|The Truth Which Sets Free - Destiner Press|
For free online reading simply click on the Chapters listed below.
An exposure of the false teaching of Christianity concerning the reason for evil and suffering. This is one of the most challenging and deepest areas in the Word of God.
The following four booklets are now also included in the Addendum of The Truth Which Sets Free.
Chapter 9. Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms
First, let us understand these church creations, and how they are used, and then compare them with the Word of God. Definitions here are paraphrased from the Encyclopedia Britannica. Creed: an officially authorized brief statement of the essential articles of faith of a religious community, often used liturgically in initiation rites. Confession: similar to a creed but usually more extensive, a formal statement of doctrinal faith by individuals, groups, congregations, synods, or churches, particularly those of the Protestant Reformation. Catechism: a manual of religious instruction usually arranged in the form of questions and answers to instruct the young. Although many religions give oral instruction, the written catechism is primarily a product of Christianity.
Early "handbooks" of instruction were prepared by the Church Fathers (including Augustine of Hippo and Cyril of Jerusalem) but it was particularly after the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter Reformation that many of these documents were produced. Martin Luther issued the influential Small Catechism (1529) which included discussions of baptism and the Eucharist, and his Large Catechism for use by the clergy. John Calvin published a childs catechism (1537, revised 1542). Others include the Heidelberg Catechism (1563, Reformed), Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1647, Presbyterian), The Book of Common Prayer and revisions (1549-1661, Anglican) including an appendix devoted to two sacraments. Many Roman Catholic catechisms were also published to counter Protestant teaching, notably one by the Cardinal Bellarmine (1597), famed for his opposing the teaching of Galileo and Copernicus (that the earth orbited the sun) and a hostile enemy of the Protestant Reformation and the doctrine of grace. Being a Jesuit he was also strong in two central doctrines of that society, the veneration of Mary and the championing of the Pope, especially in his book, The Power of the Supreme Pontiff in Temporal Matters. Pope Pius XI declared him a saint (1930) and then doctor of the church (1931). Later Catholic productions were the Baltimore Catechism in the U.S. (1885), the Penny Catechism in England (1898), and finally the Vaticans universal Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) that summarizes the Roman Churchs doctrinal positions and teachings since the second Vatican Council (1962-65).
Also in Roman Catholicism there are Doctrinal Statements which are not usually called "confessions" but rather mandatory church doctrines such as the Decrees and Canons of the Council of Trent (1564), the dogma of the first Vatican Council (1869-70) and the so-called infallible utterances of the Papacy. One of these is the Immaculate Conception (1854, Pope Pius IX, declaring Mary to be sinless in order to conceive and bear Jesus), another the Assumption (1950, Pope Pius XII, declaring Mary to have risen into heaven like Christ to become a mediator). The origin of this is obvious, arising "from a general acceptance in the early church of Marys holiness. Especially after Mary had been solemnly declared to be the mother of God at the Council of Ephesus in 431, most theologians doubted that one who had been so close to God could have actually experienced sinful acts." (Encyclopedia Britannica, Immaculate Conception, Std.Ver.1999) These latter dogmas have no basis in the Word of God. If Mary had to be without sin to bear Christ then so did Marys mother to bear her, and so on. This is merely a continuation of the pagan "holy family" fables, such as Osiris, Isis and the child Horus. The sinful nature Mary inherited from Adam, along with the rest of mankind, her identical need for a Savior, her being the mother of the flesh of Jesus but not the "mother of God," her bearing other children by normal sexual relations, the copies of pagan myths of perpetual virginity and mediation, have all been covered in previous chapters. What is most notable here is the reminder that Early Church Fathers, Christian theologians, swallowed it whole. The only thing that was perpetual was their acceptance of this blend with pagan fetish, and among those who concurred with it were Eusebius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Jerome, Justin, Chrysostom and Isodore. They may have occasionally rejected outright and obvious paganism, but they were all too ready to mix it into another recipe.
Many of these men are titled as Saints in ancient and modern reference. Unlike the word "church" the term "saint" is scriptural, but should not be applied to these men, nor does it mean what the church teaches. No apostle of Christ would have conveyed this rubbish (except perhaps Judas, had he been given the chance) and neither would disciples regenerated by the Spirit of the Living God have believed it. When others exposed Jeromes belief that dead saints could intercede for the living, or exposed his fetishes, or his veneration of relics as "the idolatry of ashes," this most influential of early church writers ranted all the more in defending such superstition. Church Saints are just that, Saints of the Church, and they have soiled the original meaning of the word "saint," just as homosexuals have ruined words like "queer" and "gay." Jerome debated the case for Marys eternal chastity so strongly between 383 and 387 AD that his arguments influenced its adoption by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, despite the fact that James, one of the four physical brothers of Jesus, had been an eminent disciple in Jerusalem. (Galatians 1:19; Matthew 13:55). Many in the ecumenical movement do not realize that this is considered essential faith by mother church Rome, that Mary worship is especially treasured by the "infallible" Popes, and that Catholic doctrine curses those who hold any contrary beliefs as heretics, worthy of death.
"The faith of Christendom is present in the confessions of faith and the creedal writings of the different churches. Three creeds find general ecumenical acknowledgment: the Apostles Creed, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (also called the Nicene Creed), and the Athanasian Creed. All three creeds were accepted by the churches of the Reformation Regular use of a creed as a baptismal confession, and, accordingly, in the preparation of candidates for baptism in catechetical instruction, influenced its fixed formulation. This was also true of its use in the eucharistic worship service as an expression of congregations unity in faith before receiving the elements of the Lords Supper The formation of various Protestant confessions was achieved in the individual territorial churches and led to the development of diverse "bodies of doctrines." The differences of the traditional creeds and adherence to them are still clearly noticeable in the ecumenical movement of the 20th century At the Council of Trent (1545-63) the Roman Catholic Church countered the Protestant doctrinal creeds with a Professio fidei Tridentina ("The Tridentine Profession of Faith"), which at the end of every article of faith respectively anathematizes (curses) the dissenting Protestant article of faith Within the ecumenical movement, since the formation of the World Council of Churches in 1948 there have been attempts to create a brief uniform confession as the common basis of faith for the Christians in that council." (Encyclopedia Britannica, Christianity, Creeds and Confessions, Std.Ver.1999)
It should be obvious at this point that these creeds, catechisms and confessions are not only man made but are also not even conducive to unity amongst Christians. They are products of the church, by the church and for the church. "Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and a whole carload of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity." (John Adams, 1735-1826, first vice president and second president of the USA) It may be that a final creed is created so wishy-washy that all the goats can agree. For Christs sheep this is not an issue. The elect need not accept any substitute for the Word. How many a dead churchman I have spoken to who claims that it is essential to have a creed or confession to "interpret" scripture. No apostle ever taught such nonsense. No elect disciple ever walked around with a handbook or manual of the faith. It would have no end, like the volumes of Roman Catholic dogma or Calvins massive Institutes of the Christian Religion. And how many churched children can quote their catechisms verbatim and have not the slightest inkling of the Truth, the Way and the Life? All they know is "church membership" and how to "go to church." So many of them have I heard say "According to my church teaching" or "According to my catechism" or even "According to my pastor." The elect have no such proxy faith; the Lord God Almighty writes it directly into their hearts and minds. Let the goats be exposed as they run to their minister or catechism instead of the Word. Let the goats have their confessions. The sheep can only respond to their Shepherd. Nothing can be understood without "ears to hear," nothing interpreted or illuminated without a new heart, created by a sovereign act of God as He awakens his elect, predestined from the foundation of the world to recognize Him and each other. No amount of education, training or learning by rote can turn a goat into a sheep. The church can confirm and ordain them, but as nothing more than Christians. "For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it." (Hebrews 4:2)
Concerning his sheep the Son of Man declared, "I know my own and my own know me and I have other sheep (Gentiles not yet revealed) not of this fold (his Jewish disciples); I must also bring them, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd Father glorify your Son that your Son may glorify you, as you have given him authority over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to those you have given him I have manifested your name to the men you have given me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word For I have given them the words which you have given me, and they have received them I do not pray for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours and yours are mine Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me, that they may be one as we are one." (John 10:15,16; 17:6-11) To the church goats he says, "Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to listen to my word He who is of God hears the words of God; you cannot hear because you are not of God You do not believe, because you are not of my sheep." (John 8:43,47; 10:26) Jesus, on trial, handed over by the churchmen to Roman law, told Pontius Pilate to his face that, "Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice," but the Roman governor could not take this in. He bleated, "What is truth?" and could not see it standing right in front of him. (John 18:37,38) Like churchmen, Pilate even appreciated that Jesus was innocent, saying "I find no fault in him at all," but he still was not permitted or able to hear the Word.
Churches truly love their creeds, and they never stop producing them. Take for instance the creed of the Universal Catholic Church (1863), renamed the New Apostolic Church (1906), a classic kind of Roman Protestantism. More of a lengthy confession than a creed, it states the predictable belief in the holy church (their church and its apostolic succession which is no better than that of Rome) and asserts that union with Christ is through the "sacraments" which must be administered by "priestly office." As well as their baptism and supper they add a third sacrament of "holy sealing" (dispensing the Spirit of God) which confirms their members, and which can only be effected by the laying on of their "apostles" hands. Like the Latter-day Saints, the New Apostolic Church teaches that the sacraments can be received by a living member for a dead person. Age-old superstitious pagan compost! The union to eternal life is through Gods sovereign predestining, ordaining, electing, calling, regenerating, justifying and sanctifying power. There is no such thing as a sacrament, let alone salvation through a sacramental work. The Lords remembrance is entirely insignificant compared to that which is remembered: namely the satisfying and effective Atonement of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world for a specific people whose names were in the book before the foundation of the world, those whom the Father gave to His Son and who alone will undoubtedly be saved. This is what the elect rejoice in, not in anything they do, but in the fact that their names are in that Book in heaven, that God has deemed it good to hide the truth even from the "wise," yes, even "theologians," and reveal it to childlike minds instead, and that none can know the Son or the Father unless He permits. (Luke 10:20-22) My heart leaps every time I read those words. And let the church goats grind their teeth at this until they all are reduced to stumps!