Identifying as a disciple rather than a Christian (Part 3)

POST OVERVIEW. The third in a series of posts talking about the advantages of identifying as a “disciple of Jesus” instead of as a “Christian.” This post is about the association of “Christian” with religions.

We have been exploring reasons why it is preferable for the follower of Jesus Christ to identify as a “disciple of Jesus” rather than as a “Christian.” Our first consideration was that it is more strategic and more effective for the believer to identify as a “disciple of Jesus” in the task of evangelism (Post #601, 12/18/2022). The second post (#603, 12/24/2022) looked at how it is more empowering for the believer’s own self-identity and self-concept to see himself as a “disciple of Jesus” rather than as the more ambiguous name of “Christian.” Now this third post will show that the identity of “Christian” carries with it religious baggage that clouds the real nature of being a true “disciple of Jesus.”

Before we dig deeper into this subject, I want to again make very clear that I am a Christian. I am a heaven-bound, Bible-believing, born-again, water-baptized, church-going, Holy Spirit-sealed, blood-washed disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. In short, I am a Christian. It is not the word “Christian” that creates obstacles, but it is the use of the word and the ambiguity of the word and the over-familiarity of the world in our culture that causes the problems, and these problems become especially sticky when we consider the “religious use” of “Christian.”


What do I mean by the “religious use” of the word “Christian?” First, we need to define a religion. Since mankind has invented many and varied religions, one comprehensive definition of the word is very difficult to establish. Nevertheless, I would suggest that:

RELIGION. A religion is a named set of man-made rituals and practices which are performed from time to time by the adherents of the religion to achieve some subjective “spiritual” benefit. Religious adherents typically hope for 1) some imagined relief from the guilt they experience as a result of their sin; and 2) some hoped for calming of their terror of death. Religions also commonly, but not necessarily, involve trying to appease some deity.

In religion, the emphasis is on the performance of the same rituals and practices over and over again. There is no expectation by the religious adherent that these external rituals will produce any internal or personal change or growth. Again, the emphasis is on the external forms and the performance. If the performance is good enough, then the religionist can hope to have merited some reward.

Some well-known religions are Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Judaism, and Sikhism, but there are many other forms of religion that are practiced across the globe.

Having defined what we mean by “religion,” we can say that the “religious use” of the word “Christian” is when the word refers to an adherent of the “Christian religion.” For, unlike religions, Christianity does have a living, life-changing genuine article. The genuine follower of Jesus, the one who has repented of his sin and has trusted Christ for salvation, has been born again (John 3:3, 5) and has passed from death to life (John 5:24) and has become a living “Christian.” But the word “Christian” is more commonly used as a religious term to describe one who, to some degree or other, identifies with the Christian religion without any reference to Jesus or the Bible or having been born again. This latter is the “religious use” of “Christian.”


After this necessary aside to talk about religions, we remember that the point of this article is to show that “disciple of Jesus” is preferred to the identity “Christian” because of the religious baggage carried by “Christian.” In our American culture, when the word “Christian” comes up in a conversation, either in the public forum or among unbelievers or among “religious Christians,” it is these false “baggage” images that are almost certainly in their mind. Here are some examples of this baggage.

A “religious Christian” is a person who identifies as a Christian but there is nothing distinctly Christian about their words or their behavior that would mark them as followers of Jesus Christ. Their life is no different than a person who does not identify as a “Christian.”

A “religious Christian” (RC) typically has vague ideas about the basic tenets of biblical Christianity, like beliefs about God, Jesus, the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the local church, salvation, sin, or the condemnation that abides on the sinner, to name a few. There are no convictions.

For the RC, “Christian” is just one of the roles he plays in life. He may occasionally go to church on Sunday (or he may not), but “Christian” is just a Sunday role for him.

For the RC, “Christian” is his religious label, like Buddhist or Muslim. He received the label at some point in the past (at birth or at his baptism or at confirmation or at a revival event), but there is no current, living experience with God or evidence of a vital, living faith.


When an RC uses “Christian” as a religious label, he is conveying a fixed state of being. This is because the declaration of one’s religion implies that a destination has been reached and is now unchangeable. Religious positions intentionally give this impression. Religion is presented as a fixed characteristic of a person, like gender or ethnicity. In fact,

Whether it is “Catholic” or “Hindu” or “Muslim” or “Christian,” the declaration of one’s religion implies that a destination has been reached and is now unchangeable. Religious labels intentionally communicate a fixed characteristic of a person, like gender or ethnicity. This is as true of the label “Christian” as it is of any other religion. Thus, when a genuine follower of Jesus declares he is a Christian, it is very likely that his hearers assume this is a religious label.


One other comment should be made about religions. In religion, there is no growth because lifeless things do not grow. Religion is dead and cannot offer growth. That means that, when used as a religious term, a “Christian” is also not growing.

All of this baggage is possible when a follower of the Lord Jesus identifies themselves as a “Christian.” But now consider what happens if instead the follower of Jesus identifies themselves as a “disciple of Jesus.” As we have said before in these posts, the environment is materially changed. A disciple is a learner which conveys the idea of growth. A disciple is learning about the Bible and about how to pray and learning how to share their faith. One who is a disciple has begun a journey and he is moving toward a destination. There is motion and growth and life.

And he is a disciple of Jesus. Whether you love Him or hate Him, Jesus is the most interesting, compelling, controversial, fascinating person who has ever walked this planet. No dusty, dull religion here when we are walking with Jesus! The disciple of Jesus has a personal relationship with the great one, the Lord Jesus, so the disciple has a living relationship, not a dead religion.

For these reasons, a “disciple of Jesus” is a more powerful identity than “Christian” with none of the religious baggage.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 12/30/2022                 #606

Considering religions – Part 4 – Christless forgiveness

INTRODUCTION. This is another post (4th) in a series of articles about “religions.” I am still planning to write a future “religion” article about the threats posed to the true church by pagan religions and by “Christian” religions, and also about the biblical warnings against these two false systems, but I have decided to defer those once again and, instead, to give an example of what I mean by “Christian” religion.

OUR DEFINITION OF RELIGION. We have been considering the subject of religions in the last few posts. Remember that we are defining “religions” functionally, knowing that these systems of thought do not innocently spring up as someone’s helpful ideas, but are Satanically conceived and designed to prevent the adherents from hearing about Jesus Christ and thus being saved. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that “the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).

Thus, I am defining a “religion” as “any worldview, philosophy, ideology, or system of thought which exists for the purpose of intentionally obscuring the gospel of Jesus Christ so that people remain trapped away from salvation in a Christless, hopeless religious system.”


The example I am choosing to illustrate what I mean by a “Christian” religion is from Roman Catholicism. A religion like Roman Catholicism is structured to offer its adherents ideas that sound “Christian” and “holy” but which are, in fact, hellish, because they present useless counterfeits in place of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Here I will be considering Catholic forgiveness of sins.


To understand a counterfeit, it is necessary to know the genuine article. What is genuine forgiveness? In the Bible, all human beings are born under the condemnation of sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Since all are born under sin and are thus condemned, God must provide a means of forgiveness of sins if any are to be saved from this condemnation. The gospel of Jesus Christ declares that God has provided that means of forgiveness. Jesus Christ has died an atoning death on the cross to pay the penalty for sin and to offer forgiveness to anyone who will put their faith in Him. In Ephesians, Paul teaches, “In Him (Christ), we (believers) have redemption through His blood, THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR TRESPASSES” (Eph. 1:7). On the day of Pentecost, Peter told the people, “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS” (Acts 2:38). From the teaching of the New Testament, forgiveness of sins is given only to the person who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Any other teaching about forgiveness is counterfeit and useless.


The point I am making is this: For the Catholic, Christ’s death on the cross is irrelevant to forgiveness, because the Catholic merits his own forgiveness of sins by his own efforts. To support this statement, I offer three proofs.

First, the Catholic’s only available means of forgiveness is the sacrament of confession. In this ritual, the Catholic goes to the priest, confesses their sins to the priest, and then performs whatever penance (“works”) the priest prescribes. This Catholic forgiveness ritual is completely Christless, being performed without any reference to or mention of Jesus Christ. Instead, the Catholic merits forgiveness by their own works of penance. Instead of the cross of Christ providing atonement for sin, the Catholic obscures the cross with the counterfeit of penance. The cross is unnecessary. If there was no cross, there would still be penance.

But second, Catholic doctrine teaches that at death good Catholics go to purgatory, that fictional place where the Catholic’s remaining sins are somehow purged away. Now, the fact that Catholics need a place to get rid of remaining sin after death loudly broadcasts their belief that Jesus’ death on the cross did not forgive all their sins. Their belief in purgatory declares that Catholics do not regard Jesus’ death on the cross as sufficient to pay for their sins. Thus, if there was no cross of Christ, there would still be purgatory.

The third point also has to do with purgatory, but instead of considering the entrance, we will now be thinking about the exit from purgatory. As you may suspect, I am not now nor have I ever been a Catholic, so I may have some of these details a little confused, but as I understand it, you rely upon the efforts of other Catholics to get you out of purgatory. The idea is that when a Catholic dies, he has remaining sins which keep him out of heaven, and which necessitate purging. It becomes the responsibility of living Catholics to perform works on his behalf that will result in his sins being removed so that he can eventually go to heaven.

For now, I am going to ignore the unlikelihood that such an arrangement would succeed and instead will just focus on the method of removing the sins. Notice that the entire process relies upon man’s works. During the Catholic’s lifetime, he performed his prescribed works but was nevertheless deemed unworthy of heaven. Now in purgatory, other Catholics perform their works, but what is glaringly absent is any reference to the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross. Like getting into purgatory, getting out of purgatory does not need a crucified Savior, it just requires some friends who are willing to work hard to get you to heaven.


These three examples were presented to illustrate the way that “Christian” religions typically operate. These false systems present unbiblical rituals and works as “holy” counterfeits to obscure the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and ensnare the religious adherents in useless works that leave the religionist under God’s wrath and condemnation.

SDG                 rmb                 3/7/2022                     #499

Considering Religions – Part 3 Religions are shallow

INTRODUCTION. This is the third post in a series of articles about “religions.” I had planned to have this third post be about the threats posed to the true church from pagan religions and from “Christian” religions and also about the biblical warnings against these false systems, but I have decided to defer those subjects and, instead, to consider the shallowness of religions. Shallowness is another mark of “religions.”

OUR DEFINITION OF RELIGION. We have been considering the subject of religions in the last few posts. Remember that we are defining “religions” functionally, knowing that these systems of thought do not innocently spring up as someone’s helpful ideas, but are Satanically conceived and designed to prevent the adherents from hearing about Jesus Christ and thus being saved. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that “the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).

Thus, I am defining a “religion” as “any worldview, philosophy, ideology, or system of thought which exists for the purpose of intentionally obscuring the gospel of Jesus Christ so that people remain trapped away from salvation in a godless, Christless, hopeless religious system.”

CHARACTERISTICS OF RELIGION. Last time we had also talked about the characteristics of religions so that we could better identify them. The definition above contains the most prominent characteristic of religions; namely, that the purpose of “religions” is keeping people away from Jesus Christ and away from His salvation. But as I was thinking and praying about this topic this morning, another distinguishing mark came to mind: Religions are shallow.


Religious thought is marked by shallowness. They intentionally avoid the immense and complex questions which occur to every human being. God has built into every human heart a longing to know the answers to obvious questions about their own existence and He has displayed His creation for all to see His handiwork and to give undeniable evidence of His existence (Romans 1:19-20). But as you examine religions, you will see that they do not answer the obvious questions. Religions do not answer these questions because religions cannot answer these questions. If you have ever spoken to someone who is a religious adherent and have tried to move the conversation to deeper things, you have probably been frustrated by your inability to get much traction with them. That is because of how religions operate. Religions typically seek the young and the gullible and the simple-minded. These they ensnare in their religious system with its simple answers to complex questions and then they gradually smother any curiosity about the inadequate, unsatisfying answers they provide. Thus, as Paul said, they “blind the minds of the unbelieving.” So, religions are marked not only by shallow answers to life’s complex questions, but also by vigorously discouraging clear thinking or challenging questions. The attitude is, “Do what we tell you and do not ask questions!”

I have claimed that religions are shallow because they do not answer the basic questions of life. But what are the “immense and complex” questions that we are considering? What are the deep questions that we would like religious adherents to think about as precursors to possibly coming to faith in Jesus?


I maintain that every sentient human being asks these questions at some point in life. We all have questions about our existence like:

  • “Where did the world (and universe) come from?” How is it that the infinite complexity and order and beauty that I see all around me came into being? Has it always existed or was it made by someone? These questions plant the fact of our own smallness and finiteness in the front of our mind. Whoever created all this must be extremely powerful and immensely wise.
  • “Who created me?” When I consider my own body and the phenomenal complexity it has, I must ask, “Who made me?” I have a heart and lungs and eyes and ears and bones and a brain, and these all function perfectly well without my conscious will. Who could have designed and created me like this?
  • “Why do I exist?” Man is made to search for meaning because he needs a purpose for his life. Once a person loses a purpose for their life, they begin to die. But the question is, “Where do I find my purpose?” Who supplies me with my purpose? Since all other people are seeking an answer to this same question, then the answer cannot lie with people. But if why I exist is something that cannot be answered by man, who can answer the question?
  • “Why do people die?” As we gain years in life, we begin to notice that people die. One day the person is laughing and smiling, and they can hug you and talk with you, and the next day they lie still and cold and will never laugh or talk again. What happened? Why did they die? Where are they now? Is death the end, or is there something beyond death? If something is beyond, what is it?
  • “What happens to me when I die?” The previous question leads inevitably to this question. As I think about that person’s death, since I also am a person, I have to think about my own death. The same questions now take on vastly more significance. Where do I go when I die? Is death the end, or is there something beyond? Some claim that my death will be followed by nothingness, but if that is true, why am I so afraid of death?

These are universal questions which all people consider simply because they are human beings. As we search for these answers, we would naturally turn to our religion. “Surely,” we think, “my religion will give me the answers to these deep questions.” Unfortunately, the shallowness of religions is borne out by the lack of satisfying answers they provide for these most basic of human questions.


But human beings are also moral creatures with a God-given conscience. Yes, we are fallen creatures stained by sin and our moral faculties have been warped by the fall, but we are still all moral creatures with a built-in sense of right and wrong and a sense of guilt earned from our own transgressions of God’s holy Law. And so, after wrestling with the universal questions of existence, we turn to moral questions which lead to God and His justice. Now we are asking questions like:

  • “Why is there so much evil in the world?” If God is good, then why is there so much evil? Where did the evil come from?
  • “What do I do with my sense of guilt?” I see that I do many evil things and I feel guilty. How do I get rid of this guilt?
  • “How can I be forgiven of the evil things that I have done?” I do not think that my good will ever outweigh my bad. In fact, I am not even sure I can think of an example of doing a “good thing.” What I need is a new start. What I need is forgiveness of all my sins.
  • “Does God exist?” Even though man knows that God exists, this question still needs to be asked. Some religions would get this one wrong.
  • “What is God like?” Is there one God or many gods? Is God personal or impersonal? Is God good or evil? Does God care about me or about anything that I do? For that matter, is God involved in this world at all?
  • “How can I know anything about God?” Has God ever communicated with man in any way? Is there anyway that I can find out about God? Is there anyway that I can communicate with God, like one-on-one? What are God’s thoughts? What does God think about evil? What has God ever done about evil?
  • “What is the Bible?” The Bible stands alone as by far the most famous and most read book in human history. This amazing book is God’s written communication to man. There are religious books that are clumsily written counterfeits, but the Bible is evidently God-breathed. There is no book like the Bible.
  • “Who is Jesus?” While religions may have their religious heroes like Mohammed or Buddha, Jesus towers above them as Mount Everest towers above a sand dune. Religions offer evil founders with their sinful systems of wicked worship and useless works, but Jesus shines as incarnate deity, the Son of God and God the Son, who performed countless miracles as He lived a sinless life. Then He submitted to the agony and humiliation of His atoning death on the cross, rising from the dead three days later in glorious resurrection and coming soon in power and glory to judge all the earth.

Take any of these metaphysical questions to any religion and the answers will either be shallow or silent. If religions have no answers about the immense questions of life, they certainly offer no hope regarding moral answers.

But there is one more area that should fall into this discussion and that points out the shallowness and hollowness of religions.


In Christianity, our God is personal, and He invites us into a personal, intimate relationship with Him that continues to grow deeper the longer we walk with Him. He declares He is with us and will never leave us or forsake us. He invites us to cry out to Him and to commune with Him because, in Christ, we are His children.

By contrast, in religions whether pagan or “Christian,” the gods are impersonal, and God is distant. An identifying characteristic of a religion is that the one who is worshiped is emotionally distant. Religions are marked by an absence of intimacy.

SDG                 rmb                 3/6/2022                     #498

Considering Religions – Part 2 “Christian” religions

INTRODUCTION. This is the second post in a series of articles about “religions.” Last time I gave a functional definition of “religion” so that we would have a common understanding of the topic. We then looked at pagan or non-Christian religions. This post will focus on what I am calling “Christian” religions.  

REVIEW – DEFINITION OF RELIGION: (From my last post on religions #495, 3/3/2022)

A good functional definition of a “religion” is “any worldview or philosophy or system of thought which exists for the purpose of intentionally obscuring the gospel of Jesus Christ so that people remain trapped away from salvation in a godless, Christless, hopeless religious system.” Additionally, religions are Satanically conceived and are designed to convince the adherents that they can ignore or despise or even hate Jesus Christ with no consequence. Thus, the definition of a “religion” is based on its function rather than its form, which allows religions as diverse as Buddhism and Roman Catholicism to fall within the definition and to both be seen as systems that are opposed to the true church of Jesus Christ and opposed to His gospel.

REVIEW – TWO CATEGORIES OF RELIGION: Also from my last post, there are two broad categories of religions. Covered last time was the first category, which are those religions that have no association with the Bible or with the God of the Bible. We refer to these as pagan religions. In this post I will cover the second category, the so-called “Christian” religions. As stated last time, these have an obvious connection to Christianity but have none of the saving power of the gospel (refer to 2 Timothy 3:5).


Religions in this second category have been developed by Satan through the agency of evil men for the purpose of obscuring, distorting, counterfeiting, and denying the saving gospel and replacing the glory of Jesus Christ with useless, faithless rituals and false doctrines. Their religious systems have some external similarities to what is publicly considered to be Christian, but they trivialize sin, and they twist and confuse the Person and the work of Jesus Christ such that sinful man is at the center of the system trying to save himself by his own pathetic sin-stained works and best efforts.

The most prominent “Christian” religious systems are Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Both of these evidently sprang from the early Christian church but have drifted far from the gospel in the ensuing centuries to the point where they are now apostate. An examination of the doctrinal beliefs of these two religions will reveal that there is no agreement between the biblical position and the position of the church. In fact, in some cases the religion directly contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible. One of the reasons for their current failure to reflect biblical doctrine in their church doctrine is that both these religions long ago abandoned the Bible as the sole authority for their doctrine and practice and, instead, opted to use “tradition” as their guide. This choice guarantees ongoing drift away from biblical truth and into man-made error and eventual apostasy, which is where both religions find themselves today.

This point about “abandoning the Bible guaranteeing eventual apostasy” should have a chilling ring to it. Satan is always eager to invent more religions and he desires to pollute any true worship with useless, man-made counterfeits. This means that there is a constant pressure from Satan to turn the gospel of the glorious Lord Jesus Christ into meaningless, impotent rituals which exalt man and his cleverness and his works and which condone sin. Satan is always seeking to transform the church into a useless social club of decent, unregenerate sinners who have lost the message of the cross and the resurrection.

So, while Catholicism and Orthodoxy are the most prominent of the “Christian” religions, they are by no means the only ones. The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ must constantly strive for obedience to the imperatives in His Word and for boldness in proclaiming the pure gospel lest we drift into apostasy. The sad truth is that the worshiping and witnessing church of today can become the shipwreck of tomorrow if there is not a vigorous adherence to the word of God as the active and only source of faith and practice.

The reason this is so critical is that the drift toward becoming a “Christian” religion can begin with a small disobedience to the Word. It can seem like such a little thing, but whole denominations are now nothing more than “Christian” religions because they ignored the Word in what seemed to be a small thing. When Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He declared, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on EVERY WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). My emphasis on “every word” is to point out that there is no optional obedience in the Bible. “Every word” is important and every instruction and command is to be obeyed. (What would have happened if Jesus had decided that a small disobedience was probably okay?) Jesus came to fulfill and accomplish ALL of the Law, not just most of it, and “not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass” away (Matthew 5:17-18). Paul told Timothy, “ALL Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), which means it is ALL to be obeyed. If the Bible has a position on something, all options are void. If the Bible speaks on something, man does not get an opinion.

We have thus covered pagan religions and “Christian” religions. In the next post, I will continue to explore religions, looking at the threats that these religions pose to the church and the nature of their opposition to the gospel. The next post will also include examining the biblical warnings to the church about these religions so that the church can stand firm against them. I will see you then.

SDG                 rmb                 3/4/2022                     #497

Considering Religions – Part 1 Pagan religions

INTRODUCTION. This post begins a series of articles about “religions.” After defining a “religion,” I will examine two categories of religion and how these groups of religions confront and interact with churches and individuals that follow the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that this thinking will lead to a sharper mind for evangelism and will enable believers to scatter the seed of the gospel more effectively.


What is a religion, as I am defining it? I am going to take a few different runs at the definition.

  1. A religion is any system of thought or philosophy intentionally structured to deny the deity, the incarnation, the sinless life, the atoning death, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. This definition also includes Satan’s purpose for creating religions.
  2. A religion is any system of thought, philosophy, or worldview that would continue to exist if Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible had never existed. That is, a religion is any worldview that would continue to function if the Man Jesus had never been born of a virgin, had not lived a sinless life, had not died on the cross, had not been buried in a tomb and been raised from the dead.
  3. A religion would continue to function without interruption if Jesus of Nazareth was simply a myth, a fictional character made up by those who want to control us through the means of religion and religious heroes. In a religion, the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth is irrelevant.
  4. A religion is a worldview for which the existence of the Jesus of the Bible is unnecessary.

What I am trying to do with these functional definitions is to make clear that religions are not created in a vacuum and do not come into existence to no purpose. Rather, religions are Satanically conceived for the purpose of intentionally obscuring the gospel of Jesus Christ so that people remain trapped away from salvation in a godless, Christless, hopeless religious system. Religions are based on godless ideologies and are designed to convince the adherents that they can ignore or despise or even hate Jesus Christ with no consequence. My definitions for “religion,” then, center on the purpose of a religion (philosophy, worldview, ideology, system of thought and ritual) rather than on the form. The forms of religions vary widely, but the purpose of religions is the same. The purpose, of keeping people away from Jesus Christ and away from His salvation, is thus the defining characteristic of all religions.


Having given the definition of religion, I suggest that religions fall into two categories. The first category is those religions which exist completely apart from any biblical reference. In the past, these religions were referred to as pagan. They do not recognize or worship the God of the Bible, even falsely or as a pretense. Their worldview and practices are foreign to the teaching of the Scriptures and are therefore completely devoid of any element of the gospel of salvation. Those who identify with these religions will surely perish (Romans 2:12a); they “have no hope and are without God in this world” (Eph. 2:12).

These are what typically comes to mind when a person thinks about false religions in the world, religions like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. This category would also include philosophies and worldviews like atheism and agnosticism, as well as those loosely described as spiritism. Again, the main feature of this category is that the religion makes no reference to the Bible, to the God of the Bible, or to Jesus Christ.

The second category of religions consists of those which have an obvious connection to Christianity but have none of the saving power of the gospel (refer to 2 Timothy 3:5). I will take a closer look at these systems in the next post on religions.

SDG                 rmb                 3/3/2022                     #495

Since the creation of the world (Romans 1:20)

INTRO: This is the first of a series of posts aimed at addressing the religion of evolution, with the hope that Christians will be able to begin to dialog with evolutionists about the gospel.

The Bible begins in the beginning. Before the beginning, before there was time or matter, there was only God, but “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” As the grand drama opens, God creates the universe ex nihilo by the power of His word. God speaks, and the heavens and the earth come into existence. What was not suddenly becomes what is. And in Genesis 1:1, with the first verse of the Bible we find the first opportunity to believe. The author of Hebrews puts it this way:

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. – Hebrews 11:3

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is consistent and clear – God created the heavens and the earth. And why did God create the heavens and the earth? God created the visible universe to display His power and His glory, so that man would give Him the worship and the praise that He is due.

Therefore, when Paul pens his gospel treatise to the Romans, he begins the body of the work by talking about God’s creation and about how sinful man responds to what God has revealed.

18 Men suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. – Romans 1:18-20

God has displayed His power and glory and beauty through the creation, and this is evident to mankind because God has endowed man with senses that enable man to experience God’s creation. The invisible Lord of the universe has fashioned the earth and has then made man out of the dust of the ground so that man will see the evidence for God in the dazzling, spectacular beauty and order of the created universe and will be spurred to seek this glorious Creator-God.


And what has God displayed through His creation?

His invisible attributes – God has made visible His invisible attributes. In the creation, we can see that God is a God of order, for everything in the universe operates on a precise schedule. The movements of the moon and the sun, the spinning of the earth, the distance the earth is from the sun, the size of the earth, the moon, and the sun, the perfect balance in the natural world all attest to a Creator of order. Our God is a lover of beauty, for everywhere in this world we see dazzling beauty. Spectacular colors and infinite hues cover the earth. Our aesthetic sense is saturated with the beauty of this earth. God’s sovereignty is displayed as we consider His ability to design then perfectly construct the design He planned. Living creatures in every corner of the globe, both plants and animals, declare the glory of God. These creatures are perfectly suited to the environment in which they live. God planned the earth to be filled with myriad forms of life, life displayed in colors and movements and length of days, in the sea and on the land and in the air, all of which individually and collectively declaring the sovereign majesty of their Creator.

His eternal power – On earth and in the heavens are limitless testimonies to God’s awesome power. The pounding of the waves. The billowing of the clouds. The winds of typhoons, tornadoes, and hurricanes. The explosions of volcanoes. The shifting of earthquakes. Storms and rivers and winds. The forming of the seas and lifting up of the mountains. All these are displays of God’s power here on this small planet. But as we peer through our telescopes into the realms in the heavens, our human minds boggle at the power we see there manifested. Millions of whirling galaxies attest to God’s power. Supernovas and black holes. Nebulae and stars and asteroids. Spaces too vast for our minds to comprehend. God made these to let us see His power.

His divine nature (divinity) – The summing up of all this beauty and power and perfectly executed creation points to the divinity of God. Unlike false gods, who are given their limited powers by fallen and evil men, the true and living God inherently possesses all power and all ability and all authority to sovereignly rule over heaven and earth. When all the aspects of creation are considered together, and it is acknowledged that God created and rules all of this, His divinity, what we might call “the God-ness of God,” blazes forth in glory.

God has graciously made Himself known by giving mankind a creation that declares His existence and His divinity and His glory. These are “clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Romans 1:20). That there is an infinitely powerful God is unmistakably obvious because God has made it clear to us through His creation. The creation has rendered man “without excuse.” The only way that man can continue in his rebellion and unbelief is by intentionally “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” (1:19). The denial of God can only be done by willfully rebelling against the constant and overwhelming evidence of the creation.


What is man’s response to this benevolent God’s gracious provision of a magnificent creation, whose beauty gives pleasure to man’s senses and whose bounty gives provision to all of man’s material needs? What God has created to reveal Himself and to display His glory, sinful man steals and gives to a false god. The unrighteous not only ignore God as Creator, but they even deny God’s existence. Instead of giving God praise and honor for His creation, the unrighteous invent the false god of evolution, then grant sovereignty to the false god of evolution and attribute to evolution all the creative powers of the living God. Thus, we can see that, in his rebellion against the righteous Creator-God, modern man has taken the godless work of Charles Darwin and has used it to invent the false god of evolution. Therefore, the Christian needs to understand that evolution is not a theory about how the world came to be but is the god of another pagan religion that intends to usurp God of His glory in creation and ultimately to render God nonexistent. When seen in its proper light as a pagan religion intended to obscure Christ and eliminate God, the Christian is better prepared to respond to the fanatic tactics of evolution’s religious zealots. Because evolution is a religion, its adherents have a religious fanaticism. Competing ideas can be debated but religion is “convert or die.” So the Christian must have the right attitude when encountering an evolutionist.

In this series of posts, I want to offer ammunition against evolution’s propaganda to hopefully generate some real dialog that may lead to Christians having gospel conversations with evolutionists.

SDG                 rmb                 10/29/2021                 #446

Religions hate the Bible

My most recent post was about THE distinguishing mark of “religions,” where I argued that the common trait of all false religions was that they could function and continue to exist if Jesus Christ had never existed. This is true because religions are invented by Satan to prevent people from encountering Jesus Christ and thus being saved.

While intentionally obscuring the Lord Jesus is THE distinguishing mark of religions, another distinction of all religions is that they hate the Bible and therefore do everything in their power to prevent people from reading the Bible, which is the word of the living God.


            We first meet Satan in Genesis 3, where he appears in the Garden as a serpent. The very first thing that the serpent asks Eve is, “Has God said . . ?” As the father of lies (John 8:44), since the beginning Satan has been calling into question the truth of the word of God, and in the Garden his temptation resulted in sin and the fall of man.

            And since Satan hates the word of God, so the false religions he invents hate the word of God, as well. False prophets and false teachers are the primary means that religions use to attack the word of God. Thus, the Bible contains many warnings about false prophets. In Deuteronomy 13:1-5 we read how false prophets lead astray the unsuspecting. In Jeremiah 23, the whole chapter is devoted to warning about false prophets and the judgment that will fall on them. Jesus’ most excoriating words were reserved for the scribes and Pharisees because their teaching distorted the Word of God (Matthew 23). The book of Jude is essentially devoted to a warning about false teachers. To say it again, religions hate the Bible and their first line of attack of the Bible is through false prophets.


            The Bible as the word of God has always been a target of attack for Satan and his false religions. We have already seen that, in Genesis 3, the serpent asked, “Has God said?” In Jeremiah 36:20-26 we read how King Jehoiakim slowly burned the scroll of Jeremiah by cutting it off the scroll and throwing it into the brazier. Ever since it was written, the Bible has been attacked by religions. The Bible has been destroyed by burning and shredding and being outlawed, the Bible has been distorted by twisting its meaning and intentionally misreading and misinterpreting it, and the Bible has been denounced by claims that the stories are myths, and the truths are mere opinions or outright lies.

            False religions have hunted down people who read or preached the Bible to persecute them and kill them. William Tyndale was pursued and tracked down and finally burned at the stake simply because he translated the Bible into the English language. Religions forbid owning or reading Bibles and they kill those who defy their prohibitions. There are 52 countries on the planet today where it is illegal to own a Bible, with varying degrees of penalties.

            Finally, there are several religions which have their own sacred books which are written in an attempt to destroy the uniqueness of the Bible. “You have your holy book, but we have our holy book, too, and your book is no different from ours.” These books are clumsily written musings from one author and are obviously of man-made origin, but they are passed off as being profound. The purpose of these books must be clearly understood. Their purpose is to obscure the Bible, to malign the Bible, to reduce the Bible to the mere musings of an ancient people with no relevance for today, to make sure that no one takes the Bible seriously and thus comes to faith in the Lord Jesus. It is evident, then, that religions hate the Bible.


            We have touched on this already, but we need to answer the question, “Why do religions hate the Bible?” In other words, what is it about the Bible that religions want to silence or leave unknown? Here are some of the reasons that occur to me:

  • Because the Bible is the truth (John 17:17 – “Your Word is truth.”) and Satan and his religions hate the truth.
  • Satan and his religions are liars (John 8:44 – “He (Satan) is the father of lies.”) and are opposed to the truth and love lies (see above).
  • The Bible tells the truth, and the truth sets us free (John 8:32). Religions do not want you to be set free from sin or to be set free from the chains of their religion.
  • The Bible exposes the darkness and people love the darkness of their sin (John 3:19-21; Ephesians 5:12-13). Religions are okay with darkness and allow all kinds of sin, and do not want you to know about the darkness and the Light.
  • The Bible shows us how to be saved from our sins (2 Timothy 3:15).
  • The Bible is the book that tells people about the living God, about the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, about sin and the consequences of sin, about the coming judgment, about the wrath of God, about heaven and hell, about salvation, and about the gospel that declares that through faith in Jesus Christ and belief in His death and resurrection as the means of my salvation, any sinner can be forgiven of their sins and reconciled to God forever. Religions do not want you to know any of these things and they, therefore, do everything in their power to prevent you from reading the Bible and discovering these truths.


            This post and the previous post are intended to keep us alert for the encroachment of false religions, especially as our age becomes more confusing and godless. Jesus warned us to be alert for false prophets (Matthew 7:15-23) and told us that, at the end of the age, false prophets and false Christs will arise and will almost mislead the elect (Matthew 24:24). False prophets are the ministers of false religions whose intent is to obscure Christ and lead people into the broad way of destruction. So, we need to be alert to these things and run away from any so-called church or group that does not love the Bible and the Savior whom the Bible reveals.

            Most importantly, we as believers need to be people of the Bible. At least for now, in America we continue to have the privilege of being able to read our Bibles anywhere and anytime we choose. Many Christians in the world, both today and in the past, have not had this privilege. We must be good stewards of our Bibles and diligently read and memorize them, and we must proclaim the truths of the Bible to others so that God may be glorified.

“For You have exalted above all things Your name and Your Word (Psalm 138:3).”     

SDG                 rmb                 12/21/2020