A Message For First-Time Visitors
By William Handschumacher
Nearly 2000 years ago Jesus Christ changed the course of human history. Our modern methods of date-keeping tend to honor Christ by dividing the calendar into two parts: B.C. (the time before Christ's birth) and A.D. (the time following Christ's birth). Jesus literally split history in half.
Many consider Jesus to be a great
religious leader. Yet, religion
sentenced him to death by Roman
crucifixion. Over the centuries
church organizations and religious
institutions have identified
themselves with Christ. Some insist
that their organization is the true
church He came to build. Yet,
Christ's own teachings expose them
Rock of Offence does not promote or market a particular religious organization, church group or denomination (except to provide links for informational purposes). We're not in the business of persuading anyone to join a particular church. However, we will give advice, if requested. Many church leaders are quick to point out that joining the "local church" is required for spiritual maturity and fellowship. Normally, we would agree. However, when comparing the 'local church' of the New Testament with the modern-day 'local church' - we find important and disturbing differences. We believe this demands a close examination. Many expressions of the modern church tend to use Biblical terminology and principles that are redefined or changed from its original meaning. Redefining Biblical truths (such as salvation) and lifting Scripture from its Divinely intended context misleads many people ... who assume that all modern-day local churches are the same as the ones in the Bible. This common misconception carries unintended consequences concerning your eternal destiny - often without your knowledge.
This is why the Rock of Offence ministry carries a dual-purpose: We are primarily evangelistic, but also possess an apologetic and counter-cult aspect that is generally ignored by the rest of the church. It's ignored because it offends church members that often hold beliefs that are contrary to Scripture. An offended church member is likely to leave the fellowship and go somewhere else. As a result, Christian apologetics interferes with the popular, yet false unity agenda ... where unity is more important than Divine truth. A true minister of God is not only responsible for preaching the authentic Gospel - but also for warning their congregations about the many spiritual counterfeits, or what Saint Paul referred to as 'a different gospel'. According to Scripture, this responsibility is to be carried out regardless of who is offended. Why would anyone want to attend a church that pleases people at the expense of displeasing God?
Paul sounded this warning by saying;
"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-8)
The reason for the urgency of this warning is simple. God honors the true Gospel of Christ - but rejects the counterfeit (Paul refers to this Divine rejection as a curse). Apologetics and counter-cult ministry involves defending true Christianity from the many counterfeits that operate, by stealth, inside the world-wide institutional church. The Bible calls it "contending earnestly for the faith" (Jude 1:3-4). We should remember that a counterfeit of anything is almost indistinguishable from the original.
When looking for a church organization you must ask yourself a difficult question: Which religious persuasion more closely parallels Christ's New Testament teachings? Is it Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Episcopalianism, Roman Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Denominationalism, Non-denominationalism, Charismatic, or Para-church? There are literally hundreds of sub-groupings (and doctrines) within each category. Not to mention large influential organizations like the Mormons (Church of Latter-day Saints) and the Roman Catholics who both claim to be the only true church. All claim to represent God. Maybe you've made your decision based on family tradition or emotional appeal. Some people believe that all these persuasions are valid ... they're just different perspectives or expressions of the same God.
At Rock of Offence we believe this popular mindset is 'a fast-track' to spiritual disaster. Jesus taught that God's way is a "narrow way". That means everyone who claims to love and serve God does not automatically teach the truth. This is but one example of the spiritual 'mine-field' that sincere, truth-seeking people face. When you add to the mix various church leaders skilled in using your devotion to God as a manipulation tool ... you've set the stage to be led astray in your faith.
When you discover who Jesus is and what He came to do, you'll understand why He doesn't affiliate himself with any earthly religious organization. Finding a group of like-minded people that accurately represent Jesus Christ and His finished work at the cross is a deeply personal and difficult task. Unfortunately, in our modern culture, a church can be a very dangerous place if you're dependent upon someone else for spiritual guidance. Slick marketing schemes, specifically aimed at inexperienced Christians, are common and can fool even the most discerning individual.
The reader would be incorrect if they think our warnings indicate that we're against all church organizations. Everyone needs to begin somewhere. There are good church groups and caring pastors that can help you grow in your relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Yet, these good churches are few in number ... and, contrary to popular opinion, joining one of these good churches does not somehow 'validate' you as an authentic Christian. One thing is sure ... God is faithful to take care of those who are truly His. Only He can guide you through the complex maze of religious falsehood and misinformation that is currently sweeping over the world-wide Christian Church like a giant tsunami. Knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the beginning of a "great adventure". Following His voice while ignoring the allure of various movements and religious organizations is the key to success.
We invite you to visit and consider what we have to say. Our website is still constantly changing and does not contain everything we want to share. Many of our writings continue to exist as 'rough drafts'. However, you can still find valuable information.
Choosing to know the 'Jesus of the
New Testament' is the most important
decision you will ever make in
life. And ... you will find that the
One Who "split history" down the
middle is still alive today and
has the power to radically change
your life in ways you cannot
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