False teaching and teachers abound in South Africa. Below are some of the false religions and cults which operate in or near Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni. The intention of this page is to define who the group is and what they teach as a warning to believers and as an apologetic tool for evangelism.

What is the Word of Faith Movement?

Word of Faith is not a denomination but a set of teachings practiced across denominations. It is influenced by teaches such as Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch, Joyce Meyers and T.D. Jakes.

The movement grew out of Pentecostalism in the late 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon. He studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Kenneth Hagin studied under E. W. Kenyon and popularised the Word of Faith movement. Individual teachings range from completely heretical to absurd.

What does the Word of Faith Movement Believe?

A primary teaching is that words can manipulate “faith-force” thereby creating health and wealth. These “laws” operate outside of God’s sovereign will and God Himself is subject to these laws. The Bible teaches that God is preeminent in power and rules the universe (Psalm 115:3; 147:5; Isaiah 46:10; Danial 4:35). He does not need faith – He is to be the object of faith (Mark 11:22; Hebrews 11:3).

Many in the movement teach that God created human beings in His literal, physical image as “little gods” and that after the fall, humans took on Satan’s nature. Scripture teaches that God is spirit and does not have a physical body (John 4:24), that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27; 9:6) and that man is not a little god or divine because only God has a divine nature (Galatians 4:8; Isaiah 1:6-11, 43:10, 44:6; Ezekiel 28:2; Psalm 8:6-8).

They teach that Jesus Christ gave up His divinity and became a man, died spiritually, took Satan’s nature upon Himself, went to hell, was born again and rose from the dead with God’s nature. God’s Word tell us that Jesus is the Eternal incarnation of God (John 1:1, 2, 14, 15, 18; 3:16; 1 John 4:1). In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). By becoming a man, Jesus gave up the glory of heaven but not His divinity (Philippians 2:6-7). The cross symbolises victory not defeat (Hebrews 2:14).

They believe illness, sin and failure are the result of a lack of faith. To remedy the situation we’re to “confess” – claim God’s promises over oneself into existence. The Bible teaches that in this world we will have trouble and tribulation (John 16:33).

The Churches of Christ

Who are the Churches of Christ?

In 1807 Thomas Campbell, a Presbyterian, left his church in Ireland and settled in Pennsylvania. He came under conviction that historical creeds and confessions were a source of Christian division rather than union. Together with others, in 1832, he formed the ‘Restoration Movement’ called the ‘Disciples of Christ’. In 1906, after a schism over musical instruments in worship services, a breakaway group formed calling themselves the ‘Churches of Christ’.

Churches of Christ would contend that there has always been a remnant of ‘Churches of Christ’ believers throughout history and that in the 1800’s the ‘Christian Church’ schismed from them over the issue of instrumentation in church services. There is some diversity in local Churches of Christ congregations and as such not all would be as dogmatic on the key doctrines below so the adage “in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity” applies.

What do the Churches of Christ Believe?

Of minor concern to us is the policy of not allowing musical instruments in church services. While a church has freedom not to use instruments such dogmatism on a non-essential is often a tell-tale mark of a cult (Psalm 4:1; 150; Ephesians 5:19).

Another minor issue is the claim by some that ‘Church of Christ’ is synonymous of the one and only true Church. This contradicts Scripture which is clear, the Church is composed of all true believers, through all time, everywhere (1 Corinthians 1:1-3).

The Church of Christ teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation. Baptism is an initial act of obedience to Christ but is not required for salvation (Acts 2:38; John 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 22:16 and John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Church of Christ teaches that salvation is not by grace alone but must include ongoing obedience. The Bible teaches God’s free grace is the originator of our salvation (John 3; 11; Ephesians 2; Titus 2:11).

The Church of Christ teaches that salvation is not by faith alone but a combination of faith and works. The Bible teaches that salvation is by faith alone and good fruit and works are the inevitable result (Luke 24:44-49;1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:5; James 2:14-26).

Who are the Jehovah Witnesses?

The cult known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses began in 1870 as a Bible study led by Charles Taze Russell who wrote a book series called “The Millennial Dawn” containing much of the Jehovah Witness theology. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was founded in 1886 and distribute Jehovah Witness publications. The group was known as the “Russellites” until 1931 when they were renamed the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” because of a split.

What do the Jehovah Witnesses Believe?

They believe Jesus is Michael the archangel, the highest created being. The clear teaching of Scripture declares Jesus to be the Son of God (John 1:1,14, 8:58, 10:30).

They reject the Trinity, believing Jesus to be a created being and the Holy Spirit to essentially be the inanimate power of God. Scripture presents God as One Being in three Persons (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

They believe salvation is obtained by a combination of faith and obedience. The Gospel message is that Christ died for sinners, rose in victory and that all men everywhere must repent for the forgiveness of sins; this is by grace and through faith alone to the glory of God alone (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).

They believe that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the only body in the cult that has authority to interpret Scripture which is in direct opposition to the apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:15, 3:15; Acts 17:10-15).

How Should one interact with a Jehovah Witness?

Be polite, don’t get flustered. Jehovah Witnesses are often respectable, polite people. Return the curtesy. Pray for wisdom and clarity as you interact with them.

Be prepared. Give a defence for the hope you have. They often present “hard to interpret verses”. Read the whole chapter. The meaning is often self explanatory. You may have to admit you don’t know an answer to a question; but go find out.

Share the Gospel. The Gospel Jesus taught. Read Luke 24:44-49 and 1 Corinthians
15:1-8. Jesus died for our sins. Jesus rose from the grave. All men everywhere must
repent for the forgiveness of their sins. Point them to Jesus, His Person and His works.

Who is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

Mormonism was founded in the 1820s by a man named Joseph Smith who claimed to have received visits from God the Father and Jesus Christ. He taught all churches and creeds were an abomination. Joseph Smith then set out to “restore true Christianity” and claimed his church to be the “only true church on earth”. The word Mormon is derived from his writings.

Joseph Smith claimed The Book of Mormon was translated from writing on golden plates in a reformed Egyptian language, translated with the assistance of the Urim and Thummim and seer stones. He said an angel showed him the location of the plates, buried in a nearby hill. After the translation was completed Smith said the plates were returned to the angel. During Smith’s supposed possession, very few people were allowed to “witness” the plates.

What do the Mormons Believe?

Mormons believe there are four sources of divinely inspired words: The Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. Christians believe that the Bible alone is the revealed Word of God (Ephesians 2:20).

Mormons believe God has not always been the Supreme Being and that He has a “body of flesh and bones.” Christians believe there is one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4), who always existed (Deuteronomy 33:27), was not created (Genesis 1; Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 37:16), is not man (Numbers 23:19) but Spirit (John 4:24).

Mormons believe that there are different levels or kingdoms in the afterlife and where man ends up depends on what they believe and do. In contrast, the Bible teaches after death we go to heaven or hell based on whether or not we had faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Hebrews 9:27).

Mormon leaders taught Christs’ incarnation was the result of physical relationship between God and Mary. They believe Jesus is a god and that any human can become a god. Contrary to this Christians teaches no one can achieve the status of God we can only be made holy in God’s sight through faith in Him (1 Corinthians 1:2). Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, one in essence one in essence with God (John 1:1-8; 14; 8:56).

What is the Roman Catholic Church?

The church in Rome has an ancient history reaching back to New Testament times. The church faced many persecutions until Emperor Constantine professed Christianity in 312 granting freedom of worship throughout the empire and presiding over the first ecumenical church council at Nicaea in 325.

Until the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 the emperors claimed certain authority within the church and granted privileges to various bishops. Over time a hierarchy developed: a bishop of a city was over priests of the local congregations and the Bishop of Rome became supreme over all. In 590 Pope Gregory assumed imperial powers along with ecclesiastical authority. From then on church and state were intertwined as the Holy Roman Empire, with the pope exercising authority over kings and emperors.

What do Roman Catholics Believe?

Roman Catholics believe that bishops, with the pope as their head, rule the universal Church while Scripture teaches that Jesus rules His church (Colossians 1:18).

They teach Scripture and Tradition together are the God’s Word. Scripture is clear, it alone is the God’s Word (John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20,21; Mark 7:1-13).

They believe Mary to be co-redeemer and co-mediator with Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that Jesus alone redeems His people and He alone gives us access to God (1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:13,14; 1 Peter 5:7).

They teach justification comes through faith and works (including baptism), that grace by good works. God’s Word frees us because goods works are a result of salvation and that grace is a free gift (Romans 4:5, 11:6; Ephessians 2:8-10).

Christ’s body and blood exist in consecrated bread and wine. The Bible teaches that Jesus exists at this present time in heaven and the bread and cup are symbols of remembrance (1 Corinthians 11:23-25; Hebrews 10:12-13).

The sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated in the sacrifice of the Mass. God’s Word reveals that the sacrifice was made once, for all (John 19:30; Hebrews 10:12-18; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 1:3 ).

Who are the Seventh-Day Adventists?

Around the 1840’s William Miller, a Baptist preacher, foretold Christ’s return sometime between March 21, 1843 and 1844 based on his interpretation of Daniel 8:14. The failure of this prediction was known as the Great Disappointment. But Hiram Edson claimed to have seen a vision of Jesus standing at the altar of heaven. He concluded that Miller had been right about the time but wrong about the place. “Jesus’s return was not to earth but a move into the heavenly sanctuary.”

In May of 1863 Ellen G. White became a leader of a segment of the Millerites. Her many visions and writings influenced the formation and doctrine of Seventh-Day Adventism. Most Seventh-Day Adventists consider her to be a prophetess of God.

There is debate amongst Evangelicals as to whether Seventh-Day Adventists are a denomination or cult. Whilst the distinctives below set us apart it is wise to remember that “in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity”.

What do the Seventh-Day Adventists Believe?

While there are some minor distinctives (such as dietary observances) to orthodox Evangelical practice Seventh-Day Adventists hold 28 Fundamental Beliefs most of which are similar to Protestant beliefs. There are three that are heterodox:

They believe Christ entered the “sanctuary in heaven” and after a “prophetic period of 2,300 days” began a phase of “blotting out” sin. Now He investigates the lives of the forgiven seeing if they are worthy. The Bible teaches Christ’s present work as high priest, interceding for us at God’s right hand (Hebrews 4:14-16; 6:20; 7:25).

They believe Ellen G. White’s “writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church.” White claimed approximately 2,000 visions and dreams from which she produced more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books. White falsely taught Sabbath-keeping as a primary doctrine (Romans 14:5), hell as temporal (Matthew 25:46), Satan, rather than Christ, as sin bearer (1 Peter 2:24) and Jesus as Michael the archangel (Jude 1:9).

They believe in required observance of the Sabbath (Saturday worship). The Bible teaches the Sabbath was for Israel (Exodus 31:16-17, Deuteronomy 5:15) and Gentile believers began worshipping on the day of the Lord’s resurrection (Matthew 28:1, 9, 10; John 20:19, 26; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:23).

What is Islam?

In the seventh century, Muhammad claimed the angel Gabriel visited him. During these angelic visitations, over 23 years, the angel purportedly revealed to Muhammad the words of Allah (the Arabic word for “God” used by Muslims). These dictated revelations compose the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. Islam means “submission,” deriving from a root word that means “peace.” The word Muslim means “one who submits to Allah.”

What do Muslims Believe?

Muslims have six articles of faith: Belief in: 1.) One, eternal, creator, and sovereign, Allah. 2.) The angels. 3.) The prophets: With Muhammad as Allah’s final prophet. 4.) The revelations of Allah believing the Qur’an to be pre-existent and perfect. 5.) The last day of judgment and the hereafter. 6.) Predestination, “if God wills.”

These five pillars compose the framework of obedience for Muslims: 1.) The testimony of faith (shahada): “There is no deity but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” 2.) Prayer (salat): Five ritual prayers performed every day. 3.) Giving (zakat): A certain percentage given once a year. 4.) Fasting (sawm): During Ramadan in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. 5.) Pilgrimage (hajj): If physically and financially possible, a Muslim must make the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.

Compared to Christianity, Islam has some similarities but significant differences. Both are Monotheistic but Muslims reject the Trinity. Muslims claim Jesus as a prophets but not God’s Son and they don’t believe he died on the cross (Isaiah 53:5-6; John 3:16; 14:6; 1 Peter 2:24).

Islam teaches the Qur’an is the final authority. The Bible warns against anyone adding to or subtracting from God’s Word (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Galatians 1:6-12; Revelation 22:18).

Muslims believe paradise can be earned through works Christians believe may be saved through repentant faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Apostle: Twelve men, together with Paul, chosen by Jesus as the first messengers of the Gospel. They witnessed the resurrected Christ, were chosen by the Holy Spirit, performed signs and wonders and uniquely laid the foundation of the church.

Baptism: Baptism is an outward symbol of an internal reality. It is an act of obedience where a believer is submerged in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Baptists: “a member of a Protestant Christian denomination advocating baptism only of adult believers by total immersion. Baptists form one of the largest Protestant bodies and are found throughout the world and especially in the US.”

Belief: A state of mind in which trust is placed in a person or thing.

Bible: The word comes from the Greek word meaning book. It is comprised of Sixty-six different books including law, history, poetry, prophecy, biographies and letters. It is the very words of God transmitted to us through human authors.

Born Again: Man is spiritually dead in sin and separated relationally from God. To be born again is an act of God whereby a believer is made alive, bringing forgiveness of sins and restoring our relationship with God.

Christ: The Greek word Christos means anointed or chosen one and is the same as the Hebrew word Messiah. It is a title of Jesus, signifying Him as the sent one from God, His king and deliverer.

Christian: A person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ, who follows Him in behavior, activity, and speech.

Cross: A Roman instrument of execution. Death would be slow, torturous and painful. Jesus Christ was put to death on a cross in the place of sinners.

Cult: Denies one or more of the fundamental truths of Christianity while still claiming to be Christian. The two most common teachings are Jesus was not God, leaving His death insufficient to pay for our sins, and salvation is not by faith alone, leaving us responsible for our own salvation by our own works.

Faith: Trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove. Intellectually faith assents something to be true. In practice faith relies on the fact that it is true.

God: The supreme being, creator and ruler of all, the self-existent one who is perfect in power, goodness, and wisdom existing in three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Grace: God giving us what we do not deserve.

Jesus: Jesus is God, the second Person in the Trinity. Having come into the world in human flesh He died in place of sinners, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Local Church: A group of believers in Jesus Christ who meet in a particular location on a regular basis.

Obedience: True faith will be backed up by evidence of faith. A person following Jesus as Lord will obey His instructions.

Presbyterians: “Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism which traces its origins to the British Isles, particularly Scotland. Presbyterian churches derive their name from the presbyterian form of church government, which is governed by representative assemblies of elders.”

Repent: Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.

Salvation: “The deliverance, by the grace of God, from eternal punishment for sin which is granted to those who accept by faith God’s conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus.”

Scripture: See Bible.

Sin: Transgression of the law of God and rebellion against God. We have inherited sin and so are sinners by nature, in Adam all of humanity is under the curse of sin and we all personally sin against God and so incur His wrath.

The Church: The universal Body of Christ, composed of all true believers, through all time, everywhere.

The Gospel: The message of good news that Jesus died in the place of sinners satisfying the wrath of God, that He rose in victory over Satan, sin and death and the call for all men to repent for the forgiveness of sins.

The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person in the Trinity. He is a divine person with mind, emotions and will.

The Son of God: Jesus is God with us, the image of the invisible God and in Him all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.

The Trinity: God is one existing in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God but the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Spirit and the Spirit is not the Father.