FALSE DOCTRINE: Jesus is Lord but not God

FALSE DOCTRINE: Jesus is Lord but not God

Exodus 3:13-15 (HCSB)
13 Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what should I tell them?” 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.

John 8:48-59 (HCSB)
48 The Jews responded to Him, “Aren’t we right in saying that You’re a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 “I do not have a demon,” Jesus answered. “On the contrary, I honor My Father and you dishonor Me. 50 I do not seek My glory; the One who seeks it also judges. 51 I assure you: If anyone keeps My word, he will never see death—ever!” 52 Then the Jews said, “Now we know You have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death—ever!’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham who died? Even the prophets died. Who do You pretend to be?” 54 “If I glorify Myself,” Jesus answered, “My glory is nothing. My Father—you say about Him, ‘He is our God.’—He is the One who glorifies Me. 55 You’ve never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I don’t know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced.” 57 The Jews replied, “You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.” 59 At that, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex.

So in the Exodus passage, when Moses asked God what he should tell the Israelites God’s name was, God said, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you”, and then in the John 8 passage, Jesus told the questioning Jews, ‘I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am’. In other words, Jesus was claiming to be the same God who sent Moses to the Israelites and therefore the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God Jacob. What else could Jesus have possibly meant by stating, ‘I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am’?

The fact that the Jews picked up stones to throw at him shows that they clearly understood the ramifications of what Jesus was saying. They understood that Jesus was claming to be Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. This is why they thought Jesus was guilty of blasphemy and why they thought he deserved to be stoned.

John 18:1-6 (HCSB)
1 After Jesus had said these things, He went out with His disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, and He and His disciples went into it. 2 Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with His disciples. 3 So Judas took a company of soldiers and some temple police from the chief priests and the Pharisees and came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to Him, went out and said to them, “Who is it you’re looking for?” 5 “Jesus the Nazarene,” they answered. “I am He,” Jesus told them. Judas, who betrayed Him, was also standing with them. 6 When He told them, “I am He,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.

In this passage, the phrase ‘I am He’ has the same meaning as the phrase, ‘I Am’ that Jesus used earlier (in John 8) and both of these phrases have the same meaning as the phrase, ‘I Am’ that God used in Exodus.This explains why the people stepped back and fell to the ground. They understood that Jesus was saying, ‘I am Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And maybe they even believed Him. Why else would they step back and fall to the ground?

John 1:1 (HCSB)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 (HCSB)
14 The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In John 1:1, John clearly states that the Word was in the beginning, was with God and was God. Then a few verses later John equates ‘Jesus’ to ‘the Word’. So John is clearly stating that Jesus was in the beginning, was with God and was God. What else could John have possibly meant by saying that The Word was God and that Jesus was The Word?

John 5:16-18 (HCSB)
16 Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” 18 This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill Him: not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

Think about it. As humans we all started out as sons or daughters of our fathers. So at first, we were not ‘equal to’ our fathers but were ‘less than’ our fathers because we were not fully grown people yet. In other words, we were not yet ‘equal’ to fully grown humans. When we became men or women we became ‘equal to’ our fathers in that we were fully grown people. So the fact that Jesus said He was ‘the Son of God’ meant that one day He would be ‘equal to’ God, therefore ‘making Himself equal with God’.

John 14:7-11 (HCSB)
7 “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” 8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.

John 20:27-29 (HCSB)
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” 28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”

After Thomas put his finger into Jesus’ side and looked at Jesus’ hands, he said:, ‘My Lord and My God!’. One might say that that does not prove anything because Thomas could have just been confused. But Jesus’ response to Thomas’ response validates his statement. If Jesus was not claiming to be God, he would have most certainly and swiftly corrected Thomas for saying that He was God. Is this what happened? No. Instead, Jesus responds, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”

It is interesting that all of the New Testament passages we have listed so far that make the claim that Jesus is God are from the apostle John (either in his own words or quoting Jesus’ or someone else’s words). Perhaps John ‘specialized’ in this topic of Jesus being God. But was he the only apostle who claimed that Jesus was God?

The writer of Hebrews states:

Heb 1:1-3 (HCSB)
1 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by [His] Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe. 3 He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word.

The apostle Paul states:

Col 1:15-20 (HCSB)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; 16 because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. 19 For God was pleased [to have] all His fullness dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross — whether things on earth or things in heaven.

and…

Col 2:9-10 (HCSB)
9 For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

and…

Titus 2:11-13 (HCSB)
11 For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

and…

Phil 2:5-6 (HCSB)
5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.

Are there any Old Testament prophecies that predict that the coming Messiah would be God?

Isaiah 9:6 (HCSB)
6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

FALSE DOCTRINE: Mandatory ‘Discipling’ Partners

FALSE DOCTRINE: Mandatory ‘Discipling’ Partners

The idea of mandatory ‘discipling’ partners is as follows: In order for someone to be a member of a church that teaches this practice, one must have a another person (from that particular church) in his or her life who is his or her spiritual mentor. Further, it is usually taught that having a mandatory discipling partners is the only real way to have everyone in the church truly obeying the one another passages. I believe that the root of this practice of ‘mandatory discipling partners’ is a view of people derived from the following passage:

Jer 17:9 (HCSB)
9 The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick—who can understand it?

I believe that teaching that everyone needs a discipling partner stems from the view that everyone’s heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick. From this passage, it is stressed that one cannot trust his or her own heart and therefore it is necessary for everyone to be held accountable by his or her spiritual mentor. Further, it is taught as a core doctrine, that getting advice about just about everything is necessary for one to stay in God’s will. Proverbs are used to support this idea:

Prov 15:22 (HCSB)
22 Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

It is stressed that if one doesn’t get advice from his or her discipling partner, one is told that he or she is prideful, independent and rebellious. Sometimes, in an extreme church, if someone gets advice from someone other than his or her discipling partner, he or she is told that he or she is ‘advice shopping’, even though the proverbs passage above says that ‘with many advisers plans succeed’.)

The passage that is used to support the actual practice of ‘mandatory discipling partners’ is following passage:

Matt 28:16-20 (HCSB)
16 The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Many times, when churches who teach this study the Bible with new converts, it will be stressed that verse 20 means that a true disciple of Jesus is willing to be taught how to obey. Further, ‘teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you’ is taught to mean that everyone needs to be held accountable so that he or she will obey.

Many churches nowadays mandate that everyone in the church have a discipling partner but say that if one doesn’t agree to the methodology, they are free to go to another church where they will feel more comfortable.

Refutation of this teaching:

The biggest problem with this teaching or methodology is that in cases where ‘discipling partners’ are made mandatory, the commands of men are taught as doctrines of God.

The example that Jesus used to show the Pharisees how they were guilty of teaching as doctrines the commands of men was the following example:

Mark 7:9-13 (HCSB)
9 He also said to them, “You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition! 10 For Moses said:

Honor your father and your mother;

and,

Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.

11 But you say,

‘If a man tells his father or mother:

Whatever benefit you might have received from me is Corban ’ ” (that is, a gift [committed to the temple] ),

12 “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.13 You revoke God’s word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

I strongly believe we can apply this passage to ‘mandatory discipling partners’ in the following way:

9 He also said to them, “You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition! 10 For Jesus said:

34 “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35 (HCSB)

and the apostle John said:,

11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, – 1 John 3:10-11 (HCSB)

11 But you say,

‘If a man or woman will not submit to our man-made methodology of having a ‘discipling partner’,

12 “you no longer let him or her love his or her brothers and sisters in Christ (because they can’t be a member of the church anymore). Thus, .13 you revoke God’s word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

Matt 28:16-20 (HCSB)
16 The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

When Jesus tells the apostles to teach others to observe everything that Jesus commanded them, He did not say anything about requiring every member to have a discipling partner. In fact, in this passage, it appears that teaching is in the same tense as baptizing which could indicate that part of making disciples is teaching them to observe everything Jesus commanded, just like part of making a disciple of Jesus is baptizing them. It does not appear that Jesus was stressing the idea that ‘a disciple of Jesus must ‘be willing to be taught how to obey’ but rather that everyone needs to be taught what Jesus commanded the apostles to do. But regardless of what Jesus meant by the above passage, we know with 100% certainty that He did not mean, ‘Everyone must have a discipling partner to be in the church’.

Not only does this passage not suggest anything about ‘mandatory discipling partners’, if we look at the first century church, there is no indication whatsoever that anything like mandatory discipling partners was practiced.

So some say that this teaching is only a methodology used to foster people having relationships with one another and to help obey the numerous ‘one another passages’. Here are some of those passages:

John 13:34-35 (HCSB)
34 “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Heb 3:12-13 (HCSB)
12 Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.

Gal 6:2 (HCSB)
2 Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

James 5:16 (HCSB)
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful.

I am in no way saying that Christians should not obey all of these one another passages. What I am saying is that the practice ‘discipling partners’ is not the only way to try to accomplish obeying the one another passages. (In fact, it only accomplish obeying the one another passages on one other person). But more seriously, when discipling partners are mandatory, it violates these very one another passages that are used to support the practice.

FALSE DOCTRINE: ‘The Secret’

FALSE DOCTRINE: ‘The Secret’

The Secret is a film and corresponding philosophy that stems from the ‘law of attractions’ which is defined by wikipedia.com as:

“The phrase Law of Attraction, although used widely by esoteric writers, does not have an agreed-upon definition. However, the general consensus among New Age thinkers is that the Law of Attraction takes the principal “Like Attracts Like” and applies it to conscious desire. That is, a person’s thoughts (conscious and unconscious), emotions, and beliefs cause a change in the physical world that attracts positive or negative experiences that correspond to the aforementioned thoughts, with or without the person taking action to attain such experiences. This process has been described as “harmonious vibrations of the law of attraction”, or “you get what you think about; your thoughts determine your experience”. The phrase is closely associated with New Thought beliefs and practices, from which its most common definition arises, but it also has a long standing (and more complex development) in other esoteric fields such as Hermeticism and Theosophy. Recently, the New Thought version was popularized by the 2006 film The Secret. The more materialistic interpretations of The Law of Attraction have been criticized in the media, the scientific community, which cites what they believe to be the deliberate misuse of the scientific term law and the lack of any scientific evidence for the claims made by advocates for the Law of Attraction, and by some proponents of the New Age Movement and spirituality in general.” End of Wikipedia’s excerpt.

Some people claim that the Bible completely supports this philosophy.

Refutation

Romans 1:18-25 (HCSB)
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. 24 Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

1. The biggest problem with ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Law of Attractions’ is that this philosophy takes glory away from God and gives it to a fictional law of the universe. It exchanges the glory of the immortal God for a fictional law of the universe. It exchanges the truth of God for a lie and makes people worship and serve something (not even created) instead of the Creator. Truthfully, it is idolatry and is no different from what Aaron and the Israelites did that greatly angered God a long time ago:

Ex 32:1-10 (HCSB)
1 When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!” 2 Then Aaron replied to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring [them] to me.” 3 So all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought [them] to Aaron. 4 He took [the gold] from their hands, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf. Then they said, “Israel, this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw [this] , he built an altar before it; then he made an announcement: “There will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow.” 6 Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, then got up to revel. 7 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go down at once! For your people you brought up from the land of Egypt have acted corruptly. 8 They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made for themselves an image of a calf. They have bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and said, ‘Israel, this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ ” 9 The Lord also said to Moses: “I have seen this people, and they are indeed a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave Me alone, so that My anger can burn against them and I can destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

2. ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Law of Attractions’ is simply not real. The Bible is filled with stories of people who lived before us and these many stories do not at all support anything even resembling ‘The Secret’. Job had many bad things happen to him, not because he entertained negative thoughts, but rather because God was allowing Satan to test him so that ultimately God would be glorified. The apostle Paul did not go through all of the things he went through because he was a negative thinker, but because God allowed him to go through these things. Jesus Christ suffered throughout the course of his entire life and then died the worst possible way someone could die not because He attracted those sufferings into his life through negative thinking, but rather because God willed it. One may say, but ‘The Law of Attractions’ attracts the ultimate good into one’s life, so in the case of Jesus, the ultimate good was accomplished through the cross. To this, I say to look at point 1 above again. God is the one who brought about the ultimate good by sending His son to die on a cross for our sins, not a non-thinking law of nature. For that matter, how could a ‘law of nature’ be able to determine what the ultimate good is? How could a law of nature do any determining whatsoever. The ultimate good is not the exact same thing as positive energy. For that matter, not all positive energy is good and not all negative energy is bad. They are both necessary but both completely under the control of The One True God of the Universe.

3. The logical conclusion that is derived from this false teaching is that bad things happen to people because of their own bad thoughts. The Bible has a different explanation for why bad things sometimes happen to people:

John 9:1-7 (HCSB)
1 As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples questioned Him: “ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “[This came about] so that God’s works might be displayed in him. 4 We must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 After He said these things He spit on the ground, made some mud from the saliva, and spread the mud on his eyes. 7 “Go,” He told him, “wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means “Sent”). So he left, washed, and came back seeing.

4. ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Law of Attractions’ also makes us gods! It says that we can create realities by just thinking about them.

5. Some say that the following passage supports ‘The Secret’:

Gal 6:6-10 (HCSB)
6 The one who is taught the message must share his goods with the teacher. 7 Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, 8 because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
The reality is that this passage has nothing to do with the law of attractions or attracting things in one’s life by thinking about them. The passage is talking about the battle between living by the flesh and living by the Spirit. If we sow sin, we will reap sin. If we sow to please the Spirit, we will reap righteousness.

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