Category Archives: Christianity and World Religions: Sermon Series

Evangelical Christian

To Spread the Gospel.

To begin, let’s break down the two words. The term Christian essentially means “follower of Christ.” Christian is the term given to followers of Jesus Christ in the first century A.D. (Acts 11:26). The term evangelical comes from the Greek word that means “good news.” Evangelism is sharing the good news of the salvation that is available through Jesus Christ. An evangelical, then, is a person dedicated to promoting the good news about Jesus Christ. Combined, the description “evangelical Christian” is intended to indicate a believer in Jesus Christ who is faithful in sharing and promoting the good news.

In Western culture today, there are many caricatures of evangelical Christians. For some, the term evangelical Christian is equivalent to “right-wing, fundamentalist Republican.” For others, “evangelical Christian” is a title used to differentiate an individual from a Catholic Christian or an Orthodox Christian. Others use the term to indicate adherence to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. In this sense, an evangelical Christian is a believer who holds to the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith alone. However, none of these definitions are inherent in the description “evangelical Christian.”

In reality, all Christians should be evangelical Christians. The Bible is consistently instructing us to be witnesses of the good news (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 1 Peter 3:15). There is no better news than Jesus! There is no higher calling than evangelist. There is no doubt that holding to the fundamentals of the Bible will result in a certain worldview and, yes, political belief. However, there is nothing about being an evangelical that demands a certain political party or affiliation. An evangelical Christian is called to share the good news, to preach God’s Word, and to set an example of purity and integrity. If these callings require political action, so be it. At the same time, evangelical Christians should not be sidetracked into abandoning our highest calling-sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Dalai Lama

Tibetan Buddhists believe him to be the 14th reincarnation of the original Dalai Lama, a spiritual leader who was born in 1351 and who was said to be the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara,  The 14th Dalai Lama is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism which is nominally headed by the Ganden Tripas.

Buddhism is the fourth largest of the world’s religions, with about 375 million followers. The religion of Buddhism is made up of several sects, philosophies, or schools. One of these is Tibetan Buddhism which is a religion-in-exile, forced from its homeland when Tibet was conquered by the Chinese. The leader of Tibetan Buddhism is the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since he fled the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959.

Partly because of the worldwide prominence of the Dalai Lama, most people have heard about Tibetan Buddhism. The Tibetan form of Buddhism is one of the most complicated because it is tied to the ancient spirit-oriented religion of the Tibetan plateau. The essential goal of Tibetan Buddhism, however, is unchanged: to realize enlightenment and enter “nirvana,” or the freedom of one’s spiritual self from the attachment to or affection for worldly things.

Tibetan Buddhism focuses on its monks, called “lamas.” Correspondingly, it also recognizes a multitude of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (a deity or being who has attained enlightenment worthy of nirvana but remains in the world to help others), as well as their consorts. Lamas use different meditation techniques, which include what is called “mandalas” (spiritual diagrams) and prayer wheels. The Dalai Lama is the highest lama. What is most interesting is that whenever the Dalai Lama dies, Tibetan Buddhists believe he is reborn as an infant, and officials of the religion search for the child who is supposed to bear certain distinguishing marks and when he is discovered, he then becomes the new Dalai Lama.

The current Dalai Lama is named Tenzin Gyatso and is the 14th Dalai Lama. His real name is Lhamo Thondup. Born in 1935 and “discovered” in 1937, he was given the name he now bears, Tenzin Gyatso. He became the political head of Tibet in 1950. However, he left Tibet to establish a government-in-exile in 1959 when the Chinese took over that country. In 1989, the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

So is he a spiritual or political leader?

Both. Six million Tibetan Buddhists look to him for religious guidance but he is also leader of 100,000 Tibetans living in exile in India and the world’s most prominent political refugee. Since fleeing Tibet he has dedicated himself to campaigning internationally for his exiled homeland, but always stressing the need for non-violence a stance which won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The Dalai Lama has trod a careful line which has kept him spiritually pure but also politically crafty. He has come up with a “middle way” to resolve the status of Tibet autonomy for Tibet within China. He speaks differently to Tibetans and to Westerners. With his own people he is, like previous Dalai Lamas, serious and directive about what they should do. With Westerners he does not pontificate from a high moral position but is an altogether more genial figure who talks with humility from his own Buddhist practice. He is warm and humorous. His medium is his message. But when he speaks to Western Buddhists he often warns them “to be interested in religion you have to be involved in politics”.


Most Buddhists consider Jesus to be an “enlightened master” but not the Son of God. During an interview with “Christianity Today,” the Dalai Lama said that Jesus had lived previous lives and His purpose was to teach a message of tolerance and compassion, to help people to become better human beings. And this is the primary problem with the Dalai Lama and all of Buddhism. While some aspects of the Dalai Lama’s message are undeniably positive, and while most Buddhists are indeed kind-hearted “good” human beings, their denial of the biblical Jesus infinitely outweighs any positive aspects of Buddhism.

The Scriptures reveal that Jesus is God in human form, slain for the sins of the world (John 3:16). Yes, Jesus taught tolerance and compassion, but that was not the primary reason for His coming. Jesus came to provide Salvation for all those who receive Him as Savior. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus provides salvation for us because we are absolutely incapable of saving ourselves. Due to their explicit rejection of this truth, the Dalai Lama is a false prophet and Buddhism is a false religion. On the most crucial of issues, the Dalai Lama is, sadly, not enlightened.

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Theosophy, and Can Prayer from Members of Theosophy Have any Effect on an Authentic Christian

The magicians in Egypt had power to do certain things, but these signs were affecting the pagans. Over an authentic Christian these curses should have no power as he is protected against such things.

Theosophy is more of a philosophy of religion than a religion per se. The word theosophy comes from the Greek words theos “god” and sophia “wisdom”. Literally, theosophy means “divine wisdom.” The roots of this philosophy can be traced back to ancient Gnosticism, with borrowings from Greek philosophy and medieval mysticism. Modern theosophy also draws heavily on Hinduism.

The Theosophical Society was founded in New York in 1875 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian-born spiritualist, and Henry Steel Olcott, an American lawyer and newspaperman. Three years later, they moved the international base of operations for the Theosophical Society to India.

Theosophy teaches that all religions contain elements of the “Ancient Wisdom” and that wise men throughout history have held the secret of spiritual power. Those who have been enlightened by the divine wisdom can access a transcendent spiritual reality through mystical experience. Like Hinduism, theosophy teaches reincarnation and a belief in karma. Theosophists also place their trust in the Mahatmas (literally, “Great Souls”), also referred to as the Great Masters or the Adepts-those who have reached an exalted state of existence and who possess the sum of the world’s accumulated knowledge. According to theosophists, these Mahatmas are directing the spiritual evolution of mankind.

In 1911, the Theosophical Society proclaimed the advent of a “World Teacher” a young Hindu named Jiddu Krishnamurthi. Theosophists heralded this messianic character as the world’s hope of enlightenment, peace, and unity. However, a few years later, Krishnamurthi renounced his position as “World Teacher” and stopped claiming to be a messiah.

Although theosophists contend that their philosophy is compatible with Christianity (and with Buddhism, Hinduism, and all other religions), it is clear that theosophy is at odds with the Bible. Not only does the Bible refute the idea of reincarnation and karma (Hebrews 9:27), it also differs from theosophy on the following points:

1) Theosophy denies the existence of a personal, infinite God. The Bible plainly teaches the existence of a God who is both personal and infinite (Hebrews 1:10; 11:6).

2) Theosophy denies the need of forgiveness. The Bible proclaims all mankind to be in need of God’s forgiveness, available only through the death of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23-25).

3) Theosophy teaches that Christ was a “Great Soul” who inhabited the body of a man named Jesus for a few years (this is an ancient Gnostic heresy). The Bible teaches that Jesus is the eternal Son of God (John 1:1-14).

While the number of theosophists has dwindled through the years, the philosophy itself has had a marked influence. Theosophy has produced great interest in the Eastern religions among those in the West, leading to revivals of Hinduism and Buddhism. It has also heavily influenced the rise of other religious movements, such as Rosicrucianism, unity, and the New Thought movement.

Theosophy seeks a higher wisdom, but it fails to recognize that there is no higher wisdom than is found in Jesus Christ, “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24).

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New Apostolic Church

The New Apostolic Church (NAC) is a religious group that perverts Christian doctrine, teaches the existence of modern-day apostles and prophets, and promotes a works-based salvation.

Like Mormonism, the New Apostolic Church was founded in the 19th century with the claim that all other Christian denominations were in error. Also like the Mormons, the New Apostolic Church claims to base its doctrines on Scripture, but twists it to suit their own heresies. They actually have some very good teaching on church history, the trinity, and other mainstream Christian doctrines-mixing truth and error is a Satanic tactic that makes error harder to spot (see Matthew 4:5-6).

The New Apostolic Church imbues their “apostles” with cult-like authority, teaching that no one has access to God’s forgiveness, sacraments, or salvation except through them. The New Apostolic Church began as an offshoot of the Catholic Apostolic Church, founded in England the 1830s as the result of a prophecy that “restored” apostolic succession, making their founders the first apostles called by God since the death of the apostle John. This is an astonishing claim considering they also believe that the grace of God does not operate apart from God’s apostles. According to the Eighth Article of Faith in the New Apostolic Church catechism, “those baptised with water must, through an Apostle, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to attain the childhood in God.” So, apparently, God neglected to bring anyone into His kingdom for eighteen centuries until the New Apostolic Church came along. The New Apostolic Church claims some ten million members in 60,000 locations worldwide, mostly in Europe, with perhaps 250 congregations in the U.S.

Other errors of the New Apostolic Church include these teachings:

1) Water baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sins;

2) Baptism is only the first of several steps toward becoming a “child of God”;

3) Legitimate Christian baptism can only be administered by an apostle (i.e., an New Apostolic Church apostle, since they do not recognize apostles of other denominations);

4) The gift of the Holy Spirit is received only through an New Apostolic Church apostle, and only after water baptism;

5) It is through New Apostolic Church apostles that God forgives sins; and

6) Prayers and sacramental rites for the dead are effectual for the salvation of the dead.

These teachings make the New Apostolic Church a works-based cult. They require works that clearly involve a lifetime of obedience to the teachings and leadership of the New Apostolic Church to reach the highest spiritual levels. Here also from The Eighth Article of Faith:

“‘Childhood in God’ is that condition of a human being before God which is characterised by receiving all the sacraments and aligning one’s life by the return of Christ, in accordance with the proper proclamation of the gospel. The future effect of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is to attain the status of firstling. However, the sealed believer has not yet acquired the status of firstling, but through the baptism of the Spirit, he has received the prerequisite for attaining it. If the believer strives for the day of Christ, he can belong to the bridal congregation, or the ‘community of the saints’. Sealed believers have been assigned the task of following Christ continually and allowing themselves to be prepared for the return of Jesus Christ through word and sacrament.”

As with many Christian-based heretical groups, the New Apostolic Church requires a multi-step hierarchy of deeds, all of which must be done properly under the continual guidance and authority of the cult, in the vague hope of eventually, maybe, reaching the highest level-in this case, the “community of saints.” Also we notice their use of obscure terms such as firstling not found in Scripture.

Contrast the requirement of sacraments with the clear gospel promises: “To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30). “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

One of the false doctrines of the New Apostolic Church is baptismal regeneration. Regarding baptism, the New Apostolic Church teaches, “Holy Baptism with water is the first step to a renewal of a human being in the Holy Spirit, and that the person baptised is adopted into the fellowship of those who believe in Jesus Christ and profess Him as their Lord.” Also, “Original sin is washed away through Holy Baptism with water and that the baptised is now incorporated into the church of Christ. He thereby becomes a Christian” (New Apostolic Church Catechism, Sixth Article of Faith).

In contrast, water baptism in the Bible always comes after saving faith in Christ. Baptism for believers is a public, symbolic expression of their acceptance by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23-25). For example, the evangelist Philip explained the gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch, who believed and was then baptized (Acts 8:34-38). The apostle Peter was called by God to go to the house of a Gentile and preach the gospel to that household. While Peter was preaching, they believed and received the Holy Spirit. So Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have” (Acts 10:44-47). The order in Scripture could not be clearer: become a Christian by faith first, be baptized second, or receive the Holy Spirit second!

New Apostolic Church Logo

Members of the New Apostolic Church need to be freed from a false gospel taught by false prophets. Freedom is found in the simple message of saving grace contained in the true gospel of Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 1:6-9).

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Apostolic Church

Living under the letter of the law steals grace out of the heart and we have no love. Living under license is to live in sin with no regard to Gods laws.

There are several groups which call themselves “Apostolic.” Generally speaking, these churches all seek to uphold or return to the teachings and practices of the first church. Some of these churches hold to Pentecostal doctrine, while some do not. The largest groups are probably the Apostolic Church (or Apostolic Faith Church), which was born out of the Welsh revival of 1904-1905; and the New Apostolic Church International, which is traced back to the British revivals of the 1830s.

The Apostolic Church is a worldwide fellowship with about 6 million members. Each national church is led by a chief apostle and is self-governing. According to one of their early writers, the Apostolic Church stands for first-century Christianity in faith, practice, and government, “to make known world-wide the forgiveness of sins through the atoning death of Christ, the baptism in water by immersion; the baptism of the Holy Spirit with signs following; the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit; the five gifts of our Ascended Lord; and the vision called in the New Testament, the Church which is His body.” As intimated in that statement, the practice of signs and wonders is an integral part of their doctrine.

The doctrine of the Apostolic Church is similar to most evangelical churches. They believe in the unity of the Godhead and the distinctions between the members of the Trinity. Regarding salvation, they teach the need for conviction of sin, repentance, restitution, and confession for salvation. Like most churches within the Methodist tradition, they teach the possibility of a believer falling from grace. Where they differ from many evangelicals is in the Pentecostal teaching of tongues as a sign of Holy Spirit baptism and in their teaching that the ministry of apostles and prophets should never cease in the Church Age.

The New Apostolic Church International has more than 11 million members worldwide. The revival movement which spread through Great Britain in the 1830s led to many people praying for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. By 1832, apostles had been ordained, and the Catholic Apostolic Church was formed. In 1863, the Hamburg Schism, a disagreement over individual interpretations of the Scripture and the appointment of new apostles, led to the formation of the New Apostolic Church. The first New Apostolic Church in America was founded by German immigrants in Chicago in 1872.

The doctrine of the New Apostolic Church also bears similarities to other evangelical churches. The virgin birth, sinless life, and atoning death of Jesus Christ, the need of personal repentance and confession for forgiveness of sins, and the literal return of Jesus Christ to earth are all held by this church. Regarding conversion, however, the water of baptism is an essential part of rebirth and entitles the believer to the sealing of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given by the act and authority of an apostle, which makes the believer a child of God and incorporates him into the body of Christ. These doctrines mark a clear distinction from other evangelical churches.

Logo of the Apostolic Church

Another group is the Apostolic Christian Church in America, which was formed in Lewis County, New York, in 1847. Its history is traced back to Samuel Froehlich’s work in Switzerland in the 1830s. Froehlich was influenced greatly by the Anabaptists of the 16th century, and his church was known in Europe as Evangelical Baptist. Like their Anabaptist forebears, these believers hold to a literal reading of Scripture and use Scripture only as their basis of life and practice. There are about 90 congregations in North America and Japan.

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Apostles’ Creed

This creed is called the Apostles’ Creed not because it was produced by the apostles themselves but because it contains a brief summary of their teachings. It sets forth their doctrine “in sublime simplicity, in unsurpassable brevity, in beautiful order, and with liturgical solemnity.” In its present form it is dated no later than the fourth century. More than any other Christian creed, it may justly be called an ecumenical symbol of faith.

The Apostles’ Creed is not found in the Bible. The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the apostles. Rather, it was written at least 150 years after the apostles had all died. It is called the Apostles’ Creed because it is supposed to be a record of what the apostles taught. The Apostles’ Creed is as follows:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed is a good summary of Christian doctrine.

In regards to “the holy catholic church,” this does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church as we know it today. The word catholic means “universal.” The true “catholic” church is all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. Or instead of saying, “the holy catholic church” you can change it to “the holy Christian church” to avoid confusion about its identification with a particular religion.

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Non-Denominational Church and Beliefs

With each denomination and each non-denomination usually a person started the movement. This question really has several answers, and they can be either simple or complex. The simplest answer is that a non-denominational church is any church which is not part of a larger denomination. A denomination is a church organization that exercises some sort of authority over the local churches that comprise it. Or a denominational church is a large organization of churches that fall under one single authority (the head church), with a strong culture and rich history that they’re all connected to.  Examples of denominations are Southern Baptist, Episcopal, Wesleyan, Methodist, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians etc. Non-denominational churches go by many different names and hold to a wide variety of beliefs. A non-denominational church usually means a new church organization that does not fall under any of the mainline churches.

Why do some churches choose to be non-denominational? Though the answers will vary somewhat, a major consideration is the freedom to direct the ministry and teaching of the local church without interference or control from without. When we look to the Bible, the evidence points to each church as self-governing and answerable directly to God Himself. In the book of Acts, where we read of the first missionary journeys and the establishment of many churches, there is no indication of a hierarchy of authority beyond the local elders of the church. Some people point to the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 as a pattern for denominational structure, but it is nothing of the sort. The Gentiles had been given the gospel under the ministry of Paul and Barnabas, by the direct authority of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2; 15:7). The churches established in that first journey were left under the care of elders (Acts 14:23) from their own ranks, after having been taught by Paul and Barnabas. When the council was called at Jerusalem, it was not because of any question of organizational structure or control, but to discuss doctrinal matters about what constitutes salvation (Acts 15:5-6). The apostles who had been directly commissioned by Jesus were the only people who could properly address the question authoritatively.

When a church is non-denominational, does that mean it has no need of other churches? That may be the belief of some, but it is certainly not the example we find in Scripture. The book of Acts and the New Testament Epistles make it clear that the churches communicated with one another regularly. As Paul and his companions made their missionary journeys, it was not uncommon for the believers to send letters to the other churches (Acts 18:27), or to greet one another through his letters (Romans 16:16). Likewise, when there was a great need, the churches worked interdependently to meet that need-for example, the collection for the famine in Jerusalem (Acts 11:29; 2 Corinthians 8:4). The various churches of the New Testament, though independent, self-governing bodies, were definitely connected in fellowship and cooperative ministry, giving us an example to follow today.

The measure of any church, whether inside or out of a denomination, is not how it is organized nor what name it is called, but rather how faithfully it adheres to the teachings of the Word of God. No church is inerrant, because churches are made of people who are capable of error. Even the apostles, with all the gifts God gave them, were not without error. Paul records in Galatians 2:11 that “when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.” Peter, the first to give the gospel to a Gentile, gave in to pressure by the Judaizers to separate himself from Gentile believers. Paul’s ability to confront Peter was not based on his position as an apostle, but on the revealed truth of God’s Word. Paul complimented the believers in Berea (Acts 17:11) for checking his own teaching against the Bible to find out if he was telling them straight doctrine.

All believers need to be like the Bereans, checking what we are taught against the Word of God to find out if those things are so. If our church is out of line with God’s Word, we must lovingly, patiently give instruction or correction. If it will not be corrected, then we should seek out a church that is faithfully obeying God’s Word.

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Evangelical Free church (EFCA)

Evangelical Free church (EFCA) had it’s beginnings in 1950, the Evangelical Free Church of America (Swedish) and the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Free Church Association combined to form the Evangelical Free Church of America. Churches often shorten their affiliation to “EFCA “, “EvFree” or “E-Free.”

The “evangelical” of Evangelical Free reflects the assertions that the scriptures are the inerrant word of God, people are born into a sinful condition, and Salvation comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as a commitment to spreading these beliefs. They also believe in the premillennial return of Christ, the bodily resurrection of the dead, and the celebration of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

The “free” means that EFCA churches are congregational in governance. Each church is governed and financially supported by its own members. This is as opposed to being ruled by a presbyter, or board of elders, or an episcopate, which is a central leader over several churches. Although EFCA churches typically have a senior pastor and a board of elders, the pastors and elders receive their authority by the vote of the congregation.

Local churches may be involved in regional ministries with churches of other denominations. The EFCA also supports the reconciliation program Samaritan Way, and the national and international missions programs ReachNational and ReachGlobal. Chuck Swindoll was ordained as an Evangelical Free pastor, and his ministry Insight for Living began as a radio broadcast of his messages at the First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, California.

The EFCA only ordains men to be pastors. Baptism is generally not required for communion or membership into the church. Although the EFCA supports many ministries, they do not emphasize secular political involvement. Personal responsibility and holiness are stressed over adherence to strict behavioral guidelines. The church is inclusive; that is, salvation is through faith in Christ alone, and church membership is not dependent on acceptance of minor issues. The association takes no stance on Calvinism vs. Arminianism, worship style, or spiritual gifts. Music styles vary from full choir and orchestra to guitar-based worship teams. Preaching varies from verse-by-verse exegesis to topical messages with illustrations-sometimes in the same church.

In the face of downward trends in church attendance, the EFCA has held its own. The number of congregations has nearly doubled in the last thirty years (to 1,480), and attendance has more than tripled (to 350,000). In the last decade, both congregation numbers and members have seen modest increases. The headquarters of the EFCA is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The association is divided into eighteen districts. Although most E-Free churches are concentrated in the Midwest, California has the greatest number.

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Messianic Judaism

Messianic Judaism or Messianic Believer is the term given to Jewish people who believe and have accepted Yeshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus) of Nazareth as the promised Messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures. These Jewish people do not stop being Jewish, but they continue to remain strong in their Jewish identity, lifestyle and culture, while following Yeshua as He is revealed in the Brit Chadashah, the New Covenant. Many Messianic Jews refer to themselves as “completed Jews,” since they believe that their faith in the God of Israel has been “completed” or fulfilled in Yeshua.

In reality, Messianic Judaism began 2,000 years ago. Yeshua Himself was an observant Jew, most of the Apostles and writers of the New Covenant were Jewish, and the vast majority of the early believers in Yeshua were also Jewish (see Acts chapter 2).

Traditional rabbinical Judaism today does not believe that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah. Observant Jews are still waiting faithfully in accordance with the Rambam’s (Rabbi Moses Maimonides, 1134-1204) “Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith,” which states in Principle 12, “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. However long it takes, I will await His coming every day.” Most secular Jews do not believe in the physical coming of a personal Messiah, but some still look forward to a general Messianic concept or Messianic Age.

Today, it is estimated that there are over 350,000 Messianic Jews in the world, and the numbers are growing all the time. Messianic synagogues have also become very popular, and recent estimates number more than 200 congregations in this country. There are also many Messianic congregations in Israel and around the world.

Messianic Jews continue to celebrate the Jewish festivals and feast days as prescribed in the Hebrew Scriptures (i.e., Passover, Day of Atonement, etc.) but they do it in a way that demonstrates how Yeshua has already fulfilled these Holy Days. Most Messianic Jews do not celebrate Christmas or Easter, since neither holiday is mentioned in the New Covenant. Jews who now follow Yeshua the Messiah understand that everything given in the Old Covenant was a “mere shadow” of the better things to come in the New.

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Universal Salvation Biblical

Universalism is the belief that everyone will be saved. There are many people today who hold to universal salvation and believe that all people eventually end up in heaven. Perhaps it is the thought of men and women living a life of eternal torment in hell that causes some to reject the teaching of Scripture on this issue. For some it is an over-emphasis on the love and compassion of God and the neglect of the righteousness and justice of God that leads them to believe God will have mercy on every living soul. But the Scriptures do teach that some people will spend eternity in hell.

First of all, the Bible is clear that unredeemed men will dwell forever in hell. Jesus own words confirm that the time spent in heaven for the redeemed will last as long as that of the unredeemed in hell. Matthew 25:46 says, “Then they [the unsaved] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” According to this verse, the punishment of the unsaved is just as eternal as the life of the righteous. Some believe that those in hell will eventually cease to exist, but the Lord Himself confirms that it will last forever. Matthew 25:41 and Mark 9:44 describe hell as “eternal fire” and “unquenchable fire.”

How does one avoid this unquenchable fire? Many people believe that all roads all religions and beliefs lead to heaven, or they consider that God is so full of love and mercy that He will allow all people into heaven. God is certainly full of love and mercy, it was these qualities that led Him to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die on the cross for us. Jesus Christ is the exclusive door that leads to an eternity in heaven. Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” If we choose to reject God’s Son, we do not meet the requirements for salvation (John 3:16, 18, 36).

UniversalismWith verses such as these, it becomes clear that universalism and universal salvation are unbiblical beliefs. Universalism directly contradicts what Scripture teaches. While many people accuse Christians of being intolerant and “exclusive,” it is important to remember that these are the words of Christ Himself. Christians did not develop these ideas on their own, Christians are simply stating what the Lord has already said. People choose to reject the message because they do not want to face up to their sin and admit that they need the Lord to save them. To say that those who reject God’s provision of salvation through His Son will be saved is to belittle the holiness and justice of God and negate the need of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.

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