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Seven Proofs of God's Church: Proof 3 - The Truth About Pagan Doctrines
Good News Magazine
January 1975
Volume: Vol XXIV, No. 1
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Seven Proofs of God's Church: Proof 3 - The Truth About Pagan Doctrines
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

We have already seen two great proofs of the true Church of God. The first proof is one of the greatest principles of the Bible — that God is the Ruler in heaven and in earth, and that He actually rules in His own Church. We saw the threefold second point of the great sign God made between Himself and His own people — the sign of His name, and of His weekly and annual Sabbaths. Now you need to study and carefully prove to yourself the third major proof of the true Church of the only true God.

   LOOK AT the darkened superstitions around you. In the modern world, we seemingly take for granted the various bizarre "doctrines" and "beliefs" of the many religions. We're not even especially alarmed at the almost fantastic varieties of "belief' held by the average passersby on the streets of our modern cities.

A Plethora of Paganism

   Some believe in "going to heaven." Others believe there is no God — that evolution is true. Still others believe in various interpretations of pantheism, polytheism, deism, dualism, theistic evolution, and, give or take a few hundred, about a thousand more shades and colorings of "belief."
   Fast friends in many social circles believe widely different things about religion.
   Sitting across from each other at the bridge table may be one person fully expecting to be "raptured" away secretly some day — while another believes there is no living Christ. One thinks only his body dies, and his "soul" goes off to heaven, while another believes he will reappear in the form of a gnat, or a mosquito.
   Still another believes he isn't even there! He is only a transitory thought, progressively coming into cosmic consciousness, or some other empty, totally meaningless phraseology.
   The true Church of God firmly believes God when He says: "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev. 12:9). God's Church shows that Satan is the god of this present world: "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (II Cor. 4:4).
   All nations have been deceived. They are in spiritual darkness. God said, through Isaiah: "Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Eternal hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed" (Isa.29:9-11).
   The great false religion, the great whore of Revelation, described in the 17th and 18th chapters, has made the nations spiritually drunk on false religious doctrines. "... The inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine [false doctrines] of her fornication.... And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth" (Rev. 17:2, 5).
   Think, for a moment, of the almost fantastic superstitions so many in this spiritually darkened world believe.
   Many believe they have a soul that is immortal, and that they are destined to go to an ever-burning hell because of Adam's sin. Many probably think of God as a vague, nebulous sort of "Trinity" way off somewhere — not much concerned about the here and now on this earth!
   Some believe they might someday go to "heaven" and sprout wings — to shuffle endlessly through pipe organ music, or play on a harp, as they stroll down streets of gold and silver!
   To them the devil has horns and a pitchfork, Adam "fell," angels have halos, and all "good" Christians go to church on Sunday.
   Christmas and Easter are two of the most important "holidays" (watered down from holy-days).
   Does it sound familiar?
   And yet when you really come to understand them — how confusing, how utterly empty and senseless, are the pagan "doctrines" held to be true by the blinded peoples of this present world.
   The third great proof of the true Church of God is knowing the truth. Knowing the truth about the pagan origins of the "doctrines" of this world — and knowing the real truth of God.

What Is a "Doctrine"?

   Do people actually learn anything from the various "doctrines" they believe? Is there any actual sense, any continuity, any theme or plan to them? Do people learn something vitally important about their own salvation, for example, at Christmas time? Do they understand thoroughly and deeply about the definite, provable, practical, workable solutions to this world's problems?
   Do they really know what the world will be like in the twenty hundreds, in Century Twenty-One? Do they really understand what man is, why he is, where he is going?
   Are they taught the truth about the very nature of man — the purpose in that nature — and its ultimate destiny?
   No! They certainly are not.
   A doctrine is just one more point of truth about the purpose and plan of God.
   A "doctrine" is not an utterly disconnected "idea" or philosophy about some completely irrelevant and vague-sounding sanctimonious something!
   A doctrine is not a cherished argument — a weapon one uses with which to fight against some other doctrine!
   A doctrine is a simple truth from God's Word.
   It is a fact, a truth, which further explains the whole purpose of God, and the great plan He is using to work out that purpose here below!
   John wrote: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed" (II John 9-10).
   "This doctrine" is the doctrine of Christ; it is not various doctrines about Christ — quaint little "stories" and traditions about His birth, or sentimental teachings using His name for window dressing — but the very truth which He brought!
   Christ is the Word. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son... by whom also he made the worlds" (Heb. 1:1-2).
   He is the Bible, personified.
   The real truth, then, the true. doctrine of Christ, is the truth which He reveals through His Word — not a pagan superstition, ancient tradition, or "idea" about Christ or the Bible manufactured by men.
   God says: "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith..." (Eph. 4:4-5).
   One faith — meaning one body of beliefs, one set of doctrines, one perfectly harmonious truth believed and practiced by the true Church of God. Unless a point of truth you may believe fits perfectly and harmoniously into the whole of the doctrine of Christ — unless each truth you have learned only further serves to elucidate, clarify and further explain the whole of the plan of God — then it may not be a "truth," but error.

The Truth About the Pagan Doctrines

   The great third proof of the true Church of God is knowing the truth about the pagan doctrines masquerading as truth in this world, and knowing the real truth about the true doctrine of Christ.
   This proof is a huge proof — embodying every scrap and shred, every bit and fiber of understanding concerning the rank paganism that has crept into every nook and cranny of false religion.
   Look at the major doctrines of the professing Christian world.
   Millions fully expect to "get to heaven" someday. Having been told about heaven as the reward of the saved since they were little children, they have come, without any shred of real proof whatever, to really believe this pagan doctrine. Perhaps they actually saw and heard a "deathbed repentance" of a departed loved one. Perhaps, just as their grandmother died, she claimed to have seen a "vision" of heaven. And, whether they had ever seen any real biblical proof or not, thousands of deceived human beings would take such an experience as this as absolute proof positive that the loved one "went to heaven."
   Notice how professing Christians cling to this vague hope of heaven with a fervent tenacity — just as Satan the devil became finally obsessed with the same idea. Lucifer, the great archangel who had been given this earth to rule, wasn't willing to "settle" for just this earth. He wanted to get to heaven! He wanted to leave this earth, and get up to heaven — usurping the very throne of God.
   Satan's desire was a selfish desire to get for the self. He has instilled this same tenacious, grasping, selfish desire to "get to heaven" in the minds of millions of people.
   One independent preacher wrote at the end of a pamphlet, "Dear Reader: Are you willing to settle for earth?" This minister was trying to attack the plain truth about this earth being the inheritance promised to all Christians.
   Do you see? Do you understand his attitude? Millions of people who think they are "Christian" are absolutely filled with the selfish concept of getting for the self. They have a belligerent, set-jawed, steely eyed determination to have their own way — in spite of what God says in the Bible!
   But heaven is not the reward of the saved! God's truth is that the saints shall reign on the earth (Rev. 5:10) and shall rule here below, with Christ, for one thousand years (Rev. 20:4).
   Jesus said: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5). He said those who are overcomers will rule the nations on this earth with Him (Rev. 2:26; 3:21).
   And these are only a small few of the literally dozens of plain scriptures, and sometimes whole chapters, in the sacred Word of God which absolutely prove that the "get-to-heaven" idea of this darkened and pagan world is of purely Satanic origin. If you have not read the booklets What Is The Reward Of The Saved? and Where are Enoch and Elijah?, then please read them. You need to really prove God's truth — and prove the error of the pagan doctrines of this world.

The Trinity

   God's true Church knows the fact of the duality of the Godhead. But the world believes in the Trinity. So deliberate has been the pagan attempt to foist this doctrine upon the world that a copyist in the eighth century A.D. inserted totally and completely spurious words into the Bible, attempting to "prove" this major doctrine of paganism.
   Turn, in your own Bible (King James Authorized Version), to I John 5:7. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
   But do you know not a one of these words is in any of the original manuscripts? Did you know not one of these words ever appeared in the manuscripts until after the invention of printing?
   Comparison with many of the more modern texts and simple research will absolutely prove this important point to you. Verse seven should be the last half of verse six. The seventh verse of I John 5 originally read: "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth." Our free booklet entitled Is God a Trinity? explains in detail.
   Who was a member of a great "Trinity"? Lucifer — who became Satan the devil! There are only three great archangels mentioned in the Bible: Lucifer, Michael and Gabriel. Lucifer fell (Luke 10:18), not Adam.
   But God is dual! There is the Father and the Son. In all creation, God made pairs of humans, pairs of sexes. A man has two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two hands, two feet, two legs, two arms.
   There was the first man Adam, and the second man Adam (or Christ). There is the Old Covenant and the New Covenant; the Old Testament and the New Testament; the former prophets and the latter prophets. Prophecy is often dual:"God is one, in two persons — not three.
   Jesus said, "I and my Father [just the two of us!] are one" (John 10:30).

The Soul

   God's true Church knows the real truth about the physical, mortal, fleshly, material soul.
   God says: "... The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4, 20).
   Solomon wrote: "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast..." (Eccl. 3:19). God's true Church knows that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23) — not eternal life in a different location — an ever-burning hell. Satan is immortal — and will be tormented forever. (See the booklet Did God Create a Devil?) But he has the world believing doctrines about himself
   Belief in the "immortality" of the soul is one of the basic and beginning errors of all modern professing Christianity. Have you really proved the truth about the soul to yourself? Do you have many proof texts on this subject carefully marked in your own Bible? Could you prove it to someone else? We have a comprehensive booklet on the subject. Read our free booklet Do You Have an Immortal Soul?
   God's true Church also knows the truth about the Gehenna fire of the Bible — the one of which Jesus Christ solemnly warned. He said: "... Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Greek, Gehenna]" (Matt. 10:28).
   The incorrigible sinner shall be burnt up (Mal. 4:1), and shall become ashes under the feet of the righteous (Mal. 4:3).
   Totally ignoring the many plain scriptures of the Bible, which even become quite specifically detailed (such as those in Malachi which I just mentioned, describing how human beings when burnt become as ashes), the pagan philosophers have seized upon a vague (to them) parable in Luke the sixteenth chapter.
   Undoubtedly, thousands of lurid, frightening, raving and shouting sermons have been based on the account of Lazarus and the rich man.
   God's Church knows the real truth about God's punishment for the wicked — and about a hellfire which is a lot hotter than the pagan concepts of this world. This, too, is something you should have carefully proved to yourself — and have thoroughly marked and noted in your Bible. If you have not carefully studied our booklet Is There A Real Hell Fire?, then please read it for more information.

And Dozens More

   God's true Church knows the truth about creation, about the purpose of God, and the great plan by which He is working out that purpose. God's true Church knows the real truth about the nature of God, of angels, and of man.
   God has revealed the almost incomprehensible truth of just what salvation is to His true Church — while the world simply doesn't know. They don't know what it is, how to get it, why they need it.
   God has called us out of the same spiritual darkness that still grips this world. We did not study to uncover these wonderful truths for ourselves — God gave them to us.
   We are not any "better" than other people as a result of God having given us understanding of His precious truth.
   But Jesus Christ said: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
   He promised to send the Holy Spirit which would lead us into all truth (John 16:13).

Truth Mixed With Error

   Don't forget that every religion — whether the "modern" ideas of the "no-God theologian," the comic-like ideas of certain "Christian" sects, the science-fiction doctrines of books purported to be additions to the Bible, or the witchery of spiritism — every religion could have some small part truth — but mixed with a gargantuan amount of error.
   Some churches appear to be just a "little bit closer" to the truth than others. But don't be deceived.
   There is no church on the face of this earth that is anywhere near the real truth of God as believed and practiced by His true Church! There is a great, inseparable, yawning, huge, bottomless maw — a gaping pit — a great gulf — between the one true Church of God, and all pagan organizations of men.
   You need to be so thoroughly grounded and rooted in these great truths that you have not only proved them to yourself — but you can completely and irrevocably prove them to others.

(To be Continued)

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Good News MagazineJanuary 1975Vol XXIV, No. 1
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