Christianity or “Christianity”
What is true and what it is not—can we know by clear distinction from the Word of God?
I am sure that many of you readers have noticed that in our world today (especially here in the USA) the majority do not seem to know the difference between false Christianity and true Christianity, evidenced by the very manner of what they say and how they say it. Either that, or they are ignoring truth and it may be a combination of the two, in some cases. Even when reading some written articles on the subject of “Christianity” the confusion shows up by lack of distinction. True Christians can, if diligently paying attention, tell from the bulk of word statements what the writer is talking about. However, when it comes across that the writer or speaker does not seem to know and is blending the two opposites; this can be misleading and even deceptive, for the unlearned. Here is a quote from an internet article of several months ago, here only as an example to make the point of where this article is going and what the purpose is; emphasis with highlighting mine in the quote.
“Essentially, Christianity is heavily impacted by the social and cultural trends of today’s world. Mainstream Christianity has clearly evolved within the last few decades!”
Which is which? Does the average person on the street automatically know? Are both uses of the word in the quote above the same and if so which is it, true or false Christianity that is being talked about—or is it both? Is “mainstream Christianity” really even Christianity? I think you can see the point. (Some today may not even be aware that a false and counterfeit Christianity was foisted on humanity, starting early on by agents of Satan and misappropriated the Name of Christ in order to deceive. (Matt.24:4-5) This was never true Christianity. So we will examine both in this article; true Christianity and false “Christianity”.)
I personally find it disappointing in our world today, (having related this before in various other pieces of material and even audios) as a member of the Body of Christ, seeing so many uses of the term “Christianity” used loosely and without the distinction just given, as in the quote above. The term is being applied to such a wide array of beliefs of various peoples religion today and has been for decades; even centuries—but now we see it even showing up in COG material. Christ is the Head of true Christianity (audio link) and certainly is not in competition with the many areas of false Christianity, as He does not need to be. However, in the quote above, and so many other statements of like manner, how does the untaught and unlearned young reader of our day KNOW if that is referring to false Christianity or True Christianity, when there is no proper distinction between the two? Many today are of the understanding that Christ established “Christianity” and it “evolved” into what we see today, which is what the article eluded to in the quote above. However ignorant the writer may be on this, that is a false understanding orchestrated by Satan the devil, who deceives the whole world! (2Cor.11:13-15 & Rev.12:9)
Can just anyone who claims “Christianity” really be a Christian? Can a loose or lukewarm use of the term help anyone know which is which, or is some clear and distinctive notation needed? If you are one who reads and understands your Bible, this is explained in various ways, as we are about to see. But we (In the COG) are to use the Bible to help the unlearned and unstudied see these differences clearly! Even on this website and by the Scriptural revelation used, one can tell the difference without having to try and decipher the statements and figure out what the writer or speaker means when it comes to true or false Christianity. It is a lot easier for the true Christian to discern between the two, as they have the help of the Holy Spirit; so this article is for those who are still learning the difference. HW Armstrong’s use of the term “The Plain Truth” is still very valid today and should be the goal in mind on every Biblical issue. Quotations on the word in the title are there to begin you thinking right away there IS a difference—the purpose of this article.
There is a vast difference that most today fail to recognize, which distinguishes between a True Christian and the false and counterfeit Christianity of our time. It is the COG’s responsibility to make a very clear distinction between the two, not writing or speaking in such a way as to leave you wondering or with a wrong impression. I don’t think this is emphasized enough today and has become lacking. Many need this difference clearly pointed out, so it is easily grasped. The Bible terms Christians as followers of Christ, as we can see here, the only place this word is found. Acts 11:26, cutting into the context tells us; “So it was that for a whole year they (Barnabas and Saul, v.25 = Paul) assembled with the church and taught a great many people.” (They were teaching “the church” what Christ and the written word of God teaches, basically from the Old Testament, as the NT was not yet written.) “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Definition of Christians here is “followers of Christ” labeled that by outsiders. Also, there are only two places the word Christian is found, both applying to followers of Christ.) We see the Bible makes a clear distinction however, of who were “FIRST” called Christians—being disciples (students) of Christ. That is not true of what is labeled “Christianity” today, which is a clear counterfeit! Let us be clear on this.
(NKJ throughout article, unless otherwise noted)
So followers of Christ were the only ones to be named Christians at that point in the early COG as just stated, and this was after they had been scattered (Acts 11:19)—still clinging to the teachings and direction of Christ. This was the Christianity of that day and time, and is still the same today. It has not evolved into something very different and never will. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, we learn from Heb.13:8. Col.1:18 shows He is the Head of the Church and only one Church. Let us notice in Rom 8: a clear passage that helps us begin to get at the heart of the matter and begin to see the clear difference, guided by Scripture. Paul begins to show a distinction in this chapter with verse one, but let us pick it up in V.4 “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (this is the Holy Spirit of God as we will see) V.5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” The natural man—fleshly or carnal, V.7—is at odds with or an enemy of God’s ways because they do not subject themselves to them.
Now we come to V.9 “But you (Paul addressing the converts) are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” So this is very clear that one has to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them and leading them (V.14) in order to really be a Christian and a child of God. If that Spirit is not there and guiding in obedience, the inspired word of God says and we just read; one is not a Christian. There is no blending of the two—to try and do so would violate the third Commandment, as we will see later on.
Let us inject at this point, Acts 5:32 where it is the apostles of Christ who; -- “are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." So going on now with Rom.8:10 “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, (See Gal.2:20) but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (This righteousness is based on the willingness and drive to be keeping the Commandments of God, according to many other passages. See also Matt.6:33) V.11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” This is clear and what sets a person apart as being a Christian.
True Christianity is a Spiritual organism that has and is being led by the Spirit, as this shows us. However still in the human flesh and not yet perfected, all true members of the body will be striving to come to be of the same mind. Phil. 2:5 says “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”---the mind of a Christian--and we find in Eph. 4:1-6 Paul saying; “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
The COG today however, has become scattered once again and is now plagued by lukewarm-ness and compromise on various things, in this last era of Laodicea, which has been going on now for nearly 3 decades. Those in the COG realm who are not in compliance with the above passage intended for the COG organism, are divided on many issues. Read the letter to Laodicea, which reveals that unless there is some serious repentance, those involved in such lukewarm-ness and compromise will be separated out of the Body. It is very possible that many already are separated from the true body at this time, simply because of so much lukewarm compromise; however they are too blind to see the need to repent of many things they do! This is spiritual blindness and slumbering (Matt.25:1-13) and when they are told where they are at odds with Scriptural direction, they simply ignore it or reason around it and continue right on the way they are, making their excuses to do so. We, in the COG today are in a time of testing and refining.
God clearly distinguishes between false Christianity and true Christianity in multiple ways and does not relax His standards, even for those in the COG who may stray off and want to do their own thing. Those having the Holy Spirit who actively seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, not yet made perfect but enduring to the end in obedience to all of God’s Commands and the authority of the Bible, are considered True Christianity. But there is more! There are no denominations in true Christianity; varying denominations are only in false Christianity! These Commands also include the keeping of the annual Sabbath’s and festivals of God, as listed in Lev.23 and without hypocrisy! (See BIBLE STUDIES for some of the Holy Day and Festival studies.)
A true Christian is reconciled to God through the shed blood of Christ (not made perfect or guaranteed salvation, only reconciled), which is a part of the conversion process while being set apart by the Spirit of God and a willingness to always repent & obey God, especially when seen to be at fault or possibly coming up short. There is so much more on this subject and you will find many things on this website that show more of what true Christianity is. (As always, test or prove all things and hold fast that which is good, 1Thess.5:21 and study diligently. (2Tim.2:15) See also “Signs of the true COG” for more.
What Christianity is not
Let there be NO DOUBT as to where I stand on this issue! There are those today, who claim to be “Christianity” and have a wide array of beliefs, as noted above, but those include Halloween, Christmas, New year’s day, valentines and Easter, as well as weekly Sunday observance and these are all of pagan origin, not sanctioned by the Bible or Christ. As was noted above, there are no denominations in true Christianity! Indicating there are, in writing or speaking of such as being Christian denominations, (as seen here) without some distinction of them being false Christianity is a false statement; being deceptive and misleading to the unlearned. There are other sinful ways (Breaking Commandments—lawlessness, 1John 3:4) that many who claim to be Christian, have as a way of life. The homosexual way of life is an abomination to God, even if now made legal in the USA and becoming acceptable by some religions, therefore any who live that way or even support it cannot be Christians in reality. (Remember Rom.8:7—go back and read that in your Bible, then read Rom.1:25-32) I will forgo any detail as to how these traditions listed above all come from paganism, as that has been explained in various pieces of literature, both here and other COG organizational sites through the years, which is easily proven by those who really seek the truth on any one of these subjects. The word “Easter” in the KJV is a mistranslation and should be “Passover”; see Acts 12:4, NKJV
But let us make clear a few more obvious and distinguishing things that are easily found by a study of Scripture, as we conclude this article. Let us start with the most obvious of all, when it comes to Christianity; 2 Tim 2:19, last part. "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (Look up the definition of iniquity, if you do not know what that means) Anyone who claims Christianity is naming the name of Christ, as the name means a “Follower or followers of Christ”, already established. (See also “Third Commandment” for more)
What did Christ do that most self-established “Christians” fail in doing? They do not keep His 4th Commandment, (See also “Sanctified Time” study) nor do they keep the annual Sabbaths and Commands. They violate other Commandments as well and the Catholic church has even changed the commandments to suite itself. The second commandment in the Bible is not in their list of Commandments—concerning Idolatry. The Tenth one covering covetousness, they have broken into two, the ninth & tenth on their list, but this is not in the Bible. They have and worship all kinds of idols, (the Bible condemns) just as the Protestants that came out of her still do. Even the worship of Mary and the cross is idolatry according to the Bible. All of this is in addition to the list of pagan holidays given above.
Even though true Christians must still live IN this world, they are not to be a part OF this world, nor are they to blend the two. (False and true Christianity.) 2 Cor.6:17 “Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you."
For anyone today to make statements indicating all these denominations and organizations that clearly set themselves apart from God and His ways are “Christian,” they are stating a falsehood that clearly goes against Scriptural revelation about true Christianity. If this is being done in ignorance by those of the COG of our day, whoever that is needs desperately to; “anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”--- V.22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
It is a clear sign of a rebellious and unconverted nature, (The carnal mind) just plain stubbornness (1Sam.15:23) to continue right on believing and doing something the Word of God reveals God did not establish and is not pleased with. Denominations and their doctrines that go against Scripture are not Christians! 1 Thess. 4:1-2 “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.” John 12:48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”
True Christianity is an obedient people of God to the way of life found all through the Bible designated for them; not yet perfect but having that as their goal. (Matt.5:48) False “Christianity” on the other hand is not and it is clearly seen by those honest and willing to observe the difference, when evidence is given—leaving no room or excuse in the mind for any confusion.
(Written by the editor for TCOGMSO.COM)