Testing the Spirits (part 1)

By Cris Putnam
The Bible teaches us “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good…” (1 Th 5:19-22). This teaching from Paul implies that, in contrast to the Mosaic standards for Israelite covenant enforcers (Dt 18:21-22) which was absolute perfection, the New Testament paradigm allows that there are imperfect prophecies. The exhortation to “hold fast to what is good” implies that sometimes we can test them and discard only what is in error. Other times, it is more appropriate to rebuke and move along. Clearly, there is need for Christian discernment.

One should expect an infusion of false teachings as the return of Christ nears, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,…”(1 Ti 4:1) While some Christians are too skeptical and deny the supernatural, others are too gullible and exhibit a naïve readiness to accept dubious messages from the spirit world. In John’s first epistle he writes, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”(1 Jn 4:1) Thus, sometimes unbelief (do not believe every spirit) can be as much a mark of spiritual maturity as belief. We should avoid both extremes, the superstition which believes that absolutely everything is supernatural and rationalist suspicion which defaults to naturalism.

Even so, the supernatural should be our default position. Whether we realize it or not, there is a spirit behind every teaching. One should be skeptical enough to discern between truth and error, whether it comes from the Spirit of God, or a demonic spirit. We are engaged in spiritual warfare “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12) The origins of false religions are demonic, “No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.”(1 Co 10:20) Even secular philosophies have a spiritual component, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col 2:8) Paul’s use of the term “elemental spirits” (Gk. stoicheia) is likely speaking to the supernatural origins of ungodly philosophies.

In the ancient world, however, the term stoicheia was widely used for spirits in Persian religious texts, magical papyri, astrological documents, and some Jewish texts. Paul is likely using it here to refer to demonic spirits; it is the equivalent of “rulers and authorities” (vv. 10, 15).[1]

It follows that demonic spirits promote false ideas and spiritual warfare is largely a battle for your mind. John gives us a command to test the spirits. “Beloved, do not believer every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” He then describes three tests:

1) Test their Christology. (1 Jn 4:2-3)

2) Test their regeneration. (1 Jn 4:4-5)

3) Test their conformity to Apostolic teaching. (1 Jn 4:6)

For this post, we will look at test one as it applies to cults. In subsequent posts, tests two and three will be demonstrated with appropriate examples.

1) Test their Christology. What’s their doctrine of the incarnation and deity of Christ?

“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” (1 Jn 4:2-3)

This passage is teaching that whoever refuses to acknowledge that Jesus is God, “who has come in the flesh” (v. 2) is in the spirit of antichrist. Anyone can talk about Jesus and even believe that he lived on earth as a good teacher, as other religions (Islam, Baha’i ), cults (Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses), and even philosophies (Christ consciousness) often affirm. These groups cannot pass the “Lord, Liar, Lunatic trilemma.” This is the error of Arianism:

Arianism, Arius. An early heretical teaching about the identity of Jesus Christ. Arianism was founded primarily on the teachings of Arius (d. 335/336). The central characteristic of Arian thought was that because God is one, Jesus could not have also been truly God. In order to deal with the scriptural testimony to the exalted status of Christ, Arius and his followers proposed that Jesus was the highest created being of God. So although Christ was fully human, he was not fully God. Arius’s teaching was condemned as heretical at the First Ecumenical Council (Nicaea) in A.D. 325.[1a]

Even so, confessing His deity is not enough. Evil spirits and demons recognized the deity of Jesus during his ministry (e.g. Mark 1:24; 3:11; 5:7–8; cf. Acts 19:15). There is an equal yet opposite error.

Some , like the ancient gnostics, may affirm his deity but deny his humanity. Apparently, when John wrote his first epistle, many false teachers were saying that Jesus only appeared to be human. This was probably based on an early gnostic idea that the material creation was intrinsically evil and therefore physical bodies were evil. This error is called Docetism.

docetism. In the early church, the teaching that Jesus was fully God but only appeared to be human (taken from the Greek dokeō, “to seem or appear”). Docetist theologians emphasized the qualitative difference between God and humans and therefore downplayed the human elements of Jesus’ life in favor of those that pointed to his deity. The early church rejected docetism as an heretical interpretation of the biblical teaching about Jesus.[2]

But unless they affirm both the full deity and the full humanity of Jesus, they are not really “confessing Jesus,” but, as John states in unambiguous terms, they are under the influence of the spirit of antichrist. Even so, you will not likely encounter many docetists today, it usually works the other way around in denying his deity. For example, Mormons will say they believe in Jesus but they believe Jesus is the brother of Satan who was born to an exalted man known as the heavenly Father, Elohim. While some modern Mormon apologists obfuscate the differences, the late LDS President, Gordon B. Hinckley, said that “The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak.”[3]

There are three biblical ways to test if someone has good Christology. This means we want to see if they believe in the historical Jesus rather the false one of Mormonism who was born from the carnal union between Mary and Elohim and is the brother of Lucifer [4] or the Jesus of the Adventist’s who is Michael the Archangel [5], or the Christ of the New Age Movement who is simply an enlightened man or worse yet, not even a person at all, simply a nebulous state of Christ consciousness. Here are three good Christological tests:

  • The biblical Jesus is called God. “My Lord and my God!”(Jn 20:28) also (Jn 1:1, 8:58, 10:30; Rom 9:5; Col 1:19; Heb. 1:8)
  • The biblical Jesus receives prayer. “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (Jn 14:14) also (Acts 7:55-60; 1 Co 1:1-2; 2Thes 2:16-17; Rev 22:20).
  • The biblical Jesus receives worship. “And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”(Mt 14:33) (Mt 2:2,11; Mt 28:9; Jn 9:35-38; He 1:6, Rev 5:8-13)

In cultist theologies, Jesus is a created being and therefore, He is not called God, prayed to, nor worshiped. As a prime example of test one, we will look at the Jehovah’s Witness Bible translation known as the New World Translation.

ESV: “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col 1:16–17, ESV)

NWT: “because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,” (Col 1:16–17, NWT)[6]

Greek New Testament (with English interlinear)[7]

16

ὅτι

ἐν

αὐτῷ

ἐκτίσθη

τὰ

πάντα

because

by

him

were created

all [things]1

ἐν

τοῖς

οὐρανοῖς

καὶ

ἐπὶ

τῆς

γῆς

,

in

the

heavens

and

on

the

earth

 

τὰ

ὁρατὰ

καὶ

τὰ

ἀόρατα

,

things

visible

and

things

invisible

εἴτε

θρόνοι

εἴτε

κυριότητες

whether

thrones

or

dominions

 

εἴτε

ἀρχαὶ

εἴτε

ἐξουσίαι

·

or

rulers

or

powers

τὰ

πάντα

διʼ

αὐτοῦ

καὶ

εἰς

αὐτὸν

ἔκτισται

·

all [things]

through

him

and

for

him

were created

 

17

καὶ

αὐτός

ἐστιν

πρὸ

πάντων

and

he himself

is

before

all [things]

καὶ

τὰ

πάντα

ἐν

αὐτῷ

συνέστηκεν

,

and

all [things]

in

him

are held together

JWs missionaries are infamous for obfuscating by appealing to the Greek text, so this should set them straight. Notice that in the original Greek NT, there is no use of a term meaning “other.” If Paul would have meant it that way he would have used the word ἑτέρως. Of course, he didn’t, “other” was supplied by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society to support the doctrines of demons.

Next we will examine test 2 using Joel Osteen as an example.



[1] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2296.

[1a]
Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 15.

[2]Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 40.

[3] As reported in Deseret News, June 20, 1998.

[4] (What LDS leaders have consistently, historically taught is that God the Father, in his glorified, immortal body, came down to earth and approached the young girl Mary. As a result of this carnal union, Mary became pregnant with a child who was both divine and human; and thus the young Christ was truly the Son of God. ) Latayne C. Scott, The Mormon Mirage (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 183. Also see: http://bible-truth.org/jesusbro.htm

[5] Adventists have concluded that “Michael” is another title for Christ rather than the name of an angel. The problem with this view is that Jude 9 says that Michael did not dare rebuke Satan. This could be true only if Michael were an angel and not Christ Himself. See: http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1947

[7]The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament (Logos Bible Software, 2008), 524.

 

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. Travis says:

    I am sorry to see that by writing an article about ‘testing the spirits’ uses quotes from Paul. I believe if you really tested all spirits you would find Paul to be a great deceiver. And I am not alone. If you test him by biblical standards, I believe anyone really searching for truth would find this to be true. If we accept Jesus’ teachings as the great authority, all of Paul’s unique teachings would be left all on their own. Also, you would not debate the issue because it is ‘canonized’ scripture. Well, who ‘canonized’ it? Would you trust God or man? If the spirit leads to all truth, why don’t we trust Him? If Jesus is the Messiah, which He is, why not trust His teachings and test all others according to that principle. I do not write this to start an argument, which is all that ever happens. We should defend our faith. Can you defend yours? Could you defend Paul?

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Travis,

      You have a made a lot of strong claims but you really haven’t offered anything more than hot air. Some of your post is internally contradictory. You state “If you test him by biblical standards” but then you deny that there is such a thing as a cannon of scripture. How do you decide 2000 years later which books of the NT are inspired and which aren’t? The authors (Mark, Matthew, Luke, John) of the Gospels accepted Paul, so how can you believe the Gospels? For example the Apostle Peter (Mark’s Gospel is Peter’s testimony) wrote:

      “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.(2 Pe 3:15–16)

      If you are consistent you shouldn’t trust the Gospels either. So you are left with only the Old Testament. The you write “If the spirit leads to all truth, why don’t we trust Him” <- but you cannot trust that statement because John wrote it and he was in with Paul. Thus, by your own reasoning there are no biblical standards, only your own private revelations. It seems abundantly clear what spirit is influencing you. We needn't defend Paul. You made the claims it is up to you top demonstrate that Paul's teaching is opposed to Jesus'

  2. john B says:

    Hi Travis; are you saying that Paul has no Apostolic Authority! You refer to Him as ‘a great deceiver’… could you explain or show some example of his deceitful doctrine..
    Christ did appear to Him on the Damascus road and
    he was present at the first Jerusalem council Acts15:12

    john B

  3. not travis says:

    Travis said: Paul to be a great deceiver….If Jesus is the Messiah, which He is

    A liberal undergrad professor of Jewish background once said the same thing some twenty years ago. He knew snippets of New Testament passages here and there. But when asked some hard questions by students in the classroom, it was obvious that he was merely stating what he was taught by “his” professor. Yes, he did admit Jesus was a “messiah.” But, he rejected the doctrine Trinity, Virgin Birth, Resurrection etc and etc. But he was adamant that Paul “deceive” quite a few people in the early church with his “made up” stories about going up to the “third heaven.”

    FYI: No other New Testament writers did more justice to defend the messiahship of Jesus than Paul. Paul, more than other writers, taught about the resurrection of Jesus which is the crux of Christianity, the risen Lord, But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. More to defend the monotheism of Christianity and Old Testament, Biblical Judaism; Virgin Birth of Jesus, Lastly. Paul more than others wrote about the unifying message of the Christian gospel. If you compare the core teachings of Paul with others, there is unifying agreement about who Jesus was; w/ Peter, John, James, Jude, Gospels.

  4. Steven says:

    Travis claims that we should ‘defend the faith’. The discussion ends right there. I was instructed to ‘pick up my cross and follow Jesus’ to my own death. A dead man can defend nothing.

    Paul’s life is an exercise wrought out in pain. The pain of ‘knowing’ in whom you believe.

    John 17:2-3

    Best Regards,

    Steven

  5. tony says:

    I am a bit confused.. why has Travis stated that Paul was a deceiver..
    maybe someone can clarify that a bit for me..

  6. Keeper Joey says:

    Travis, I rebuke that blasphemy spirit of Satan talking through you in Christ Yeshua.

    The Lord rebuke you Satan for spreading those lies you disgusting scum sucking bottom dweller . Rebukes you in Christ Yeshua.

    The words in the Bible are His through man. HE willed and wrote the words using the hands of man.

  7. Travis says:

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is condemnation before investigation.”
    – Edmund Spencer

    Proverbs 18:13
    He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

    I will give a short reason why I believe as I do.

    Test of Prophets
    Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Isaiah 8:20
    (May have ‘signs and wonders’ but if they teach contrary to previous prophets or God’s teachings they are false. God allows such people to test if you really love him or not.)

    Jesus’ Teachings on False Prophets
    Matthew 7:15-23; “iniquity” Greek 458, ‘anomia’ – lawless or negative to the Law
    Matthew 24:11-12 – “iniquity abounds”
    Matthew 24:23-27 – Someone will claim they have met Christ in the desert, do not believe them, His second coming will be seen from east to west.

    Jesus on His teachings
    Matthew 28:19-20 – “teach whatsoever things I have commanded you”

    The Conversion
    Acts 9:1-6; Acts 22:6-10; Acts 26:12-19
    Paul called a minister, witness not an apostle Acts 26:12-19

    Only 12 Apostles
    Act 1:21-26; Matthew 10:1-5; Revelation 21:14; Matthew 19:28

    Light from Heaven
    Acts 9:3; Acts 22:6; Acts 26:13;

    Jesus also sees a Light from Heaven
    Luke 10:18-19 (Lightning – Greek 798 – also bright shining)
    Matthew 24:4-5 – Many shall come in His name saying they are the Christ. Many will be deceived.
    Matthew 24:23-27 – IF ANY MAN, says here is Christ do not believe them.
    Isaiah 14:12 – Lucifer (from Hebrew 1966, in the sense of Brightness)
    Ezekiel 28:14-17 – “corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness”
    Paul’s Admission – 2 Corinthians 11:14
    And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (light – Greek 5457 – to shine or make manifest)

    Kick against the pricks – Acts 9:5; Acts 26:14
    A quote from a playwright, 405 B.C., by a greek God Dionysus, a false redeemer. Why would Jesus quote from a pagan play?
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bacchae)
    (http://www.gradesaver.com/the-bacchae/e-text/section5/)

    This not even covering his exclusive teachings. I once believed Paul to be the greatest apostle. But how could The Book of Revelation, which was written well after Paul’s epistles, have Christ so angered over eating meat sacrificed to idols? Something that Paul taught was permissible. What about the commendation to the Ephesian church for rejecting someone claiming to be an apostle, but was found a liar? Revelation 2:1-3. Did Paul have problems with Ephesians? Act 19:1,8-10; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 15:32;

    2 Timothy 1:15
    This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

    He states that they were turned from Him, not the Gospel. After Paul leaves, John takes over the churches in Ephesus. I must add that all the churches in Revelation are in Turkey which is Asia. Why did the Ephesians not reject John? It is agreed that all 3 of John’s epistles were written from Ephesus? Why is it that he seems to be correcting doctrine? Also this quote:
    1John 2:19
    (19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

    Does this match anyone? Why does the book of James absolutely contradict all of Paul’s teachings? Even Luther admitted so.

    There is plenty more. I am not a heretic. Just asking questions. We should be able to defend our positions or say we will try to find the answer. No one is perfect. I wish that the link repudiating ANT-Paulinists would have used quotes from other than Paul himself. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses.” My conscience is clear by following God’s Son. Thank you for your time and God bless you all.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Travis,

      Try to write a logical argument, just start with your best one. one at a time. I really don’t see a reasoned argument in that post. (Huge rambling blocks of text like you posted don’t help.) If you do not trust Paul. Why do you trust the Gospels? Jesus did not write them. You need to answer the below first.

      The Gospel authors were in with Paul. If you believe Peter, then Paul’s letters are scripture. Peter seems to have seen you coming:

      “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”(2 Pe 3:15–16)

      Peter calls Paul’s letters scripture! If you don’t trust Peter, then you can’t trust the Gospel of Mark which most scholars believe is the foundation for the others. Also Luke calls Paul an apostle, “But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out,”(Ac 14:14) So I guess you have to discard Luke and Acts as well.

  8. Razor Swift says:

    Travis wrote:

    ” I believe if you really tested all spirits you would find Paul to be a great deceiver.”
    >>>

    That’s a hard charge there sir. I would like to see your evidence for this assertion. Thanks in advance.

  9. Travis says:

    And if I also might add to Keeper Joey, I apologize but explain to me how the Lord you serve would be happy about the words you choose to use. Are you not to be a light shining upon a hill, does both blessings and cursings come from the same mouth. Such things ought not to be so. Also, who canonized scripture? Was it man or God? What about traditions of men. God Himself says that he tests us to see if we love Him or someone else more. When did Paul become the final authority on doctrine? I encourage you to see what the church fathers had to say about Paul. Not all of them agreed of course, but I am not alone when I say that there are issues with Paul. Am I wrong by following what Yahushua (Jesus) taught? Did he not go into enough detail in His teachings to be saved by Him? See how many doctrines are totally unique to Paul.

  10. john B says:

    Travis are you a messianic Jew?

    john B

  11. john B says:

    Travis; do you observe the passover instead of the lord’s supper.
    Do you keep the Torah feast days and expect the return of Jesus to be in conjunction with such feasts..
    You don’t like the book of Galatians written by (((ApostlePaul))) because it shows who the Israel of God really is..
    I reckon you are a Torah law, feast keeping Messianic… and you do not call yourself a Christian at all.

    john b

  12. john B says:

    Travis; Just for the record, The ‘messianic Jewish spirit’ is a false one!

    john B

  13. john B says:

    Cris; on the last post you referred me as a bigot.. Cris; be careful with your finger pointing.. you never Know the ramifications.. I am on your side on this post..

    john b

    • Cris Putnam says:

      johnB, I take no joy in it, if it walks like a duck… perhaps you should check your use of language, I’m tired of the zionism remarks and replacement theology.

  14. john B says:

    Cris; I am acknowledging that Travis is coming from a messianic Torah keeping sect who refuse to acknowledge Paul, who keep feasts and base their prophetical views in accord with them… May be you are not aware of such…
    I am not having a go at judaisim or Jews, I am speaking the truth… look it up!… there are many such churches that have further advanced the dispensation doctrine by rabbinizing it to the full.. NotTravis touched on it on his post

    Travis; why don’t you come clean and admit it.. Tell us the group or church you are with.

    Cris, may be your problem is that you cannot handle anyone not seeing eye to eye with you.. you are like most pastors that i know.. very well doctrinally formed in their ways having the attitude of mind. (don’t question me i am the final authority” well you are not, (the word of God is the final authority) and sometimes God uses the simple to confound the wise.. all I have done is discerned that Travis is speaking from a false spirit associated with the messianic movement that have reverted back to the law Gal4:9,10 That was my post! what is anti-Semite or bigoted about that.

    john b

    • Cris Putnam says:

      johnB I am well aware of Travis and have deal with him before, I do not mind at all when people disagree with me but expect to engaged. I have and you have demonstrated a willful ignorance when it comes to biblical theology and especially the Old Testament and that makes you unconvincing.

  15. Travis says:

    I am not affiliated with any group. I am not a Jew. Why must you try to fit me into a box?

    Instead of debating anything I have said, you try to pigeon hole me, call me a heretic, to disregard everything i presented.
    Logic? Did anyone read what I said? Why do some reply with a hateful heart?

    If I do not believe Paul is an apostle or what he says he is, yet I believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God, died for my sins, was raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father, and is the mediator between God and man, and I confess such, am I saved? I made a confession by mouth and believe it in my heart, that is all Paul says I need right? If I stand by what Jesus taught, how can I possibly go wrong? If Christ pointed to someone who was a false prophet and it fits the same description as Paul, would I be faithful if I did not search it out? Again, who ‘canonized’ scripture, man or God? Was there not any dispute over what was to be included in the canon?

    Why did Luther reject James and Revelation as inspired? Because it contradicted Paul.

    The question of the Jerusalem Conference, why would Paul need to ask about the question of circumcision if he was receiving divine revelation from Christ? Acts 15:4, Paul and Barnabas were received by the church, it does not say as “Apostles”. 15:7, the gentiles were to hear the gospel by Peter, it was not given to Paul. Acts 15:20, James says that gentiles should “abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

    Abstain from pollution of Idols, Fornication, Things strangled, from blood. Pollutions in Greek #234 also means defilement.

    Why would Paul later teach it permissible to eat meat sacrificed to idols? Then Jesus later states in Revelation 2:14, that he against those who do and teach such things.

    Again, Revelation was written well after Paul’s epistles. As a type, is it not interesting that Jesus states “the doctrine of Balaam”. Balaam, Numbers 22:5 – Numbers 24:25, also has a wilderness road experience, then, as Jesus says, taught it permissible to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Could Paul be a New Testament Balaam?
    Did Paul teach such things? 1 Corinthians 8:4-13; 1 Corinthians 10:18-31. Its a “liberty”, but don’t hurt a “weaker” brothers conscience? Plainly, did Christ the Son of the Living God, teach this? Show me where. Commandments? Paul’s stance is clear. What about Jesus?
    Matthew 5:17-19 – He came to fulfill, not destroy, til heaven and earth pass. Has heaven and earth passed? From Matthew 5: 17 – Matthew 7:29, he expounds on Matthew 5:20:

    (20) For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    He then explains the ‘spirit’ of the Law. If we love God with our heart, soul, strength, and mind, plus our neighbors as ourselves, we will be trying to live by His teachings from Matthew 5 – 7. The Pharisees were living by the letter of the Law, they had no love for God or there fellow man. They did not have the spirit. This is the Law of Liberty as stated in James. By having the Spirit of God within you, you will act on that Love.

    Paul leaves out the most important part, as he teaches in Galatians 5:14
    (14) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    What about God?
    Where does Jesus teach that women cannot teach? If a woman has more knowledge and love for God, why would God forbid the possibility of her helping another, even her husband be saved?

    Where does Jesus teach speaking in tongues? Or any other other teach this?

    Sabbath? You all know what Paul teaches?

    What about God’s teaching?

    Isa 66:22-23
    (22) For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
    (23) And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

    What about Jesus?
    Matthew 12, “lawful to do well on the sabbath”
    Mark 2, “Sabbath made for man, not man for sabbath,” He and His apostles had 3 and half short years to do the will of the Father. Those doing the work of the Father. To do well. Save Souls. Remember the sabbath day keep it Holy. What is Holy? Seperate. Not to be like any other day. Made at creation. Not a Jewish thing. Why does God say remember.

    Jesus and the Law and Commandments
    Mat 5:19
    (19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    Did Paul teach it permissible to break the commandments? You all know.

    1John 2:29
    If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

    I am not of the devil, Is it forbidden to read your bible for truth? Research early church fathers, if they all think Paul was inspired. I will stand by my previous statement, I will not be lead astray by the words of Yahushua the Son of the Living God. You all can believe what you will, it is an inidividual process before the throne of God.

    I am saved by the sacrifice of God’s Son. He is the atonement for the world’s sin. That offering never needs to be made again. But with this free gift of salvation, He calls us to repent, have a saving faith, and be obedient.

    “Not of works lest any should boast”?

    2Co 11:16
    (16) I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.

    2Co 11:17-18
    (17) That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
    (18) Seeing that many glory (G2744 – boast) after the flesh, I will glory also.

    2Co 11:30
    (30) If I must needs glory (boast), I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

    2Co 12:1
    (1) It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory (boasting). I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

    2Co 12:5-6
    (5) Of such an one will I glory (boast): yet of myself I will not glory (boast), but in mine infirmities.
    (6) For though I would desire to glory (boast), I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

    2Co 12:9
    (9) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory (boast) in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    2Co 12:11
    (11) I am become a fool in glorying (boasting); ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

    I guess it is ok to boast of your infirmities or your position, or if just if your apostle Paul.

    James 4:16
    But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

    But then again James and Paul are in perfect agreement, I guess.

  16. Travis says:

    I apologize for length of comment.

  17. john B says:

    Travis; I have not labeled you anything.. I only identified what I believe to be error in your theology or views.. they are compatible with this sect http://www.lasttrumpet.org/ that is all… I do not judge you as such.. For Christ will judge all men Mat25:31-46 (For not all who confess Jesus as lord will be saved) there are many confessing false Jesus’ and messiah’s within the daughters of Babylon.

    john b

  18. Razor Swift says:

    I’m still waiting for something coherent from Travis on why Paul was a “deceiver”.

  19. Travis says:

    Deceive – to mislead by false appearance or statement.

    Paul – Converted by False Messiah

    Claims to be an Apostle – He was not

    Teaches against Commandments – Teaches Against Sabbath – Teaches False Grace he recieved from a False Christ – Teaches a False Path to God

    Paul – Faith Alone
    Romans 3:28 – Romans 4:5 – Galatians 5:4 – Romans 7:6 – Galatians 2:16 – Ephesians 2:8-9

    Yahushua (Jesus) – Repentance, Acting Faith, Enduring Obedience, Overcomers
    Luke 8:5-18 – Parable of the Sower
    Matthew 25:31-46 – Divides the Sheep from Goats
    Matthew 19:17 – Enter into Life
    Luke 10:25-27 – Do this and You Shall Live
    Matthew 5:20 – Except Your Righteousness Exceeds that of Pharisees, You shall not enter Kingdom of Heaven
    Matthew 16:27 – According to Your Works
    Matthew 25:14-30 – Unprofitible Servant
    James 2:12-18 – Dead Faith

    John 10:27-29
    Yahushua’s follower hear His voice, and are led by Him. If you believe that Paul truly holds the teachings of Eternal Life, by all means follow him. I know who I follow. As I said before, we all stand as individuals before God. That is your choice how to serve Him.

    Revelation 2:23,26
    And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
    And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

    May your choice be the right one of who to serve. Is it Paul or Yahushua who is our mediator? Is it Paul or Messiah who is our Redeemer? Is it Paul or Yahushua who bore our stripes?

    God bless those willing to search out tough questions. And God bless those who seek out God with all their heart.

    Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

  20. john B says:

    Travis I do not follow Paul or any of the Apostles for that matter… I follow the Lord Jesus by picking up my cross daily.
    Apostle Paul also teaches that Faith is practical obedience “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” Phil2:12 Paul taught to obey the Lord Eph6:5.. He told Christians to celebrate the New covenant in the Lord’s blood by the “Lord’s supper” That we may receive blessings 1Cor11: 23-29 We are to drink the cup of blessings 1Cor 10:16 see Rom 6:16 “we are slaves” that entails service

    This doctrine of ‘faith alone’ is man’s theological interpretation of the Apostles Words.. It is quite obvious that Paul has much more to say about salvation… man selects only portions of the council of the ‘word of God’ and ascribes to them their pet doctrines.. Ponder this! does faith alone nullify baptism? Apostle Paul taught the necessity for baptism and the significance of it’s spiritual reality to the believer Rom6:3-5.

    It is not the doctrine of the works of the law that justifies a man, but the “obedience of faith” Rom1:5

    John b

  21. Travis says:

    John B, Paul is the human chameleon. All things to all men. As those who are without the Law he became as one without the Law. 1 Corinthians 9:21,22. Greek for “without the Law” in verse 21 is “Anomos”, #459, negative to the Law.

    (Mat 7:23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    (Mat 13:41) The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

    (Mat 23:28) Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

    (Mat 24:12) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

    Iniquity – Anomia – #458, WHICH COMES FROM #459 ANOMOS in 1 Cor. 9:21, violation of Law.

    Paul admits he acts like he is “anomos” when it suits him. Christ says this is iniquity. Would Christ act “Anomos” to win a soul? He is the Rock. There is no deviation with Christ. Paul openly admits he acts out iniquity.

    My question to you is, what about meat sacrificed to idols? Explain this please. Why did Paul have issues with Ephesus and Jesus commends them for trying an Apostle and finding him a liar? Explain this please.

  22. john B says:

    Travis. Concerning Meat sacrificed to idols: The difference between the 1Cor8 passage and the Rev2 passage is that in Corinth meat available for consumption was often sacrificial, It was everywhere in the market place and Christians were aware of it.
    Apostle Paul is not directing Christians to eat such sacrificial meat as was the Jezebel case in Rev2:20 wherein she was promoting Idolatrous worship! Quite the contrary, Paul finishes his teaching by saying “Therefore; if Food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again that I might not cause my brother to stumble” 1Cor8:13
    Paul was speaking out of love expressing the freedom of having one’s conscience washed by the Blood of Jesus Heb9;14.. We are not to be bound by the food we eat! Neither are we to be judged in accord to food, drink , feasts, new moon or Sabbath day Col2:16 the reality is Christ whom we serve and not things pertaining to the shadow’s Col2:17 This passage of Rom14:1-13 clarifies the matter even further..

    john b

  23. Travis says:

    No need to discuss the matter further. You are very in tune with all of Paul’s teachings. May that be enough to save you. Good Luck with your endeavors.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Travis – you commented on my website to my post and yet you have never responded to my replies? Why is that?

      The Gospel authors were in with Paul. If you believe Peter, then Paul’s letters are scripture. Peter seems to have seen you coming:

      “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”(2 Pe 3:15–16)

      Peter calls Paul’s letters scripture! If you don’t trust Peter, then you can’t trust the Gospel of Mark which most scholars believe is the foundation for the others. Also Luke calls Paul an apostle, “But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out,”(Ac 14:14) So I guess you have to discard Luke and Acts as well.

      I can only surmise that you have no answers to my questions. Your theology is logically incoherent. You cannot use the Gospels, they were written by people who approved of Paul. If you discard Paul, you must discard the entire New Testament. Your back to Judaism.

  24. Travis says:

    Chris, again, they never called him an apostle. Luke called him an apostle, Luke was his personal companion. If your friend claimed he was an apostle, would you doubt him. Second Peter was one of the more disputed additions to the ‘canon’ in early church history. And even if it wasn’t can a human being be misled? Is it possible for humans to be deceived?

    I find it interesting that you state that if you discard Paul, we discard the entire New Testament. Excellent point. You base your entire theology on Paul. One man. Forget the thousands of years of preceding teachings that is exactly what points to the coming Messiah and His purpose.

    Matthew and John had no influence from Paul. And it is widely believed Matthew, written in Hebrew, was the first gospel. You say Mark, that is up for debate. John, Jude, James, Peter? Were these all disciples of Paul? Did all there theology derive from Paul? He must have been the greatest apostle!

    There was not a debate if first Peter was to be included in canon. There was a debate to include the epistles of Paul. You base your theology on Marcion it sounds to me. All Paul, all else second fiddle.

    Also, you have not replied to my questions. Which is fine. You can stick to your traditions of who had the inside track to the teaching of salvation. What about Paul acting as “anomos”, one without the law, while Christ taught that these were workers of iniquity, “anomia”? Would Christ ever portray Himself as something He wasn’t? Would Christ eat meat sacrificed to Idols? Did Christ teach the Law was negated? Did Christ teach a ‘secret’ coming to teach His new doctrine to one special man?

    Again I ask, how can I go wrong by accepting and applying Christ’s teaching of salvation? If I were in a third world country and I had Matthew, for example, as the only book in the entire bible to read about God and His Son, could I find redemption? Do you honestly say that if I later read Paul, that it would match up with what Jesus taught?

    We will never see eye to eye on this, and that is fine. What you know is comfortable with you, and that is fine as well.

    My last statement is if you are going to teach doctrine, or testing spirits, or salvation, or any other teaching, why must you use 99% Paul and no others?

    You deify Paul.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      I don’t deify Paul, Paul elevates Christ as God, he considered himself nothing. Paul is the earliest source for the Gospel period, which is beyond dispute, all NT scholars agree the creedal formula in 1 Corinthians goes back to the time of the resurrection. Paul’s letters are earlier than the Gospels.

      “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” (Ga 5:4)

  25. Travis says:

    Yes, Paul elevates the “light that came from heaven” as God. He considered himself as nothing?

    He acts humble in one section only to boast in another. Which is why he used more personal pronouns than any other new testament writer. Why he says the other apostles added to him nothing. Why he boasts of his infirmity because it means he is closer to God.
    And yes being that IF his epistles predate the gospels, they have pre-eminence over Christ’s words, that is your stance.
    And Paul is the ultimate authority for doctrine, reproof, and correction I suppose. It must be nice to not have your word challenged because you are your own witness.

    And you still did not answer my previous questions.

    But it does not matter. You defend Paul as though I accused Christ of being false. You can continue in your testing the spirits study. I will not bother you any longer.

    I am curious what other teachings of Paul you will use.
    1 Corinthians 11:1,2 or Matthew 28:18-20, as Paul gives or Christ?

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Mark’s Gospel (written by John Mark Paul’s traveling companion) is Peter’s testimony, Peter who called Paul’s letters scripture and again Jesus did not write the Gospels, Paul’s friends did. So how do you know they are Jesus’ words?

      “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”(2 Pe 3:15–16)

  26. john B says:

    Travis; how could Paul be in opposition to Christ when he emphatically pronounced these words ” We preach Christ crucified ” 1Cor1:23 such a statement is so blatantly anointed.. Q: who is included in the WE of his statement but the Apostolic body of his association in Jerusalem… As i said before you are of some Messianic flavour in theology, wrapped up in Rabbinic Torah law..

    john b

  27. Travis says:

    John b, there is no point in arguing anymore. You will not address my questions about the situation. As for Chris’ comment, the catholic church is responsible for our bible. You trust in man. Just because Paul makes a comment in his favor what about the multitude against him. You trust in your Paulinism and I will trust in God.

    You can have Paul and his idea of grace. You cannot prove Paul besides his own writings, his personal companions, or 2 Peter. His is called brother, but I am sure this before anyone had a chance to read his epistles. In Acts 21, James states Paul is accused of teaching the Jews to forsake Moses or the law, and teaches against the customs. Paul does not deny this. Obviously, James did not have his epistles or he would have known this to be true.

    If I believe in Jesus, but I don’t believe Paul’s writings, can I still be saved? If I had just the gospels, and not Paul’s writings, could I find salvation?

    You all have put Paul on a pedestal above Christ. It is truly a shame. Go to the source.

  28. john B says:

    Travis, you do not have to believe in Paul to be saved, But only Jesus! that is what Paul says as well… It is Chrirst Crucified!…. Grace means that none can save themselves That goes for You , me and Paul…
    The Torah is like Catholicism.. placing rules (laws) to be abided in order to gain God’s approval…
    Grace on the other hand is God’s way of saying.. I Chose you, and called you, submit therefore unto me (humility) just as Jesus was, under going the Cross… Oh that spilled Blood on our behalf!!! Did not Jesus say that to his disciples “pick up your Cross”…… Think about it..
    God bless you my friend…

    john b

  29. Travis says:

    John B. “We can agree to disagree”, Christ is the ultimate sacrifice. He is the Lamb of God. He has taken the place for our punishment. I do not mean to argue, just discuss. God bless you John in these days, and may God strengthen you and your family.

    Chris, as for you, it is sad that you are a leader to those seeking truth. Your seminary would be proud. What did I miss about the Gospel? Again, you put Paul above Christ. You choose to be blind.

    1Jn 2:24-29
    (24) Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
    (25) And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
    (26) These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
    (27) But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
    (28) And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
    (29) If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

  30. Travis says:

    Chris, I see on your youtube site that you are an M.A. Ah yes, college studies on your bible belief. It is hard to make your own conclusions when your grade depends on it. Let alone to test all things. May God bless your eyes to be opened, and that you are faithful enough to follow. I would also say to be careful to say what condition peoples faith is in. I would leave the judging in God’s hands.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Travis – There is no merit in coming to your own conclusions if your views are incoherent. Your views are self referentially false. Jesus chose to reveal the Gospel message to the world through Paul, by opposing Paul, you oppose Christ. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.“(Ga 5:1–4)

  31. Travis says:

    Chris, how am I being ‘incoherent’? Not making a meaningful connection? Because I disagree with you? “Referentially”, I referenced everything I said, with little of my own commentary, which shows you do not wish to respond to the accusations. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses.” I have a multitude, where is yours? A few is a coincidence, a multitude is a probability.

    You did not address any issue I raised. Was Paul crucified or Christ? Was Christ first, or Paul? Did Christ Die for my sins or did Paul? I challenge you to use an example that is not Paul’s own words for his defense.

    John 13:16
    (16) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. (“is sent”, Greek 652, APOSTLE)

    WHO IS GREATER CHRIS? The Master or the Servant? What is Yahshua’s (Jesus’) teachings on the commandments? What is Yahshua’s teaching on righteousness? Who is greater Chris? It is no longer worth my time to argue the difference between Christ’s idea of salvation compared to Paul’s? If you really think they are compatible, that is your right? Christ never forced himself on anyone. Do not condemn me for thinking different as you. I believe in the prophets, so do you. I believe in Christ, so do you. I do not believe in Paul, you do, so I am the odd man out, and my faith is a shipwreck. You may have knowledge but you do not have wisdom.

    My heart cries for you, Chris, you condemn me without even challenging the case I presented. Come up with something new to defend Paul. How can you possibly say I oppose Christ? Who is Greater, Chris?

    I will pray for you Chris……..and for all those who seek truth that is not watered down.

  32. Travis says:

    last post correction. “If you really think they are compatible, that is your right. And “I do not believe in Paul, you do, so I am the odd man out, and my faith is a shipwreck?

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Travis – your views are incoherent because they are self refuting – internally contradictory – you think that you have Jesus words through writings of the synoptic Gospels. At the same time, you think Paul is a false prophet. This is a contradiction. Because Jesus did not write the Gospels and the people that did write them were “in” with Paul, you cannot trust the Gospels and you have no logical basis to trust them. Your stance against Paul is necessarily a stance against the Gospel and Christ. You have sawed off the branch of the tree that you were sitting on.

  33. Travis says:

    Chris…… a very bold statement. Where is Matthew said to be “in” with Paul? Did Paul follow Yahshua for 3 and a half years before His ascension? Does the Gospel of Matthew ever mention Paul? Does any of the Gospels mention Paul? Why must I lump Paul in with the Gospels? Why is he above all other Apostles and all other witnesses?

    I can trust the Gospels because the “His fold hears His voice”. The Spirit leads and teaches.

    You place Paul as the tree. Is Paul the Spirit that teaches as well. I thought Christ said that He is the vine. How is one void of the Gospel, if they only had the “Gospels”?

    Why did Asia not follow Paul? Why did John have to correct wrong doctrine in Ephesus where Paul had taught? So…So many witnesses against Paul. You would never search because you already have “your” truth.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Travis,
      How do you know who wrote Matthew’s Gospel? Are you just trusting church tradition?

      (also you don’t seem to recognize that there’s a difference between the genre of literature “gospel” as in a biography of Jesus like Matthew or Luke and the “gospel” as in the good news of salvation)

  34. Travis says:

    I apologize to anyone who thought I was just being an instigator. That was not my intentions. I just see things a lot differently than most. John B, thank you for dialogue.

  35. BCV says:

    Quite the debate you have going here on the question of Paul’s apostleship. I find the topic rather interesting myself. I often think the best place to start looking at something so, umm… ‘large in magnitude’ and ’emotionally charged’ as this, is to go back and look at it with a fresh perspective… As though I know nothing of the subject and then weigh things to determine what seems to be ‘truth’.

    So might I do so now? I think it would be a good exercise, and hopefully of benefit to us all… afterall, the Word of God is ‘alive’ and as such should not be relegated to some dusty corner of a bookshelf OR our minds… There is nothing more solid that the True, Uncorrupted, Word of God, and neither is there anything more fluid in it’s adapability to always being ‘relevant’, or more encompassing of all aspects of life, than the Living Word…

    I would like to ask a few questions, of anyone who cares to visit a bit, in the hopes that it will lead to some good conversations… as I really enjoy good conversations about all the things of God…

    I think I would first ask, ‘WHY is the idea of Paul being an Apostle, accepted as fact?’

    (I am asking this on a personal level, ie: ‘Why do YOU, (as I said, my question is not directed at anyone but actually to everyone – as an individual), believe the idea of Paul being an Apostle, is accepted as fact?’

    Is it ‘CHURCH TEACHING?’,… or ‘THE FACT THAT PAUL DECLARES HIMSELF TO BE AN APOSTLE?’,… or ‘THE INCLUSION OF PAUL’S WRITINGS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?’,… and/or something else?

    I apologize if I don’t respond to anyone who may respond, in a quick manner, I am really busy right now and other things need my time and attention… but I do hope to be back on soon…

    Thanks to all and God bless

  36. BCV says:

    oops – forgot to check the box before submitting…. thanks again

  37. Travis says:

    Chris, it is amazing the lengths you have taken this to. I hope more people see these posts of yours than just those who have commented. You are a Paulist. Paul is your God. Why didn’t Yahshua choose Paul while he was on earth? I cannot even wrap my mind around your comments. But you are right you would not have modern christianity without Paul. Modern Christianity teaches Paul, not the Messiah nor the Father. Again, you follow Paul, I will follow the Spirit. You follow your college studies, I will seek truth. Your unwillingness to even test what I have said is a witness enough.

    You are claiming because you believe that Paul wrote first he has the inside track on salvation. I pray that your eyes open.

    James 3:1
    (1) My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      The Ebionites (Greek: Hebiwnaitoi; derived from Hebrew ebyonim, ebionim, probably meaning “the poor” or “poor ones”), is a patristic theological term referring to a Jewish Christian sect or sects that existed during the first few centuries of the Christian Era. In all probability, more than one group has been included under the “Ebionites” umbrella. A few have claimed that the Ebionites were the descendants of the Jerusalem church of the first century, but this is very far from being proven. But – for sure – these people held James (an early leader in the Jerusalem church) in high esteem. Like the Arians, this group were very soon on the outside of the established Church of the first few centuries.

      Mostly these people indeed accepted Jesus as the Messiah, but insisted on the necessity of following old covenant religious law and rites. The Ebionites revered James (the brother of Jesus), but rejected Paul of Tarsus whom they considered to be an apostate preacher and teacher. It seems that this group presented themselves as another option for those Jews who struggled between accepting the New Covenant – in all its Pauline ramifications – and a continuing adherence to Judaism. This has also been called the ‘continual covenant’ teaching, adopting a position somewhere between the old and New covenants; without question this is heretical. Yet another term which has been applied to such groups is Galatianism, this is a reference to the judaistic heretical group which caused such headaches to Paul the Apostle and which he outlines in books such as Romans, but most especially within the Book of Galatians. That particular group accepted Christ but pointed the Galatians back to observance of the law. Paul is clear that Christ, and justification by faith, was being denied by such behaviour – read Galatians as a reminder!

      Much of what we know about the Ebionites derives from the Church Fathers, who wrote polemics against this group/associated groups, which they clearly regarded as heretical Judaizers. However, very little about the Ebionite sect or sects is known with certainty. Most scholars (although not all), distinguish the Ebionites from the Nazarenes; the Nazarenes are usually viewed as true disciples of Jesus, ‘Nazarene’ being an early name.
      http://www.ukapologetics.net/12/ebionites.htm

  38. Travis says:

    Chris, you can get your last word in, this will not edify. This will never be iron sharpening iron. I will not be replying. Time is short. God bless those who seek him in Spirit and in Truth. God bless those who yearn for righteousness. God bless the overcomers. Thank God for His Son and His Spirit, the ones who teach real truth.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Travis “iron sharpening iron” requires 2 pieces of iron. Your denial of Paul gives me no reason to view you as iron. Christ is revealed through the New Testament and you do not believe the majority of that book. The Gospels are actually anonymous documents, although we have strong traditions to support their authorship. Two of the strongest: Mark and Luke were disciples of Paul. The apostle Peter called Paul’s writings scripture. Jesus chose to reveal himself through and evangelist, scholar, and theologian: Paul of Tarsus. “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 Jn 4:6)

  39. BCV says:

    Hello and thank you for the prompt ‘reply’ to my comment, and I hope you take no offense, for none is intended, but I feel that it behooves me, being ‘a believer’ myself, that I ask this question of you in regards to a statement you made in your reply.

    Why would you call someone ‘a non-believer’ simply because they do not accept Paul as an apostle?
    You say, in your comment to me, the following:

    Author: Cris Putnam
    Comment:
    It’s not so much a debate as we have a nonbeliever… accepting Paul’s apostleship is not optional, as he defines what Christian theology entails. Jesus wrote nothing, he entrusted it mainly to Paul.

    I did not realize Paul was the ‘author of christianity’, I was under the impression that was Christ. And since my first post refers to the debate on Paul, I thought I would repost it, as my experience, now, is that when I come to the forum, it seems that such post is no longer actively visible, as it now seems to show up in the ‘older comments’. And since I did specifically ask for others’ thoughts in relation to what I saw as a rather simple, and quite non-offensive question, the purpose of which was to do no more than to help us all look at such a topic from a fresh perspective, I will repost it, as I am sure it will present no problem to do so.

    Now, I would like to say that it seems to me that Travis has more than established that he believes in the Saviour… upon which, at least to my understanding, the entire premise of the christian belief system is entirely based, and it therefore leaves me questioning why ‘belief in Paul’ is the defining standard for being quote-unquote, ‘A BELIEVER’, in your judgement.

    And in fact, though I am not meaning to be harsh, it seems to me that you are standing in a place where perhaps you ought not be,… a place, where you are, in fact, bearing ‘false witness’ against one who is in fact, a believer in the Saviour as he has quite forthrightly stated… (as found in the forum comments as I show verbatim here).

    Travis says:
    08/01/2012 at 9:57 pm
    ‘…I believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God, died for my sins, was raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father, and is the mediator between God and man, and I confess such, am I saved?’

    Although a rhetorical question, I think in light of being called ‘a non-believer’, his statement serves as the cornerstone of an abundance of ample evidence to support the answer as being, ‘Yes, he is saved.’

    He has obviously, diligently, endeavored to study and seek truth IN THE BIBLE ITSELF… so as I feel we are called to admonish one another, when such need arises, I would, ever so humbly, ask you to reconsider your statement and ‘make right the wrong’ done by you, to a fellow believer… (I am assuming that you do believe your salvation is of Christ,… NOT Paul… nor Christ AND Paul… but simply in Christ ALONE… Is that correct?)

    And for the sake of clarity, seeing that we do not know one another personally, I will say that I do not tend to ask rhetorical questions. So, yes, I would like an answer as to where you stand EXACTLY… seeing that you also posted this as part of the comment in reply to my post: (I am a bit curious as to why the comment that came to my email differs so much from the one I found posted in the forum – glad I actually checked the forum and found the rest of your comment, some of which I would like to address here.)

    you further state:
    ‘Paul is responsible for the initial spread of Christianity, without him it never would have gotten off the ground, the book of Acts makes this clear.’

    So… YOUR ‘PERSONAL BELIEF’ HOLDS THAT ‘WITHOUT PAUL,… ‘it, (christianity), never would have gotten off the ground,’ ? Hence, I feel the question I pose above is actually quite reasonable.

    Specifically, I will ask, ‘Do you believe your salvation is of Christ, NOT Paul… nor Christ AND Paul… but simply in Christ ALONE… ?’

    If you believe that your salvation is of CHRIST ALONE, then why do you make the following statement?:

    ‘accepting Paul’s apostleship is not optional’…

    This comment, STATED, BY YOU, AS AN UNDISPUTABLE FACT,… along with your declaration of judgement that Travis is ‘a non-believer’ BECAUSE he does not accept Paul as an apostle, seems to speak, quite loudly, that your faith is NOT BASED ON CHRIST ALONE, BUT ACTUALLY ELEVATES PAUL TO A PLACE NOT UNLIKE A CO-REDEEMER, seeing that you REQUIRE ‘ACCEPTANCE OF PAUL’ AS THE TRUE, DETERMINING CRUX IN THE MATTER OF SALVATION, AND THEREBY ESTABLISHING PAUL, BY SUCH ‘CRITERIA OF ACCEPTANCE’, AS THE PIVOT UPON WHICH SALVATION OF ONE’S SOUL, ACTUALLY RESTS…. NOT CHRIST’S…

    And if your faith truly does rest on Christ alone, then you cannot judge another whose faith is also established by that same standard, – ON CHRIST, ALONE, whether or not they accept Paul as an apostle. That would make Travis ‘a brother in the faith’, would it not?

    I must respectfully say, that under the circumstances, I think it would benefit you to rethink your position… and regardless of what you think of my opinions… the fact of the matter is, that he does meet the biblical standards of faith in the Saviour and is therefore a partaker of salvation – ie: ‘a believer’ and ‘saved’, therefore, it seems you owe this man an apology and should consider that there is a need for a sincere repenting for such maligning of ‘the brethren’ before God and fellow believers.

    With all that having been said, and honestly said ‘in love’, (though I doubt it will feel that way), I will close with the simply hope that you will be moved enough to consider the possibility that I am correct, and do a little self-evaluation. And perhaps prefer to look to the positive that can come from this admonishment from someone who cares enough to do so.

    I will look forward to you comment in reply.
    In Christ,
    BCV

    • Cris Putnam says:

      BCV -Please refrain from re-posting so much to make replies… one sentence of what you are replying to is sufficient. See below:

      I did not realize Paul was the ‘author of christianity’, I was under the impression that was Christ.

      That’s where you are uninformed. We do not have a single document written by Jesus. The earliest records concerning Jesus are from Paul and the source of most Christian doctrine is Paul’s letters, principally, Romans. We have Jesus’ words as recorded by only two of his original disciples and Paul. Most scholars believe that Mark’s Gospel was the earliest (Peter’s testimony written by Mark) and Mark was the traveling companion and disciple of Paul. The apostle Peter wrote that Paul’s writings were scripture and that there were ignorant people who misunderstood them. Luke (author of Luke and Acts) was also discipled by Paul and traveled with him. All of the early apostles including James Jesus’ brother met in Jerusalem at the Acts 15 council, they all supported Paul and his missionary efforts.

      YOUR ‘PERSONAL BELIEF’ HOLDS THAT ‘WITHOUT PAUL,… ‘it, (christianity), never would have gotten off the ground,’

      No, Christianity is based on the New Testament -so obviously, its the weight of the historical evidence and the fact that he wrote the New Testament. Paul traveled extensively and is credited with the initial growth of the Christian church through out the East and into Europe. Paul wrote most of the New Testament: Epistle to the Romans,First Epistle to the Corinthians, Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Epistle to the Galatians, Epistle to the Ephesians, Epistle to the Philippians, Epistle to the Colossians, First Epistle to the Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, First Epistle to Timothy, Second Epistle to Timothy, Epistle to Titus, Epistle to Philemon. Paul wrote the majority of the NT and Christianity is religion based on that book.

      his comment, STATED, BY YOU, AS AN UNDISPUTABLE FACT,… along with your declaration of judgement that Travis is ‘a non-believer’ BECAUSE he does not accept Paul as an apostle, seems to speak, quite loudly, that your faith is NOT BASED ON CHRIST ALONE, BUT ACTUALLY ELEVATES PAUL TO A PLACE NOT UNLIKE A CO-REDEEMER, seeing that you REQUIRE ‘ACCEPTANCE OF PAUL’ AS THE TRUE, DETERMINING CRUX IN THE MATTER OF SALVATION, AND THEREBY ESTABLISHING PAUL, BY SUCH ‘CRITERIA OF ACCEPTANCE’, AS THE PIVOT UPON WHICH SALVATION OF ONE’S SOUL, ACTUALLY RESTS…. NOT CHRIST’S…

      I suppose Jesus appears to you in person? …perhaps not? My faith is based on Christ as he is revealed in the New Testament. Not some tingling feeling or experience that a Mormon or any other cultist can claim. He may work in your heart and the Holy Spirit may call one through spiritual means but Christianity is propositional faith and faith comes by the words of the NT. It has been 2000 years. Our faith is based on a book. Christ chose to reveal himself to us through the medium of written language. Without the New Testament you, nor I, not anyone would know much about Christ. Yes Salvation is in Christ alone but that is through His word. That word was entrusted largely to the Apostle Paul, so if you deny His word, you have nothing.

  40. BCV says:

    John B, although I do not agree with all you say,… : ) I nonetheless respect your way of speaking to others.
    It says much… I look forward to the opportunity of visiting with you in the future…

    Respectfully,
    BCV

  41. john B says:

    Hi BCV; as I have said,, salvation is in Christ and Christ alone
    I have a tendency to reckon that Travis is some what messianic in theology.. Now; if he is not , then; the status of His belief has great similarity to messianic Jewish theology.. which I believe to be a mixture of rabbinism and grace.. and as such is what Apostle Paul gave warning about…. see the Epistle to the Galatians..
    All the Apostles accepted Paul.. If it was not Christ that revealed himself on the Damascus road then it was the devil ! Not So; this i do not believe, reason being that The Apostle suffered for Christ sake abandoning his rabbinical ways, Not forgetting that he was present at Stephen’s Martyrdom and that his life ended in persecution from the Jews, this being a sequel of the pro Jewish messianic movement aligning itself with the rabbinism of the past against such as myself.. I have had a similar experience to Paul.. although i do not classify myself as an Apostle, But I proclaim the Apostolic doctrine that salvation is By Grace and not race, anD as such,that one’s calling entail’s a responsibility for Holiness and not the Law of Moses!

    Blessings in Jesus

    john B

  42. Amber says:

    After five years of marriage, I just discovered this year that my in-laws are docetists! They are part of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. The doctrine is so subtly introduced, however, that my husband never even realized it. After consulting their book of doctrine and conversing with a family member, the idea was confirmed. Coupled with the fact that they’re legalistic and believe they’re the ” one true church”, should we be questioning their salvation? They’re obviously following a deceiving spirit, yet they are so close to orthodox christianity. You’re right, If the tables were turned and they denied Christ’s deity it would be a major problem. Both aspects of Jesus’ nature are important to grasp. Any pointers on how to approach them on this subject? It’s a bit challenging because they will quote scripture about Jesus coming in the flesh, but deny that its human flesh.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Amber, I would start by asking them questions. It could be the case that they don’t really believe the position of their leadership. So maybe bring up at text like “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15) I recommend listening to and perhaps studying this. — get really strong in your knowledge of these passages — and then ask them questions and rather than correcting them, respond with questions like “How do make sense of passage like John 1:14: ‘The Word became flesh.’ ” If you keep asking questions perhaps you can lead them to see the problems without a direct confrontation. Rather than forcing your view, make them defend theirs (if they really are docetists).

      • Cris Putnam says:

        This text is another good one to ask about “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” (Php 2:6-10)

        • amber says:

          Thank you so much for your feedback. I thought of Hebrews 4:15 first too. Asking more questions sounds like a great start as well. Here’s where it’s tricky. They are not pure docetists in that they believe Jesus was only spirit. They believe Jesus had a physical body – they don’t think it was human, however. They pick up on words like the verse you gave above “likeness of men” or “human form,” saying that Jesus looked like a human, was born and died like a human, but had no genetic connection to the human race. They believe his physical body was formed in heaven of “celestial flesh” and then he was incubated within Mary:

          “We say and teach according to the plain testimony of John, that the Word was made flesh, not of Mary, but in Mary. In other words, He did not take his flesh from Mary. The distinction of Christ’s body being formed in Mary, rather than being of her, points out the truth that while man is subject to inherent sin, Christ was not.” (Bible Doctrine and Practice, pg 40)

          So I guess the next logical step is Gen.3:15 and then God’s promise to Abraham and David to bless the nations of the earth through their offspring/seed?

          • Cris Putnam says:

            Well that’s a good track and he is described as a son of David’s as well. Of course the genealogies are given to prove his Davidic ancestry. Listen to the Piper link on Jesus humanity and I’m sure he’ll give you some good ideas too.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Testing the Spirits (part 1) — Logos Apologia Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment […]

  2. […] Cris Putnam Continuing the series Testing the Spirits, we now turn to the second test in 1 John 4: “Little children, you are from God and have […]

  3. […] Economy: The U.S. Retail Collapse Accelerates (NYSEARCA:TZA, NYSEARCA:FAS, NYSEARCA:FAZ, NYSEARCA:SLV, NYSEARCA:GLD) | ETF DAILY NEWS Superstorm strikes East Coast: At least 300,000 without power after TORNADO sweeps through New York | Mail Online How Obama has stealthily dismantled America’s immigration enforcement laws | Fox News Bullying Chick-fil-A | The American Conservative » Overwhelming Evidence Mounts Indicating Colorado Shooting Staged Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind! Colorado Batman Shooting: Second Gas Mask Found on the Scene, Neck Wound Blood Trail Cover Up, Questions, and More : Aurora Police Chief: From Beat Cop to Intelligence Agent Operative – Officer on Scene Describes Two Shooters : Testing the Spirits (part 1) — Logos Apologia […]

Speak Your Mind