Table of Contents

Table of Contents II

Search This Blog

Friday, July 22, 2022

Christian Wars--A Misnomer

Christians, God's children, have for years taken a beating by those who make the claim that Christians have been responsible for religious wars that killed tens of thousands of people during the Crusades and in Europe itself during the Middle Ages.  There never was any truth to it and never will be. 

Just because a Catholic claims to be a Christian does not make him one.  Just because a Protestant makes the claim to be a Christian does not make him one.  Neither Catholics nor the majority of Protestants are Christians.  Neither group has been willing to accept what the New Testament teaches that it takes for a person to become a Christian.  I will deal with each group in this article in due time.  Until then I ask the reader to use a little reason, a little common sense. 

Name one passage in the New Testament that teaches that a Christian ought to organize with other Christians and go to war and kill those of another religion in order to establish the faith in a geographic locality.  Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world.  If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." (John 18:36 NKJV)  Servants of Christ do not fight physical battles on behalf of the kingdom, a kingdom not of this world. 

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12 NKJV)  Christians battle with a spiritual weapon, the sword of the spirit which is the word of God (Eph. 6:17). 

Jesus told the one who sought to protect him by physical force at the time of his arrest, the one who used his physical sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, to "Put your sword in its place.” (Matt. 26:52 NKJV)  

And we all know the multitude of passages in the New Testament teaching us to love our fellow man, to be kind and tender-hearted, longsuffering and forbearing, and yet we seemingly are unable to put two and two together and say that hey, there is something wrong here.  Would true Christians in the tens of thousands voluntarily offer to go to war to destroy pagans?  Do we not know the Bible teaches we are to teach and convert them rather than destroy them? 

And yet what is so apparent is not seen by us for we have come to fully accept a perverted gospel as being the genuine thing.  Paul dealt with a perverted gospel in the book of Galatians but we act as though that was a one-time historical event and the gospel has never been perverted since then. 

What I have said above is simply reason and common sense.  If you have ever read your New Testament you know these things are true.  Do you really think a true Christian could call for such wars and true Christians answer the call to arms for such wars?  Let us go kill the pagans.  Do you believe that?  You might subdue by force of arms those of another religion but you could not convert them that way, not to Christianity.  One can only become a Christian by genuine faith and sincerity of heart.  Force of arms cannot change hearts. 

The Catholic Church is not the New Testament church and the Catholic religion has nothing to do with Christianity.  The Catholic Church cannot exist without going outside the pages of the Bible for authority and when they do so that authority comes from mere men.  The New Testament knows nothing about Popes, praying to Mary, indulgences, burning people at the stake, authority residing in the church, or a thousand and one other things practiced by the Catholic Church either today or in days gone by. 

I remind the reader it was the Catholic Church that sought to have the Bibles burned and kept out of the hands of the average man and woman.  Now I ask you do you think the God of heaven looked with favor on that and was behind it? 

The Catholic hierarchy reminds one much of the scribes and Pharisees of New Testament times.  "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' But you do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven." (Matt. 23:5-9 NKJV) 

Verse 9 certainly has no meaning to a Catholic--"do not call anyone on earth your father."  The Pope even makes the claim he can speak for God.  When one researches the history of Catholic popes he will find many who were far, far from righteous by any standard you might want to use.  But, when you can convince people that the Bible is an insufficient guide and that only you (the Catholic hierarchy) can lead them spiritually you can pretty much develop your religion any way you desire and if it profits you well you deserve it don't you?  You are worthy are you not? 

This is not an attack on the average Catholic man or woman.  Catholicism is basically a religion one is physically born into, an inherited religion, and in that sense far more like Judaism than Christianity.  One is not born again (John 3:3-5) into the Catholic Church.  This is not to say one cannot be converted to Catholicism but when he is that is exactly what has happened—he was converted to Catholicism, not to Christianity. 

If one has never known anything else or been exposed to anything else, it is not a strange thing that he takes for granted what he has been told from childhood.  And who can help what he is born into?  (This is not to say no one ever converts to Catholicism but only that the vast majority are born into it.) 

However, when one gets older he/she does become responsible before God.  John said, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1 NKJV)  There will be some, maybe many, who will say I am one of those false prophets because of the things I have written here but you know what, they will have to go outside of the pages of the Bible for their proof. 

There is not a Catholic on earth that can take the New Testament and the New Testament alone and get today's Catholic Church out of it.  I venture even further--they know better than try and will not try.  They live not by what the Bible says but by what the Catholic hierarchy has handed down from one generation to the next and that is outside the pages of the New Testament.  They thus become their own authority and have convinced people it is God's will that it be so. 

However, Protestants have their own problems and it centers primarily around one thing.  They are wedded to the idea that a man is saved by faith alone and that the new birth, born of water and the spirit, has nothing to do with becoming a Christian.  The new birth involves baptism in water for the remission of sins.  That they will not accept.  Water to them is only symbolic.  

It was not symbolic to Peter on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38 for he said it was for the remission of sins.  I have said it before and say it here again--you cannot find a denominational preacher (a Protestant) that will get up in the pulpit and preach what Peter preached on the day of Pentecost and that only.  He will not preach it because he does not believe it. 

It doesn't matter what Peter said about baptism saving us (1 Peter 3:21), it does not matter what Ananias told Saul concerning arising and being baptized and washing away his sins (Acts 22:16), and it doesn't even matter what Jesus said in Mark 16:16, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (NKJV)  We will just explain it all away.  It does not matter, none of that will be sufficient for a Protestant immersed in the faith-only doctrine. 

Modern Protestant doctrine which I have been describing evolved out of the Reformation but in the earliest days of the Reformation there was not that much difference between Protestants and Catholics on who was a Christian.  Those early religious wars between the groups were more about heresy, which side was guilty of heresy.  It was about that and about who got to rule, about power, and who had the authority.  Each religious war had its own specific motivation. 

My point though is that neither of the two parties involved were New Testament Christians based on what the New Testament teaches about the subject.  Thus they were not Christian wars they were involved in.  How can one be a Christian without obeying the gospel?

What does the New Testament teach a person must do to become a Christian?  A person must come to have faith that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and the Savior of the world.  Heb. 11:6, Rom. 10:9, 1 Cor. 15:1-4, John 3:18, John 3:36, John 8:24, John 11:26-27, and a whole host of other passages far too numerous to mention all teach this. 

The Bible also teaches that a man must repent of his sins.  Faith alone will not save one (John 12:42, James 2:19, James 2:24).  The Bible teaches it is repent or perish, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3 NKJV)  "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Luke 5:32 NKJV)  See the following passages--Acts 26:20, 2 Cor. 7:10, 2 Peter 3:9, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:30. 

A man then must confess his faith in Jesus as the Christ, the son of God and Savior of the world.  Rom. 10:9-10, "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (NKJV)  

Those in John 12:42-43 were condemned for this very failure, "Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." (NKJV) 

Timothy "confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Tim. 6:12 NKJV)  Why?  Because God required it and because no man can be baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27) who is a non-believer.  It cannot be known that you are a believer unless you confess it. 

Jesus confessed his deity on more than one occasion but one such occasion was in Mark 14:61-62, "But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" Jesus said, "I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." (NKJV)  This is the confession (that is the truth contained in the confession) upon which the church is built contrary to Catholic doctrine which says it was Peter.  

When Peter made the confession that "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16 NKJV) that foundational truth is that upon which the church was built.  "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1Cor. 3:11NKJV)  That foundation is solid only because Jesus was and is the Son of God.  Jesus, not Peter, was the rock the church was built upon. 

Finally, to become a Christian, or as the Bible sometimes phrases it, a new creation, one must be baptized into Christ.  Outside of Christ there is no salvation for he is the Savior of the body and that body is his body, the church.  (Eph. 1:22-23, 5:23)  There is not a man on earth who can find a Bible passage that teaches how a man enters that body other than through baptism.  "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Gal 3:26-27 NKJV) 

Rom. 6:3 "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" (NKJV)  "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body." (1Co 12:13 NKJV)  What body, the body of Christ.  Inside Christ there is salvation.  Inside Christ there is the remission of sins.  Thus Peter on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38 told those believers in the crowd that day to, "repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." (KJV) 

This put them inside the body of Christ of which he is the Savior.  The reader might ask himself one question.  How is one baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, Acts 2:38, if Jesus Christ never commanded it?  It would be impossible.  Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16 NKJV)  Jesus also commanded it in Matt. 28:19-20.  Protestants rephrase Mark 16:16 in their teaching to say he who believes and is not baptized will be saved, or at least that baptism makes no difference which is to say the same thing. 

Yes, Catholics say they baptize--baptize infants.  No infant has ever needed salvation for they have no sin nor are they conscious of such nor can they be.  In Catholicism, you can be a Catholic and not even have faith - the case with infants.  You cannot be a Christian without faith.  Furthermore, sprinkling is not now and never has been baptism, unless one wants to go outside the pages of the New Testament and get his authority for sprinkling from man rather than God.  Baptism is immersion and the word itself means that very thing. 

Yes, there were many religious wars killing thousands upon thousands in history but we ought to cease placing liability on Christians for them as Christians had nothing to do with them.  Do not blame God's own people or else you may someday be held accountable for your false charges against his people.    

[To download this article or print it out click here.]

No comments: