QR Code

   Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God presents Garner Ted Armstrong. All literature offered on this program will be sent free of cost to anyone requesting it.

   Religion today comes in every size and every shape. The many faces of religion represent every persuasion from the stained straight-laced types to the rock opera footing types of the gimmicks of modern-day evangelism. Religion has been heavily influenced by Madison Avenue to the point that you can shop for religion. That's the same way you shop for clothes or deodorants. The question in all this confusion is, did God create each one of these religions? Is God the author of dozens of different religions? And did God create what appears increasingly like a modern religiously oriented evangelical salvation supermarket?

   If yours is good enough for you or is it just fine, you're gonna get exactly where you're going. That's the philosophy of a lot of people, I figure. Now I figure this way. There's some guy over in Nepal who believes in prayer wheels and the creeks and strains of the mountains and is faithful to his religion all the way is best he can do according to what he believes. And I think he's going to get to heaven and then he lacks a little bit religious sounding about that time. Is that true?

   It's a good philosophy. It's comforting to say that no matter what your degree of ignorance or awareness or intelligence, education, whether you live in the Orient or the Oxidant that if you measure up to whatever philosophical or religious standards you set for yourself to the best of your ability then there's some great awesome being up there on the other side of cloud nine, who is going to reward you exactly proportionate to somebody else somewhere else. There are people who think this way, somebody has got to rationalize or justify his mind sooner or later, the fantastic disarray of disorganized and confused religions with a question in the book of I Corinthians asked by the Apostle Paul is Christ divided.

   Now, Jesus said, I will build my church one of the very plain sound and proven statements that Jesus made and he said the gates of hades or the grave shall never prevail against it. He said to the disciples though I am with you always, even at the time of the end, he talked about them as a small group of persecuted people. He said, fear not little flock. It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

   He talked about the church being his own body. Later in Ephesians the first chapter, the Apostle Paul calls the Church of God, the body of Christ. In Ephesians the, the fourth chapter it says, and I quote, there is one body, talking about the body of Christ, and one spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling. One Lord. That is one Christ, one faith. Now that means literally body of beliefs, one system of doctrine, one church, in other words, one baptism not dozens of different kinds.

   Today, you've got everything from dry cleaning to sprinting and pouring and perhaps even and running around under a hose. And I'm not kidding about that was actually done one time on a hot day in New York City where a guy got permission from the fire department to use something kind of like a great big hook and ladder hose that would be used to combat fires to spray it up in the air and let all the believers run through. And this was claimed to be baptism.

   The Bible says though one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who was above all and through all and in you all are in every one of you and it said earlier than that we ought to endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. So the Bible continually talks about the one church called most of the time in the New Testament, the Church of God sometimes called the Church of God Corinth, the Church of God in some other place, sometimes called the Church of Jesus Christ, the Church of Christ, so on. But most places called the Church of God.

   Now, since the Bible places such evidence, such emphasis, such continued repetition, almost on this one subject of oneness of the uniqueness of God's church. How can it be in this dazzling supermarket of choices all around us that every last one of them can be the true church.

   I have people ask me questions sometimes when I'm interviewed by newspaper or television or radio commentators or reporters, they say, I understand that you think your church is the true church. I've got a standard answer for that. I have to say in all honesty and fairness. Sure. Doesn't everybody? You mean to say that Catholics who go to mass religiously and devoutly think that they're in the false church? Is that an accusation for somebody to say? I think that I've got the right church, doesn't everybody?

   Is there one person who goes through the portals or underneath the symbols of the signs, the cross or the wreath or whatever or underneath the steeple and into the dimly lit interior or brightly lit interior, whether it's a rock opera house or a place of Zen Buddhism or a place of fundamentalist, Protestant, Evangelical, Christianity who honestly thinks I'm going into the wrong place today. I don't understand that question.

   It's like people actually think it's a kind of an entrapment, a kind of a question that is going to back you into a corner if you dare admit. Yes, I think I'm a member of the one true church. Why I thought everybody thought that. And that's the point I'm trying to make. People honestly begin to ask the question sincerely so.

   Well, how can all these churches be wrong? Now, I understand why people ask that because people like to take comfort in the broad general mainstream of evangelical thought of the immortality of the soul, of the idea of going to heaven or going to hell for disobedience or whatever it is you do to displease God. If there's an automatic switch that is thrown. Once you say the magical words, if I accept Jesus as my savior and so on, you really believe it. It has to be sincere. I know that there's more to it than just a fluffy statement of a kind of a gimmick of a few words or something like that.

   But there are a great many people that seem to believe, that we can rely and we can depend upon the comfortable churchianity of our society. Our little calendars on the wall, the New England scene and the proverbial little steeple poking up through the autumn leaves.

   Why churches and religious occasions are as comfortable and as a part of a small American community as post offices and fire departments and city hall and maybe even parking meters and things as familiar to the Americans as stop lights and billboards and the local grocer and it just wouldn't be America and Americana without all those little old church buildings around.

   The idea though of turning that question around and making it far more applicable by saying, but can all of them be right? Not an excuse to say. Now, look, this guy is saying something different. Something that seems to go against the grain of organized mainstream evangelical Christianity. Why all these churches can't be wrong? Can they?

   Now wait just a minute. There are more than 400 of them. Can they all be right? Can ten of them be right? They are. What about all the others? It doesn't make sense. Can one of them be right? It is and all the others are wrong. That's what you're left with, can all the churches be right. They all believe different things. Some of them have split right down the middle over various squabbles over whether it's right to have music in the church and others have split up over the way people dress.

   There are lots of believers around of yardstick religion. They believe that God is running around with his yardstick, who's Christian down there who's in uniform today and they're running around checking hemlines and hair length and things like this.

   No, it's the heart. God says he looks not in the outward appearance but people don't believe that say now, come on, God, we know better than that. You do to look on the outward appearance. It's the thing you're most concerned about because that's what we're most concerned about. Look at that hage, where'd she get that wig? It's not a wig. It's her real hair. There's no, no rapaciousness among people who are supposed to be religious believers and those that get out the yardstick and measure how people are Christian or not, depending upon their hair, their skirts, their neckties.

   There are people who believe that neckties are pagan in origin. Now, I imagine pagan people made them originally. Matter of fact, men began to wear high heels and wigs before women did. That doesn't mean necessarily God frowns on neckties and all the needed leathern girdles during the time of Elijah, I'll have to stop and show you a book that I want you to write for and come back and talk about this just in about one minute from now.

   We live in a world of many different religions while teaching peace and harmony among men. Their people are led to war against one another. Witness the Hindu-Muslim conflict in India-Pakistan, the Protestant-Catholic confrontation in Northern Ireland and the Jew-Arab crisis. All believing they have true religion. Ironic, isn't it?

   With over 400 denominations in the Western Christian world? Haven't you ever wondered which one is right? Who teaches what Jesus did? The truth of Christ's message to man can be found in eyewitness accounts in your Bible.

   This free article. Can help you understand that message, for your free copy of this booklet, What is the True Gospel? Write to Ambassador College Box 345 GPO Sydney.

   I so remember a conversation, a very good minister, friend of mine had with a fellow in the Middle East some years ago, they were talking about religion. The Middle Easterner was of course an Arab and was an adherent to the belief in Islam and so on and talking about whether or not he would fight for his God. Now this fellow minister of mine said, well, no, you see, because my God fights for me. And the concept was so completely foreign to this Arab person that he just couldn't understand what in the world the fellow was talking about.

   People have various concepts that are very dear, very near, very close to them about what they would do for their God. Some people think that God needs them to fight for him. Actually, the Bible says he will fight for us. But there are many such opposites and concepts in the Bible, not only about church, but about religion in general, a philosophy of a way of life or better yet most people think of religion, not so much as a way of life, but as a belief. Now, people sometimes at football games will hear a kind of a Razzmatazz band out there and maybe even Al Hurt is present and they're playing give me that good old time religion.

   I remember hearing that in the middle of a Cowboys football game in Dallas, it seems to me not too long ago, I forget just exactly when that was, but that's a popular song with a lot of people, give me that good old time religion. What is that anyhow? Well, old-time religion is religion of 50 years ago. And to those people who sang the song, no doubt it was a religion of 50 years before them. And to those people, it was 50 years before them and it was 50 years. What is the old-time religion? Do you know, even before the Canon as it's called, the Bible was complete. The Bible writers were urging people to get back to the faith once delivered to the saints that before the Bible was even put together and written, they had gotten so far away in many areas that early New Testament era that there were errors beginning to creep in.

   That one of the main problems the early apostles had was keeping error, false practices mostly in ways of living, not just false thoughts and concepts but practices and ways of doing things that had to do with the family and society and so on. And their main goal was keeping the church free from all of these errors.

   You know, way back in the western was even such a thing as six gun religion. A guy would come into a bar and shoot for attention and then say, want to preach you people of sermon, you better stand right where you is or I'm gonna to put holes through you. He may have even said it in a kind of a sick religious voice. It's actually a fact of history it really happened. Six guns in the Bible. It kind of came to the West together. That sounds strange. Maybe you've even seen some movies where they were hiding a Bible inside a cutaway. I'm sorry, the other way around the gun inside a cutaway Bible.

   Have you ever heard of karate for Christ? I understand that there was a guy who actually was doing this or said he was going to do it. He'd be in a dark alley someplace kind of setting up for the gang waiting for them to arrive. And when they got there, he would suddenly lash out with a karate kick right into the stomach of this fellow and knock him over backwards. And of course, then once he had them down, he whips out of his toga or what is it? They were for karate? It's not a toga but anyhow, he whips out his Bible and with a foot on the spine of one, the other guy is feeling his headache against the wall, he begins to preach to them about religion. Now, isn't that beautiful karate for Christ? Kind of hard to believe. But I guess some people are willing to take the gospel practically anywhere. And that's the way it is.

   Well, there are examples around us today in modern society of what I would call gimmick religion, reduced green fees for Sunday school attendance. Can you believe that? I'm not kidding. If there are some churches that even have a thing for the country club of getting on the green later on in the day, if you come to Sunday school first. A green stamps given in church offerings.

   I'm sorry to laugh about some of that. I know that the churches that do it really take it seriously. But it just seems somehow almost reminiscent of how Jesus was kicking the money changers out of the temple and the people were selling doves and offerings and this and that in there. When you've got to come to a church to say, go to the one next to the one on the corner which gives you green stamps for your offer. I think that that's fantastic.

   Then there's such a thing as rock masses. Would you believe a mass where everybody sits around, I guess with the rosary, but they're jigging up and down and rock music by the way, is nothing really new. Maybe you don't know that Elvis Presley has said in time and again that he learned the kind of a beat and even the swaying of the hips and this and that in his earlier Pentecostal type religious experience that he used to go to revivals and where this very heavy accent on a meat was present that was a part of the service. And that's where Elvis began to learn to sing in the inimitable fashion that he himself developed back in the fifties and became very popular over.

   We have drive-in church services these days. I don't know how they would do that with regard to mask because unless the priests could come around in a golf cart with a wafer and kind of put it in the windows, especially if it's raining. But anyhow, they have, I'm sure Protestant drive-in services and there are things like healing revivals and this type of thing. So, there are what I call gimmicks being added to religion. There are mass baptisms which are grabbing their hands and running into the surf, which is not really what Jesus had in mind.

   Frankly, when you look into the Bible and you see that baptism is a very serious ceremony that is typical of the death, burial and resurrection of an old self, the emergence to walk in newness of life as the Bible says. And if we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God and to walk in newness of life, that the old man is crucified with him as it says in Romans six then joining hands and tripping off into the surf in bikinis. Just hardly is not exactly what I think that God had in mind in the Bible.

   You can take a look at the Bible and I think you can prove that to yourself if you wish, most people think of religion as one of those items which refer to God or Jesus synagogue or church meditation or prayer battles, beads, badges, hymns, candles, incense prayers, clasped hands. Certainly steeples bells. Oh, those bells.

   I'll never forget one time in a tiny town in Switzerland. Either there was some guy with his foot caught in the rope or else there was some guy over there that was really hung up on this one particular sound. The bells are said to peel. Believe me, the peeling came out of this one. The guy began ringing, ringing thing. It's even got me confused. Now, I think about it. He began ringing this thing at something like eight o'clock in the morning. And I think at 9:30 he was still at it and I couldn't believe it. I thought repetition is the strongest form of emphasis. And those people were insisting you come to church and I had the idea that they were not going to stop that idiot from jerking on that bell rope until the last person out of the hotel and emptied out there and gone to that church and it was echoing off the mountains, beautiful idyllic little town. You know, the first couple of 3 ding dongs and that bell kind of had charm.

   There was this ancient old European steeple projecting kind of proudly up into the sky there, you know, and this bell on the top of it, the rope hanging down the little fry and I knew it a border. But any anyway, I'm sorry, but he was in there and he grabbed hold of the rope and he seen the pictures, you know, with some kind of small and the ropes kind of on a heavy belt and jerks them off their feet and he's gone up and down. Maybe that was it. Maybe he got hung up. And he just said, well, somebody please come and help me, let me go on this rope. But I, I nearly died. I kept trying to cover my ears. I was going crazy.

   We know that that's what religion is about. Bells, incense, beads, the dirty finger held outside of the bag of beans in the case of Zen Buddhism. Or is that some of the religion? I forget. But in a general sense, religion is defined as doing something. It's supposed to do three things.

   I'll come back and enlarge upon it. But it's supposed to tell you where you came from. What is wrong with you? Your state of being is a man and how you got that way. It gives you a goal, some ideal possibility for a better status either now or in the case of most Orient religions and to a great degree, even Western Christianity in the life after this one and third, it gives you a means of grace, whether that's a means of appeasing the wrath of some other imagined beings and self-suffering or some massacre of suffering or affliction of pain? I don't know a way to get you from where you are to where you ought to be at a ritual to perform that helps you get there eventually.

   This is what religion is supposed to do for you. Does your religion do that? Does your religion make sense to you or isn't it true that it seems to me at least that it is that the more confusing, the more difficult for you to understand the more vague and secretive, the darker and the most mysterious, many of the religious customs and practices people adhere to are the better your religion is bound to be.

   The Bible is the most widely distributed and misunderstood book in the world. Can you imagine the following discussion taking place over the literary classic "Gone With The Wind"?

   "I say it's pretty good." "It looks awfully dull to me. I never read it. And I don't like books about foreign countries." "It's all about. I saw the movie, hey, wait a minute, read the book."

   That's all it would take to understand "Gone with the Wind". The same solution works equally well with the Bible. If you just read the book, we can't send you a Bible, but we can help you understand it with the keys explained in this free booklet Read The Book. For your free copy of, Read The Book, write to Ambassador College Box 345 GPO Sydney.

   Now, if your religion does do those three things for you, you tell me where you came from and how you got in your present state of being, gives you a goal and it gives you a means of grace and enough to achieve a better status means there is such a thing as the religion of materialism. There is a religion of evolution, other religions really, by this definition, atheism and evolution, a belief in no God is in a sense of religion.

   As a matter of fact, many programs are done on the subject of evolutionary quote of leading evolutionists among them, George Gaylord Simpson. And they have the famous names in the field who actually stated that it was an article of faith that there is no God that the evolutionary idea is as much an acceptance of something which cannot be demonstrated in food, the beginning of a first cause, no matter what name they put to it, they begin with laws, order a universe, the actual functioning of those laws along lines that are immutable and seemingly unchangeable and so on. But they're not willing to acknowledge that a creation requires a creator. That order requires a great law giver, one who maintains that orderliness. And that they think that randomness is the author of order, which is ridiculous to the human mind.

   But to some atheism is a religion based on no God but themselves, their whims fancies in the changing Malays and trends of society and it dictates of course, of their own conscience. And the one guy that can say, I don't have a conscience, therefore, I live free is the guy who is said to be a free thinker. All of us really are affected by the religion of materialism though.

   Its preachers tell us that our armpits are damp. Right? And we're getting a little bit too fat. We should be slim. Our breath is foul. Our wash is gray and our car is inadequate and we have to keep up with the standard, not of Christ, but of the Jones next door. That's the religion of Madison Avenue, materialism. It's a religion that comes to you in advertising in those fields more consistently than perhaps in any other fashion.

   It's amazing the way people have the attitude they do to religions as opposed to doctors. It's, it's really unpopular to disagree with anything that a doctor says, especially a doctor of medicine.

   Now, there are all kinds of doctors. There are hundreds of different and thousands of doctors and dozens of different kinds, I guess, or at least 10 or 20. But, uh, once a doctor says he does it or a doctor recommends it or doctors do like Madison Avenue comes along.

   These two babes are talking about it and they're talking about this product. You've seen it. You know, it drives me out of my mind. This one says most doctors do it says doctors do. That's like saying God does. And so they're going to rush out and buy this product. So the idea of the way achieve saintly excellence to be as good or better than your neighbors to become happy, robust, sexually appreciated being people with dry arm pits, and the right car and of course, wet is out either under your arms or on your head. Here's the wet head, here's the dry head, wet head, dry head, wet head, dry head. I think they look better wet sometimes.

   Anyhow, this is sort of a holy sacrament of buying their product. The Madison Avenue, religious terminology of buying my product. And it's a kind of a faith. It's faith that if you go to the drugstore, the department store, the grocery store and you buy this product all will be well, something good. It is. No, I don't want to say that.

   Consider the religion of evolution, which is a faith, it teaches us where we all came from. Purports to, that's what true religion is supposed to do. And where did we come from? According to evolution? Nowhere we began with purple polka-dotted bubbles in the sea. We came from cracks in rocks and I know that some wives say husbands new worm and maybe they think that's where they, you creep. You know, you came out of a crack in a rock. That's what evolution says. It gives us a goal. Nowhere beyond the now.

   Although, the goal is the possession of material accumulations of goods. It tells us what we must do to attain that goal. Nothing, a lie, cheat, scramble over the heads and shoulders of the other people, jerk the rug out from under the boss, knife the boss in the back. Whatever life becomes meaningless without purpose and goals subject only to the changing whims and mores of passing societies with the evolutionary concept. So just as mass media peddles its products, and I think it's a good word, recognize Christianity, which I prefer to call sometimes churchianity peddles its own brand of products.

   People today basically are becoming disillusioned with religion. The average person is a little unhappy or dissatisfied with his church. Many people ask preachers questions and preachers can't answer those questions because increasingly there is a new disease I call biblical illiteracy which afflicts even preachers and practitioners of the Bible. They don't seem to know what the Bible is all about where to find certain aspects of teaching of the Bible. And they are like guides that get lost 100 yards off the forest trails. As long as you pick a few cherished verses and passages, some of them are on safe ground, wander off of that, let the Bible fall open to some obscure place in the book of Nahum or Micah as mine just did and they're lost. What's that? And I don't know what it means and how do you explain it? And expound it. It's easy to expound and explain the Bible.

   I'll take you up on that. I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll show you a verse. It is one of the most cherished of all in the entire Bible if you would like to write quickly. And we will see that practically nobody believes this scripture. And that is quote, for God so loved the world, John 3:16, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish. Right there, all of what I would call organized churchianity jumps the track. They just don't believe that. There is not a question of perishing. You're not going to perish because you got the soul inside you now, pears and apples and bananas, they perish but not human beings. They've got an immortal soul. No, they haven't either. The Bible doesn't say that there is nowhere in the Bible, the words immortal soul, just isn't in the Bible. It says God who only hath immortality. It says the man that he is of the dust unto the dash he shall return. It says as thee the one speaking the beast of the earth, so die the other. It says the soul that sinnth, it shall die. It talks about the death of the soukha or the ruach is the Hebrew word. And so it says that whosoever believeth in him should not perish. But on the opposite of that, the other hand, a complete opposite to perishing is have eternal life. Even a simple scripture. Can your minister expound that to you? Can he explain that for you that? What does it mean when it says perish? He's going to have to tell me this. Well, now dear, don't bother your point of the head. That only means your body. But that doesn't say your soul dies. I agree. It doesn't say your soul dies, not there, but it does say the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Elsewhere, Ezekiel 18:4 and Ezekiel 18 verse 20. If you'd like to look it up, no ministers and religionists ought to be preaching and teaching from the Bible. They ought to turn to the Bible and expound it. They ought to be able to turn to the book of Genesis and explain what is man where he came from. Why he, that means you and I are here and where we are going.

   He ought to turn to the Bible and be able to explain about the Godhead. How many members are there? What does God look like? Where does he dwell? What is his plan and purpose? He ought to be able to turn to the Bible and explain who or what was Jesus before his human birth to expound and explain about the virgin birth about the light, the ministry the preaching the gospel according to the disciples, the final crucifixion and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And expound it from the Bible. He ought to be able to show you what is a Christian and what is not, what is the Bible definition of sin and what is not. And unless your minister can do that and do it repeatedly and answer your questions.

   Well, I'm not quite sure what the problem would be if you write for these two booklets, I believe you will be able to open up your Bible, which we feel is the most ancient and the most accurate record after all and look into it for yourself, there free of charge. Until next time, Garner Ted Armstrong goodbye friends. All literature offered on the Garner Ted Armstrong program is sent free of cost to anyone requesting it. For your free copy of these booklets. What is the True Gospel? And Read The Book, write to Ambassador College Box 345 GPO Sydney. Be sure to watch Garner Ted Armstrong again next week at this time, brought to you by Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God.

Please Note: The FREE literature offered on this program are no longer available through the Address and Phone Number given, please visit www.hwalibrary.com for all FREE literature offered on this program.

Broadcast Date: 1977