Close Encounters of the Celestial Kind

There was a time when angels were mainly relegated to Christmas cards. But not anymore. Angels have infiltrated the popular culture–big time. Indeed, interest in angels is virtually soaring across the religious spectrum in North America–from mainline Christians to New Agers who seek comfort from these heavenly helpers in a troubled and often chaotic world. Some of today’s most prominent magazines are running feature stories–even cover stories—on angels, including Time, Newsweek, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Redbook magazine. Moreover, in mid-1994 ABC aired a two-hour prime time special entitled Angels: The Mysterious Messengers, hosted by Patty Duke. Today there are angels-only boutiques, angel newsletters and magazines, angel seminars and college-level courses, angel T-shirts, calendars, postcards, sunglasses, jewelry, and an angel Broadway play. Moreover, according to Publishers Weekly, at one time during 1993 five of the ten best-selling paperback books were about angels. Newsweek magazine asserted in late 1993 that “angels are appearing everywhere in America.” The magazine noted that “those who see angels, talk to them, and put others in touch with them are prized guests on television and radio talk shows. Need inspiration? There are workshops that will assist you in identifying early angel experiences or in unleashing your ‘inner angel.’ Tired of your old spirit guide? New Age channelers will connect you with Michael the Archangel. Have trouble recognizing

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Mormons and Christianity

Mormonism teaches that they are the true Church of Jesus Christ. Should the Latter Day Saints be considered a part of Christianity? Are their teachings consistent with biblical Christianity? This tract reveals where the Mormon Church deviates from biblical teaching in four key areas: The doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, nature of Man, and salvation. We hope that after reading this chart, you will understand the major differences and how Mormonism is incompatible with biblical Christianity. Doctrine of God Attribute Mormonism Christianity Mormonism: Teaches that a plurality of gods exist or Polytheism Bible: Teaches Monotheism that there is only one God. “… a plurality of Gods exist… there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods.” (Mormon Doctrine p. 576-577) According to that which was ordained in the midst of the council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was… (Doctrine and Covenants 121:32) And they (the Gods) said: let there be light and there was light. And they (the Gods) said, … (Uses the term Gods, over 50 times in chapters 4-5 of Book of Abraham in The Pearl of Great Price.) This is what the LORD says–Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last;

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What to Know when talking to Mormon Missionaries

The Experience with Doorstep Missionaries What to know when talking with Mormon missionaries. My roommate and I have recently had the opportunity to speak with Mormon missionaries. Neither of us had experience in this before. We didn’t know what to expect, but we learned some monumental lessons that will last for a lifetime. It’s my intention to share this experience so that we may know how to better witness to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This article will emphasize what the experience was actually like and not necessarily the hard theology; the intent is to better understand how to break the true gospel through to their hearts. This article will emphasize what to expect mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For Mormon church facts, history, evidence, and theology in contrast to Biblical Christianity. Experience, Emotion, Truth? We spoke with Mormon missionaries upon the request of a Mormon friend of ours. Our meetings consisted of the two missionaries, our friend, and her dad and it took place in our friend’s apartment. Testimony Alone? Amongst the four Mormons we spoke with, all of them testified for Mormonism based on their experiences with it and a couple verse-references. They say, “I know the Book of Mormon is true, because of what it has done in my life. And I

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Abusive Churches: Painful Exit Process From an Abusive Church

In a previous article, I discussed the characteristics of abusive churches. Pat Zukeran, “Abusive Churches,” 1993, Probe Ministries, . As a result of the questions and feedback, I felt it might be helpful to share some positive steps to recovery from an abusive church experience. Leaving an unhealthy church situation can leave some very deep scars. One example of the collateral damage is a very painful exit process. Those who leave an unhealthy church situation suffer isolation, bitterness, embarrassment, grief, and anger. This is coupled with confusion and wondering how God could let this happen. They also chide themselves for getting into such a group and staying in the organization as long as they did. One man who left an unhealthy situation stated, “I am confused over the emotions I feel. At times, I am glad to have left the organization. I enjoy the new freedoms I have in Christ and relief from the burdens I was carrying for many years. Other times I suffer the pain over the lost years and lost friendships. It’s like experiencing a death in the family.” The Ryans, who left an abusive situation, state, “Spiritual abuse is a kind of abuse which damages the central core of who you are. It leaves us spiritually disorganized and emotionally cut off from the healing love of God.”

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Abusive Churches

We are all familiar with traditional cults such as the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are, however, other groups with cultic characteristics that do not fit the same profile as the traditional cults. Sometimes called “abusive churches” or even “Bible-based cults,” they appear outwardly orthodox in their doctrinal beliefs. What distinguishes these groups or churches from genuine orthodox Christianity is their abusive, cultic-like methodology and philosophy of ministry. In his book Churches That Abuse, Dr. Ronald Enroth carefully examines several of these churches throughout the United States. He reveals the cultic methods these groups use and points out several distinguishing marks of abusive churches. At this point I will briefly introduce each of these characteristics and some of my own. Later, I’ll discuss all these characteristics in detail. First, abusive churches have a control-oriented style of leadership. Second, the leaders of such churches often use manipulation to gain complete submission from their members. Third, there is a rigid, legalistic lifestyle involving numerous requirements and minute details for daily life. Fourth, these churches tend to change their names often, especially once they are exposed by the media. Fifth, denouncing other churches is common because they see themselves as superior to all other churches. Sixth, these churches have a persecution complex and view themselves as being persecuted by the world, the

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Jehovah’s Witnesses: Witnessing to the Witnesses

History of the Watch Tower One of the most aggressive and fastest growing cults is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Today they have a worldwide organization that numbers about 3.5 million members operating in 205 countries. Several factors account for this rapid growth. The first is their zealous door-to-door evangelism. Second, we Christians have failed to make a solid defense of our faith against their attacks when they have come to our door. The result is the Witnesses continue unchallenged in the propagation of their organization and deceive many. Third, the rise of the cults are a fulfillment of the prophetic warnings given by Jesus and the Apostles. In this essay I want to look at the beliefs of the Witnesses and then give the reader practical witnessing strategies. The history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses begins with the founder of the organization Charles Taze Russell. He was a member of the Congregational Church who came to reject the doctrine of hell and eternal punishment. In 1870, with no formal education, he began a Bible society which eventually named him pastor. In 1884, he founded Zion’s Watchtower and Tract Society in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is now the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. Since then they have mushroomed into an organization which produces more literature in one year than

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The LDS Temple Ceremony

Scattered throughout the United States and in many countries around the world stand the majestic Mormon temples. These huge structures are believed by many to be similar to church buildings common to Bible-believing Christians; however, what goes on inside does not even closely resemble a Christian worship service. Mormon temples are used for baptisms for the dead and what is known as “endowment ceremonies” for both the living and the dead. Vicarious baptisms for the dead comprise a great majority of the activity behind temple doors. Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie explained the endowment ceremony as “certain special, spiritual blessings given worthy and faithful saints in the temples…because in and through them the recipients are endowed with power from on high” (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 226-227). Also performed in the temple are marriages which Mormons feel will last for “time and eternity.” Mormon families can also be “sealed” together with the hope that, following this life, they will be reunited as a family unit in eternity. CHANGES MADE IN 1990 The ceremony includes a type of melodrama which explains the LDS view of the creation and fall of man. In the past these dramas were acted out by Mormon temple workers playing such parts as that of Elohim (God the Father), Jehovah (Jesus), Lucifer, etc. Today, most temples utilize video, making live

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Mormon Doctrine of Jesus

Jesus a Procreated Being? The Mormon Church claims to have restored the true teachings of Jesus. In this article, we will compare the Mormon doctrine of Jesus to the New Testament. The New Testament teaches that Jesus, God the Son, is eternal and has no beginning. However, Mormonism teaches that Jesus is a procreated being, the literal offspring of God the Father and one of His heavenly wives. According to Mormon theology, God the Father, Elohim, dwells on a planet with His many spirit wives producing numerous spirit children who await to inhabit physical bodies so that they too may one day ascend to godhood as their parents did. Jesus is believed to be the firstborn spirit child of Elohim. The Doctrine and Covenants, one of the four sacred books of Mormonism states, “Christ, the Firstborn, was the mightiest of all the spirit children of the Father.”{1} The Gospel Principles, which is the manual of the Mormon Church, states, “The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ.”{2} James Talmage, one of the early apostles of the church wrote, “[A]mong the spirit-children of Elohim, the firstborn was and is Jehovah or Jesus Christ to whom all others are juniors.”{3} According to the Mormon view, Jesus is not unique from the rest of mankind. He is simply the firstborn spirit

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