Tag Archives: Protestant

False Religion: Protestantism

The Reformers

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

How do I broach this topic delicately and objectively without coming off as if I am way out there in far, far left field? After all, I claim that “I Am A Christian.” “I Am A Baptist,” so I can rightfully disclaim Protestantism. In my articles “True Religion” and “False Religion” I offer four common characteristics of false religion namely: (1) Rejection or denial of the God of the Bible, (2) Rejection or denial of the deity of Christ, (3) Rejection or denial of the Bible as the inerrant, infallible Word of God, and (4) Rejection or denial of salvation by means of Grace alone totally apart from any works of man.

The obvious question is: how does Protestantism fit any of these four characteristics? After all, Protestantism gave us the “Five Solae”: Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Solius Chirstus, Sola Gratia, Soli Deo Gloria. Furthermore, all Protestant denominations accept some form of the Apostle’s Creed which states:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

That pretty well establishes that Protestantism affirms the triune Godhead and the deity of Jesus Christ. However, there is nothing there affirming the Word of God, and although it affirms “the forgiveness of sins,” it does not specify how that happens. Well, alright, these are not specifically stated in the creed, but generally speaking, Protestantism holds “The belief in the Bible as the supreme source of authority for the church”[1] and “The belief that believers are justified, or pardoned for sin, solely on condition of faith on Christ rather than a combination of faith and good works.”[2]

So, all seems well. But is it? If we look only on the stated beliefs of Protestantism,[3] my charge is baseless. I concede that, at least for the conservative variants of these denominations, these charges are unjustifiable, so I need to narrow my allegation to “liberal” Protestantism, and not “throw out the baby with the bath water.”

Liberal Protestantism has fallen away into an apostasy that, while it professes its creedal beliefs, in practice it denies the authority of Scripture, emphasizes salvation though works (mainly through baptism), and “spiritualizes” and/or minimizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ thereby denying His deity.

The fall of Protestantism (and from here forward, I am referring to liberal Protestantism) into apostasy began around the 19th century AD with the rise of “higher criticism” of the Scriptures.

[Higher criticism] generally takes a secular approach asking questions regarding the origin and composition of the text [of Scripture]…The principles of higher criticism are based on reason rather than revelation (emphasis mine) and are also speculative by nature…The higher critical methods…grew out of a German [Lutheran] school of Biblical studies in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries…the origins of higher criticism are deeply intertwined with rationalism and naturalism (emphasis mine)…In later times, higher critical methods were deployed in conjunction with the contemporary philosophical trends to de-historicize Scripture (emphasis mine).[4]

Just a casual reading of the above statement leaves the impression that higher criticism elevates man’s reason above God’s Word, and this is the downfall of Protestantism. Strangely, in his autobiography, John Shelby Spong, Episcopal Bishop of Newark, Retired, talks about his love for the Bible from the time he received his first as a Christmas gift at the age of twelve. He recalls:

That Bible went on my bed stand and on that day a lifetime love affair with that book was first born in me. It has never yet departed. I began on that Christmas Day the habit of daily Bible reading. I have missed very few days from that one to this in which I did not spend some part of that day reading and studying the Scriptures. I suspect I have read the Bible through twenty-five time by now.[5]

Spong’s “love affair” with the Bible defies the normal understanding of that phrase. After becoming and ordained Episcopal priest he talks about holding Bible studies at his first church. Of his adult class he said:

A tradition of adult education had never been part of the life of this congregation. Their biblical knowledge was on a Sunday-school level. Christianity was, for the most of them, simply part of their culture and was exhibited by showing decency, good manners, and good citizenship.[6]

He describes his plan for “discipleship” as follows:

I would duck no issues, compromise no truth, and avoid no frontier to which my thought and study (emphasis mine) led me. I would resist no new insight out of some need to be defensive for God. I would adopt as my motto the words of my theology professor… “Any God who can be killed ought to be killed” (emphasis mine). I would allow every part of my faith system, its creeds, its Bible (emphasis mine), its sacred traditions, to be examined and questioned openly and honestly. If I discovered that any traditional belief could not stand the test of this challenge, I would abandon it publically. No protective barriers, no claim for inerrancy, infallibility, or divine revelation (emphasis mine) would be placed around any symbol of Christianity, including core doctrines like the Incarnation, the Trinity, the Resurrection (emphasis mine)…I would test in a parish church arena whether or not the total education a priest receives in the academy, including the questions it raises, can be made available to a congregation of pew sitters even if it reveals that the Christianity to which they are attached is not intellectually credible (emphasis mine)[7]

Besides Spong’s blatant arrogance, note how he elevates himself, his thoughts, and his intellect over and above Scripture so that he is willing to challenge the veracity of the Incarnation, the Trinity, and the Resurrection. Eventually, Spong abandons all those things to the point where he advocates for the ordination of the first homosexual Episcopal priest and later for female priests. What the Bible has to say on these matters becomes irrelevant, and the reason of man becomes supreme.

Spong is just a small sample, but he is indicative of what has happened to Protestantism. Granted, there has been a lot of pushback from conservative Protestant groups, which is commendable; but by and large, Protestantism has jettisoned the Word of God, and fallen into a great apostasy where theism has been replaced by humanism so that only the empty hulk of the Reformation remains. Protestantism has become, in the words of Jesus, “whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).

“Salvation” in these denominations is typically through baptism (usually as an infant) followed by some sort of catechism, confirmation and church membership. In other words, it is a “works-based” salvation. Although their confession affirms justification by Grace alone, through Faith alone, the definition of those terms degenerates into “works.” The shell is there, but the essence is gone.

Protestantism, the liberal kind, is a false religion. It gives lip service to God as a “figurehead” and elevates man above God in the form of humanism. It rejects the deity of Christ by questioning His bodily resurrection. It rejects the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, when it elevates man’s reason above the Word of God. It rejects the clear teachings of the Bible against such matters as homosexuality, or the ordination of female clergy, and it rejects the miracles of the Bible including creation and the resurrection of Christ. Finally, it teaches a works-based salvation.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism (accessed August 18, 2014).

[2] Ibid.

[3] FYI: There are many “flavors” of Protestantism. Protestant Denominations include, but are not limited to: Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal (Anglican), and perhaps some others. All of these, with the exception of Methodist, are direct breakaways from the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglican Church (the Church of England) broke away from the Roman Catholic Church so that Henry VIII could divorce Catherine, but it basically maintained Catholic practices. Methodists then broke away from the Anglican Church. Many Protestant Denominations maintain the liturgical form of the Roman Catholic Church without the Roman Catholic distinctive of the veneration of Saints.

[4] http://www.theopedia.com/Biblical_criticism (accessed August 19, 2014)

[5] John Shelby Spong, Here I Stand, (San Francisco, Harper Collins Publishers, 2000), 30.

[6] Ibid, 134.

[7] Ibid, 134-135.


Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Evangelism, Gospel, Religion, Resurrection, Salvation, Theology

False Religion


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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)

In my last post, I attempted to point out some broad characteristics that distinguish “True Religion.” In the article “I Am A Christian,” I went into greater detail on what it means to be a Christian, which is the only true religion. But in order to distinguish between true religion and false religion, one must be able to recognize false religion on sight.

First of all, a false religion denies the God of the Bible. Immediately that includes all pagan religions that worship multiple gods (polytheism), or believe that everything is god (pantheism). By the way, evolutionism or naturalism is a form of pantheism in that it attributes to nature creative abilities and intellect. Evolution/naturalism in turn gives rise to secular humanism that, for all practical purposes, bestows upon mankind a divine nature. They perhaps would not go so far as to call themselves gods (although some have), but the ideology attributes value to mankind apart from God, so in essence, man is God. Romans 1:23 encapsulates false religion this way: “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (emphasis mine). This list would include Hinduism (which is both pantheist and polytheist), Buddhism, and a variety of others (the list is too long for this post). Islam would also be included here. Although many may argue that Islam’s god, Allah, is the same as the God of the Bible, a close comparison reveals that they are not the same. See my article “God Is Not Allah.”

Second, a false religion rejects the deity of Christ. All those listed above fall into this category, but now the list broadens to include the Jewish religion. While the Jewish religion accepts the God of the Bible, their Bible ends with the book of Malachi. (Technically, the Hebrew Scriptures end with Chronicles; it is only a matter of how the books are arranged.) Jews reject the Messiah that was prophesied in their own Scriptures. The New Testament is clear: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). “Christ” is the Greek rendering of “Messiah” which means “anointed one.” John would say that the Jews who deny that Jesus is the Christ are liars. It is a false religion.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the LDS church otherwise known as the Mormons) while associating their religion with Jesus Christ, denies the unique deity of Christ. To the Mormons, Jesus is one of many “sons of God.” In their belief system, Jesus is brother to Lucifer. LDS adherents believe that they too will become gods and be in charge of their own worlds. Of course, when the young “Elders” come knocking on your door, they will not willingly volunteer any of this information. The Bible teaches that the “Word,” by whom all things were created (John 1:3), became flesh, and John testifies that “we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14, emphasis mine). “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18, emphasis mine). The moniker “only begotten Son” (see also John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9) clearly indicates that there is no other. That automatically disqualifies Lucifer and all others that the Mormons might want to add to the list.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses also deny the deity of Christ. These too are fervent “evangelists” for their cause and they are very well trained in the use of Scripture taken out of context. They are not well trained in Scripture; they are trained in Watch Tower literature. One of the verses they like to use as proof text to deny the deity of Christ is John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In their mistranslation of the Scriptures the verse ends: “and the word was a god.” They attribute this to the fact that in the Greek, theos (god) is not preceded by the definite article. However, the same construct appears again in John 1:6: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John,” but here they render it correctly. So, why is there an inconsistency? They cannot tell you. They have other problems as well, but denial of Christ as God is their greatest problem.

Muslims, while they acknowledge Jesus as a great prophet second only to Mohammed, and even accept His virgin birth, also deny the deity of Christ. So, not only is Jesus not God, but He is less than the human prophet Mohammed.

Finally, false religion minimizes or altogether rejects the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Many pagan religions, like Hinduism, and Buddhism have their own holy books. Islam, while it acknowledges the Holy Bible and affords it some value, has the Koran (Quran). The Mormons accept and give verbal assent to the Bible, but in practice they prefer the Book of Mormon and The Pearl of Great Price. In doing so, they have overlooked Paul’s stern warning in Galatians 1:8-9 that even if an angel (like Moroni) preach any other gospel than what is preached in the Bible, that one should be accursed. The Jehovah’s Witnesses violate the Word of God by rewriting it to conform to their preconceptions. They ignorantly disregard the admonition from Scripture against tampering with the Word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:19). The Roman Catholic Church venerates the Bible, but in practice they prefer the edicts of the Pope over the teachings of the Bible. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Bible cannot be understood by the common layperson, or even the priests. Only the Pope has the authority to give proper interpretation and meaning to Scripture. Worthless as it may be, at least they claim some authority. Many mainline Protestant denominations with their liberal theologians have divested Scripture of all authority and set their adherents aimlessly adrift on a sea of relativistic humanism and existentialism. Recently I heard a Methodist minister base his sermon on Ephesians 6:3-4 (two completely unrelated verses regardless of their proximity). He never addressed the Scripture, but instead built his sermon on Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In the Cradle.” Build your theology on that!

The Bible tells us that God’s Word is eternally trustworthy. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:160). “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). God says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). Any religion that rejects any part or the entire Bible has nothing on which to stand and has built a house on shifting sand (Matthew 7:26-27).

Any one or all of these characteristics identify a false religion. False religion will reject the God of the Bible. False religion rejects the deity of Christ. False religion rejects the authority of the Bible.


Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Evangelism, Evolution, Gospel, Religion, Theology