Error, Cult. Cultic

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by JonC δοῦλος, May 31, 2012.

  1. JonC

    JonC
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    I understand that Christians can hold a diverse understanding, opinion, and interpretation regarding some topics. Also, that there are some fundamental essentials that unite those who hold various views in Christ.

    Some churches teach doctrine which is contrary to my belief and I hold that they teach in error. These are differences that have nothing to do with salvation as described in Scripture. Others hold views that I believe are erroneous while advocating a certain amount of separation from other Christian churches – but do not actually teach doctrine that would be contrary to one being saved or assume salvation as exclusive to their own denomination. Lastly, some teach heresy and another gospel altogether while assuming the stance of “Christian.”

    My question is, at what point does a church become something other than a church? When is it no longer Christian and what doctrines are essential for salvation? (My assumption is that a local church is an assembly of believers gathered for the worship of God).
     
  2. Yeshua1

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    Would say that when core essential doctrines are made into error, that produces heresay!

    examples JW denying jesus is God, Mormons in Nature of God and man...

    Errors/mistakes would be like when people predict Jesus returning date....

    Basically, ALL christians need to hold to same central core doctrines/beliefs, such as Trinity, Bible, Second coming, death on Cross as atonement etc

    BUT

    we can disagree on subsections within those core areas, such as when jesus shall return and timing, how to water baptise, view on atnement nature etc!
     
  3. JonC

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    I agree. But here’s my concern. When is it appropriate to actively address false doctrines outside of the local church.

    I’ll give an example. The churches of Christ hold that they are the only ones saved. This is evident also with their denial that they are a denomination (instead they are the true Church of Christ). This belief would mean that they can be termed a cult – or perhaps a cultic denomination. But they do hold (to my knowledge) to the foundational truths of the Gospel (although they believe in sacramental baptism). So I’d say that one could be a member of the CoC and be saved in accord with their doctrine. Should other churches actively persuade others out of the CoC because of their unbiblical views although the fundamentals are there? Or should they be left alone within their own doctrine?

     
  4. matt wade

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    CoC does not preach a true Gospel. They preach a gospel of works, one in which baptism is required for salvation.
     
  5. JonC

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    I agree that they preach a false gospel in that they view water baptism as a sacrament, a ritual carried out by man that is the mode God uses for redemption.

    It would be impossible for someone to come to salvation based on Mormon or J.W. doctrine. Are you indicating that CoC doctrine is of the same ilk?

    What I mean is that if someone believes the Gospel, but they hold to the false doctrine that the point of salvation is water baptism (that salvation is dependent on this baptism in addition to or after faith – that it is where their sins are washed away), is that person saved?
     
  6. matt wade

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    No, they aren't saved. Salvation by works is a false gospel.
     
  7. TadQueasy

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    Not one person in the CoC is saved?
     
  8. matt wade

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    No, I didn't say that. There certainly might be individual CoC members that have trusted fully in Christ alone for their salvation, but they would be believing in something that goes against the teaching of CoC. I've been speaking of the CoC in general terms.
     
  9. TadQueasy

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    Agreed, just checking on what you meant.
     
  10. JonC

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    So those who are saved are saved despite the teachings of the CoC. If so, then they are a cult rather than a cultic church/denomination as they alter a fundamentally essential doctrine of salvation.

    But couldn’t the same be said of other churches (e.g. the Methodists, free-will Baptists, etc). If you can lose your salvation based on works, then ultimately it is a works based salvation. Are these denominations also not Christian?

    While some examples are easy (e.g., Mormons), I am having difficulty recognizing where the line is drawn in regards to error vs. heresy in this regards.
     
    #10 JonC, May 31, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2012
  11. menageriekeeper

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    JonC, if you stick to preaching about what people should do, then you shouldn't have to worry about teaching them what they shouldn't.

    A preacher of mine, long ago used this story to illustrate what I mean. he told the story of a man who asked an expert how he could be so sure if a bill was real or counterfit. The expert said he only studied the real bill and any deviation from that must be counterfiet.

    Likewise, if we spend our time learning the truth, it won't be difficult to see the lie.

    Only when confronted with an issue inside the local congregation would I be concerned with defending against the theology of another group/church.

    (just so we are clear, I am no a pastor/preacher. As a congregant, I don't want to hear about what others are doing wrong, but I must do and why that is right)
     
  12. JonC

    JonC
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    I like your illustration.

    I think the reason that this subject concerns me so much is that I have several friends who are CoC. I know that they think I am unsaved because I am not a member of their church, and I know that they believe in the necessity of water baptism for salvation. So far as I know, and other than instrumental music in worship, this amounts to our differences in belief. I guess my question is whether or not I should address this with them. If the CoC is a false gospel, then I should confront it because they hold to this false gospel – which would preclude salvation. If it is a false doctrine within a Christian denomination, it may still deserve to be addressed but not in a manner of evangelism. Does the work based view negate the prerequisite faith that the CoC believes accompanies salvation or are these people actually saved before they are baptized (based on their doctrine)?
     
  13. Mexdeaf

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    Many are saved despite the teachings of Billy Graham, Jack Hyles, Tom Oneal, James Robison, Joel Osteen, etc. Sometimes God uses people I don't agree with.
     
  14. JonC

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    I agree that many are saved despite the teachings or misrepresentations of man. Otherwise, man would be in the place of God – dispensing salvation on His behalf. It just seems to me that some doctrines are genuinely false, but still have the gospel within their teachings. There are many examples where I can say “if you believe this you cannot be saved,” but there are some instances where the line is not so clear to me.
     
  15. menageriekeeper

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    In my experience, it will not do any good whatsoever to argue these points with a dyed in the wool CoC. And I have experience. I married into the only Baptist family in a huge extended family of CoC. We are the black sheep. And they refuse to discuss these issues with our obviously deluded selves. (after all, we knew the "truth" and rejected it even thought *I* personally was a Baptist raised by Baptists and had potentially never heard the "truth" when I married in. I suppose I was contaminated. ;) )

    If a CoCer believes in Christ first, then what he believes happens at baptism won't hurt him. If he is trusting in the fact of his baptism rather than the sacrifice of Christ, well then you have a different issue. Find out what your friends believe about Christ, if that is truth then let it go. If that is a lie, that is the lie you want to correct. But do it gently and subtly as a head on confrontation will only cause a CoCer to dig in the heels and resist.
     
  16. JonC

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    Thank you for the advise.
     
  17. Van

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    I have not read past the OP so sorry if any of this is redundant.

    People are not saved based on doctrine. People are saved by God based on Him crediting our faith as righteousness. Now does God check to see if we are pre-trib dispensationalists? Nope. Do we love Jesus with all our heart and express that love through our ministry to others? Yes we can build on the foundation of Christ with perishable stuff, entering heaven as one escaping from a fire.

    Not to put too fine a point of it but James 4 teaches that we make war upon our brothers and sisters because we are spiritually immature.
     
  18. JonC

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    Hey Van,
    Thank you for your remarks. Your final statement is precisely why I ask. If one holds to a particular doctrine but that doctrine precludes actual salvation, then those people are not brothers and sisters in Christ (the ones that are would be saved are only those who do not adhere to that doctrine). But if that doctrine is not contrary to salvation, then it’s a different story.

    I am not saying that the CoC doctrine falsifies the gospel to such an extent – I really am not sure. While they may place an unbiblical emphasis on baptism, I’m not sure that this is apart from saving faith (they don’t think that you are merely baptized unto salvation).
     
  19. Van

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    Hi JonC, it is one of the sad truths that when scripture uses the term baptism, or alludes to the process, it is not clear in the minds of many students of the Word, whether the baptism in view is spiritual, i.e. the Holy Spirit baptizing believers into the body of Christ, or physical, where men, following the command of Christ baptize believers with water as a public proclamation of faith in Christ alone for salvation.

    I would recommend to anyone who studies this topic to write S for spiritual or P for physical next to baptize, baptism, etc appears in the text. I think you will find several verses where only by carefully studying all the passages can you have confidence in your classifications. We all agree we must be baptized spiritually by the Holy Spirit to be saved, but we go in many differing ways when we mistakenly claim a spiritual baptism is a water baptism and vice versa.
     
    #19 Van, Jun 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2012
  20. Yeshua1

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    roman catholics, jesus Only, Church of Christ have wrong Gospel, but the Lord can and does still save sinners out from among their ranks due to his sovereign Grace, but they need to depart immediatly...

    Think goes back to error/mistake heresy here...

    error/mistakes would be debating modes of warer baptism, second coming timing, bible version etc

    heresy is when very heart of Gospel is compromised, as when denying saved by faith/grace alone!
     

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