Monthly Archives: September 2014

Cannot Sin

Romans 12_2

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1 John 3:9)

This is one of the many paradoxes found in Scripture. How can a Christian not sin and yet sin? The Greek phase “does not commit sin” is in the present tense denoting continuous action or, in other words, a “habitual” practice of sin. The rest of the verse explains why the child of God cannot sin: “for [God’s] seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

Paul tells us that true Christians, those who are “born again” are given a new nature: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). That means our old nature has been done away with: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). When we are truly “born again,” we are given a new nature so that we have the ability not to sin, but that ability comes from the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit (“Christ liveth in me”). We have the power not to sin, yet we keep our sinful flesh that retains that bent toward sin. Paul expresses his dilemma this way: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25).

For the Christian, both natures exist within the individual. Someone who claims to be a Christian and continues in “habitual” sin without remorse has not truly been regenerated, i.e., born again. An authentic Christian instantly recognizes when he sins (because the Holy Spirit within him makes him aware) and immediately turns to God for forgiveness, and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

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False Religion: Freemasonry

The Masonic Temple 1100 Henderson Street Fort Worth, Texas

The Masonic Temple
1100 Henderson Street
Fort Worth, Texas

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

About 35 years ago, at the age of 29, I made friends with a coworker who became sort of a mentor to me. He seemed to be very knowledgeable in the tricks of the telecommunications trade, and unlike many of the seniors in the trade, he was willing to teach me all he knew. All the “old codgers” greedily guarded their knowledge for fear that the younger guys would outdo them (I guess). My friend, Mike, was not like that, and I appreciated him for that. So when I noticed his Masonic ring, I was naturally curious. Mike, a “Christian,” seemed like an upright fellow, and I remembered seeing similar rings worn by pastors; so naturally I surmised that Freemasonry (Masonry) was a good organization to which I might want to belong. Mike told me about all the charitable works Freemasons (Masons) did so, I was intrigued and asked if I could join. Masons do not recruit. They have a slogan: “To be one, ask one,” and Mike was more than happy to take me under his wing.

To enter the “Blue Lodge” one must undergo the work of memorizing a long dialog – a series of questions and responses in the form of a conversation. Since the “work” is secret, it is not written down and must be learned by rote memorization. After a couple of months I was ready to be initiated into the Blue Lodge. Mike prepared me for my first lodge meeting. He instructed me in proper Masonic etiquette, and I learned that discussion of religious (or political) topics at lodge meetings was strictly taboo – “where all discord on account of politics, religion, or private opinion shall be unknown and banished from within your walls.”[1] That seemed strange to me considering that many of these men were “Christian,” but I shrugged it off as just an effort to maintain harmony among the “brethren.” Without going into great detail about the initiation ritual, which involved reciting the memory work I had learned, I was led in taking a blood oath “binding myself under no less penalty than to have my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the roots, and my body buried in the rough sands of the sea at low water-mark”[2] not to reveal any of the secrets of Masonry. I passed it off as simply a ritual and not to be taken literally; after all, this is just a fraternity. What did bother me (and I believe the Holy Spirit was speaking to me) was the emphasis placed on gaining entrance into “the celestial lodge, made without hands, eternal in the heavens” by the works of a Mason. Well, that’s a lie! The Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, emphasis mine). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5, emphasis mine). Having been “regenerated” by the “Holy Ghost,” that same Holy Spirit troubled me about that heresy and brought to mind the question of the taboo on religious discussion, and the “temple-like” furnishings of the lodge. It did not take me long to discern that I had become involved in a false religion. Consequently, I extracted myself after the second lodge meeting. Mike was naturally disappointed and could not understand my reasoning. Obviously, the Holy Spirit was not working in him the same way that He was working in me.

On the surface, most people, including Freemasons, think of Freemasonry as nothing more than a fraternity – a boy’s club complete with secret handshakes and codes known only to members. However, Freemasonry is a false religion complete with temples and secret rituals that would rival any religion. Even though many Masons are associated with a local church, for a good portion of them, Freemasonry is the only “religious” activity in which they participate. So, based on the same characteristics that I have presented in past articles, Freemasonry is a false religion.

First of all, Freemasonry denies the God of the Bible. This is not an overt rejection, but rather subtly by accepting all other gods on equal footing. “[I]n every country Masons are to embrace the prevalent religion, whatever it may be, and accept whatever is claimed in any country where they may reside, to be the law and will of God… It is well known and admitted that Masonry claims to have descended from the earliest ages, and the institution has existed in all countries and under all religions; and that the ancient philosophers of Greece and Rome, the astrologers and soothsayers, and the great men of all heathen nations have belonged to that fraternity… Multitudes of Universalists and Unitarians, and of terrorists of every grade, are Freemasons; and yet Freemasonry itself claims to save its disciples, to conduct them to heaven!”[3] This alone violates of the First Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

Secondly, Freemasonry denies the deity of Jesus Christ. Again, this is not an overt rejection, but the fact remains that Freemasonry excludes Jesus Christ from any of their ceremonies. Even in the closing of a prayer directed to the nebulous “Supreme Architect of the Universe,” the prayer ends with “So mote it be. Amen,” rather than “in Jesus’ name.” Jesus is never mentioned. Jesus said, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14), so Masonic prayers go to the nebulous Supreme Architect of the Universe unheeded. “It nowhere recognizes men as being justified by faith in Christ, as being sanctified by faith in Christ, and as being saved as the Gospel recognizes men as being saved.”[4]

Thirdly, Freemasonry rejects the Bible as the inerrant, infallible Word of God by the misuse and misapplication of Scripture, not to mention that “sacred” texts of pagan religions are given equal value. One such misrepresentation, if not blasphemous, misuse of Scripture occurs at the 17th degree, the Knights of the East and West. In this ceremony, the Senior Warden misquotes Revelation 5:2 when he says, “Is there any mortal here worthy to open the book with the seven seals?” Revelation 5:2 is the scene in heaven just after John’s arrival where he hears all the residents of that glorious place proclaim, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” Revelation 4:11). John says, “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (Revelation 5:1-2, emphasis mine). Note that there is no suggestion that a mortal might be able to open the book as suggested in the Masonic version. Indeed, in the heavenly scene, “… no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon” (Revelation 5:3, emphasis mine). John at this point weeps because no man is worthy to open the book. The Masons mimic this scene and “sigh,” but according to Freemasonry, man can indeed be worthy to open the book. The Senior Warden says to them, “Venerable and respectable brethren, be not afflicted [sic] here is a victim (pointing to the candidate) whose courage will give you content.”[5] The Senior Warden asks a seemingly irrelevant question as to why the ancients had long beards. The candidate does not know, so he defers to the Senior Warden who then misquotes Revelation 7:14 in response: “They are those who came here after passing through great tribulation, and having washed their robes in their own blood: will you purchase your robes at so great a price?”[6] (emphasis mine). What Revelation 7:14 actually says is, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (emphasis mine). Note how Jesus’ (the Lamb) blood is of non-effect for the Mason and greater significance is given to the Mason’s own effort, i.e., “their own blood.” The ceremony continues and blood (a small amount) is drawn from both of the candidate’s forearms where he receives the ability to break open the seals. There are more examples of this kind of abuse of Scripture in Freemasonry, but even this small example should be sufficient for a thinking Christian to avoid such trappings, and if he is already involved, he should get out of it as soon as possible.

Finally, Freemasonry teaches salvation through the “works of a Mason,” as has already been shown above. The Bible teaches that, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12); and “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). And again, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16, emphasis mine). Of course, Paul is referring to the Mosaic Law, but it is clearly applicable to any man-made system of good works.

I have quoted from Charles G. Finney’s work on Freemasonry. Finney, in the early 1800s, achieved the level of “Master Mason” (Third Degree). His knowledge of the higher workings of Masonry came from William Morgan, who published a book on Freemasonry and was subsequently murdered for it. To date, Masons deny theconspiracy and murder of Morgan and reject the veracity of his book. Finney also consults the work of “Elder Bernard, a Baptist elder … with the assistance of his brethren who had been appointed to this work [of Masons disposed to renounce and expose Freemasonry] obtained an accurate version of some forty-eight degrees … This work was entitled ‘Light on Masonry.’ In this work any person who is disposed may get a very correct view of what Freemasonry really is.”[7] [8]

From the little I have presented here, it is easy to see that Freemasonry is a false religion. It denies the God of the Bible. It rejects the deity of Christ. It rejects the inerrant, infallible Word of God in the way that it abuses Scripture, and it teaches salvation by the works of man. Any man calling himself a Christian should have nothing to do with this false religion. While it is true that the organization does a lot of benevolent work, and most Masons are good men of integrity, the fact remains that they are deceived into thinking that this is a harmless fraternity. It is not. If you are a Mason and claim Christ as your Savior and there is any sensibility to the Holy Spirit in you, you must open your ears to the recitations you are repeating. Listen for how Scripture, God’s Word, is misused and abused. Masonry is a fraud! Listen to the Holy Spirit and get yourself out of it. If the Holy Spirit is not speaking to you concerning this, then you have greater problems.

 NOTES:


 

[1] Quoted from the First Degree initiation rites, p. 27. http://www.sacred-texts.com/mas/morgan/morg04.htm, accessed September 17, 2014.

[2] Ibid., p. 23.

[3] Charles G. Finney, The Character, Claims and Practical Workings of Freemasonry 1869, (Tyler, Texas, JKI Publishing, 1998), 141.

[4] Ibid., 144.

[5] Ibid., 84.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 11.

[8] William Morgan, Illustrations of Masonry [1827]: http://www.sacred-texts.com/mas/morgan/morg04.htm

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Is Pope Francis Preparing To Declare The ‘Virgin’ Mary To Be 4th Part Of The Trinity? – Now The End Begins : Now The End Begins

Is Pope Francis Preparing To Declare The ‘Virgin’ Mary To Be 4th Part Of The Trinity? – Now The End Begins : Now The End Begins.

This ties right in with my post for this week: “False Religion: Roman Catholicism

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False Religion: Roman Catholicism

st-peters-basilica-night

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. (Revelation 2:15)

I took a brutal browbeating over my last article “False Religion: Protestantism” – not from unbelievers, but from Christian brothers and sisters. Granted, the title, on a cursory view, appears to be all-inclusive, but I wanted it to be provocative. The fact is that my focus was on “liberal” Protestantism and not Protestantism in general. But more than that, Jesus said, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). How can we honestly critique or criticize what others believe without first taking a hard look at the beam that is in our own eye?

I believe I did that with my last post, so now let us examine the false religion of Roman Catholicism from an objective perspective. If the reader has been following my previous articles on false religions, the reader will recall I am evaluating false religions based on four characteristics: (1) the denial of the God of the Bible, (2) the denial or rejection of the deity of Christ, (3) the rejection of the Bible as the inerrant, infallible Word of God and (4) the teaching of salvation through the works or efforts of the individual believer.

Superficially, one might say that the Roman Catholic Church does not deny the God of the Bible or the deity of Christ. As I pointed out in my last post, “False Religion: Protestantism,” it is not necessarily what a religion professes to believe that matters, but rather what their practice demonstrates that is the true indicator of what they believe. So it is with the Roman Catholic Church; therefore, I need to begin with the last two characteristics to demonstrate that in practice, the Roman Catholic Church denies the God of the Bible and the deity of Christ.

The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) rejects the authority of the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God. The RCC discourages parishioners from studying the Scripture for themselves claiming that it is too difficult for them to understand. Parishioners are taught that only a priest can give Scripture its proper interpretation, when in fact, priests are generally trained in church dogma only and not in the study of Scripture. The end result is that the RCC has an army of “blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14). The RCC teaches that Scripture along with tradition must be accepted and honored with equal reverence. In other words, the traditions of men are just as valid as God’s Word. In doing so, they supplant the authority of God with an authority of their own.[1] Up until the 16th century, the “Catholic” Bible contained only 66 books, but in the 16th century the Apocrypha was added to justify the doctrine of Purgatory.[2] In adding to Scripture, the RCC ignores God’s warnings against adding to or taking away from Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18).

Having stripped the Bible of its authority, the RCC has elevated the word of the Pope above the Word of God so that “by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, [he] has full supreme and universal power over the whole church, a power he can exercise unhindered.”[3] As such, the RCC teaches a different gospel of salvation. Since the RCC has assumed supreme authority over Scripture, it now dictates the requirements for salvation. Salvation can only be found in the Catholic Church. The Catholic believer is obligated to comply with the requirements or “sacraments” of the Church. There are seven: (1)Baptism (typically as an infant), (2) Confirmation, (3) Eucharist, (4) Confession and Penance, (5) Holy Unction (anointing of the sick and last rites), (6) Holy Orders, and (7) Matrimony. In addition, the good Catholic must practice church membership, obey the commandments, and do good works. The good Catholic lives with the constant threat of failing at any point and dying in that condition, at which point the poor soul ends up in purgatory and special masses must be held (at a price to surviving family members, of course) until the full atonement is satisfied and the soul can enter into heaven. How many masses will be required is anybody’s guess. “The pope [sic] claims to have the power to transfer the merits of one sinner to another to reduce their punishment for sin.”[4] The Bible teaches that “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, emphasis mine). But the RCC says, “If anyone says the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, let him be anathema.”[5] Furthermore, the RCC “condemns with anathema those who say that indulgences are useless or that the Church does not have the power to grant them.”[6] “Rome also condemns anyone who believes they are assured of eternal life.”[7] The Bible says, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). That word “accursed” is the same Greek word, anathema that the RCC uses.

The Mass brings Christ down from heaven and sacrifices Him anew.

The Mass brings Christ down from heaven and sacrifices Him anew.

When the word of man is made superior to the Word of God, and the Gospel of Grace is replaced with the gospel of works, the RCC has effectively set itself in the place of God to decide what is right and what is wrong at the whim of a mere mortal man – the Pope. In effect, then, the RCC has denied the God of the Bible, and by their continuing practice of the mass (which brings Christ down from heaven and sacrifices Him anew), they have denied the deity of Christ “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10, emphasis mine). By offering prayers to the saints and confessing sins to a priest, the RCC has replaced Christ as the sole mediator between God and man. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). So, by the criteria I formerly laid out, Roman Catholicism is a false religion.

The highest ranking member is the Pope who sets himself up in the position of Christ and rules the people by fiat.

The highest ranking member is the Pope who sets himself up in the position of Christ and rules the people by fiat.

One final indictment that may not exactly fit the four characteristics of a false religion is the charge leveled by Jesus Himself in our beginning verse: “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate” (Revelation 2:15). The word “Nicolaitans” is a transliteration of the Greek compound word Nikolaitēs. The first part comes from the Greek word nikaō meaning to subdue or to conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory over. The second part comes from the Greek word laos from which we get our word “laity” meaning people. So, the Nicolaitans are those who subdue, overcome or conquer the people, and in this case, Jesus was referring to His Church. This is exactly what the RCC has done. They have set up a hierarchal system where the highest ranking member is the Pope who sets himself up in the position of Christ and rules the people by fiat. Such rule goes against Scripture and defies Christ, Who emphatically states that it is a thing He hates. That is a strong indictment from the One Whom the Pope claims to represent.

Is it possible for a Catholic to be saved? Yes, of course it is. Salvation, according to the Bible, is an individual matter that has nothing to do with religion, as I have stated in previous articles. My question is, why would someone who is saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) want to continue in bondage to the Church of Rome? Instead, the Word of God urges, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

Notes:


 

[1] Mike Gendron, “Roman Catholicism-Apostolic or Apostate?” http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/roman-catholicism-apostolic-or-apostate/, accessed September 12, 2014.

[2] Ibid.

[3] The New Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 882.

[4] Mike Gendron, “Roman Catholicism-Apostolic or Apostate?”

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

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