Written by Jimmie Burroughs
There are a lot of religions, but only one true religion. How do I know? Because there is only one that dates back to the beginning of time and that is the religion of the Holy Bible. The Holy Bible is the only book that foretells the future with 100% accuracy; it is the only book that answered questions about science thousands of years before it was apparent to science, like the shape of the earth being round, and suspended in space, and like the blood is the life all flesh. All other religions had their start with some person; some hundreds of years ago, and others as recently as Scientology, which was started by L Ron Hubbard in the 1950s.
First, it is necessary to determine what true religion isn’t. It isn’t a people centered religion. It isn’t about you and me; our prosperity; our health, and our happiness. It is God centered; it is all about God, our love for Him; our dedication to him, and our praise and worship toward him. But of course God loves us in return and is the source of all our blessings and happiness. Today, however, the focus of true religion has been reversed, and now centers on the individual. I’ll say more about that as we go forward.
America is a nation founded on the principles of the Bible and the tenants of true religion. On some of the great national monuments in Washington D.C. are the words inscribed in stone “ONE NATION UNDER GOD.” Over the past several decades that has changed, and America is no longer the nation it once was: “One Nation Under God.” It has allowed those who have no trust at all in God to persuade its leaders to drop its allegiance to God, to expel the Bible and prayer from public schools, and to make it unlawful to teach Christianity to children in the public school system.
Billy Sunday, one of America’s great evangelists, warned America back in the 1920s in a message entitled “A warning to America” of the impending dangers of a nation who forgets God. Today, we as a nation are reaping the results, socially, economically and culturally because we have forgotten God. America is on a slippery slope. I love America; I’m a Patriot; I served 6 years in the military and would die fighting for the freedom of this great nation if necessary. It saddens my heart the spiritual condition America has succumbed to.
Somewhere along the way America has lost its soul, and left its heritage…I would never have believed when growing up that a president of the United States would embrace same sex marriage, and say that a day is coming when same sex marriage will be just as honorable as heterosexual marriage, but I heard President Obama make that statement.
I was grown before I knew anyone who didn’t believe the Bible was the inspired word of God…Reminds me of a story of a couple of mischievous boys who got hold of the old preachers Bible and decided to play a prank on him…they glued some of the pages together…when the old preacher got up to preach, he announced his text and began to read…”And in those days Noah took a wife…he turned what he thought was one page…and she was 15 cubits wide and 35 cubits long and was made of gopher wood and pitched on the inside…” The old preacher looked amazed, and he said folks, honestly, I’ve never read that before in the Scripture in my entire life, but if the Bible says it I believe it.
The Apostle Paul of the Bible was concerned about what he saw happening concerning true religion in his day, some 2,000 years ago. Writing to whom he called his son in the ministry he charged Timothy and warned him because he feared what might happen to true religion. “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (II Timothy 4:1-5)
Paul was concerned that the church would drift away from the true religion of God and he was right. Before the end of the first century it was a critical issue in the church. John writing under the guidance of the Lord around AD 95 listed 7 representative churches in Asia Minor of which 5 had already departed from the true religion:
Ephesus had lost their first love. There has been some discussion of what it means to lose your first love, but it is obvious to me he was speaking of our love for God. Our love for him should be second to nothing else.
Pergamos had turned to false doctrine. They had included doctrines that were paganistic and false. Today churches teach many doctrines that have no roots in scripture, but instead are manmade.
Thyatira had false teachers. Along with the false doctrines came the false teachers who became imbedded into the church and began to lead the church astray with their false teaching.
Sardis was dead. Some churches had become no more than a social club and were dead as far as their spiritually was concerned. Today there are many such churches.
Laodiceans were lukewarm. Probably the most prominent fault among present day churches is that they are lukewarm, just barely retaining enough semblance to be called a church. This kind of church God spews out of his mouth according to Scripture.
Paul lists 4 concerns concerning the church and the true gospel:
1. He was concerned about those who were ignoring the gospel.
2. He was concerned about those who were turning away from Bible doctrines.
3. He was concerned about those who were living in sin.
4. He was concerned about ministers who were failing to preach the word.
Ignoring the gospel
According to statistics as many as 66% of church going people have ignored the gospel and are lost. Many are church members. Perhaps this is a failure of ministers to convey what is the true gospel and what is necessary to receive Jesus into their life as Lord and Savior, or perhaps some had rather to try and do it their own way and ignore God’s way.
W. A. Criswell was one of my favorite preachers of old; he never wavered from the faith. He pastored First Baptist Dallas, Texas for many years, which became the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention at the time. He told of his experience as a young boy of 17 when he had entered the ministry, and had also become the pastor of a small county church. He encountered some wild extremes concerning salvation that made him doubt his own salvation.
He told of a time when his little church was in revival. The church was meeting in a little school house, but there was a tabernacle on the property which was where the revival was being held. The ladies of the church met in the tabernacle for pre-service prayer meeting, while the men went into a grove of trees. Criswell said he had never heard such testimonies as he heard that night. He said, one man stood up and said he was plowing with his mules when he was stricken to the ground by a ball of fire from heaven, and he didn’t know how long he lay there before he came too; then he began to explain how the plow looked and the mules and things around him.
Another man stood and said that an angel from heaven had come to him and told him how to be saved. Criswell said to himself, I never have experienced anything like that so I must not be saved. This bothered him for the longest time, and he prayed about it every day and before each message. He asked God to send him a miracle so that he could be assured of his salvation.
One day God had pity on him and sent the miracle. Criswell dreamed he was in a long procession of people marching toward the pearly gates of heaven. The Lord stopped him and said, “Why should I allow you into my heaven and let you walk on my streets of gold?” Criswell replied I know I’m saved because one day a fireball came down from heaven and struck me to the ground. Satan was there and he laughed ha, ha ha. I sent that fireball to deceive you, and he took hold on him and pulled him down into fiery pits of hell.
Cristwell found himself once again marching towards the gates of New Jerusalem and the Lord stopped him and said, “Why should I allow you into my city and let you walk on my streets of gold?” Cristwell said, because I know I’m saved; an angel from heaven came down and told me how to be saved. Satan was there and he laughed ha, ha ,ha. I transformed myself into an angel of light to deceive you, and he took hold of him and pulled him down into a spiraling sheet of flames into eternal damnation.
Once again Cristwell found himself headed for the gates of heaven, and the Lord stopped him and said, “Why should I allow you into my heaven, and let you walk on my streets of gold?” Cristwell said, because one day in a worship service my dear mother turned to me weeping and said, “Son why don’t you accept Jesus as your savior today”, and with tears in my eyes I went forward and confessed Jesus as my savior, and now I trust you to keep your word to always be with me.
The emphasis today is on the new age gospel, “The prosperity Gospel”. As I said earlier the focus of true religion has reversed. Instead of being centered in God it is now centered in man and his needs.
Rick Warren in his book “The Purpose Driven Church” has influenced the direction of the church and true religion toward the prosperity gospel more than any man alive in modern times.
To counter the new philosophy of the prosperity gospel, Rev Noah W. Hutchings wrote in his book “The Dark Side of the Purpose driven church,” that there are several things that Rick Warren claims needs to be done to build a great church today that seem to be a compromise:
1. Change the music to a contemporary rock style.
2. Remove all hymn books and eliminate the choir as well.
3. Change Sunday evening services and Wednesday prayer meetings or even eliminate them.
4. The word church can often be removed and the church may be called a campus. Denominational names may also be removed.
5. Crosses and other traditional symbols may be removed from both inside and outside of the church buildings. The pulpit may also be removed.
6. Eliminate words like the unsaved and saved, use rather the churched and the Un-churched as the distinctions.
The first five are not that important though plainly a compromise, but the sixth one is clearly against the Biblical method of sharing the truth. Jesus didn’t hesitate to use the words lost and saved; he said, “The Son of man is come to seek and save the lost.” Luke 19:10
The drive seems to be to make the church like worldly organizations, therefore, making it more acceptable to the world and non offensive.
The false neo-religion of today has worked; the distinctions between Christians and unbelievers has all but vanished in many cases, they look alike, talk alike and go to the same places, and many are also just as lost as their worldly counterparts.
True religion teaches to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Christians are to live holy lives. People cannot love the world and love God also. It is either one way or the other.
Turning away from the doctrines of the bible
Paul said, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Satan is busy deceiving the church concerning doctrine and true religion. In his book “Playing marbles with Diamonds” Vance Havner says: “The Devil is not fighting religion; he is too smart for that. He is creating a counterfeit religion that looks like the real thing, and good people are afraid to stand against it.”
Little do most church people realize today that the marching orders for the new age religion comes directly from the first paragraphs of the humanism Manifesto written by James Bragg in 1933. It was Bragg’s desire to create a new religion that was more relevant to people, and one directed to helping them to be more prosperous, and have happier lives.
He wrote, “Today man’s larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfaction may appear too many people as a complete break with the past.”
What we need today is a return to the pure religion of the early church of the Bible. When Billy Graham’s early Crusade in Los Angeles was coming to a close, Time magazine (September 6, 1963) published an article by an Episcopalian Rector. He said and I quote, “His ministry has set the church back 50 years.” Dr. Graham, who generally never responds to his critics, referred to the remark at the minister’s prayer breakfast the closing week of the crusade. With humor and kindness he said, “I’m afraid I’ve failed. I had hoped to put the church back 2,000 years.”
Living in sin
Paul said,” rebuke sin…”
James the brother of Jesus defines “pure religion”, James 1:26-27 “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
James defines pure religion by “The talk you talk and the walk you walk”
Failing to preach the word
Paul said, “Preach the word.” God’s word hasn’t changed, neither has God. I might add that it is the only thing that doesn’t change; everything else is changing including science. I read recently that Noah’s Flood didn’t happen because it isn’t scientific. There apparently isn’t enough water under the earth or above the earth for a flood of that magnitude. This is the same science that once declared the world was flat, and that bleeding a person when sick was needed. Just a couple of hundred years ago they bleed the father of our country to death because it was the medical science of the day.
I laugh when they say Noah’s flood was impossible. Isn’t the God who created the earth and the universe powerful enough to create a world flood?
Understand the problem. Scientists in general don’t believe the Bible, and only a third of Americans believe in the literal interpretation of Scripture, and some of those are preachers.
Men may travel hundreds of thousands of miles in space at thousands of miles per hour, but the need is still the same. Today as ever sin is still the curse of humanity, and the preaching of the Holy Bible is the only remedy.
Bible preaching is of the essence because it reveals the true religion of the Bible which centers in Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is rooted in:
“His virgin birth” – “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son” (Matthew 1:23).
“His virtuous life” – “He was at all points tempted, yet without Sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
“His vicarious death” - “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3).
“His victorious resurrection” – “He is not here, he is risen” (Luke 24:6).
“His visible return” - “Behold he cometh … and every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1: 7).
Jesus is the central glory of true Religion. He is the gospel, the good news; his death burial and resurrection is his atoning work for our sin. Paul said in Gal 1:8 “If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you let him be accursed.” The prosperity gospel or any other mode of salvation other than the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be accursed.
“Give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
It’s good enough for me”
“It was good enough for Daniel
It was good enough for the fiery furnace
It was good enough for Paul and Silas
And it’s good enough for me”
There are two reasons I write an article like this:
1. For those of you who desire to please God there is only one way, and that is his way, and his way is true religion.
2. For those of you who desire to go to heaven there is only one way, and that is his way the true gospel. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life and no man cometh to the father but by me”, John 14:6. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10.
I grew up hearing preacher preach on hell… “where the worm dieth not and the flame is not quenched…” but I’ve decided the very worst of hell is to be separated from the love of God for all eternity, as well as everyone known in life, and even though it is a place of fire and brimstone, and there will be many there, a person will be in outer darkness and completely alone with only their thoughts 24 hours a day, seven days a week; not just for a month or a year, but for millennia’s…forever and ever, time without end and no hope.
My purpose in life is to warn you and to show you the way; please go here and follow the step by step instructions on how to receive Jesus as your Lord and savior. For all those who do I will send you free follow up information plus a free eBook on love, the classic written by Henry Drummond, “The Greatest Thing in the World.”
May God bless you my friend,