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Written by: Sanders, J.O.    Posted on: 04/09/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN





    The wise worker will remember that Roman Catholics have from childhood learned to revere their church, and resent any criticism of it.  Any controversial issue should, therefore, be avoided as far as possible.  There are many things which are held in common by both Catholic and Protestant, and these should be known by the worker, e.g., the deity of Christ, the atoning blood, the inspiration of the Scriptures.     The Catholic, however, does not believe in justification by faith alone, nor that a person can be saved apart from the instrumentality of the church.  The Virgin Mary is in reality given a larger place than Christ. It is also a help no know something of those saints of the Roman Catholic Church who are familiar to Protestants as well:  Augustine, Francis Xavier, Madame Guyon--and to quote hymns by Father Faber, the author of "Souls of men, why will ye scatter," and many other beautiful hymns.  The worker should buy and use, in dealing with a Catholic, the Douay Version of the Scriptures, which varies very little from the Authorized Version, except in the notes which are regarded as equally inspired.

    Some useful suggestions by Mrs. Turnbull are:

    Try to center conversation on Christ as much as possible.

    Stress the possibility and joy of being assured of salvation, and knowing the forgiveness of sins.

    Never seek to defend Protestantism.

    Do not dwell on the sins of the Roman clergy.

    Do not argue on the priority of Protestant or Roman Catholic church, or as to whether Peter was the first Pope of Rome.

    Avoid appealing to history, as Roman Catholics have learned a totally different account of the Reformation period.

    A useful approach is to confess a high regard for the Virgin Mary, and ask the inquirer if he believes he should do as the Virgin commanded.  The answer will, of course, be in the affirmative.  Then quote John 2:5: "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it",  following this up by saying that He said: "Ye must be born again" (John 3:3).  The way is then clear to urge the necessity of regeneration.  Show what regeneration is from 2 Corinthians 5:17. Distinguish baptism from regeneration by reading 1 Corinthians 4:15 with 1 Corinthians 1:14.  The baptism of Simon (Acts 8:13, 21-23) did not regenerate him.

    Show further that salvation is not by works (Romans 4:5; 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 2:8,9).  Show him that those who become sons of God by receiving Christ may enjoy assurance of salvation (1 John 5:13; John 10:27-29; Acts 13:38,39).

    Urge the necessity of confession, first of sins to God (1 John 1:9); then of Christ to men (Rom. 10:9-10). Show that there is ONLY ONE MEDIATOR between God and men--Christ (1 Tim. 2:5).

    Since the Bible is largely banned to the Roman Catholic, encourage him to read his Bible, for "the entrance of thy word giveth light."


    The denial of the deity of Christ--and consequently of the Trinity.  Jesus was merely a good man, the Holy Spirit, an influence.  The atonement is unnecessary, since sin is merely a defect which education will remove.  The Bible is neither inspired nor infallible.  The supernatural is scorned.  It is obvious that the task of the worker is to deal with the inquirer concerning the Person and work of Christ.  Dr. Evans suggests the following method:

    1. Show that he cannot have the Father without the Son (1 John 2:22,23;  John 14:6; Matthew 11:27).  To disown the Son is to shut the door of knowledge of the Father.

    2. Show that salvation comes in no other way, save through the person and work of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). If Christ is rejected, what then? (John 8:21,24).

    3. Show that it is God's will that men should believe on His Son (John 5:22,23; Phil.2:9).

    4. Show the awful guilt resting on one who rejects Jesus Christ as his Savior (John 16:8-10; 1 John 5:10-12; Heb. 10:28,29).

    5. If necessary prove from Scripture the deity of Christ.  Divine names (Acts 3:14; John 20:28); divine attributes (Mark 2:8; Matt. 18:20; John 1:1), divine works (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16); and divine worship (Matt. 14:33; 28:9), are ascribed to Him.


    Let the worker have some idea of what Mrs. Eddy, the high priestess of the cult, teaches.  The following statements are quoted from her book SCIENCE AND HEALTH, 1906 edition:

    "GOD is 'divine principle...not personal [cf. Isa. 43:3].  CHRIST 'is incorporeal, spiritual, the offspring of Mary's self-conscious communion with God" [cf. 1 Tim. 2:5]. The Holy Spirit is 'divine science' [cf. John 14:16].  It was impossible for MAN 'never born and never dying to fall from his high estate' [cf. 1 Tim. 2:14 A.S.V.].  'Whatever indicates the fall of man--is the Adam dream.'  'Man is incapable of SIN' [cf. 1 John 1:9; Rom. 3:23].  As to ATONEMENT, 'one sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin'  [of which she has told us man is incapable]  [cf. Heb. 9:26].  The DEVIL is 'a lie, belief in sin, sickness and death' [cf. Matt. 4:3,4].  'There is no MATTER'  [cf. Gen. 1:1]  'Man is never SICK'  [cf. James 5:14].  'Man is incapable of DEATH'  [cf. Heb. 9:27]. PRAYER:  'The habit of pleading with the divine mind as one pleads with a human being...is an error which impedes spiritual growth'  [cf. Matt. 6:9; John 15:7]."

    To perceive the origin of Christian Science, read 1 John 4:1-3, for it denies that "Jesus Christ is come in the flesh."  The Christian Scientist accepts the Scriptures as inspired (albeit claiming the same inspiration for SCIENCE AND HEALTH), so the worker has something to go on.

    Ask the seeker to whom he prays, if God is not a person.  Can he pray to a principle?  Seeing he does not believe in a personal devil, ask how evil originated.  If the Devil is only a lie, can a lie be punished?  (Rev. 20:10).  If man is incapable of death, ask if he would stand up and allow someone to shoot him.  Having shown the untruth of Christian Science from the Scriptures given above, and unveiled some of its fallacies by the questioning method, lead him to Christ, the Sinless Substitute (2 Cor. 5:21;  Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24;  Heb. 9:22).  To prove that curing of sickness is no proof of divine origin, use Matthew 7:22,23; 2 Thessalonians 2:8,9.


    They are those who believe that all men will be saved in the final restoration of all things.  The arguments to use with deniers of Hell have already been given.  Their main Scriptures are I Timothy 2:3,4, and I Corinthians 15:22.  The former expresses the desire of God's heart, but not His decree.  Man's will is the determining factor. The latter verse read in its context, deals not with the reception of eternal life, but with physical resurrection.

    The part played by man's will is seen in Luke 13:3; John 5:40.  Such Scriptures as II Thessalonians 1:7-9; Matthew 25:41-46; Revelation 20:15; 21:8 clearly show that all men will not be finally saved.

    V. JEWS

    To deal effectively with Jews, the worker must have a good working knowledge of the Old Testament, and of the place of the Jews in God's plan.

    1. Show how Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah.  A Jew (Gen. 28:13,14). Of tribe of Judah (Mic. 5:2).  Of the family of David (Isa. 11:1-10; Jer. 23:5,6).  Born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14).  In Bethlehem (Mic.5:2). Rejected and crucified (Ps.22). Before the destruction of the Temple (Dan. 9:26).  His coming to be in humility (Isa. 53), and in glory (Zech. 2:5).

    2. Show that the Old Testament sacrifices were done away in Christ and that salvation is found only in His shed blood (Heb. 8:10; cf. Lev. 17:11 with John 1:29).  Show also that Moses spoke of Christ (John 5:45-47).

    3. Warn of the punishment meted out to those who reject Christ (Heb. 10:26-29).

    If a Jew objects that "God did not marry a woman to give birth to Christ," answer that God is a miracle-working God (cf. Gen. 18:14 with Luke 1:37.  Also Luke 1:26-32; Matt. 1:18-25).  If he contends that the worship of Jesus is worshiping a man, use Genesis 18:1,2 (where one of the men was Jehovah), and Joshua 5:13-15.  The objection that the doctrine of the Trinity teaches three Gods instead of one, may be answered by Genesis 1:1, where "God," Elohim, is plural.  See also Gen 1:26 ("us,"  "our,").  If he objects that Isaiah 53 refers not to Christ but to suffering Israel, show that this is impossible, since the One who suffers is suffering, not for His own sins, but for those of another (Isa. 53:4,5,8), and that other is suffering Israel!

    One who would work among Jews should be especially familiar with the Epistle to the Hebrews.

    VI. Russellism or Millenial Dawn, or JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

    This chameleon-like cult is flourishing greatly today. It was founded by Pastor C. T. Russell, and is perpetuated today in word and writing by Judge Rutherford.  In addition to the three aliases given above, this cult masquerades as "The International Bible Students' Association," "Metropolitan Pulpit,"  "Zion's Watch-tower," etc.

    DOCTRINES.  It denies the deity and humanity of Christ, He being the highest order of created being. Scriptures to answer this have already been given.  Christ, they say, at death became extinct, body and soul, and His body was not raised (cf. Luke 24:39).  He is now a disembodied spirit, for His body passed off in gases in the tomb.  He returned to the world in 1874, and the Millenium began in 1914 (cf. Acts 1:11; I Tim. 3:16).  The Holy Spirit is merely an influence (cf. John 16:13,14). A second probation after death is promised, a promise which is distinctly countermanded by Luke 16:19-31 (cf. Rev.22:11; II Cor. 6:2;  John 5:28,29).  Those who die become extinct, but are raised again (a difficult process surely!) in the next age.  (See Matt.10:28; Phil. 1:23; II Cor. 5:8)

    The Scriptures given under "Christian Science" will answer several of the above errors.


    That disembodied spirits can communicate with the living is clear from Scripture (I Sam. 28:11-20), but the curse of God rests on the devotees of Spiritism.  The existence of Satan and angels is denied.  The worker should not commence by making the sweeping assertion that the whole thing is of the Devil, true though that is, or he will lose his point of contact with his "prospect."

    The first thing to do is to show what the Bible teaches concerning God's attitude to Spiritism (I Chron. 10:13,14;  Isa.8:19,20;  I John 4:1-3;  II Thess 2:9-12).

    Next show from Luke 16 that Spiritism is not the work of spirits of the dead, for there it is made clear that the spirits of departed ones have no communication with earth, that being absolutely forbidden by the Scriptures (Deut. 18:9-12).  Spiritism is a repudiation of God's revelation in His Word (Isa.8:19,20).  More credence is given to the supposed words of departed spirits than to the Word of God (Luke 16:31).

    To test the origin of these spirit impersonations, use I John 4:1-3.  The Christian can expect these special manifestations of evil spirits in these last days (I Tim 4:1,2,6).

    The main errors involved in Spiritism are: Denial of the personality of GOD, the deity of CHRIST, in making Him only a medium; dishonoring the HOLY SPIRIT; denial of the ATONEMENT, future JUDGMENT or punishment of sin; and the SECOND ADVENT of Christ.

    Dr. Riley tells of Charles Dickens attending a number of seances and being almost convinced and ready to become a Spiritist, when at a certain one he asked the medium to speak with Lindley Murray.  A spook appeared, and Dickens said: "Are you Lindley Murray?"  The spook replied: "I are!"  "Excuse me," said Dickens, "Lindley may have his faults, but he is a good grammarian,"  and so he departed, to have no more to do with Spiritism.


    As in the case of other cults, there is much that is false in this esoteric philosophy.  The BIBLE is only one of many other Bibles of equal authority.  Their idea of God is pantheistic.  CHRIST is ONE of the manifestations of the Logos.  MAN has one spirit, three souls, a life principle, and two bodies, and is subject to reincarnation.  SALVATION is by works, the Theosophist trying all the time to "make good Karma" or to pile up merit.

    The basic error is the place given to the Scriptures, and the worker must first show the preeminence of God's Word as previously shown. (Use II Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12; Matt. 5:18.)  As to the personality of God, see Genesis 17:1; Psalm 103:13.  The deity and uniqueness of Christ may be shown from John 1:1; Hebrews 1:3.  Instead of being a compound personality, as taught by Theosophists, man is a being created in the image of God, fallen, but subject to redemption and resurrection, not to reincarnation.  Man cannot obtain salvation on the ground of his own merit (Rom.3:20; Titus 3:5; Eph.2:8,9).  Instead of man's goal and destiny being the nebulous nirvana, it is a prepared place in the Father's house (John 14:2).


    This is one of the most subtle of the cults, because it has more semblance of a spiritual basis.  As the name suggests, its key teaching is the observance of the old Jewish Sabbath, instead of the first day of the week--an indispensable condition of salvation.  The mark of the Beast is the nonobservance of the Sabbath.  Dr. Evans suggests the following method of attack:

    1. Know their favorite passages and show how they wrongly interpret them, e.g., I John 2:4.  Show from I John 3:23 that the commandment referred to is love and faith, not Sabbath-keeping.  "Commandments" in Revelation 22:14 is made to refer to the Ten Commandments, but these words are omitted entirely from the American Standard Version.

    2. Show, then, that the law (including the Sabbath) is done away (2 Cor. 3:7-11).  These verses teach that one is either under the old covenant with its curse or under the new covenant with its blessing.  If one keeps the Sabbath, it is an acknowledgment of being under the former, and thus excluded from the benefits of the latter.

    3. Show that by the death of Christ Christians have become dead to the law (Rom.7:1-4; cf. 10:3-9).

    4. Stress the fact that every one of the Ten Commandments, except the fourth, is reaffirmed in the New Testament.  Nowhere is the Church of Christ commanded to keep the Sabbath.

    5. Show that the Sabbath is a purely Jewish institution, never meant to be binding on a Christian (Deut. 5:12-15).  It was a sign between Israel and God (Exod. 31:13-17).

    6. Show that there is no scriptural warrant for their theory that the soul sleeps between death and the resurrection.  (See 2 Cor. 5:1-8; Phil 1:20-23.)  Some of the Scriptures they use in this connection are Acts 2:34. But verses 29 and 31 have clear reference to the body, not the soul of David (Eccles.9:5-10).  "The dead know nothing"--but the context limits this to "under the sun". The same words are used in 1 Samuel 20:39; 1 Timothy 6:4, but do not bear the meaning Adventists put on them.  Daniel 12:2, with John 11:11,14,39.  Note that of Lazarus it was said, "He now stinketh."  Did this refer to his soul or his body?  By taking their proof texts in their context and with parallel passages, it will be easily proved that their contentions are unscriptural.

    7. Show that the Scriptures teach that the spirit or soul does not die with the body (Eccles. 12:7; 3:21; 1 Cor. 5:5; Luke 23:43-46; Acts 7:59; Matt. 10:28).

    It is well to know that the observance of the first day is of neither Romish nor heathen origin, as they contend.  They lay this change of day at the door of the pope of Rome.  The early Church Fathers, writing in the first  and second centuries--Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Clement, and many others--all testify to the fact that the observance of the first day of the week was general.

    Again, it is physically impossible for Adventists the world over to observe the Jewish Sabbath from sunset to sunset.  In the far north the sun does not set for weeks. In going round the world westward, a day is lost, and in going the opposite way, a day is gained.  It is perfectly obvious that the commandment was a purely local one.

    In dealing with Adventists, the worker will find that they are very bigoted and will try to monopolize the conversation.  Stipulate that you will answer questions in turn, or they will evade the issue when faced with convincing and unanswerable Scriptures.

    Oh, matchless honor, all unsought,

    High privilege, surpassing thought,

    That Thou shouldest call me, Lord to be

    Linked in such work, O God, with Thee!

    To carry out Thy wondrous plan,

    To bear Thy message unto man;

    In trust with Christ's own Word of grace

    To each soul of the human race.

[end of chapter 9, end of 7th file] [Transcriber's note:  By 1990, the time this work is entered into electronic media, the Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists have changed somewhat, though the strictly theological points probably still apply.     I think it unfortunate that Judaism is lumped in with "cults", since it is a world religion rather than a cult.     At the time of the writing of this work, Islam had not made significant inroads into the life of Western culture. For dealing with Muslims, I recommend Dr. Samuel Zwemer's book, ISLAM, A CHALLENGE TO FAITH (c)1908, at this point out of print, but "on the list" to be issued in electronic media as soon as possible.  Dr. Zwemer's work has never been improved upon, but his frank statements of the incompatibility of Islam and Christianity would be offensive to some.  I suspect that is why the work remains out of print at this date.                  --CCP]

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