Spiritual Reality vs. Make-Believe
We received the following response to The True Marks of a Cult. The writer asks us what we suggest as the alternative to the churches and religious systems that he advocates:
Where do you suggest Christians gather for fellowship, learning about what God’s word means for our daily lives, teaching young christians what they need to know in order to grow in their Christian lives, teaching children the things of God that they don’t learn at home, and other such things that make up the body of Christ. I need that time each week (Sunday school, Sunday morning services, Sunday night, and our mid-week prayer meetings) along with my daily time of prayer, bible reading, and devotions at home to get me through the day and the week. What church do you attend? And, my friend, if you do not attend a good bible believing church, you are missing a great blessing. If you do, does your church have a pulpit, an empty Cross, and a baptistry to baptize new Christians? And if not, why not. By the way, the Lord’s supper. Jesus said in Luke 22: 19 “Do this in remembrance of Me”. He was talking to His followers and I (with other Christians) am a follower of Christ. He DID institute “The Lord’s Supper”.
Sir, I am a staff member of Watchman Fellowship (www.watchman.org) and we go to churches all over the U.S. teaching the difference in basic Christianity and the alternative religions. The Church is where we get the truth to the baby christians that the Cults go after. This is another good reason for churches. I hope I have not offended you in any manor. That is not my intent. God bless.
Greetings in Christ Jesus, Robert,
You have not offended me at all, and I know that it is not your intent to do so. In perusing your site, I conclude that your organization makes it a point to try to communicate and dialogue without offence. I am thankful that I can have the opportunity to talk to you. I would like more letters like yours, affording more opportunities to preach the true gospel, countering that which is deceiving many millions, keeping them in darkness, defeat, illusion, bondage, superstition, fear, hell and death. I would be glad to meet you personally.
You ask rather remarkable questions for someone who would undoubtedly profess to worship the Lord Jesus Christ according to the letter and Spirit of the Scriptures. Our document, The True Marks of a Cult, is providing you not with mere opinion, as so many others do when presuming to identify and define falsehood, but with the testimony by Word and Life of Jesus Christ Himself, as substantiated and borne out by Scripture. Note that you are not saying, “This is contrary to Scripture,” or “Thus says the Lord,” but while we say, “Thus says the Lord and Scripture,” you respond with, “What then are we to do?!”
The reason for your reaction is simple enough. You have been indoctrinated with, and acclimatized to, carnal Christianity (as evidenced on your site) so thoroughly that you cannot imagine worship of God in Jesus Christ to be any different. Yours is that sacrifice of Cain, no less. Worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth is a matter of true faith, VERY different from what you have known.
Here you are serving in an organization that presumes to be dealing with cults, and are in bed with some of the biggest and most deceptive of them. “Watchman Fellowship” itself, for example, bears, as you will see, many of the marks of a cult, that is, of false Christianity, and thus condemns the Lord Jesus Christ and those who truly believe in Him, and all in His Name.
Where do I suggest Christians gather for fellowship? I suggest they gather anywhere they can, whenever they can, however many there may be. Gather in a house, a meeting hall, a meadow, in an office, a granary, tent, workshop or barn.
Why do you ask? Is a “church building” the only thing you can think of? How can you teach “what God’s Word means for our daily lives” when you are unable to even imagine, much less possess, the basic elements of worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth, all the time, and in all of life, by a new nature born of God?
What did Jesus say to the woman at the well? Do you not believe or understand Him? Do you think that His words are not applicable to us now? Here is what He said, and as He said to her, so I say to you:
John 4:21-24 MKJV
(21) Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you shall neither worship the Father in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem.
(22) You worship what you do not know, we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
(23) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him.
(24) God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.
“Teaching children the things of God that they don’t learn at home”? What things are they not learning at home, and why are they not learning them? Are the parents dependent upon someone else to perform their God-given responsibilities toward their children? Why can’t ministers of God teach in anything other than religious buildings? Perhaps I don’t understand what it is you are asking me, Bob.
You say you need all these services and externals to sustain you. That sounds very much like an artificial support system to me, something akin to an iron lung and IV feeding tubes. You are in great need of the spiritual reality in Christ.
Bob, there is a place, a state of being, that the Lord not only has afforded but commands that we enter. All the religious activity in the world will only succeed to keep you in vegetation, offering physical existence, but not a healthy and productive spiritual life. This is especially so when you find yourself “gracefully free” to break His commandments, “not being under the law.” What is this about honoring the sun god (keeping Sunday)?
If you have any respect for the Bible and its testimony, show me where in it is said that God has changed His laws or done away with them? God said, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day,” and Bob says, “God, I understand your Son rose from the dead on Sunday (which is false), so I will keep Sunday, because that is the natural inference I choose to make, seeing that everybody else is doing it with that in mind. What further proof do I need?” Read in our section The Sabbath.
What church do I attend? I am a thankful, living part of the one described in Hebrews 12:22-24, Romans 12, and 1 Corinthians 12, not to mention the rest of the Bible. Are you not aware of the Scriptural testimony that those in Christ are the Church, members in particular of the Body of Christ?
In light of the fact that the paper we are sending you is strongly substantiated by Scriptural testimony and by the Word of God, what makes you even suspect that we either do not believe the Bible, or that we do not fellowship with others who truly respect it for what it is, the Word of God? What could we have possibly written that would lead you to ask such questions or make such suggestions as these? Have you red responsibly and attentively?
Read The Church and Diabolical Doctrine: You Must “Go to Church”. I must say that you are not at all in a “good Bible-believing church” yourself. Bob, I do not speak smartly or sarcastically, but truthfully and soberly.
A pulpit? Did John the Baptist have one? Did Paul have one? Did Jesus have one?
A baptistry? Did they have one of those?
An empty cross? You mean “an image” as forbidden by the Second Commandment (Religious Images and Icons)? How is it you presume to worship God while disobeying Him? Are not those who have His commandments and keep them the ones that love Him? How about an empty electric chair, or an empty noose, or a smoking gun with an empty chamber?
How dependent you are on external religion! How great is your iniquity (lawlessness)! It will not do, Bob, not with God the Creator.
In your carnal worship and dependence on externals, you interpret the Lord’s words and actions in the flesh and declare that He instituted “The Lord’s Supper,” (your capitals, not mine). There are many writings on our site to which we can point, on many topics you raise. For this topic, try Diabolical Doctrine: The “Lord’s Supper”. Here is what Jesus was talking about, and this is the “Lord’s Supper”:
John 6:51-58 MKJV
(51) I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he shall live forever. And truly the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
(52) Then the Jews argued with one another, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
(53) Then Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves.
(54) Whoever partakes of My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
(55) For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
(56) He who partakes of My flesh and drinks My blood dwells in Me, and I in him.
(57) As the living Father has sent Me, and I live through the Father, so he who partakes of Me, even he shall live by Me.
(58) This is the Bread which came down from Heaven, not as your fathers ate the manna, and died; he who partakes of this Bread shall live forever.”
Do you really think He was speaking of a ceremony with literal bread and juice of the vine? Can you honestly tell me that eating bread and drinking wine or grape juice, however often, does anything for you or anyone else? How foolish! The Catholics do it at every mass! What good does it do them? Upon partaking of “the Lord’s Supper” or “Holy Communion,” they immediately pray to Mary on their rosaries. How edifying! Or are you Catholic, too? You may not be Catholic in name, but know it or not, you are Catholic. Think again!
Jesus went on to say:
“It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63 MKJV).
You say your organization teaches “basic Christianity.” It does so indeed, but is your “basic Christianity” the historical and traditional, Catholic one, full of carnal, pagan and ungodly doctrine and practice that poses as the fundamental and true worship of God in Christ, or is it of the true and Biblical faith and doctrine once delivered to the saints?
Bob, if you read all of The True Marks of a Cult, and if there is truly an inkling of desire for the truth and a willingness to take up the cross and suffer with and in Christ, outside the city, and if God grants you enlightenment and repentance, you will not be able to resist or deny that which we preach to you. You will, of necessity, be required to part with your belief system, your church, and your organization, seeing them for what they are, as described in said writing.
You need an “alternative religion” to what you have. You need the Lord Jesus Christ. You need to experience Him, His death, burial and resurrection from the dead. Doctrine and intellectual assent are not enough, not nearly. You have not come anywhere near to attaining the righteousness of the Pharisees and other religious, much less exceeding it.
Contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, and very thankful to have the gracious privilege to be identified with the One Who gave His life for me,
Greetings in Christ, Bob. We are thankful for the opportunity to answer your questions and remarks. We will elaborate on what we are saying in The True Marks of a Cult. My reply is as follows inside your text, which is now in blue.
Where do you suggest Christians gather for fellowship…
Paul: The question is not where, but Who. The answer is Jesus Christ, Whom we preach.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7 MKJV).
“Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12 MKJV).
“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 MKJV).
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him,” (2 Thessalonians 2:1 KJV)
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3 KJV).
“God is faithful, by Whom you were called to the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9 MKJV).
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32 KJV).
Robert, consider: Not once did the Lord or the apostles talk about where we should go, in the way you think of going, to have fellowship. The Scripture does not say that all men would be drawn to the “Baptist Church.” The testimony is ever about the truth of God in Jesus Christ, and our gathering together in Him. That is a spiritual place, just as Jesus said to the woman at the well.
“Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you shall neither worship the Father in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know, we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him” (John 4:21-23 MKJV).
This work is not done by the will of man, or of the flesh, but by the will of God. What you are talking about, looking at, and pointing others to, is the work of men and of the flesh. The churches of this world, which have many names of blasphemy, compete with each other for the souls of men, lying in wait at every street corner. They all claim to be of God, and therefore cause one to ask, “Where shall I go for fellowship?” These places are not where one goes to fellowship with God, but from whence one flees to go to Him. The Scriptures draw a picture of what these man-made churches are all about:
Proverbs 9:13-18 MKJV
(13) A foolish woman is noisy; she is simple and knows nothing.
(14) For she sits at the door of her house, in a seat in the high places of the city,
(15) to call those who pass by, who are going straight on their ways;
(16) the simple one, let him turn in here. And to one lacking heart, she says to him,
(17) Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
(18) But he does not know that the dead are there; her guests are in the depths of hell.
That is what you do and get in your church systems. So where do we go for fellowship? We have it in the Lord Jesus Christ. When you are in Him, fellowship is automatic. There is life-abundant, everlasting, and eternal. You ask this question because you are not in Him. You need to repent, Bob, turning away from the works of men, in which you serve, not knowing you are dead in them.
Bob: …learning about what God’s word means for our daily lives…
Paul: Because you do not have the Spirit of Christ as your teacher, you confuse gathering in the works and teachings of men with the work of God. The learning you are talking about is a head knowledge, which comes by eating from the Tree of Knowledge rather than a relationship with, and eating from, the Lord Who is the Tree of Life. If you were His you would also have this testimony, and would not say what you do. You would be led into truth.
“However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come” (John 16:13 MKJV).
“But the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true and no lie, and as He has taught you, abide in Him” (1 John 2:27 MKJV).
That is not to say you should not and would not listen and learn from men of God. But you have chosen men as your teachers, rather than God and His servants, because it is not God you are after, but serving yourself. That is why you do not hear or understand what we say. You fulfill the saying of the Lord:
“I have come in My Father’s Name, and you do not receive Me. If another shall come in his own name, him you will receive” (John 5:43).
He that seeks to save his life loses it. You people rob yourselves, as did the children of Israel when they sought after a king. All men, the Scriptures declare, shall be taught of God. For now you have cast Him aside as undesirable, unattractive, and unpalatable. Ticklers of ears are easier to hear than the preaching of the cross. In choosing man, you have sown to your shame.
“It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Therefore everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me” (John 6:45 MKJV).
You do not come to Him, Bob. If you had been hearing and learning from the Father you would hear us, and recognize us as His brethren. You need to repent.
Bob: …teaching young christians what they need to know in order to grow in their Christian lives, teaching children the things of God that they don’t learn at home, and other such things that make up the body of Christ.
Paul: How is it that you and your people do not have it within yourselves to guide your own families in the ways of God? Why are you looking to others to teach your own children? What about the testimony given of Abraham?
“For I know him, that he will command his sons and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment, that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him” (Genesis 18:19 MKJV).
Your words expose you as not being a son of Abraham by faith. You have neither his legacy nor his testimony. Will you listen to us and repent of following men in a vain worship of God, or will you be destroyed as they were in the days of Noah, or in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah? The Lord said it would be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for those who do not love His appearing today. You are not justified at all in your acceptance of a historical appearing. His appearing is ever now, present tense.
Bob: I need that time each week (Sunday school, Sunday morning services, Sunday night, and our mid-week prayer meetings) along with my daily time of prayer, bible reading, and devotions at home to get me through the day and the week.
Paul: You are not confessing Jesus Christ as Lord. You are confessing men and their works as your lord and savior. These are counterfeit, giving the appearance of Christ, coming in His Name, taking His place (anti-Christ). They profess He is Lord, but do not believe or submit to His Lordship.
The religious works of men are the paths of the destroyer, who comes not with vinegar, but with the spiritual equivalent of candy or alcohol, to usurp the position that belongs to God and Christ only. You are intoxicated, addicted, and snared by the whore of false religion. You have been taken captive by the devil at his will because you do not have a love of the truth.
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has fighting? Who has babbling? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who stay long at the wine, those who go to seek mixed wine” (Proverbs 23:29-30 MKJV).
The churches of men mix spirit and flesh. It is an ungodly and vexing thing, totally unacceptable, fit for destruction, and bringing the wrath of God on those who partake. If you had the Lord, you would be kept and fed by Him. He declares that He is the Shepherd of His sheep. Is He not omnipotent and omnipresent?
On the contrary, you do not confess that Jesus Christ is present, and that He comes in the flesh. You have not committed yourself to Him. You do not receive His testimony. Instead, you look to vain and empty works, which feed you with knowledge but have no life in them. You are dead too, and don’t even know it.
Bob: What church do you attend?
Paul: Here is the difference between the works of men and the work of God: To men, church is something they do or go to. To God, and the people of God, the Church is something He does, and is. The Church is His body, all those whom He calls, draws, and chooses to add to Himself.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are written in Heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24 MKJV).
We cannot “attend” this Church. We either are, or are not, a part of it.
“And many miracles and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. And of the rest no one dared to join himself to them, but the people magnified them” (Acts 5:12-13 MKJV).
Bob: And, my friend, if you do not attend a good bible believing church, you are missing a great blessing.
Paul: You claim to believe the Bible, but if you did, you would understand what we have been quoting to you from the Bible in our cult paper, and would repent of loving and defending your artificial, divisive, schismatic cults and doctrines. If those things are a great blessing, then woe to them that are cursed! We are much happier without them, especially since we know the Lord our God. He has delivered us from those things! (Read Our Testimonies.)
And why is it that you come to us with only your say-so, Robert, without Scriptural justification for your assertions? We give Scripture and holy reason for what we proclaim, but all you can say in return is that you like your church meetings and teachings. So did the Nazis enjoy their meetings. They fed their belief system and confidence in themselves and the future.
The Muslims also gain strength and take pleasure from their meetings. Some are so moved that they are willing to strap bombs to themselves and blow people up. Do you think your works are any better, or bring better results?
Many religious and ideological systems help people with discipline and sins of the flesh, making them more upright in appearance. Appearances are deceiving. Jesus spoke to some whose externals were impressive, but inside, He said, they were filled with dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (Matt. 23:27).
The common thread in all of these works is that men prefer their own ideas, interpretations, and above all, themselves, to God. They do not have a love of the truth. They will give their bodies to be burned, but do not have a love of God. Therefore God sends strong delusion, to cause them to believe a lie. One example would be: If you put the Name of God on a building you will find God in there.
How can you be delivered from the delusion He has determined to send on you wicked people? Who is stronger than God? You are in confusion, and in contradiction to God and all truth, and do not even know or see it. This is His wrath on you, because you do not love the truth.
Bob: If you do, does your church have a pulpit, an empty Cross, and a baptistry to baptize new Christians?
Paul: All these things you list here are marks of a cult, as we will or have shown already in our paper. They are the accoutrements of a man-made system of worship and belief using the Name of Christ in vain. You find none of those things being done or taught by Jesus Christ and His followers.
Bob: And if not, why not.
Paul: We do not make a church building because we are the church building, 24/7. Wherever we are, is church:
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst” (Matthew 18:20 MKJV).
Our pulpit is wherever we speak, even here and now as we write you. And we do not set ourselves up over you in a physical demonstration of authority, as a pulpit signifies, even demanding, as the pulpit does, that you must listen only and not speak. Our authority is the Lord, and the truth that He has given us to speak. We do not build a physical tabernacle for the invisible God. We are His Temple, made without hands. We are His invisible attributes, made flesh. You do not receive Jesus Christ in the flesh; therefore you are none of His.
Our cross is not empty as yours is, because we are crucified with Christ, as Paul confessed he was. The cross is something we take up, not wear, or make an idol of, as you religious do. You do not realize how indicting your statements are, Robert. God commands us to make no images for ourselves in a religious context, but you do not believe or obey Him. You make the sacrifice of King Saul, who kept back that which was to be destroyed, and thought to be accepted with God by his substitution of sacrifice for obedience.
God does not want your crosses or your baptistries. What good is baptizing people when you deny them the living God, the Baptizer of the Spirit, teaching men’s doctrines in favor of obedience to His commandments? What good are your crosses when you do not take up your own crosses to crucify the flesh and follow Him?
He hates your churches and doctrines, passionately so, for precisely these reasons. You all take His Name in vain, and are not held guiltless. Why are so many of you dying from disease and accidents? Why are your families a mess, with your children in open revolt, or becoming twice the children of hell that you are? Because you exalt yourselves and spurn the Lord.
Bob: By the way, the Lord’s supper. Jesus said in Luke 22: 19 “Do this in remembrance of Me”. He was talking to His followers and I (with other Christians) am a follower of Christ. He DID institute “The Lord’s Supper”.
Paul: You follow a historical re-enactment “Christ,” which is not the Lord Jesus Christ Who lives in us and informs us. If you were truly partaking of His supper, then you would also recognize His body. But you do not hear or see Him, therefore you are not partaking of His supper, no matter how faithfully you think to re-enact it. You are putting on a play, while Reality calls you to turn away from your games and make-believe.
“We are of God. He who knows God hears us. The one who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6).
Not only do you not hear us, but you also take it upon yourself to be spokesperson for rebellion against the counsel of the Holy Spirit:
Hebrews 13:10-14 MKJV
(10) We have an altar of which they have no right to eat, those who serve the Tabernacle.
(11) For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the Holy of Holies by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.
(12) Therefore Jesus also, so that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
(13) Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
(14) For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Bob, you defend and promote the “continuing city” of religious works made by men’s hands. Do not these works perpetuate themselves and claim permanency? Look at your mother, the Catholic Church, for a prime example. Jesus did not do or teach these things. It is to Him Whom we are called to gather with outside the gate, bearing His reproach (there is a cost). You should be leaving these works behind, not defending and vaunting them. How can you possibly be partaking of His body if you have not come to Him? Your works not only deny the Lord, but they also represent the same spirit that crucified Him. Let those with ears to hear, hear.
Bob: Sir, I am a staff member of Watchman Fellowship and we go to churches all over the U.S. teaching the difference in basic Christianity and the alternative religions.
Paul: If you were teaching true Christianity, you would be persecuted and hated of all men for His Name’s sake. Instead of warning these churches about the evil ways of others, you would be rebuking them for their own evil ways. You make bogeymen out of other sinners and their evil works, removing the onus from your listeners. You teach a form of godliness in lieu of repentance, faith, and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Woe to you, Robert. You justify the wicked, and strengthen them in their evil, when instead you should be leading them out of their errors. You do this because you are yet in your own sins, and justify yourself. You need to repent.
Bob: The Church is where we get the truth to the baby christians that the Cults go after. This is another good reason for churches.
Paul: Which church? You say on your site that you have “served almost every denomination including Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Assemblies of God, Church of God, Lutheran, Nazarene.” These too are cults, as we have identified in our paper, point by point. Cults do not preach the Truth, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, though they may preach some truths, such as “He is Lord.”
The living resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is not in any of their organizations or works. The Protestant, Evangelical, and Charismatic churches, along with the Catholic Church – none of which you, the “Watchman Fellowship,” identify as cults – represent the lion’s share of cultic deception coming in the Name of Christ. We prove this by giving you the Scriptures, which these groups would, ironically, agree are authoritative, yet which condemn them all as anti-Christ in their ways.
Your work to keep one in the Baptist church rather than changing over to the Jehovah’s Witnesses is like that same one missing a tornado only to get hit by a hurricane. As the saying goes, you are “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” The ship is going down. The call of the Lord to His people is to “come out of her,” out of all these false and man-made systems. Come to Him and He will teach you, feed you, and deliver you from the enemy within, where the Kingdom of Heaven comes.
Bob: I hope I have not offended you in any manor. That is not my intent. God bless.
Paul: We are not offended. We hope you are not offended, not for our sake, but for yours. We would have you receive what we say, and take offense at the error and denial of Christ in your ways and the ways of those you defend and with whom you affiliate. We would see you zealous and repentant. I am not expecting it, though. You bless us, Bob, and indeed we are blessed. From that blessing we speak. Blessed will you be when you hear and believe us, and not until then.
Earnestly contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints,