The Historical Dilemma of the Evangelical Movement--Standish

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What Colin and Russell Standish present in the following treatise, should be extended to include the trinity doctrine as THE most heretical doctrine of the ages since Christendom's origin. There is a natural contingent flow from St. Augustine's error of Original Sin, on through predestination, infant baptism, once-saved, always saved, sin and live theology, sin is a state of being: not dependent on man's desecration of the Decalogue, the impossibility of triumph of the spirit over the flesh, the Immaculate conception of Christ, Mary and Saints as Mediators, Indulgences etc. How does the contingency with the trinity doctrine accrue?

The trinity doctrine totally denies any form of death of any divine Being--neither a first nor a second death of any part of any divine Being. It states that only the humanity of Christ die. The humanity of Christ was never privy to any Everlasting Covenant between the Father and the Son before the creation of the earth, nor at any other time. The Everlasting Covenant was Testated between two purely divine Beings, the Father and the Son of the Father. Scripture declares that the death of the Testator must occur or the Testament is of no effect. Therefore, if the Testator, the Son of God, did not die permanently, eternally, to something, then there has been no Atonement and no fulfillment of the Pattern set forth in the Heavenly Sanctuary. If there has been no death of the Testator Son of God, then there is no power available for overcoming sin, and we cannot partake of any divine nature for the purpose of overcoming. This is what accrues because of the trinity doctrine.

The trinity doctrine denies that the Testator--the DIVINE Son of God died at all. Why? Because it states that it is impossible for Divinity to die. This is exactly like Satan saying that there has been no Sacrifice, no Atonement, No fulfillment of the Pattern Heavenly Sanctuary Service, because the Testator was Divine and no divine person has died--only the humanity of Christ. This is what the trinity doctrine teaches.

What is the truth of the matter? The truth is that Christ died a first and second death. He died to His first estate of PURELY DIVINE BEING, and was Incarnated into another form of Being that was not PURELY DIVINE. By dying forever to that PURELY DIVINE BEING, Christ died to THE ONE ETERNAL HOLY SPIRIT BEING He had prior to His Incarnation. He commended that Holy Spirit life to the Father, as a gift bequeathed to us, for the purpose of overcoming sin. Without that gift of His Holy Spirit BEING, we could not overcome sin, and Satan would be right--there would be no Atonement--No Sanctuary Service. No death of any humanity could satisfy any covenant made by a purely DIVINE TESTATOR.

The PURELY DIVINE TESTATOR--the Son of God, emptied Himself of His Holy Spirit essence, in order to send that Spirit, that Mind, to us as a regenerating agency. This truth is the Reformation come full circle, and no inter or intra-SDA Church ministry that teaches anything other than this truth is giving the full Reformation gospel. There is not one Independent ministry operating within the church that is teaching this truth, and if there were one or any, they would be violating one of the Baptismal vows--the trinity doctrine, which totally negates the Atonement and the Sanctuary Service. This is the plight of Hartland Institute. This is the plight of Ron Spear and Our Firm Foundation Ministries. This is the plight of 3 ABN Ministry. This is the plight of Amazing Facts Ministry. This is the plight of any ministry operating within the auspices of the apostate, professing Seventh-day Adventist church. Now here is a historical background leading up to this Omega Heresy plight:

The Historical Dilemma of the Evangelical Movement

By Colin and Russell Standish

Evangelical Christianity had its foundation in the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther’s followers were called Evangelicals to distinguish them from John Calvin’s Reformed Church. The Evangelical movement of today traces itself back to the Reformation and sees its roots there. But most Evangelicals do not understand the deeper roots of their theology. It will be surprising to many that some of the roots of evangelical theology antedate the Reformation by more than eleven hundred years. Many of the concepts now espoused by evangelical Protestantism are grounded in the teachings of Augustinian Catholicism. Many Evangelicals, attracted by the Christ-centeredness of their message and the assurance which they believe it brings to them, are unaware of the Catholic roots that have, in many cases, limited and even perverted the direction of their movement.

Today’s Evangelicals see their message as being presented as a beautiful extension of Reformation theology in stride with the teachings of Martin Luther and other Reformers. Few who hear this teaching understand the deceptive Roman Catholic heritage of some of the doctrines designed to lull men and women into carnal security and to bind them together for the great day of destruction at the conclusion of the millennium. Yet such doctrines have entered the Evangelical movement by stealth.

By the fourth century of the Christian era the Church was embroiled in theological turmoil. The centrality of Christ as man’s Redeemer, and His truth, were all but lost. Almost every wind of doctrine was being preached. Church councils were assembled in desperate and futile attempts to determine orthodoxy. The Church became the arbiter of faith, in place of the Word of God. Each succeeding decree of church councils took the Church further away from the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. Out of this theological milieu arose a man who exerted a giant influence in the formulation of theological dogma. Even today this man, Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, casts his shadow across Christendom, and his errors have been permitted to darken many corners of evangelical Protestantism.

Augustinian Doctrines Rooted in Paganism

Augustine was born 354 in north Africa. While his mother was a Christian, his father was a Manichaeist who trained and educated him in Manichaeistic schools. Manichaeism was founded in the third century by Mani, as an offshoot of the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. It was designed to take the principles of Zoroastrianism and apply them into a perverted form of Christianity. This religious system was uncompromisingly dualistic. It had a special emphasis upon the dualism of light (good) and darkness (evil).

All pagan symbols are symbols of balance. The cross (the balancing of the horizontal and the vertical) is the most ancient and degraded of all pagan symbols. The Star of David, adopted as a symbol by the Jews, is an ancient pagan insignia incorporating the balancing of two triangles. The swastika of the Hindus and the Buddhists is a balancing symbol, as is the Yin and Yang of the Chinese and Koreans. It was this balance that led pagans to create good and bad gods, male and female gods, and male and female priests. It was this concept that encouraged belief that good and evil can reign together. This satanic error had its origin in the Garden of Eden.

Augustine was nurtured in these pagan philosophies. When well into his twenties, he traveled to Italy. There he studied under Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, and subsequently accepted Christianity. Augustine was unable to cast off many of the pagan concepts that he had imbibed in his youth. His theological concepts were seriously flawed by his early mindset. Yet his doctrinal perspectives were to dominate the training of church leaders until the time of Thomas Aquinas, who lived more than seven hundred years later.

Many of the great theological errors of the Roman Catholic Church were either instigated by Augustine or developed by subsequent theologians who attempted to formulate a consistent theology that would incorporate the Augustinian heresies. The Roman Catholic theologians subsequent to Augustine developed a very consistent and logical theology. But it was built upon wrong premises—premises inimical to the Word of God.

Augustine’s Foundational Error

With his pagan mindset, Augustine could not understand the issue of free choice. He saw God as absolute and in total control. A God who permitted man to have freedom of choice was incomprehensible to his pagan presuppositions. Yet he acknowledged that the Bible teaches that some will be saved in the kingdom and some will be lost. To accommodate this truth into his theology, Augustine incorporated the doctrine of predestination. The error of predestination was vigorously challenged in his lifetime. In response, Augustine argued that it was a miracle of the grace of God that any of us should be saved. Thus he suggested that we as erring humans are in no position to question the justice of God in preordaining some to eternal salvation and others to eternal damnation.

This error of predestination logically led to the concept of "once saved, always saved." God, being absolute and unchangeable, arbitrarily decided those who were preordained to salvation and who could never be lost—and those who were preordained to eternal destruction and could never be saved. Naturally this belief gave a presumptuous security to those who believed that they were preordained to salvation. On the other hand, it also led to questions concerning the proclamation of the gospel. Why spread the gospel? Why evangelize? Why proselytize? If God’s arbitrary will has predestined man to either salvation or damnation, what was the purpose of evangelism? The answer which satisfied some was, Simply because the Bible mandates it. Augustine’s propositions upheld the view that the relationship of man to God is incidental to his salvation. The concept of "once saved, always saved" quickly incorporated the sin-and-live theology.

No longer was victory over sin proclaimed as of any consequence to salvation. Vigorously Augustine argued that it was not possible to gain victory over sin even in the power of Christ. It will be noted that each one of these unscriptural conclusions is a logical deduction from Augustine’s false premise based upon his heathen belief that God does not permit man the power of free choice in salvation. These concepts naturally attracted him to the concept of original sin which he quickly popularized. In this doctrine he declared that man is guilty not only of his own sin but, more importantly, he is also guilty of the sin of Adam. Sin is a state of being; not dependent on man’s desecration of the Decalogue, though he did suggest that salvation was evidenced in acts of one’s life. Initially he claimed that sexual intercourse was the original sin. He had fathered an illegitimate child, exposing his long and unsuccessful battle with sexual desire. This weakness left Augustine to search for a theological basis for his sinful failures. Later he broadened the concept of original sin into other areas.

Scripture Perverted to Support Error

It was due to this concept that Augustine saw the man depicted in Romans 7:14–24 as a fully converted man. Unlike previous understandings which saw the man of Romans 7 as an earnest soul struggling and failing in human weakness, Augustine saw him in a saved relationship with God, maybe even man at his best. He ignored the plain testimony of Paul in relationship to this passage.

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. . . . Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. . . . O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:14–24).

Augustine perceived the flesh and the Spirit to be in cosmic tension. Never did he see the triumph of the spirit over the flesh. He did not understand the legalistic failures of this man nor the complete victory when he surrendered to the love and power of Jesus Christ.

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1–4)

In extant Christian literature Augustine was the first to have proposed the concept that Romans 7:14–24 is a description of a saved man, thus denying the plain import of Scripture. The torment of this man stands in striking contrast with the peace and assurance of God’s children so frequently described in Scripture. Not only did Augustine hold Romans seven in the concepts of pagan cosmic tension but he also saw much the same in Galatians chapter five.

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17)

His understanding of this text seemed consistent with what he had deduced from Romans chapter seven. He had ignored the clear testimony of the verses before and after Galatians 5:17.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. . . . But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16, 18)

It is certain that there is in this passage no mandate for the theological position held by Augustine.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (emphasis added). But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22–25)

The Chain of Error Grows

Augustine’s view of original sin created a dilemma when he considered the Incarnation of Christ. If we were sinners because we were born, it would follow that Christ too was a sinner, for He too was born as we are. Of course, this thought was intolerable. The Bible plainly described Christ as "that holy thing" which was born of Mary (Luke 1:35). Christ could never be described as sinful. Therefore Augustine was forced to conclude by his own logical reasoning that Christ possessed an altogether different nature from that of a human. In teaching this view, Augustine postulated that Christ possessed the nature of unfallen man. He thus ignored the plainest evidence of Scripture to the contrary. (Hebrews 2:14–18; 4:15; Romans 1:3). Since Christ was declared to have the human nature of unfallen man, this error led the Catholic Church to espouse the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which was fully incorporated into church dogma only in the nineteenth century. This doctrine declared that Mary was born of the Holy Ghost so that she could give birth to a son who possessed an unfallen nature. Thus step by logical step, Augustine’s false theology led to the incorporation of numerous unscriptural beliefs into the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Error is never benign. Many of the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages flowed forth from these unscriptural doctrines.

But another dilemma arose. Christ was now far removed from man. With Christ’s human nature placed above our own, it was difficult to accept Christ as our Mediator since according to Augustine’s view, He had not been tempted in the way fallen man is tempted and tested. Neither could there be any expectation that by His power humans could gain victory over sin. Surely if man possessed a nature vastly inferior to the nature in which Christ battled Satan, as Augustine postulated, it would not be possible for man to experience daily victory over sin such as Jesus had on earth. Augustine’s inference was that Christ’s sinless life was achieved because He held a great advantage over us in that He possessed an unfallen nature, while we are cursed with a fallen nature. Jesus ceased to be truly our example. Jesus thus was not in a position to succor those who are tempted. The Church was compelled to propose mediators other than Jesus. These were men and women who most assuredly did experience and suffer (and yield to) like temptations as we. Mary the mother of Jesus was proclaimed to be a mediator. Numerous saints were created by the Church. These too became recognized as mediators. Upon the priests, who frequently demonstrated themselves to be every bit as given to sin as their parishioners, was bestowed the role of mediator between God and man. One step at a time, the Church, in accepting these pagan concepts, was forced by logical deduction to add error to error in order to substantiate the false premises of Augustine.

It soon became a dictum of the Church that original sin separates man from eternal life. In the very fact of being conceived, man was condemned to eternal torment. These conclusions posed yet another question. How could the guilt of original sin be removed? The church fathers arrived at this solution—by the act of baptism. The question then immediately arose as to the eternal fate of the unbaptized. The answer supplied was terrifying: They were condemned to eternal burning hell. Imagine the impact of such a concept upon parents whose infants had died unbaptized. Infant mortality at the time was high. The anguish of sincere Christian parents of that generation, imagining their children tormented in eternal fire, does not bear contemplation.

The church quickly recognized that it had to supply a solution for this anxiety. Limbo was invented. Limbo certainly was not heaven, but neither was it hell. It was some intermediate place. But even this "solution" did not placate the anguish of the parents. They would never see their little ones again. So the sacrament of infant baptism was introduced as a Catholic dogma. There are extant reports of priests sprinkling water over the abdomens of agonized mothers dying in childbirth and then confidently declaring that both mother and child were assured of heaven.

The Reformation Must Continue

Though some of Augustine’s doctrines had been blunted by Aquinas and Abelard, two theologians of the Middle Ages, most of the theological concepts were still deeply rooted in Catholic theology at the time of the Reformation. Luther reacted more to the excesses of Rome, in the selling of indulgences by Tetzel in an attempt to raise money to complete the building of St. Peter’s Basilica, than he did to most of Rome’s doctrinal positions. However, out of his study came one of the most beautiful discoveries of Scripture:

The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17)

Luther had been trained as a monk in the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt. In his own writings he indicated that he had imbibed the words of Augustine before he had so much as set his eyes upon the Scriptures. Thus while Luther was able to throw off almost all the post-Augustinian heresies, he retained many of the Augustinian errors. Luther believed in predestination, "once saved, always saved," the unfallen human nature of Christ, the impossibility for Christians to consistently obey the law of God and infant baptism. Thus, in the Protestant reform movement leading to Evangelical Protestantism, Catholicism still retained much influence. Indeed, many of those Augustinian doctrines became more pervasive in the Protestant movement than in Catholicism itself.

Some may ask why the Lutheran church, generally speaking, does not teach predestination today. The answer is simple: after the death of Luther, Melanchthon led the Lutheran community away from predestination. However, John Calvin, the Swiss Reformer who influenced the Dutch Reformed Church, and John Knox, the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, strongly riveted their Protestantism in predestination. Today throughout many Evangelical communities this doctrine is still key to their concepts of salvation, while the parishioners are almost universally unaware of the Roman Catholic origin of these doctrines. There is no question that Martin Luther led a magnificent Reformation throughout Europe, assisted by other great leaders such as Zwingli, Calvin and Knox. In the plan of God, this Reformation was ever to grow in the unfolding truth to be discovered as God’s children marched toward the final climactic events upon the earth.

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18).

The Evangelical community has an urgent responsibility to address the dilemma of its Catholic roots and to discover the human errors that are still inherent in its teachings as a result of its historical development.

To be continued