The Opium of the People

Posted February 16, 2021 by SandreS
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In 1843 Karl Marx (1818-1883), the socialist revolutionary, wrote that,

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

Marx thought that religion “was a significant hindrance to reason, inherently masking the truth and misguiding followers.”

Just like the opiate addiction crisis today, religion is extremely addictive and such a hard habit to break, affecting not only our behavior, but our thoughts as well.

André Sneidar
Managing Editor, Bible Student’s Notebook
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Speculation, or Revelation?

Posted November 11, 2020 by SandreS
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Much of modern science, as with religion, bases their conclusions on speculation. How true are Paul’s words to Timothy, written almost 2,000 years ago, about the “oppositions of science falsely so called” (I Timothy 6:20). This is in stark contrast to the captive children of Israel in Babylon who were “skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science” (Daniel 1:4) and thereby eventually glorified God.

So, there are “profane and vain babblings” of “false science” in order to explain away the facts regarding God and His wonderful creation, or there is the witness of “true science” whose conclusions always point to the Creator of the universe and all that is in it – including us.

André Sneidar
Managing Editor, Bible Student’s Notebook
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No Scriptural Basis for Christian “Pastors”

Posted November 8, 2020 by SandreS
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Men have written literally millions of books on every theological issue conceivable to the mind of man, yet no one had closely questioned the biblical basis for the man called “pastor.” “He” is just there. “He” grew out of the ongoing events surrounding Wittenburg during the early and mid-1500s. “He” has been with us ever since, undebated, unquestioned, and wholly unscriptural. In all church history there has not been so much as one day of debate or controversy over “his” scriptural right to exist. We practice “him” without question. Yet, there is not one verse of Scripture in the New Testament that describes such a creature, and only one verse that even uses the term. Nonetheless he is the center of the practice of Protestant Christianity.

I am a graduate of the largest Protestant seminary in the world, which has on its campus one of the largest theological libraries ever assembled in the history of Christendom. One day I searched that library for even one book or one chapter, and finally in desperation even one paragraph, discussing the “pastoral” concept from a scriptural or theological view. I have never found that book, nor chapter, nor page, nor paragraph on the subject. The pastor is just there. As far as I can discover no one has ever tried to prove or disprove, question, or even discuss the pastoral concept and practice, either theologically or scripturally.

Gene Edwards
A Plea for Church Life: Getting to the Bottom of Church Problems (pp. 23-25)
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Scriptures Never Speak of Eternity

Posted February 26, 2020 by SandreS
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The inspired Scriptures never speak of “eternity.” They describe nothing as “eternal.” They contain no term which itself bears our time sense of “everlasting.” As eternity is not a subject of revelation, our present object is to discover how and when this unscriptural term gained entrance into theology, with most disastrous results.

It may be stated, without fear of contradiction, that the more one explores into the early centuries of Christendom, the clearer does it become that a corrupt theology was alone responsible for displacing the teaching regarding the eons by a dogma respecting “eternity.”

 — Alexander Thomson
How Eternity Slipped In: Or, Whence Eternity?
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Religious Superstition

Posted February 13, 2020 by SandreS
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Religion is steeped in superstition!

Acts17:22 tells is that,

Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ Hill, and said, “You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious” (Acts 17:22).

As superstitious as the Anthenians were, Christendom has mastered pagan mythology and heathen fables. We see the results of this all about us. Christianity wallows in fantasy and superstition. It’s been “turned unto fables.” Believers have lost their scriptural bearings due to a flood of unsound teaching.

There are two thousand years of a thick maze of twisted tales masquerading as the truth, the result being that the overwhelming majority of Christendom is found to be deeply superstitious.

It is not a small task for the student of Scripture to study and sort through “Christian superstition” to actually find the truth; but it is a noble and rewarding journey. It requires a diligent, faithful, lifelong dedication to the actual words of God. It involves never allowing ourselves to be locked into any manmade creed or systematic theology, while cultivating an ever-adjusting heart and mind to what we learn afresh from the Scriptures. It requires an attitude and spirit of adjustableness.

Don’t spend your life following religious superstitions – even supposed “Christian” ones. Join the noble sons of God who are diligently searching the Scriptures to see if those things are so.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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Fancied Apostles

Posted February 11, 2020 by SandreS
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The religious spirit has always been active even among those who have left the traditional system. Some even fancy themselves as “apostles.” They think that their own limited, flawed understanding and teaching is the standard whereby others are measured. They imagine that they are somehow the ordained yardstick by which all others are judged, and that it is to their job to be the doctrinal police. They even attempt to justify their arrogance and pride by citing certain passages of Scripture. Thus under the guise of such religiously abused words as “rebuke,” they surreptitiously bring others into bondage while speaking of freedom.

In II Corinthians 1:24 Paul wrote,

Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith you stand.

The Concordant Version reads,

Not that we are lording it over your faith.

If anyone had the authority to lord over another’s faith, surely it would have been Paul, the apostle; but not even he assumed such audacious supremacy.

Those of us who walk by faith have the freedom from being dominated, manipulated, pressured and coerced into someone else’s own personal belief system – “for by faith we stand.”

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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The Nature of Religious Cliques and Our Attitude Towards Them

Posted January 24, 2020 by SandreS
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There are contentions among you. … you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men? (I Corinthians 1:11-13).

Religious cliques are built around an attitude of heart that says, “We’ve arrived, we know all the truth, we alone are God’s people, and we alone carry on His work.”

However, God is far bigger than our prideful, narrow creeds and our meager, limited labors. It’s a cult-like teaching that fancies that only those in “our group” who “believe just like we do” are used by God and saved for the ages. It is an extremely ignorant and grievously arrogant position.

We need not play any role in such party-spirits that endlessly foster division and strife. Like Paul, we can take the high ground and humbly say from the heart that while,

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely … but the other of love … Regardless, in every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice (Philippians 1:15-18).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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The Man-Made Leash of Authority

Posted November 18, 2019 by SandreS
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Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand (II Corinthians 1:24).

The authority of denominations and sects in the form of tradition frustrates further needed reform and conformity to the Word of God. The authority of man-made institutions is a stubborn thing which resists change …

We, as the saints of God, find ourselves fenced off institutionally from one another based on various interpretations of men …

When doctrine is carved in stone as is a confession or doctrinal statement, we merely promote another man-made tradition, no matter how close it is to the truth; because if it is possible to get closer to the truth, we find out that we are tethered to someone else’s understanding by a leash of authority and can proceed no closer. If we dare to break the tether, we threaten all our relationships that are still tied to it and face the trauma of breaking the communion of saints built over a lifetime. Thus one might more readily be inclined as well to stick with mind-numbing tradition rather than suffer the consequences. …

We ought not to set up false and invalid authority structures to force conformity to some uniform human religious standard. We can’t force what we believe on someone else. They must accept it and own it for themselves.

— Ross Purdy
I Will Have One Doctrine and One Discipline
Bible Student’s Press, 2008
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Our National Mythology

Posted June 22, 2019 by SandreS
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Tucked away in our national mythology is the notion that America is a redeemer nation. We are led to believe that the American Messiah brings salvation to the rest of the world; that the American way of life redeems the cultures of other countries; that God will use the American nation to magnify Himself among other nations.

The president of the National Council for the Encouragement of Patriotism, Inc., once remarked:

When I place my right hand over my heart as that glorious American flag passes by, I feel very near to God. – Newsweek, June 15, 1970, page 30

Donald B. Kraybill
Our Star-Spangled Faith (1976), pages 18, 43
Herald Press
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Defining the Camp

Posted June 12, 2019 by SandreS
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Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach (Hebrews 13:13).

There is an analogy to this position “outside the camp” in the wilderness journey of the Sons of Israel and the winsome admonition of Hebrews 13:11-13…

Any search for a position “outside the camp” today necessitates a definition of the camp. In context, the camp of Exodus 33 was simply the mass of the Sons of Israel on their wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan. Their credentials were that they were indeed Israelites – the people of God, although a mixed multitude of others accompanied them (Exodus 12:38 and Numbers 11:4). …

Now it is obvious that the “Christian church” has been every bit as unfaithful as the camp of Israel ever was … Instead of the beautiful unity of its calling, it is hopelessly divided into many groups, each gathered on different principles with varying degrees of right or wrong, that its members adhere to. The believer, in associating himself with any part of this divided “church,” no matter how good, necessarily contributes to the division. The “Christian church,” along with the mixed multitude of the unregenerate that have forced their way into it, is certainly analogous to the camp of Israel …

For us, “outside the camp” embraces the unity of the Body of Christ, allowing us to “depart from iniquity,” to “purge himself from these,” and to: “follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart” (II Timothy 2:19-22).

Hence, like Israel of old, “let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing the His reproach.”

Bud Morris
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