For “Scripture Sunday”:
Deceived Christianity: Who Was the Ultimate Perpetrator?
“Ancient Rome’s rendering of Christianity became far different from the faith taught in the Bible. Who is ultimately responsible for such a widespread and enduring deception?
In the Garden of Eden God’s adversary persuaded the first man and woman to sin while ridiculing the commands that God had given them.
“And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die”’” (Genesis 3:2-3).
Satan then contradicted God and lied to the woman: “You will not surely die” (verse 4; see “Do Humans Have an Immortal Soul?”).
Two of the many very clear scriptures that correct that lie are found in the New Testament:
- “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
So, beginning in the Garden of Eden, Satan lied to the human race regarding what is right and wrong. By assuring the first man and woman that they would “not surely die,” Satan encouraged Adam and Eve to commit the sin of disobedience.
Adam and Eve bought into Satan’s deception, and from that moment on mankind has had the tendency to decide for himself how he should worship God. Man has decided on his own religions, has his own humanly devised gods, and now has thousands of different denominations to choose from.
A false Christianity
Since his success in the Garden of Eden, Satan has continued to deceive mankind time and time again.
Many of the New Testament writers warned that a great deception was coming that would corrupt the true Christianity instituted by Jesus and taught by the apostles.
The apostle Paul was savvy enough to see that this would happen: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).
Many of the New Testament writers warned that a great deception was coming that would corrupt the true Christianity instituted by Jesus and taught by the apostles. Similarly, Jude warned, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once [and] for all [time] delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
The trusting nature of many who have professed traditional Christianity over the centuries is such that they have allowed the ecclesiastical authorities to impose mass deception on them. Very few suspect that many of their traditional beliefs and doctrines stand in place of, and are at odds with, God’s Word.
Jesus Christ was once asked why His disciples did not go along with the tradition of the elders. “He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? … Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”’” (Matthew 15:3, 7-9).
The holidays of men
________Guarding A Dead Rosebush
An Amazing Fact: “Years ago in the old Russian Empire the ruling czar, Nicholas II, was strolling through his vast palace gardens when he came upon a lonely guard standing at attention in a secluded corner of the great meandering gardens. “What are you guarding?” asked the inquisitive ruler. “To tell you the truth, O Great Sovereign, I have no idea, but the captain of the guard ordered me to this post,” the sentry replied.
Czar Nicholas then summoned the captain and made further inquiries as to what was being guarded. The captain of the guard replied, “O Great Sovereign, there are clear written regulations specifying that a guard was to be assigned to that precise corner at all times and this has been done as long as I can remember.” The curious czar then ordered a search to find out why.
The palace archives finally yielded the answer. Years before, Catherine the Great had planted a special rose bush in that corner, and she had firmly ordered a sentry to be posted there to guard it so nothing might disturb or damage it. Now, one hundred years later, even though the rose bush had died long before, sentries were still guarding the now barren corner of dirt, even though no one knew why!
Traditions of faith can be valuable. They may be useful in preserving special experiences or ideals handed down by family or culture. However, we should be careful in what we spend our time guarding! Many religions zealously defend rituals which have lost their meaning. People may faithfully stand by traditions but not know why.
There is a more serious concern regarding traditions that Jesus warned us about. If a custom should ever stand in conflict with the commandments of God, it should be thrown out. Christ told us that holding such traditions makes “the word of God of no effect” (Mark 7:13).
It’s a good idea to reflect on the traditions we keep. Do they conflict with God’s law? If so, we are stepping away from the Bible. It’s like standing guard over a dead bush.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. Mark 7:7-8
The roof of my 10 x 20’ storage tent finally split after three years. Another one arrived, but what to do with all the stuff on the tables on the left side, as it is so close to the greenhouse that one can’t work outside it?
Zack and I stapled up some clear plastic on the front open side of the carports in front of the mini-house. We stapled some screen molding over the edges so that the staples shouldn’t pull through. That night it stormed, and it blew, and it blew, but the plastic stayed up. Now we have somewhere to display the stuff, which is for a yard sale anyway, that was kept in the storage tent.
Because of the storm we had to rake up a bunch of pine needles, and light the burn pile, which still burned after all that rain. Then we put carpet padding down in the bedroom of the mini-house. But Zack didn’t show up again all week, even though I was supposed to take him to the doctor on Wednesday. But one worker did finally show up and laid the carpet in the mini-house bedroom.
As Zack didn’t show up, I spent two mornings doing things in Conroe, one thing was to get my hair cut shorter, and I visited some thrift shops, not to buy, but to donate. One of the Kroger’s in Conroe has some tree-shaded parking, so now that it is hot, I prefer to go there. Then I can drive home in a cooler van.
I made two Grassfed Beef and Veggie pies, one for each church, because I wanted to have another crack at going to them both. So I was at the morning church for the Bible readings, Num, 1:1-4:20, Hos. 2:1-23, Rom 9:22-33, but I left during the hymns to drive down to the other church. So I wasn’t there for the Teaching.
The afternoon church has Bible study first, starting at 12.30pm. Instead, on the second Sabbath, they have Bible Trivia (like Password) and I didn’t want to miss that. It was very interesting, and really tests one’s Bible knowledge. So many at that church hugged me and said that they had been thinking about me. It was so great to see them all again.
The sermon was about fathers, and their duties to be good fathers, according to God’s will. I did notice some missing faces, and was so devastated to find out that some had succumbed to cancer. It is so preventable and curable through diet, but people won’t change their ways. Their potluck was great, so many dishes as it is a much larger congregation. They have a beautiful modern kitchen/dining room attached to a very lovely Austin stone church.
If you know what I mean, it was a very special, unhappy, and yet happy day.