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you are in the issues section of our site.  In this section we deal with themes rather than groups. The issues treated here are issues that are commonly found in multiple groups.

 Multiple authorities.

 

Without exception, every religious system on the face of the planet since Eden combines the blending of authorities (be they inspired texts or inspired leaders) in order to supplant or replace the Word of God.  Learning how to understand and talk with folks who embrace multiple authorities is essential to witness in our times.

 

 

 5 Things About Multiple (False) Authorities

 

 ... And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  ...And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:   Genesis 3:3,4

 

Regardless of their human origins, all non biblical religious systems come about as the result of mixing authorities.  Some deny the Bible totally while others prefer to mix the truths of God’s Word with the Bible.  All share the same root problem; they embrace multiple authorities. We have already provided a basic study on the Bible and its authority (See Sec II 1 Five Things About the Inspiration of the Bible). This study is devoted to understanding the devices of Satan which we encounter when casting down the imaginations of men (2 Corinthians 10:5, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

 

1.) Understand the Satanic Origin of All False Authority.

 

We are in a battle for men’s souls against principalities, powers, and the doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). God alone can open the eyes of men to the truth of His Word. Satan’s goal from the beginning (Genesis 3:1-13) has been to move us away from the first principles of the doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1,2).  His methods have been to question and deny what God has said, to re-define what God has said, and to confuse what God has said by laying his own blend of lie and truth alongside God’s Word. It is important to hold men accountable to God’s authority. Most challenges can found in one of the three following categories.

 

2.) Understand Ancient, Ancestral, and Ethnic Challenges to God’s Authority .

 

Tradition, as an integral religious principle, can be found in different expressions at the base of Roman Catholic teaching, most first nations peoples, and other global groups. Of course, Roman Catholic traditions would vary from native Americans, for example, but they also have much in common.  Both traditions are rooted in ancient and pagan (creation based) worship practices. Both tout the values of ancient wisdom and blend it with their cultures. Both venerate the dead and both feel they can pray to the dead based upon the notion of mystical unity.

 

Speaking of veneration of the dead, Wikipedia notes:

 

The veneration of the dead, including one’s ancestors, is based on the beliefs that the dead have a continued existence, and may possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. Some groups venerate their direct, familial ancestors; some faith communities, in particular the Catholic Church, venerate saints as intercessors with God1.

 

In addition, many non Catholic traditional religions are ethnically based and choose to unfairly stereotype biblical Christianity as being the “White Man’s” religion in spite of the fact that there are more non white believers in the world than white ones. God saves men from all ethnic backgrounds (John 1:12-13, Acts 17:24-31).

 

The Bible warns and instructs us concerning these things:

 

  1. Oral and eyewitness tradition (even from an apostle) is inferior to the written scriptures which are our sure word of prophecy. See 2 Peter 1:15-21, Mark 7:9,13, Matthew 12:50,  Colossians 2:8.

  2. Although ethnic groups vary, the ancient wisdom they claim to embrace is all very similar.  The Bible speaks of the wisdom of this world and warns us that the wisdom of man is foolishness with God because the world cannot know God through wisdom. Learn to use 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.

  3. Although we are to love and respect our parents, (Matthew 15:4). The Lord Jesus clearly taught that we must not let our love for father and mother hinder us from obeying Christ (Matthew 10:37). The love of God in our hearts supersedes filial love (Matthew 12:50).

  4. When conversing with Catholics who claim belief in the Bible, the Bible verses noted above are good starting points for talking. When witnessing to traditional peoples in general, the New Tribes Mission should be one’s first “go to” resource. Given the circumstances, one may not have opportunity to fully engage their Chronological Approach to witnessing, but these teaching principles are excellent2.

 

In all cases, when witnessing to others caught up in traditional worship we may respect their sincerity and appeal to their openness, but never (for a minute) give credence to their spirituality. All the world is guilty before God and need the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-25).

 

3.) Understand Institutional and Charismatic Challenges to God’s Authority

 

a. Charismatic authority. Personality driven groups rise and fall faster than the sun. The tendency in men to follow leaders other than God is as old as Genesis. Most personality driven systems are led by leaders who convince their followers of their great biblical wisdom and that God has visited them in one way or another with a sacred charge or calling. These imposters share the same thing in common, they are robbing Christ of the authority which belongs only to Him. These imposters can be readily seen as they walk after their own lusts. Read and be able to use the following passages: (Ephesians 5:6, Colossians 2:16, 18,  Jude 16, 1 Timothy 4:3, 1 John 3:7).

 

Followers of such men should not be excused for mere innocents and gullibility. The Bible says we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts (not just sexual) and enticed (James 1:14). Such followers need to be confronted regarding their own tendencies which draw them into their webs (Galatians 1:6-9).

 

b. Institutional authority. Roman Catholics and many sectarian groups such as LDS and Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Christ instituted an earthly, temporal organization through which salvation must come. Each group, in turn, must claim extra-biblical proof to substantiate their claims. Again, each must claim to have a divinely inspired system for administering their “church.”  Catholics, for example, have established a non-existent New Testament priesthood, the LDS claim a separate set of visions given to their charismatic leader, Joseph Smith.  In all cases, these extra-biblical sources contradict each other and all contradict the Bible.

 

The church of which Christ and the apostles spoke was the “church which is His body,” formed on the day of Pentecost and joined by all who come into a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Local churches are made up of those in a given area who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.  Jesus Christ alone is the Head of the Church and the Holy Spirit is its guide and each believer is a priest. While God has graciously provided overseers who lead us and teach our local churches, He has not established a temporal institution, a successive line of leaders or sacramental priests.  All of these, in one way or another, would supplant the headship of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; 27, Ephesians 1:23; 4:12, Colossians 1:18). The fact that Christ would personally administer His church through His indwelling presence in individual believers (His body) was a mystery, kept secret from earlier ages (Colossians 1:24-27).

 

4.) Understand Rational and Pseudo Rational Challenges to God’s Authority.

 

For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 2 Peter 2:18

 

Men turn away from the truth for reasons which cunningly appeal to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). This is particularly evident among systems which would confuse the listener by alluding to a large volume of “facts” and Bible quotations, generously mixed with false teaching.  This form of intellectual or rational bullying can be very convincing to the uninitiated. “This group must be right, just listen to all the deep teaching they offer!”  Many are so impressed with the package that they buy the product.

 

Without exception, groups which rely on great swelling words of vanity and stun us with rapid fire assertions, cannot stand the scrutiny of deliberate and careful comparisons of their message with the Bible:

 

  1. High sounding rhetoric, and,

  2. their non-connecting cut and paste theology, and,

  3. their unwillingness to respect and properly define words, are quickly exposed when laid alongside of  the great themes of scripture by Bible students who make the Bible their first, last, and only authority. Do not be intimidated by high sounding words (Jeremiah 23:16, Ephesians 5:6).

 

5.) Understand How to Respond to False Authorities.

 

  • Turn away from those who turn away (2 Timothy 3:1-9, Acts 18:6)

  • Humbly approach those who are caught in their webs, considering our own selves, lest we be ensnared (2 Timothy 2:23-26).

  • Remind your listeners that they are first accountable to the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13, Hebrews 4:12,13).

  • Rely on the power of the Word, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and prayer (1 John 2:14, Ephesians 6:11-17).

 

 

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1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veneration_of_the_dead

2. Consider getting the following resource: http://christiananswers.net/catalog/godstory-vs.html.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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