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 Vol. 9, No. 4 

April 2007

~ Page 17 ~

Religious Confusion

By Raymond Elliott

Just suppose that you receive an invitation to attend a series of religious meetings that is to be conducted by this writer. The meeting is to be for five nights, beginning on a Monday and concluding the following Friday. On the first night an exhortation is given relative to salvation from sins. Emphasis is given to the teaching that everyone will be saved eternally, thus the doctrine of universalism. Tuesday night at the conclusion of a Bible-centered lesson stress is given to the point that there isn't anything that one can do regarding salvation, that is, some are chosen to eternal life while others are chosen to eternal damnation. The teaching of John Calvin, that is, the doctrine of predestination is preached by this writer. Again on Wednesday night you return and hear this scribe instruct people in the way of redemption by teaching sinners that the only way to be saved is to believe in Jesus Christ. This could be classified as being the doctrine of faith only. Somewhat confused, you are still determined to learn more of the Bible so you come to the meeting on Thursday night. As the lesson is being concluded, sinners are urged to come down to the 'mourner's bench' and pray through. By this time you must have some doubt as to the stability of the speaker since you have heard him teaching differently the past four nights relative to salvation from sins; yet, in spite of this confusion you decide to return for the final session of the meeting. The concluding service is an emotional one with much pleading with the sinners to obey Christ. This time however you hear this writer instructing the lost to believe in Christ, to repent of their sins, to confess their faith in Jesus Christ and to be immersed into Christ for the remission of their sins (John 8:24; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). At this you leave the building confused and angry. You wanted to know how to be saved, but your confidence in the speaker has been completely destroyed. You determine never to enter a church building again. A hypothetical case you say? Yes, but let's approach this matter with a few variations.

Just suppose that five different religious organizations in one locale decided to have a series of meetings during the same five day period and you have received invitations from each group. Because of your personal acquaintances in each group, you decide to attend one night of each meeting. On Monday night, group number one teaches that all men will be saved regardless of their morality. Group number two on Tuesday night emphasizes that some are predestined to heaven and others are predestined to hell, and there is nothing that one can do to change his/her eternal destiny. On Wednesday night group number three preaches that one is saved by faith only, while group number four stresses that all sinners present on Thursday night should come down to the mourner's bench and pray through. Friday night, you hear the preacher of group number five teach sinners to believe in Jesus Christ, turn from their sins and upon a confession of their faith to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. Is this a hypothetical case? No, for such situations and circumstances occur practically every Sunday.

Can each group be correct and scriptural in its different teaching? If so, could not this writer be as equally scriptural in teaching similarly? If not, why not? Could not this scribe be just as sincere in believing the different teachings as the five different groups in believing their respective doctrines? Is the Holy Spirit guiding man in believing and teaching contrary doctrines and plans of salvations? If this be the case, is God the author of the religious confusion that exists today? Is it more acceptable for a plurality of men to teach different doctrines than it is for one man to teach different doctrines? If so, why? Could you accept the thought that Peter, Paul and other inspired men taught contradictory ways of salvation in their day? Can we not see that the reasons why so many people are confused in religion and why many even become skeptical about the existence of God and the teachings of the Bible? These questions are raised to motivate us all to think seriously on this subject and to search the Holy Scriptures to learn what the truth is as did the Bereans as mentioned in Acts 17:11.Image

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