Monthly Archives: January 2017

Part 2: Is There Salvation Outside The Church?

In the first part of this topic, I covered the high level understanding of the doctrines of faith alone and faith with works. Now its time to study the teachings from the scriptures.

The Doctrine of Faith and Works

The justification by faith and works is the teaching that the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) and other Christians religion teach. These Churches normally have hierarchical form of leadership similar to the Catholic Church which is headed by Pope.

About The Epistle of James

The doctrine of faith and works was taught by James. Bible scholars believe James is not one of the twelve Apostles even there are two James out of the twelve Apostles The author identifies himself as “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” who is writing to “the twelve tribes scattered abroad” (James 1:1). the audience is generally considered to be Jewish Christians, who were dispersed outside of Roman Judea due to persecution.

The Justification – Doctrine of Faith and Works

In James 2:14, James teach faith without work is dead. His question is therefore demanding a negative answer.

James 2:14 (NKJV), 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

James further expand what he meant that faith without works is not profitable.

James 2:14-24 (NKJV), 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Clearly so far we can tell that James is teaching that faith must be coupled with works to be saved. But what is “works” mean and what is “save” means? James used the example of Abraham offering his son, Isaac. This example is about practicing faith, to live in faith by what you believe. Abraham believe what God asked him to do. It is not because he followed the instruction of God that he is saved. Apostle Paul explains:

Romans 4:2 (NKJV) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, BUT NOT BEFORE GOD.

So far nothing mentioned of works by sacrificing your time in many different paper work in the Church or do all kinds of different offerings in the Church.

James says, without a doubt,”works are necessary to be saved.” That is clearly what he says here. In the next topic we will cover the teaching of justification by faith alone from Apostle Paul. For now we can already say there is conflict in the scriptures between James and Apostle Paul. This is a problem….BUT IT SHOULD NOT BE. If you believe in the bible, if you believe the scriptures are inspired words of God, the scriptures must not contradict itself.

James is not discussing a doctrine of salvation which is based only on faith. James insists that works are necessary to be saved. To understand this better we have to learn the theme of the book of James found in

James 1:21 (NKJV) Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls

James is talking to Jewish Christians, telling them that they can save their lives from the damage that sin brings if they will walk in holiness. He has already warned them of the death dealing consequences of sin:

James 1:13-15 (NKJV) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

In verse 21, he suggests that the antidote to the kind of consequence spoken of in 1:15, is the life saving capacity of God’s Word.

James subject IS NOT TALKING ABOUT ETERNAL LIFE AND HOW TO OBTAIN IT. James is writing about preserving temporal life and the damage that sin brings to the life of a believer.

James 2:12-14 (NKJV) So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

James is asking, “Does the fact that you are a believer save you from the temporal judgement of God if you live in sin?” His question demands a negative answer. God will bring temporal judgement on those believers who do not live out the principles of their faith. If your faith doesn’t work — live out the teachings of Christ, — you will suffer temporal judgement because of it.

The question now is what good works? I think in order to find the answer is we just have to go back to the scriptures which actions are righteous in the side of God. But James himself explained this

James 2:15-16 (NKJV) If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

What James is saying man cannot holds correct belief and save him from deadly consequences of sin. That is like giving your best wishes to a destitute brother or sister, when what they really need is food and clothing. It is utterly fruitless. Neither will your faith do your physical well being any good if you live in sin. Apply this to the Church of Christ practices, the Church is not addressing the real need of its member but it is the need of the Church. What do members need? Spiritual food but basic needs of life – not full of debt and obligations to give, give and give to the Church!

What is dead faith?

James stated

James 2:17 (NKJV) Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Remember James is writing to the Jewish Christians. Unless we act on our faith and live it out, our faith rapidly decays into dead orthodoxy. Good works are the spirit which animates the entire body. With out such works, our faith dies. This affect our temporal life and the preserving of it from God’s judgement. It does not teach that faith with works gives you salvation.

What are works?

James in fact was referring to love of your neighbor.

James 2:8 (NKJV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;

Now actually James and Apostle Paul agree about love.

Galatians 5:6 (NKJV), For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV), 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The Doctrine of Faith Alone – Sola Fide

We will cover the scriptures in detail in next post. For now I like to cover what else James and Paul agree other than LOVE.
Did James really disagree with Paul on salvation being by grace through faith alone? Notice what he wrote in:

James 1:17-18 (NKJV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.

Apostle Paul teach

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV), 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Good gifts come from God and salvation is one of those good gifts. Grace is a gift of God and by grace we are saved. A gift is something you receive not because you work hard for it, otherwise it is not a gift. James sees the new birth as a sovereign act of God. James and Paul were in fundamental harmony about the way eternal life is received. For both of them, IT IS A GIFT FROM GOD, graciously and sovereignly bestowed.

I hope I have presented the inspired words of God in their real meaning. Do not just believe me, do a research and read the bible yourself to see if what I discuss in my articles are true or not.

-Cornelius.

Part 1: Is There Salvation Outside The Church?

This is rather a difficult question and a complex topic but I will not shy away because it is profitable for our own knowledge.

There are several Christian religions claiming to be the only Church to be saved. They teach that one must join their Church to be included in the Church that Jesus will save. Some of the popular religions are covered in letusreason.org website and these are excerpts from that site.

Iglesia Ni Cristo “Each member … should submit himself to the Administration of the Church in order to be saved.”(PASUGO, January 1976, p. 9)

Roman Catholic Church
-”But by divine institution it is the exclusive task of these pastors alone, the successors of Peter and the other Apostles, to teach the faithful authentically, that is with the authority of Christ ….” (Vatican Council II Vol. 2, p. 430, 1984). However, the catholic.com website wrote this: “there are exceptions, and it is possible in some circumstances for people to be saved who have not been fully initiated into the Catholic Church”.

Mormonism LDS – 13th LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, “This is not just another Church. This is not just one of a family of Christian churches. This is the Church and kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth…” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.164-165). This church is the only true and living church on the face of the whole earth (D and C 1:30) “There is no salvation outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter -day Saints (Mormon Doctrine, p.670)

“Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the Church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore who so belongeth not to the church of the lamb of God belongeth to that great church; which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” (The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10)

Jehovah’s Witnesses- The Gospel of the Kingdom ceased to be proclaimed shortly after the death of the apostles. It was not preached again until after 1918.(WT, 12/1/1928, pp. 363-64)

“The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society the one and only channel which the Lord has used in dispensing his truth continually since the beginning of the harvest period?” (WT 4/1/1919, p. 6414)

International Church of Christ “There is one church! There is one God. There is one kingdom of God and this is it! (The Great Commission, audio tape, Weger/Rock, Hodge/Hamann/Fulcher/Fields)

“you are in the only family that exists on the face of the earth.”( Phil Lamb, We Are Family, audio tape 1990 West Coast Conf.)
“We’re the last hope the world has. Nobody else is going to do what we’re doing. Nobody else has the right message. Nobody else has the right commitment.”( Gordon Ferguson, Radical Men, Radical Times Hosea Radical Love of God, Manila World Leadership Conf., Aug. 1994 )

True Jesus Church– On 5. on the web they emphatically state “The True Jesus Church is the true church restored by God through the Holy Spirit of the latter rain. She is the revival of the apostolic church in the end times.” on the web “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Therefore, one can receive eternal life only through the true church.”

7th day Adventists-”I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, MINISTERS AND PEOPLE WILL BE CALLED OUT FROM THESE CHURCHES and will gladly receive the truth….But the light will shine, and ALL WHO ARE HONEST WILL LEAVE THE FALLEN CHURCHES, and take their stand with the remnant” (Early Writings, p. 261 )

The Philadelphia church– Mr. Flurry “The “household” is God’s Family or true church. It’s the family that God rules. This is God’s inner circle–His very elect. One servant, one leader or one man is made ruler over God’s church. Only this church (The PCG) gives meat in due season. Only this church is doing God’s work!” (The Philadelphia Trumpet, p.1 May 1995)

The local Church (Witness Lee)– When we were in the denominations, we were blind. I do not believe that any dear Christians who have really received sight from the Lord could still remain in the denominations. Everyone who sees must leave the fold and enter the pasture, under the sunshine, in the fresh air, in liberty. Where are you now? Are you in the fold, or are you now in the pasture? Allow me to say this: if anyone is still in the fold, he is blind. Of course, a blind person requires the fold to keep him. But when he receives his sight, he will swiftly leave the fold for the pasture, for the sunshine, for the fresh air.” (Witness Lee, Christ Versus Religion LSM, 197,1 p.109-110)

House of Yahweh “The One Body of Messiah IS The House of Yahweh! “…IF we ‘separate’ from the One Body of Messiah: The House of Yahweh, then we succumb to Satan, then at that very moment we become worshipers of Satan…of if one LEAVES The Body – The only Prophesied, Established Work that Yahweh Himself has chosen, then that one does NOT partake, or is NO LONGER a partaker, with the rest of The body of Messiah – The House of Yahweh” (What Yahweh’s Feasts Mean to You, pp. 78, 87).

Hawaii fellowship of the Universal World Church “a voice thundered and uttered these words “This is my daughter in whom I am well pleased. As Jesus, my son, paid the price through his faithfulness upon the cross.. my anointed daughter, Miss Velma, has paid the price through her faithfulness at the golden altar. Therefore, all who will believe in her, will receive my gift of eternal youth which is new revelation Mamre.” (The mighty Miracle of the new Revelation of Mamre p.49-50) The new Revelation of Mamre is the greatest gift ever given to a people by almighty God. “(The mighty Miracle of the new Revelation of Mamre p.7)

Salvation According to the bible

We all know after the first Century Christians, the Catholic religion came into power and becomes the Christian religion until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The bible that we read today is available to us because they are compiled and maintained by the Catholic fathers. By that it is almost impossible to believe that the “people of God” disappeared after the first century Christians died as claimed by the Iglesia Ni Cristo – if that is the case we are reading the bible produced by “non-God’s people” therefore we should not even trust it. Because I believe the bible is inspire words of God, it was compiled, maintained, translated by the people of God.

There are two contradicting teachings about salvation in the bible. The Pauline doctrines of salvation by faith alone and James which is faith and works. I think all the organized Church listed above follow the teaching of James which means they deny the teaching of Apostle Paul.

Protestants practicing Lutheranism and Calvinsm follows the doctrine of Apostle Paul. They teach the doctrine of “Sola fide” or faith alone and that is in-line with the teachings of Apostle Paul. The Protestant broke out of Catholic religion because they claim the Catholics are doing wrong. The words of God are from “Sola Scriptura” or “scripture alone” and not from the mouth of the Pope. Unlike Iglesia Ni Cristo practices, Lutheranism and Calvinsm do not swear because of what is stated in Matthew 5:34 “But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,”.

Faith Alone vs. Faith and Works

As part of my learning in the bible I follow some principles:

  • The bible is inspired words of God
  • No bible verses contradicts another verse

The question now is why is the teachings of Paul about “faith alone” appear to be contradicting the teaching of James that is “faith coupled with works”. These are the possibilities

1. Paul is wrong, James is correct
2. Paul is correct, James is wrong
3. Paul is correct and James is correct

If the bible is inspired words of God, there is no such thing as “Paul is wrong and James is wrong“. But even scenario #1 and #2 denies the idea that the bible is inspired by God. The Iglesia Ni Cristo doctrines is in-line with scenario #1. They do not teach Paul is wrong but that is the reality, they deny the teachings of Apostle Paul and teach the doctrine of faith and works by James.

Because I believe the bible is inspired words of God and no verse contradict another verse, I am more comfortable to scenario #3. In the next post I will explain why both Paul and James are correct and why salvation is not only inside Iglesia Ni Cristo. In fact because of violation of Matthew 5:34 inside INC, I doubt more on the validity of being the only Church to be saved. I am sorry to say that but I believe what the bible says.

Again, you to not need to believe me but I encourage you to always validate what I write by doing your own research and verifying the verses I used in the bible. Always test the spirit for the knowledge of God’s words are profitable to you.

-Cornelius

The Church Offerings and The Temple Buildings

What is the bible teachings about the composition of a worship gathering? Apostle Paul clarifies this in Corinth

1 Corinthians 14:26 (NKJV) – 26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

Let us dissect the verse one by one

whenever we come together – church assembly
each of you has psalm – Rom. 16:10-11, singing of hymns of praises
has teaching – 1 Cor. 14:21 proclaiming God’s message
has a tongue – 1 Cor. 14:18-19, speaking in the language understood by individuals
has a revelation – making something known
has an interpretation – 1 Cor.14:11, there is a language translator for those who don’t understand
let all things be done for edification – for our own understanding of God’s words and spiritual inspirations

What else do we understand from 1 Cor. 14:26? There was no mentioned of fix time not even how many times. but says “whenever you come together”.
How else are first Christian gathered? We know they are gathered from their respective houses (Rom. 16:10-11).
What else did you notice about gathering together? THERE IS NO OFFERINGS.

So when is Church offerings started?

In the time of Jews, the Israelite of the First Testament, up to the time of Jesus and Apostles (who are Jews and practiced all what a devout Jew does), they practiced tithing. At least three types of tithe I know but there could be something else:

THE LEVITE’S TITHE – Numbers 18:21 (NKJV) “Behold, I have given the CHILDREN OF LEVI ALL THE TITHES IN ISRAEL as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

THE FESTIVAL TITHE – Deuteronomy 14:22-35 (NKJV) “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. 23 “And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

POOR TITHE – Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (NKJV) “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 “And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

So far we know the people of God in time of the First Testament they are commanded to tithe.

In the New Testament, again Christ, the Apostles and other Jews in the bible practiced tithe for being a Jews. The coming of Christ created a transition between Judaism and Christianity and so there was a time they both practiced Jewish traditions and also started practicing the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Himself says in Matthew 5:17-18 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”. Christ was saying the completion of the practices and prophesies of the First Testament will come and that will happen when heaven and earth pass away. The fact that Christians no longer practice Jewish laws, the passing of heaven and earth must have been done – or Christians are wrong and the present Jews in our time are correct in their practice of religion. If you believe Christ, we are therefore to follow the new teachings from the New Testament as instructed by Lord Jesus and the Apostles.

[Side topic: Please read topic on “Till Heaven And Earth Pass Away” to understand Matthew 5:17-18 in details]

Let us start again with Apostle Paul’s letter in Corinth

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (NKJV) – 16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.

First we know there was collection from this verse but it is not teaching about the collection during worship gathering. Secondly, Apostle Paul suggested “as I have given orders” (it was his order not from Christ) to set aside on the first day of the week so that there will be NO COLLECTION when he come. Again there was no mention the collections are collected during the gathering.

Also in 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NKJV) – “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

The next question is what are the collections used for in the verses qouted? The collections are from Gentile Christians in Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi, Galatia, and others and they are to be sent to Jerusalem not because there is Central Office there [Note the Jerusalem Temple is not the place of worship for Christians] but because there is a great famines and the Jewish Christians there need help (Acts 11:28-30). The collections are not to build church buildings. You see when you learn the whole context it gives the real meaning of the verse why they say what they say or why they did what they did.

The collection described in 1 Cor. 16:1-2 is not endless. It will end when Apostle Paul come. Think of it, if there is no end, Apostle Paul will keep traveling from Greece, Rome and other places to Jerusalem. The point is the collection was intended for helping the needy Christians in Jerusalem but the Church use 1 Cor 16:1-2 to prepare your offerings weekly, your annual thanks giving weekly, your special offerings weekly and so on and so forth.

Collections are for Great Famines in Jerusalem and Judea

Famines was foretold by Agabus in:

Acts 11:28 (NKJV) – Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.

Judea was especially hard hit by famine and the disciples sent aid to them.

Acts 11:29 (NKJV) – Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.

First century historian, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Eusebius, mentioned famines and is said to have been severe in Jerusalem. Josephus says that many people perished for want of food. Here is a quote from http://www.biblehistory.net/newsletter/acts11_famine.htm

“Other early historians also mention this famine which extended beyond Israel. Josephus wrote in Antiquities 20 chapter 1.3-2.5: “Herod, the brother of Agrippa who had perished, was allowed to govern over Chalcis. He asked Claudius Caesar for control over the temple along with the sacred treasury, and the ability to choose the high priests, and he was given all that he had asked for.”
“Around this time lived queen Helena of Adiabene, along with her son Izates. They both began to follow the Jewish way, turning away from their past lifestyle . . . Her arrival was of great help to the masses in Jerusalem; for there was a famine in the land that overtook them, and many people died of starvation.”

Collections From The Christians Gentiles

Apostle Paul talked about the gift for ministering the saints. In the previous article “Apostle Paul and The Church Ministers”, I explained Apostle Paul reverted to no-gift preaching and instead he worked not to burden the saints.

In 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 (NKJV) – 8 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.

Titus collected gifts to deliver to the poor in Jerusalem and Judea.

[Side topic: About TITUS – During Paul’s first missionary journey, a young man named Titus heard Paul preach about Jesus. Titus was Greek—he had not grown up worshiping the God of the Bible. As he listened to Paul, Titus’ heart responded to the message, and he believed in Jesus. Paul brought him to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-4) to show the apostles and other Jewish believers how a Greek non-Jew could love God just as much as they did. Titus represented all the other non-Jewish people who became Christians and were completely accepted by God through their faith in Jesus Christ.]

2 Corinthians 8:8-9 (NKJV) – 8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Collections was temporary to supply the needs of the people suffering from famines. Apostle Paul described it not to ease life of the receivers and burden the life of the givers.

2 Corinthians 8:13-15 (NKJV) – 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

Apostle Paul goes back to Jerusalem

Apostle Paul is going back to Jerusalem not because it is a central office for offerings for storing for future worship building but for distribution to the poor.

Romans 15:25-27 (NKJV)- 25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.

Apostle Paul brought the offerings in Jerusalem

Acts 24:17 (NKJV) – 17 Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation,
Acts 24:17 (NASB) – 17 Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings;

What About The Poor?

Inside the Church of Christ, rich or poor are required to make all the many different types of offerings. This doctrine may be supported using 2 Corinthians 8:1-3 and Mark 12:41-44.

Mark 12:41-44 (NKJV) – 41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

2 Corinthians 8:1-3 (NKJV) – 8 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,

Apostle Paul recognized the poor Christians of Corinth abounded in the riches of their liberality. There is of course a lesson to learn here that even poor can give but this verse is not instructing poor to regularly give, they have done it during the time of great famines in Jerusalem and Judea to help the dying believers, not to help the Church. By “Church” I mean the organized Church, not the biblical “church” which is translated to “assembly”.

What is wrong with Church Buildings?

The collections mentioned in the verses above are not to build church buildings. While it is necessary to have a building for assembly, God no longer need it because it became a place for corruption during the time of the Jews. This is possibly the reason why God changed it to spiritual temple.

[Side topic: Remember in Matthew 24:2, Christ says to the apostles “…. Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” referring to the Jerusalem Temple. When the Apostles asked when Christ gave several signs. Matthew 24:7 “…For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places”. This “famines and pestilences” that is happening in their time (first century) is what Christ referring to, not famines in our time to describe the First World War and the beginning of the end of the world.]

Acts 17:24-25 (NKJV) – 24 “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NKJV) – 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

The Corinthians, had gathered in a house not a temp

1 Corinthians 16:19 (NKJV) – 19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

Let us focus again what is wrong with church buildings? There is nothing wrong in having a building for use in worship assembly. Where it is wrong is how the Church become so materialistic in the constructions of new Church buildings, the materials used, how they are bought and who benefited to it,  top of the line sound systems and furniture using the offerings which are taught to be used for helping the needy. There are no biblical instructions to entering commercial business for schools, hospitals, stadiums, arena and others – because all are subject for corruptions by human who look after them – this is the same pattern how God allowed the Jewish Temple to be destroyed.

This is an excerpt from another article: “In Jesus’ day the office of the high priest went to the priority bidder. Whichever priestly family could pay Pontius Pilate the most money became the high priest. Most of the priestly families that controlled the temple in Jesus’ day were Sadducees rather than Pharisees. They owned all the shops on the south side of the temple where the buying and selling occurred. The priests got kickback commissions on all the buying and selling.”.

Conclusion

While the bible contains the words of God, it contains real life situation for the people that are included in the book. The experience of the first century Christians served as an inspirations for us because they are profitable for our own spiritual well being. While the Lord Jesus Christ and Apostle Paul taught the first Christians the importance of giving, there was no instructions of giving twice a week as an offering, giving once a week as a locale or district offering, giving once a week for yearly thanks giving, giving for mid-year offering and collections from the officers for miscellaneous Church expenses. Of course the Church doctrines used several bible verses but we have covered some of them in this article, they do not refer to worship service offerings, they are collections for helping the needy.

-Cornelius

Apostle Paul and The Church Ministers

Unlike the Church Ministers today, Apostle Paul worked a day and night job in his time. Yes he accepted “payments and gifts” but he changed so that he is not going to be a burden for the saints [believers of Christ in the first century are called saints].

Igleia Ni Cristo Ministers elevated their standing within the Church community. They like to be served and entertain. They cannot travel without a helper or an automobile with a driver. High ranking Ministers need full entourage or body guards to travel, not to mention luxurious cars, hotels and lifestyles. Minister entertain the services of members anything that can be done in their houses, mostly free of service. They like to setup so-called BUKABIN activities of course with “pot-luck” because they like to eat. Do you notice the similarity between Filipino Police men and INC Ministers? Both have big tummy! What is the difference between them? Police drink beer a lot because they have not much food to eat, Church Ministers eat a lot because they have no beer to drink!

Apostle Paul Teachings About Compensation for Spiritual Work

Apostle Paul teaches about compensation for spiritual services and there is nothing wrong with that.

1 Corinthians 9:11 (NKJV)“11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?”
1 Corinthians 9:14 (NKJV)“14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”
Galatians 6:6 (NKJV)“6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.”

Apostle Paul received material support from the church in Philippi even when he was already in Thessalonica (Phil. 4:15–18). He continued to accept the support. Eventually though Apostle Paul refused material compensation. Paul states,

1 Corinthians 9:15–18 (NKJV)
15 But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

Paul is taking new approach that he may present the gospel free of charge. This is likely the reason why Apostle Paul decided to work so that he could be the best example as he could be to the believers.

Proof of Apostle Paul Work

1 Thessalonica 2:9 (NKJV)9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.

2 Thessalonica 3:7–8 (NKJV) 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,

Paul conscientiously chose to preach for free. And that meant, Paul had to work a day job. Fortunately, since Paul was trained by the ancient Rabbis who believed in teaching the Torah out of love and not for profit, Paul was skilled in a trade and that trade was tentmaking [could be the same as any leather type work today] (Acts 18:1–3). Paul’s statements demonstrate a certain pride of his work.

Apostle Paul do not want to be a burden

Notice how Apostle Paul stated in 2 Thess. 3:8 “…that we might not be a burden to any of you”. He did not want to be served because he knows individual believers are busy too with their own lives.”

Apostle Paul want to be a good example

Apostle Paul want to serve as an example of diligence. He states, “you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you.”. His audience would have recognized him as the same man who made tents in the marketplace with sweat-soaked brow. Certain things are caught rather than taught and Paul wanted his audience to catch his work ethic.

Apostle Paul also wants to give

In his farewell speech to the elders in Ephesus, Apostle Paul said “..i have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak”.

Acts 20:34–35You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all these things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.

Conclusion

Apostle Paul worked a day job so that he can serve as a good example of being a good Christian, worthy of being imitated, worked hard so that he is not going to be a burden to anyone while preaching the gospel. But working hard is not only for his own selfishness but to help those who are week [poor and needy]. I believe INC Ministers today are far from imitating Apostle Paul but is that a surprise?

The life of Apostle Paul demonstrate as Christians we must be helpful to the needy. God loves a cheerful giver. This is what I learned in my post INC time, the fundamental attribute of being a Christian is to be helpful. Recognize in our time today there are really very rich people who are so generous in giving. Yes they are able to give but they do not forget to help. I believe the grace of God is with them for their generosity.

The sad thing is the Church converted preaching of giving to the poor into offerings to the Church. Even in time of poverty you have to give. God commanded us to be thankful but the Church converted thankfulness into monetary thanksgiving. Instead of helping poor members, the church obliged (by way of doctrines) every member, rich and poor, to give, give and give supporting their teachings with bible verses that are written for us to learn how Gentiles helped Christian Jews in Judea suffering from great famines – not so written to teach offerings in the Church. I feel so sad for members I knew their livelihood is sourced only from the help and generosity of love ones, yet they split their support for their Church obligations only tomorrow they will cry for help again and again. How many brethren are in this situation? You help them, they help the Church. Its their faith and so little can be done but all the more it inspire me to write. For all I know the many Church Ministers live in luxurious lifestyle. How is that fair? Very very far from what Apostle Paul’s lifestyle and preaching. SO SAD.

Till Heaven And Earth Pass Away

If we are no longer living under the covenant of the First Testament, then we are living in new heaven and new earth. If we are living in new heaven and new earth, since when?

In Matthew 5:17-18 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”. The coming of Christ has purpose, that is to fulfill the law.

“the law and the prophet”” – refers to the the totality of the First Testament.
“destroy” and “fulfill” – Both actions make something cease to exist but fulfilling means bringing something to completion or reality.
“till heaven and earth pass away” – This phrase is not literal but refers to the authority and application of the prophesies and laws of God in the First Testament. Some will argue the earth is literal earth and heaven is the heavenly kingdom where all those who are saved will dwell with God. But why the heaven is passing away with the earth? It make more sense to be it refers to the prophesies and the laws of God.
“one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law” – not one bit of the law or one written law will disappear until it is all accomplished.
“all is fulfilled” – meaning all prophesies has been accomplished.

Let us read Matthew 5:7-18 again in NIV. Matthew 5:18 (NIV) I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Matthew 5:17-18 clearly saying that not even one law should be removed until heaven and earth pass away. So when is the passing away of “heaven and earth”? Think for a moment, if the passing away of heaven and earth is the “futurist” judgment day, then all the old covenant law must still be in effect or else every Christian religions is in violation of Matthew 5:17-18…..unless heavens and earth pass away.

All of the prophetic scriptures had to be fulfilled. This included the prophecies of the New Heaven and Earth.
Isaiah 65:17 (NKJV) “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

This prophecy had to be fulfilled before the law could pass away. Until God created a new heaven and earth, the old covenant remain in tack, EVERY BIT OF IT, ALL OF IT.

Matthew 5:17-18 and Ends of the Earth

Inside the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), the phrase “ends of the earth” from Isaiah 43:5-6 is the fulfillment of the beginning of the end and the beginning of the “other sheep” which is the third group of people of God. The beginning of the end coincide with the outbreak of the WWI as prophesied in Matthew 24:6.

If we now try to reconcile Matthew 5:17-18 and the teaching of the INC that Bro. FYM is the fulfillment of Isaiah 43:5-6 and the time of the re-emergence of the Church of Christ on July 27, 1914, all these INC teachings will fail unless it can be proven that ALL OF THE OLD COVENANT LAWS are still in effect and are being practiced at the time the INC has been registered in the Philippine government. Let us accept for a moment the Church has been apostatized but there are no evidences that the Old Covenant laws has been followed by the first members of the Church of Christ. The INC doctrines continue to use “the north, south and west” mentioned in Isaiah 43:5-6 to refer to the Church expansion around the world [July 27, 1968 in West (Honolulu), 1990 in South (Guantanamo), 1994 in the North (Rome) and 1996 in Jerusalem. All events are supported by verses in the First Testament mostly from Isaiah. The Church must be able to prove that ALL OF THE FIRST COVENANT LAW ARE STILL IN EFFECT until all prophesies has been fulfilled.

You can either try to prove that our Lord Jesus Christ is wrong in Matthew 5:17-18 or just believe what He says. I do not know about you but I believe what Jesus said.

Some Laws of the First Testament

Under Moses, there are many laws established to the people of God. We know about the TEN commandments but there are many laws stipulated in the First Testament. These laws are to be followed until “heaven and earth” pass away as described in Matthew 5:17-18.

CIRCUMCISION – Leviticus 12:3 (NKJV) “3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.”

THE LEVITE’S TITHE – Numbers 18:21 (NKJV) “Behold, I have given the CHILDREN OF LEVI ALL THE TITHES IN ISRAEL as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

THE FESTIVAL TITHE – Deuteronomy 14:22-35 (NKJV) “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. 23 “And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

POOR TITHE – Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (NKJV) “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 “And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

SABBATH – Exodus 20:9-10 (NKJV) Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.

It is a sin to eat shell fish – Leviticus 11:9-12 (NKJV) ‘These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers; that you may eat. 10 ‘But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you. 11 ‘They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination. 12 ‘Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales; that shall be an abomination to you.

It is a sin to have a tattoo – Leviticus 19:28 (NKJV) ‘You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.

All the laws above and all that are written in the First Testament must be in effect even in our time UNLESS heaven and earth pass away. So the question now is when is “heavens and earth” pass away?

What are some of the Old Testament Laws that have been changed?

John the Baptist and Jesus were circumcised (Luke 1:59; 2:21). The controversy about circumcision came when the gospel began going to Gentiles. Circumcised believers (i.e., Jews) were astonished when the Holy Spirit was given to Cornelius (Acts 10:45). Circumcised believers criticized Peter for going to the house of an uncircumcised person and eating with Gentiles (Acts 11:2-3).

Under he new covenant, we are no longer require to tithe but we are encourage to give as we purposes in our hearts(2 Corinthians 9:7).

These are just two changes to the old covenant laws that are clearly referring to the transition period when the heavens and earth are passing away. This means all of First Testament prophesies are being fulfilled in the first century and all has been fulfilled OTHERWISE NOT ONE BIT OF LAW should have been removed.

Additional Messages

I encourage you to test the spirit if these are true or not. Go over the verses presented and read them yourself from the bible. When we joined the Church, we thought we learned the pristine gospel. I am sorry but I must say now that is not the case, we missed so much contents of the bible. There is a lot to learn, so many lessons that we never heard before because we had been hearing same verses that are selected to support the Church doctrines only.

I like using “New” version because there are some words translated incorrectly in previous versions. Previous errors are corrected in new versions. We have to believe the bible is inspired words of God, the meaning should not change but human who made the language translations are imperfect therefore are subject for mistakes. I follow certain rules, no verses in the bible contradict one another and scriptures interpret scriptures.

-Cornelius