WHY ALL THE DIFFERENCES?
Copied from the sermon notes of Pastor Don Elmore
October 6, 2019
Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 3:13-15:
13) “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them:
15) And that from a child thou hast known of the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
What was the religion of the Protestants that began and fueled the Protestant Reformation? Martin Luther and John Calvin were the two most famous reformers, but there were many more who did not reach the fame of these two. What did they teach?
Luther and Calvin were both writers as well as Catholic priests—who raised serious objections about the Roman Catholic Church. You can read what they believed four to five hundred years later. Luther was the author or co-author of the following books:
The Bondage of the Will,
On Christian Liberty,
Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses,
Small Catechism, with Explanation,
Commentary on Galatians,
The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings,
Basic Theological Writings,
A Simple Way to Pray,
By Faith Alone,
Commentary on Romans,
The Table Talk of Martin Luther,
A Treatise on Good Works,
The Jews and Their Lies,
Reading the Psalms with Luther: The Psalter for Individual & Family Devotions,
Works of Martin Luther, With Introductions and Notes, Volume 1,
On The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,
Selections from the Table Talk of Martin Luther,
Luther and Calvin on Secular Authority,
The Martin Luther Collection: 15 Classic Works,
Martin Luther’s Christmas Book,
Martin Luther: In His Own Words,
The Smalcald Articles,
Commentary on Genesis, Volume 2: Luther on Sin and the Flood,
Plus, over 100 more.
And then there are John Calvin’s writings:
Institutes of the Christian Religion,
Commentaries (22 volumes),
Tracts and Letters (7 volumes)
Part of these volumes include Calvin’s debate with Cardinal Sadoleto,
Calvin’s side of the Eucharistic debate with the Lutherans,
His response to the Council of Trent, and several other things.
Luther and Calvin on Secular Authority,
Grace and its Fruits,
Heart Aflame, Daily Readings from Psalms.
And a few others.
Both religious leaders wrote more words than are found in the 66 books of the Bible. But there were differences between the two men, differences of opinion between the:
Law and Grace,
The Law and the Gospel.
These are some of their major problems that they disagreed about.
But almost all churches in America now disagree with most of the words that both Luther and Calvin wrote. In fact, they disagree with not only Luther and Calvin’s many writings, but Reformation theologians such as Fiacius Urbanus Rhegius, Johanne Brenz, Martin Chemnitz, Philip Melanchthon, Martin Bucer, Huldrych Zwingli, Heinrich Bullinger and Theodore Beza. These Reformation leaders were prominent around the same time as Luther and Calvin. How many of their books have you even seen, let alone read?
Do you know that most churches now do not believe the doctrines that were the foundation blocks of the Protestant Reformation? The Lutheran Church was formed after the doctrines of Martin Luther; the Presbyterian Church was formed after the doctrines of John Calvin. Both the Lutheran and Presbyterian Churches, and other churches, like the Pilgrims, Puritans, Congregationists, some Baptists, some Episcopal, and others believed the doctrines that caused the people to break away from the universal Catholic Church. But today they no longer teach the doctrines their churches had orogonally believed very strongly, except for a few very small, isolated conservative churches.
The churches that first came to America in the early history of our country were referred to as being Calvinistic. They believed in the sovereignty of Almighty God. They believed that God chose or elected the people for salvation. They also said that the people were totally depraved, could not do anything to save themselves, that they needed God’s unconditional election to save them. Those people whom God did not elect remained lost.
When I first learned this fact, I was in elementary school. How strange, I thought. So, I asked my teacher the following question,
“What did this mean. What is the doctrine of predestination?”
She didn’t know either. She just said, “The Pilgrims and Puritans believed that if God saved you, you were saved. If He didn’t, you weren’t.”
So, I didn’t understand either for about 40 more years.
Have you ever sung the hymn, “Rock of Ages”? It was written by Augustus Toplady. Toplady was “saved” when he was 15 years old (1755) while attending a Methodist revival in an Irish barn. He felt that he was “brought nigh to God”. It was at this point that he determined to go into ministry.
Once he joined the ministry, he began to consider more closely the distinctions between Arminianism and Calvinism. The Methodist movement was decidedly Arminian, and Toplady, as an offspring of that movement, initially adopted that understanding. But Toplady soon became convinced of the Calvinistic perspective and thus became a minister in the Church of England.
He switched from being an Arminian to being a strict Calvinist. The Theology of John Wesley, which led to the formation of the Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Church and the Salvation Army, according to Toplady, is:
An equal portion of gross heathenism,
Popery (Roman Catholicism), and
Toplady thought that it was impossible to think that an Arminian could be saved. He classified them with Pelagians, Socinians, Papists and heretics.
The issue of Calvinism versus Arminianism was a hot topic in the church in those days, and for the remainder of his life Toplady would write and debate on the subject, arguing at length (and at times viciously) for the doctrine of election. Unfortunately, towards the end of his short life (he died at the age of 38), the debate grew increasingly ugly, resulting in a major and public rift between him and John Wesley that would never find resolution.
Toplady died two years after America began their Revolutionary War, in 1778 from tuberculosis. He never married, his life and ministry were short, and he certainly had his share of flaws. But God was pleased to use him to write a hymn that would so powerfully communicate the Calvinistic gospel and encourage the saints, that his name and story have been preserved to this day.
Toplady wrote several hymns in his life, but “Rock of Ages” is by far his most famous. In 1923, it was in more church hymnals than any other English hymn.
Not only is it well known among churchgoers, but it is also recognizable in popular culture. There is a common story of the hymn being inspired by (and even written from within) a rock cleft that Toplady once took refuge in during a storm. The rock is in Burrington Combe gorge in North Somerset, England, and it has a plaque on it with this claim to fame.
ROCK OF AGES
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labors of my hands,
Can fulfill Thy law’s commands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
Were thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
500-years-ago the Protestant Reformation began. Pilgrims were one of the first groups of people who arrived in America, who suffered from religious persecution. The first group of them arrived in 1620. They are the ones that are credited with starting the first Thanksgiving in our nation. But they hated Roman Catholicism and they hated Catholicism’s two main holidays—Christ’s Mass and Easter. They even had laws on their books that if any one celebrated either of these two holidays, they would have to pay the fine that was assigned. It was even a law that they were required to work these days unless it fell on the Sabbath Day.
And there were no Jews in England until about 35 years after the time the Pilgrims first began to come to America, 1620. The Pilgrims and Puritans were free from interest banking, but they suffered greatly from religious persecution. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that they did not want any Roman Catholics or Jews to be in their new settlement in the new land.
In his book entitled On Jews and Their Lies, late in his life, Luther wrote:
“My advice, as I said earlier, is:
First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire...
Second, that all their books-- their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible-- be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted...
Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country...
Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it…
The rulers must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them. If this does not help, we must drive them out like mad dogs.”
This was many years before Christians were influenced by Hinduism. Luther was very short on tolerance.
But today, we have racial reconciliation meetings that feature speakers from Protestant, Catholic and Jewish ideologies. We also have churches(?) and congregations(?) “who teach the Rapture, thinks jews are God’s chosen people and that Jesus was a jew. They are Christian Zionists and are the great apostasy of the latter days. It’s that simple. They are in league with the very people who killed Jesus and the same antinomian system that supports the lawlessness of Judaism.
When jews figured out they couldn’t stop the momentum of early Christianity, they concocted a theory of prophecy called futurism that conceded a form of Christianity with the caveat that it would eventually revert back to the Old covenants with God dwelling in their temples made of wood and stone, rebuilt in Jerusalem, run by so called Levitical [sic] jews sacrificing animals.” The late Pastor Mark Downey, third paragraph, from his sermon entitled, “Congregations-of-Blasphemers”.
The religious “Christian” world now is in complete disarray. The Roman Catholic holidays of Christmas and Easter are now the biggest holidays of the year. Christ’s Mass is the nation’s unofficial Sabbath Day. More stores are closed on this day that on any other day of the year. The third most celebrated holiday is coming at the end of this month—Halloween. Only a very few Christians even believe that this day is really a holiday celebrated by their enemies.
What has happened? America has gone from:
Calvinistic churches to Arminian churches,
Only white men, who owned property could vote, to anyone over 18 years old, not matter their race, creed or gender. The only exception is if they committed a felony, they are disqualified to vote.
The mainline churches are practically abandoned, while the super mega-churches are growing.
White men were the pastors, assistant pastors, deacons, etc. while today all races, all genders are serving as pastors, assistant pastors and deacons.
Christ’s Mass and Easter were not celebrated at all in the early days of our nation, while now it is the mark of being a “Christian.”
What is happening?
I told you in my last sermon about the half-page ad in the USA Today newspaper that was titled: “Is The Roman Catholic Church The True Church?” The first and last paragraphs sum up the article:
“Over 1 billion people in our day believe Roman Catholicism is the one true church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and built upon Peter (the bishop of Rome), the first pope…”
And we have as a summation, the last paragraph:
“The sacraments, Mary, and being a Catholic cannot save anyone. Final spiritual authority is the scriptures (the Bible); God’s written word is the Christian’s spiritual authority. Scripture shows one must sincerely turn from idols and other sins and obediently follow Jesus in order to have eternal life in God’s kingdom and escape the lake of fire. Jesus is our true ‘life, sweetness and hope; --not Mary, as openly declared in the Rosary—yet another violation of Jesus’ teachings. Remember you are 100% safe to go by the bible alone. Don’t take a chance with your SOUL. This is for ETERNITY.”
One billion people are Roman Catholics? They are members of the Universal Church! Orientals, Negroes, Pacific Islanders, Native Indians, Eskimos, Mexicans, etc. are all members of the Universal Catholic Church. Protestants, five hundred years ago, hated the Roman Catholics. They hated their masses, their rituals, their idols, their popes, etc. They started a Revolution in order to become free from the chains of the universal church.
Different people get different interpretations from the same Scriptures that they read. The Bible is the story of the covenant people of God, called the Israelites. Who they are is the question that the Bible answers? But it is written in code. Why is it written in code? For the very same reason that Jesus spoke in parables. So that the unholy seed could not understand when they read it.
Most people do not know that many times when Jesus preached, most of the people listening to His sermon did not believe what He said and left. This happened when Jesus preached that Christianity was not like all the other religions of the world in which the people chose their own god. But with Christianity, God chooses the people He will have follow Him and be His people.
All religions of the world are based upon a chosen god concept. But true Christianity is based upon a chosen people concept. Yet Christians today, just like the first followers of Christ, find this chosen people concept to be horrible and offensive. Most Christians today have fallen to the ways of humanism, and the humanistic mind is in sharp conflict with the ways of God.
It is ironic that Christians today don’t realize that they, as white, European people are Israelites, racially and physically, and that is why they are Christians and believers. Religions which are based upon a chosen god concept allows for Universalism, since whosoever wishes to be involved may do so. But a religion based upon a chosen people concept is exclusive and not adaptable to Universalism.
How many people read the Bible wrongly whenever they read it? How many people don’t read the Bible at all? Don’t Universalists read the Bible. Don’t Arminians read the Bible? Don’t Calvinists read the Bible? Don’t Christmas celebrators read the Bible? Where do we get all the different opinions that everyone seems to have on different topics that are talked about in the Bible?
For example, Universalists read “all men” in the Bible and they see that phrase as signifying the entire global population of humans that ever existed. They take these two words to mean all human beings that have lived on the earth, regardless of what race they are. They ignore the unholy seed. They believe that all races are equal.
This is exactly what Answers in Genesis does. They ignore the “unholy seed”. They don’t even mention them, except as quoting some words of Jesus the Christ. And they ignore the covenant the LORD God made with Abraham and his seed. They ignore the two seed lines; that they have two different fathers. They argue that all men descend back to Noah and his three sons. And since, they say, that they were all that was left in the earth, all individuals are descended from Adam. The are silent on who Cain’s father is. They are silent on who their descendants are. There are still two seed lines in the earth.
For example, the Universalists and Arminians say that Titus 2:11 teaches that the grace of God and His salvation will be upon all men without exception.
Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”
Well, let us look at some scriptures and see if they mean what the universalist says that they mean. Does “all men” mean all the humans that are living in the earth?
- Mark 13:13: “You [the LORD’s disciples] shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”
Obviously, His disciples were not hated by everyone on the planet. Many persons they encountered gladly accepted them. Most of the individuals who were living when they were alive, never met or even knew that they existed.
- Mark 11:32: “If we shall say, Of me; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.”
This was the answer that the people gave to the religious leaders when they were asked by them whether the baptism of John was of God or men. Did the whole human family count John a prophet, when many of them never saw him or knew of him?
- Acts 19:19: “Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men.”
Did all the South American Incas see them burn these magical books? There were a lot more men who didn’t see this event happen than did.
- Mark 1:37: “And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, All [men] seek thee.”
Everyone without exception were looking for Jesus after He became separated from His disciples?
- Acts 21:28: “Men of Israel, help: this is the man, that teaches all men every where against the people.”
Certain Judeans had stirred up a crowd against the Apostle Paul. Paul was never in all parts of the world, and never taught but a tiny fraction of the people on the earth.
- Mark 5:20: “And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all [men] did marvel.”
After Jesus healed a demon-possessed man, the man went home and told how all men did marvel. But did he really mean “all men without exception?”
- Philippians 4:5: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.”
Paul told the Philippians the above verse. It was not intended that thy travel to every corner of the globe to let every person know of their moderation.
- Acts 2:45:“And sold their possession and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.”
The first converts to Christ sold their possessions and goods and gave what they got for these things to every person in the world. How much did they give to the New Guinea natives?
What does the following mean?
John 12:32: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
Does this verse mean all men who are living on the earth without exception?
Universalism has evolved from the 1800s and now covers many theological issues and topics. What Universalism has been and has evolved into can be summarized in the following beliefs and principles.
The universal fatherhood of God—all men in the world are God’s children. There are no humans who have the devil as their father.
The final harmony and reconciliation of all souls with God—God loves everyone and has mercy on everyone who is alive on the earth including those who have Lucifer as their father.
The brotherhood of mankind—the unity of the races. Those who have God as their father and those who have the devil as their father and united.
Anyone can become one of God’s elect or chosen people by their belief or acts. They can change who their father was.
Jesus changed God’s plan of dealing with a specific lineage of people and has establish a universal church that is open to all races, including the unholy seed.
These theological concepts have gradually become a part of many modern “Christian” denominations. Theological universalism is also related to political universalism, since the religious tenets of a people alter their political and social tenets. With theological universalism, the bottom line is that ultimately all races in the world are equal in the eyes of God. With political universalism, all races in the nation are equal in the eyes of the state or the government.
The modern concept of theological universalism has helped to support many social and political concepts which are harmful and destructive to our lives. These concepts include multiculturalism, pluralism, humanism, egalitarianism, socialism, integration, interracial marriage, universal suffrage, universal citizenship, welfare, so-called “hate crimes,” and a one-world order. Theological universalism also affects the way we perceive history.
In my next sermon we will look at how universalism has crept in to many denominations and has changed the nation to the mess that we now have. We’ll look at the scriptures they use and examine them much more closely.
To be continued.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel.