WHERE THE CHURCH WENT WRONG! Part 1
Updated: a day ago
I know, I know, pretty arrogant right? Who am I to say the church went wrong? Well, I'm just a simple man seeking a simple truth. Actually, I'm following the admonition of the Apostle Paul found in Jude 1:3-4...
Beloved ones, making all haste to write to you concerning our common deliverance, I felt the necessity to write to you urging you to earnestly contend for the belief which was once for all delivered to the set-apart ones.
For certain men have slipped in, whose judgment was written about long ago, wicked ones perverting the favour of our Elohim for indecency, and denying the only Master יהוה and our Master יהושע Messiah. (Jude 1:3-4 The Scriptures 2009)
I am earnestly contending to know the truth and therefore the fullness of the plan of Yahuah recorded in Scripture. It is my intent to reveal what the Apostle Paul called "the belief which was once for all delivered to the set-apart ones." And in the process it is my purpose to steer anyone who will listen away from the "wicked ones perverting the favour of our Elohim for indecency, and denying the only Master יהוה and our Master יהושע Messiah” as He knows Himself to be.
Although the Apostle Paul was dealing with slightly different circumstances I truly believe we have "wicked ones" today and they're standing in the pulpits of today's churches and seminaries. Oh they don't look wicked, they're probably fairly likable, charismatic people, but Messiah Yahusha most certainly spoke of them in Matthew 7:15...
“But beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are savage wolves."
Does that sound harsh? I suppose it does but there is no excuse for the continued parroting of wrongly asserted pagan lies adopted by the Roman Catholic Church nearly 1500 years ago which then metastasized like a cancer throughout the Protestant Churches of the Reformation over 500 years ago.
Preachers just keep on regurgitating the same old junk they were fed in seminary year after year without end. Which is why it has become so hard for me to watch Christian TV and listen to Christian radio programs! Why is it that you rarely ever here of a preacher that stands before his congregation and tells them that he can't continue to preach the denominational line because he has discovered faults with it? While it does happen, it is a rarity.
Why don't preachers read the Scriptures for themselves with a mind yielded to the leading of the Ruach HaQodesh and in doing so at least on occasion have an 'ah ha' moment or two of their own that they're willing to stand on? Why? Because they're not 'critical thinkers', many have grown up from their births in families that have remained in denominational subservience for generations. They're attitude is simply this, "Grandpa and Grandma's religion is good enough for me." They can't even begin to imagine that Grandpa and Grandma could have been deceived. Their minds are compartmentalized and no original thought will ever cross over into their mental compartment labeled "Theology" where their denominational master reigns. Their highest ideal is to answer the call of their denomination, to follow and advance the cause of their denomination's founder. They're then thoroughly brainwashed in seminary and can't see the forest for the trees. Coupled with the enormous amount of peer pressure from family, friends and colleagues and it becomes a little more understandable why they refuse to color outside the denominational lines. Finally, there is the simple fact that the livelihood of most preachers depends on them not rocking the boat, that church is their milk cow... that's why! They're hirelings and their monthly income and their retirement package is bound to that church, they can't tell the truth without getting the left boot of fellowship and losing it all!
Ultimately my purpose here is to deliver a ‘coherent’ presentation of The Everlasting Gospel of Messiah Yahusha, the Savior of ALL MANKIND that goes all the way back to before the foundations of the world, i.e. before anything was ever created! Before I get started let’s take a look at that word ‘coherent’ just to emphasize my point and purpose…
Definition of coherent
1a: logically or aesthetically ordered or integrated : CONSISTENT
a coherent argument
b: having clarity or intelligibility : UNDERSTANDABLE
a coherent person
a coherent passage
2: having the quality of holding together or cohering
especially : COHESIVE, COORDINATED
a coherent plan for action
3a: relating to or composed of waves having a constant difference in phase
b: producing coherent light
a coherent source
Synonyms for coherent
analytic (or analytical), consequent, good, logical, rational, reasonable, sensible, sound, valid, well-founded, well-grounded
Words Related to coherent
a posteriori, a priori, syllogistic, cognitive, empirical (also empiric)
defendable, defensible, justifiable, maintainable, supportable, sustainable, tenable
Hopefully you get it, my purpose here is to offer a presentation of The Everlasting Gospel that actually ‘makes sense’ because the gospel that has prevailed for the last 1500 years doesn’t make any sense at all!!! The gospel as it is being proclaimed by today’s Christianity is totally incoherent!!!
The ensuing series of blogs is the fruit of a conversation that took place one recent evening around an unlit fire pit at the end of a hard day’s work. The center piece of that conversation was a comment that took the form of either “I’d like to believe there is no hell but…” or "I'd like to believe all mankind will be saved but..."
Before leaving that conversation I made a commitment to provide both Scriptural and academic resources that can build the foundation for such a belief and this blog is the first of six intended blogs attempting to fulfill my promise as a man of my word. I consider it an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to bring to bear the Scriptures, Church History and the ancient definitions of words to set people free from the bondage of 1500 years of false church doctrine proclaiming a place of fiery eternal torment called HELL or eternal death via annihilation and restoring the true Everlasting Gospel of Messiah Yahusha, the Savior of ALL MANKIND!
Part 1 of a 6 Part Series
Early Church History,
Exercising Our Innate Sense of Morality
Torah Based Universal Salvation
I so vividly remember the moment (over 20 years ago by now) while reading Marvin Wilson's book 'Our Father Abraham' when I took offense to the title of his 10th Chapter. How dare he title a chapter of his book 'Where The Church Went Wrong'!
Who does he think he is? For me it was one of those moments when you turn the page and blood rushes to your head, I was incensed! Nevertheless, I manned up, and finished the book, I just wasn't happy about it! He was stepping on my toes with every great point that he brought to bear. Little did I know the stage for my departure from the false church was being set. This blog however, isn't about Marvin Wilson's book per say, other than to borrow the offensive title of his tenth chapter, I'll take it from there and go it alone and take it a step or two further to reveal Where The Church Went Wrong!
A little study on Church History reveals it didn't take long for the early church to lose its way. Before the end of the 1st Century A.D. a historical blackout falls, no doubt due to the Roman Empire’s wars against the Jews circa 70 A.D. and 135 A.D. that were so crushing some historians consider them to have been genocidal having nearly wiped out the Jewish people as well as their cultural and religious footprint. We're left without much historical information to illuminate what was actually going on within the faith behind that curtain. By the time the curtain finally rises the church looks different and continues to change throughout the early centuries, once again, no doubt due to continued persecution by the Roman Empire of both Jews and the burgeoning number who became followers of Messiah Yahusha, and yet the early church held on to a Gospel well into the 6th Century that is substantially different from the Gospel that mainstream Christianity preaches today.
Out of six theological schools that developed over the early centuries of The New Covenant Church four of them taught Universal Salvation and only one taught anything about an afterlife of eternal torment for the wicked. Even a superficial study of the Ante-Nicene Fathers reveals that many prominent leaders of the early church believed in the Universal Salvation of ALL MANKIND, it was in fact the prevailing doctrine on salvation in the early church! Here’s a short list of those understood to be influential orthodox Universalists of the Early Church including the double-minded Jerome...
Pantaenus, first of the Didascalia (?-216AD)
Clement of Alexandria (150-220AD)
Pamphilus of Caesarea (?-309AD)
Gregory Thaumaturgus, the Wonder Worker (213-270AD)
Eusebius of Caesarea, the Friend (263–339AD)
Marcellus of Ancyra (?-374AD)
Titus, Bishop of Bostra (?-378AD)
Didymus the Blind (309-395AD)
Macrina the Younger (327-390AD)
Diodore of Tarsus (?-390AD)
Gregory of Nyssa (335-390AD)
Tyrannius Rufinus (345-410AD),
Jerome, later renounced universalism (347–420)
It is an undeniable fact that the early church believed in Universal Salvation/Restoration. Here are a couple resource links along with their brief introduction from the webpage Scholar’s Corner to help make the case for such a conclusion…
1) The Early Christian View of the Savior, by Gary Amirault
Many Orthodox scholars acknowledge that the early Church did NOT primarily believe in Hell, but believed in the salvation of all mankind. They termed their belief in Greek "apocatastasis," that is, the restoration of all things back to God. This work by Gary Amirault quotes some of those Orthodox historians as well as some of the early church leaders who taught universalism through Jesus Christ.
2) Universalism The Prevailing Doctrine Of The Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years, by J.W. HANSON, D. D.
A well-referenced full length book by Dr. John Wesley Hanson proving that the message of Universalism, that Jesus Christ was the Savior of the entire world, was the majority view of the early Church and its leaders.
In ‘The Summary of Conclusions’ from J.W. Hanson’s book ‘Universalism The Prevailing Doctrine Of The Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years’ published in 1899 and listed above, the 29th Conclusion makes the point that even though heresies abounded during the time of the early church Universalism is NEVER mentioned as a heresy!
“(29) Origen, the chief representative of Universalism in the ancient centuries, was bitterly opposed and condemned for various heresies by ignorant and cruel fanatics. He was accused of opposing Episcopacy, believing in pre-existence, etc., but never was condemned for his Universalism. The very council that anathematized "Origenism" eulogized Gregory of Nyssa, who was explicitly a Universalist as was Origen. Lists of his errors are given by Methodius, Pamphilus and Eusebius, Marcellus, Eustathius and Jerome, but Universalism is not named by one of his opponents. Fancy a list of Ballou's errors and his Universalism omitted; Hippolytus (A.D. 320) names thirty-two known heresies, but Universalism is not mentioned as among them. Epiphanius, "the hammer of heretics," describes eighty heresies, but he does not mention universal salvation, though Gregory of Nyssa, an outspoken Universalist, was, at the time he wrote, the most conspicuous figure in Christendom.” (Bold emphasis mine)
Knowing there was originally a strong belief in Universal Salvation in the early church may help us today to see the verses in Scripture that clearly proclaim Universal Salvation for what they are, at least if we're willing to take off the denominational blinders and immerse ourselves in ‘critical thinking’ about the words we are actually reading in Scripture.
I have personally witnessed theologians take twenty minutes to spin a verse to mean what they want it to mean when it only takes five seconds to read the verse and interpret its clear intent as a child would understand it. When asked a question about a verse that seems to live in a tortured state of existence according to denominational dogma the preacher shifts from giving a clear and concise interpretation to a deflection siting what some other theologian from the annuls of history has said, usually a founding father of the denomination and in doing so he feels that he has given his response an element of authority, as well as having relieved himself of any responsibility.
I remember so well during my time in the Lutheran Church when I’d ask a question about a particular verse or subject the answer more often than not would come back, “Well, Martin Luther said…” While I’m sure Martin Luther may have had many fine things to say, ultimately I don’t care what Martin Luther said, I want to know the truth and I don’t consider any man to be the arbiter of all truth!
When you catch a theologian taking too much time to explain a simple verse you know you’re in the spin zone! The answer is not coming from Scripture using Scripture to interpret itself, nor is the answer coming from the foundations in time from where the answer has its beginning, the answer in such an instance is more than likely coming from the Reformation of the 1500’s. While the Reformation battle cry was “Sola Scriptura”, nothing could have been further from the truth! We are in desperate need of a Second Reformation that actually remains true to “Sola Scriptura”!!!
The salvation of mankind will be what it will be regardless of what you or I presently think about it but what truly hangs in the balance is the ‘perceived’ character of our Creator and the ‘effectiveness’ of preaching a Gospel proclaiming an impotent Savior resulting in a ‘limited salvation’ to the nations via The Great Commission. That’s no small thing!
“Therefore, go and make taught ones of all the nations, immersing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Set-apart Spirit, teaching them to guard all that I have commanded you. And see, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Aměn. (Matthew 28:19-20)
There are three main divisions within today’s Christianity, I’ll list them along with a short summation of their belief…
1) Arminianists, who believe Yahuah wants to save ALL MANKIND but can’t. (Merciful but Impotent)
2) Calvinists, who believe Yahuah can save ALL MANKIND but won’t. (Omnipotent but Merciless)
3) Universalists, who believe Yahuah can save ALL MANKIND and will. (Omnipotent and Merciful)
Both Arminianism and Calvinism call into question the Omniscience, Omnipotence and Mercy of The Almighty and ultimately His character. Why would He even think to go forward with a plan that He foreknew would end up with the eternal torment or eternal death of tens of billions of people just to save a few whom He predestined from the foundations of the world? If you’re honest with yourself you know that dog won’t hunt!
To believe in either Arminianism or Calvinism is to accept your Creator as an ogre who is content to allow BILLIONS of men, women, and children to suffer eternal torment (hell) or eternal death (annihilation) just so that a few, whom He predestines before He ever creates anything, can be saved from sin and death. A logical and inescapable conclusion, if you believe in either eternal torment or eternal death, is that if He predestined the Elect to be saved from the foundations of the world then He also predestined the un-Elect to eternal torment or eternal death from the foundations of the world! You can’t choose one without un-choosing the other!
I implore you, as you read this blog and future blogs to come on this subject, to lean on that innate sense of morality that our Creator has planted in the depths of your being. You instinctively know the difference between right and wrong, now allow your moral instincts to rise above the clamor of lies that took hold within the church over 1500 years ago and let the Ruach HaQodesh speak to you through the written WORD of Yahuah as we consider the recorded statements of Messiah Yahusha and His Apostles in future blogs to discern for yourself whether the church of today accurately portrays the image, attributes and character of our Father in Heaven and of Messiah Yahusha and His Gospel.
We must all use that innate sense of morality that exists within us and apply it to the denominational doctrines the church has proclaimed for the last 1500 years in defining the over arching plan of The Almighty Himself! Let this question be ever present in your thoughts as you continue to read…
“Is it reasonable to believe that an Omnipotent and Omniscient Creator who claims to be ‘endlessly merciful' (Psalm 136) can be reconciled to a pre-creation plan of The Father that includes tens of billions of human beings failing His standard of righteousness and then suffering ‘eternal torment’ (hell) or ‘eternal death’ (annihilation) as the penalty for having done so?”
Remember, He would have known BEFORE He created anything that those tens of billions of people would end up paying infinite penalties for finite crimes! While you can blow the whole question off by saying, “He’s The Almighty, He can do whatever he wants to!”, which is the easy thing to do, we can’t escape the responsibility of exercising that inner sense of morality that He Himself has placed deep within us.
“Would it have been moral for an Omnipotent and Omniscient Creator to have moved forward with a creation and redemption plan, such as the churches proclaim today, having known the end from the beginning?”
It is my hope that this blog will be a tool in the toolbox of The Almighty used in bringing you to the conclusion that something has to give!
Earlier I listed the three main categories of today’s Christianity… By now I’m sure you realize that I fall into the last category. However, I am not a Universalist as it is being proclaimed today, there is a qualifier…
Rather, I am an unabashed Torah Based Universalist. BIG DIFFERENCE!
I believe Messiah Yahusha is the Savior of ALL MANKIND, not as we are, but as He wills us to be… Faithful and Obedient!
What do I understand Faithful and Obedient to mean?
In regard to being Faithful I mean... we should believe in Messiah Yahusha as He knows Himself to be, i.e. the Savior of the Whole World. Anything less than that in my opinion is a form of denial, at least in part, of who Messiah Yahusha is before men resulting in His denial of those who believe in such an impotent, limited savior before His Father.
“Can a person be in possession of a salvific faith if they deny Messiah Yahusha was of divine origin and virgin birth?”
“Can a person be in possession of a salvific faith if they deny Messiah Yahusha miraculously healed the sick?”
“Can a person be in possession of a salvific faith if they deny Messiah Yahusha cast out demons?”
“Can a person be in possession of a salvific faith if they deny Messiah Yahusha rose from the dead?”
“Can a person be in possession of a salvific faith if they deny Messiah Yahusha is the Creator?"
All these things are attributes He knows of Himself, He also knows Himself to be the Savior of ALL MANKIND, we must not deny it if we’re to possess a salvific faith!
We’re told of One who is “mighty to save” in Zephaniah 3:16-17, we’re told of a Creator, Redeemer and Restorer of ALL THINGS in Colossians 1:16-20 and we’re also warned of false prophets and false teachers who teach “destructive heresies” and “deny the Master” in 2 Peter 2:1. Teaching a limited salvation via an impotent savior is a major destructive heresy against Messiah Yahusha who says He will draw all men to Himself if He is crucified!!!
In that day it shall be said to Yerushalayim, “Do not fear, Tsiyon, do not let your hands be weak. “יהוה your Elohim in your midst, is mighty to save. He rejoices over you with joy, He is silent in His love, He rejoices over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:16-17 The Scriptures 2009)
Because in Him were created all that are in the heavens and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or rulerships or principalities or authorities – all have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all, and in Him all hold together. And He is the Head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that He might become the One who is first in all. Because in Him all the completeness was well pleased to dwell and through Him to completely restore to favour all unto Himself, whether on earth or in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of His stake. (Colossians 1:16-20 The Scriptures 2009)
But there also came to be false prophets among the people, as also among you there shall be false teachers, who shall secretly bring in destructive heresies, and deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. (2 Peter 2:1 The Scriptures 2009)
In regard to being Obedient I mean... we should be committed to keeping His Commandments, i.e. as a bare minimum I’m speaking of The Ten Commandments to be kept here and now with a commitment to keep all remaining relevant commandments once He brings us into The Promised Land after His return to planet Earth! The keeping of His Commandments is the fulfillment of our vowed commitment to Him when we receive His marriage proposal via The Master’s Table as we eat the bread and drink the cup of The New Marriage Covenant of Messiah Yahusha. This is exactly what He requested of us the night His disciples entered into The New Marriage Covenant via The Master’s Table as is recorded in John 14:15…
“If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.
Please understand, this is a HUGE topic and this blog is already much longer than I wanted it to be but to keep this blog post and those to come relatively short and readable I’ll break this up into multiple posts. In this opening post I have touched lightly on Church History, the need to exercise our inner sense of morality to judge the salvational plan of Yahuah according to church doctrines and my Torah Based faith in Messiah Yahusha as the Universal Restorer and Savior of ALL MANKIND.
In Part Two I’ll discuss the word “hell” as it is used in the King James Version of Scripture as well as the definitional drift over time of the meanings of several key words used throughout the Scriptures and mistranslated by many, if not most, translations today. The mistranslation of those key words give several verses the sense of eternal damnation, whatever that may mean to the reader, so I’ll address that too.
In Part Three I’ll take a look at what Messiah Yahusha had to say about the salvation of mankind.
In Part Four I’ll consider what the Apostle Paul had to say about the salvation of mankind, did he agree with Messiah Yahusha?
In Part Five I’ll consider what the rest of Messiah Yahusha’s followers and writers of The Apostolic Epistles had to say on the matter.
Finally, in Part Six I’ll dive into The Covenant of Redemption, the bedrock guarantee of the salvation of every man, woman and child of Adam’s race that has ever known life, in the sense of being self-aware, and I’ll do it from both the Old and New Testament to discover ‘Where The Church Went Wrong!’ there too!
I believe the Scriptures, as they were originally recorded by the hand of men via the inspiration of the Ruach HaQodesh, were in fact inerrant and without contradiction. It encompasses history, law and prophecy but it is foremost a Love Letter from Yahuah to mankind filled with promises that surpass the human mind’s ability to comprehend and to grasp the majesty of it’s scope we must first come to an interpretation of that message that lives in perfect harmony with itself… can the words of Messiah Yahusha recorded in Matthew 25:46 be reconciled with His words recorded in John 12:32 as well as The Apostle Paul’s words recorded in 1st Corinthians 15:22?
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46 KJV)
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32 KJV)
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV)
It is my sincere hope that by the time you’ve read through these six blog posts and the resources I’ll provide that you’ll come to understand without a shadow of doubt that, yes, these seemingly contrary verses can live in perfect harmony once we get the false traditions of mankind out of the way!
Jeremiah states it quite succinctly...
“How do you say, ‘We are wise, and the Torah of יהוה is with us’? But look, the false pen of the scribe has worked falsehood. “The wise shall be put to shame, they shall be broken down and caught. See, they have rejected the Word of יהוה, so what wisdom do they have? (Jeremiah 8:8-9 The Scriptures 2009)
And then again...
O יהוה, my strength and my stronghold and my refuge, in the day of distress the nations shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility, and there is no value in them.” (Jeremiah 16:19 The Scriptures 2009)
Jeremiah's prophetic proclamations have certainly come to pass as the lies through translational errors and denominational doctrine, influenced greatly by pagan converts from Latin language backgrounds, have vilified our endlessly merciful Creator as an ogre and rendered His Everlasting Gospel a mere ghost of its former self.
Will these lies stand? Rest assured they will not, The Almighty sits on His Throne along with His Mighty Warrior Son, Messiah Yahusha. The wrath of Elohim will soon be poured out and all those living on planet Earth will receive the discipline they so richly deserve and need, a trip to the wood shed is in order! His wrath against the nations will carry with it the remedial purpose of restoring righteousness, don’t allow that to be lost in the equation. His wrath will be poured out on all mankind that live at the time of The Great Tribulation, save those who participate in The Greater Exodus who are protected in large part beneath His wing as they trek back to The Promised Land! There is a rapture but not a pre-trib Rapture! Before the Great Tribulation is over He will have the attention of all mankind!
There is currently an ongoing restoration of His character, His truths, His Torah and His Everlasting Gospel which proclaims the salvation of all mankind and the restoration of all things. My hope and expectation is in His hands, knowing I have nothing of value, it's all about His Amazing Grace! Hopefully you can relate!
May our endlessly merciful Creator and Redeemer bless you with an overflowing abundance of His Ruach HaQodesh and guide you into His Truth which will unquestionably set you free!
This has been Part 1 of Where The Church Went Wrong! If you are intrigued by what you've read and would like to receive notifications when Parts 2 through 6 are eventually published, as well as all other future blogs, please consider signing up via the 'Log In/Sign Up' button located at the top right corner of this page.