APOLOGETICS: CULTS AND WORLD RELIGIONS Week 2

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1 APOLOGETICS: CULTS AND WORLD RELIGIONS Week 2 1. GOALS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES a. The Goals of the Study: the central goal of the study is to deepen our personal walk with Jesus (personal discipleship). The is accomplished by: (1) Deepening of a knowledge of Orthodox Christian Doctrine (2) Deepening knowledge of the Scripture as the foundation for Orthodox theology b. Outcomes: at the completion of this study, participants should be able to: (1) Articulate the fundamental tenets of orthodox Christian doctrine (e.g., Christology (divinity of Christ, humanity of Christ, virgin birth, etc.), the doctrine of the Trinity, Pneumatology (divinity and personhood of the Holy Spirit), ecclesiology, etc.). (2) Summarize the difference between Pseudo-Christian Cults and Non-Christian Religions (3) Defend the faith of Christianity using sound doctrine and sharpened biblical interpretation (4) Articulate the doctrinal and historical difference between the Pseudo-Christian cults (5) Summarize the difference between closed-hand doctrines and open-hand doctrines (6) Understand the fundamental tenets of Non-Christian religions (7) Understand the reciprocal and dynamic relationship between religion and worldview 2. REVIEW OF LESSON 1: DOING THEOLOGY AS AN ACT OF WORSHIP (ORTHODOXY) a. Philosophical Foundations for Doing Theology (1) The term orthodoxy (2) Revelation and theology clarity b. Overview of Pseudo-Christian Cults and Non-Christian Religions (1) Pseudo-Christian Cults (a) Definition: any religious movement that claims to be derived from the Bible and/or the Christian faith, and that advocates beliefs that differ so significantly with major Christian doctrines that two consequences follow: (1) the movement cannot legitimately be considered a valued Christian denomination because of its serious deviation from historical Christian orthodoxy. (2) Believing the doctrines of trhe movement is incompatible with trusting in the Jesus Christ of the Bible for the salvation that comes by God s grace alone. (ESV Study Bible, 2631). (b) The Cults: i. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormonism) Jehovah s Witnesses i Christian Science iv. New Age Movement (c) Non-Christian (World) Religions i. Contemporary Judaism (14 million) Hinduism (1.1 billion (15% of the world s population!)) i Buddhism (500 Million) iv. Chinese Folk religion (1 billion) v. Islam (1.6 billion) 3. THE NT WARNING OF HERESY a. What the NT says about false beliefs and those who advocate them 1 of 6

2 (1) Matthew 7: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (2) Matthew 24:11 - And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. b. False Christs (1) Matthew 24:5 - For many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and they will lead many astray. (2) Matthew 24:24 - For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (3) Mark 13:22 - For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. c. Different Jesus and a different spirit (1) 2 Corinthians 11:4 - For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. d. Another gospel (1) Galatians 1:8 - But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. e. False Apostles (1) 2 Corinthians 11: For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. f. God doesn t want his people to be deceived (1) Ephesians 4:14 - so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (2) 2 John 7 - For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 4. LESSON 2: THE CHURCH OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS (FOUNDED 1830) a. Apostasy and Restoration (1) Total apostasy following apostolic times and the Mormon church is the restored church s (a) No first-century historical evidence for Mormon doctrine (e.g., plurality of gods and God the Father having been a man) (b) The Bible disallows total apostasy of the church i. Matthew 16:18 - And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 28:20 - teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. i Ephesians 3:21 - to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. iv. Ephesians 4: And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into 2 of 6

3 Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. v. Partial Apostasy in 1 Timothy 4:1 - Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, b. God (1) Teaching: God was once a mortal man that progressed to godhood and now lives in an exalted body of flesh and bone. (a) God is not and has never been a man i. Numbers 23:19 Hosea 11:9 (b) He is a Spirit i. John 4:24 Luke 24:39 (c) God is eternal i. Ps 90:2 Psalm 102:27 i Isaiah 57:15 iv. 1 Tim 1:17 (d) God is immutable (unchangeable in being an perfections) i. Psalm 102:25 Malachi 3:6 c. Polytheism (1) Teaching: Not Trinity, but three unique gods and there are potentially many thousands of gods besides these. (a) Polytheism explicitly condemned in the Bible i. Exodus 20:3 - You shall have no other gods before me. (b) Only one true God i. Deuteronomy 4:35 - To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. Deuteronomy 4:39 - know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. i Deuteronomy 6:4 - Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God the Lord is one. iv. Isaiah 43:10 - You are my witnesses, declares the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. v. Isaiah 44:6 - Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. vi. Isaiah 44:8 - Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any. v Isaiah 45:18 - For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): I am the Lord, and there is no other. vi Isaiah 46:9 -remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, ix. 1 Corinthians 8:4 - Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that an idol has no real existence, and that there is no God but one. x. James 2:19 - You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder! 3 of 6

4 (c) Trinity i. Matthew 28:19 - 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, 2 Corinthians 13:14 - The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. d. Exaltation of Humans (1) Teaching - humans can progress to godhood. (a) Desire for godhood not good i. Genesis 3:4ff i Acts 12: On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, The voice of a god, and not of a man! Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. Acts 14: And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men! Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them (b) God desires for his people to recognize that they are his creatures i. Genesis 2:7 - then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. i Genesis 5:2 - Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. Psalm 95:6 7 - Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. (c) People forever remains God s creatures, even after glorification i. Romans 8: Corinthians 15:42 57 i Revelation 21:3 7 - And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new. Also he said, Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. And he said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. e. Jesus Christ (1) Teaching - Jesus was the firstborn spirit-child of the heavenly Father and Mother and Jesus progressed to deity in the spirit world to be later conceived in Mary s womb, as the literal only begotten Son of God. 4 of 6

5 (a) Only Begotten - unique, one of a kind, son. with the same divine nature as God the Father (John 1:14). - having no equal. (b) Jesus is eternally deity (John 1:1 and 8:58) (c) Jesus born by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20) f. Three Kingdoms (1) Teaching - people will end up in one of three kingdoms of glory, depending on faithfulness. Belief in Jesus or even God is not required to land in a kingdom, and only the most spiritually perverse will go to hell. (a) Only two possibilities for eternal future i. New Heavens and New Earth a. Phil 3:20 - But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, b. Revelation 21:1 4 - Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. c. Revelation 22:1 5 - Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Hell a. Matthew 25:41 - Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. b. Matthew 25:46 - And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. c. Revelation 20: And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. g. Sin and Atonement (1) Teaching - Adam s transgression was a noble act that made it possible for humans to become mortal, a necessary step on the path to exaltation to godhood. Christ s atonement secures immortality for virtually all people, whether they repent or not. s (a) Nothing noble about Adam s sin and it brought only misery and death to mankind i. Genesis 3:16 19 Romans 5: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no 5 of 6

6 law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (b) Jesus atoned for the sins of all who would trust him for salvation i. Isaiah 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. John 1:29 - The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! i 2 Corinthians 5:21 - For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. iv. 1 Peter 2:24 - He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed v. 1 Peter 3:18 - For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, vi. that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 1 John 2:2 - He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. v 1 John 4:10 - In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins h. Salvation (1) Teaching - God gives everyone salvation and access to one of the heavenly kingdoms (salvation by grace ). Belief in Jesus necessary only to gain access to the highest heaven (along with participation in the Mormon church) - salvation by grace must be received through faith in Christ. 6 of 6

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