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Churches

Churchgoers don't mind us criticising other churches, but if the truth gets too close to home, sparks begin to fly. These are some of the articles over the years that have dared to question some sacred churchy assumptions. They conclude with a few articles that touch on some of what we have come up with as alternatives.



Do we really believe in God's grace when we restrict salvation to members of our religion, or to people who follow our formulas for salvation? Discover just how universal God's grace really is in this amazing little article.
(See also The Good Hindu, Heavy Burdens and Difficult Yokes, Non-Christian Religions, and Smile, God Loves You!.)


A long overdue look at the so-called heresy of trying to "work your way to heaven".  It looks at where this teaching has come from, and where it is leading.


A comparison between ourselves and The Family on this important doctrinal issue. Churchgoers will be surprised to learn that their position is probably closer to that of The Family than to us.
(See also Advanced Tentmaking, and Surely, Not All Evils!)


This article is arguably the best one of a collection of articles that Dave wrote over a period of two or three years, dealing with the problems he found personally with contradictions in the Bible, and the tendency for people to discard their faith altogether when confronted with them.  It includes a detailed study of the resurrection story from all four gospels, leading to a discussion of the approach taken in the Jesus Seminars in the U.S. started some thirty years ago.
[See also Mellowing Out.]


What is the connection between the words "inspired" and "infallible"? What connection is there between the concepts of infallibility and fundamentalism? Can faith in the infallibility of a person or a book actually work in opposition to faith in God? These are a few of the questions answered in this easy to read article.


Cherry shares a lesson learned from a dream... about seeking the whole truth, and not just isolated revelations.
(See also Truth in Isolation, and Convenient Doctrines.)

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There are a few doctrines which have some validity, but which have been exaggerated out of all proportion and thus have become false doctrines, despite the bits of truth contained in them.  Such a doctrine is the one about it being wrong to think that we can work our way to heaven.


An anonymous Jesus Christian "graduate" gives his take on the invisible kingdom that we should all be trying to build, where we just shine our lights and let others change from inner motivations rather than external disciplines.


Misunderstandings about forgiveness have led to unfair judgment of God and his right to punish evil.  Because forgiveness is so fundamental to Christianity, it pays to understand how it works, and when it does NOT work.


An introduction to the concept of substitutionary punishment.  It questions why our attitude toward the grace of God changes so dramatically when the word "crime" is mentioned.

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Recently, as I was reading through the Book of Romans, and trying to imagine what Paul was thinking as he wrote various things in that book, I was struck by the fact that not only Paul, but very likely all of the early Christians, were going through a kind of process of theological evolution as they tried to sort out exactly what defines a Christian. And that same process continues to happen today… except that I don’t think there is so much excuse for it now.


This one is about taking risks. We learn that the "safe" way (of respectability, lukewarmness, and orthodoxy) is almost always the most UN-safe way for Christians, and will probably lead you straight to hell. (See also The Reno Principle.)


Dave looks at a comprehensive list of traits that will supposedly identify a cult. His conclusion is that any new, little group that is more zealous than the older bigger ones will be targetted, at the same time that the same traits will be overlooked when they occur inthe older bigger groups.


God almost always starts with the words "Fear Not" when he is trying to tell us something. Fear always distorts the message, and can cause us to mistake God for a devil.
(See also Change, Fear Not!, and Losing Your Identity.)


A fresh look at avoiding arguments and how to distinguish truth from error in dealing with strong disagreements.


What starts as support for a more natural approach to witnessing develops into criticism of how that approach goes around in circles unless one is truly transformed by the teachings of Jesus.  All the books promise to offer the missing piece to evangelism, but continue to leave it out.  Read this to find what it is.


Is it necessary to believe in miracles to be a Christian? Can the devil perform miracles? What is the greatest miracle? And exactly what IS a miracle anyway? Find the answers here.
(See also Charismaniacs, and Superstition.)


A very short reminder about just how simple real truth is, but how popular distortions are.


Were the Epistles written to moderate extreme statements by Jesus in the Gospels? Or were the Gospels written to offset misinterpretations of things that were said in some of the Epistles? The sequence of events is very important in determining how we should view these two sections of the New Testament.


Can salvation be lost after we have received it? We consider two approaches: ours, and the one taken by The Family and most evangelicals.  (The second in a series on The Family)
(See also A Letter to a Friend, The Good Hindu, and The Sovereignty of God.)


The benefits of getting people to say a prayer to "accept Jesus" are listed in this look at what is expressed in John 1:12. The article is written as a comparison between what The Family teaches about becoming a Christian and what we teach; however, it is really a comparison between what we believe and what the average Christian believes.
(See also Born Again, Eternal Salvation, and What is Faith?)

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In this article are some thoughts about how we interpret scripture, in particular, how we use scripture to work out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.


Comparisons are made between ourselves, more respectable mainline religious organisations, and groups which even we might be inclined to see as "off", in an effort to find consistent criteria for weighing up various groups. Issues considered are: Finances, Leadership, The Second Coming, and Exclusivity.


A long list of illustrations to show how The Golden Rule can help us in just about every area of our lives.


Four different arguments for being a vegetarian are examined in this article, in an attempt to determine how much Christian/biblical support there is for this practice.


A Hindu could be saved through faith in God the Supreme Creator; and an atheist could be saved through faith in Jesus the Teacher. That is the radical argument put forward in this article. Both claims are based on the grace of God, and the sacrificial blood of Christ, which eliminates the need for theological perfection in order to be saved.
(See also Another Cornerstone, In Search of Truth, A Letter to a Friend, and The Good Hindu.)


“The Christian Church has made a law out of grace.”  A wonky understanding of forgiveness causes immeasurable pain in human relationships, but it can even frustrate God’s offer of forgiveness.


Consider for a while that everything that happens has been predestined, and that any notion of free choice is just a myth.  How would that change your life and how you think?  Does anyone, in fact, really live as though they believe that?  The case for predestination is examined in the light of all that Jesus taught and all that we experience every day.


Ever wanted to start your own commune? This article lists four basic reasons why most attempts at utopian societies fail. If you can clear these hurdles, your chances of success are high.
(See also Reality in Utopia, Opinions, Laziness, and Anarchy and Pacifism.)


How do we keep from repeating the sins of the systems that we oppose? Here is a simple, yet radical, answer to that question.
(See also Leaders who Serve.)


The history of the church has revealed many different ways for determining who is “saved” and who is not.  This article lists many of them, and discusses their strong points as well as their weak points.
[See also By This]


The link between contrition and humility in a passage from Isaiah leads to some insights into how little contrition (and, by implication) how little humility there is in most religion.


What do we do when we find one passage of scripture apparently contradicting another passage? Does one necessarily have to cancel out the other?  Or is it possible that they could both be a part of the same truth?
See also How to Tell the Good Guys from the Bad Guys.].

  (Written in Easy English)
Christianity is not a religion. We should look for the good in all religions and encourage faith and love wherever we find them. Sincere people will see through the errors best when they are shown something better.
(See also Idolatry, Another Cornerstone, and The Kingdom of Heaven or Religion?.)


So you are not into handing out tracts? This punchy article could change your thinking.
(See also Laziness, The Reno Principle, and Prayer Warriors.)


Using an illustration about cornerstones, Dave shows how people can start from two different directions and still arrive at the same conclusion. 
(See also In Search of Truth, and Father and Son.)


Being "worthy" (for a Christian) comes from realising that we are not worthy. All of our best efforts to please God will end in us becoming self-righteous if we forget about our unworthiness. Our understanding of God's grace must always keep us honest and humble about how much more we need to learn.
(See also Pride, The Donor, The Revolution, and I Will Have Mercy.)


Real truth results in wholeness (or integrity) for the one who finds it. But religion specialises in isolated bits of truth, each of which fails to line up with the other bits. The proof-texting mentality magnifies fragments and never succeeds in getting the bigger picture.
(See also The Golden Thread, The Role of Experience in the Quest for Truth, Solid as a Rock, and The Answer to Intellectual Atheism.)


This one requires points because it was mainly written in response to problems in Kenya. But it still contains a good summary of what we believe.


One of our strongest teachings is that we should follow God in preference to organisational hierarchy. How about you? Is your God bigger than your organisation?
(See also Dogmas, The Unknown God, and Covering Schmuvvering)


Why do people confuse us with the Jehovah's Witnesses? Find out how we are similar; and how we are not. Be prepared for some surprises in both areas. (See also the Update to Armageddon for Beginners, Father and Son, and Which Christ are You Following? part 1.)


Popular misunderstandings about prayer are addressed in this one, which challenges the prosperity gospel and related doctrines.


It seems that an ability to question the norm, and to do something that starts out looking like it is anti-religious is a common trait in much that Jesus taught.  Several illustrations are given to show how important it is that we learn to tell the difference between religion and true spirituality.


An important reminder of our universal need for the forgiveness that only God can give to each of us through the sacrificial death of Christ.


One article in a series that compares our position with that of The Family (formerly The Children of God). This one deals with how we each apply Bible teaching to Christian practice today.
(See also The Word of God, Simple Salvation, Eternal Salvation, and Living by Faith.)


Ross considers how the churches treat the Sermon on the Mount like it is the "law" and the Ten Commandments" like they are the ultimate revelation of God, when exactly the opposite is true.


This comparison of Jesus' teachings and the overall thrust of church teaching on the same subjects leaves one wondering exactly what the title suggests.
(See Thou Shalt Judge, and The Gospel According to Whom?)


Respectability is faith's worst enemy. It does good works, but it does them for the wrong reason. Jesus had more opposition from respectable people than from anyone else. And so do we!
(See also False Christs, The Social Conscience Part 1, and Fear of Public Opinion.)


Further comments on head coverings, but expanded to cover all visible symbols of invisible spiritual realities. Can we get the spirit of the ritual without using it as an excuse to discard the ritual altogether?


A brief look at concepts like apology, confession, and repentance, in an effort to determine what God is really looking for. Forgiveness is not to be obtained through a pat formula for salvation, but only through a life-changing experience.


An illustration by Tolstoy acts as a springboard for discussing what real faith is. It involves "walking in the light", "hungering" for more truth, and being "pure in heart", three aspects of sincerity. (See also The Ultimate Source.)

The "covering" teaching says that submission to a respected religious authority is necessary for salvation. And hordes of people believe it‚ assuming that anyone acting independently is incapable of hearing from God. Sick stuff. It is given a healthy dose of scriptural antibiotics in this article.
(See also Charismaniacs, False Christs, and I Will Have Mercy.)

What is the difference between a churchgoer and a churchie? Can the institutional church be changed best from inside or from outside? And what is the difference between the true church and the institutional church? Find out in this short article.
(See also System Worship, Jesus the Revolutionary, The Blood of the Lamb, and Convenient Doctrines.)

Some tips from the Bible on how to spot false teachers.

A film review of Robert Duvall's courageous effort to accurately portray American Pentecostal evangelicalism. He steers clear of both religious exaggeration and Hollywood scandal in an attempt to show the human side of the movement through a pastor's efforts to deal with his own feelings of guilt and failure.
(See also Simple Salvation, Charismaniacs, and So, Who ARE They Following?)

This Bible study from the first two chapters of Colossians reveals just how much Paul had to say about Jesus and his teachings, and how much he laboured to make those same teachings real in the lives of the people to whom he ministered.  Far from teaching another gospel, Paul was there to support the Gospel which the early Christians had already received from the teachings of the Gospel writers.

Many of our strongest supporters have been Roman Catholics. Several of us are members of the Catholic Church also. But that should not stop us from calling a spade a spade with regard to apostasy within that great religious institution. Here it is, without fear or favour.
(See also Superstition.)

The charismatic movement is actually prophesied in the Bible (II Thessalonians 2:8-11), and it will be used by the Antichrist in his conquest of the world. Learn to take the good while rejecting the lies.
(See also So, Who ARE They Following?, Which Christ are You Following? part 4, Miracles, What is Faith? and WWFJD?)

Some down to earth rational common sense on a topic which is loaded with emotional prejudices.
(See also Charismaniacs.)

This is a collection of significant verses from the Bible on Health and Healing.

These are some key verses from the Bible on the subject of The Holy Spirit.

Are most people called to a "ministry of prayer" while only an elect few are called to go out into all the world and preach the gospel? What is the real motivation behind this teaching?
(See also Superstition, and The Donor.)

What does it really mean to be born again? Has the term been abused and turned into a description of something that is contrary to the life and teachings of Jesus?
(See also A Personal Relationship with Christ, and Amazing Grace.)

Is Billy Graham a false prophet? For that matter does anyone even have the right to ask such a question, regardless of what the answer might be?
(See also Born Again, and WWFJD?)

A brief introduction to our beliefs with regard to baptism rituals.
(See also I Will Have Mercy, and Christine on Baptism.)

These are some key verses from the Bible about the subject of baptism.

Obviously the Catholic Church has ignored what Jesus said about not using titles like 'Father'. But are Protestants any better?
(See In the Name of the Father, and System Worship.)

Thousands of people were killed because they mispronounced one word. Do you judge others on the basis of their knowledge of religious passwords? Or are you able to discern sincerity (or a lack of it) through other means?
(See also Discernment, and The Ultimate Source.)

Someone has said that certainty is the opposite of faith. Salvation does not go to those who profess most loudly that they have it. A shocking real-life illustration is used to bring home this truth.
(See also Judgment Day, and Eternal Salvation.)

Being born again is more than just words or emotions.  Dave talks about being born again by the Word of God and allowing ourselves to be broken and re-shaped by the teachings of Jesus.

The sovereignty of God teaching, ironically, reduces God to a slave, trapped by a legalistic interpretation of the Bible. But beware! God really is sovereign. One day he is going to put a few people in their place for trying to tell him what he can and cannot do.
(See also God's No Fool, and Salvation by Bluff.)

Key Bible verses regarding the topic of grace, that reveal that obedience to Jesus is part and parcel of receiving the grace of God.

This summary of differences between ourselves and The Family is really a summary of differences between ourselves and the churches. It all boils down to whether or not we have chosen to make Jesus and his teachings the standard by which to measure all that we do and teach.
(See also We Believe in Jesus Christ, So, Who ARE They Following?, and The Bible.)

A comparison between The Family and the Twelve Tribes Community suggests that religious pride is a greater threat to the kingdom of heaven than are heresies about sex.
(See Self-Righteousness, and Eternal Salvation.)

When The Family decided to drop their original name (Children of God), we decided that it was too good a name to let perish for fear of persecution, so we wrote this article to stake our claim.
(See also Born Again.)

How do we react to Bible stories about the power of God, when they seem to contradict our own experience? A balance between humility and honesty may lead us closer to the truth than would outright rejection of either our own real-life experiences or rejection of the stories of others just because we cannot relate to them.
(See also Salvation by Bluff, Miracles, Heal the Sick, and Armageddon for Beginners, chapter 3.)

Who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys? Different ways of drawing the lines are discussed in this article.  (See also Gathering Together.)

People often confuse religion with the kingdom of heaven, but in many ways they are quite opposite, as these verses will show.

This Bible study, based on Ephesians 4:11-12, shows how a true Christian fellowship is composed entirely of full-time ministers and full-time ministerial students. We should all be ministering or learning to minister. It also shows that you can have a fully functional fellowship with as few as two or three people.
(See also In Spirit and in Truth, Forsaking All, and Living in Community.)

(formerly Harvesting)
Teachers proclaim the truth. But pastors are the ones who get people to change. Read some of the ways that they do it.
(See also The Five-Fingered Ministry, Manipulating, and In Spirit and in Truth .)

A radical look at the subject of the Holy Spirit. It draws parallels between married love and our relationship with God.
(See also The Word of God, and No Effeminate Person.)

The Holy Spirit comes to teach us the difference between right and wrong. He does it by reminding us of Jesus' teachings. Any spirit not doing that must be suss. Learn how to tell the genuine from the counterfeit.
(See also Try the Spirits, and The Spirit of Christ.)

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