FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

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FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby William Thornton » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:17 pm

It has been announced that there will be coming tomorrow on one of the "FBCJax official blogs" a series of postings entitled "Catholic Cult."

One Jim Smyrl, on staff in education (er, 'Executive Pastor of Education') at the church, has previewed the series on his official FBCJax blog thusly:

Monday, I will begin a series of blogs entitled “Catholic Cult.” This series will examine the cultish nature of Catholicism. The primary reasons we are unwilling to consider Catholicism as a cult include: we have good friends that are Catholics, the history of the Catholicism makes it difficult to perceive them as a cult since most people view cults as quick up starts with a charismatic leader, and the lack of understanding of the one true grid by which to measure the validity of a movement. Check back this week to examine these issues.


Oughta stir things up a bit down there. I can't think of anything short of Jack Chick-type stuff that would be more odious to Catholics than to call them a cult.

...but then, I'm only a plodding pastor of an average SBC church, not a megastaff member in a megachurch.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Haruo » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:16 am

Mrs Haruo and I attended the community interfaith thanksgiving service this afternoon at St. Patrick's Catholic Church; not only were representatives of the Catholic cult present, but also spokespersons for the Zen Buddhist cult, the Progressive National Baptist Cult, the Judaistic cult, several indigenous American cults, the Muslim cult, and a cookie-baker who is a member of the Bahá'í cult (but she had baked cookies from recipes deriving from, I guess, Unitarianism). Great stuff.

Actually, historically within Catholicism and in the scholarly study of religion, "cult" is not a dirty word. In particular, it is appropriately used of the practices associated with the veneration of the BVM, the "Marian cult" (see e.g. this abstract or this chapter of a Catholic introduction to hyperdulia)...

By allowing the history of Jonestown etc. to debase this term, we give in to the terrorists. IMHO.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Haruo » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:31 am

One Jim Smyrl wrote:[We fail to perceive Catholicism as a cult owing to] the lack of understanding of the one true grid by which to measure the validity of a movement.

And what, pray tell, is "the one true grid by which to measure the validity of a movement"??!!

How does, say, Scouting, or Toastmasters, or the Republican Party measure up on this "grid"? Can we anticipate a series on each of those cults?
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:52 am

What can an educated person really say in response to one who calls the Catholic Church a cult?
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Mrs Haruo » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:59 am

:? Where is this guy getting his information? The National Enquirer? It never fails to amaze me how ignorant some people can be, and the fact that this nonsense is being put forth from this church is , well, words fail me, so :brick:
It makes me very embarrassed to call myself Baptist, I can tell you that much, but I am just a woman, so what do I know?????? This sort of jaw-dropping stupidity and ignorance makes me so angry- this is the sort of baloney cheese that drove my father away from any kind of organized religion.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby SLyons » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:09 am

William - let's give credit where credit is due.

Smyrl is not just a guy on the education staff. He has been described on certain FBC Jax blogs as the pastor's "second in command". He is the preacher who preaches when Brunson is not there. He is not just some guy on staff, but is the MOST influential staff member at FBC Jax, who is shaping the entire ministry direction of FBC Jax with his "Theology Driven Ministry" model. The pastor there has given Smyrl free reign to institute TDM in every area of the church, including transforming the FBC Jax Sunday School into "small groups" - with the pastor angrily preaching that "...you have got to get this" in reference to small groups.

And let it be said: not only is Smyrl using the inflammatory word "cult" to describe Catholics, in a November 14th post at the OFFICIAL BLOG SITE OF FBC JACKSONVILLE (http://www.fbcjaxblog.com/jimsmyrl/2008/11/voting-yourself-out-of-fellowship/) the guy takes a slap at Catholic priests by calling them "cult leaders", a term reserved normally in our culture for the likes of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Charles Manson. He also in this November 14th post he agrees with the SC priest in principle (but not theology?) in the priest telling Obama votes they are not fit for communion, and then goes on to state that Obama voters committed a sin that they must repent of, and that their vote perhaps "voted them out of fellowship" (the title of his Nov 14th post).

Fun times at FBC Jax!
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Haruo » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:30 am

I don't see any place to register in order to post a comment. Is it limited to FBCJAX members, or what? When I try to log in using my WordPress Login and Password, it tells me there's no such user.

I wanted to ask about the "grid".
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby William Thornton » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:42 am

Catholic Cults Part 1

Not much in Part 1...not that I expected to find much.

It may be a members only thing, Haruo. You might could email him.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby SLyons » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:49 am

"And how will you ever lead a Catholic out of his sin and into the only sufficient grace of Christ if you do not clearly point out his sin? Surely we do not believe that we can lead anyone to Christ by generalizing or minimizing his sin."


Hmmm...some interesting questions: what does he mean by "his sin". "lead a Catholic out of his sin..." seems to imply that "being a Catholic" is in and of itself a sin. And really are we called to lead a person to Christ by "pointing out his sin?" I thought we were to share the truth of the gospel with a person, and we let the Holy Spirit use our words to convict of sin and righteousness. In the process of witnessing to a member of the Catholic faith that has not committed their lives to Christ must we get into doctrinal matters of the Catholic church?
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Jerry_B » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:53 am

Strange happenings in Jacksonville for sure. Though to be honest, why are we so surprised, fundamentalist churches have been preaching this stuff for years and years. Jerry Vines was beloved by the neo-fundamentalists* of the independent baptist ilk and even promoted his Pastor's Conference. FBC-Jack may have been SBC on the inside, but it is and has been hard-core fundamentalist on the inside.

*neo-fundamentalist - those independent baptists who are very conservative in their theology, yet don't use only the King James, are willing to work with some select SBC churches and have gotten over the whole women can't wear pants thing.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby JaneFordA » Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:04 am

SLyons wrote:William - let's give credit where credit is due.

Smyrl is not just a guy on the education staff. He has been described on certain FBC Jax blogs as the pastor's "second in command". He is the preacher who preaches when Brunson is not there. He is not just some guy on staff, but is the MOST influential staff member at FBC Jax, who is shaping the entire ministry direction of FBC Jax with his "Theology Driven Ministry" model. The pastor there has given Smyrl free reign to institute TDM in every area of the church, including transforming the FBC Jax Sunday School into "small groups" - with the pastor angrily preaching that "...you have got to get this" in reference to small groups.

And let it be said: not only is Smyrl using the inflammatory word "cult" to describe Catholics, in a November 14th post at the OFFICIAL BLOG SITE OF FBC JACKSONVILLE (http://www.fbcjaxblog.com/jimsmyrl/2008/11/voting-yourself-out-of-fellowship/) the guy takes a slap at Catholic priests by calling them "cult leaders", a term reserved normally in our culture for the likes of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Charles Manson. He also in this November 14th post he agrees with the SC priest in principle (but not theology?) in the priest telling Obama votes they are not fit for communion, and then goes on to state that Obama voters committed a sin that they must repent of, and that their vote perhaps "voted them out of fellowship" (the title of his Nov 14th post).

Fun times at FBC Jax!


Looks like that jackass/moron/fool deserves some Fred Phelps treatment... you know, follow him/them around and link their stupidity to news organizations and let the protestors have a field day or three. :wink:
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:27 pm

From Part 1 of Jim's series...

"Brooks Alexander, co-founder of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, notes that a cult has a false or inadequate basis of salvation and/or a false basis authority. Danny Akin lists four criteria of a cult that includes Alexander’s criteria. These four will be used for our analysis.

1. ADDITION
Books equal to the Bible either as corrections or additions.
2. SUBTRACTION
Either from Christ’s perfect Divinity or His perfect Humanity, so He is either not God or not sinless.
3. MULTIPLICATION
Of the paths to salvation, bringing in adherence to variant and extra-biblical steps, usually in allegiance to the movement. Salvation is not by grace but continuing works.
4. DIVISION
Of the Body of Christ, so they are the only group through which man can be saved. Allegiance is usually to a particular leader."

Jim is laying the foundation for the definition of a cult.

1. Catholics have done this.
2. Catholics have NOT done this.
3. Catholics have done this.
4. Catholics have done this.

Note what I underlined in the quote above.

Catholics believe you must do good works to maintain your salvation and that sin causes one to lose your salvation.

Their basis of authority is the Pope and Papal Infallibility (declared by a Pope).

Some background on me. I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic school from K-5 through 12, was an altar boy for five years and looked up to the priests of my church. My best friend is a born-again Catholic. And yes he and I have had many discussions on these subjects.

I disagree with Papal infallibility, baptism and first communion before salvation, the adoration of Mary, that one must be Catholic to be in the church of God, losing your salvation, any works to gain or maintain my salvation and their form of church of government.

That being said, they do teach Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is the ONLY way to God and to heaven.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby SLyons » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:00 pm

Steve....let's be fair.

Let's examine what FBC Jax, under Jim Smyrl and Mac Brunson, has done with respect to this "grid".

1. ADDITION
Books equal to the Bible either as corrections or additions.
2. SUBTRACTION
Either from Christ’s perfect Divinity or His perfect Humanity, so He is either not God or not sinless.
3. MULTIPLICATION
Of the paths to salvation, bringing in adherence to variant and extra-biblical steps, usually in allegiance to the movement. Salvation is not by grace but continuing works.
4. DIVISION
Of the Body of Christ, so they are the only group through which man can be saved. Allegiance is usually to a particular leader."


Allow me the liberty to evaluate the FBC Jax megachurch against this "grid".

1. FBC Jax has done this...Mac regularly changes what the bible says by using his secret "Greek" to tell us that the words we see in our bible don't really mean that. He told us Wed night...."Love never fails" doesn't mean "Love never fails", but means "Love never changes". He has said numerous times that to understand the bible we have to "get into" the greek manuscripts. He adds his interpretation of Greek to the bible. Sorry, but its true, and those who have been paying attention to Mac these past 2 1/2 years know it. To tell the congregation you can't fully understand scripture without reading the Greek text (which Mac Brunson conveniently knows)...is eerily similar to cults - the LEADER is the one who can correctly interpret the scripture and moves dangerously away from the doctine of the "priesthood of the believer".

2. OK, they don't do this.

3. They do this in ways that make them more Catholic than the Catholics. :) Mac has on numerous occasions preached that in order to receive God's blessings we must tithe...and if we don't tithe we will suffer...and Mac has done this in a threatening, abusive way to tell people they MUST tithe. Not even out of love for Christ, but out of duty, out of OT legalism. This is classic cult manipulation techniques...fall in line with the leader's interpretation of scripture, or God is going to get you. Mac Brunson has preached on numerous occasions that God will "zap you" if you don't obey Him (or Mac's interpretation of what God wants you to do.).

4. I think Smyrl engages in this himself. But when we talk about "division", Mac Brunson is know to come into a congregation and to divide it on varioius means. He wants people to follow his "vision", or he uses his pulpit to bully you...he calls people who have questions or who might "worry" as people "not trusting Jesus". So please, Mac and Jim at FBC Jax are big time dividers of the church.

And I'll add this about Papal Authority: the fact that the church leadership turned a blind eye when Mac accepted a $307,000 piece of land from a church donor just weeks after arriving, and they turned a blind eye when Mac aired a commercial IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS SERMON for the sons' of the man who gave Mac the $307,000 gift....and given that the church granted Mac the same power and authority based on his position of "senior pastor" when he arrived that we gave men who had decades of proven integrity...and that Mac demands people follow his vision. These sorts of practices, and the placing of many of these megachurch pastors on a pedestal, giving them huge salaries, putting their relatives on staff, and giving them control over the board of trustees....all of this is a form of "papal" heirarchy where the pastor is the POPE.

So look at your own house, Jim Smyrl, before trying to clean up the Catholics.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby William Thornton » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:35 pm

Steve, do you know Smyrl? Perhaps his aim is to be provocative, confrontational, or perhaps just alliterative; hence, the odious coupling of 'Catholic' and 'cult.' Whatever the motivation, it is objectionable to lump Catholics with Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses or with any of the smaller, mountebank cults.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Haruo » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:53 pm

Just out of curiosity, what books do the Catholics make "equal to the Bible either as corrections or additions"?
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby SLyons » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:12 pm

Patience...the great one, Rev James Smyrl, will educate us in the future articles. He is just showing you the grid today. In subsequent articles he shall tell us. I can't wait!
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:31 pm

SLyons wrote:Steve....let's be fair.

Let's examine what FBC Jax, under Jim Smyrl and Mac Brunson, has done with respect to this "grid".

1. ADDITION
Books equal to the Bible either as corrections or additions.
2. SUBTRACTION
Either from Christ’s perfect Divinity or His perfect Humanity, so He is either not God or not sinless.
3. MULTIPLICATION
Of the paths to salvation, bringing in adherence to variant and extra-biblical steps, usually in allegiance to the movement. Salvation is not by grace but continuing works.
4. DIVISION
Of the Body of Christ, so they are the only group through which man can be saved. Allegiance is usually to a particular leader."


Allow me the liberty to evaluate the FBC Jax megachurch against this "grid".

1. FBC Jax has done this...Mac regularly changes what the bible says by using his secret "Greek" to tell us that the words we see in our bible don't really mean that. He told us Wed night...."Love never fails" doesn't mean "Love never fails", but means "Love never changes". He has said numerous times that to understand the bible we have to "get into" the greek manuscripts. He adds his interpretation of Greek to the bible. Sorry, but its true, and those who have been paying attention to Mac these past 2 1/2 years know it. To tell the congregation you can't fully understand scripture without reading the Greek text (which Mac Brunson conveniently knows)...is eerily similar to cults - the LEADER is the one who can correctly interpret the scripture and moves dangerously away from the doctine of the "priesthood of the believer".

2. OK, they don't do this.

3. They do this in ways that make them more Catholic than the Catholics. :) Mac has on numerous occasions preached that in order to receive God's blessings we must tithe...and if we don't tithe we will suffer...and Mac has done this in a threatening, abusive way to tell people they MUST tithe. Not even out of love for Christ, but out of duty, out of OT legalism. This is classic cult manipulation techniques...fall in line with the leader's interpretation of scripture, or God is going to get you. Mac Brunson has preached on numerous occasions that God will "zap you" if you don't obey Him (or Mac's interpretation of what God wants you to do.).

4. I think Smyrl engages in this himself. But when we talk about "division", Mac Brunson is know to come into a congregation and to divide it on varioius means. He wants people to follow his "vision", or he uses his pulpit to bully you...he calls people who have questions or who might "worry" as people "not trusting Jesus". So please, Mac and Jim at FBC Jax are big time dividers of the church.

And I'll add this about Papal Authority: the fact that the church leadership turned a blind eye when Mac accepted a $307,000 piece of land from a church donor just weeks after arriving, and they turned a blind eye when Mac aired a commercial IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS SERMON for the sons' of the man who gave Mac the $307,000 gift....and given that the church granted Mac the same power and authority based on his position of "senior pastor" when he arrived that we gave men who had decades of proven integrity...and that Mac demands people follow his vision. These sorts of practices, and the placing of many of these megachurch pastors on a pedestal, giving them huge salaries, putting their relatives on staff, and giving them control over the board of trustees....all of this is a form of "papal" heirarchy where the pastor is the POPE.

So look at your own house, Jim Smyrl, before trying to clean up the Catholics.


SLyons, FBCJax has not done anything that most other SBC churches have done.

1. When a pastor gets into the greek, most members have no idea if what he is saying is true or not.
2. Agree
3. I have yet to meet a SBC pastor that does not believe this to be true. I think you are exaggerating Dr. Brunson's explanations.
4. Again, I know a lot of SBC Christians that think "the SBC or the highway".

And again, lots of SBC pastors thing they are the "pope".

Perhaps a case could be made for the SBC being "cultish".
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:33 pm

William Thornton wrote:Steve, do you know Smyrl? Perhaps his aim is to be provocative, confrontational, or perhaps just alliterative; hence, the odious coupling of 'Catholic' and 'cult.' Whatever the motivation, it is objectionable to lump Catholics with Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses or with any of the smaller, mountebank cults.


I only know Jim as an aquantance, I doubt he would even remember meeting me.

I have no idea why he is examining the Catholic faith, except that it may go into his study on Theology he did on Wednesday nights awhile back.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:33 pm

Haruo wrote:Just out of curiosity, what books do the Catholics make "equal to the Bible either as corrections or additions"?


"Sacred Tradition"
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:34 pm

SLyons wrote:Patience...the great one, Rev James Smyrl, will educate us in the future articles. He is just showing you the grid today. In subsequent articles he shall tell us. I can't wait!


Yes, I am sure you will apply your years of Theological study to his articles. :roll:
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Haruo » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:36 pm

Steve Wilcox wrote:Perhaps a case could be made for the SBC being "cultish".

Yes, although the fact that this thread was started by an SBC minister suggests otherwise... but then on the other hand, Martin Luther was a Catholic when he penned his Theses... so there's hope for William yet. ;-)
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:15 pm

I wrote a blog post back in April 2007 that touched on this Catholic cult issue. My post dealt with an exchange between Richard Land and Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report. Here's the exchange:

Stephen Colbert: You said our country is not as divided as it appears in the media. What do you base that on?

Richard Land: Well, I'll give you an example. I was being interviewed for a national talk show and they said to me, "Dr. Land what do you think of Pope John Paul II",and I said, well I think he's one of the transcendent moral and historical figures of the 20th century. And they said, "well that's not quite what we're looking for."

Well, what are you looking for? And they said "well we're looking for someone who'll go on the air and say he's the head of a false religion." And I said, well you got the wrong guy. But they found someone who did. And so millions of Catholics got the idea that evangelicals have a different view of the Pope and their faith than they actually have. And it was that night that I decided to write this book. I said, I've had it.


Land's exchange with Colbert came on the heels of a conversation over a Bart Barber blog post entitled Are All Non-Evangelical Churches Cults?

One SBC pastor wrote: "Any religion that identifies Mary as Co-Redeemer, Mediator, and Advocate along with Christ is a Cult."

David Rogers - son of Adrian Rogers - wrote: "The important thing, here, though, is whether or not the official teaching of a church or group will lead you to salvation. In that sense, I think it is correct to group the RCC and various cults together."
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Mark » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:35 pm

Steve Wilcox wrote:Danny Akin lists four criteria of a cult...

Using Akin's criteria, one of the many groups that could be considered a "cult" are the Churches of Christ.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Steve Wilcox » Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:09 pm

Mark wrote:
Steve Wilcox wrote:Danny Akin lists four criteria of a cult...

Using Akin's criteria, one of the many groups that could be considered a "cult" are the Churches of Christ.


Yeah I think that somewhat too. :oops:

But really I think the issue is legalism.

Reason: CofC teaching that baptism being needed for the forgiveness of sins.

Scriptures teaches the forgiveness of sins was done on the cross.
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Re: FBC Jax declaring war on Roman Catholics?

Postby Steve Wilcox » Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:12 pm

Big Daddy Weaver wrote:
One SBC pastor wrote: "Any religion that identifies Mary as Co-Redeemer, Mediator, and Advocate along with Christ is a Cult."


How about a religion that teaches you must go to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night?
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