Skip to comments.8 Characteristics of a Counterfeit Christian Church
Posted on 12/28/2010 3:17:20 PM PST by Colofornian
With the leaders of thousands of different religions and churches attempting to make their beliefs appear authentic, it behooves a person to carefully ascertain truth from error. In fact, many leaders of these faiths may call themselves "Christian" and even attempt to convert Christians into their churches.
After all, Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." This is why John warned the believers in 1 John 4:1 to "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." And 1 Thessalonians 5:21 adds, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23:27 that they were "like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." How can we tell whether or not a particular religious leader (like the Pharisees) ought to be believed, especially when such a person may appear authentic and even claim to be Christian? Let's then consider eight basic doctrinal characteristics of counterfeit groups.
The rejection of fundamental Christian tenets such as the historical definition of God should be a major warning sign to any perceptive believer. Groups that deny the Christian viewpoint of the deity of Christ and the Trinity typically follow in point-by-point succession each of the other characteristics in this article. One example is The Way International, a group founded by Victor Paul Wierwille, (He once served as a former evangelical pastor. In fact, several cult leaders had their start in authentic Christian denominations and churches.) Wierwille's view of God is Unitarian rather than Trinitarian as he denies that there are three persons in the Godhead. He also claims that Jesus was not God, teaching that the deity of Christ was not a Christian teaching for the Christian church's first 300 years. This is a common (though false) assertion of many cult leaders. Because Wierwille and his church deny the very essence of what makes God who He is, this is a group to avoid.
Although a counterfeit's doctrine may include the idea that God's grace is important in the role of salvation, the leader normally emphasizes the idea that "salvation" ultimately comes through one's own efforts. Take the Hare Krishna devotees, for instance. These dedicated followers believe that they are in the middle stage of their reincarnation cycle. The way for a dedicated devotee to be born into the next level of existence is to deny himself on this earth while performing good works, including the repetition of the Hare Krishna mantra a total of 1,728 times a day. It may take a devotee who wakes up at 4 A.M. several hours a day to maintain this goal. Those who belong to such work-oriented groups are normally told that they can never know if their works are good enough to please God; instead, they are told to keep trying even harder.
Counterfeit Christian churches often make it a point to cast doubt and suspicion on other churches or denominations, with the leader oftentimes claiming that only his church is true. While many groups hold that the Christian churches do have partial truth, it is taught that full truth has somehow been lost and can now only be found in the "one true church." This may involve utilizing Christian terminology while having a different meaning behind those particular words. An example is the Watchtower Society, also known as the Jehovah's Witnesses. This group, founded by Charles Taze Russell in the 19th century, teaches that those who belong to any church outside of "Jehovah's" church are doomed to annihilation. Only those who belong to the Watchtower organization have a chance to attain "Paradise Earth." This is why Jehovah's Witnesses are adamant in sharing their faith door to door, even attempting to convert those who already attend Christian churches. The Jehovah's Witnesses will often use words that sound reasonable to a nominal Christian (i.e. "Jehovah's Christian Witnesses," "salvation," "Jesus Christ," etc), but they are usually reluctant to tell potential converts that the meanings behind these words are completely different than what has been historically meant.
A group where the leader(s) has an authoritative role, even to the extent that they say they speak for God, is another cause for concern. Such leaders claim to have special revelation with God, and their words hold special precedence over their followers. A classic example is Jim Jones, who led almost 1,000 followers to their deaths in the jungle of Guyana in 1978. When men in his charge killed Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA), a congressman who was visiting "Jonestown" in response to complaints from the relatives of church members, Jones called for his followers to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. The majority of the people willingly followed his commands because they had come to accept his words as truthful and from God. Those who refused were shot. Trusting someone so much that you listen to any command, even to the point of moving to another country and then taking your own life, is something that God never intended.
Another heretical trait is when a church regulates the giving of its people or requires a certain amount of financial giving in order to receive certain privileges related to salvation. For example, the Church of Scientology teaches that people need to discover their true nature through a process called "auditing." This is accomplished by "clearing Engrams" from one's life. One Los Angeles Times article on Scientology religion estimated that it would cost a full "Operating Thetan 8" participant between $200,000 to $400,000 from the beginning of the lessons to the completion. Without these courses, the adherent is unable to clear himself of these unwanted "Engrams." Using finances as a requirement to reach salvation goals is much different than what Jesus, Paul, and Peter preached.
Many counterfeit Christian churches insist that if a member decides to leave the group, for whatever reason, they jeopardize their salvation before God. An example is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As long as a person continues to remain Mormon and works hard to attain salvation, including the performance of work at one of the temples, salvation is just around the corner. But if a person leaves the church, he not only could lost his family relationships, including marriage, children, friends, etc, but the celestial kingdom--the very best a person can desire--is also lost. In fact, while it is believed that most people will not be sent to "Outer Darkness," which is a hell-like eternal state mainly reserved for Satan and his followers, early Mormon leaders claimed that this was a place apostates could go, especially if they said bad things about the Mormon Church. Holding a person's salvation hostage in such a way is certainly not biblical.
Although the Bible is sometimes utilized and even considered beneficial by a number of counterfeit groups, it is not considered as a completely authoritative scripture. Therefore, extrabiblical writings are necessary. Normally these scriptures are considered to have more authority than the dated Bible. The Christian Science religion is one example. Those who inquire into this religion are told that Mary Baker Eddy's 1875 pantheistic book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is a "reference book for life," which is needed by a person who hopes to discover "practical, spiritual answers for health and healing, security, and lasting relationships." This book must be studied in order to ascertain full truth. When the Bible contradicts Eddy's book, then the Bible is considered to be wrong or misunderstood.
The idea that a hidden mystery or new truth is available through a particular church should be taken as a strong sign that this group is a counterfeit Christian religion. In addition, many such groups may change their doctrines over time. Christians believe that God has very clearly shown His truth through the pages of the Bible; therefore, new or fluctuating doctrineespecially that which contradicts the Bibleought to be taken with a great deal of caution. The Unification Church (numerous front names include "Association of Families for Unification and World Peace" or "Family Federation for World Peace and Unification") was founded by Korean "Rev." Sun Myung Moon. He teaches that Jesus never fulfilled his mission. Therefore, Moon says that he was commissioned to finish the job that Jesus never finished. Moon's followers (often known as "Moonies") accept Moon as a Christ-like representative on earth whose teachings supersede the Bible. The Unification Church theology has evolved over time, and there may be some drastic changes once he dies in the very near future.
Not all counterfeits may be characterized by every one of these traits. However, a person should be cautious when considering a church that is marked by one or two of these characteristics, especially any of the first three in the list. Churches with three or more of the above characteristics ought to be avoided at all cost. In addition, there are some Christian churches that may not have doctrinal problems but are rather sociological abusers. For instance, some churches have controlling "discipleship" programs or church memberships with high levels of guilt or feelings of inadequacy. These types of groups also ought to be avoided. If you believe that your church has problems in either doctrinal or sociological areas, you would be wise not to get involved. If you are already a member, you need to consider leaving. As John 8:32-33 says, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
The Lds church does this, too...
Claims it's the "only true living church on the face of the earth" (Doctrine & Covenants 1:30);
Labels the entire Christian church (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant) as "apostates" for 1500-1700 years;
Claims 100% of our creeds do not honor God -- labels "ALL" of them as an "abomination" to their god...a word meaning "putrid" [see Joseph Smith History, vv. 18-20 in Lds "scripture" Pearl of Great Price]
Claims ALL professing believers of Christian sects are "corrupt" [same PoGP source]
Top 2010 FR Lds threads on the Question: "Are Mormons Christians?" [And note the 2nd thread listed below...if Mormons are Christian, does that mean Christians are Mormon? Or if Mormons say "no go" to calling fundamentalist (FLDS) Mormons as "Mormon," does that mean only Mormons can draw such boundaries?]
* Are Mormons Christian? Inquiry into the Church of Latter Day Saints, a peculiarly American Religion [353 replies]
* Are Christians Mormon?
* Mormon lifestyles and religious differences [269 replies]
* Is Glenn Beck Saved? (A Short Review of Mormonism)
Also the worship and veneration of their founder. You have Joseph Smith,Jr. of the Mormons and Charles Taze Russell, founder of the JW’s.
Shouldn’t that be “authoritarian” rather than “authoritative” leadership? “Authoritative” means reliable and trustworthy.
So is bad mouthing other people’s religion something you are compelled to do out of some kind of perverse religions bigotry or is driving away members who belong do denominations you don’t like just your way of trying to kill off FR?
Ok, I give up, what denomination are you? Are you filled with the spirit right now?
If we wish to locate the Church founded by Jesus, we need to locate the one that has the four chief marks or qualities of his Church. The Church we seek must be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
If you peruse the Free Republic religion forums you will notice a pattern. There's an anti-Mormon group of people here that spends a great deal of their time attacking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They post regurgitated propaganda on an almost daily basis.
They have a misguided obsession. You can witness many different tactics employed that you might find quite interesting. The straw man argument is a big favorite and is frequently preceded by cherry-picking quotes or other material. After the "quotation" the attacker will misrepresent what has been said or what was meant and then attack their own interpretation.Later they will have the audacity to claim they were "only" quoting our own material.
They will of course insist ad nauseum that they are merely using our sources and are therefore innocent of any deceptive practice. LDS persons have no issue whatsoever having our scriptures or leaders quoted as long as it is presented fairly and accurately. This is rarely (if ever) done.
Another favorite is posting scripture or statements which on their own really present no dilemma. They make something out of nothing while never bringing up a single objection that hasn't been addressed a hundred times before.
You might note a couple of other tactics used to try to antagonize is the use of disrespectful or insulting terms or language and/or pictures. That's a Christlike thing to do right? Yeah I don't think so either. It does speak volumes about them though.
Some of them claim being some sort of special witness to you as being supposedly former Mormons. So someone who is an ex-member of any organization would never have an axe to grind or have reason to try to justify their actions by any means? Perhaps not but perhaps so. The LDS Church gains members from other denominations as well as others faiths all the time. This doesn't make them an expert on anything and you certainly won't hear them attacking their forner Church.
Frequently they cruise the headlines of the day seeking any story that might be twisted into making the Church look bad. Anything will do, just watch the progression of posts following it and see what I mean.
After reading their posts, I invite you to seek the truth about whatever "issue" they seem to be "revealing" or "exposing". I promise that if you do so with honest intent, the "ahah" moments you will have will be many and frequent. You will start to recognize the tactics employed to cleverly twist and attack and will likely chuckle the more you see. In actuality, there's nothing new here. It's all been addressed many times before.
The latest twist in the anti-Mormon propaganda machine is to actually go to the links provided, but then they cherry pick what they want, then quote and straw man attack that. Clever. It almost appears that they are helping you, the seeker of truth out by doing some footwork for you. Not so much. Don't be insulted, look for yourself. It's not the haystack they want you to think.
Here's a few links to get your started from a different viewpoint. I have found that the vast majority of the "issues" brought up can be found and addressed at http://www.fairlds.org/ but here's more:
Now you will likely notice the "you never address or answer our points" posts pop up as usual. All after providing the answers just as you have here.
Sometimes it is claimed that these sites present a needle in a haystack. Far from it. But if you give up before you try you won't know will you? They often state that these sites provide no answer. They just don't want you looking. It is as simple as that.
Will you wear blinders too? Seek truth. Find out for yourself. Want to chat with someone on any topic? A few of these sites provide just that. So do your homework sincere seeker of truth. Listen and read from both "sides". Make up your own mind.
I witness to you of these truths and wish you the best, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
So by number 7, Mormonism is false.
Now we’re getting somewhere. What is your view as to the Christianess of the Roman Catholic Church based on your posted criteria?
Are you bad-mouthing my own, personal religious compulsions?
Therefore, can I see your "bad-mouthing" religious license (if that's what's goin' on here)?
...or is driving away members who belong do denominations you dont like...
The Lds church proudly says it's not a "branch" off of some larger church "tree." They don't see themselves as one denomination among many. They see themselves as "the only true and living church on the face of the earth" (Lds "scripture" Doctrine & Covenants 1:30)
Besides, do you accuse 52,000 Lds missionaries going door to door of targeting community members they "don't like?"
(Or do only Lds missionaries have some SF Bunker-issued "religious license" to proclaim His Word and the Gospel?)
Thanks! Can I perhaps use that in the future?
Be my guest. Freepmail me and I will give you the HTML for that and also for the Bear image.
A Catholic bashing thread on FR!?!?!?!
.....Question ... If you believe that the Nicene Creed which was adopted by the Officials at the Council of Nicea 325AD through inspiration from God ....
....then it makes sense that you should also believe that Church officials should be Celibate ... since that requirement was also passed by the same Officials at the Council of Nicea in 325AD.
So what was it ... the inspired Nicean Officials in 325 got it right on the Creed but wrong on the Celibacy ...Right on both or wrong on both???
If they got it right on the Creed ... doesn’t it make sense that they also got it right on Celibacy? Is your pastor Celibate? If not ... then according to logic ... aren’t you flirting with Heresy?
Just a few thoughts ..... (Before you try to remove the sliver in my eye .... maybe you should remove the beam in your own!)
At least they took Christmas day off. For a few hours, we had peace on earth, good will toward men.
They got it right on the Creed because it is clearly biblically sound. They got it wrong on celibacy because it clearly is not biblically sound.
I will leave it to God on whether He inspired any of it (my guess is “no”).
Based on the “authority beyond the Bible” one...not so hot.
JC had two commandments: 1) Love the lord with all your heart; 2) Love your neighbor as yourself.
Happily, those who can't live up to those two, simple rules can no longer burn people at the stake. But watch how many flames I get for stating the obvious.
A, please know that:
* All Christian churches have tares (weeds) in their midst
* Even in Matt. 25, where 10 virgins were waiting for the return of the Messiah...half weren't ready/lamps filled w/oil -- given that "Oil" was a symbol of the Holy Spirit...I take it they lacked His Presence & energy...these were denied to be with the bridegroom...IOW, will half of self-identified Christians even be saved?
B Some of the things I say below about the RC Church doesn't necessarily apply to grassroots Catholics. Besides the true underlying Greek NT term for "church" = "called-out ONES"...meaning the true church is an organism, not an organization; flesh & blood -- not brick & mortar.
Let me jump around a bit:
#1 You see a prob here?
#5: Ever since the RC church moved away from selling indulgences, as far as I know on #5 is fine...but I'm open to enlightenment on that.
#3 & #6: Let me deal w/those in tandem. The Primary issue here isn't what the Evangelical or Protestant view of the RC is...Rather the reverse.
The current pope says that Protestant churches don't have the "authority" to administer the Sacraments. Therefore, the RC church doesn't regard the Protestant church leadership structure as of the "one true church" -- even if it may regard individual Protestants to be of the Christian church.
Therefore, re: #6 -- if a RC leaves & attends a Protestant church, you tell me what the RC position is re: impact on a person's salvation -- given he/she is now taking communion at a supposed "authorityless" church.
#4 & #7 (again in tandem) I agree with Fiji Hill in that the author should have said "authoritarian" -- not "authoritative".
Is the Pope an "authoritarian?"
Is the Pope a "personality cult figure" -- or could a future Pope exceed certain boundaries as such a figure?
IOW, is the position itself subject to potential abuse -- vs. the series of men who have attempted to faithfully discharge their responsibilies?
And nothin' new re: the regurgitated ground of "final authority" re: #7 -- RC claims the Church (i.e. Pope) interprets Scripture & has authority over it; Protestants claim the reverse.
Well, those are all worth discussing as issues of dialogue, are they not?
That leaves #2 & #8. Well, for me these are the "heart" of where disagreements with RC have occurred over the centuries. Yet I've also found...
..Who have de-emphasized adding mediators to the 1 Timothy 2:5 math,
...@ who reverence God alone,
...And who haven't accepted subjective visions given through the centuries.
Do RC who veer from these RC I've known -- does that make them counterfeit?
Well rather than "shotgun" this toward ALL RC...let me say one for Jesus or for God...
...That entity becomes a subjective counterfeit...
...(doesn't matter if it's your wife, your dead mother, your lucky charm venerated saint for St. Patrick's day, or who)
...Anytime we worship any one instead of Jesus or God...
...That entity becomes a substitute focus of worship.
That's like the Muslims saying that there is no authority other than The Quran.
Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be also....
Thats all the church I need.....
What are Christians to do when Mormonism or Islam is seeking to convert Christian Americans to their religion, nothing?
So which ones are the ELCA guilty of? Seriously.
Filled with something...magritte
Why didn’t you just say in parenthesis after the title that you posted this article in service of being an anti-Mormonism thread. As a Christian I don’t find this sort of self righteousness, underhandedness very Christian like behavior.
One characteristic of a counterfeit Christian: Deranged obsession over what others believe. :-)
“Anti-Mormon Caucus”....has a nice ring to it....magritte
A lot of cavemen on this site haven’t advanced past level one: Making fun of Mormons.
Peter principle, I guess. :-)
**3. The true church**
Which was the one and only Church that Christ founded — the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
#4, #7, #8...#8...redefining sexuality according to extra-biblical contemporary standards...
#4 & #7 - going beyond their authority to manipulate what happened at their convention...
I mean, c'mon...the pro-homosexual pastors "won" by ONE vote!
It was to the 11 disciples as He Commissioned them post-resurrection that Jesus said:
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:16-20)
We know from v. 20 that Jesus was talking about His Presence going beyond just 11 disciples -- 'cause they wouldn't be around at the "end of the age." And yet, He gave the commission to 11 disciples.
We sometimes forget that. He gave the commission to those sent-ones...not an institution or organization...but flesh&blood disciples who embodied the Holy Spirit, through whom Jesus' Presence would also reside.
IOW, the "promise" is to a flesh & blood corporate temple...a living dynamic people created by God, born from above by God, and sustained by God...
The NT emphasis isn't upon the Spirit indwelling...
...Temples built with human hands...
...Or a certain building (i.e. The Vatican)...
Furthermore, Jesus distinctly said "ALL authority" has been given to Him...and that His presence was a reality here until the end of the age.
That tells me this:
We don't need an earthly authority figure to replace Christ...'cause He hasn't left fully...as His "Other Self" -- the Holy Spirit -- is still fully Present!
All the authority STILL resides with Him...
He is Present...
He is our Living Prophet & OverSEER (Hebrews 1:1-2)...
He is our Living Pope in the Best Sense of that word!
(You mean unlike Lds.org & other curricula Web sites...which left all of its references to our so-called "universal apostasy"; "church of the devil" status; "creedally abominable" and "corrupt...professor" (etc.) labels of the Christian church 24/7 during Christmas)!
[We so appreciate your paycheck/wallet/tithe paying for such e-messaging going on w/nary a pause]
Do you believe that eternity began with your birth?
Do you believe that God has not spoken to an apostle since the last book in the bible?
Do you believe that if you are not baptized before you die that you will never get to heaven?
Who do you believe can get to heaven? Will those who were good but did not believe in Christ automatically go to hell?
Do you believe that after you die you no longer can gain a testimony or obtain knowledge?
I find that most anti-mormons spend their time badmouthing the LDS church because they aren’t secure in their own beliefs.
No it isn’t at all. What a horrible comparison actually.
Just to be up front, “I” wasn’t saying the RC church falls into that category. I was just saying that according to the list given that is what the answer would be.
Mark 16:16 already covers this...as does the thief on the cross for whom Jesus promised Paradise. Do you believe that God has not spoken to an apostle since the last book in the bible?
(Of course, this assumes that Mormon "apostles" are the ONLY ones on the face of the earth!)
Do you believe that eternity began with your birth?
This is a conservative Web site. (Aren't you pro-life?)
***JC had two commandments: 1) Love the lord with all your heart; 2) Love your neighbor as yourself.****
Jesus had more than that!
Those who want to ONLY follow Jesus fall flat over these requirements.
Obey the scribes and pharases who sit in Moses’ seat.
Sell all you have and follow Jesus..
Stay in yer bunker; for there’s a WAR going on outside...
"Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them.
Matthew 231. Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
2. "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.
3. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
4. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5. "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;
6. they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;
7. they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them `Rabbi.'
8. "But you are not to be called `Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.
9. And do not call anyone on earth `father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
10. Nor are you to be called `teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
11. The greatest among you will be your servant.
12. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
14. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
15. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
16. "Woe to you, blind guides! You say, `If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.'
17. You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?
18. You also say, `If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.'
19. You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
20. Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.
21. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.
22. And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it.
23. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
24. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
26. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.
28. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
29. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.
30. And you say, `If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
31. So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.
32. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!
33. "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
34. Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.
35. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.
37. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
38. Look, your house is left to you desolate.
39. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' "
26. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27. "First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
And St. Paul chimes in...
As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
-- Mark Twain
One day as he was standing admiring this house, he was approached by a very nice-looking gentleman who said to him: "I have noticed you frequently admiring this fine old house. I happen to be the agent for the owner, and I am authorized to sell it, if I can find a buyer." This was, of course, good news to the man, since the more he had looked at the house, the more he wanted it for himself and his family.
The agent took the man into the house and showed him through it, and everything the man saw made him want the house even more. The house was beautifully designed and built, with skill and imagination, in a style which was no longer very popular among most people, but which he and his family had always found attractive. He could picture in his mind how happy and comfortable his family would be there. It seemed that his fondest dream was about to come true. The man bought the house.
Before the man moved his family into the house, he asked the agent about the usual inspections, for termites, dry rot and other possible structural problems. The agent told him that everything had been inspected thoroughly by his staff. "You can take my word for it: this house is sound and solid. It is the finest house in the city!" The man thought for a moment that he should ask to see the inspection reports, but the agent was the kind of person that inspired trust and confidence, and the man had a strong feeling deep in his heart that the agent would not try to deceive him about something so important.
The man and his family moved into their home, and it was even more lovely and comfortable than he had imagined. They invited their friends and relatives to visit them, and they were able to entertain them graciously and hear their guests' praises of their beautiful home.
One evening his brother was visiting. The brother was a meddlesome and sometimes unpleasant person, but the man tried to be gracious to him because he was his brother.
"This is a very lovely old house you have," said the brother.
"Thank you for the compliment," replied the man.
"How is the foundation? Sometimes these old houses have structural problems."
"Don't worry about that," responded the man. "Everything has been inspected and is in good order."
"Who inspected it?"
The man began to get irritated with his brother. "It's really none of your business, but I'll be happy to tell you. The seller's agent had it inspected."
"Did you examine the report yourself?"
This was really going too far, the man felt. But he answered anyway, "I didn't have to. The agent read the reports and told me that they were in order."
"How can you trust the agent that much?" the brother asked, shaking his head.
"I pity you if you have to go through life without trust, without belief, without relying on the goodness of others! Sometimes you just know in your heart that you can trust someone."
The brother said nothing, but got up to leave. "I'll maybe poke around a little outside and look over your foundation. I'm not an expert, but I do have some experience with these things."
"I do not give you permission to go nosing about my house or grounds. You are just looking for something that will give you an excuse to find fault with my home and to spoil my enjoyment of it!"
"I assure you that I am only motivated by my concern for you as my brother. I will not cause any damage." And with that, he left the house.
As he looked around the grounds and examined the house, he had to admit that it was beautiful. But he also knew that paint could hide many problems. Near a corner, in the back, he found a small, almost invisible door that appeared to lead into the basement. It had been sealed shut with a half-dozen screws. He went back inside and asked the man: "Are you aware of the door into the basement which has been sealed shut?"
"Of course I am aware of it!"
"Why is it sealed shut?"
"Because there is absolutely no need for anyone to go into the basement. There is nothing there."
"Have you ever been there?"
"No, of course not! Why would I want to go down there? I'm sure that it's just dank and musty, and there's nothing there."
"I think it would pay to take a look, to check the foundation."
"Absolutely not!" shouted the man. "This is MY house! It is MY basement! I have no interest in going there, and I forbid you to do so! I told you that the foundation has already been inspected. Now please leave me in peace!"
Rather than argue with the man, the brother left. But the sealed door continue to bother him, and the basement which it concealed. A few weeks later, when the brother knew that the man and his family were going to be away for a day or two, the brother took a screwdriver and a flashlight to the man's house and carefully opened the sealed door.
He had to stoop to enter the dark basement. The man had been right: there was nothing down there, except the posts and beams and braces that held up the house. As he crept among them, lighting his way with the flashlight, he noticed that the beams and posts had thick coats of paint. Everything was covered with paint. He took his pocket knife and scraped away the paint in a few spots, and where he had removed the paint, instead of solid wood he found a lacy, delicate framework of worm holes. He scraped away paint from some of the other structural members, in all parts of the basement, and found that the wood fiber was missing in all of them, either having been eaten by worms or termites, or having crumbled with dry rot. He was horrified. Not a single beam or post or brace could be relied on. He wondered what could be holding up the great weight of the house. It seemed to be only the paint which was covering up the rot. He almost imagined he could feel the house settling, having removed the little bit of paint, and he urgently wanted to escape. He found his way to the door, and closed it carefully after he was again in the sunshine. But his mind was troubled.
As soon as the man and his family returned, the brother came to see him. "I have some terrible news for you," he said. He confessed that he had entered the basement, contrary to the man's order. "But I know you will forgive me when I tell you what I found." He then told the man that his entire house was in danger of falling down because of the worms, termites and rot in the structural members in the basement.
But instead of thanking his brother, the man flew into a rage. "You are telling me this only to rob me of the pleasure I have in living in this beautiful house! How can you attack me like this? How can you say such terrible things about a house that is so beautiful? You obviously are my enemy. You are jealous of me because of my house. You have made up these lies with the sole purpose of trying to destroy my happiness and to cast aspersions upon my house, the agent who sold it to me and the people who inspected it and pronounced it sound. Get out! And because you have become my enemy, I never wish to see you again!"
The brother tried to calm the man. "I assure you that I am not your enemy. I am acting only with your good at heart. Why would I want otherwise?"
The man would not be calmed. "You are trying to destroy my love for this house. Therefore you must have an evil motive."
"Please," said the brother. "Come down with me to your basement, and I will let you see with your own eyes what I have found."
"I am not interested in seeing anything that you have to show me. You are obviously such an evil person that you would stoop to any level to deceive me into believing your lies. You have probably planted phony evidence in my basement. You would twist and misinterpret anything I found so that it would appear to support your filthy lies about my house. No! I will not go into the basement with you! I don't care about your delusions, and I don't have the time to humor you."
The brother was puzzled by the man's obstinacy. He couldn't understand why he wouldn't at least look in the basement himself. Perhaps, by replacing the beams, or by taking other measures in time, the house could be saved. But if nothing was done, the house would surely collapse, sooner or later, perhaps injuring someone.
Seeing that he could not help, the brother left, sad that he had been unjustly labeled an "enemy."
In spite of the man's confidence in the soundness of his house, his brother's words did trouble him for a few days. Finally, he could no longer resist the temptation, and he took a flashlight and crept through the small door into the basement. He looked around and saw where his brother had scraped the paint away to expose the fragile, rotten timbers.
He was furious! Why had his brother done this? He went upstairs to a cabinet and got a bucket of paint and a brush, and carefully repainted all the places that his brother had scraped away. "There!" he said, as he screwed the door back into place.
He decided that he would not tell his wife and family what had happened, because it would only disturb them and spoil the love and pleasure they enjoyed, living in such a beautiful house.
--Richard Packham, 1995
The purpose of this section is not to prove that the claims of the Church are true.