What the Churches Do Not Tell You
AS A person familiar with the churches, you know that they often speak to their members about God, about Jesus Christ, and about life after death. Perhaps, too, you have heard them speak out on various social and political issues, as well as on the need for world change.
But did you know that there are vital things—things that affect your happiness and welfare—that the churches do not tell you? A look at certain church teachings will reveal what some of these things are.
GOD AND JESUS CHRIST
You, perhaps, have heard clergymen say that Jesus is the Son of God. But have you, at the same time, heard them speak of “the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit”? Since that expression is included in the basis for membership in the World Council of Churches, many church members have heard God spoken of in such terms.
Commonly, churches use the word “Trinity” when giving their view of the relationship of Christ with God. The way that churches define the Trinity doctrine may vary. Why not ask your minister what your church teaches about it? The Athanasian Creed, thought to be of the fifth century C.E., presents it in this way:
“The Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one: the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. . . . The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. . . . So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.”
Is this what you believe—that God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are the same in substance, power and eternity? Most churches teach this, including the Roman Catholic Church. John J. Moment wrote regarding the Athanasian Creed in his book We Believe: “Its stereotyped definitions have continued to be accepted in Protestantism, more or less consciously, as the norm of orthodoxy.”
Likely, if you ask him, your minister will say that your church believes in the Trinity. But has the church ever told you where the doctrine originated? You may be surprised to know.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia says of the Trinity: “It is not, as already seen, directly and immediately word of God.” (Volume 14, page 304) No, neither the word “Trinity” nor even the Trinity doctrine is mentioned in the Bible. It was conceived long after the death of Jesus and his apostles. When?
It was centuries later at Church councils. Church theologians know this. For example, Lutheran seminary professor N. Leroy Norquist, writing in The Lutheran, explained: “The men who framed [the Trinity] designed it as a tool to be used against heretics. In fighting heresy, they experimented with words, sharpened phrases, until they had defined the relation of the three ‘persons’ of the Trinity.” Did you know that?
At the Church council at Nicaea in 325 C.E., one supporter of the belief that Jesus had existed eternally struck in the face a Church delegate who did not accept this newly framed concept. It was at this council that Emperor Constantine ruled in favor of this view, making possible its adoption by the Church. Did your church ever tell you that Constantine was, at the time, an unbaptized pagan who murdered his son, his second wife and several others of his relatives? This is a historical fact.
Also, has your church ever told you that Christian believers in the Bible opposed the Trinity doctrine? These early Bible believers would quote Mark 13:32, which says, “Of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”a They would ask: ‘How can the Father and Son be of one substance yet the Father know things of which the Son is ignorant?’ The framers of the Trinity, historians tell us, were completely helpless when confronted with this scripture.
But Mark 13:32 is not the only scripture of that kind. Jesus Christ over and over again acknowledged his subordination to the Father. Do you ever hear these words of his read in church? For example, Jesus said: “The Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28) And further showing submission to his Father, he prayed: “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Also, the Bible says that God is “from everlasting to everlasting,” but calls Jesus “the first-born of all creation” and “the beginning of God’s creation.”—Ps. 90:2; Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14.
Theologians know about such scriptures, even though these may not be emphasized in churches. Thus, Professor Martin Werner of the University of Bern states in The Formation of Christian Dogma (1957): “Wherever in the New Testament the relationship of Jesus to God, the Father, is brought into consideration, whether with reference to his appearance as a man or to his Messianic status, it is conceived of and represented categorically as subordination.”
‘So the churches do not tell us these things,’ you may say. ‘What difference does it really make? How does this affect my happiness and welfare?’
It does because Jesus said: “This is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) If you do not know the true God—that He is superior to and separate and distinct from Jesus Christ—you cannot worship God in the way that he approves. And our gaining eternal life in happiness in His new system of things is dependent on our accurately knowing and properly worshiping the only true God.
LIFE AFTER DEATH
Consider another teaching of your church. What does it say about death and the resurrection?
Commonly churches teach that we have an immortal soul, and that at the death of the body the soul departs to carry on a conscious separate existence. So, they say, death is “transition,” or, as one clergyman put it: “Death is merely an enlarged continuation of life.” Resurrection, they say, occurs when the separated soul is eventually reunited with the body. But if that is what your church teaches, it has not been telling you what the Bible says.
Please go and get your own copy of the Bible. Open now to Ezekiel 18:4, which reads: “The soul that sins shall die.” Has your minister ever read that scripture to you, or Eze 18 verse 20 of the same chapter that says the same thing? Now turn over to Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10, and read: “The dead know nothing . . . there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol [the grave], to which you are going.” Did you ever hear this read in church?
But do clergymen know that the Bible teaches that the soul is not immortal? Yes, many do. For example, Catholic priest Anthony Kosnik explained: “In the Bible, man is never presented as a ‘body-soul’ combination. In both the Old and New Testament, man is always thought of as a single totality. . . . What is more—this body-soul totality was regarded as being essentially mortal. . . . There is no immortal soul to survive or continue on.” Yet the churches generally teach the immortality of the soul.
The Bible, on the other hand, holds out the comforting hope that those in God’s ransom provision who are unconscious in death will be raised to life again. “There will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust,” the Bible promises. (Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29) Really, to know the truth about the dead and the resurrection is vital. It can set us free from dangerous misconceptions.—John 8:32.
THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF POLITICS
These Bible doctrines, however, are not the only area of vital concern to you. As a Christian, what should be your view of involvement in the affairs of the world?
Many priests and ministers encourage their congregations to become involved. For example, not long ago a Catholic priest, who himself holds a political office, said: “The churches ought to constantly exalt the role of politics.” Is that what your church encourages? Do you personally agree with that viewpoint?
Has your church told you about Jesus Christ’s viewpoint of this matter? Has your clergyman explained, for example, how Jesus reacted when certain men, recognizing his miraculous powers, tried to get him to rule over them? We read in the Bible: “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”—John 6:15.
Interesting, too, is what Jesus said in prayer about his true followers: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” When questioned about his kingly authority, Jesus replied to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate: “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.”—John 17:16; 18:36.
Has your minister shown you these statements and example of Jesus? Has he explained the principle found at James 4:4, which states: “Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God”?
How did early Christians view the matter of mixing religion with politics? The book Christianity and the Roman Government points out:
“The Christians were strangers and pilgrims in the world around them; their citizenship was in heaven; the kingdom to which they looked was not of this world. The consequent want of interest in public affairs came thus from the outset to be a noticeable feature in Christianity.”
Thus, if your church, while professing to be Christian, urges you to become involved in politics, you have not been told the position of Jesus Christ and his original disciples in this regard. ‘But how can man’s problems be solved if people do not “get involved”?’ you may ask.
A WICKED SYSTEM TO END
Perhaps your priest or minister encourages involvement in social and political issues because he believes that God has left it up to man to solve his own problems. If so, here too there is something vital that your church is not telling you. Consider what the Bible says at Daniel 2:44:
“The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever.”
Does that sound as if man is going to straighten out his own affairs? What it really means is that all earthly political systems will be ‘brought to an end’ by a heavenly Kingdom government that God himself sets up.
But what happens after the removal of human political systems? Will there be a fiery destruction of the earth and all life on it? If that is what your church has led you to believe, there is something else that they have not told you. What is that?
A RIGHTEOUS NEW SYSTEM OF THINGS
At Daniel 2:34, 35, the kingdom of God that destroys the earthly political systems is symbolized as a “stone” that thereafter “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Therefore, the earth will not only survive God’s execution of judgment against human governments, but enjoy a global extension of God’s rule. That is what Jesus taught his disciples to pray for in the “Lord’s Prayer,” saying: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) Did you know that? The Bible, at Revelation 21:3-5, gives a glimpse of what conditions will be like when ‘God’s will is done on earth’:
“I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.’ And he [God] who sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’”
Would you like to live in that delightful new system of things? Bible prophecy shows that it will become a reality in this generation. (Matt. 24:3-14, 34; compare Revelation 6:1-8.) Has your church explained what you must do to survive the destruction of the present wicked system into that new one? God’s requirements for this are found only in the Bible.
If you are genuinely interested in what the Bible teaches, Jehovah’s witnesses will be glad to help you. They will arrange to study your own Bible with you, free of charge, in your home or at another convenient place. Also, you are welcome to visit their Kingdom Hall, where real Bible discussions take place several times each week. No collections are taken at these meetings. We invite you to see for yourself whether there exist among these people the warm fellowship and love that Jesus said would identify his true followers. (John 13:35) Do it soon!
a The Revised Standard Version Common Bible. This Bible edition, approved by both Catholic and Protestant authorities, is used throughout this article.
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HAS YOUR CHURCH TOLD YOU THAT JESUS IS ALMIGHTY GOD?
If so, it has not told you the truth. The Bible says:
Jesus himself said:
“The Father is greater than I.”—John 14:28.
HAS YOUR CHURCH TOLD YOU THAT THE SOUL CANNOT DIE?
And of Jesus Christ the Scriptures prophetically said: “He poured out his soul to death.”—Isa. 53:12.