another context, the fruit of this ministry is a more intimate relationship with God.
Let?s get back to Matthew 7:15-20.? Now at first glance applying that scripture might seem easy to do.? You would look at the tree and then look at the fruit and then determine if the fruit is bad or good.? However, this is not a simple process at all because it assumes that you know what the good fruit is.? If you don?t know what the good fruit is then you have no way of making a decision about the tree, since Jesus said a good tree produces good fruit.
For example, suppose you were asked to go to the grocery store and purchase quiche for a desert that will be prepared.? You are asked to get the most fresh quiche.? You say to yourself, ?I know what a quiche is? and go your way.? However, when you get to the grocery store and look at the quiche you realize that you don?t know which ones are good and which ones are not.? How do you select the freshest quiche?? What does a fresh quiche look like compared to a not-so fresh quiche.? So in order to know which quiche is not desirable, i.e., bad then you need to know what good quiche looks like.? The same applies to the teachings that you hear from ministers.? In order to know which teachings are bad or unbiblical, you need to know what the good teachings are, i.e., the truth.
So how can we examine the fruit to determine if the tree is good or bad?? In our case, how can we examine and discern the teachings of a minister if we don?t know what the good teaching, i.e., the truth really is?? The answer is that you cannot.
Know the Truth
So the first thing that we need in order to be able to judge whether a teaching is good or bad is to know the truth.? How do we know the truth?? Consider what Jesus said.
John 8:31-32 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ?If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.?
We must abide in the word of Jesus in order to know the truth.? This means that we must study the Bible since we were not alive when Jesus first taught the things that are recorded in the Bible.? The Bible then is the written record of the teachings of Jesus Christ and ultimately and conclusively the Word of God to us.? So the first thing that a Christian must do is to know what the Bible says and therefore know the Truth about things pertaining to God that he has revealed to us.
Consider also the following scripture.
Acts 17:10-12 (NKJV) Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.
Notice the diligence of the Bereans.? They heard the gospel and yet they still confirmed it by studying the scriptures personally.? After determining that what they were told was true, they accepted it and believed.? Notice also the following scripture.
2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Note that the KJV uses the word ?Study? instead of ?Be diligent.?? They mean the same thing.? See also 1?Thessalonians 5:21 and 1 John 4:1.? See also Proverbs 14:15; Jeremiah 5:31, 29:8-9; Matthew 24:4-5 and 2?Peter 2:1-3, which is quoted below from the New Century Version (I like the way this is worded).
2 Peter 2:1-3 (NCV) There used to be false prophets among God?s people, just as you will have some false teachers in your group. They will secretly teach things that are wrong?teachings that will cause people to be lost. They will even refuse to accept the Master, Jesus, who bought their freedom. So they will bring quick ruin on themselves. Many will follow their evil ways and say evil things about the way of truth. Those false teachers only want your money, so they will use you by telling you lies. Their judgment spoken against them long ago is still coming, and their ruin is certain.
The point here is to be a critical listener so that you are not deceived by the false teachings of ministers.? Know what the Bible says so that you would know the truth and not fall for a lie.? Besides, you wouldn?t want to govern your life by something that man made up.? You want to govern your life by the word of God (See Matthew 4:4).
A Suggested Process
Now once we know the truth about any particular topic then we can discern whether or not something that we are currently being exposed to is true or not.? If you hear a teaching that is contrary to what the Bible teaches as a whole then you can conclude that such a teaching is false and should be avoided.? You surely do not want to govern your life after such teachings.? So how do you determine if a teaching is false or not.? Consider the following suggested process.
- Hear the teaching, i.e., pay attention to the presentation of the teaching or statement.
- Try your best to understand what is being taught.? Know the principle of the teaching or whether it is just another rule to follow.? This may involve objective dialog with the proponent of the teaching.
- Identify any consequences of the teaching.? In other words, how would it affect other principles if it where true.? For example, the Gnostics believe that matter is evil and spirit is good.? So one could conclude that the flesh is bad or evil, but the spirit is good.? This sounds OK at first glance.? However, what would the truth of this statement mean?? Right away it conflicts with the humanity of Jesus Christ.? If matter was evil the Jesus would have had to be evil or there would be another doctrine developed to explain Jesus? body, which this has been done in bizarre ways.? Another thing this false teaching implies is that all that God created is evil since all is a form of matter in one way or another.
- Compare the teaching to what you know the Bible says.? If it is consistent with the Bible then you can agree, though this wouldn?t be the end.? You would still do more study and have more discussions just to confirm yourself.
Basically you are just comparing the teachings that have been presented with the Word of God.? This requires wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the principles revealed in the Bible.
Following the process is not guarantee that you will correctly assess the truthfulness of a given teaching and therefore of the particular minister.? The word of God is true, but the interpretation of such might not be.? In other words, I could learn to interpret the Bible using the inductive approach that is discussed in the ?Developing a Personal Bible Study? study or I could learn to interpret it through an implanted presupposition, which moves away from the principles of deductive study.
I have noticed that ministers will many times corrupt the discernment process by introducing an agent of their own for Scriptural interpretation.? In other words, they feed you their way of interpreting the Bible via deception.? In such cases, a given scripture is interpreted in light of a given presupposition and not in accordance with the historical grammatical method of textual interpretation.? You could simply say that they give you the process by which to interpret the Scriptures, which is a perverted way that would allow you to come to the same conclusion as they.
Let me give you an illustration.? Let?s say that the discernment process is represented by a black box.? Information goes into the black box, which includes Scriptures, historical data, cultural information, etc.? What comes out of the black box is the most reasonable interpretation.? Now in proper interpretation of the Bible, which uses the grammatical historical method of interpretation, you should get a reasonable understanding of the given Scripture from all of the information that you have gathered.? However, if I would replace that black box with my own then I could cause you to get the same conclusions that have.? Thus the process is the same but the black box, i.e., the discernment protocol or method has been tainted.
This simply means that it is just as important to know how to study the Bible as it is to actually study it.? Be sure that you are evaluating a teaching on the basis of truth from the Scriptural perspective and not from a denominational or a particular movement (Word of faith movement for example).? Once we have an objective method for interpreting the Scriptures and we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the truths of the Bible to us then we can rightly discern what the Bible teaches and therefore what God says.
Thus far we have discussed the definitions of Christianity and Churchianity that are used in this series of lessons.? We also examined the process of discerning the truth, which will become very important in this series and in your own lives as you determine who is telling you the truth or not.? In this lesson we are going to examine the claims of Christianity and Churchianity regarding various topics.
We are going to examine the claims of Christianity and Churchianity in regards to Jesus Christ, God, church, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, Faith, Prosperity, Finances, prayer, confession, belief, salvation, and the responsibility of the Christian just to name a few.? These topics will be contrasted between Christianity and Churchianity so that you would recognize when you hear the truth or something fabricated by man.
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:15.? He said, ?Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep?s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.?? We have to keep in mind that all of the teachings that are done in churches are not Christian and surely not from the Bible.? Many of the doctrines that are being perpetuated in the churches today were devised for personal gain or as a result of deception or both.? So it is the responsibility of the Christian to verify that what he or she receives and acts on is indeed the truth, that is, biblically sound and consistent.
How do Christianity and Churchianity view Jesus Christ and things pertaining to him?? For the most part the two appear very similar here.? Christianity is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the focus is on Jesus Christ.? Churchianity professes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but the focus is not on Christ.? Christianity strives to perpetuate the gospel of Christ and the Kingdom of God so as to make disciples of all people (Matthew 28:18-20).? However, for Churchianity belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ seems to be merely an entrance pass into the religion.? This is not to say that the people in Churchianity do not believe in Jesus Christ.? Some may very well believe in Christ.? However, that is all that there is.? From that point on the destination is not sanctification but materialism, legalism, or perhaps self-righteousness.
Consider that Churchianity holds that salvation is so that we would be prosperous on the earth or merely so that we would go to heaven.? It holds that we are the King?s children and have certain rights to the riches and glory of this earth.? Jesus Christ provided salvation so that we would be prosperous in all that we do.? Our union with God is merely a means to live materialistically wealthy.
However, Christianity holds that salvation is the beginning of eternity with the Father.? Salvation has nothing to do with material wealth.? Salvation deals strictly with the spiritual state of man, that is, that he has been made righteous through the blood of Christ.? We have been reconciled to God so that we could be with Him for all eternity.? The things of God become comprehendible because of salvation (See John 3:3-5).? So you see, salvation isn?t a means to an end on earth for the Christian.? Salvation is the means to the beginning of eternity, namely, eternal life with God.
Churchianity defines life very differently then Christianity.? For example, consider the following Scripture.
John 10:10 (NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
The ?Word of Faith? proponents declare that the abundant life is having great wealth and health on the earth.? They say that we are designed to have an abundance of material possessions and that is what Jesus came for.? However, the word ?life? in this scripture is the Greek Zoe, which refers to eternal life or the Life of God and not ?the good life? as they suppose.
In some Churchianity organizations, Jesus doesn?t have as high a status as the pastor.? Some congregations hold their pastor in higher esteem than that of Jesus Christ and they heed the pastor?s commandments before considering the Bible.? They interpret the teachings of Jesus through the teachings of their pastor or denomination and never learn to receive the truth directly from the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit.? They live by dogma of man and not by the word of God.
A major difference between Christianity and Churchianity in regards to Jesus Christ is the position of Jesus Christ.? In Christianity, Jesus is the head of the church and all is based on the redemption provided by Jesus and by His teachings.? However, the teachings of men and women are the foundation of Churchianity.? People rely on the words of the pastor instead of the word of God.? They strive to be blessed by their pastor instead of striving to be blessed of God.
Some teachings in Churchianity and particularly the faith movement actually denies the deity of Christ or corrupts the redemptive act of Christ by claiming that Christ took on the nature of Satan or that Christ is just like us.? One minister even had the audacity to declare that given what he knows now that he could have died on the cross for mankind.? Imagine that!? Some even claim that Jesus had to go to hell to complete the punishment for our sins.? Here they say that Jesus was bound in hell as the demons and Satan mocked him and persecuted him.? They thought they had won.? But then Jesus struggled with Satan and took the keys to death and rose victoriously from the grave.? This sounds melodramatic, but it is not consistent with the Bible.? The Bible does not say that Jesus had to be punished in hell.? This is also a misconception of hell.
In Christianity, God is the creator of all things and our heavenly Father.? However, God in Churchianity is either a distant deity or a genie in the sky.? Pastor Robert Randolph Davis said that people think God is a ?cosmic bellhop.?? I like that term.?? Christianity holds that God is sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.? Churchianity holds to many things such as the following.
- God is not sovereign because he is bound by our faith
- God is not all powerful because he can only operate as we give Him permission
- God?s purpose is to lavish his subjects with wealth
Consider the following scripture.
Psalm 24:1 (NKJV) The earth is the Lord?S, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
This verse of scriptures, for the Christian, simply declares that all things belong to God.? Churchians put a twist on this by reasoning that all the things that God has belongs to us and therefore we should have them.? After all, we are ?Kids of the King.?
Christianity holds that we are to serve and obey God.? Our task is to please our heavenly Father by submitting to His will.? Churchianity holds that God is to serve us as we confess our faith and place demands on the Spirit.? God must do what we say because we use faith and God must honor our faith according to the Churchians.? Churchianity holds that it is the task of God to please us.
One of the things that I noticed about counterfeit Christianity (Churchianity) is that most of the teaching is based on what God would do for us.? There is a plethora of teachings on prosperity, health, wealth, and having what you say to name a few.? There are countless numbers of people that are deceived into thinking that the God who created all that exists is somehow bound by the mere words (confessions) the created thing.? That?s not even logical.
What?s more astonishing is that there are ministers that teach that we are little gods.? They hold that God originally intended to reproduce himself and therefore created human beings.? These hold that we are equal with God.? Some ministers of Churchianity believe that God is about the size of a large man.
Churchianity also holds that God has no authority on the earth.? God originally gave Adam and Eve authority on the earth and they subsequently turned that authority or dominion over to Satan when they sinned.? Therefore, God has no legal right to operate on the earth.
Christianity holds that God is a spirit so commenting on how big he is or how big his hands are is a moot point and surely foolish.? Christianity makes clear that our duty is to obey God and not for God to obey us.? We are the created things that must bow to the creator.? Christianity recognizes that God has complete authority on all of creation and is neither bound by our confessions of faith nor limited by Adam?s sin.
I can?t stress enough that in Churchianity that God is not considered sovereign.? God honors our faith, which is released through confession (words).? God is bound by our faith and has to do what we say. I heard one minister misquote Matthew 18:19.? Actually the verse was taken out of context.
Matthew 18:19 (NKJV) ?Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
This verse seems to imply that if two people agree about something then God will do it. ?Therefore it appears that God is bound by the will of man.? However, we must consider the next verse when interpreting this one.
Matthew 18:19 (NKJV) ?Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
The two are gathered in the name of Jesus.? However, who are the two?? The context of this scripture is Jesus? instructing his disciples.? Therefore, we must consider what a disciple would agree about.? Faith teachers use these verses to suggest that we can have anything that we want if we agree.? However, I doubt that Jesus was referring to agreeing for new cars, houses, money, etc.? He was instructing His disciples so we can safely assume that what they would agree on is in the context of ministry not self-gratification.
We must know what the Bible says in regards to things pertaining to Christianity.? Faith is definitely one of those things.? There are a plethora of teachings about faith today and many of these doctrines are inconsistent with the
Bible?s revelation of faith.? It is very important that Christians are diligent about their knowledge of God and things pertaining to God.? Paul said, ?Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth? (2 Timothy 2:15).
Can you rightly divide the word of truth?? Can you effectively and accurately share your faith with someone else?? Can you explain various doctrines of the Christian faith apart from your denomination, church affiliation, or your church leaders?? It is very important that we know the truths of the Christian faith, which are revealed in the Bible.
What can you say about faith?? Do you know what the Bible says about faith or do you define faith according to the way that TV evangelists, word of faith preachers, and others define it?? Is a faith a force or something else?? What is the biblical perspective and revelation of faith?? These are the questions whose answers I hope to shed some light on in this lesson.
We must always remember that the Bible was not written in English.? Furthermore, the people that wrote the scriptures contained in the Bible did not speak English.? Therefore, we must always be aware of the fact that the English Bible is a translation of the original biblical languages.? With that said, it now becomes increasingly important that we are aware of the underlying Greek and Hebrew words and their usage in order to accurately interpret a given scripture and especially to extract a Biblical truth from the Bible.? This doesn?t mean that we should all be Greek and Hebrew scholars, but it does imply that we should know how to get at the information necessary to understand the true meaning of the biblical text in its original language.
Effective Bible study demands that we interpret the Bible in the same way that someone at the time of the writing of a given scripture would have interpreted it.? The same principles would be revealed regardless of culture, customs, or time period of a Bible reader.? That is why the Bible can stand the test of time.? Its message does not change.? This also means that we have to understand the context of the scriptures in order to effectively interpret the scriptures.? With that said, let?s begin a study of faith from a biblical perspective.
The English word ?faith? is translated from several Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible.? The following are samples of these.
- Deuteronomy 32:20 ? Hebrew emun, established, trusty, abstractly it means trustworthiness.
- Habakkuk 2:4 ? Hebrew emunah: firmness, figuratively security; moral fidelity.? This is the only time that this Hebrew word is translated like this.
- Matthew 6:30 ? Greek ogliopistos: incredulous, lacking confidence
- Mark 11:22 ? Greek pistis: persuasion, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself.? It is also translated as assurance, belief, believe, faith, and fidelity.
Examples of faith:
- Romans 3:26 ? The belief in Jesus
- Romans 1:8 ? The common belief of Christians as a whole
- Matthew 8:10 ? The centurion
- Matthew 9:1-2 ? Paralytic man
- Matthew 9:21-22 ? Woman with issue of blood
- Matthew 9:29 ? The blind man
- Matthew 15:28 ? The Canaanite woman
- Acts 6:7 ? Obedient to the faith
- Acts 14:9 ? A man who Paul saw had faith to be healed
- Acts 16:5 ? The church was strengthened in the faith
For the Christian, faith is depending on God to do what He said He would do.? Faith is believing in Jesus Christ for the salvation that came by the grace of God.? Faith is reliance on Jesus for salvation.? You will notice that none of these references to faith in the above scriptures have anything to do with getting new cars, houses, money, etc.? The Bible does not in any way teach faith in such a way.? Faith is reliance on God.? Faith is our conviction of Jesus Christ and the redemptive act.? Faith is trust of God for provisions.? Faith is not a force that we can use to get stuff from God, as we will discuss shortly.
It also appears that the Bible assumes that God will provide for us.? The Bible assumes that God will give us gifts, though not to lavish us with riches for our own lusts.? There is nothing in the Bible that says that God is opposed to us getting a new car, home, job, spouse, etc.? The Bible even implies that He would grant us such things but not at the demand or our great faith, but according to his own grace and love for us.
However, in Churchianity and in particular the Word of Faith Movement, faith is a tool that we can use to manipulate or control God.? One minister even likens faith to a medicine bag used by doctors.? It is something that we could go to in order to get what we need.
Churchianity considers faith to be a force that we can activate by our words.? Some ministers believe that we can cause God to do things by confession.? If we say it then we will have it.? That theology is a perversion of Mark?11:22-24.? In any case, this teaching causes one to see God as a genie that who has to do what we say.? Never mind that the Bible declares that we have to pray according to the will of God? (1 John 5:14-15).
The Christian must realize that faith is totally pointed to God.? We have no power to do anything of our own strength to say nothing about compelling God to do something.? God is sovereign and we cannot make him do anything because of our confession or great faith.? We are to put our faith in God and in Christ for salvation.? We are to trust God to take care of us and to provide for us.? However, we should not think that our mere activity, such as confession, would make God do anything because it won?t.
Word of Faith
There is a movement known as the ?Word of Faith? movement in the Christian community.? The father of this movement is identified as E.W. Kenyon and has been perpetuated by many ministers such as Kenneth Copeland, Fred Price, and others.? I was at one time part of this movement, though not completely sold out.? However, I did subscribe to some of its teachings and even perpetuated some of the claims of this movement myself.? However, I was saved from the bondage of this movement because I already had a relationship with God and was already involved with Bible study.? Therefore, I began to see that the claims of this movement were not consistent with the Bible and I subsequently abandoned it.? It also caused a bit of a falling out with a pastor of the church that I was attending at the time.? I had noticed that the direction he was going was not in the direction that I was going, namely the teachings of the Bible.? Therefore, I now say and want to make it clear that I do not promote or agree with the teachings of the faith movement.
The Force of Faith
Faith is a force and this forced is released and contained in words.? This is the belief of the word of faith movement.? There is positive faith and negative faith and consequently positive and negative words respectively.? That is to say that you situations came about by the words that you spoke in the past.? One belief of this movement is that the situation that you are currently in is a direct result of the words that you have spoken, either positive or negative.? So if you say positive words then positive things will follow.? This is called faith filled words.? If you say negative things then bad things will happen.? These are words of doubt.
Again let me make it clear that the Bible does not teach such things.? As a matter of fact, these teachings are more consistent with New Age philosophy then they are to the Bible.? Words are very important in the New Age philosophy.? Thoughts are also very important in New Age philosophy.? It is thought that positive thoughts would attract positive situations and negative thoughts would attract negative situations.? Therefore, if one were to think positively then he or she would attract positive things.? If a person were to likewise think negative thoughts then he or she would attract negative things on his or her life.? These are the beliefs of the New Age movement.? You might also notice that it is very similar to the word of faith?s teaching on confession.? Go to http://www.carm.org/newage.htm for more information about the New Age Movement.? I also recommend Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (www.carm.org).
The faith teachers use Hebrews 11:1 to support their teachings on faith.? I?ll quote it here.
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The faith teachers hold that faith is a substance and this substance is a force.? It is taught that faith brings spiritual things into existence through the power of the confessed word.? However, they have misinterpreted the scripture.? This is because of the ways that the word substance (Gk ?????????? — hupostasis).? However, this word can also be translated as substantial nature; the real nature of a thing which underlies and supports its outward form or properties according to the ?Vines Word Studies of the New Testament.?? The Greek, hupostasis was indeed translated this way in Hebrews 1:3 (the express image of his hupostasis, i.e., KJV:person; NIV: being).? However this quality of hupostasis is not appropriate when used with faith.? The Vine?s says that faith is the act of the moral intelligence directed at an object.? Therefore, we cannot say that faith is substantial being as was said that Jesus Christ is to God.? In this case, the better translation is assurance.? In this case faith is actually that to which the unseen objects of hope become real and substantial.? Consider how other translations render this verse.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(NCV) Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.
(NASB) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
(Amplified) NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality?faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.
So we can see that the claims of the faith teachers that faith is a force is not supported by the Scriptures, scholarly interpretation, nor philosophically.
The Bible presents faith as a conviction of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.? The Bible presents faith as the belief in Jesus Christ or trust in God to provide for us.? It does not present faith as a force in which we make demands of God.
CHRISTIANITY VERSUS CHURCHIANITY
By?William R. Cunningham
August 3, 2003