Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Error of the Protestant Churches

One good thing the Protestant Reformation did: it exposed certain errors of the Catholic Church, whereby they tried to make use of religion to extend their authority, and they stated that authority and doctrine should be based on the Word.  But they made one basic fundamental error: they made faith alone saving.  In other words, all one has to do is believe and confess, and one obtains immediate mercy and salvation.  All done! Boy that was easy.

The error of the Protestants comes from a single verse, and a misinterpretation of this single verse then blinds people to multiple other passages of scripture:
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. (Romans 3:28)
Martin Luther, and the founders of the Protestant churches, decided that "works of the Law" means anything that you do from the will.  Faith is belief only.  Internal changes in the heart, and the desire to do good, will come spontaneously through no human effort.  This is not only false, it is a belief that destroys the essence of all religion.  One of the reasons why Emanuel Swedenborg is so unknown is that he spoke out against this.  If the revelation he received had confirmed it, more would know about him.  He stated:
In Paul's words in Romans 3:28, "faith" does not mean faith in God the Father, it means faith in his Son, and "the works of the Law" do not mean the works of the law of the Ten Commandments, they mean the works of the Mosaic Law for the Jews (as you can see from the verses that follow Romans 3:28, as well as from similar words in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians 2:14, 15). The foundation stone of the modern-day church crumbles, then, and so does the shrine built on it, like a house sinking into the ground until only the top of the roof remains visible. (True Christian Religion, n. 338)
The "works of the Law" thus refer to Jewish rituals, such as animal sacrifices, circumcision, washings, etc.  These were external rituals so that the Jews could represent or be symbolic of the Christian Church that would come after it.  Thus the Passover ritual was symbolic of the crucifixion which would occur on the Passover.  Pentecost the coming of the Holy Spirit...and Paul states as much in the following passage:
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossian 2:16-17)
In my first introduction to Christianity, I went to Protestant churches, and this is what was taught: the 10 commandments had been "abrogated."  The purpose of it was to show how perfection could not be reached.  God then waits 1500 years or so, and then changes the message and states that only one has to believe.  Any passage in the Bible that mentions good works, means that it will be the Holy Spirit  that does it, and man may continue to be a "passive subject."  Is this true? No, it is false:
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' (Mark 12:28-30)
And this one:
Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'
(Matt. 7:21-23)
Unfortunately, for most religion is just lip confession and belief only.  This is not true: religion is in how you live your life.  I can go through passage after passage in scripture, but unfortunately for Protestants "faith alone" is the foundation of salvation.  Unfortunately, that foundation happens to be resting on a very false premise of one verse falsely understood.  The doctrine is so prevalent that it gives people a blind eye when it comes to seeing these passages from the Bible which command good deeds. I do remember coming across those passages, and I was puzzled by the discrepancy.  Even Paul himself said so:
it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. (Rom. 2:13)
Wait! That is exactly the opposite of what Paul said above!  No, the problem here is the word "Law" is used by Paul in different ways: sometimes the Mosaic law of the Jews, and sometimes for God's commandments.  Are God's commandments important?  Well, Jesus sort of thinks so:
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15)
He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. (John 14:21) 
For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother (Matt. 12:50)
Are the 10 commandments prescribed in the New Testament?  Yes, every single one of them.  I can list them but I will leave that as a exercise for people who are willing to find them.  As for the Sabbath, under the Jews this was a day of no work, but this was a symbolic ritual: under the spiritual Church it became a day for instruction in spiritual matters. In the revelation of the New Church, it also represents the highest spiritual state that one can reach, where one lets go of the self and allows the Divine to flow in every thought and deed.  In an even higher sense, the Sabbath is symbolic of how Jesus made His human Divine and rose from the dead after the Sabbath.

Protestants, in defense of their understanding of scripture, will call any opposition to it as "legalism."  Or they will mention how it is wrong to make works "meritorious."  The first charge is generic, as they do not make a distinction between the ritualistic laws of the Jews and God's commandments for everyone, but on the second they are correct: no one should do something good for the sake of a future reward. Good works are done out of love, for the sake of love, and the reward is in the enjoyment of doing itself.  It is that internal happiness which leads to salvation: the happier one becomes, the closer one becomes to God.

I occasionally go and visit a Protestant church now and then, but this is a faith I no longer follow. Once one sees the error, it is hard to go back to something that is false. It just pains me when a minister glosses over a verse, and fails to see how scripture goes against the foundation of what they have been taught. Can I ever go back?  No I cannot:
But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved. (Matt. 9:16-17)
This Jesus spoke of the Christian Church, which would break out and separate from the old Jewish church...what was true then is true today. If I go to a church that would be to start some dialogue, but that does not happen often. The New Church is incompatible with the faith of the old Christian churches, which have become gradually corrupted over time.  It took me a long time to figure this out, but knowing that the beliefs had been corrupted allowed me to search for the truth until I finally found it.  If one sees the problem of their faith in their Church, do not depart from the love of God.  Jesus foresaw this:
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.. (Matt. 24:15-16)
This Jesus spoke of the last state of the Christian Church: it would be so corrupt, that something false would be at the center of its worship: the worship of three divine gods, instead of the one Lord.  This is the "abomination of desolation."  An abominable idolatrous worship, so corrupt, that all truth is absent in utter desolation.  What to do?  Leave it.  Where to go?  The "mountains of Judea" - that is, towards the love of God. Practice it in your daily life. Start a home church.

This departure from organized religion is already happening.  It was noticed with "alarm" among several news sites.  One columnist, Danny Tyree, wrote an article for the Daily World entitled:

The Protestant decline: Forever versus whatever

He goes to church with a bit of uncertainty:
The uncertainty arises because of the results of a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, revealing that for the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority...The Protestant decline comes not from a sudden upswing in Catholic citizens but from the Americans who say they have no religious affiliation at all. (This group, dubbed the "nones," has increased from 15 percent of the adult population to 20 percent in just the last five years. One-third of adults under age 30 are uncommitted, often citing their religious affiliation as "nothing in particular.")
Wow!  This is in fact good news.  I was very disappointed to have been misled for several years.  Hooray for the whatevers and the nones!  But for those who are can lead to a period of doubt and distress...what is the truth?  What way should I follow?  Why does not God reveal the correct way?  Wait a minute...God does reveal Himself.  It just so happens when He does reveal Himself He states He does not like what the churches have been teaching...time to start a new one.  Religious leaders do not like to hear this, and will tend to shove it under the rug.  The lack of actual teaching and the poetic digressions of the ministers just drove me nuts. soon as I had time on my hands, time to publish the works of Emanuel Swedenborg and make them available as cheaply as possible...and start blogging about it in the hopes someone chances to come across this.

So why the Protestant decline?  Well that leads to some speculation.  I will quote the same article again:
I have friends and associates who are forthright atheists and agnostics, but I have a hard time wrapping my unenlightened mind around the fence-straddlers who fancy themselves as "spiritual but not religious." people who like to "sleep in," people who like to spend Sundays at the stadium and people who don't like heavy reading miraculously stumble upon a spiritual regimen that resonates with them, meets their needs and pleases A Vague Higher Power To Be Named Later.
The truth is, when religion becomes "belief only", when it has no applicability to daily life, and life is not part of's thoughts depart from those beliefs to become more in line with how one lives.  This is an inherent problem with Protestant theology.  I am currently working on a book Apocalypse Explained (taking a break from the footnotes with this blog) and this is the warning given to the church of Ephesus which placed all emphasis on doctrine and belief but not by living by it:
But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4-5)
In the book of Revelation, seven churches are symbolized by a lamp, and each church signifies a particular Christian church of our time.  For those who depart from the commandments of love and charity, and go with belief only...that church will cease to exist.  So we have...the Protestant decline.  That is a lamp whose light is going out.  And now....

To the Vague Higher Power To Be Named

His name is Jehovah...and He has appeared in human form, incarnate in Jesus Christ.  Jesus, the Lord of the the New Testament, is the same Lord that appeared in the Old Testament.  There is no need to divide God into multiple persons.  Such happened with the ancient churches that preceded Judaism, and those religions no longer exist.  The doctrine concerning the One God for the New Church is described in The Doctrines of the New Jerusalem...which includes the work, Doctrine of the Lord.  Start with that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments, questions, corrections and opinions welcome...