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FAQ

 
Below are some frequently asked questions.  Click on them to read our answers.


QUESTION: How are you different from other Christian groups?

ANSWER: We don't teach anything that is unique, but we do put them together differently. For example:

1. Like Quakers, we believe Jesus (not the Bible) is the Word of God, that all holy writings are inspired (as are all spirit-filled Christians), but that being inspired doesn't make anyone infallible.  (See The Word of God.)

2. Like believers in the Salvation Army, we believe that Jesus never established any sacraments. True Christian baptism is with the Holy Spirit, and true communion is a continual relationship in a community of believers. (See Water Baptism, and I Will Have Mercy.)

3. Like some Catholic orders, we believe in living together communally, and in sharing everything that we own. (See Living in Community.)

4. We believe that the teachings of Jesus should be the Cornerstone of our faith, but that they have been almost universally set aside in favour of religious traditions. This is probably the closest thing to a unique teaching, and yet there are very few churches which would admit to differing with us on this. (See Solid as a Rock, and What is Faith?)

5. Like the Uniting Church and a few other more liberal denominations, we believe that people (like Abraham) from other non-Christian religions can be saved on the basis of their faith in God, even if they have never heard of Jesus. (See Another Cornerstone, and Faith and Sincerity.)

6. Like many evangelical Protestants, we believe in the imminent return of Jesus. We believe that The Revelation relates to events happening in the world today. (See Endtime Prophecy and the Revelation of Jesus Christ.)

7. Like Catholics, we teach the spiritual advantages of remaining single; but like Protestants, we do not forbid marriage for church leaders. (See The Virgin Army, parts 1, 2, and 3.)

8. Like most liberal denominations, we teach that there is nothing sinful about masturbation, and that trying too hard to refrain from masturbation often leads to other really serious sexual sins. (See Wanking, The Last Taboo.)

9. Like most clergymen, we believe in the concept of "living by faith"... except that we believe the entire company of believers can live by faith, and in so doing, we will effectively "turn the world upside down." (See A New Economic Policy, and Living by Faith.)

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QUESTION: Why are you so critical of the churches?

ANSWER: There are serious errors in the church, which could have eternal consequences. Drastic problems require drastic remedies. (See Thou Shalt Judge, Hard Decisions, and The Tolerance Myth.)

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QUESTION: What is your relationship with The Family (formerly known as The Children of God)?

ANSWER: Only one of our members (Dave) has ever belonged to The Family, and that was just for a few months in 1975. As soon as he learned that they were teaching sexual promiscuity as a way of winning converts, he left the group. For many years he was shunned by The Family because of his opposition to their teachings about sex.

However, we have incorporated many other teachings from The Family into our teachings (most notably, aspects of their teachings about living by faith, about endtime prophecy, and about living communally.)

In recent years, The Family has altered some of their teachings, and they have sought closer fellowship with others like ourselves. We have therefore tried to "relate" to them. We appreciate their friendship, and have tried to find areas of agreement. We have not, however, been able to agree with their stand (even now) with regard to sex outside of marriage, and we have never hidden that fact.

There is a series of articles which deal more closely with other differences between ourselves and The Family. (See Simple Salvation, Eternal Salvation, Living by Faith, The Bible, and Jesus Christ.)

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QUESTION: How can you survive if you all "live by faith"?

ANSWER: Bascially, we survive by faith. The fact that people find that so hard to believe reflects the widespread lack of faith in a God who could create the universe from nothing. The real questions we need to ask ourselves are: (a) whether Jesus really is God's Son; and (b) whether Jesus really asks his followers to live by faith. If the answer is yes to both of these, then it's up to God to provide for those who seek to obey Jesus. We went about it this way and it worked.  (See our article Living By Faith: How to Do It for a more detailed explanation. See also The Pizza Parable, which emphasises the need to get the full picture rather than just one aspect of living by faith.)

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QUESTION: If you teach people to obey the teachings of Jesus, isn't that the same as teaching salvation by works?

ANSWER: No, it definitely is not. Everyone teaches obedience of some sort: obedience to the laws of the land, obedience to church authorities, obedience to parents. So why not obedience to Jesus Christ, the only one who can save us? As James said, "Faith without works is dead." But we also teach that our obedience will never "buy" salvation. All of us must depend upon the grace of God every day of our lives. But we should never abuse that grace by being slack in our own personal discipline. (See Lest Ye Fall, Amazing Grace, and Self-Righteousness.)

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QUESTION: Do you teach that you are the only ones who are going to be saved?

ANSWER: No. But we do think that the way to heaven is a narrow one... so narrow, in fact, that it is quite likely that some, if not many, of us will not make it either. The secret to salvation is not to be found in membership in any group (including our own), but only in a deep, abiding, personal faith.  (See In In Search of Truth, The Narrow Way, and Universalism, Pros and Cons.)

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